Hot & Cool | Evers Search | Pet Raven | Spiritual Nexus | Konocti Lookout | Lyle's Place | Thornton Hotel | Circus Fan | Crissy Field | Swastika Graffiti | Independence Day | Hate Crime | Mask Reconsidered | Ed Notes | Lucky Stiff | Identity Crisis | Abolish Hell | Outdoor Art | Yesterday's Catch | Dynamite Fun | Sprinter Suspension | Water Temple | Assange Blackout | Space Race | Trail Money | Road Builders | Dam Removal | Nuclear Protest | Cosby Release | Urgent Fury
HOT AND DRY WEATHER will persist across the interior through early week. Coastal areas will remain seasonably cool, with nightly stratus intrusions, followed by some afternoon clearing. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Yorkville 99°, Ukiah 98°, Boonville 95°, Fort Bragg 68°
RED BEARD STILL OUT THERE
On Saturday, July 3, 2021 the large scale search and apprehension efforts in Elk for William Evers were concluded due to unavailability of continued mutual aid law enforcement resources.
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office will continue to have a presence and will be conducting smaller scale search and apprehension efforts. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office will also continue to utilize mutual aid assistance and resources as they become available to increase these ongoing efforts.
At the present time William Evers is believed to be traversing and occupying an approximately 7-square mile area. This area is bordered by Highway 128 to the north, South Highway 1 to the west, Philo-Greenwood Road to the south, to approximately 5-miles east from South Highway 1.
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office wants to remind the public that William Evers should be considered armed and dangerous.
Anyone who observes suspicious activity or possible sightings of William Evers, especially those persons who are along Cameron Road, are asked to immediately notify the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office by calling 707-961-2421 for non-emergencies or 9-1-1 if it is an emergency.
WILLIAM ALLAN EVERS
40 year-old white male adult, 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighing 180 pounds with brown eyes, brown hair and reddish facial hair.
Skull or skulls tattoo on his right upper arm, “Demon face” tattoo on his upper left arm and unknown prominent tattoo on his chest.
Currently wanted for an active No Bail arrest warrant by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for Criminal Threats (422 PC) and should be considered ARMED AND DANGEROUS.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Beautiful Raven can be shy at first, but once she becomes comfortable, she is outgoing, fun and playful with toys. Raven seems to be a smart dog who understands what you’re saying or asking of her! She knows sit, down and she shakes with both paws. Raven is easy to walk on leash and has good indoor manners. What a doll! Ms. Raven is 2 years old and 70 pounds.
You can learn more about her at mendoanimalshelter.com. While you’re there, check out all of our canine and feline guests, our services, programs, events, and updates. Visit us on Facebook at: facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/. For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
All I know is bullshistory, but my ancestors run deep in Usal, (U. S. A . Lumber) Westport, Rockport, Branscomb, Mud Creek and Horseshoe Bend.
The road came from Fort Bragg up the coast to Usal, then down the ridge to the junction of Bear Harbor road, then through Whale Gulch to Bear Creek, then down the King Range, back down through Bear Creek and up onto airport ridge. Down into Honeydew, and on up the present day route through Petrolia and into ferndale.
The other roads developed through improved pack trails into what you see today. One of them was the road from Whitethorn to Four Corners.
You are right about Four Corners having deep history. It was near the site of an Indian massacre. The Home of Sally Bell, and a famous crossroads saloon. In modern times it would be known as a spiritual nexus.
— Ernie Branscomb
CLEARLAKE FROM KONOCTI LOOKOUT
KATHY BAILEY WRITES:
After living at Lyle’s Anderson Valley place for the last 34 years or so I am pretty sure I know why Lyle and Grace moved on. Water. Lyle [Luckert] and I graduated from the same high school in Minneapolis somewhat less than 40 years apart, a school that was only a few blocks from a chain of lakes that spanned west Minneapolis, in a town where these waters were connected by creeks and parkways from the western edge across town all the way to the Mississippi River at its eastern boundary. You grow up with that much water and what we have here in Anderson Valley and the crazy complicated water system Lyle developed to make things work for him, will always feel like a struggle. And that was when water was “normal” for here. Figuring out how to make a living on this land was always extremely challenging. At least in Bandon he could count on the water. And how great does that sound right now!
Well, if you miss it I feel sorry for you. The show “Fairy” by Flynn Creek Circus was one of the most outstanding shows I’ve ever seen in any artistic field ever. The storyline is equal parts whimsy and mythos (with plenty of humor), the performances blend beautifully with the story, the feats that were performed I could hardly believe my lying eyes! Such beauty, precision and power, kept taking my breath away. But what was given was tears of gratitude and inspiration that a fellow humans could dedicate themselves to achieving such feats! Please, for your own sake, just go…..At Friendship Park in Mendocino!
DOWNTOWN UKIAH ART DEFACED WITH NAZI SYMBOLS
by Justine Frederiksen
Nazi symbols were found on at least two pieces of artwork in downtown Ukiah earlier this month, actions that are being described as hate crimes by the Mendocino County Inland Jewish Community.
Neil Davis, program administrator for the city of Ukiah, said swastikas were first found drawn on one of the mosaic pieces by Elizabeth Raybee that were recently installed on city trash cans in the Alex R. Thomas Jr. plaza in the center of downtown.
“A family member of Raybee saw the swastikas on June 23, and immediately removed them,” said Davis, explaining that while there are multiple new mosaics, the piece defaced was the one called “Dia de los Muertos.”
Later that same week, artist Lauren Sinnott said swastikas were found on a small mural across the street from the large historical mural she is currently painting along one entire block of Church Street.
Sinnott’s mural was not defaced, but she said someone had used what appeared to be a red, permanent marker to draw a swastika on the forehead of the woman shown seated under the words “Racoon Lodge” in the mural painted on the side of the former Poma TV building at the corner of West Church Street and South School Street.
“And I removed it with rubbing alcohol,” said Sinnott, explaining that she had fortunately treated the mural previously with the graffiti-protection coating she used on her mural. “The last time we put coating on my mural, we offered to coat that mural as well, for free. And I think that was why it was so easy to remove the marker with rubbing alcohol.”
During the pandemic, the woman in the Raccoon Lodge mural had a mask painted over her mouth, and Sinnott said two “S’s”, which she said was the symbol for Schutzstaffel, described on Wikipedia as “a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party,” were painted on the mask. She removed those symbols, as well.
Davis said he reported the instances of graffiti to the Ukiah Police Department, which is what he recommends all community members do as soon as they see graffiti. However, the UPD did not learn of the Nazi symbols being painted on downtown artwork until a week later, on Wednesday afternoon.
“If you can, take a picture, and call the UPD non-emergency line (707-463-6262) to report the graffiti as soon as possible,” said Davis, explaining that the sooner graffiti can be removed, the better.
Davis said he did not know if the UPD would be considering the swastikas hate crimes. When the UPD was asked via phone and email whether the swastikas are being investigated as hate crimes, a representative said the city manager’s office would be handling media inquiries.
In a letter addressed to the Ukiah Police Department, Nancy Horowitz Bertsch, former president of Kol HaEmek, the Mendocino County Inland Jewish Community, and Sherrie Ebyam, the current president, wrote: “These acts of defilement are Hate Crimes. As leaders of our Jewish Community, we will not sit quietly and let this go by. We expect that the city of Ukiah Police Department will investigate, find, and hold accountable those responsible for these crimes.”
Shannon Riley, deputy city manager for the city of Ukiah, shared the letter she sent in response, which states:
“On behalf of the city of Ukiah, I am appalled and saddened by recent acts of graffiti swastikas and other Nazi-style symbols — on two different public art projects. These incidents were discovered and reported to various individuals, including to the two artists, and the vandalism was removed immediately. The Ukiah Police Department was not notified until Wednesday, June 30th, nearly seven days after the first case was discovered. Since that time, information including photographic evidence of the vandalism has been gathered and the detective division of UPD is investigating the incidents as a hate crime. Every effort is being taken to bring justice to the individual(s) responsible for this defilement of public art.
“The community can assist by reporting any information related to these incidents, as well as in-progress acts of graffiti or vandalism, to the UPD through its non-emergency line (707-463-6262). Additionally, existing graffiti can be reported through the use of the city’s mobile app, iWorQ, available on Apple or Android phones.”
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
GRAFFITI HATE CRIMES
To the Editor:
RE: Hate Crimes in Ukiah, Property Desecration via Swastikas
Dear Ukiah Police Department:
It has come to our attention that multiple and intolerable acts of HATE have occurred on city property. On June 23, 2021, swastikas in red marker ink were found on the newly installed mosaic artwork of Elizabeth Raybee in Ukiah’s Alex Thomas Plaza. The specific piece defaced is known as, “Dia de Los Muertos” celebrating the immigration and rituals of our Latinx community. This art project was sponsored by the Arts Council of Mendocino County, the City of Ukiah and North Coast Opportunities’, “Emergency Preparedness Project.” Additionally, swastikas were found on Lauren Sinott’s artwork in progress on the side of Ukiah’s Convention Center.
These acts of defilement are Hate Crimes. As leaders of our Jewish Community we will not sit quietly and let this go by. We expect that the City of Ukiah Police Department will investigate, find, and hold accountable those responsible for these crimes.
Are there surveillance cameras protecting this area to help identify the perpetrators? Please do contact us with your plan for follow through.
Nancy Horowitz Bertsch
INTERESTING PIECE in the current New Yorker called “Kyle Rittenhouse's Fatal Trip to Kenosha,” in which we learn that the then 17-year-old Rittenhouse seemed to think he was out there to do good. He'd had some training as an EMT. He was not, as I and I'm sure many other people have assumed, much of a fascist in any ideological sense. From the now familiar broken home, Rittenhouse liked hanging around with cops and EMT's, the only stable father figures he knew. Of course if he hadn't been carrying a gun that night he probably wouldn't have been attacked, but in the event he was attacked by three guys, the first of whom was certifiably nuts and just out of the bin, the next two, one of them armed with a handgun, and both intending the lad harm, is confirmed by film. The real American fascists quickly adopted the kid as a poster child for Trumpian righteousness and a couple of lawyer-fascists used him to raise money mostly for themselves. Rittenhouse is quoted as saying he wants to go to college and eventually work in the medical field. He isn't a mad dog of the type I saw driving through Boonville this afternoon with the rear window of his red pick-up inscribed, “Fuck Biden.” The message continued but I couldn't see it well enough to transcribe it, but I'm sure it was just as inspirational. I don't care for Biden either, but it's never occurred to me to want to sodomize him. These rightwingers sure do seem to have a lot of unresolved sexual issues.
LIBERTY DAY was off to a booming commercial start in downtown Boonville on Friday and on into Saturday, with veritable shoals of visitors walking around with ice cream cones, and all our eating places crowded with gourmands, local and transient. The Farmer's Market at its handy new site at the Boonville Brewery was just setting up as I cruised past, but the Brewery's tasting room was already busy, and I was told it had been busy since it opened at noon. I like the way the Brewery has opened up its commodious grounds to the community for a variety of activities.
PG&E seems terrorized by its own power lines, hence this scorched earth right-of-way beneath its lines at the Greenwood Bridge, creating a major eyesore at what had been a pleasant vista at the entrance to Hendy Woods.
Lots of folks, as we're now collectively referred to by our chummy media, were arrayed beneath the bridge by the stagnant pools of what's left of the Navarro River. Others, some with small children and enough gear for a week, were trying to figure out how to get down to the water, a tricky process for years now, and it's wayyyyyyy past time for safe paths and direction signs.
JEEZ. As if the lunatics of Q-Anon feel their claim that the government is run by Satanist chomos isn't sufficiently damning, they're now claiming that these same Satanist chomos are also cannibals.
INDIAN CREEK PARK remains closed. Way to go, Mendo County!
Russ Clow had the Woods totally squared away and was the perfect, live-in manager, not only doing all the maintenance himself but squelching drunks and miscellaneous rowdies to keep the park the nicest public venue in the county. (Try Usal on weekends for a truly hellish camping experience.) Then the fat ladies somewhere in Ukiah began to sing, putting all kinds of alienating demands on Russ, and he packed up and moved to Willits, the result being no park for anybody, locals included.
MEASURE B COMMITTEE ATTEMPTS SEPPUKU, FAILS
by Mark Scaramella
Deputy Ukiah City Manager Shannon Riley opened the June 23 Measure B committee meeting with her blunt assessment of the committee’s current role: “This committee is required by the Measure that the voters approved. So we need to exist in some form. My interpretation of the text of the measure is that we can be a fiscal oversight body. We have comparable committees in the city of Ukiah who oversee the sales tax measures. But the problem is, the only way we can effectively do that is if we have a tool to measure it against. Right now those tools are not in place. We don't have any spending authority of our own. Only the Supervisors do. They directed that we use the Kemper report as our strategic plan. But I think there was pretty general agreement that the financial component of that report probably needs a second look. It may not be completely accurate. Without anything to compare the work that's being done against, I don't even know how we can be a fiscal oversight committee. It would involve the support of the supervisors, for sure. But at this point they seem pretty intent on getting the PHF [Psychiatric Health Facility] done and furthering a couple of specific projects. I don't really know what role we can provide in this scenario.”
After some of the usual irrelevent committee discussion the Measure B committee specializes in, Riley continued: “The Board of Supervisors kind of just made their own decisions about moving forward with the PHF, adopting the Kemper report as a strategic plan as is. At this point the Measure B committee is either just a rubberstamp or a scapegoat. I don't believe we are serving any functional purpose here other than, if anything, slowing things down. I believe we could better serve the process for the voters by becoming more of a fiscal oversight group that meets on a less regular basis simply to compare the strategic plan to the work that is actually completed and through the independent audit. Unfortunately, the things that need to be in place to effectively and transparently function are a strategic plan and a financial plan associated with it and an independent audit. We don't have either of those things.”
More irrelevant discussion before Riley added: “The criticism is not that the money has not done anything. But rather that this committee hasn't done anything. County staff and the supervisors have put Measure B money to work. But how effective has this committee been in facilitating or implementing that? That's the discussion that we are having here. We need to use this money more transparently, more effectively, and more efficiently. I don't think this committee is helping that, through no fault of our own [sic]. We tried something. This was new. There is no other agency or county that I know of with this kind of funding system. We thought the system would work, and it is not. We have to figure out a way to make it work better. We are three-fifths of the way into the collection of the money and we have two more years to collect that half-cent sales tax. So we need to be as efficient as possible.”
The question Riley was trying to answer was — Should this aimless, irrelevant committee continue regular meetings, and if so how often?
Supervisor John Haschak, who appointed himself to the Board of Supervisors Ad Hoc Committee a few months ago, went zen: “How do you know how many meetings you should have if you don't know what the meetings are for?”
Ah so, Supervisor.
Haschak then tried to express what the meetings were for, and failed, even by Mendo's low-bar rhetorical standards:
“We talked about the purpose and the strategic plan and the fiscal plan. We are seeing a lot of things being done. I just went by the CRT [Crisis Residential Treatment Center next door to the Schraeder’s Redwood Community Services offices on Dora Street in Ukiah] and it looked beautiful. It is being built. We are going ahead with a PHF. We are doing the MOPS [Mobile Outreach, an obsolete term; the current term is Mobile Crisis Response Unit, much more than just “outreach.”]. The awareness and education program. The aftercare program. We should keep an eye on those things. When we look at the budget overall, do we have a plan besides the year-to-year budget about how we are going to spend the $25 million? We have heard about the PHF costing between maybe $8 million for renovating a project [sic, we have no idea what Haschak means by “renovating a project”] up to $25 million for redoing Whitmore Lane. Where are we between those two numbers? $8 million and $25 million? If we don't have a plan for controlling this money, decisions as to what we want to do with the Measure B money, we are going to spend the $25 million and that will be it and we will have to do reflooring [sic] or something else. There is a big role for the Measure B committee watching how this money is being spent, helping make those recommendations as we go along because what is it going to be? $8 million? Or $25 million? For this PHF. What are the priorities? If we had a big picture of a strategic plan with priorities we might say, Hey, we want the $15 million PHF and we want to spend the remaining $10 million on other programs. I hope the committee can keep working on these issues and come up with a fiscal plan for it all.”
Obviously, the Measure B committee has demonstrated that they are totally incapable of “coming up with a fiscal plan,” or even a lunch plan, and don’t even want to try. Further, the question of how much money will be spent on the PHF is out of the Measure B committee’s hands and out of the Supervisors’ hands. CEO Angelo — who later in the meeting made her remark about there never being enough money — has already declared that the cost of the PHF will be at least $25 million, despite a few lingering questions about how to make sure it’s all spent on the PHF.
Riley replied: “Yes. How do we know how often we could meet if we don't know what we are doing? We had an agreement in place that we could have had a strategic plan and a fiscal plan in place by May and restructure this committee.”
(Note to Ms. Riley: Strategic plan is a redundancy, especially in the county where neither plan nor strategy has been seen in years. And the new one the Supes are paying $75k for or more will not help in the slightest. Look who’s doing it.)
The “agreement” Riley refers to was in the minds of a few Measure B people, but no one else.
The intrepid Riley plunged on. "But with all due respect to the supervisors, they plowed ahead with other plans and went in a totally different direction. I would like to reconvene our ad hoc committee on that and see if we could get to some resolution. But most of these projects have already been committed to. It's a little [sic] cart before the horse. This group is not in my opinion -- and no offense to any of the intelligent, qualified people on this committee [sic] – but we are not having a meaningful impact and no work is being done.”
Without much to go on or anything else to do, the Committee then voted unanimously to move to every other month meetings with an eye toward quarterly if no new tasks for them to do nothing about arise. Since nothing will arise, the Measure B Committee can move to yearly, then once every ten years, to meet the minimum requirement of the original Measure B text.
After years of debating things like what kind of light bulbs should be installed on the training center and two failed attempts at hiring a project manager, no one cares what they do anymore.
IMPROVISING IN THE OPEN:
Benefit event features artmaking in Wild Gardens
by Roberta Werdinger
On Saturday, July 10, from 4 to 7 p.m., "A Corner in the Gardens," a fundraiser event for the Corner Gallery and the Grace Hudson Museum, will take place in-person at the Grace Hudson Museum's Wild Gardens. This event will feature live music by BP3 playing acoustic folk Americana, a wine pull, hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar, and a complimentary beverage. Best of all, eight Ukiah-area artists will, while guests mingle, be creating plein-air art, which will then be up for auction later in the evening.
"Plein air" means "in the open air" in French. Although artists have worked outside for centuries, the practice was popularized in the late 19th century by the French Impressionists, whose bright colors, fine brushstrokes and fascination with variations of light revolutionized painting. Plein-air art exemplified an entire approach to life, one where the artist threw off conventional ideas and met the powers of nature--not exactly singlehandedly, but with brush in hand. Artists made use of the newly invented box easel, with telescopic legs that made it easily portable, and gained access to tubes of paint, freeing them up from the need to mix the paint ingredients themselves. Plein-air excursions could be occasions for social gatherings, since there's always more room to pull up another chair in the great outdoors.
The opportunity to watch and interact with nine artists while they are painting, quilting, metalworking, and laying mosaics should shift this event from an ordinary evening into a performance event. That's the way art quilter Laura Fogg, one of the evening's participants and a board member of Art Center Ukiah, describes it. "Doing performance art is just a completely different can of worms than sitting around my studio all by myself," she comments. "You have to let go of any sense of perfectionism you might own." Distractions might include guests asking, "How did you do that?" as well as the gusts of wind that visit Ukiah on summer evenings. Even while the freehand cut objects she works with might get blown away, Fogg relishes the opportunity to be brought wine and hors d'oeuvres and to create her art in community. "It's just a bang-up idea for a fundraiser," she says.
"It's been a real pleasure partnering with the Art Center Ukiah board to put together this event in support of Ukiah's two long-standing visual arts organizations," says Toni Wheeler, president of the Sun House Guild, which raises private funding to support museum exhibitions and programs. "After 15 months of COVID restrictions, this event will do a lot to reaffirm and reintroduce the vitality of Ukiah's arts community."
Participating artists in addition to Fogg are: painters Carolyn Bakewell, Susan Blackwelder, and Eva Cox; fiber artist Tim Easterbrook; mixed media artist Rose Easterbrook; metalworker Katie Gibbs; and tile mosaic artist Elizabeth Raybee.
All this will be taking place in the Wild Gardens, an ongoing improvisation and collaboration between nature and people. Situated on a spacious plot surrounding the Grace Hudson Museum and Sun House, the Wild Gardens were created as an outdoor education project focusing on Northern California plants and habitats, environmental sustainability, and the culture and land management practices of the Pomo peoples who are the original inhabitants of the greater Ukiah Valley. Opened in 2017, the Gardens include an outdoor classroom, a Pomo fish-trap sculpture, and artisanal benches.
Tickets for "A Corner in the Gardens" are $50, and $35 for those age 35 and younger. They can be purchased by going to the website, www.gracehudsonmuseum.org, or by calling the Museum at (707) 467-2836. Admission will be limited to 60 guests.
The Museum thanks its sponsors for this event: Factory Pipe, the Mendocino Book Company, and Tamar Distillery.
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 3, 2021
HUNTER CASEY, Willits. Controlled substance, ammo possession by prohibited person, probation revocation.
GLENN CLUTTS, Ukiah. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
BRIAN DROULLARD, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
BRIDGETTE FRANK, Covelo. Failure to appear.
OSVALDO GARNICA, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, county parole violation, resisting, probation revocation.
DEREK HADDON, Ukiah. Disobeying court order, failure to appear.
VINCENT HERNANDEZ JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear.
LAMONT JONES JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
VARINA KELLY, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, petty theft, criminal threats, under influence.
CODY LADD, Ukiah. Petty theft, parole violation.
JORGE LANDEROS, Clearlake/Ukiah. Controlled substance, false personation of another, suspended license with priors.
JOSHUA LEWIS, Redwood Valley. DUI.
SHEVELLE PERKINS, Fort Bragg. Burglary.
DERRICK RIDENOUR, Ukiah, Domestic battery, protective order violation, probation revocation.
HARLEY SNIPES, Philo. Domestic battery.
JOSEPH WOODEN, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance, failure to appear, probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Who mentioned M80s? M80s are great and can do some damage but I’ll go one better; I give you the M1000. A few years ago a neighbor showed up with a box of them after a trip down south, “Equal to a quarter stick of dynamite. And they sell them at the fireworks store off I-95 in SCarolina”. He wasn’t lying, M1000s are awe inspiring, delivering a bright flash the size of a small car, and a loud blast that you can feel in your chest +100 ft away. Every once in awhile I’d hear one going off on my neighbor’s property and found out he was using them to blow up stumps. (So M1000s aren’t just for fun, there are practical applications too) What happened to Cherry Bombs is a good question. I haven’t seen a good Cherry Bomb in awhile.
CANNABIS & SHA’CARRI RICHARDSON
by Jonah Raskin
How can you not love 5’-1” Sha’Carri Richardson? She's the super Black athlete with the outrageous name, orange hair, tattooes up and down her muscular arms. Her use of marijuana seems to have eliminated her from this summer’s Tokyo Olympics. Richardson has been suspended from competition for a month.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)—which regulates drug use in global sports—bans all “all natural and synthetic cannabinoids.” That includes weed. And that’s dumb. U.S. Anti-Doping CEO Travis Tygart says, “The rules are clear, but this is heartbreaking.” Indeed it is.
Richardson is one of the fastest humans on the planet. In June 2021, she ran the 100 meters in 10.86 second. That’s tops.
At 21, her career is just beginning. Her big mouth shows no signs of going quiet. “I am it,” she says. “I am who I say I am,” and “Talent is talent. If you got it you go fast.” Richardson also says she’s sorry, though for what isn’t clear.
“I apologize for the fact that I didn’t know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time,” she says.
She explains that she used marijuana to deal with her mother's death. That news hit her hard, plus she says she was stressed about the competition for the Olympics.
I say the anti-doping officials should give Richardson a pass. After all, weed isn’t heroin, steroids or cocaine. According to sport experts, marijuana can relax an athlete and improve performance.
I also say let all the sprinters smoke weed, get loose and run fast. On social media, many fans of the Olympics are behind Richardson. Actress Patricia Arquette says, “This is ridiculous. What are they thinking.” Another fan says, “She should get extra points for winning while on the weed.”
Here’s my all time favorite comment from Richardson: “This is the last time the Olympics don’t see Sha’Carri Richardson. This is the last time the U.S. doesn’t come home with the gold in the 100 meters.”
Perhaps Richardson runs fast and talks wild because she grew up poor in Texas. She played some basketball and football in school, but by the age of nine she knew she wanted to be a sprinter and win medals. She has exceeded her wildest dreams.
Track aficionados have told her to cut her hair, cut her nails and get rid of her eyelashes because they slow her down. Richardson is Richardson, from her size eight shoes to her long bright orange hair.
Along with Muhammad Ali, she’s the greatest. I’ll tie her shoe laces, bring her water, clock her as she runs the 100 meters and point out once again the absurdity of the laws against marijuana.
(Jonah Raskin is the author of Marijuanaland: Dispatches from an American War.)
CORPORATE MEDIA BLACKS OUT ADMISSION THAT WITNESS AGAINST ASSANGE LIED FOR US INDICTMENT
by Oscar Grenfell
Last Saturday, Stundin, a prominent Icelandic biweekly, published revelations that Sigurdur “Siggi” Thordarson, a key witness in the US indictment against Julian Assange, has walked back almost all the allegations he made against the WikiLeaks publisher.
The bombshell report should have been front-page news all over the world. It demolishes the US attempt to prosecute Assange as a dirty-tricks operation, conducted by the intelligence agencies and the top levels of the American government. According to one of their own star witnesses, the US submitted an indictment to the British courts that contains lies. The fabricated document is the basis for Assange’s ongoing imprisonment in the UK and the US bid to extradite him.
One might have thought that media interest in the story would be particularly great in the US, Britain and Australia. The US, after all, is seeking to try Assange on 17 Espionage Act charges, which are a frontal assault on freedom of the press. Britain is indefinitely detaining Assange, a journalist, in a maximum-security prison. And the Australian government, along with the Labor Party opposition, have washed their hands of Assange, despite the fact that he is a persecuted Australian citizen and publisher.
Instead, the response has been one of radio silence. As of today, a Google News search indicates that not a single English-language corporate publication has even referenced the Stundin report or Thordarson’s admission. It would be difficult to conceive of a more complete suppression of significant and newsworthy information. The blackout has been adhered to across the board, without even one publication breaking ranks and informing its readership.
The media embargo is not motivated by concern that the Stundin report stood on shaky ground. The newspaper interviewed Thordarson, meaning that the story came from the horse’s mouth. The reporters, moreover, cited chat logs and other documents provided by Thordarson, which they say substantiates his admission to have lied for the indictment.
The silence is all the more striking given that many of the publications maintaining it, such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the British Guardian and the Sydney Morning Herald, have published editorials and/or opinion pieces branding the attempted US prosecution of Assange as a threat to journalism and press freedom.
Those statements, however, all had a pro forma character. They were couched in the most tepid and non-committal terms, and were not accompanied by any concrete actions or campaign for Assange’s freedom.
In fact, over the past two years, one could chart a law of diminishing returns in the corporate media coverage of Assange. The more the US-led pursuit of Assange has been exposed as a politically-motivated frame-up, the less the newspapers have published about the WikiLeaks founder. The same goes for publicly-funded outlets that claim to offer impartial reportage, untainted by the editorial influence of private owners, such as the British and Australian broadcasting corporations.
Outlets that previously reported every smear and slander against Assange with relish, have increasingly dropped his case altogether. The 2019 finding by United Nations Rapporteur Nils Melzer that the persecution of Assange amounted to state torture was given short shrift. So was the final collapse of Swedish sexual misconduct allegations, which had been used against the WikiLeaks founder for the best part of a decade, including by the media, but never made it past the “preliminary investigation” phase.
Revelations that the US Central Intelligence Agency had illegally spied on Assange and all his associates, while he was a political refugee in Ecuador’s London embassy, were given scant attention, as were reports that this campaign included discussion of kidnapping and murdering the WikiLeaks founder. The same was the case for warnings, including by prominent doctors, that Assange could die in a British prison due to the deterioration of his health, and the powerful defence testimony during the extradition hearings last September.
In other words, the official media has largely run cover for the US government and Justice Department, as the operation to prosecute a journalist has unravelled.
There is a particular reason, however, why the major publications are especially intent on covering up the Stundin revelations. For years, they have sought to justify their participation in what Melzer aptly termed the “public mobbing” of Assange, by questioning or dismissing his journalistic credentials.
The corporate outlets criticised the Trump administration’s Espionage Act charges against Assange, primarily from the standpoint of their potential implications for the mainstream media, while claiming that Assange was a “polarising figure,” a “bad actor” and worse. The main argument they set upon was that Assange was something other than a journalist or publisher. He was an “activist” at best, a “computer hacker” at worst.
The US incorporated Thordarson’s lies into a superseding indictment against Assange, issued in June 2020, precisely to bolster this narrative, and to obscure the fact that the attempted prosecution was an attack on press freedom. Thordarson’s tales of having conspired with Assange to secretly record the conversations of Icelandic politicians, hack into banks and commit other cyber-crimes, are presented in the indictment as fact, and proof that the WikiLeaks founder is nothing more than a common criminal.
When the indictment was released, Thordarson’s credibility was already low. He had previously been convicted in an Icelandic court of impersonating Assange, stealing tens of thousands of dollars from WikiLeaks, and molesting underage boys. The psychiatric assessment presented to those hearings was hardly a glowing character reference, describing the Icelandic man as a sociopath.
The indictment and Thordarson, however, received limited media scrutiny, because his lies dovetailed with those of the corporate press. Now that he has walked back the claims, nothing is said or written.
The response to the Stundin report brands the official media as an adjunct of governments and the intelligence agencies. The Assange case has revealed the willingness of almost the entire corporate media to facilitate and aid a state campaign aimed at destroying a journalist for exposing war crimes, global diplomatic intrigues and government surveillance operations.
The despicable role played by the press has served to undermine the widespread public support that Assange has won for his journalistic exposures, and to create an environment in which governments feel emboldened to be ever-more brazen in their persecution of him. The same function has been played by a host of pseudo-left and trade union organisations, which once claimed to support Assange, but abandoned him long ago.
The Stundin episode again demonstrates that any perspective of securing Assange’s freedom by issuing plaintive appeals to the official institutions of capitalist society, including the corporate media, amounts to a fool’s errand.
In its own way, the media silence indicates the real constituency for the defence of Assange and all democratic rights. The blackout of the Thordarson revelations is a tacit acknowledgement that if the details of Assange’s plight were widely known and discussed, they would provoke mass outrage and opposition from ordinary people. It is the working class, increasingly being propelled into struggle against inequality, austerity and war, that can defeat state frame-ups and guarantee democratic rights, if it is politically-educated and mobilised.
Finally, the episode demonstrates the crucial importance of the fight against online censorship. But for Stundin’s initial article and reports about it by a handful of alternative and anti-war publications, Thordarson’s admission that the US indictment is based on lies would not have appeared anywhere on the entire internet.
GREAT REDWOOD TRAIL: ‘A TRANSFORMATIONAL DAY’
by Hank Sims
In a press conference this morning, state Sen. Mike McGuire announced that the legislature has included $16.5 million toward the “Great Redwood Trail” — the planned hiking trail along the 300-mile abandoned rail line between San Rafael and Humboldt County — in the upcoming state budget.
McGuire, who sponsored the 2018 legislation that transformed the purpose of the North Coast Railroad Authority, the public agency that managed the disused railroad, said the funding represented a “historic” moment in the effort to transition the right-of-way to a trail system.
“This really is the transformational day that we’ve been talking about for years on end,” McGuire said. “To be able to create the trail network that will connect two parts of the state — from the sparkling waters of Humboldt Bay to the busy bay waters in San Francisco.”
McGuire said that $10 million of the monies budgeted will be spent to develop a master plan for the conversion of the line. The plan will analyze the costs of physically converting the right-of-way to meet transportation needs along various segments of the trail, and of maintaining those lines, in addition to funding outreach to and engaging with landowners along the path of the trail.
The remainder of the budgeted money will be used to fund the legal process of railbanking with the federal Surface Transportation Board, and to improve railroad operations on the very southern end of the line, in Marin and Sonoma counties, where passenger and freight rail operations are expected to continue alongside the new trail.
In addition to announcing the funding, McGuire this morning unveiled the design of signage that will be placed along the trail. He said that signs should be going up in communities along the line later this summer.
Throughout, McGuire acknowledged that the actual construction of the entire length of the trail is still a very long way off. A preliminary study delivered to the legislature last year placed potential costs at somewhere between $1 billion and $5 billion. But as representatives from Marin, Mendocino and Humboldt counties noted in the press conference this morning, parts of the trail that pass through urban centers have already been built, and more are currently under construction.
The Humboldt section of the trail would include Arcata’s trail network, the Eureka Waterfront trail and most of the largest and most costly section of the Great Redwood Trail — the remote and landslide-prone Eel River Canyon between Scotia and Dos Rios.
But McGuire touted the economic benefits of the trail to the North Coast and predicted that it would become a “world-wide destination” for recreational tourists.
“The Great Redwood Trail isn’t just going to be the longest rail-trail in America,” he said. “I look at The Great Redwood Trail as the spine for the North Coast, with numerous trails and other recreational opportunities branching off of it — connecting the coast, connecting state and national parks, connecting our communities in beloved force.”
HOPES FOR IMPERILED FISH RISE as FERC approves transfer of Klamath River dam license
by Dan Bacher
In a big step toward the removal of four PacifiCorp dams on the Klamath River, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, recently approved the transfer of the license for the Lower Klamath Hydroelectric Project from PacifiCorp to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, as well as the states of California and Oregon, who will be co-licensees.
The approval of the transfer takes place at a critical year for imperiled salmon populations on the Klamath River, the second largest producer of salmon behind the Sacramento River in California. Biologists from the Yurok and Karuk Tribes have documented a massive fish kill of juvenile Chinook salmon on the Klamath since early May in this record drought year.
“Since 2016, PacifiCorp, along with a coalition of state and federal agencies, tribes, the states of Oregon and California, and other stakeholders, have worked together to propose surrender of the project license, which includes a plan to decommission the four dams on the Klamath River that comprise the Project,” according to a FERC press release. “Today’s transfer is another important step in the ongoing surrender proceeding.”
“Today’s order confirms that the Renewal Corporation has the ability, financially and otherwise, to undertake dam removal, and with the states, as co-licensees, the necessary legal and technical expertise required for such a huge undertaking. The surrender application is still pending before the Commission and is awaiting further environmental review as required under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Commission will continue to engage with all parties and stakeholders to ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate in the surrender proceeding,” the release stated.
Tribal representatives and conservation group representatives praised the approval of the transfer by FERC.
“The transfer of the four dams represents a major milestone in the multigenerational effort to heal the Klamath,” said Yurok Vice Chair Frankie Myers. “This action moves us that much closer to the day when we can begin removing the dams and restoring the river.”
“The Karuk Tribe is very pleased with FERC’s decision,” said Craig Tucker, Natural Policy Consultant for the Karuk Tribe. “It reflects the hard work of our partnership with PacifiCorp, California, Oregon, and the Yurok Tribe. After this year’s massive fish kill, we need dam removal more than ever.”
John McManus, President of the Golden State Salmon Association (GSSA), described the approval as a “big step in the right direction but not in time to avoid this year’s massacre of baby Klamath River salmon. Their loss will greatly constrain future ocean seasons.”
The approval of the transfer comes just days after Interior Secretary Deb Haaland issued a June 11 letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) supporting the removal of the four PacifiCorp dams on the Klamath River located in Northern California and Southern Oregon â” and just one day after the California Fish and Game voted unanimously to approve the petition from the Karuk Tribe to list the Klamath-Trinity River Spring Chinook as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).
“Dam removal will restore salmonid fisheries, reestablish fish passage, improve water quality, and bring new recreation and economic opportunities to the Basin,” Secretary Haaland’s letter states. “Moreover, removal will advance the Biden-Harris administrations’ commitments to combat the climate crisis, increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change; protect public health; conserve our lands, waters, and biodiversity; deliver environmental justice; and fulfill the Federal Government’s trust and treaty responsibilities.”
In a statement, Karuk Chairman Russell ‘Buster’ Attebery praised Secretary Haaland’s letter:
“The Karuk Tribe deeply appreciates Secretary Haaland’s support for Klamath dam removal. With the restoration of the river comes the restoration of our health, our livelihood, our culture, and our systems of socio-ecological resilience. We are grateful we have an Interior Secretary that understands how important these issues are for tribes in the Klamath Basin.”
The four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River that prevent Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead from reaching their historical spawning grounds are slated to be removed in 2023 under an agreement reached between the states of California and Oregon, PacifiCorp, the Karuk Tribe and the Yurok Tribe.
The letter in its entirety can be found here:
Save California Salmon, one of the organizations that worked with 10 native youth on their testimonies before the Fish and Game Commission voted to list Klamath-Trinity River Spring Chinook as endangered under CESA on Wednesday, said the transfer of the Klamath dams to a dam removal entity and the listing are two of the key actions needed to save spring salmon from extinction.
They also said both actions are needed to “restore salmon and other fisheries to a harvestable level for Tribes, which is the trust responsibility of the federal government and key action to achieving truth and healing for native people in California.”
“Today the Klamath dams were transferred to the dam removal entity for the purpose of removal, and yesterday the spring chinook the dams nearly wiped out were listed under California ESA.” said Regina Chichizola. Co-director of Save California Salmon. “Both of these wins were the result of decades of Tribal and community-led action for the Klamath River, and they came at a time when we need some hope. The devastating juvenile fish kill we are experiencing on the Klamath River is directly related to the Klamath dams, as are the dismal salmon returns over the last couple decades.”
Chichizola noted that the Klamath dams were originally scheduled to come out in 2020, but inaction by PacifiCorp, the dam owner, and the federal government has delayed progress in the dam removal process.
“We hope these actions demonstrate California and the Biden administration commitment to protecting and restoring the Klamath River before it is too late,” added Chichizola.
“The cultural significance of the Spring Salmon is beyond EuroAmerican conception. It’s more than just a policy trying to get passed through, or a biological opinion,” said Ryan Reed, a Hoopa Valley Tribal Member, Yurok descendant, Karuk Spring Salmon Ceremonial Priest and University of Oregon student.
“The Spring Salmon are our relative that is facing extinction, and a part of our lifestyle, cultural longevity, and the survival of my people. These aspects, as well as many more, need to be addressed, and I’m thankful, proud and hopeful to have the public comment filled with Native voices advocating for future generations. This decision on the petition is a win, not a victory, but should give the people in the Basin hope and momentum for this ongoing fight,” Reed concluded.
BILL COSBY: WHY EXACTLY DON'T MORE RAPE SURVIVORS COME FORWARD?
by Moira Donegan
The conviction of a high-profile rapist sends a message women rarely hear: rape is wrong. Cosby’s release snatches that away
Bill Cosby was released from a Pennsylvania prison on Wednesday after the Pennsylvania supreme court vacated his 2018 conviction for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. Cosby, who has been accused of a pattern of drugging women and then raping or sexually assaulting them while they were unconscious, is out on a technicality: the court found that a prosecutor mishandled incriminating testimony that the comedian had given in a 2004 civil suit, and hence threw out his 2018 criminal trial. But according to the court’s ruling, Cosby cannot be retried, either. His release on these charges is final. He will never serve another day in prison for the assault of Andrea Constand.
Though it was Constand’s accusation that sent Cosby to prison for three years, the television star has been accused of similar assaults by dozens of women. Their claims span decades, and are remarkably consistent. Some, like Constand, took pills that Cosby told them were herbal supplements. Others simply woke up, without any recollection of what happened, undressed and in pain. More than a dozen of these women testified in the 2004 civil suit; more went public as the years went on, and Cosby’s career and reputation remained unchanged. In a 2014 interview with Vice, one of Cosby’s alleged victims, Barbara Bowman, described allegations she had been told by other women who said they had been attacked by Cosby: “Some of them escaped by crawling out of the door and crawling into the street and somehow getting home, barely conscious.”
As of this writing, more than 60 women have come forward to claim that they were drugged and attacked by Cosby. The number is large enough that it can acquire the sterility of a statistic. But it is worth dwelling on how large a number it is. If you have a moment, try counting to 60. It takes a long time.
And so though it was only his attack of Constand that Cosby was formally charged and tried for, his conviction was a vindication for all of his victims. District attorneys in some of the jurisdictions where Cosby allegedly attacked these women, such as Los Angeles, have declined to bring charges; other accusers find that their attacks happened outside the statute of limitations; still other women did not have enough corroborating evidence to make their claims feasible to win, or appealing to a prosecutor to charge. Constand was different: in her case, the stars had aligned to make her attack eligible, her case winnable, and a prosecutor willing. For all the other women Cosby attacked, his conviction was the closest thing to justice that they are ever likely to get. Now that he is free, and his conviction overturned, that partial, and indirect vindication has been revoked. It was already less than what they deserved, and now, it has been taken away.
Even though they were not able to bring criminal charges against Cosby, those 59 other women who have publicly accused him of drugging and attacking them are already different from the majority of sexual assault victims, who never come forward at all. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, or Rainn, approximately 70% of sexual assaults are never reported a much higher rate of non-reporting than for other violent crimes. And of that small minority of attacks that are reported, only about 16% are ever prosecuted a much lower prosecution rate than for other violent crimes.
For all the pious niceties issued by police and prosecutors about the gravity of sexual violence and the courage shown by survivors, the truth is that the neither police nor district attorneys behave as if they really feel that sexual assault is as serious an issue as they claim. Attacks of the kind that Cosby carried out are often felt as deeply painful and humiliating to the victims (“Bill Cosby took my beautiful, healthy young spirit and crushed it,” Constand has said of her assault), but it is not treated with anything like a commensurate solemnity by the criminal justice system.
And so for the millions of women who saw Cosby be convicted in 2018, his trial was a rare opportunity to experience a vindication by proxy for the rapes, assaults and indignities that they themselves had suffered, committed by men they know will never see the inside of a courtroom. The scale of sexual violence is so great, and the instance of consequences for it is so rare, that in cases like Cosby’s, a high-profile trial offers many women a moment of minor catharsis even when it is not their attacker, even when their own attacker will never face any justice at all. They cannot make the system fair for themselves, or for the man who attacked them. But they can see it be fair for another women, and see another man get part of what he deserves. The conviction of a high-profile rapist thereby sends a social message that women rarely hear: that rape is wrong, and that sometimes, institutions will actually behave as if it is wrong.
Cosby’s release snatches away that symbolism, and the hope it represents, offering instead the cold certainty that rape will not be punished; that the law recognizes women as citizens only in the abstract; that society punishes violence only when it is not gender violence. Cosby’s conviction was overturned based on a minor legal point, and seems to have been the product of prosecutorial incompetence. But the details are almost immaterial in the wake of his release, which in hindsight feels as if it was inevitable. Of course he was not going to be punished; of course no legal body would find that those women even together, even in their great numbers were as important as he was. For me, part of the insult of Cosby’s release is that it makes me realize I was stupid for not predicting it. After all, this is why most sexual violence accusers don’t come forward in the first place: they already know that justice is not on offer.
WAR CRIME JEOPARDY
We'll give you the name of the operation, you tell us the lucky country that hosted the event. Bonus points if you can name the top war criminal responsible.