Cool Coast | 6 New Cases | Brown & Manning | 1975 Pastoral | Supes Notes | Tipped Truck | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Mexi-Klezmer | Spring Moon | Suffering Comrade | Ukiah Rhythmettes | Malay Plane | Loaded Truck | Avoid Probate | Boonville Morning | Mussel Quarantine | Desalinization | Comic Guilt | Vocational Programs | Hopland Shed | Planning Cancelled | Intercept Turnaround | Nagging Urge | AIDS Aid | Oakland Coliseum | Former Pres | Dividing Line | Reporter's Alert
VERY WARM INLAND TEMPERATURES will continue through Thursday, with a gradual cool down into early next week. Coastal areas will remain seasonable with late night and morning low clouds and patchy fog each day. No appreciable rain is expected during the next seven days, though isolated thunderstorms are possible over Trinity County Friday afternoon and evening. Light rain is also possible across Del Norte County on Tuesday. (NWS)
6 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
THE CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL Garberville office has officially identified the driver of the 2019 Hyundai Accent that collided with 41-year-old Fort Bragg man Paul Brown in the early morning hours of Friday, May 7 on Sherwood Road outside of Willits. Mr. Brown subsequently died of his injuries. The driver was identified as 26-year-old Willits man Aaron Lee Manning who was driving the vehicle that struck Brown who later died along the roadside from his injuries. Manning, having initially left the scene, surrendered to the CHP voluntarily the next day and the case is under investigation.
by Mark Scaramella
WHEN is an “update” not an update? When it’s a giant copy and paste job of the entire Supervisor's agenda, including a list of the hundreds of letters the Board received (but not the letters themselves, some of which might actually be interesting), each agenda item preceded with the word “APPROVED.”
SUPERVISOR MULHEREN could have saved herself and us a lot of trouble if she’d just provided a link to the agenda with the heading: “We approved everything the CEO asked us to approve, like we always do because she scares us."
HOWEVER, in fairness, Supervisor Mulheren’s “update” also included a bit of humor for her activities the prior Friday: “I'm sure I did something on Friday I just can't remember now. LOL (Did you read this far anyway?)”
FOR MONDAY Supervisor Mulheren’s update reported, “I had a LAFCO meeting.”
(Mulheren apparently assumes that everyone knows what “LAFCO” stands for and what it does or doesn’t do.)
She continued, “It’s important that people understand that LAFCO truly controls how communities are developed (or not). The Ukiah Valley has many urgent needs and some very important items in front of LAFCO. This is not a board that has been very transparent in the past and its my goal to daylight some of the challenges that have controlled this Board for a decade or more. It’s time to work together to accomplish community goals.”
PERHAPS in the oft-cited/seldom-complied-with spirit of daylight and transparency, Supervisor Mulheren might tell us what some of those “challenges” and “urgent needs” and “community goals” are that the redundant and unnecessary LAFCO people can help accomplish.
ON TUESDAY May 11 (yesterday) Supervisor Mulheren followed that “update” up with a request to pull Item 4a from Tuesday’s consent calendar:
Item 4a. “Direction to Staff to Begin Fully Assessing, Billing and Collecting Cannabis Business Tax, in the Current Calendar Year, to Initially Focus Expanded Application on Unlawful Cannabis Cultivation Sites that are Subject to Other Enforcement Action; Further to Direct Treasurer-Tax Collector, County Counsel and Code Enforcement to Provide a Report at the End of the Year with Recommendations (Sponsor: Supervisor Williams)”
Mulheren wanted to ask a question about whether pot growers who don’t grow any pot still have to pay the “minimum cannabis tax.”
BOARD CHAIR Dan Gjerde then asked for a motion to approve the rest of the consent calendar… Oops! The Clerk of the Board reminded Gjerde that, for once in a long time, Item 4a was the only item on the consent calendar! After a few pot growers griped about the unfairness of the minimum tax when in many cases the drought will essentially eliminate their (legal) cultivation, the Supes cried a few croc tears about the put-upon pot growers — boo hoo years of untaxed income and vacations in Bali — and then voted 5-0 to leave the minimum tax in place, unchanged — the entire exercise thus circling right back to where it started.
SUPERVISOR JOHN HASCHAK reported that he has been talking to a couple of strategic plan preparation consultants and hopes to have a strategic plan prepared before the end of 2021 — assuming the county doesn’t dry up and blow away or burn down before then. Fortunately, Hashack is also working on assembling a drought task force. Unfortunately, another couple of weeks have gone by and not only is there no drought task force, but there are still no water conservation mandates being mentioned, much less issued. The wine-grape dominated “Drought Preparedness Planning Committee,” however, has issued some “tough” suggestions for locals to re-use shower water, put bricks in their toilet tanks, spread more mulch, water early in the day, let lawns go brown, etc. Funny, they have not suggested that any grape growers convert their water-intensive vineyards to dry-farming, or let some of their vineyards “go brown.”
THE BOARD also talked a lot about funding for future “shovel ready” water storage and distribution projects. (There are none in place and none being prepared, but this is Mendo, so no surprise.) The closest anybody got to a specific was that State Senator Mike McGuire was “excited” by the prospect of running a water pipe along the old railroad line as part of the multi-hundreds of million dollar conversion of the rail line to the mythical “Great Redwood Trail” to Arcata. Parched Mendo residents can therefore look forward to a day way off in the future when there will be plenty of money for a trail and some trail Democrats working hard on it and maybe even a pipe — with water from…? Never mind, it’ll never happen.
THE BOARD then spent a few minutes attempting to come up with a way to rank the many projects and equipment requests flowing in — most from various county departments — which might be funded using the $22.6 million PG&E disaster settlement money. But after several methods of ranking were batted around — 1-10? 1-20? Yes or No? A, B, C, D?, weighing before ranking?, “Gosh, this is tough,” etc. — the Board decided there was no real rush and some of the projects might be funded by other grants, and some of them might be postponable, and…
BOARD CHAIR Dan Gjerde declared that the Board has set May 31 as the deadline for requests for the $22.6 million (conveniently failing to request that a press release be sent out notifying community members, agencies and districts of said deadline).
CEO ANGELO added that after May 31, the Board will deal with next fiscal year’s 2021-2022 budget, after which time they might get around to the PG&E money, perhaps in July or August or… Then they will follow that with how to spend the $16 million in “CARES (American Rescue Act/Biden Bucks) money. Everybody agreed that the best way to spend all this money is to not spend it any time soon, otherwise they run the risk of spending it on the wrong emergency.
HOW TO BEAT THE RECALL, by Gavin Newsom. The Governor is proposing that millions of “poor and middle-class Californians” get tax rebates of up to $1,100 as part of a “broader pandemic recovery plan” made possible by the $75 billion state budget surplus. Taxpayers making between $30,000 and $75,000 a year would get a $600 payment. Households making up to $75,000 with at least one child, including immigrants in the country illegally who file taxes, would get an extra $500 payment. “We believe people are better suited than we are to make determinations for themselves on how best to use these dollars,” Newsom managed with a straight face.
MAY 5, 1864: American journalist Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman, better known by her pen name Nellie Bly, was born in Cochran's Mills, Pennsylvania. A pioneer in her field, she launched a new kind of investigative journalism, working undercover to report on a mental institution from within.
Her report, later published in book form as 'Ten Days in a Mad-House', caused a sensation, prompting the asylum to implement reforms, and brought her lasting fame. She also was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in seventy-two days, in emulation of Jules Verne's fictional character Phileas Fogg.
BOB VILMS WITH A VERY BAD IDEA:
"Along with some back up support from AV Fire Department and Cal Fire, and a permit issued by Cal Fire, The Land [Peachland] is going to burn approximately 6 acres on our property May 15-16, and we wanted to give everyone a heads up in case you notice some smoke coming from our property.
This area is deep within our property and borders no neighboring properties. Each area is contained by approximately 10’ wide dirt roads and scratch lines. We have split the territory into 4 sections, and will burn one section at a time. We have hydrants and hoses stationed around the fire, and will have 1-2 fire engines on hand to provide back up. 10-15 members of our team will be administering the fire and holding the lines.
How do we determine whether or not we will proceed with the burn?
In the days leading up to the burn we will be monitoring both wind speed and humidity levels in the weather forecast, and if the conditions look hazardous, typically with winds consistently eclipsing 10 mph, we will either cancel the burn, or modify it. We will also be monitoring the weather on the day of the burn every hour. Of course, if the county, the weather service declares a red flag day, or burns are suspended, that will also cancel our plans.
Prescribed Burning has really transformed our relationship to fire and community. If you’d like to learn more info about it, I recommend visiting the California Prescribed Burn Association’s website, https://calpba.org/. If you have questions or would like more info on our burn, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AND NOW LOCUSTS. The Apocalypse seems right on schedule, what with the cicadas reawakening after their 17-year sleep to provide background music for drought, plague, mass shootings, and fifty million Trumpers. Boonville, however, slumbers on, which is what those of us who love the Anderson Valley like about our detachment from the chaos beyond.
WE KEEP a close eye on Northcoast crime, not because we're any more morbid than the next person, but because it's a kind of daily report on the state of the economy. Drugs and drug-related arrests by far outstrip arrests for property crimes.
JUST this week in the small town of McKinleyville, Humboldt County, a raid on an ordinary-looking tract home revealed “five pounds of methamphetamine, a digital scale, and packaging. Agents also located a stolen .357 revolver that had been reported stolen to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department during a residential burglary on Highway 36 in 2017. Agents also located and seized approximately $6500 in US currency pending an asset forfeiture investigation.”
THAT'S a lot of crank for a small town, and $6500 is a lot of cash, so business seems to be booming. The brief respite from despair that fuels the mass resort to substances which, for a day or so, puts the despair on hold, has caused woe upon woe, and not a family in this country has been untouched. Thus spaketh the editor of an outback weekly who may or may not know what he's talking about, but does despair himself at seeing so many young people wrecked way before life throws all of us up on the rocks.
MY DRUG EXPERIENCES were mild alongside a lot of those I read about. I took those white cross speed pills a few times back in college, mescaline and LSD in '68 with the rest of the lemmings, never liked the groggy fog induced by marijuana, never had any desire for downers, and still remember the first and only time I snorted cocaine. That was on an afternoon with a friend whose name Mendo people would recognize; we were about ten miles up on the road to Ukiah from Boonville where, looking south, you could often see that small herd of wild goats that used to roam the Feliz Creek watershed. The sensation I remember was the sudden clearing of my nostrils, and the second sensation was the sight of Deputy Squires giving us the fisheye as he drove past the turnout where us two junkies furtively did a line, my one and only, although cocaine was all over Mendocino County at the time, circa '75.
END TIMES UPDATE: Gas stations from Florida to Atlanta and Virginia were reporting shortages at the pumps on Monday night, and a state of emergency was declared by the governor of North Carolina, as the effects from the four-day shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline began to be felt. The 5,500 mile pipeline, running from Texas to New Jersey, carries 45 per cent of the fuel for the East Coast, and was shut down from Friday until Monday. Atlanta was among the first to report shortages, with motorists reporting on social media their frustrations as they went to three gas stations looking for fuel. Patrick de Haan, an energy expert who runs Gas Buddy gasoline tracker, tweeted: “Conserve, conserve, conserve.” A Russian-based hacking group, DarkSide, on Monday apologized for the hack, saying they were not political and did not seek “societal consequences.” They said they were only in it for the money.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 11, 2021
BAILEY BLUNT, Fort Bragg. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, stolen property, county parole violation.
CALEB LOURASH, Willits. DUI.
WILLIAM MOON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting, probation revocation.
JASON RAY, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
MARIO RODRIGUEZ, Covelo. Domestic battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, probation revocation.
JEREMIAH SKINNER, Laytonville, probation revocation.
DOUGLAS WHIPPLE III, Redwood Valley. Criminal threats, offenses while on bail, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
TRAVELS IN MEXICO
by Paul Theroux
There is not a big city in Mexico — no matter how charming its plaza, how atmospheric its cathedral, how wonderful its food, or how illustrious its schools — that is not in some way fundamentally grim, with a big-box store, a Sam's Club, and an industrial area, a periphery of urban ugliness that makes your heart sink. Because this is Mundo Mexico on the plain of snakes, its citizens are overlooked by the government, its workers exploited and underpaid, its teachers belittled, nearly all its city dwellers living in small spaces. But the people are making the best of it, because it was my experience that Mexicans might be mockers and teasers, but they are not idle complainers.
When an oppressed group in Mexico airs a grievance, it doesn't mumble. It takes to the streets with resolve, holds a demonstration in the main plaza, camps out in front of a ministry in a defiant vigil, burns a bus, blocks a motorway, or, in the case of the Zapatistas in Chiapas, arrives on horseback out of the jungle and declares itself an insurrection, taking over an entire state and eventually running it so well that the government (out of shame or indifference or confusion) turns its back on the rebels, pretends they don't exist, and allows them to create a better way of life.
I made my way through the Puebla suburbs into the numbered streets and the square blocks, following the signs pointing to centro historico. Passing an older but solid hotel, its brick facade decorated with Talaveras, on a corner next to a church — the Hotel San Jose — I parked and ran inside. Yes, they had plenty of rooms, $50 a night, walking distance to the Zocalo and the museums. And that became my home for four nights.
After a long drive and a long walk, I strolled around the Zocalo where a klezmer group was playing. Klezmer? Yes, violins, guitars, a drum, a trumpet, a trombone. Two players were bearded, in black vests and black fedoras. None were Jewish, they told me later; they simply loved the sound. They had seen videos of klezmer music on the Internet and decided to learn how to play its strangulated and sobbing tremolos, its flatulent oompahs, its Bulgarian syncopations, and its Polish mazurkas, bewitching the many Mexicans who crowded the arcade. One child was provoked to a stumbling dance at the feet of the fiddler, who was sawing his heart out with his eyes shut.
by Ernest Hemingway
In 1919 he was traveling on the railroads in Italy, carrying a square of oilcloth from the headquarters of the party written in indelible pencil and saying here was a comrade who had suffered very much under the whites in Budapest and requesting comrades to aid him in any way. He used this instead of a ticket. He was very shy and quite young and the train men passed him on from one group to another. He had no money and they fed him behind the counter in railway eating houses.
He was delighted with Italy. It was a beautiful country, he said. The people were all kind. He had been in many towns, walked much, and seen many pictures. Giotto, Massacio, and Piero del Francesca he bought reproduction of and carried them wrapped in a copy of Avanti. Mantegna he did not like.
He reported at Balogna and I took him with me up into the Romagna where it was necessary I go to see a man. We had a good trip together. It was early September and the country was pleasant. He was a Magyar, a very nice boy and very shy. Horthy’s men had done some bad things to him. He talked about it a little. In spite of Hungary, he believed altogether in the world revolution.
"But how is the movement going in Italy?" he asked.
"Very badly," I said.
"But it will go better," he said. "You have everything here. It is the one country that everyone is sure of. It will be the starting point of everything."
I did not say anything.
At Bologna he said goodbye to us to go on the train to Milano and then to Acosta to walk over the pass into Switzerland. I spoke to him about the Mantegnas in Milano. "No," he said, very shyly, he did not like Mantegna. I wrote out for him where to eat in Milano and the addresses of comrades. He thanked me very much, but his mind was already looking forward to walking over the pass. He was very eager to walk over the pass while the weather held good. He loved the mountains in the autumn. The last I heard of him the Swiss had him in jail near Sion.
THE MALAY PLANE
Peer high in the sky
From our home here in Mendo
You see that contrail?
Inching west to east
Aiming for a Cape landfall
And then veering south
Since we first saw it
We’ve known that it must come from
Some far foreign place
Maybe Japan? Guam?
China? Or Indonesia?
Yes. We decided.
Knowing nothing about it
Or the Malay Plane.
Now when we see it
Coming from the west we say
“Malay Plane come in.”
— Jim Luther
HOW TO AVOID PROBATE
by Paul Modic
My father was dying and when I asked him for some last words of advice he said, “Never grow old.”
His brother had guided him financially for decades so that during his retirement he doubled his savings with Uncle Ed's investments.
About six months before he died Uncle Ed checked with us and then had Pop sign his life savings and house over to him and gave him power of attorney. Soon after he died Uncle Ed divided the estate in fourths and wrote each of the four siblings an equal check.
Done and done: no probate, lawyer, courts or nothin'. Reading the story last week in the AVA about the woman's experience with probate brought back these memories of how easy it can be accomplished. Of course this is with non-combative siblings and a trustworthy uncle: perhaps do not try this at home?
But for us, what a breeze. (Each of us bought a house with the largesse.)
Thanks Pop and Uncle Ed, RIP.
MUSSEL QUARANTINE ORDER Effective May 1 through October 31, 2021
A quarantine is hereby established on all species of mussels taken for human consumption by recreational sport harvesters from the ocean shore of California. The quarantine area extends from the Oregon border south to the Mexican border, including all bays, inlets, and harbors. This quarantine is established to protect and preserve the public health under the authority of Section 131056 of the California Health and Safety Code. During the quarantine season, mussels may concentrate naturally occurring toxins that are highly poisonous to humans.
HOW ABOUT DESAL?
We continue to read about the impending crisis resulting from drought at the same time that consideration is being given to permitting the growth of cannabis, which requires water on a scale greater than grapes or almonds. I have seen discussions about robbing Peter to pay Paul by shipping water from the north to the Central Valley. I have seen no mention of the obvious solution developed by the Israelis decades ago. We have plenty of sunlight, wave power and even thermal energy if needed. The obvious, but unmentioned, goal ought to be desalinization. Can anyone explain why we do not see this discussed, let alone implemented?
Paul S. Treuhaft
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Many things that I purchased from the Dollar Store ten or fifteen years ago look like high-quality items, and of course are no longer available there. The folding bookcase I sent my daughter off to college with was $15 at the time. Last time I looked online they were about $75. When I take the glass candle-holder that I paid a dollar for to outdoor craft events (as a paperweight), people swoon over it and ask me where I got it. Things you thought were makeshift items for poor people now look like quality stuff.
MCOE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS for Vocational Programs: Medical Assisting and Dental Assisting
The Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) is currently enrolling students in two of its vocational programs: the Medical Assisting Program and the Dental Assisting Program. Applications are available online at www.mcoe.us/student-programs-services/adult-programs/professional-certificates, and are due Friday, June 4.
Medical assistants work alongside physicians, mainly in outpatient or ambulatory care facilities, such as health clinics and assisted living centers. Their duties generally include administrative and clinical responsibilities, including updating medical charts and scheduling appointments, as well as preparing patients for a doctor’s examination and collecting laboratory samples, among many other duties. Medical assisting is a fast-growing occupation, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it can be an entry point for those interested in becoming nurses.
Like medical assistants, dental assistants are also in high demand and they also perform both administrative and clinical duties. Dental assistants often work in dental clinics or dental offices. They prepare patients for treatments and teeth cleanings, process x-rays, and work with patients on billing issues, among other duties. Becoming a dental assistant is the first step in becoming a registered dental assistant, and additional specialty certificates are available after that.
In Ukiah, the Medical Assisting Program runs from August through May. Classes are held Wednesday and Saturday from 8:30 — 4:00 PM. The program requires 460 classroom hours and a 180-hour externship, which includes 80 administrative hours and100 clinical hours. The program is limited in enrollment numbers and it costs $4,500, which can be paid in two installments.
The Dental Assisting program runs from August through December. Classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:15 PM — 9:15 PM. The 18-week course prepares students for front and back office dental assisting, including chairside and Dentrix software training. At the conclusion of the classroom training, students must complete a 120-hour externship with a dental practice. The program is limited to 8 students and it costs $4,000, which can be paid in two installments.
Successful applicants in this competitive process will have high school diplomas or the equivalent. These courses are college level curriculum. Medical assisting students must undergo a medical screening, a background check and a drug test. Dental assisting students must also undergo a medical screening.
Once they have completed the program, medical assisting students will be prepared for state certification testing with the California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants.
For more information about MCOE’s workforce development programs, call 707-467-5123 or email email@example.com.
PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING CANCELLATION notice for May 20, 2021 is posted on the department website at: mendocinocounty.org/government/planning-building-services/meeting-agendas/planning-commission
Please contact staff with any questions.
James F.Feenan, Commission Services Supervisor, Mendocino County Planning & Building Services, Direct Line: (707) 234-6664
REPORTERS ONCE CHALLENGED THE SPY STATE. NOW, THEY'RE AGENTS OF IT
by Matt Taibbi
Former CIA director John Brennan was a media villain, now he’s media himself. What a difference a decade makes.
Just over ten years ago, on July 25, 2010, Wikileaks released 75,000 secret U.S. military reports involving the war in Afghanistan.
The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel helped release the documents, which were devastating to America’s intelligence community and military, revealing systemic abuses that included civilian massacres and an assassination squad, TF 373, whose existence the United States kept “protected” even from its allies.
The Afghan War logs came out at the beginning of a historic stretch of true oppositional journalism, when outlets like Le Monde, El Pais, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, The New York Times, and others partnered with sites like Wikileaks. Official secrets were exposed on a scale not seen since the Church Committee hearings of the seventies, as reporters pored through 250,000 American diplomatic cables, secret files about every detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and hundreds of thousands of additional documents about everything from the Iraq war to coverups of environmental catastrophes, among other things helping trigger the “Arab Spring.”
There was an attempt at a response — companies like Amazon, Master Card, Visa, and Paypal shut Wikileaks off, and the Pentagon flooded the site with a “denial of service” attack — but leaks continued. One person inspired by the revelations was former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who came forward to unveil an illegal domestic surveillance program, a story that won an Oscar and a Pulitzer Prize for documentarian Laura Poitras and reporters Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill. By 2014, members of Congress in both parties were calling for the resignations of CIA chief John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, both of whom had been caught lying to congress.
The culmination of this period came when billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar launched The Intercept in February 2014. The outlet was devoted to sifting through Snowden’s archive of leaked secrets, and its first story described how the NSA and CIA frequently made errors using geolocation to identify and assassinate drone targets. A few months later, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden admitted, “We kill people based on metadata.”
Fast forward seven years. Julian Assange is behind bars, and may die there. Snowden is in exile in Russia. Brennan, Clapper, and Hayden have been rehabilitated and are all paid contributors to either MSNBC or CNN, part of a wave of intelligence officers who’ve flooded the airwaves and op-ed pages in recent years, including the FBI’s Asha Rangappa, Clint Watts, Josh Campbell, former counterintelligence chief Frank Figliuzzi and former deputy director Andrew McCabe, the CIA’s John Sipher, Phil Mudd, Ned Price, and many others.
Once again, Internet platforms, credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard, and payment processors like PayPal are working to help track down and/or block the activities of “extremists.”
This time, they’re on the same side as the onetime press allies of Wikileaks and Snowden, who began a course reversal after the election of Donald Trump.
Those outlets first began steering attention away from intelligence abuses and toward bugbears like Trumpism, misinformation, and Russian meddling, then entered into partnerships with Langley-approved facsimiles of leak sites like Hamilton 68, New Knowledge, and especially Bellingcat, a kind of reverse Wikileaks devoted to exposing the misdeeds of regimes in Russia, Syria, and Iran — less so the United States and its allies. The CIA’s former deputy chief of operations for Europe and Eurasia, Marc Polymeropolous, said of the group’s work, “I don’t want to be too dramatic, but we love this.”
After the Capitol riots of January 6th, the War on Terror came home, and “domestic extremists” stepped into the role enemy combatants played before. George Bush once launched an all-out campaign to pacify any safe haven for trrrsts, promising to “smoke ’em out of their holes.”
The new campaign is aimed at stamping out areas for surveillance-proof communication, which CNN security analyst and former DHS official Juliette Kayyem described as any online network “that lets [domestic extremists] talk amongst themselves.”
Reporters pledged assistance, snooping for evidence of wrongness in digital rather than geographical “hidey holes.”
We’ve seen The Guardian warning about the perils of podcasts, ProPublica arguing that Apple’s lax speech environment contributed to the January 6th riot, and reporters from Verge and Vice and The New York Times listening in to Clubhouse chats in search of evidence of dangerous thought. In an inspired homage to the lunacy of the War on Terror years, a GQ writer even went on Twitter last week to chat with the author of George Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech about imploring the “authorities” to use the “Fire in a Crowded Theater” argument to shut down Fox News.
Multiple outlets announced plans to track “extremists” in either open or implied cooperation with authorities. Frontline, ProPublica, and Berkley Journalism’s Investigative Reporting Program used “high-precision digital forensics” to uncover “evidence” about the Boogaloo Bois, and the Huffington Post with the “sedition hunters” at the Twitter activist group “Deep State Dogs” to help identify a suspect later arrested for tasering a Capitol police officer. One of the Huffington Post stories, from February, not only spoke to a willingness of the press to work with law enforcement, but impatience with the slowness of official procedure compared to “sleuthing communities.”
The FBI wants photos of Capitol insurrections to go viral, and has published images of more than 200 suspects. But what happens when online sleuthing communities identify suspects and then see weeks go by without any signs of action? There are hundreds of suspects, thousands of hours of video, hundreds of thousands of tips, and millions of pieces of evidence… the FBI’s bureaucracy isn’t necessarily designed to keep organized.
The Intercept already pushed out founding members Poitras and Greenwald, and shut down the aforementioned Snowden archive to “focus on other editorial priorities” — parent company First Look Media soon after launched a partnership with “PassionFlix,”whose motto is, “Turning your favorite romance novels into movies and series.”
Last week, they announced a new project in tune with current media trends: It hasn’t escaped the notice of some current and former Intercept staffers that combing through the hacked private communications of ordinary people in an FBI-like hunt for “extremists” is more or less the exact opposite of the company’s original mission, which focused on the institutional abuses of the very counterintelligence and law enforcement bureaucracies they now seem anxious to aid.
“What a turnaround,” one former Intercept employee, who was there for the company’s early years, said last week. “The answer to white supremacy is not to bring the War on Terror home.”
“That a media outlet founded in order to battle mass surveillance of ordinary citizens and to safeguard privacy rights is now trolling through stolen digital data of private citizens in order to expose and punish them for thought crimes and ideological dissent is as grotesque as it is ironic,” says Greenwald.
THE CALIFORNIA AIDS DRUG ASSISTANCE PROGRAM in Mendocino County
In Mendocino County, we support all of our residents in leading fulfilled and autonomous lives. One way we do this is through the California AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), established in 1987 to help ensure HIV-positive uninsured and under-insured individuals have access to their life-saving medications.
Part B of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 (Public Law 111- 87) provides grants to U.S. states and territories. ADAP is a state and territory administered program authorized under Part B that provides FDA-approved medications for people living with HIV or AIDS that have limited or no health coverage from private insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare. ADAP funds may also be used to purchase health insurance for eligible clients and for services that enhance access to, adherence to, and monitoring of drug treatments.
When taken as prescribed, HIV medications can decrease the amount of HIV present in a person's blood to be too low to measure. This prevents HIV disease from progressing and allows people to live long and healthy lives. It also protects the health of their sex partners, because people cannot pass HIV through sex when they have undetectable levels of HIV. This concept known as Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U).
To be eligible for the ADAP program, a client must: Be a resident of California; have a positive HIV/AIDS diagnosis; be at least 18 years old; have an annual Modified Adjusted Gross Income not exceeding 500% Federal Poverty Level based on household size and income; and not be fully covered by Medi-Cal or any other third party payer.
How to Apply
We welcome new inquiries and clients from around Mendocino County. Schedule an appointment by calling (707) 472-2710 to speak with a Mendocino County Public Health State Certified ADAP Enrollment Worker. We look forward to meeting you at one of three certified sites in Mendocino County.
MLB ORDERS OAKLAND A’S to look at relocation from Oakland as stadium search continues
NOT LONG AGO George McGovern complained to me that he was having trouble getting lecture dates as he was no longer known to the rising generation despite his long senatorship and presidential candidacy. Briskly, I solved this problem: Tell the lecture bureau that you are a FORMER president. As an ex-president, your lecture fees will go up. Since only a few of us here in the United States of Amnesia actually know that you were NOT elected president in 1972, we will pledge ourselves to keep your secret. I fear that George did not fall apart with incontinent laughter. But then he still believes that there is an Alaska, while to me that balmy tropical state, with its baroque capital, Duluth, is so much dream-stuff and ever-changing. Do I speak now of art, perhaps? Perhaps.
— Gore Vidal
REPORTER’S ALERT: PART V
by Ralph Nader
Reporters at major newspapers and magazines are hard to reach by telephone. Today it is increasingly hard to converse with them about timely scoops, leads, gaps in coverage, and corrections to published articles.
We started an online webpage: Reporter’s Alert. From time to time, we will use Reporter’s Alert to present suggestions for important reporting on topics that are either not covered or not covered thoroughly. Reporting that just nibbles on the periphery won’t attract much public attention or be noticed by decision-makers. Here is the fifth installment of suggestions:
1. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, has just reported staggering quarterly earnings. This achievement, no doubt assisted by policies of the Federal Reserve, makes the following statement by him on January 21, 2021, a wonderful opportunity for reportorial follow up:
“I’ve been to a lot of meetings with presidents and prime ministers and senators and congressmen, and the selfishness and parochialism with the business folks is just absolutely outrageous.”
What did Mr. Dimon mean by such a judgment of his peers in the business world? He is known to be outspoken. There might be a provocative story should he choose to elaborate. But first, he has to be asked.
2. The scrutiny of Internet advertising is much less than the attention formally given to print advertising before the Internet. The major trade journal, Advertising Age, led by the legendary columnist, Stanley Cohen, was often very critical of the advertising industry. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) even required, at one time, specific advertising claims to have substantiation filed with the agency. Today, the giant’s Google, Facebook, and other masters of the Internet rely heavily on ad revenues, their Achilles Heel. How effective are these ads? Is their fine-tuned targeting based on privacy invasions? What is Google et al. doing in their backrooms?
3. Speaking of corruption, what safeguards are being placed over the trillions of dollars streaming into all corners of the country from Washington legislation? In the $31 billion proposed for the reservations of the First Nations, there is also $5 million allocated to oversee disbursements. What is being done to catch and punish any waste, fraud, and abuse on what is spent inside and outside the US? Wherever there are government contracts, grants, and loans, there must be consistent media digging and reporting.
4. Billions of dollars of imported foods are coming to the United States labeled as “organic.” How is this claim being verified? What does the U.S.D.A. do to assure its labels are truthful? Any inspectors? What evasions have been uncovered? The temptation to sell the organic label but not the real organic fruits, vegetables, and other foodstuffs are everywhere. Are any of the major environmental or consumer groups (Greenpeace, NRDC, Friends of the Earth, Consumer Reports) monitoring this situation? Is the Customs Bureau doing anything?
5. It is increasingly difficult, especially in an Internet Age, to quit your vendor. Some of these obstacles are due to complexities in the relationship. For example, compare banks today with banks in the 1960s. But much of this lock-in is deliberate – sometimes with penalties for leaving – requiring consumers to go through hoops. Try getting out of your Amazon Prime “Membership.” See how leaving Amazon compares to your one-click purchases from Mr. Jeff Bezos. Moving from brokerage and credit card firms is needlessly bureaucratic – after one spends hours trying to get through to the right persons (forget about one-stop quitting in an era of much-touted one-stop shopping).
Then there are the “dark moments,” where corporate coercion sells you stuff you didn’t ask for or know about. There are also vendor tricks for upgrading your sales category. This is a controlling mechanism by vendors which also dilutes the effects of competition – a kind of barrier to the mobile choice of vendors. There is much to investigate here that is sometimes rooted in the pits of the omnipresent fine print contracts.
6. Just who are those state legislators in the GOP brazenly harassing certain categories of voters? How dare they do such a thing in plain sight – after their right-wing corporate attorneys do the devious drafting of the bills? Creating crazy hurdles to block voters (such as difficult IDs, requiring notarized signatures, and many more obstacles reported often in the media) is over-regulating, harassing, intimidating, and purging voters. So too are bills in Florida and Texas criminalizing or entrapping free speech street protests.
Profile these incinerators of democracy, these closeted bigots, and venomous beasts of prey who target the most vulnerable and discriminated against wannabe voters. Do specific state laws provide criminal penalties for officials implementing these shredders of voting rights? If not, why not? Are private remedies too onerous or non-existent? These abuses should get at least as much opprobrium, censorship, and demands for resignation as “no-touch” sexual harassment receives.
7. During meetings or telephone conversations with newspaper editors, I urge them to do random surveys of how difficult it is for ordinary citizens to simply get through to their government agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. Editors immediately praise the suggestion and then do nothing.
Many zillions of hours are wasted waiting on the phone for government officials (e.g., the budget-strapped IRS). But apart from any budget excuses, for many agencies, avoiding calls or not responding to callers has become part of the culture at many government departments. Some agencies simply leave their phones off the hook for hours at a time. This occurred before the Covid-19 pandemic. Reporters may not experience this distress because they can get through more often, though they may not like the nature of the response non-response. Media surveys should be conducted by “ordinary people” with ordinary questions, for starters.
Getting through to corporations and their so-called “customer service” departments can offer similar hurdles. Telephone, insurance, and utility companies, for instance, all avoid talking to their customers. Emails are also easily dismissed and, anyhow, emails are not like two-way telephone conversations.
I hope all the above and the prior four Reporter’s Alert lists helps stimulate some reporting on these important topics.