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Mendocino County Today: January 11, 2021

Mild Day | 30 Cases | O+ Liver | Bar Closure | King Tide | Sneaker Wave | Eerie Quiet | Mendo Vaccinations | Seaside Navarro | Accurate Account | Dago Town | Variety Show | Navarro Bridge | Sheriff & CEO | Lighthouse Crumble | Ed Notes | Unwakeable Parents | Navarro Crowd | Supervisor Observations | Bye Facebook | Yesterday's Catch | Visiting Megatrees | Uninvolved Weeders | Blame Antifa | Stimulus Idea | Missing Cockburn | Les Miz | Low-Class Things | Scaffold Poser | Wannabe Stormtroopers | Unplugging Parler

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FOLLOWING A MOSTLY DRY AND MILD DAY today, widespread rain and gusty southerly winds will return to the area Monday night through Tuesday night, with some lingering showers possible into Wednesday. The heaviest rains will affect Del Norte and northern Humboldt counties. (NWS)

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30 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Sunday, bringing the total to 2914. 

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A BIG ASK FOR A BIG NEED.

from Margaret A Holub <mholub@mcn.org>

Dear MCJC (Mendocino Coast Jewish Community) friends,

Many of us know Rachel Juster. She was born with liver disease and was adopted as a very ill infant by Sherman (of blessed memory) and Susan Juster and raised in Boonville. She was named and became bat mitzvah in our shul. Rachel is now 27 years old. She and her family have always known that one day she would need a liver transplant. With much personal and medical care she has made it to her present age. But the time is now here, and Rachel’s life is in the balance. Her doctors have told her that she has had as much prophylactic treatment for her condition as she can have.

When a person needs a liver transplant they can receive a donation from either a deceased donor or a living donor. A healthy person can have a section of his or her or their liver removed, and it will regrow in a matter of months. (The transplanted section will also regrow in the recipient.) Still it is a big surgery, with a significant recovery and risks.

Rachel is in the process of getting “on the list” for a cadaver donor. There are not enough donors for every person who needs a liver. If a living donor can be found for Rachel, she will not need to face these odds.

This is an almost unimaginable thing to ask of a healthy person, to undergo this surgery and recovery, especially for someone they may not know well. But after talking with Rachel about her current situation we decided that it was worth sharing her need for a liver.

The most basic requirements for a donor are that they have the same blood type as Rachel (O positive) and that they be in good health. I believe there may be age and other criteria as well. If someone is willing to explore the possibility of becoming a donor for Rachel, there would be extensive medical evaluation and counseling before their participation can be confirmed. I also do not know about insurance and other costs — all this would need to be explored.

If this is in your own realm of possibility and you would like to find out more, please be in touch with Rachel directly at racheljuster0@gmail.com, and she will put you in touch with her medical team. If you would like to circulate this letter further, please feel free to do so. If you would like to discuss this with me, please contact me. I don’t have any medical knowledge about this process, but I might be able to help you explore spiritual and ethical questions.

Let’s all keep Rachel in our hearts and prayers.

Margaret Holub

PS. Here’s a photo of Rachel in her early teens along with her high school graduation picture:

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NOYO HARBOR COAST GUARD’s station Chief Petty Officer Scott Harrison is reporting 20+ foot breakers at the harbor entrance, initiating what he referred to as a “bar closure” that prohibits the operation of both military and civilian vessels within the regulated navigation area.

Chief Harrison explained that the bar closure could hinder the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to an emergency situation.

Regarding the current status of the surf, Chief Harrison explained, “the coast is experiencing high tides with a tidal change of about 8.5 feet.” He said these high tides are coinciding with a “long period swell system.”

In the wake of five deaths on Northern California beaches in the last month, Chief Harrison provided some essential safety measures beach-goers should practice during unusually high surf:

  1. Don’t turn your back on the ocean.
  2. Stay back away from beaches or bluffs.
  3. Check the weather forecast. Call the Coast Guard station if you need the latest information.

For boaters navigating the waterways, Chief Harrison said, “make sure to check the weather, have access to life jackets, and have a marine VHF radio incase of emergencies.

(Redheaded Blackbelt)

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KING TIDE AT FORT BRAGG (photos by Judy Valadao)

NOYO JETTY

PUDDING CREEK. This could have been a disaster. The water was so swift these people never would have been able to get out.

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SNEAKER WAVE SURVIVOR

Editor,

With deaths from sneaker waves in the news, I would like to share a very scary experience which happened to me a year ago on Christmas day at the Oregon coast.

It was a beautiful day. The waves were gorgeous and although it was a high tide, the waves were not breaking close to shore. I was on a cliff trail above the beach with my Doberman, Zoe, and a friend who was walking her miniature pinscher.

We spotted a couple on the beach with their German Shepherd and we decided to go onto the beach to chat, never thinking the waves would reach us. WRONG.

All of us were hit by a sneaker wave, but I was the only one who was knocked off my feet and I ended up on my back. My boots filled with water and sand and my layers of clothing weighed me down which made it impossible to stand up. I held on tight to Zoe who paddled, keeping us afloat with each wave that carried us further out into the ocean.

Zoe and I owe our lives to the man we were talking to who ran out into the water and pulled me to my feet and dragged us to shore. A few weeks after my incident, farther north on the Oregon coast, a father was walking on the cliff trail above the ocean with his two young children when a sneaker wave hit them. The children did not survive.

I hope you will think about my experience when you consider spending a day at the beach. Check the tides, the winds and expected wave height before heading out. It might save your life. 

And of course, never turn your back to the ocean.

Denny Gold

The Sea Ranch/Gualala

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IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT in the middle of town at mid evening, and there isn't a sound anywhere. No cars, no voices, no dogs barking, no chickens crowing. Nothing. Very eerie. For the first time since the onset of this pandemic I find myself wondering if our lives have been changed forever, never returning to the world we left behind. How long as a people can we endure the loneliness of this self isolation before people start going stark raving mad? For the first time since this all started, I find myself afraid of what's yet to come. 

(Ernie Pardini in Boonville)

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MENDOCINO COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER #1, Dr. Andrew Coren, says Mendocino County’s “goal” is to ramp up to 900 vaccinations a week at some point. Use of the word “goal” leaves lots of wiggle room as to when that will start and how fast it will ramp up. But that works out mathematically to about two years to vaccinate 90,000 Mendolanders. But of course lots of Mendolanders will refuse to be vaccinated and we don’t know if chidren will be vaccinated. Either way we’re talking at least a year before a majority of Mendolanders will be vaccinated — discounting whatever glitches and hiccups may pop up along the way. (Mark Scaramella)

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Old Navarro By The Sea

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:

Accurate account:

"I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t expect for us to be managing this rollout at the county level. For whatever reason, I made the assumption back in the fall that when vaccines became available, it would be handled by some combination of federal and state government. Why I didn’t think beyond that, I can’t tell you. I’m feeling a little stupid right now. Each state was left to figure this out. The state handed the operations piece on to the county. That’s not what I anticipated. I’ve gotten a lot of emails from people saying: 'You’ve known for nine months that this was coming, and you should have had a plan in place.' But the truth is, nobody told us what to be ready for. I had no idea this would be our responsibility. I’m sorry, but I just didn’t."

— Roger Desjarlais, County manager, Lee County, Florida

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DAGO TOWN, NAVARRO

Southeast of the Navarro mill was a community of hotels and restaurants called “Dago Town,” pictured here in 1906. At the very far left a portion of the twin Hotel can be seen. Next door is the Toscano Hotel, owned and operated in its early days by the Pasero family. The third hotel, seen in the center of the photograph, is the Hotel D’Italia. The Stearns Lumber Company constructed this building, intending to use it as a hospital for their mill workers, but it never operated in this capacity. Alciede Bacci, of Vinegar Hill, converted it to a restaurant, bar and hotel. In 1907, Joe and Sabatine (Mama) Pardini purchased it and the name changed to Pardini’s Hotel. Mama and her sister Beppa provided the Valley with sumptuous dinners for over 50 years. Later it again underwent extensive remodeling, becoming the Navarro Inn, which burned down in 1974. To the far right is the Ainsley Hotel. The group in the picture was gathered for a Fourth of July celebration.


Ernie Pardini: My great grandmother and grandfather, Giuseppe and Sabatina Pardini owned one of the hotels shown in this picture. It was called the Hotel D’Italia. It remained in my family until 1953 when my great uncle Danny Pardini, who was running it at the time, was killed in a car wreck. It was later called the Navarro Inn until it burned down in the 1970s.

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THERE WILL BE A 2021 AV GRANGE VARIETY SHOW!

You heard right, we are going to do the 30th annual AV Grange Variety show this year.

Only it won't be at the traditional time in March.

There's no way we would do a virtual show, we've discussed an outside show. Wow, can you imagine how that opens up the possibilities? LARGE animal acts, monster truck pulls, motorcycles leaping the stage. That idea is still on the table, but it lacks a very important ingredient..... you, us, all of us together, you gotta hear the roar of the crowd, and smell the greasepaint.

It's most likely we'll wait until we can gather in the Grange hall again safely. Lets aim for September, we'll keep you all informed.

But now is a great time to start working up your fabulous act, you got time after all. We encourage skits and of course animal acts, get creative. It will feel soooooo good to be together again.

Questions? ideas? get in touch(oops), with Captain Rainbow who has a new phone number, 472-9189

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TOO MUCH ABOUT NOTHING

by Jim Shields

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, there were numerous demands from some misinformed members of the public (via Zoom) for Sheriff Kendall to apologize for using a “hurtful” and “racist” photo in his original submission to the Board requesting $4 million for additional deputies to help quell the pot-related violence in the North County. Fortunately, he didn’t apologize as it is completely unwarranted.

There’s also a group of PC Dogmatic-Repressives who obviously know nothing about the violent 4-day incident last September near Laytonville and the origins of what they call a “hog-tied black man’ photo, and alleged vigilantes on the loose in the North County.

Here’s what I wrote last September about this crime:

“There was a violent home invasion in the northern Laytonville area that stretched over several days starting on Thursday, Sept. 17. The mastermind, I guess you could call him, was Louis Bagliere, 73, now of San Jose but formerly a resident of Laytonville. Evidently Bagliere returned to the area to rob some people who he had rented his former property for the purpose of growing weed.

How do you rent property that you don’t own? I don’t know, but evidently that’s what Bagliere did.

“According to a number of people I know, Bagliere sold his property — which by the way and ironically was the site of the Jeffrey Settler pot grow murder four years ago — a couple of years after that homicide was committed. It’s a 160-acre parcel located five miles north of Laytonville and five or six mile west of Highway 101.

“Bagliere, who has been a mid-level career criminal his whole life, reportedly has been arrested and/or charged, and/or served time for mostly drug-related offenses in California, Texas and Utah. He’s been looked at by California authorities for a couple of murders but was never arrested or charged for them, and is known to have associations with Bay Area street gangs, and had some type of “business” relationship (most likely meth) with the Hell’s Angels.

“Anyway, apparently he ‘rented’ his old property to these folks who were growing weed. Most likely, they had some kind of deal with Bagliere over the grow The Sheriff’s reports has all the details of what ensued when Bagliere and his Bay Area crew of heavily armed crooks/gang members showed up at his old homestead. They relieved the “renters” of 20 pounds of weed and said they’d be back Saturday presumably for more weed and/or money.

“Bagliere’s crew returned to the property on Saturday confronting the renters comprised of three men, a woman, and young child. They demanded money from the renters, firing off three or four shots to show their demand was serious (allegedly the gangster who fired the shots is the subject in the photo).

“But it was bad news for Bagliere and his gangsters in that they were all caught and arrested, including the one bad guy, later identified as David Lee Edmonds, a 50 year-old male from San Jose, who managed to evade the cops for a day, but was nabbed by an alert resident who placed him under citizen’s arrest, trussed him up with zip ties, and delivered the violent dolt to Sheriff’s deputies who arrived on the scene. That citizen deserves a commendation from the County.”

There was no vigilante-ism during this caper. I was on the air doing my radio show that Saturday when we started getting calls in the studio right when the whole thing started. My radio sidekick lives up there and they have a pretty sophisticated Neighborhood Watch-like program. They kept us informed of unfolding events until the cops showed up in force and started their operation.

The guy who was trussed up and delivered to MCSO had been at-large overnight trying to find a way out of what appears to be a box canyon but isn’t. He wandered all night, and since he was wearing just trousers and a T-shirt on a chilly night, by morning he was exhausted and dehydrated as he wobbled up a road to the house where he was observed by the occupants sitting in the road. They knew he was the missing gangster. He offered no resistance, they gave him water, trussed him with zip-ties, and drove him down to where MCSO had set up one of their roadblocks.

The cops couldn’t find him, but the neighbors did. They weren’t out hunting for him, but when they found him, they did the right thing. They made sure he was relatively OK, detained him, gave him water, secured him for their safety, and delivered him to the cops. As I said at the time, the Sheriff should give a commendation to them.

Most of the folks up there (just west a few miles of the Hog Farm) are hippie back-to-landers-growers, but they’re not the kind of hippies you want to piss off. They’re also the kind of people who don’t drive around with their Klan hoods and robes tucked under the front seat, ready-at-hand for when they commit their next racial outrage.

By the way, the leaders of the crook crew, Bagliere and Son, are White, the others are Black. Proves a long-held belief of mine, there’s more racial harmony nowadays than ever. It’s everywhere if you just open your eyes, you’ll find it in the damnest places.

I have a good friend, who owns property in the area where career criminal Bagliere lived. He had a few run-ins with the old crook/gangster, including one time when he confronted Bagliere and his Hell’s Angels associates, who were most likely preparing to set up a meth cook op. He “persuaded” them that was not a good idea and it was time for them to leave and never come back. They did.

It’s a different world up here in the North County, take my word for it.

Three Public Health Officers?

I’m sure most of you remember the County’s former Public Health Officer, Dr. Mimi Doohan, who ran her County office long-distance from San Diego during her spell “serving” Mendo citizens last year. The local Health Orders she issued were carbon copies of state-issued Health Orders where she didn’t consider making any accommodations based on local circumstances regarding whether small retail businesses could remain open. She just closed them all. For her less than stellar performance, she was paid $300K, as I recall. Even though she left employment in Mendocino County for a job in San Diego last spring, she was kept on the payroll this past year in some sort of advisory capacity. There was a move to extend her contract for another year at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. However, the retroactive contract extension was buried in the agenda’s “Consent Calendar.”

The Laytonville County Water District that I manage, has a permanent consent calendar slot on our agenda for each and every meeting, just like the BOS agenda. The multi-item consent calendar is explained as follows with language that is identical on both the BOS and Water District agendas:

“The Consent Calendar is considered routine and non-controversial and will be acted upon by the Board at one time without discussion. Any Board member may request that any item be removed from the Consent Calendar for individual consideration.”

Now that I’ve provided the background, I’ll let Mark Scaramella, of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, pick up the narrative:

“Newly seated Supervisor Maureen Mulheren boldly pulled Item 4k from the consent calendar on Tuesday, saying that she wanted to see some alternatives to extending Dr. Noemi Doohan’s contract for a year at $125 per hour, $100k per year. Her freshly seated colleague, Glenn McGourty, agreed the item should be pulled. Supervisor Ted Williams immediately disagreed, saying that “continuity” was important and he supported the extension of the unimpressive Dr. Doohan’s contract. Supervisor Haschak agreed, saying he would support whatever Dr. Coren and CEO Angelo wanted in response to the pandemic, a statement rather breathtaking in its write-your-own check assumption. “CEO Angelo thought that Dr. Doohan brought a ‘scientific’ approach to the County’s covid response, and that if it was up to the CEO we’d have three Public Health Officers because the pandemic has not subsided and now the vaccine rollout is underway and there’s a surge and all. Angelo added that Dr. Doohan was actually a bargain since, according to the CEO, Dr. Doohan is providing at least twice the hours that she’s contracted for at no extra cost. Supervisor Mulheren repeated that she preferred local doctors to out-of-county consultants. But when the vote came Mulheren was the only no vote and we’ll now have whatever benefits a San Diego doctor can offer for at least another year.”

Anybody know why a county with only 90,000 people needs two Public Health Officers?

According to CEO Angelo, she’d have three Public Health Officers on the payroll. Really?

That’s what you call an in-your-face, screw you response from an out-of-touch bureaucrat.

It’s time for the Supervisors to reassert their authority over the CEO and her office. They should start by removing the Clerk of the Board position and duties from the CEO back to where it was until 2010: under the Board of Supervisors.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)

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Point Arena Lighthouse After ’06 Quake

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ED NOTES

MAGA DEMONSTRATOR OF THE YEAR: "Kevin Greeson, 55, from Alabama, was at the attack of Congress. In the melee, fearing arrest, he hid his taser in the front of his pants. He stormed the Capitol building and seemingly forgot that he had a taser pointed a couple of inches from his testicles. When he stood on a chair to steal a portrait of Tip O’Neill off the wall, his leg pressed against the taser's trigger, and fired the leads into his testicles. He then fell, and landed in such a way as to put constant pressure on the trigger, electrocuting himself in the testicles until he expired of a heart attack. He was DOA at the hospital."

Kevin Greeson

ED NOTE: Darn. According to snopes.com, Greeson’s wife said Greeson, a hard-core Trumper, simply died of a heart attack amidst the excitement of the event. Ms. Greeson said she was on the phone with him at the time and “he just stopped talking.” He had a flagpole, not a taser, she said, and the account about the tasered testicles is an unfunny rumor spread by on-line critics. “Any claims that he tasered his balls while stealing a painting could not be farther from the truth,” she said.

AV HIGH SCHOOL'S ag teacher, Beth Swehla: “I have put a large trash can outside my classroom for donated bottles. Thanks. I am trying to gather 30-40 2 liter soda bottles for a rain gauge project. I want my students to each make a rain gauge at home. Do you have some to donate? I need them to be clean with lids. I need them soon. The bottles will need to sit for 3 days before I can safely prep the take home kits. I will put a box outside my classroom, Dome A, at the high school. Please wear a mask when you place them outside my class. Thank you.”

THE ANDERSON VALLEY is being discovered fifty or so times a year by outside media. Our first discovery of 2021 was by Forbes magazine, and elicited this local response: “I sniggered then, and I snigger now. Did the author fly into town on a Learjet or Gulfstream?”

NO, THEY DON'T. The intrepid gastro-explorers typically fly into SFO where they rent a car and head north for a week or two of freebies from the wineries, hotels and restaurants they discover in the great wilderness behind the Green Curtain. (The Green Curtain falls north of Cloverdale and lifts north of Crescent City at Pelican Bay.) Only wealthy media like Forbes can afford to fund the plane tickets and rent-a-cars these days. Before the fall of newspapers, even the larger dailies, papers like the Des Moines Register and the Philadelphia Inquirer sent explorers up Highway 101. Why even the beloved Boonville weekly got discovered by a bunch of these expense account wilderness trekkers, including one hack who confessed he needed “a hook” (reason) to visit relatives in West Sonoma County, and the Boonville weekly was his hook. This guy swaggers in — swaggers, no exaggeration — and says, “I'll be right back. Gotta get some local color.” Ten minutes later he's back with the local color, which turned out to be a comment from Jimmy Humble that I call him, “Jimmy Bumble,” which I don't bother to deny because I don't want to engage this moron any longer than minimally necessary. Mr. Hack had cracked himself up with his local color, which duly appears in his piece, proving that his editors are even lamer than he is. Still chortling over his Humble-Bumble discovery, the guy says, “Gotta take a dump. Where's the bathroom?” I know the standards of basic decorum have slipped, but we need to know why he's going to the bathroom? I direct him down the hall to the one thin-walled commode serving the upstairs floor of the Farrer Building. There are several loud, defecatory explosions followed by… Well, passersby could have been knocked unconscious. Back from the noisiest bathroom visit in the 9 years we were headquartered in the Farrer Building, Mr. Big Time Media demands, “How long you been doing this?” and rolls through a few more minutes of disinterested questions during which he takes no notes. Thirty minutes later, he leaves with, “How long will it take me to get to Sebastopol?” Oh, if you take your time, about an hour over Mountain View Road then south on Highway One.

JUST IN: Parler went offline at 3am EST after Amazon booted the platform off its web hosting service, effectively shutting it down until it can find a new partner. Trump supporters flocked to Parler as an alternative to Twitter. The site is seen as a magnet for the far right and was accused by Apple, Google and Amazon of continuing to allow messages inciting violence after Wednesday's attack at the US Capitol. Parler was the most-downloaded app in the Apple store a day after Twitter permanently suspended Trump's account on Friday. But Parler CEO John Matze warned in his final post before the 3am deadline that "we will likely be down longer than expected" as tech firms refuse to carry it.

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PARENTS OF THE YEAR

On Friday, January 8, 2021 at approximately 10:44am, a concerned family member requested Ukiah Police officers perform a welfare check on two children (ages seven and three years old) after learning the children had been listed as absent from school that day. The family member advised she had attempted to call the parents (Stephanie Phillips and Sean Finnegan) of the children, but their phones went directly to voicemail, which she found odd. 

UPD officers responded to the residence and knocked on the door. The two children answered the door alone. The officers asked the children if they could speak to their parents. The children advised their parents were in bed and would not wake up. The officers requested the children attempt to wake the parents up and come to the door. The children returned to the door a few minutes later and advised the officers that their parents would not wake up. Fearing the parents were having a medical emergency the officers entered the residence to check their welfare. 

The officers responded to the parents’ bedroom and located Phillips and Finnegan sleeping in their bed. The officers observed Finnegan was holding a pipe in his hand that is commonly used to smoke methamphetamine. The officers observed suspected heroin on a nearby nightstand. The officers observed numerous pills that were identified as Xanax throughout the bedroom. All of these objects were located in a spot that made them easily accessible to the children. 

The officers attempted to wake Phillips and Finnegan, but found that they would only wake up for a short period of time and then fall back asleep. Eventually officers were able to wake Phillips and Finnegan. Officers performed an evaluation on Phillips and Finnegan and concluded that both subjects were under the influence of a mixture of controlled substances. 

The officers concluded that Phillips and Finnegan had left the young children unsupervised for an unknown amount of time as a result of their drug use. The officers concluded that Phillips and Finnegan had placed the young children in a situation that was likely to produce great bodily harm or death by having illegal narcotics in the residence that were easily accessible to the children. Phillips and Finnegan were both placed under arrest for being under the influence, possession of controlled substances and paraphernalia, and cruelty-inflection of injury to child. 

Finnegan, Phillips

A records check revealed that Phillips was on summary probation out of Mendocino County with the term “obey all laws”. Phillips was also placed under arrest for violating her probation. 

The officers contacted Child Protective Services (CPS) and had them respond to the residence. CPS took custody of the children and later placed the children in the care of other family members. 

Phillips and Finnegan were transported to the MCSO Jail where they were booked on the listed charges. 

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Public Greets Navarro Train

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SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS:

Happy New Year from Ted

As a local government official holding a nonpartisan seat, I often refrain from comment about national politics. In addition to my commitment to represent people across the spectrum of political affiliation, I fail to find political ideology an appropriate tool for the myriad of problems we face at a local level. At a local level, maximizing the return on public dollars and ensuring alignment with social values is not about left versus right, conservative versus liberal or red versus blue, yet over the past year, correspondence has become exceedingly polarized. If I could ask one favor of constituents, it would be to set aside dogma and dig deep with an objective mind. A cursory review of the problems at hand cannot yield the best answers. Our problems appear as a Gordian Knot representing a composite of underfunded mandates, fractured authority, complex history and often ignorance. To be effective, we must understand both the intricate details of the problems and the scope of available options. We must refrain from perpetuating a culture in which social media memes outweigh science and facts.

Exchange of information in recent years has become exponentially more available, but concurrent with these advances, we’ve become simultaneously the consumer and the product with corporate algorithms influencing our individual information streams in the game of profit. You and I do not receive the same news and our resulting divisiveness represents potential revenue. No matter our ultimate political stance, our fellow world citizens deserve our discernment which can only come through greater study. We are fools if we focus our energies on debating which political violence should be condemned.

Over the past two years, it’s become glaringly evident that I am naturally a misfit for my role, often oscillating between pretending to be a journalist and then remembering that I’m the clown responsible for fixing the absurd shortcomings I document. Although I remain highly critical of government, I have indeed developed strong admiration for nearly all the public servants I’ve had the pleasure to engage. This isn’t to say some people shouldn't be relieved for public benefit, but rather, our problems are structural and the natural consequence of a legacy of overcommitment. Dan Gjerde, as chair for 2021, has committed to strategic planning sessions where I’ll attempt to persuade my colleagues of the need to perform a small list of core duties well rather than offering mediocre execution across the gamut. Given the broad scope of mandated services, hopefully these will not be empty words. In order to reap the rewards of progress, we’ll need to relax the risk averse tendency to do nothing.

As you may know, I’ve been closely tracking the vaccine rollout. My background in software and hardware development predisposes me to believe the first attempts of a new project will be fraught with failure. In light of the impossibility of refreezing thawed batches, I was supportive of public health starting small and then ramping up while allowing the controlled environment to offer improvements in each iteration. The ramp-up did take longer than I preferred, but not for the reasons I initially anticipated. While I monitored the clinic over nine hours one day, I was struck by the large number of no-shows from 1a, the healthcare workers and related. Onsite staff was able to fill seats by working down a contact list of next in line, a recovery which would have been more problematic at larger scale. Last week public health ran out of vaccine supply, including a delivery which was in arms within about 24 hours. That’s what we must see, larger scale, with no more than 48 hours from delivery to injection. A friend in the eligible category shared with me, "The way the vaccination system was administered in Ukiah yesterday was fantastic. Organized. Efficient. Friendly. I feel grateful to have been there and optimistic about how this could work for the rest of our county.” Keep in mind, there are multiple vaccine entry points to the county: public health, perhaps 2-3 times the volume direct to hospitals and clinics and some unknown execution at CVS/Walgreens courtesy of the federal government. I hope all providers will ensure equal transparency. I also hope the split-second decision making demonstrated when Adventist Health discovered thawed vaccine will be solved through new safeguards. When will your vaccine be ready? It depends completely on supply and we have not been afforded much visibility. I can say the county will continue to follow the order dictated by the California Department of Public Health schedule. (Search “CDPH vaccine allocation guidelines”)

Last, I’d like to touch on our Sheriff, in large part because of the continued volume of correspondence. Unlike a city where the Chief of Police commonly reports to City Council, in California, the Sheriff holds a constitutionally elected position. (Yes, he was appointed this cycle to fill the remainder of Allman’s term, because state law allowed no other option but appointment.) Oversight is nuanced. In the role of law enforcement, oversight is by the state Attorney General. In other contexts, the Sheriff can be seen as a county officer and review can be provided by the Board of Supervisors. The Sheriff's budget, including position allocation table, is entirely at the discretion of the Supervisors, although I would strongly fight against using budget as a means to influence operations. Putting the structure aside, it would be disingenuous to say we have been free of friction. Spurred by the pandemic, national debate about law enforcement oversight and request for increased funding, Sheriff Kendall and I have been learning how best to work together. I believe we’re on a good track today. Rather than speaking in platitudes, we are jointly committed to documenting the struggles he faces while discussing my desire to integrate greater public involvement. He understands the reality of limited funds, in that we cannot cut the District Attorney or Planning and Building budgets to bolster his department. I also understand, and hope to better document, the 911 calls he receives and need for resources sufficient to meet public expectation. Sending a social worker to a complaint regarding stray bullets is not a serious answer. Likewise, I’m hopeful that we’ll find some path toward reducing demand on officers through curbing crime early and utilizing appropriate and less expensive resources where possible. I cannot predict the outcome, which to me highlights the good faith nature of the process.

Whether a one-liner or a comprehensive shovel-ready outline, thank you for the continued engagement.


ms notes: Supervisor Williams, like Fort Bragg City Councilman Bernie Norvell a few months ago, says he favors “reducing demand on officers through curbing crime early and utilizing appropriate and less expensive resources where possible.” It would be nice if the Supervisor and the Councilman would follow up on this platitude of the kind the Supervisor prefers to avoid by putting some pressure on the Behavioral Health Department and the Sheriff to get the damn Mobile Crisis Unit (three of them are approved and funded by Measure B money) in place. Finally. This one modest, approved, funded, and partially (albeit slo-mo) planned project would go a long way toward “reducing demand on officers” and do a lot of other good things (like reducing the need for cops to respond to mental health crises and interact with crazy people when there’s no underlying crime). But as usual, like the mobile outreach van before it, the Mobile Crisis Unit is languishing under Mendo’s standard “we funded it, but we don’t care what happens after that” mentality. We’ve been calling for a crisis van going all the way back to the time of the totally unnecesary tragic death of Marvin Noble in the late 90s. Crisis vans have been used successfully in SF, Oakland and Santa Rosa, among several other areas of California, especially Butte County which the Sheriff wants to use a model for the Mendo program. Now, only 22 years later, Mendo has funded three mobile crisis units (with Measure B money). But, as far as we can tell, implementation is going so slow that Mendo will be fully vaccinated before even one of the crisis units hits the street. In fact, when we asked Measure B project manager Alyson Bailey if the subject was on the January Measure B meeting agenda as they themselves scheduled it six months ago, Ms. Bailey replied that she sent our inquiry about her agenda to the Mental Health and Sheriff departments!

* * *

TO MY FRIENDS OUT HERE ON FACEBOOK, I will be deleting my account. The reason is, if big tech can just shutdown and cancel our President, keep him from posting his thoughts and opinions then I want nothing to do with social media. This is supposed to be a free country where EVERYONE here can say what's on their mind. I will be deleting my account in 30 minutes. To all my friends, please take care and have a safe year.

Danny Kuny, Boonville/Ukiah

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, January 10, 2021

Cabada, Loomis, Stevens, Weber

SHELSON CABADA, Redwood Valley. Resisting.

RICHARD LOOMIS, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.

DEAN STEVENS, Ukiah. Trespassing and occupying structure without consent, vandalism, county parole violation.*

DAVID WEBER, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

*Previously regarding Dean Stevens: theava.com/archives/97501#26

* * *

THE TALLEST TREE IN THE WORLD

by Ashley Harrell

“Here it is. That’s it,” my guide says about the world’s tallest tree.

You would think that a towering 380-foot coast redwood named Hyperion would need no introduction, but here’s the thing: the tree perches in a dense, primordial forest deep within Redwood National Park. There are soaring redwoods all around it, so it’s impossible to tell from the ground which tree is the tallest.

“This one here?” I ask. “That one’s not taller?”

Measuring from base to top Hyperion is the tallest, my guide says. I nod and smile, trying to muster some enthusiasm. But in truth, after an arduous hike that included a half-hour slog through an ice-cold stream, I was expecting more. The skeptic in me actually wondered if this could be a red herring Hyperion, an elaborate ruse meant to deter people from visiting the real thing.

Let’s back up for a second, as you might be wondering how I came to visit the world’s tallest tree, the location of which is supposedly top secret. Well, first of all, that secret is very poorly guarded. A Google search pulls up specific directions to the tree, and a cursory glance at social media posts with #hyperion reveals that plenty of people have ventured here to snap selfies and stomp around. This is a potentially huge problem, as it creates “social trails” and can damage the understory and roots systems that are critical to the health of redwoods. 

I hadn’t read the story before I was invited by my guide, a Humboldt marketing professional and former ranger, to visit the tree. And as it turns out, when someone offers to show you the tallest known tree on Earth, you don't say, "Hold on a minute, let me just research the ethics of that first."

Am I sorry I went? I wouldn’t go that far. But I actually don’t recommend going all the way to Hyperion, which is not only a pain in the ass but also involves damaging the tree’s habitat, all for a negligible payoff. I do, however, recommend going halfway, because that part of the hike is both free of controversy and incredibly beautiful.

The first leg of the journey — the part that takes place on an actual trail — brings visitors to Tall Trees Grove, which is the most treasured and seldom-visited area of Redwood National Park. To protect it from overtourism, only 50 cars per day are granted access to the trailhead in the form of a permit that must be obtained 48 hours in advance.

During the pandemic, permits are available online, but when normalcy returns, they’ll again be issued at the visitor center. From there, it’s a short drive up Highway 101 to Bald Hills Road, then a turnoff to the Tall Trees Access Road, which is guarded by a locked gate.

As we approached it, another car was stopped on the opposite side. A fellow emerged to unlock the gate on his way out, and in a brief exchange, he mentioned he had just visited Hyperion tree. Like I said, secret schmeecret.

From there, it was a bumpy 6 miles along the former logging road to the parking lot, where I could count the cars on one hand. From the trailhead, the path descended 800 feet into the floodplain of Redwood Creek, where a healthy mix of freshwater, nutrient-rich soil and wind protection has supported this sky-high ecosystem for thousands of years.

Stretching up from a carpet of massive ferns and sorrel, many of the redwoods on the loop exceed 350 feet, and it’s here that one of the world’s formerly tallest trees, the Libbey Tree, is found. (It was demoted when its top broke off a few decades ago.)

After wandering among the esteemed giants, gawking at oversized burls and fire damage and admiring the trees’ resilience, my guide pointed to Redwood Creek and indicated we would cross. We replaced our hiking shoes with water shoes and waded across, the icy water stabbing at our feet and ankles.

We hiked a short while before reaching another, faster-moving creek, which was littered with technicolor maple leaves. While it was inarguably lovely, the frigid water, muddy embankments and slippery rocks were challenging to navigate. At times, the water came above the knee (and when the winter rains come, I'm told it goes even higher). I lost sensation in my feet after a while, which was actually preferable to the stabby feeling.

This hike would be hard for most people, I decided, and asked my guide how many times he had visited the tree. “This will be number three,” he said.

A former Yosemite park ranger, the guide has a keen interest in “megatrees,” and when a fellow redwood enthusiast discovered the location and offered to take him along, he was game. My guide later showed the tree to a San Francisco Chronicle journalist, and now he was showing it to me.

In arriving at the tree — which required scrambling from the frosty water and over a slick tangle of roots, then over a massive tree trunk — I understood why my guide hadn’t returned more frequently.

The tree was, well, just another redwood. A super tall, burn-scarred, leafy, branchy redwood, surrounded by others very much like it. I clambered up to the base, which was about 15 feet across. I hiked around it. The guide took my picture with the tree.

Hyperion has stood approximately 600 years in this spot. In 1978, it apparently came within weeks of being felled by a logging company, but Jimmy Carter expanded the boundaries of the park just in time.

The most interesting aspects of this scientific marvel, I decided, could be read about and talked about. But they could not be seen, at least not from here on the ground. As the trunk extends toward the sky it tapers dramatically before entering a thick cluster of branches and greenery from neighboring trees, which fully obscures the view of the top.

If you’re still thinking you need to visit Hyperion, to check a box or cross something off your bucket list, I have additional bad news. There are whispers of taller trees than Hyperion, trees that scientists have stopped naming to keep them from becoming targets of visitation.

There has also been talk of trees growing faster than Hyperion that could surpass it. And isn’t that always how it goes, a new record, a new champion, just around the corner?

(SF Chronicle)

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Bread and circuses being standardized.

Free money (kind of, if you don’t have any real standard of living), stay home, ignore mom and dad, watch TV, play Xbox, order in tepid Chipotle, smoke up, keep yourself occupied with fantasy sports and betting.

Times have changed.

Legalizing weed used to sound like a fun radical idea. Now I think it’s being used to keep people from caring about what’s going on. I, too, have no problem with legalizing weed, but its main attraction is that it makes you okay with being bored and not participating in the world. Great for a day here and there, but as a lifestyle not something to foist on an entire population if you want them involved. They clearly do not want us involved.

* * *

* * *

DO SOME GOOD WITH IT

Editor,

Again, Congress has voted stimulus checks for all Americans below a specified income level and, again, people are deciding what to do with them. If your question is whether you should pay the rent or buy food, this letter isn’t written to you.

But if you, like me, have suffered little or no financial hardship due to the pandemic, if you are wondering what luxury you should purchase, or how you should invest your check, may I make a suggestion?

A gift card to a neighbor who is out of work would be much appreciated. Your church may have a benevolent fund for those in need. The Redwood Empire Food Bank is feeding more hungry people than ever before. The Redwood Gospel Mission is housing and feeding desperate people, as is Catholic Charities. The list goes on and on.

If you really need that money, use it, and use it well. If not, please choose to pay it forward.

Jean Grant

Santa Rosa

* * *

WHAT WOULD COCKBURN SAY?

by Ted Dace

Never have I missed the insight and guidance of Alexander Cockburn as much as I do now. What would he make of the big mess in DC this week? When he referenced his ancestor, George Cockburn, who led a raid on Washington during the War of 1812 and burned down the White House, you got the feeling his mission in life was to pull off the literary equivalent by way of well-placed blasts on the battlements of the ruling class and its Washington enforcers. Looking on at the storming of the Capitol last week, perhaps he would have scorned the left for lacking the audacity of the right, even dusting off that old lament from Yeats, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Surely the attempt by the US intelligence community to meddle in the Democratic primaries would have elicited a few explosive paragraphs from Cockburn. Instead the issue smoldered until Glenn Greenwald breathed life into it last month. On February 21 the Washington Post reported that Vladimir Putin, according to anonymous intelligence officials, wanted Bernie Sanders to win the nomination because he believed Sanders was the likeliest candidate to lose to Trump in the general election. The claim, possibly concocted from thin air and meaningless even if true, was intended to manipulate people into feeling that if they voted for Sanders they were Russian dupes. At the time, Sanders was sailing to victory while the Biden campaign was floundering, though still maintaining a narrow lead in South Carolina polling. In the week that followed, that one point lead mushroomed to 30 points, and Sanders never recovered his momentum. Greenwald points out that when Michael Bloomberg, right out of the gate, confronted the senator over his alleged Russian backing at the South Carolina debate, Sanders was powerless to forcefully rebut the charge because he himself had contributed to the vilification of Putin, perhaps believing he'd be secure from attack if he jumped onto the xenophobic Russia-bashing bandwagon, never mind that by doing so he was fanning the cold flames of a new round of nuclear brinkmanship. No wonder Cockburn couldn't stand him. 

In contrast to Greenwald, Matt Taibbi dismisses the Post's report as another failed attempt of the power elite to derail the Sanders campaign, though he offers no explanation for the timing of the dramatic reversal of fortune. But the efficacy of the attack is of secondary importance. The point is that it took place at all. The “intelligence community,” presumably the CIA, which has interfered in foreign elections dozens of times, not just circulating propaganda but bankrolling parties and even fomenting coups when the wrong candidate won, crossed the Rubicon by intervening in a domestic election. The projection of “meddling” onto Moscow served to conceal the actual subversion coming out of Washington. That is something Cockburn would not have let slip by without comment.

Since the election of Donald Trump, Cockburn's cowering “pwogwessives” have been unhinged, apoplectic over Hillary Clinton's claim that Russian meddling cost her the 2016 election and sent over the edge by the pandemic. “There's only one reason the USA has been devastated by COVID-19,” says a widely replicated internet meme bearing a picture of The Donald, “and you're looking at it.” Americans, at least on the left, seem to think they've been uniquely targeted by the virus. In reality, the per capita covid death rate in the US is about two-thirds that of Belgium and on a par with the UK, Spain, Italy and France. The hardest hit countries seem to be the most connected ones. The least affected are off the beaten path or places like Vietnam where people seem to have a pre-existent partial immunity perhaps due to previous encounters with similar outbreaks. 

The initial reaction to the virus – compulsive hand washing and household sterilization – is exactly the kind of fear-driven bourgeois behavior Cockburn delighted in skewering. Underprivileged people never have the protection from disease expected by the affluent even in the midst of a pandemic. Given that the American bubble of safety and comfort depends on the exploitation and immiseration of others, what do the excluded think of our terror of the virus? A billion people on this planet face food insecurity on a daily basis, not because the food can't be grown but because poor countries, in order to keep up with endless debt repayments, must export lucrative crops instead of growing staples for domestic consumption. What do those billion hungry people think of the American obsession with security and our sense of entitlement to protection from the threat of a painful and premature death? 

Blaming US death rates on Trump is appealing because it lets the rest of us off the hook. Of course it's all Trump's fault! Why, it couldn't possibly be our selfish and destructive way of life, a.k.a. consumer capitalism, and the imperative to commodify every square inch of the earth and leave nothing for the world's other 50 million species. Should we be surprised when a virus ordinarily confined to the wilds jumps ship before its ecosystem is extinguished in the name of progress? Perhaps the next pandemic will issue forth from a fattening facility where thousands of sickly pigs are concentrated in a stinking squealing hell. Sure, we pump them full of antibiotics, but the pathogens that thrive in these conditions have a way of evolving. 

Meanwhile the USDA funnels billions of dollars to farmers to grow vast quantities of corn and wheat to be bleached and processed into high-carbohydrate junk food, thereby fueling a diabetes epidemic that on its own kills 80,000 Americans a year, a covid-level catastrophe every four years. 

Our real nemesis, aside from our own insatiable hunger for comfort food, is industrial agriculture and, beyond that, the state-capitalist power system that subsidizes it. Not only is Big Ag primarily the result of the capitalist need to turn every economic activity into a source of profit for the already rich, but the concentration of wealth into the hands of the few results in large numbers of impoverished people who can't afford any foods but those that weaken them and leave them vulnerable to diseases like covid. 

Over the years Cockburn wrote extensively on ecology and took on Big Ag and the food industry, even calling for the heads of CEOs profiting from the surge in American obesity. Though he would have granted that Trump did absolutely nothing to rectify any of this, he would have been quick to point out that neither did Obama and neither will Biden. 

Cockburn never forgot that the real enemy is capitalism, that perversion of the free market in which money, instead of merely a means of exchange, becomes a means of accumulating power, including the power to buy politicians. He reminded readers that the ideology of the owning class is liberalism. What conservatives are trying to “conserve” is simply liberalism in its original form. Demonizing the right does no good when the power system can always put on its left-looking face. 

Writing for CounterPunch+, digital successor to Cockburn and St Clair's newsletter, Eric Draitser claims the key factor in the rise of Trump is white supremacy. How does Draitser know this? Well, since rich people and not just unemployed former factory workers in the Upper Midwest support Trump, and the only conceivable commonality between white people of different classes is racism, that explains the outcome of the 2016 election. Four decades of neoliberalism, the slow-mo conversion of the US into a neofeudal paradise to be ruled by a cabal of high-tech monopoly-power corporate overlords in symbiotic embrace with the DNC, takes a backseat in Draitser's analysis. 

Mirroring the rightwing reduction of Black Lives Matter protests to the actions of a few antifa agitators, the left by and large has reduced the DC uprising to a fascist power grab by white supremacists. 

We've certainly seen a recent upsurge in racist behavior across the country, but how much of that is directly attributable to increased economic insecurity brought on by neoliberal austerity? Granted, the claim of protesters that they're fighting communism is bewildering, but the linguistic divide between right and left should not blind us to our common objective of rolling back creeping authoritarianism, a project dear to Cockburn and the basis for his many attempts to reach out to the right. 

What Draitser and many on the left can't seem to comprehend is that conservatives of any socioeconomic standing could be sickened by the hollowing out of the republic and the spreading tentacles of unpayable debt grinding down the American people into a new peasantry. Draitser's racist “Trumpen proletatariat” is simply an updated “basket of deplorables,” Hillary Clinton's attempt to demonize the right to bring the radical rabble in line with the imperatives of neoliberalism. 

Widespread fear, whether of Trump or covid or fascism or “the Russians,” has caused the popular left to lose its nerve and become indistinguishable from the leftwing of the power elite. Newly unified under the banner of abject capitulation, the left acquiesces to Clintonism so long as it means no more scary bad monster in the national living room. Yet in so doing we foreclose, once again, on hope for the fundamental change this world desperately needs. Have we made any gain at all since Cockburn sounded the alarm on what a Bill Clinton presidency would mean for this country? Fast forward 29 years and we're so deep into the neoliberal state-corporate putsch that Republicans are storming the Capitol. That these people think a slimy plutocrat is the only thing standing between them and tyranny only goes to show that it's not just the left that lost its marbles. 

We'll never get the Republican Party to abandon geopolitical maneuvering and low intensity warfare in exchange for global cooperation in the face of ecological crisis. And as long as we keep voting for the designated candidate of the DNCIA, we'll never get it from the Democrats either. 

* * *

* * *

TRUMP WAS MORE UPSET that Capitol mob looked ‘low class’ than about violent attacks, reports say.

As a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday, Donald Trump was reportedly unconcerned about the destruction or insurrection taking place but instead how the violent extremists appeared “low-class”. Mr Trump was apparently turned off by the chaotic scene, although not due to the assault on the US government but according to New York Magazine because his supporters looked “low-class”. “He doesn’t like low class things,” an anonymous White House source told the magazine.

independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election-2020/trump-mob-capitol-riots-poor-low-class-b1785099.html

* * *

* * *

WANNABE STORMTROOPERS

by August Kleinzahler

It was the virus that undid Trump. Without Covid-19 and the misery, devastation and economic shock it brought with it, he would have almost certainly have won the 2020 presidential election, perhaps by a wide margin, and America would soon have gone the way of the authoritarian states of which Trump is so clearly fond. His wannabe stormtroopers were all eagerly lined up to do his bidding, with a quiescent Republican Senate and compromised Justice Department under my old high school classmate Bill Barr, who seemed to think he’d died and gone to heaven in the role of Trump’s consigliere and henchman. Barr, like the dozens of others who attached themselves to the president, are terminally stained and diminished by their allegiance to the monster, or so one hopes. They are now, at very long last, beginning to distance themselves from him, after he incited his armed acolytes to break into the Capitol Building in Washington DC Wednesday afternoon.

But Trump might still have prevailed last November had it not been for the heroic determination and nous of two African-American political giants, Stacey Abrams of Georgia and James Clyburn of South Carolina. Congressman Clyburn, aged 80, three days before the South Carolina Democratic Primary on February 26 pledged his support to Biden, and carried the flagging, nearly beaten candidate to his primary victory and the White House. Such is Clyburn’s power and the regard in which he is held – not least through his annual fish fries, which have been attracting Democratic presidential hopefuls for thirty years – that once he hit the stump for Biden, the game, at least in South Carolina, was over. The two men seemed to be on friendly terms and have been for many years, but what Clyburn knew, apart from Biden being the last best hope for the Democrats to supplant Trump, was that Biden was a friend to African-American voters and their only hope of getting a fair deal, or something like it.

Stacey Abrams, 47, a former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, lawyer and voting rights activist, founded Fair Fight Action in 2018 after narrowly losing the gubernatorial election to her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, who was accused, rightly, of employing all manner of shenanigans to cook the vote in his favour. Raised in Mississippi, of modest background (like Clyburn in South Carolina), Abrams was educated at Spelman in Atlanta, a historically Black college, and then Yale Law School.

In any event, she got her revenge on a generally corrupt, racist Republican Party who did all they could to suppress the vote but, thanks to the work of Abrams and other Black women in getting the vote out, failed to carry the state in both the presidential and Senate elections. Biden was the first Democratic contender to win Georgia since Clinton in 1992. Then, against all odds, Abrams helped to bring about the election of two Democratic senators, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. Warnock is the senior pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr once presided, and now the first African-American senator from the state of Georgia.

Stacey Abrams didn’t achieve that all by herself, nor did Jim Clyburn get Biden to the White House by himself, but they’re the principal reason this country remains something like a democratic republic, at least in the near term. And if you want to consider putting a couple of Black faces on Mount Rushmore, you need look no further.


Donald McCabe comments:

Clyburn prevented Sanders from getting the Dem nomination. Sanders would have had a much easier job beating Trump (as he would also have had in 2016,) and his victory would have meant something. Unlike Biden's, which has just returned the Establishment to power. An Establishment that now appears bound and determined to take revenge on a white working and middle class that had the temerity to vote for Trump.

George Hoffman comments:

Amen, Brother. The most discriminated and oppressed class in American history, African Americans, literally saved the soul of this country and the Democratic Party. But I disagree with your characterization of that motley crew of white insurrectionists as Stormtroopers. That's almost libel against Stormtroopers' deserved reputation as shock troops. They reminded me more of the goofy redneck chucks I knew in Vietnam who used to call me “nigga lover” just because I lived in a black hooch. Quite frankly, I found their obsessive display of weapons, Nordic Viking costumes, war painted faces and faux macho strutting more performative rather than menacing aptly suited for what Guy Debord termed “the society of the spectacle” in our Internet age. But Trump opened a Pandora's box with his tenure which will surely continue to haunt the political landscape long after he retreats to Mar-a-Logo Club in Palm Beach. I fear America is still on a slippery slope of its decade-long decline as a nation and become a failed state with nukes unless the moral compass isn't righted with Joe Biden's presidency. The Democrats have control of both Congress and the Presidency, and they better deliver like FDR did with legislation in the Depression. Or they will surely be voted out of office by a very angry and disillusioned electorate in the next midterm. And we will continue our slide as Yugoslavia broke up into anarchy after the death of Tito. This will be a decades-long battle.

* * *

‘TECH TITANS ARE FEIGNING OFFENSE to destroy Parler': Glenn Greenwald blasts app's ban claiming 'far more violence has been planned on Facebook' while accusing YouTube of 'promoting right-wing extremism.'

Glenn Greenwald has claimed 'far more violence' has been planned on Facebook than on Parler after Google and Apple removed the latter from their app stores and Amazon booted it off its web hosting service.

The journalist tweeted Sunday to accuse the tech giants of 'feigning offense to destroy' the app after Donald Trump was on Friday kicked off of most mainstream social media platforms. 

Greenwald, part of a team that won a Pulitzer for reports about government surveillance programs based on leaks by Edward Snowden, tweeted: 'For years, I heard it's invalid to object to political censorship by FB & Twitter because, if you don't like it, you can just create a competing social media platform. 

'Parler tried. And in 24 hours, Google, Apple & Amazon united to destroy it. That's what monopoly power means.' 

Parler's CEO John Matze told Fox News Sunday that the decision was 'devastating'. 

He said: 'They all work together to make sure at the same time we would lose access to not only our apps, but they're actually shutting all of our servers off tonight, off the internet.'

'They made an attempt to not only kill the app, but to actually destroy the entire company.' 

The app will 'likely' go down for up to a week Sunday evening, Matze said.

Sharing a 2019 link to a New York Times article headlined 'How YouTube Radicalized Brazil' Greenwald added: 'Far more violence has been planned on Facebook than on Parler, including at the Capitol & many other violent protests as well. 

'Google-owned YouTube has long algorithmically promoted right-wing extremism. Now they're feigning offense to destroy Parler.' 

The far right-friendly Parler had been the leading candidate for Trump to continue to reach his followers, at least until Google, Apple and Amazon made the moves. 

Matze had earlier said that could knock it offline for a week, though that might prove optimistic. And even if it finds a friendlier web-hosting service, without a smartphone app, it's hard to imagine Parler gaining mainstream success.

The two-year-old magnet for the far right claims more than 12 million users, though mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower puts the number at 10 million worldwide, with 8 million in the U.S. That's a fraction of the 89 million followers Trump had on Twitter.

Still, Parler might be attractive to Trump since it's where his sons Eric and Don Jr. are already active. Parler hit headwinds, though, on Friday as Google yanked its smartphone app from its app store for allowing postings that seek 'to incite ongoing violence in the U.S.' 

Apple followed suit on Saturday evening after giving Parler 24 hours to address complaints it was being used to 'plan and facilitate yet further illegal and dangerous activities.' 

Public safety issues will need to be resolved before it is restored, Apple said.

A message seeking comment from Parler was sent Sunday on whether the company plans to change its policies and enforcement around these issues.

Amazon struck another blow Saturday, informing Parler it would need to look for a new web-hosting service effective midnight Sunday. 

It reminded Parler in a letter, first reported by Buzzfeed, that it had informed it in the past few weeks of 98 examples of posts 'that clearly encourage and incite violence' and said the platform 'poses a very real risk to public safety.'

Parler CEO John Matze decried the punishments as 'a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the marketplace. We were too successful too fast,' he said in a Saturday night post, saying it was possible Parler would be unavailable for up to a week 'as we rebuild from scratch.'

'Every vendor, from text message services, to e-mail providers, to our lawyers all ditched us too on the same day,' Matze said Sunday on Fox New Channel´s 'Sunday Morning Futures.' 

He said while the company is trying to get back online as quickly as possible, it´s 'having a lot of trouble, because every vendor we talk to says they won´t work with us, because, if Apple doesn´t approve and Google doesn´t approve, they won´t.'

Losing access to the app stores of Google and Apple - whose operating systems power hundreds of millions of smartphones - severely limits Parler´s reach, though it will continue to be accessible via web browser. 

Losing Amazon Web Services will mean Parler needs to scramble to find another web host, in addition to the re-engineering.

Trump may also launch his own platform. But that won't happen overnight, and free speech experts anticipate growing pressure on all social media platforms to curb incendiary speech as Americans take stock of Wednesday´s violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a Trump-incited mob.

Twitter ended Trump´s nearly 12-year run on Friday. In shuttering his account, it cited a tweet to his 89 million followers that he planned to skip President-elect Joe Biden´s Jan. 20 inauguration, saying it gave rioters license to converge on Washington once again.

Facebook and Instagram have suspended Trump at least until Inauguration Day. Twitch and Snapchat also disabled Trump´s accounts, while Shopify took down online stores affiliated with the president and Reddit removed a Trump subgroup. 

Twitter also banned Trump loyalists including former national security advisor Michael Flynn in a sweeping purge of accounts promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory and the Capitol insurrection. Some had hundreds of thousands of followers.

In a statement Friday, Trump said: 'We have been negotiating with various other sites, and will have a big announcement soon, while we also look at the possibilities of building out our own platform in the near future.'

Gab is another potential landing spot for Trump. But it, too, has had troubles with internet hosting. Google and Apple both booted it from their app stores in 2017 and it was left internet-homeless for a time the following year due to anti-Semitic posts attributed to the man accused of killing 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Microsoft also terminated a web-hosting contract.

Online speech experts expect social media companies led by Facebook, Twitter and Google's YouTube to more vigorously police hate speech and incitement in the wake of the Capitol rebellion, as Western democracies led by Nazism-haunted Germany already do.

David Kaye, a University of California-Irvine law professor and former U.N. special rapporteur on free speech believes the Parlers of the world will also face pressure from the public and law enforcement as will little-known sites where further pre-inauguration disruption is now apparently being organized. They include MeWe, Wimkin, TheDonald.win and Stormfront, according to a report released Saturday by The Alethea Group, which tracks disinformation.

Kaye rejects arguments by U.S. conservatives including the president´s former U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, that the Trump ban savaged the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from restricting free expression. 'Silencing people, not to mention the President of the US, is what happens in China not our country,' Haley tweeted.

'It´s not like the platforms´ rules are draconian. People don´t get caught in violations unless they do something clearly against the rules,' said Kaye. And not just individual citizens have free speech rights. 'The companies have their freedom of speech, too.'

While initially arguing their need to be neutral on speech, Twitter and Facebook gradually yielded to public pressure drawing the line especially when the so-called Plandemic video emerged early in the coronavirus pandemic urging people not to wear masks, noted civic media professor Ethan Zuckerman of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Zuckerman expects the Trump de-platforming may spur important online shifts. First, there may be an accelerated splintering of the social media world along ideological lines.

'Trump will pull a lot of audience wherever he goes,' he said. That could mean more platforms with smaller, more ideologically isolated audiences.

(AP)

26 Comments

  1. Eric Sunswheat January 11, 2021

    RE: While I monitored the clinic over nine hours one day, I was struck by the large number of no-shows from 1a, the healthcare workers and related. (Ted Williams)

    ->. January 9, 2021
    As Marin County’s three hospitals work to vaccinate their employees for the coronavirus, some staffers have decided not to get the shots.

    “Right now, roughly 30% of our employees have declined the vaccination,” Karin Shavelson, chief medical officer at MarinHealth Medical Center in Greenbrae, said on Tuesday…

    On Thursday, Ashley Boarman, a spokeswoman for Novato Community Hospital, said that about 25% of the employees there had declined to be vaccinated…

    At Kaiser Permanente’s San Rafael Medical Center, said Dr. Naveen Kumar, “Interest in the vaccine has been high among staff and physicians, and this week we have begun delivering the second doses of the vaccine.”

    Kumar declined to say what percentage of the employees chose to be vaccinated. “The vaccine is not mandatory for Kaiser Permanente staff or physicians,” Kumar said…

    Shavelson said, “As a health care provider, it surprises me when anyone declines any vaccine, but I have a trust in science and am fortunate to have been trained to analyze and review scientific publications.
    https://www.marinij.com/2021/01/09/many-marin-hospital-workers-decline-coronavirus-vaccine/

  2. Brian January 11, 2021

    In lovely Millennial logic, Ms. Harrell tells us that hiking to go see a redwood tree is controversial. While stoking her own ego though, she writes about going there anyway and tells tens of thousands of people how to find their way there. But then reminds us not to do it. Because that would be bad. It’s hard to keep up with these young people. I’ll try to hone my logic to be more in-tune with these changing times. Do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do. Protect the environment by never going out into it. Just make your instructions clear, Ms. Harrell. Because I’m getting old, my hearing and comprehension is deteriorating. If your rules are clear, surely we’ll all follow along obediently. And if this nonstop Millennial fascism continues, I guess we’ll all follow along obediently…. or else. Can I still watch the sunset? Or will that hurt my eyes? Maybe you can go out and watch it all for us? I’d tell you about the Rumsey Oak sometime, but oops I’ve said too much. Now you’re going to be able to find it yourself.

    • Brian Wood January 11, 2021

      A couple times in recent months I’ve been asked if you are me, since I occasionally leave a comment. I think the most honest way to identify one’s self in a comment column is with your first and last name (unless you’re mononymous like Cher). Second best is having a handle that at least identifies you as unique. No real harm here, just a suggestion.

  3. Marmon January 11, 2021

    Freedom of assembly and freedom of speech used to be pretty important in America.

    Here’s what the left is doing:

    shut off lines of communication
    Dehumanize Americans who support MAGA
    Turn Americans against Americans

    Don’t fall into this trap. The Constitution matters

    Marmon

    • Bruce McEwen January 11, 2021

      Trump was appalled at what a “low class” bunch of morons his supporters turned out to be, James. But there’s nothing “dehumanizing” about being stupid as a box of rocks — au contraire, it’s all too common.

      What Trump is in denial about is the fact that the only reason he had any supporters at all, is because he legitimized stupidity, by showing that (albeit on a fluke) even a person as stupid as him could become the most powerful person in the world.

      • Bob A. January 11, 2021

        While we’re talking rocks, the buzz in the tech world today is that Parler’s copies of user DLs among lots of other stuff was downloaded yesterday after their security contractor packed it in. The way it reads, Parler just left it all up despite its no longer being protected.

        • Bruce McEwen January 11, 2021

          Who, one may wonder, had the presence of mind — or was it prescience — to download it?

          • Bob A. January 11, 2021

            From here, it looks like numbers of interested people with the requisite technical knowledge and tools digging into the huge trove of intelligence that Wednesday’s incident generated, the Parler story is only a part of it. If the Parler story pans out, copies of the downloaded data should start to show up on Torrent trackers soon, if they haven’t already. From a technical standpoint, once interesting data gets out, there is flat out no way to stop it.

            From a personal standpoint, I’ve been warning people for what seems like forever of reasons to beware of social media. Well, here’s a big one.

  4. chuck dunbar January 11, 2021

    James, your MAGA cause has crashed and burned, partly due to folks like you, and partly due to your dear leader, who is a mad man. It must feel bad to see it all end like this, and I can even empathize (somewhat) with you and others who put their heart into this cause.

    Your 3 allegations against the left are exactly what Trump tried to do to other Americans, especially the last one. They are some of the main reasons the voters of America legally and resoundingly voted him out of office. That’s how America works.

    • Kathy January 11, 2021

      🎯 Chuck

  5. Marmon January 11, 2021

    RE: BIG TECH’S ACT OF WAR AGAINST AMERICANS WHO LOVE THEIR COUNTRY

    Stifling speech will not eliminate conservative perspectives. Stomping liberal-disfavored industries or organizations will not convince those who hold such views that they are wrong, but rather, persuade them that they no longer have a stake in the great American experiment.

    This is playing with fire. As history teaches, desperate people do desperate things. Here’s hoping Twitter, Amazon, Facebook, and the rest gain wisdom commensurate with their power and reverse course before it is too late.

    Marmon

    • Stephen Rosenthal January 11, 2021

      So much for the “massive protest” at Twitter Headquarters in San Francisco this morning. Unless, that is, you consider 2 people massive. You and your fellow cult members are finished, relegated to the dustbin as an offal stain on this country’s history.

      Where’s the Marmon, Camille?

    • chuck dunbar January 11, 2021

      Stifling speech–it sounds like such a bad thing, but, really, what needs some kinds of moderation/control in a society that must have reasonable safety limits? The answer: advocacy of violence and most especially encouraging or inciting violence. These issues go far beyond “free speech” in a reasonable society. Not sure why you don’t say this outright James, and be honest about what you want your folks to have the right to do. It’s not about “eliminat(ing) conservative perspectives,” not at all. That’s just smoke screen language BS. It is about Giuliani telling protesters–a budding mob as he must have seen and known–to have a “trial by combat.” That’s truly dangerous (and of course stupid), and there’s no free speech right to do so. And Trump has done it many times in his rallies and tweets. And right wing extremists all over the internet do the same and worse, and it gets magnified and excites the crazies and makes more of them…

      Now Trump has lost his digital sites to spew hate and mean-spirited. Too bad, but it was high time for them to cut his craziness off. And of course he has many other venues–he’s president, after all, for a little longer. His speech is not cut-off. He could hold a press conference, a novel idea, and deal with those nasty reporters with their tough questions. He could speak to his crowds from the WH balcony. He could entertain interviews with Fox News or others. He could hold more rallies. On and on, lots of free speech choices. Can’t feel sorry for the guy–he’s had more freedom to speak-out than most leaders have and he’s used them to great ill-effect. The harm to America needs to stop.

      • Marmon January 11, 2021

        Was Rudy using the word combat as a noun or a verb? Proving intent will be difficult, words often have more than one meaning. Protesting is a way of combatting against something bad happening, like a stolen election.

        noun
        fighting between armed forces.
        “men killed in combat”

        verb
        take action to reduce or prevent (something bad or undesirable).
        “an effort to combat drug trafficking”

        Marmon

        • Bruce McEwen January 11, 2021

          Google this, James: The History and Art of Personal Combat.

          Why?

          Because the subtle and crafty lawyer used the adjective “personal” to modify his idea of combat.

          And you, my good man, you are as sharp as any lawyer, so you deftly ignored the qualifier and cracked on regardless a not very unexpected surprise by blokes like you.

        • Betsy Cawn January 12, 2021

          Mr. Marmon’s question is wholly disingenuous (“Was Rudy using the word combat as a noun or a verb?”). The phrase “trial by combat” has its origins in Germanic law of the Middle Ages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trial_by_combat. Inasmuch as his self-proclaimed superior knowledge of college-level institutional language (including legal definitions required by the courts to satisfy claims made by authorized Child Protective Services workers) is the basis for his constant criticisms of the Mendocino legal and social services institutions, this question is not only frivolous, it trivializes the issue at hand. Did the President and his henchmen intend to incite the violence that occurred in the Capitol Building on January 6? Ya think?

    • Bruce McEwen January 11, 2021

      By and large I think you and your president are men of empty promises and idle threats, but I do take your warning about “playing with fire” seriously.

      I’ve learned my lesson over and over, painfully at times, that one ought to “never underestimate the impudence of the ignorant,” as Grandpa McEwen* used to say.

      *Grandpa had a million of ’em, all choice. This one I believe is in his Grandpa McEwen’s Compendium of Singularly Astute Epigrams.

      • Marmon January 11, 2021

        McEwen, that’s twice this week you have accused me of making idle threats, knock it off. My biggest fear right now is that there is going to be more bloodshed, good people on both sides are going to be hurt or get killed. This censorship thing is not bringing folks together, it’s tearing us further apart.

        Marmon

      • chuck dunbar January 11, 2021

        That’s a dang good try, James, and perhaps you’re joshing us all. But, taking it seriously, it’s just hard to believe that proud bunch of protesters– a good many then turned into marauding, violent thugs– were into parsing Rudy’s language. The affair looked louder and cruder and more bellicose than that. Nuance seemed a bit out of their reach, Rudy’s also….

        Be well.–I mean this and really do wish you well.

        Chuck

    • Jurgen Stoll January 11, 2021

      How about if The Aggrieved One uses his office of communication and press secretary, and does what presidents have done for hundreds of years, speechify. I watched a press conference Biden put on the other day that was carried on national tv and it was refreshing to see a reporter press him on a point he didn’t really want to answer without blowing up at her and call her a bad person working for the fake news. Maybe if he didn’t lie so much he wouldn’t have the need to go to online echo chambers where no one questions anything he says. And as for you Marmon, I know you think you’re doing us all a great service with your wise pronouncements, but, as the saying goes, sometimes its better to remain silent and be thought the fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

  6. Marmon January 11, 2021

    When more internet service providers discover they are losing customers they will do the same. The free market shall prevail. I went out and bought printer ink, envelopes, pencils and pens at the dollar store and $50 worth of stamps today in preparation in shutting down all my social media accounts.

    Marmon

    • Marmon January 11, 2021

      I remember when all we had was word processors, I’m okay with that. I’m also considering getting rid of my cell and bringing in ATT phone service. I know how to survive without wireless. Also bought two reams of paper. Going to stock up on 35 mm. film tomorrow. I may also subscribe to the AVA’s print publication, just to keep an eye on everything.

      Marmon

    • Stephen Rosenthal January 11, 2021

      Wow, that’ll show ‘em.

  7. Marmon January 11, 2021

    I wonder if the tech giants who removed Trump from their platforms and limited his ability to raise campaign funds realize the biggest beneficiaries of their censorship will be Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley? Censorship always backfires on the censor. When we’re all gone, social media will be pretty boring, nobody will want to waste their money on it.

    Marmon

  8. Marmon January 11, 2021

    Bruce McEwen and Chucky. How would you feel if the AVA blocked your attacks on me? I actually would love to sit down with you two guys for lunch and talk for about an hour or so. Unfortunately it would have to be in Lake County. Allman may be gone but nothing else has changed and I am still public enemy #1 in Mendo.

    Marmon

  9. Jeff Fox January 11, 2021

    With all the hoopla on the picture of a hogtied Edmonds, I’ve found it interesting that he’s not the the first hogtied fella to appear on Redheaded Blackbelt. Just a couple years earlier another guy had his time in the limelight, hog tied and riding in a front loader. He wasn’t a bad guy like Edmonds, just one of the unhinged. Aside from some pushback by some of the RHBB commenters, I never heard anything else. No appropriate people spoke up on this one. (he was white… just sayin’…)

    He was in his underwear when the picture was taken.

    https://kymkemp.com/2018/06/25/driver-wearing-only-his-underwear-speeds-by-flagger-and-hits-water-truck-then-things-get-worse/

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