Dry Weather | Book Resurrection | Pet Daisy | Poetry Celebration | Clear Lake | Agenda Notes | CA Poppies | Library Rules | Plant Sale | Ed Notes | Steam Schooner | Settlement Money | Gun Helplessness | Blight Removal | Four Floridians | Neilsen Apprehended | Thomas Dollard | Bostrodamus | Yesterday's Catch | Gerald Haslam | Fire Fox | 2014 Drought | Immigrant Ship | Drought Aid | Stork | Vegetarians | Frontier Communications | Jack Squat | Speaker Disdain | Too Controlling | Obit Watch | Learn Something | Burial Help | Dallas Stoudenmire | Border Pic | Rachel O'Reilly | Bounty Bunk | Marco Radio | Cruz Itch
EXPECT ANOTHER COOL AND CLOUDY DAY AT THE COAST while interior areas remain warm and sunny. Dry weather will continue through most of the coming week, although there is a small chance for some showers across interior areas Tuesday afternoon. (NWS)
I read this book when it first came out. Little did I know that it would end up being a tres, tres expensive collector's item. PDF edition now available, though, thanks to this guy: https://genocideandvendetta.com/index.html
ED NOTE: The only true history we have of the early years of Mendocino County.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Daisy seems to be an independent kinda gal, but she has a very sweet side to her. She settles nicely inside and likes to lay down by your feet. Daisy is playful with toys and really enjoys going out for walks, but could use some leash work, as she does pull. We think a home with no other dogs would be ideal for Daisy, though a social, friendly male may work. Daisy will need to meet any potential doggie housemates.
Visit us at mendoanimalshelter.com to see all of our canine and feline guests, our services, programs, events, and updates regarding covid-19, as it impacts Mendocino County Animal Shelters in Ukiah and Ft. Bragg. Check us out on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/
For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
2021 MENDOCINO SPRING POETRY CELEBRATION
Tune in today, Sunday April 18, 3:00 pm West Coast, for a sampling from the 2020 Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration, on RhythmRunningRiver at KZYX.org.
46th Anniversary * 16th consecutive Revival Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration
Open reading! Now collecting your audio poetry via smartphone recording & email for broadcast in June, on Dan Roberts' RhythmRunningRiver, KZYX radio, Mendocino County Public Broadcasting.
Act now! Deadline May 23. Send up to four minutes of your fine poetry or prose to Outfarpress@saber.net.
It's easy! Use your audio recording app (or download one). If you don't have a phone, ensorcel a friend! Then simply email the file, the same as with a photo.
CLEAR LAKE (photo by James Marmon)
SUPERVISORS AGENDA NOTES
by Mark Scaramella
One week after Supervisor Glenn McGourty declined to persuade his colleagues to declare a drought emergency, the Board has reversed course and put an item on the agenda to do just that. Last week McGourty said that simply asking the Resource Conservation District to prepare a “Drought Preparedness Plan” was all that was needed even after CalFire Mendo Unit Chief George Gonzalez said there was a “dire need” to declare an emergency.
What could have happened in the intervening few days to change McGourty’s and the Board's opinion? The answer may be in the wording of one of the paragraphs in the proposed declaration…
AGEND ITEM 5e:
Resolution Of The Mendocino County Board Of Superviosrs Declaring A Local Emergency And Imminent Threat Of Disaster Due To Drought Conditions
WHEREAS, Government Code section 8558 and Mendocino County Code section 7.04.030 provide that a local emergency means the duly proclaimed existence of conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons and property cause by conditions including drought; and
WHEREAS, Government Code section 8630 provides that a local emergency may be proclaimed only by the governing body of a city, county, or city and county, or by an official designated by ordinance adopted by that governing body; and
WHEREAS, on March 5, 2021, United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) Secretary Tom Vilsack designated 50 of California’s counties, including Mendocino County, as primary natural disaster areas due to a recent drought, which allows for farm operations to be eligible for certain assistance available through the USDA Farm Service Agency; and
WHEREAS, rainfall totals are lower than average throughout Mendocino County, including that Ukiah has received only 40% of its average rainfall as of April 9, 2021; and
WHEREAS, information available from Sonoma Water regarding the water levels of Lake Pillsbury and Lake Mendocino show that both reservoirs have water levels drastically below target storage levels, with Lake Pillsbury at 56.8% of the target water supply curve and Lake Mendocino at 44.2% of the target water supply curve as of early April; and
WHEREAS, the reservoir capacities of Lake Pillsbury and Lake Mendocino are far below that of the 2013/2014 drought year; and
WHEREAS, Ukiah Valley vintners and farmers depend on water from Lake Mendocino for frost protection and watering of livestock, and, given the critically low levels of Lake Mendocino, water supply for these purposes is short, placing the local economy in a state of dire emergency if water runs out; and
WHEREAS, the entire economy of Mendocino County is placed in great jeopardy because of the current water shortage due to its dependence on Lake Mendocino and Russian River water allocations, and must act proactively to prevent an imminent disaster; and
WHEREAS, the adverse environmental, economic, and social impacts of the drought pose an imminent threat of disaster and threaten to cause widespread harm to people, businesses, property, communities, wildlife and recreation in Mendocino County.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors declares as follows:
1. Conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property have arisen within Mendocino County due to drought conditions.
2. As a consequence of said conditions and pursuant to Government Code section 8630 a local emergency now exists throughout Mendocino County as a result of the drought conditions.
3. During this local emergency the powers, functions and duties of the Mendocino County Chief Executive Officer and the emergency organization of Mendocino County shall be those prescribed by State law, and the ordinances, resolutions and approved emergency services plans of the County of Mendocino.
4. This resolution shall be submitted to the Director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services requesting a Director’s Concurrence and to the Governor requesting a State declaration of emergency due to the given impacts as well as making California Disaster Assistance and all applicable state funding and resources available to the County.
* * *
Perhaps keen readers noticed this particular “whereas”:
“WHEREAS, Ukiah Valley vintners and farmers depend on water from Lake Mendocino for frost protection and watering of livestock, and, given the critically low levels of Lake Mendocino, water supply for these purposes is short, placing the local economy in a state of dire emergency if water runs out…”
This would be the first time in Mendo history that “Ukiah Valley vintners” are specifically named in an emergency declaration. Wine may not be an essential commodity, but they sure do qualify as a significant part of the local (tax paying) economy.
Notice that the declaration focuses on “the local economy,” not on conservation in any way. A normal drought emergency declaration would require all County water districts to prepare or implement essential conservation plans and options. Instead the focus on the economy means that Mendo is positioning itself to be eligible for low-interest loans and bailout money for said “vintners” et al based on the economic impact of the “dire emergency.”
* * *
ITEM 5f on Tuesday’s agenda sounds a tad late:
“Discussion and Possible Action Including Approval of Use of Measure B Funds to Hire a Consultant to Provide the Mental Health Treatment Act Citizen's Oversight Committee with a Performance Management Plan, that will include a Comprehensive 5 Year Strategic Plan with Action Plan Timeline and a Detailed Financial Plan (Sponsor: Health and Human Services Agency)”
There are several bad assumptions here. 1) It’s three years late and will take months if not years to prepare and there’s still no deadline on when the “Performance Management Plan” will be completed. 2) It assumes that there are clear performance objectives that can be managed. 3) It assumes that the lethargic Measure B committee is capable of managing that performance. 4) It ignores the fact that the $60,000 Kemper report already exists and has been ignored for over three years, yet somehow now a new one with maybe a bit more detail will be implemented? 5) It fails to address the non-reimburseable street crazies and addicts who the public assumed would be the main purpose of Measure B. 6) It does not mention a single existing option that should be considered and/or included.
An on-line agenda commenter named “S.Lodge,” observed:
“Several years into funding the lack of progress is very disappointing. Seems like the PHF could have been prioritized using the offer of space from Adventist Health. Mobile units exist elsewhere and could have been in place by now to lighten the load of police and others. We voted this in to provide real mental health services but the priority appears to be acquisition of real estate which is not helpful right now to the folks needing immediate service/treatment. Where are statistics showing the number of people helped and in what way? Stats showing number of people gotten off the streets or hospital stays lessened? Reduction in referrals to police for intervention? At this rate we should look at rescinding or recalling Measure B and start over with a better plan. We could build on programs and practices that have proven effective elsewhere instead of trying to create some new and supposedly better system in our county. — S. Lodge”
* * *
PERHAPS the dumbest, albeit minor, item is Item 6c:
“Discussion and Possible Action Regarding the Process for Selecting a Facilitator for the Development of a Strategic Plan (Sponsors: Supervisor Haschak and Supervisor McGourty)”
Mendo has spent literal millions developing a General Plan with an overview which should be the County’s “strategic plan.” They’ve spent hours and hours blathering among themselves about the supposed importance of a “strategic plan.” And now here go McGourty and Haschak proposing that they spend money and time with a “facilitator for the Development of a Strategic Plan.”
Even the wording is dumb. Facilitators are the types of people who stand in front of the lib-labs and and ask them to form cute little subgroups and write down their precious thoughts about what a “strategic plan” might look like, in their own limited opinion. Then the facilitator gathers up all the little jottings and writes them on chart paper (or the electronic equivalent). Then the facilitator ask the collected lib-labs to rank their jottings. Then the facilitator hands the ranked jottings back to people they just “facilitated” and declares they now have some inkling of what they should put in the “strategic plan.” Nevertheless, converting the jottings into even the usual bureaucro-blather-filled “strategic plan” is still months if not years away, of course. And like every other Mendo Plan it will collect dust and never be referred to as events and technology and budgets dictate most of what Mendo does. The idea that a tiny little, low-in-the-pecking order entity like Mendocino County needs, much less could follow, a “strategic plan” is just plain silly. They can’t even prepare a mental health plan or a meaningful budget vs. actual chart for the tasks they're already responsible for, or a workable marijuana permit program. But here they are proposing a facilitator for a strategic plan?
Most of Mendo’s functions are mandated by Federal and State Law. In addition, most of the offices have limited staff to try to keep up with what’s presented to them, no options at all. In fact, over 95% of Mendo’s operations would be unaffected by whatever the Board and their useless “facilitator” might dream up.
Mendo should “plan” for nothing more than to try to put good management in place (which they can’t seem to do at present), and simply survive the pandemic, the drought, the wildfires, the power shut-offs, the ridiculous turnover in top management, and the upcoming replacement of the CEO by someone with a cooler head. If that happens — what are the odds? in the single digits? — then and only then should the board even consider facilitated fantasy discussions about “strategic plans.”
* * *
AS OF SATURDAY MORNING, the Supervisors agenda item for Phase III of the cannabis program meeting on Monday, April 19 had posted a record setting 207 (and counting) comments.
AMONG THOSE 207 COMMENTS is this one from Flow Canna in Redwood Valley:
April 16, 2021 To the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors:
As Flow Cannabis Company, a licensed cannabis distributor, processor and manufacturer in Redwood Valley, we are writing in strong support of the Commercial Cannabis Activities Ordinance (CCAO) and the amendments to the existing Cannabis Facilities Ordinance.
We fully believe that the county needs to move to a land use approach in order to be compatible with state law and to give farmers in Phase 1 a chance of achieving state licensure. We also understand that the role of the BOS in this instance is to determine zoning and permit requirements for various cannabis cultivation licenses. To that end, we have the following recommendations.:
Allow Phase 1 operators in good standing to continue operations while they are in the process of applying for a permit under Phase 3.
Give Phase 1 farmers a window of priority to submit applications in Phase 3 prior to new applications.
Provide Phase 1 operators with an opportunity to come into the program at this point, BUT establish a clear deadline for turning in complete applications after which enforcement will occur.
Allow new cultivation on RL [rangeland], but only on parcels that were cleared for use at least 5 years prior to the application.
Allow new cultivation on parcels over 10 acres on RL, AG and UR to be up to 10% of the parcel size with a major use permit.
Establish strict guidelines for water use including tracking and reporting water use. Use this as a pilot program and then require all agricultural industries to comply with this program.
Discourage the improper use of hoop houses, generators and nighttime lights through proactive enforcement.
Encourage sun grown, open air, sustainably produced cultivation that can be part of a larger Mendocino brand of regenerative agriculture across sectors: cannabis, food and wine.
Concerning the proposed amendments to the facilities ordinance, we are very excited to see the county moving forward with tourism options. We fully believe this will bring the attention to the region that will drive success for the smallest of farms.
Thank you for your attention and the time taken on this sensitive issue. We know the discussion has been difficult and, at times, frustrating. We appreciate the thoughtfulness of your approach and we support your vision for sustainable economic development in Mendocino County.
CAREN WOODSON Director of Government Affairs Flow Cannabis Company
AMANDA REIMAN, PHD VP of Community Development Flow Cannabis Company
And this one from (former) AVA Contributor and former KZYZ Cannabis Hour host Jane Futcher, representing the majority of the commenters:
Dear Mendocino County Board of Supervisors,
We oppose the proposed expansion of cannabis cultivation to 10 percent of total parcel acreage as well as the re-opening of Rangeland to cultivation.
As legal small farmers we gave up growing commercially because our farm could not comply with the county and state’s requirements, particularly related to water use. So be it.
Looking south from our property toward Shimmins Ridge, we now see dozens of huge greenhouses, many of which we know are unlicensed. Some farmers have completely logged large parts of their parcels and use who-knows-how-much water to sustain their plants. Many shine lights at night and are on very steep slopes.
If the county can’t regulate illegal grows today, what will happen tomorrow if new grows are allowed on rangelands and on up to 10 percent of acreage?
The county sheriff's log is already filled to the brim with reports of gun violence and other crimes related to cannabis. Must Mendocino County hire an ARMY of THOUSANDS to regulate new grows? Is that how we want to spend county money? Parts of Covelo have become a nightmare.
Please say “No” to large farms, at least until we can manage the many nuisance grows already violating planning and building codes.
Thank you for doing the right thing!
Jane Futcher & Erin Carney
DEB SILVA NOTES:
Don't kill the Messenger!
RE: Library re-opening
California has a 29 page PDF with re-opening guidelines! If I were the head librarian, just scrolling through the thing would make me want to say screw it, keep the library closed until all of this blows over.
To your point:
”ED NOTE: Please. Sacramento has decreed that the return box be locked? Sacramento has decreed that all returned items be quarantined for three days? Sacramento has decreed no sitting? Sacramento has decreed that the number of days the library can be [partially] open? Come on.”
All of this is contained in the PDF. Page 28 regarding quarantining books for three days.
”If feasible, libraries should implement contactless return system. Libraries may also accept returned items in carts or other containers that can be isolated and remain untouched for at least three days before handling or re-shelving.”
I have been waiting for over a year for newspaper articles from the Santa Monica Library. I don't know why a few employees can't go to work to process some of the reference desk requests at libraries. If they don't interact with the public in person it seems like it should be possible.
Most of the time when I make a request from a library there is a backlog and I need to wait a month or so during non-COVID times. I'm sure these requests are still rolling in. A lot of stuff in the area of research can be done online. It would keep people working and off the unemployment rolls.
KATHY JANES RE: Coast Community Library’s locked return box:
Regarding returning library items, I believe the locked book drops and limited return times are dictated by County public health guidance. When those rules loosen up the libraries can unlock the book drops again. It takes several days for your returned items to be taken off your account but they aren’t charging fines right now so it doesn’t matter much.
Mark Scaramella notes: So the County went so far as to specify locked return boxes at libraries? These Health Officers are worse than I thought.
JEFF BURROUGHS makes a good point: "Other than some ambiguous evidence stored in tree rings of the north coast's oldest trees, we, the european invaders, can only go by a mere 150 years of recorded rainfall data so defining what is or isn't normal rainfall is just guessing. From what I have read about the tree ring data Northern California has sometimes seen droughts that lasted 50 or more years over the past thousand year period and that in the last 300 years we have been experiencing a wetter than normal climate. Not to be a wet blanket but it is very possible this recent drought may simply be the beginning of a decade or more without substantial amounts of water."
I REMEMBER the late Cecil Gowan, the very oldest of the old timers at the time, saying that he remembered the Navarro dry all the way to the Greenwood Bridge. Gowan was speaking against a ghastly condo development planned for the Hendy Woods area, making the point that a project of the proposed size of this one lacked a reliable source of water.
I’VE NEVER BEEN ABLE to read detective fiction, even the good stuff by Hammett, Chandler, Ellroy etc. It doesn’t hold my interest. Their biographies are more interesting than their art, it seems to me. I have the usual complaints about tough guy fiction — the characters are one-dimensional, women are cartoon figures, and it’s hard to stay interested in either stick figures or plots whose resolution one is uninterested in because the characters aren't drawn well enough to be interesting. Besides which the so-called tough guys presented are so crudely drawn that it’s obvious the writers don’t know the difference between tough and vicious. But the other day I received an anonymous gift of a book called The Steam Pig by James McClure, a South African writer. I made the schedule-destroying mistake of reading the first page and didn’t look up for the next six hours. It’s much better than a detective story in that it also provides a hundred little glimpses of the reality of South Africa circa 1960, the kind of detail through which one finally gets the full picture of what the apartheid society really meant in human terms. Over the years, I’ve relied on J.M. Coetzee, Doris Lessing and an essay writer named R.W. Johnson for my information on South Africa, but this mystery writer McClure manages to convey more about the country in this unlikely genre than all of them put together. Many thanks to the Ukiah person, whoever you are, for alerting me to this wonderful writer.
ONE DAY A FEW YEARS AGO I was standing in Boont Berry Farm chatting with Karen Espeleta who’d just introduced me to her teenage daughter, a very pretty girl even beneath what seemed like several pounds of nose rings and, as I recall, a purple Mohawk. As a rightminded youngster, the fashionably-accoutered lass had about as much interest in me as in any other tiresome adult acquaintance of her mother’s. Until Karen mentioned that I was a good friend of Lawrence Livermore who was once a regular contributor to the AVA. The kid stared at me. “You, you know Lawrence Livermore?” She stammered at the pure improbability of the relationship, and stared at me, stunned, that I not only knew Laytonville's lead citizen, we were good friends, becoming allies in futile counter attacks against the forces of destruction, LL via his seminal zine ‘The Lookout,’ me with the ava. That was my first awareness that LL had become a truly famous person, known to avant garde teens everywhere. I picked up a Sunday Chron and there he was denying that he’d just sold his record company for thirty million dollars! Out of the parched hills of Laytonville to big time show biz, and whaddya know? Livermore, for those of you deliberately out of the know (like me), brought Green Day and other famous bands to mass attention and, prior to his subsequent eminence, often wrote for the Boonville weekly.
"THE PHOENIX was a wooden team schooner of 294 registered tons, built in 1898 by Hay & Wright at Alameda, California. She was originally named the Aloha with a home port in San Francisco. The vessel was damaged by fire in 1902 and rebuilt by Hay & Wright. She emerged as the Phoenix, her tonnage now at 256 registered tons. She was sold in 1905 to Henry Templeman of San Francisco, who also owned and managed the steam schooner, Sea Foam. On August 15, 1910, the boiler exploded, killing four men, when the Phoenix was 10 miles north of Point Arena. She was sold and bought several more times until 1932 when the Phoenix was laid up and abandoned in Oakland Creek, San Francisco."
ON LINE COMMENT TO THE SUPERVISORS, RE: PG&E DISASTER SETTLEMENT MONEY: "Spending this money needs to be very closely related to the losses suffered and safety improvements for the future - not loosely linked funding for various county departments. Redwood Valley and Potter were hard hit. How about improvements to Tomki Road north so there is a more accessible alternative route out of the valley? Might be a similar need for Potter Valley. Upgrades or improvements for the various responders to fires? Better warning systems? Funding to Fire and Sheriff departments? Assistance to people burned out but without funding to rebuild? I'm sure there is a long list of problems discovered during the past fires that need to be addressed."
FORMER SUPERVISOR JOHN MCCOWEN on blight removal in Ukiah and Round Valley
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Re: Support for Agenda Items 5C & 6A
Noticed Public Hearing - Discussion and Possible Action Including Adoption of Resolution Authorizing the County of Mendocino to Submit a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Application to the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for the 2021 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) in the Amount of $1,500,000 to Request Funding of Three Projects; 1. $1,000,000 for Blight Removal in Round Valley (Covelo Area); 2. $250,000 for Microenterprise Technical Assistance for Small Business Development; 3. $250,000 for Planning Technical Assistance to Support the Ukiah Valley Senior and Community Center Design (Sponsor: Planning & Building Services)
Chair Gjerde and Honorable Members of the Board,
Thank you for your consideration of Agenda Item 5C which seeks CDBG funding for Blight Removal in Round Valley; Small Business Assistance and Planning and Technical Support for design of the proposed Ukiah Valley Senior and Community Center.
The proposed Ukiah Valley Senior and Community Center is a project of regional importance. The proposed location will provide greater visibility and accessibility to seniors and a new and expanded thrift store will support the financial sustainability of the Center. The Center will also provide additional and convenient options for meeting space for community organizations and individuals and for the County. The project will also improve conditions in a currently blighted area. Thank you for your continued commitment to the Center and the success of this important project.
The Blight Removal project in Round Valley will support the ongoing efforts of community members to clean up their community. Of equal or greater importance, the project is an opportunity to build on past successful collaborations with the Round Valley Indian Tribes (RVIT), most recently on Covid response, and furthers the government-to-government relationship between the County and RVIT. The project is particularly appropriate because of land ownership patterns in Round Valley and the fact that what occurs within the jurisdiction of one entity has impacts on the other.
Adoption of Agenda Item 6A authorizing the proposed MOU with the RVIT formalizes the government - to-government relationship as it relates to the Blight Removal project and is therefore a necessary companion to Agenda Item 5C
Thank you for your support of these vital community projects.
FOUR FLORIDIANS, 24 BAGS, NO PLATES:
Alvin Valliaril (22 year-old male from Seffner, Florida)
Tomas Valencia (22 year-old male from Riverview, Florida)
Camilo Valencia (28 year-old male from Riverview, Florida)
Ali Khan (22 year-old male from Tampa, Florida)
On 04-16-2021 at about 2:30 AM, a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy conducted a traffic stop on vehicle at the intersection of North Highway 101 at Black Bart Drive in Willits, California.
The Deputy made contact with the driver, Tomas Valencia, and three other passengers in the vehicle. The passengers were identified as Camilo Valencia, Ali Khan and Alvin Valliaril.
The Deputy detected the odor of marijuana/cannabis coming from inside the vehicle and visually observed loose marijuana remnants in the vehicle.
A search of the vehicle was conducted and the Deputy located twenty-four (24) one (1) pound bags of processed marijuana/cannabis and packaging material to ship the marijuana via United States Postal Service.
None of the occupants had any sales invoices or shipping manifest allowing them to lawfully transport commercial quantities of marijuana/cannabis.
All four individuals were arrested for the listed charges and transported to the Mendocino County Jail.
In accordance with the COVID-19 emergency order issued by the State of California Judicial Council, bail was set at zero dollars and all four individuals were released after the jail booking process, on their promise to appear in court at a later date.
(Mendocino County Sheriff's Office - Press Release)
FOUR FLORIDA MEN IN MENDOCINO COUNTY JAIL AFTER TRAFFIC STOP FINDS 22 POUNDS OF CANNABIS [No plates on the geniuses’ vehicle]
Four men from the state of Florida have been booked into the Mendocino County jail after Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office deputies found 22 pounds of cannabis in their vehicle in the early morning of Friday, April 16, 2021.
MARK NIELSEN, FUGITIVE Who Fled Law Enforcement On Motorcycle Chase Into Redwood Valley Has Been Caught After 11 Days
Mark Andrew Nielsen, the Lake County man who led Mendocino County law enforcement on a high-speed motorcycle chase and fled on foot into the wilds of Redwood Valley on April 6, has been caught and is now in custody. According to MCSO’s Public Information Officer Captain Greg Van Patten, Nielsen was taken into custody after deputies pulled over a vehicle he was driving for lighting violations in Calpella after which he was arrested without incident.
WILLITS SHIPPING NEWS & REVIEW
If I were the overseer of Boonville, I would demand that those who made fun of the president's mental and physical condition send back their $1400 stimulus checks. How did you like the Huffington Post? A lot of scrolling, eh? Oh, you didn't try it? Go back to KZYX.
I'm in favor of 100% voting by mail in California. Then maybe it would seep into some swing states. Better start campaigning in swing states soon with some progressive ideas or the white trash party will win them. Don't forget that trump won 74.5 million votes and so far is holding onto most of them.
I just read in the New Yorker that the Democratic Socialist party has a chapter in New York. Please print the address of the Northern California chapter. If you don't do it, who will? Irv Sutley?
Did you ever notice that almost all of the negroes killed by white police were the result of them not following police orders or struggling with them? Every time a store is looted it erases a decade of improving relations, never mind the cultural divide. That isn't going to change nor should it. I'm not going to learn to like them grits, greens, okra and black-eyed peas. Once I visited the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC on a Sunday afternoon. Washington DC is 85% black, but the only negroes there were employees. Walk down the street in negro neighborhoods in Oakland — you don't hear NPR on the radio, you hear rap. You're not apt to get a white negro unless he is the quarterback on the team that wins the Super Bowl at a salary of maybe $50 million.
Once Chinese President Zhang Zemin visited the United States. The first place he wanted ago was Williamsburg. I said, "Here I am a 100% gringo and I've never been to Williamsburg. So I jumped in my 1939 Plymouth and soon arrived. It is pretty interesting, all those restored colonial buildings. I asked, "Where is an example of where the workers lived?" Nobody knew. It was the first time anybody asked.
Once in Ontario I visited the home of the Dionne quintuplets, a wooden building with one big room and several beds. No water, no toilet.
When I came to Willits there was a nice JC Penney store on Main Street. Everything you needed except food. Also there was a pool hall with a lunch counter.
Why did Amazon win the union vote? Employees don't want to pay those union dues. White sharecroppers vote Republican and don't want to pay for welfare for negroes.
The stimulus payment merely benefits the Chinese. The day after the $1400 stimulus checks arrived, Amazon contacted their supplier and told them they had sold 17,000 pairs of shoes the previous day. Amazon needed 17,000 more pairs of shoes right away. And 2,000 bicycles.
In Annie Proulx’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel, "The Shipping News," one page in the weekly paper was reserved for sexual assault each week and one reporter who washed up on the beach after a row boat trip across the Atlantic from the United Kingdom was assigned to the sexual assault beat. The police department would have used up two months worth last week.
The Third District Supervisor has fallen in love with that huge paycheck he gets from the county each month. He is trying to make nice with everybody, sending out weekly reports to the local newspapers.
Idaho wants to annex the white trash portions of Oregon. Why not take a strip of Washington state which includes Spokane? Harry Truman once said that the "Spokane Review" was the worst newspaper in the United States. Then come down and annex portions of northern California including Redding, Red Bluff, Corning, Trinity County and Crescent City. All white trashy areas, not a bad idea. The only thing you lose is Ashland, Oregon. Idaho would pick up a seat or two in the house.
I swear on the grave of Karl Marx that the monarch butterfly story was not an exaggeration.
Here is something that I am opposed to: changing the names of schools. A letter in the Press Democrat proposed that all schools should be named with a number from now on. (No sixes.) Your zipcode backward will be acceptable.
The residents of Willits complained about the bypass not having an entrance and exit to Central Willits and Highway 20. No one was willing to fight for it when the bypass was built and nobody is willing to fight for it now. Access roads should be built right up to the bypass paid for by the citizens of Willits. Then demand that Caltrans either build an interchange or a traffic light or a stop sign. I think Caltrans would do it to avoid bad publicity. Brooktrails has tried for years to get free money to pay for a second access road without success. If they put up a tollbooth and collected 25¢ each way as I suggested years ago, even voluntarily, they would have it paid for by now. "What ever you suggest, the answer is no." What the smug people don't realize is that 85,000 residents of Mendocino County don't want to pay for a road in a piss-pot community of 3200 people.
Hale's Grove is the ideal town, never any dissent, and nobody watches Fox News.
Ukiah would be a better town if they had a newspaper and sent out a directory all over the county to show residents what they had to offer in the way of goods and services plus a delivery system. Nobody wants to drive to Ukiah to pick up a part to repair a broken pump. But this would cost a little money. Unfortunately, no organization exists to propose such a forward-looking idea to.
Tommy Wayne Kramer would write a better column if he had an editor. What happened to Flynn Washburn? Did he enter graduate school at UC Berkeley?
The AVA arrived on time the last couple of weeks — first time in a year. Did Postmaster General DeJoy die?
I don't think enough people would use a Redwood Trail to justify the huge amount of money it will cost. Too far from large populations. I would rather spend the money on Jerry Brown's train. I think eventually that would pay for itself.
The time has come for the Post Office to be declared a subsidized basket case and treat it like the Mendocino Transit Authority running around with two passengers per bus. It obviously can't show a profit, so raise the taxes on millionaires by 1% to pay for the necessary services. Just like those aircraft carriers and the guns that go with them.
Carpe Diem and Caveat Emptor.
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 17, 2021
JOHN BARRY, Covelo. Resisting.
MICHAEL CAIN, Covelo. DUI, suspended license, controlled substance, paraphernalia.
SAMUEL HAMMONS, Covelo. Suspended license for DUI, failure to appear.
ARMANDO HERNANDEZ-CAMARGO, Covelo. Failure to appear.
SANTOS HERNANDEZ-CASTRO, Woodland/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale/transportation, unlawful diversion of water flow, armed with firearm in commission of felony, conspiracy.
ALI KHAN, Tampa, Florida/Ukiah. Pot cultivation, pollution of state waters, conspiracy.
EVERARDO MARTINEZ-CORNEJO, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Metal knuckles.
MICHAEL MONAHAN JR., Covelo. Leaded cane-blackjack or similar, tear gas as weapon, parole violation.
MARK NIELSEN, Nice/Ukiah. Felon-addict with firearm, loaded firearm in public, ammo possession by prohibited person, concealed weapon in vehicle, paraphernalia, evasion by wrong-way driving, reckless evasion, probation revocation.
RICHARD OLSTAD, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse, probation revocation.
RAFAEL PAZ, Willits. Failure to appear.
RHONDA SANDERS, Willits. Protective order violation, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
KEVIN SHAW, Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, suspended license (for DUI), probation revocation.
GREGORY SUVAGIAN, Willits. DUI greater than 0.15%, contempt of court.
CAMILO VALENCIA, Rivervilla, Florida/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale/transportation, conspiracy.
TOMAS VALENCIA, Brandon, Florida/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale/transportation, conspiracy.
ALVIN VALLIARIL, Seffner, Florida/Ukiah. Pot possession for sale/transportation, conspiracy.
SHAWN WANT JR., Covelo. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
GERALD HASLAM (1937-2021)
by Jonah Raskin
He was the first real California that I met and got to know back in the day when I didn’t know how vast California is and the variety of Californians. As an ex-New Yorker who thought of New York as the center of the world, I was surprised that New York didn’t figure in his universe. He didn’t care to be published by a New York publishing company and he didn’t live for a review in a New York newspaper. He was content to be a Californian, whose books were known and read and appreciated by other Californians.
No doubt about it, obituaries for my pal, Gerry Haslam, will appear in newspapers all over the state of California. They will be written by journalists who specialize in obituaries. Some of them might also be written by members of the Haslam tribe. “Howdy partner,” he would say to me in an accent that sounded western.
Haslam was definitely of the West, or as one might say West of the West. For decades, we taught together at Sonoma State University, swam in the pool on campus, attended conferences together and gathered at Haslam’s home in Penngrove where he lived with his wife and near constant companion, Jan.
The place was usually littered with toys. The Haslams have grandchildren galore. I hope they carry on some of Gerry’s legacy, but if they are anything like him they will find their own path in life. A loner and a joiner, one of a kind and a team player, Haslam knew more about the Great Central Valley and beyond than anyone in the world. Indeed, he made it his business to know what was happening almost day-to-day in Bakersfield, where he was born, and San Francisco, where he went to college, and Sonoma County, which he grew to love, though he saw through all the phoniness.
There wasn’t an area of California life he didn’t know about, whether it was dance palaces in Bakersfield, the future of farming in the Golden State, or the music of Merle Haggard which he wrote about in his classic Workin’ Man’s Blues which he co-authored with his daughter, Alexandra. Gerry and I both wrote fiction and non-fiction, and we both wrote about Jack London, Sonoma County’s most famous author.
Haslam probably introduced more people, through his anthologies, to the literature of California than anyone else in his generation. He also preserved, in his short stories, ways of life that no longer exist in places like Oildale, where his dad worked in the oil fields. Hell, Oildale hardly exists anymore. Haslam knew the language of men and women who toiled in factories and fields, and fields which were factories. His first book was The Language of the Oil Fields. An only child, he cobbled together ancestors who belonged to diverse ethnic groups. He went to church on Sundays. One of his early books was titled The Wages of Sin, which I suspect was meant to be ironic. He paid me a compliment when he told me, “You’re a closet Catholic.” Indeed, I was. We agreed that California was, if nothing else, a land of hope. No one I have known was more hopeful than Haslam, now my dear departed pal who made room in his life and his home for an ex-New Yorker like me trying to find a place in the Golden State.
THE RED FIRE FOX, among the world's rarest animals…
WATER & DROUGHT, from the Archives (the 2014 drought)
Normal Water Times (Steve Heilig)
The Brotherhood of the Grape (Steve Heilig)
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FEDERAL DROUGHT AID IN CALIFORNIA
by Rachel Becker & Julie Cart
Summary: The USDA declared California a natural disaster due to its severe drought, triggering aid for growers and ranchers who supply much of the nation’s food. Why has the federal government stepped in to help with California’s water woes?
* * *
Stop if you’ve heard this before: California is in the grip of a severe drought. Again. Now the federal government is stepping in to help.
To assist California, which is the nation’s largest food supplier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently declared a drought disaster for 50 counties. That makes growers throughout the state who have been struggling with parched conditions eligible to seek federal loans.
“This declaration emphasizes the devastating and far-reaching impact of climate change on the agricultural producers that feed and power America,” Under Secretary of Agriculture Gloria Montaño Greene said in an emailed statement.
Here’s what you need to know about the disaster declaration and its effect on California:
There’s a big difference between a drought emergency and a USDA disaster
In March, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack wrote to California Gov. Gavin Newsom designating 50 California counties as “primary natural disaster areas” due to drought.
A drought disaster sounds alarming, but officials say the reality is more mundane: It simply opens up emergency federal loans to California farmers who are struggling with back-to-back dry years. Growers in the 50 counties but also in all the counties next door (including 16 in Oregon, Arizona and Nevada) are eligible for loans.
“The bar is set very low to qualify, because the purpose of the disaster designation is to quickly make financial assistance available to (agricultural) producers,” said Jeanine Jones, interstate resources manager with the California Department of Water Resources.
This federal designation is very different from declaring a drought emergency under California’s Emergency Services Act, which would allow the governor to take more sweeping actions affecting all Californians, such as mandating conservation, waiving some state regulations and reallocating funds. Under state law, declaring a drought emergency would require “conditions of disaster or of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property within the state” that local governments can’t cope with on their own.
Comparing Vilsack’s designation of drought disaster areas to a state drought emergency is “like (comparing) apples to pineapples, because it’s a really large difference,” Jones said.
The decision was ‘as close to automatic as it can get’
So what is the federal decision based on? The USDA looks at how dehydrated California has been.
Rain and snow in much of the state are roughly half of average. The state deemed the snowpack on California’s mountains “well below normal.” The two major reservoirs are at about half of their capacity. And streamflow rivals levels during the peak of the last drought, which started in 2012 and continued through 2016.
“Much of the state has had two pretty darn dry years,” Jones said, adding that the most recent wet season — last October through March — ranks as the fourth driest on record in California.
A nationwide wetness watchdog, called the US Drought Monitor, has colored California in shades of yellow, orange, red and brown, which denote conditions ranging from abnormally dry to exceptional drought.
The USDA’s designations hinge on that map. Counties can be considered drought disaster areas if any part enters the driest red and brown “extreme” and “exceptional” categories during the growing season, or if they move into the orange “severe drought” category and stay there for eight consecutive weeks.
These categories are based on various measurements, not just precipitation and snowpack. They include vegetation health, soil moisture, surface water and other criteria. The map authors also work with local experts to gauge on-the-ground conditions.
“The disaster declaration process is almost as close to automatic as it can get” because it’s based on the drought map, said Jacque Johnson, acting state executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency’s state office. “What happened in California on March 5 was 50 of our 58 counties were disasters.”
Farms in all counties are eligible for loans
Vilsack’s letter designated 50 California counties as primary disaster areas. The other eight are listed as “contiguous” counties. What gives?
Contiguous counties are exactly what they sound like: the counties that didn’t quite hit the drought threshold at the time but are adjacent to primary disaster areas. The eight counties are Orange, San Diego, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito. None of them, at the time of the declaration in March, had entered the more severe dry conditions of the other 50.
Growers throughout the state are eligible to apply for emergency federal loans until early November. Some also may qualify for other federal assistance programs.
“The assumption is that collateral damage falls into the next door neighbor county,” Johnson said. “The county line is not a barrier.”
Legislators are pressuring Newsom to declare emergency
Newsom has so far resisted calls to declare a drought emergency. He said on Tuesday that his staff had been “talking for months internally” and drought plans were in place, but he was opaque when it came to providing specifics.
“We are prepared to move very quickly when we are prepared to move,” Newsom said.
Officials have said that they believe the state has enough administrative tools to respond to the drought without declaring an emergency.
The governor, under the threat of a recall, may be in triage mode, taking his pick of emergencies to respond to: drought, predictions of another monster wildfire season and the ever-present global pandemic.
Lawmakers have been quick to pounce on what they see as Newsom’s inattention or indifference to a pressing problem that hits rural communities hard. A bipartisan group of legislators, led by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Andreas Borgeas, a Republican from Fresno, and Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Robert Rivas, a Democrat from Hollister, requested a statewide drought emergency declaration.
“From the Oregon border to the Mexican border, California farmers will see sharp cuts in water supplies this year.”
The legislators noted that allocations from the State Water Project, which draws water from the San Francisco Bay-Delta and sends it to cities and farms, have been reduced to 5% of normal. They urged the governor to forestall a catastrophic loss in farm revenue.
In a reference sure to get under Newsom’s skin, the letter referred to actions taken by former Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014 when similar drought conditions prevailed. That emergency declaration, the letter said, provided “flexibility and commonsense streamlining to utilize our limited water in the most efficient way.”
At that time, Brown issued conservation mandates for all state agencies and told local water agencies to immediately implement their water shortage contingency plans, which restricted residential water use. The declaration also modified reservoir releases, accelerated funding for water projects ready to break ground and lifted requirements that water projects comply with California’s environmental quality law.
VEGETARIANS ARE THE ENEMY of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure enjoyment of food. The body, these water heads imagine, is a temple that should not be polluted by animal protein. It's healthier, they insist, though every vegetarian waiter I've worked with is brought down by any rumor of a cold.
— Anthony Bourdain
BROADBAND ALLIANCE OF MENDOCINO COUNTY:
On April 15, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved Frontier Communications corporate restructuring to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy, first initiated almost one year ago. Frontier is one of the two largest Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILEC) in California, offering phone, video, and/or broadband service in 44 counties. The CPUC adopted various conditions in their Decision based on a variety of operational, financial, service, pricing, and employment matters. Frontier will have to fund a Compliance Monitor to assist the CPUC with future enforcement efforts. Frontier must also submit a detailed plan to improve its service quality, including (but not limited to) out of service performance, and credit customers for service outages lasting more than 24 hours for a multi-year period.
Additionally, this Decision provides tribal and local governments with a “right of first offer” to purchase property that Frontier proposes to sell or dispose of, with tribes receiving priority over local governments for any competing claims. Further, the CPUC is requiring Frontier to invest $1.75 billion in California over the next 4 years and undergo service improvements, redundancy and reliability, and must also target improving the scale, quality and reliability of backhaul and expand broadband deployment in unserved or underserved rural communities. Part of this investment is a requirement to build out fiber to 350,000 locations by December 31, 2026; of these, 150,000 locations must be in areas where Frontier has lower rates of return. In an effort to balance the inadequacies of rural infrastructure, within the 150,000 locations for fiber build out, the CPUC is requiring 10 percent of these funds going to rural areas with fewer than 50,000 people. It is estimated that nearly 90% of Frontier’s rural households do not have fiber services, whereas approximately 42% of its urban households do. Frontier will also be able to retain its Carrier of Last Resort status.
NANCY PELOSI’S DISDAIN FOR THE SQUAD is not a good look for a leader
Pelosi has had an impressive career, but publicly demeaning the Squad really isn’t a good look. True leadership isn’t just about knowing how to leverage the power you have, it’s about knowing when to step back and cede power to a new generation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Sorry to say this, really, but wait until you’re old, like me and have to watch friends and family pass away. I’ve lost 5 uncles, at least 7 aunts a number of cousins and some friends. And most importantly, both my parents and my sister, leaving me the only one left in my immediate family; oh, yeah, my cat who I really loved and had for 15 years. For some reason that got to me the most.
You know how you’re getting old? When you start reading the obituaries. I never used to, but now…
FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.
COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number
Applications begin on April 12, 2021 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585
Hours of Operation:Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time
Call this dedicated toll-free phone number to get a COVID-19 Funeral Assistance application completed with help from FEMA's representatives. Multilingual services will be available.
Get answers to frequently asked questions about the application process on the Funeral Assistance FAQ page.
To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:
- The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
- There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage you to keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:
- An official death certificatethat attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
- Funeral expenses documents(receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that includes the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.
- Proof of funds received from other sourcesspecifically for use toward funeral costs. We are not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.
How Funds are Received
If you are eligible for funeral assistance you will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you choose when you apply for assistance.
TODAY IN OLD-WEST HISTORY
On today’s date 140 years ago, Thursday, April 14, 1881, the famous “Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight” took place on El Paso Street in the town of El Paso in El Paso County, Texas. The most famous participant in the gunfight, El Paso town marshal Dallas Stoudenmire (1845-1882), who was armed with a brace of .44-calibre Smith & Wesson revolvers, accounted for three of the four fatalities. Texas Rangers who were standing nearby, but did not take part in the fight, later stated that they felt Stoudenmire had the situation well in hand.
Marshal Stoudenmire had only started as town marshal three days earlier on April 11, but as a result of the Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight & several other shoot-outs that soon followed he became a legend in his own time; however, his remaining time on earth did not last long.
The Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight initiated a feud between Stoudenmire & friends of two of the victims of the gunfight. Just a year and a half later on September 18, 1882, Stoudenmire, then serving as a U.S. Deputy Marshal, met his earthly demise at the age of 36 when he was shot to death in a gunfight in an El Paso saloon, & thus ended both the feud & the life of the legendary Old-West lawman.
Requiéscant In Pace, Dallas Stoudenmire.
The undated photograph depicts the moustachioed visage of famous Old-West marshall Dallas Stoudenmire.
RACHEL MADDOW IS BILL O’REILLY
by Matt Taibbi
After hyping a fake story for a year, cable's leading anchor doesn't blink and moves on to the next fable…
If you’d told me back in 2005, when I first met Rachel Maddow, that the lightning-quick, ultra-smooth broadcaster would someday supplant Bill O’Reilly as the #1 name in cable news, I wouldn’t have been surprised, at all. But I’d have been shocked if you told me she got to the top by being Bill O’Reilly.
With Maddow in the lead role, MSNBC has become Fox, but somehow more craven, jingoistic, and shameless. If you don’t believe it, compare their narratives side by side, and see if you can spot a real difference between Bush-era Fox and Maddow’s MSNBC broadcasts from this past week.
On February 16, 2001, six months before 9/11, O’Reilly said on Fox, “You know, I don’t take Saddam Hussein all that seriously anymore, as far as a world threat.” He added, “Maybe I’m wrong and naive here. Should we be very frightened of this guy?”
Within two years, O’Reilly reversed course. He launched himself into an incredible 16-year run as the #1-rated star on cable by playing Madame DeFarge for the Bush/Cheney War on Terror. His show became a nightly fireside chat in which citizens tuned in to fulminate over stories of Saddam’s boundless evil, denounce traitorous unbelievers, and engage in McCarthyite interrogations of the insufficiently patriotic.
He moved the factual record by himself. On December 6, 2002, he told his audience: “I can’t, in good conscience, tell the American people that I know for sure that [Saddam] has smallpox or anthrax or he’s got nuclear or chemical and that he is ready to use that.”
But two months later, on February 17, 2002, he was saying, “According to the U.N., he’s got anthrax, VX gas, ricin, and on and on.” Two weeks after that, as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting noted, O’Reilly was saying things like, “This guy we know has anthrax and VX and all this stuff.”
He furthermore announced that “Once the war against Saddam Hussein begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if you can’t do that, just shut up,” adding that “Americans, and indeed our allies, who actively work against our military once the war is underway will be considered enemies of the state by me.”
By the runup to the invasion, O’Reilly was berating anyone who even tried to suggest the WMD case was not airtight, or had the temerity to suggest that Saddam Hussein was not the equal of Hitler. “Whoa, whoa. It’s not Hitler?” he snapped in one broadcast. “What’s the difference?”
Want to know how seven in ten Americans during the war came to believe that Saddam Hussein was somehow behind 9/11? In part, because people like O’Reilly regularly said things like, “Saddam Hussein… I believe is involved with this World Trade Center and Pentagon bombing,” and “I believe that you’re going to find out that money from Iraq flowed in and helped [9/11] happen.”
O’Reilly eventually got around to putting his “spotlight” on anyone who didn’t publicly back the invasion effort. He even took on Pope John Paul II, saying, “And then the pope sits in Rome and says, gee, this is terrible, but does not throw his moral authority behind removing this dictator.” He went after Sean Penn, the French, congressman Jim McDermott, etc., etc.
Then a funny thing happened. We invaded Iraq, the WMD case went splat, and O’Reilly, grudgingly of course, admitted he was wrong. “Well, my analysis was wrong and I'm sorry,” he said, on Good Morning America. “What do you want me to do? Go over and kiss the camera?”
Who knew that would end up looking like a proud moment in TV history?
On March 26, 2014, Maddow saluted Barack Obama for rolling his eyes when asked if Mitt Romney had been right to identify Russia as America’s biggest geopolitical threat. “America has got a whole lot of challenges,” Obama said, but “Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neighbors, not out of strength but out of weakness.”
“Serious presidential shade!” Maddow gushed, adding that this was, “President Obama… explaining that Russia is basically a gnat on the butt of an elephant. Calling Russia, in his words, merely a regional power that does not rise to the level of a major challenge for the United States.”
Within two years, just as O’Reilly had done, Maddow effected a complete turnaround on the major story of an era, devoting one broadcast after another following Donald Trump’s election in 2016 to the awesome Russian threat. As Erik Wemple of the Washington Post documented, Maddow tried to push the edge of the factual envelope. This was done in much the same way that O’Reilly did it, regularly inviting audiences to imagine one step beyond the facts. When the infamous Steele dossier leaked out, she had California congressman Adam Schiff on and asked, “When you cited … that dossier, should we stop describing that as an uncorroborated dossier?”
A specialty was advancing the story by inference. She suggested in January of 2017 that the Steele dossier was true because, “Had the FBI looked into what was in that dossier and found that it was all patently false, they could tell us that now, right?” she said. “I mean, the dossier has now been publicly released. If the FBI looked into it and they found it was all trash, there’s no reason they can’t tell us that now. They’re not telling us that now.”
In May of 2017, she posited that the existence of a FISA application on Carter Page was more proof: “Parts of this dossier passed muster,” she said, “even in federal court when the dossier was used in part to justify a secret FISA court warrant for U.S. surveillance on a Trump campaign adviser.” She went on to spend two years hyping the document, claiming among other things that Steele had the story “dead to rights,” and that “Christopher Steele had this story before the rest of America did. And he got it from Russian sources.”
Then, when the report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz exploded the credibility of the dossier, revealing those “Russian sources” to be a clown show of beery rumors, she moved on as if she hadn’t spent two years hyping the document. She moved straight to stressing a different part of Horowitz’s report, i.e. his conclusion that the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation was not opened for political reasons. She would do this over and over, ignoring developments that undermined her previous coverage.
Throughout the Trump years and beyond, Rachel exactly filled O’Reilly’s role as America’s chief accuser, pointing a finger at those in league with our hated Asiatic enemy. Once again, Hitler was regularly evoked, except that this version was Donald Trump. The bottomless evil of a foreign dictator became an overriding focus, again, as The Rachel Maddow Show rode all the way to #1 in the ratings as the home for suggestions that Trump was under the literal control of Vladimir Putin, seizing on any detail to suggest this or that betrayed his secret Russianness.
There was the time, for instance, when she said Trump was “curiously well-versed” in “specific Russian talking points.” She hammered the theme of treason, nodding in earnest as former Russia ambassador Michael McFaul watched the Helsinki summit, when Trump sat next to Putin, and declared “there’s your explanation” for the Trump administration’s “appeasement” of Russia. She hyped the erroneous story by McClatchy declaring that Michael Cohen had been in Prague, a detail that was supposedly explosive because it “confirmed” the Steele dossier narrative of the Trump team secretly meeting with Russian spies and hackers.
But, as Wemple pointed out, each time one of these stories fizzled, Maddow would pretend the fizzling didn’t happen. She was “there for the bunkings, absent for the debunkings,” a “pattern of misleading and dishonest asymmetry.” In one of the all-time ironic podcasts, Michael Isikoff of Yahoo! — who was himself among the first reporters to cite Steele’s work and co-wrote a book that drew heavily on the Steele reports — pressed Maddow on her Steele broadcasts, saying she’d “given a lot of credence” to them.
She denied it. “You’re trying to litigate the Steele dossier through me as if I am the embodiment of the Steele dossier, which I think is creepy,” she snapped, adding: “I think it’s unwarranted. And it’s not like I’ve been making the case for the accuracy of the Steele dossier.”
Last summer, when a story “broke” that Russians had paid bounties to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, Maddow pounced, railing about how “Vladimir Putin is offering bounties for the scalps of Americans!” and “President Trump was told about this in March, and he has done nothing!” Check out the jingoistic finger-jabbing here as she pushes this spookworld concoction:
“So if this NYTimes report (Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says) is correct, U.S. intelligence has concluded that Russia offered bounties for dead U.S. troops in Afghanistan, AND has paid out on some of those bounties. And Donald Trump was told in March and so far has opted to have no response.”
She kept at it, doing variation after variation on the theme of how Vladimir Putin paid $100,000 “per corpse,” and Trump “has done nothing in response”:
“NEW NYTimes report has details on the players and the payments in the Russian bounties to Taliban fighters for dead U.S. troops that Donald Trump does not feel warrants any response.”
When Trump withdrew some troops from Germany, Maddow said, “That’s how President Trump is standing up for Americans being killed for rubles paid by Putin’s government.” She had Schiff on to announce that Trump was the “one” person (in the world? In America?) who wasn’t outraged by the Afghan bounty story.
Last September, when General Frank McKenzie, commander of troops in the region, went on the record to announce of the Afghan bounty story, “It just has not been proved to a level of certainty that satisfies me,” Maddow again said nothing.
Then this past Thursday came the whopper: the Biden administration announced that it had only “low to moderate” confidence in the bounty story, which even the Daily Beast — an outlet that hyped the original story nearly as much as Rachel did — had the decency to admit was a big deal. “Translated from the jargon of spyworld,” they wrote, “that means the intelligence agencies have found the story is, at best, unproven—and possibly untrue.”
Not Maddow. Her broadcast Thursday said only that “this appears be a sort of transparency,” and that the news “did not disprove” the bounty story but only showed that “on the specific, super-inflammatory” (!) accusation, the Biden administration feels like “this one is not nailed down.” An alien who’d flown down to earth for this broadcast would never know this had even been a subject on her show, or that it had been confirmed by the New York Times that the original story came from the CIA.
Instead, she moved on to the next Russiagate hype train: the declaration by Biden’s Treasury Department that Konstantin Kilimnik, the Ukrainian associate of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (and a onetime regular source for the U.S. State Department, according to the New York Times) had “provided the Russia intelligence services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy.” The report, which incidentally contradicts Robert Mueller’s conclusions, does not offer any hint as to what the evidence for this conclusion might be.
The insane conspiracy theory now being spun by dead-ender ex-intelligence types like former FBI agent Asha Rangappa is that the Russians, in order to direct with more potency the awe-inspiring barrage of $46,000 in Facebook memes bought prior to the 2016 election — like the one in which Jesus placed a hand on a struggling boy’s shoulder over the caption, “Struggling with the addiction to masturbation? Reach out to me and we’ll beat it together” — the Russians infiltrated the Trump campaign in order to sneak out polling data. That way, they could “strategically and surgically direct” that pocketful of Buff Bernies and Onan-slaying Jesuses to call their “hotline.”
Trump incidentally spent $44 million on Facebook ads between June and November of 2016, which is about 1000 times what the Russians were alleged to have spent — even more if you separate out the memes that had nothing to do with Trump. Why the Russians couldn’t just do what the Saudis, Israelis, Chinese, and other self-respecting meddlers do and just funnel cash to their man does not seem to interest the conspiracy spinners.
Russia has a propaganda Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. Want to affect the congressional vote on the AUMF, justifying our presence in Afghanistan? Leak word Russians killed our troops there. Want to smear Tulsi Gabbard or Bernie Sanders, or prevent a damaging expose about your son’s laptop from reaching audiences in an election? Point at Russia. It’s become a joke, straight from the “reality-based community” playbook O’Reilly humped in the Bush years.
Despite the fact that the asinine collusion theory has been debunked now by a two-year Special Counsel investigation and a massive Justice Department Inspector General’s report, and one Russia story after another has fallen violently by the wayside, Maddow continues to lead the pack in the “bombholing” technique, i.e. covering up an old error with a new bombshell.
This week might be the ultimate example: sidestepping the collapse of one evidenceless intelligence-community assertion by doubling down on another one in the story of Kilimnik, who will become the most famous Ukrainian in history before this is over. In fact, right on cue, on Friday, Maddow said, “If you hit Control-F, Kilimnik comes up 754 times in the Mueller report.”
What is that, guilt by Control-F? Can this get any sillier?
The recording of last night's (2021-04-16) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0432
Also, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com there's a fresh batch of not-necessarily-radio-useful but worthwhile items that I set aside for you while gathering the show together, such as:
Silver-painted beggar children. This is poison for them, breathing it and having it on their skin. (via NagOnTheLake)
This forest of peacefully collapsing old cars is like a scene in an old Walt Kelly /Pogo/ comic book where innocent toddler versions of the characters (Albert Alligator, Churchy La Femme, Pogo Possum) are slowly poling a flatboat through a dark swamp of pareidolia monsters.
Transformation of a pristine lake to a vast dead plain of trash, much of it drink bottles. There’s no reversing this, not in a thousand years. And it isn’t just here.
A brilliant, wonderful, sparklingly edited film about a doorman/bouncer who seems, for all his unexamined bigotry, immigration hypocrisy and collection of weapons, a sympathetic character, a good man fulfilling his responsibilities. You like him and his motorcycle-helmeted mate and you want their little family to prosper. Just ten minutes and you’ve been through the wringer.
And Ze Frank on the subject of rap jaw ants, specifically Mildred.
p.s. Email me your written work and I'll read it Friday night on the radio on the very next MOTA. That's what I'm here for.
— Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com