Cooling Trend | Airman Fraser | Race Results | River Cleanup | Food Banking | Trucking Wastewater | Library Card | Zachariah Blevins | Caldor Fire | Pot & Pork | Weed Invitational | Ed Notes | NBC News | Fort Bragg | Save UDJ | Grain Millers | Tavion Pleads | Hungry Bee | Yesterday's Catch | Natural Sellouts | Taxing Social Security | Uncommon Folk | Endemic Corruption | Mr. Natural | 128 Ode | Tin Towers | Marco Radio
A COOLING TREND is expected through mid week as a trough slowly moves across the Pacific Northwest. Locally breezy conditions are also expected during the afternoon and evening hours each day through mid week. (NWS)
YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Ukiah 105°, Yorkville 103°, Boonville 98°, Fort Bragg 64°
LOCAL BOY MAKES GOOD
AV High School Grad Otto Blue Fraser graduated from Aircraft Maintenance Technician A School on Friday, August 27, 2021 at the USCG Air training base in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. As an Air Maintenance Technician.
Otto will get lots of time in the hangar with the helicopters, and plenty of time in the air. It was an honor to have Kirk Wilder, a mentor, and friend, attend to pin him.
Airman Fraser will be stationed in Cape Cod, at the airbase at Buzzards Bay.
Many congratulations to Otto.
And much gratitude to his family and this community for all of your encouraging support.
SATURDAY'S BIKE RACE RESULTS, DEB SILVA REPORTING:
Here's the results for the race: assets.website-files.com/5e2b206e47a6a20ee362bf66/612af037866ecb5638220eff_fishrock2021.pdf
They have the racers categorized by age groups and gender. It looks like racer Ryan Gorman had the best time and was in the 40-49 age group with a time of 3:54:09. The woman who had the best time was Helena Gilbert-Snyder in the under 30 age group with a time of 4:49:39.
I'm not sure why a few of the riders’ names are in red at the bottom of the groups. I'm guessing they were no-shows and didn't die along the route! Lots of people did not complete the entire race.
I recognize the name of Levi Leipheimer as one of the world class competitive bike racers, but I'm not so up on the sport that I recognize any others, there might be other professional racers.
It's nice to see that the women competed with the men on an equal basis.
There was one person in the uncategorized group. Did they not give their age, gender, or something else? The mind boggles…
Thanks to the Rotary Club of South Ukiah, especially Salvador Rico, we had a very successful cleanup along a stretch of the Russian River that was heavily impacted by illegal trespassers who were trashing the environment.
This only shows the tip of the iceberg of destruction. In one case, volunteer Salvador is pointing to the remnants of a large trash pile (including tires) that was intentionally set on fire. Can we agree that no one should be allowed to “camp” in the most sensitive areas of our natural environment?
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
re: Can Mendo Deliver?
“Treated water” means non potable “treated wastewater” but they don’t want to use the word “wastewater” as so many people are repelled by the idea of their twice-treated toilet water coming out of their tap after the Summers Lane reservoir is filled with treated wastewater that will then be treated to be potable for the residents of Fort Bragg and the Coast.
I haven’t listened to the entire meeting. Was there any discussion about the following?
“…the logistics of moving the large number of trucks we’re talking about, up to 10 trucks a day, to drop the water and also having the local haulers picking up the water make it such that the City (Ukiah) would strongly recommend doing what we’ve outlined.”
What are those logistical problems and how can they be surmounted? Couldn’t they move the treated wastewater to their potable treatment plant to at night or schedule everyone’s arrivals?
There are people in this area who can solve problems but the local governments seem to be unwilling to solve them in a straightforward way. With a bit of effort put into logistics, the savings in money, time and road wear could be significant without delay in starting delivery.
Z.C. Blevins. A colored pencil drawing I did from old photo in our family collection.
Z.C. Blevins married Sue Duff, the sister of my great, great grandmother Martha Duff Vestal. There are 2 Boontling words associated with him.
1.) Zeese = Coffee. usually associated with strong and black coffee, camp coffee. Z.C. (Zachariah Clifton) was widely known for making terribly strong and bitter coffee at his deer hunting camp.
2.) Blevins = An amateur carpenter.
Z.C. Blevins dabbled in carpentry work around the valley for a number of years but was never quite able to master the trade. * My drawing supports this distinction given to him as illustrated by the bandage on his hand.
CALDOR FIRE'S 'EXTREME RATES OF SPREAD' Prompt Evacuation Warning For All Of South Lake Tahoe
All residents on the California side of Lake Tahoe’s south shore were warned Sunday night to be ready to leave their homes in the face of the monstrous Caldor Fire as crews fought to beat back the blaze and new mandatory evacuation orders were issued outside the city of South Lake Tahoe.
POT & PORK BARREL
by Jim Shields
The Bigger Is Better Pot Ordinance
All-time records are being set now in weed plantings everywhere in this county.
This insane response to the Supervisors’ Cannabis Expansion Ordinance is occurring after a finding earlier this year by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board that Mendocino County was already “inundated” with pot to the degree that watersheds and water sources are being destroyed. There’s no adjective to describe the assault on our resource lands underway now.
For those of you who were here five years ago, you’ll remember I wrote on these pages and said on my KPFN radio show numerous times that many economic regulatory laws, such as cannabis legalization, usually have an un-stated objective.
If there are many people and entities to be regulated, the bureaucrats administering the frameworks, believe smaller is better, more efficient, and guarantees big bucks.
And that’s exactly what’s transpired in Mendocino County with its Cannabis Ordinance.
We now have four Supervisors who think that bigger is better and it’s time for the small fries to transition into other economic endeavors.
That’s what cultivation expansion is all about. It’s also called greed.
Bureaucrats would much rather deal with a small number of large growers than fuss around with thousands of moms and pops who they consider to be annoyances because, well they’re just too damn small, and they take up too much of your time, and you don’t get much in return from them, i.e., revenue.
The Big Guys, on the other hand, are much easier to regulate because they’re “real businesses,” easy to locate, they don’t bitch about fees and taxes, and they are a steady, dependable stream of enhanced revenues, or so say the bureaucrats.
So there’s a meeting and a meshing of minds between the bureaucrats and the corporate growers because they both share the same interests and objectives: Use the Cannabis Ordinance to eliminate the small farmers, and then get on with business as usual.
By the way, Supervisor Ted Williams, unabashed advocate of the Expansion Ordinance, challenged me this week to an “on-air debate’ on the pot issue. I accepted, of course. We need to agree to a date and time, etc. I’ll let you know when everything is firmed up.
Redwood Valley MAC Objects To PG&E Settlement Pork Barrel
The Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council recently sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors strenuously objecting to the Board of Supervisors’ plans to spend the approximate $22 million court settlement paid out by PG&E for causing the 2017 wildfires. In political parlance the Supes’ plan is what’s known as pork barrel.
Can’t say I disagree with the RVMAC’s position.
Here are excepts from the letter:
“We, the members of the Redwood Valley MAC, representing the people of Redwood Valley, hope that we can all agree that the PG&E Settlement Funds only came about because Redwood Valley, and to a lesser extent Potter Valley, burned in October 2017. Hundreds of homes were lost. Nine people died. The trauma lives on in our communities.
“We hope that we can all agree that the purpose of the PG&E Settlement Funds is to address the physical and emotional harm caused to these two communities. The only reason the money was sent to the county is that neither Redwood Valley nor Potter Valley are incorporated. We hope that we can all agree that this money should first and foremost address the impacts of that fire to the communities that suffered. Only after those needs are met should the money go to general emergency preparedness for the county, other county priorities, or funding for agencies and organizations that benefit the county at large.
“We hope we can all agree that completely unrelated budget items, and items for which there are other sources of funding, should not come out of the PG&E Settlement Funds. The most egregious example of an unrelated item is Carbon Reduction $1,500,000 (a new line item since the Board discussed this issue publicly, and therefore possibly a violation of the Brown Act). An example of a budget item where other sources of funding are available is Solar Panels and Batteries for Libraries $500,000 which our District 1 Supervisor tells us should be funded by drought emergency monies.
“It is both insult and injury to the people who lost so much in that fire and live with the trauma every day to treat these funds as if they are a windfall to the County. Make no mistake, Redwood Valley and Potter Valley have unmet needs to recover from this tragic disaster caused by PG&E’s negligence. Until Redwood Valley and Potter Valley are made whole, it is inappropriate and unethical to spend these funds elsewhere.”
Here’s a list of proposed funding projects by the RVMAC:
a. Resource Conservation District Mendocino County: Funding to cover property owners’ 50% matching funds requirement for removal of burned/hazardous trees $3,000,000 (in addition to funds already listed for MCRCD) — These dead trees are hazardous tinder for the next fire and they serve as a traumatic reminder of the fire. Fire victims should not have to bear the cost personally and most simply cannot.
b. Redwood Valley Grange: Funding to cover repairs to building and installation of a commercial kitchen $550,000 — The Grange is a critical community resource. It served as an emergency resource center after the 2017 wildfire. It provides space for community meetings and is a place people can go during emergencies to find family members, charge their phones and/or seek other resources. The building is 100 years old and in need of many upgrades. A commercial kitchen will support its ability to serve the community including providing much needed economic opportunity for small food manufacturers.
b. Redwood Valley County Water District: Funding to cover costs of annexing to Russian River Flood Control District $750,000 (in addition to funds already listed for RVCWD) — This is critical for Redwood Valley water security. It should only be funded from PG&E Settlement Funds if another funding source (e.g. Drought Emergency funds) cannot be found.
c. Redwood Valley County Water District: Funding to stabilize district and secure their ability to provide water to Redwood Valley including purchase and installation of water tanks and improvement to the intertie with Willow County Water District $3,000,000 (in addition to funds already listed for RVCWD) — This is critical for Redwood Valley water security and consequently fire safety and reduction of fear/trauma.
Mendocino County Department of Transportation: Roads and Bridges Repair $1,400,318 — Should fund only these Redwood Valley projects with the allocated amount:
Evacuation Needs: Funding to Department of Transportation to provide evacuation egress, specifically:
a. Tomki Road to be passable to Willits: 2 lanes paved areas, bridges, side brush cleared b. Road B: widen 1-way bridge and widen 1-way area
c. East Road, West Road, Laughlin Way: mow brush along roads
d. Road improvements on Road I, Colony Drive, and Road E in Redwood Valley
* * *
I have to say this counter-proposal from the Redwood Valley MAC makes a lot more sense and specifically addresses issues and needs more precisely on-point than the County’s plan.
Let’s see what happens now that the ball is in the Supes’ court.
(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, email@example.com, and is also the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org)
MEMO OF THE MORNING
For Russell Green, founder and CEO of three Mendocino County-based dispensaries, a continuing dream is showcasing, marketing and distributing top-grade, county-grown cannabis flowers to a broader audience.
“Despite the fact that Mendocino County cannabis has name recognition, very little of our high-grade products are sold south of Sonoma County. To address this issue, we have created the Kure Mendocino Invitational - a consumer-driven contest where customers vote to determine premiere county cultivators.”
The idea for the Invitational is simple. “Come harvest time, we will accept entries from local, licensed farms. The first 28 entrants that meet our high-quality standards will be entered into the contest. Kure staff will do the heavy lifting - testing, packaging, manufacturing and marketing the flower.”
The Invitational kicks off on September 10th with a farmers-only informational supper held at Kure’s Lake Mendocino Drive store. “We will introduce ourselves to farmers, present the concept of the event and encourage farmers to sign up.” Interested attendees should contact Kure to RSVP. Kure will begin accepting high-grade flower for consideration from October 1st to December 31st. All 28 entrants will be featured in a commemorative booklet, and all 28 strains will be sold at Kure outlets and to regional partners.
“In February 2022, we will have 28-gram ‘sampler’ boxes available for purchase by the public. These samplers will contain 28 individual grams from the top 28 farms. We believe the public drives the cannabis market. We respect their opinions and want them to have a say in identifying our region’s superior cannabis.”
Customers will have the entire month of February to judge the cannabis and submit their votes to a confidential online portal. “Once we’ve tabulated the winners, we will host an elegant dinner party for our farmers and their guest on April 1st, 2022. We want to keep this event simple, safe and focused on the people who are responsible for growing what is arguably the best cannabis in the world.”
“We hope there is enough interest to replicate Invitational event throughout the year,thus providing our farmers with reliable outlets to sell their wares, generating much-needed revenue and credibility for our county while creating a fun, memorable event for our customers and supporters,” Green concludes.
For information email firstname.lastname@example.org, attention Leslie or phone (707) 621-5390.
A CALLER suggests that all visitors to Mendocino County be required to bring their own water. Kinda sorta hard to enforce moving forward out of intersectionality, but we like it in concept.
THE FOLLOWING LOCAL groups are not participating in this year's fair, a scant three weeks away: AV Fire Department; Elder Home; Lion's Club; Historical Society; and the Anderson Valley Village. But me and the corn dogs will be there, me on that Friday afternoon while the floral displays are still fresh, if there are any floral displays.
I ASKED SUPERVISOR WILLIAMS last week if the Fair was still on. He said he'd ask Dr. Coren, an old school CYA medico of the specifically Mendo substratum who apparently gave Williams the green light without committing himself to a written statement approving a mass gathering in Boonville as another, more lethal version of the plague carries off the unvaccinated. The Fair office also said the Fair is still a go.
THE POINT ARENA City Council has voted to “postpone” the unpopular Arena Cove parking lot project, a scheme devised by former part-time (at 50 grand a year) city manager, Richard Shoemaker, with back-up from Congressman Huffman. Shoemaker presently calls himself Point Arena's “Special Projects Manager.” (FEMA is putting up most of the money for this boondoggle.) So many fog-eating “Stakeholders” are opposed they've had to be invited to a Tuesday damage control session at the Cove to discuss the proposed work, according to the ICO's account of the delays.
Paul Andersen, the present PA city manager installed by the departing Shoemaker and again according to the ICO's reporter, Bryan Cebulski, Andersen bristled at the suggestion that Shoemaker's interest in the project was the usual Shoemaker self-interest: “His (Shoemaker's) salary and wages are paid for by the general fund like all staff. This notion that somehow these grants are being developed to pay for people in the city is insane. It's not true and I'm tired of people besmirching us.”
HAR DE HAR, Andersen. Shoemaker allegedly retires but is immediately back to rip off PA by installing himself — with, of course, full approval of PA's supine city council — as the town's “Special Projects Manager,” a paid position and, you can be sure, a highly paid position.
THE BOONVILLE WEEKLY suggests that the PA “stakeholders” greet Shoemaker with...
I've talked to your mother and I've talked to your dad
They say they've tried but it's all in vain
I've begged and I've pleaded, I even got mad
Now we must face it, you give me a pain
How can I miss you when you won't go away?
Keep telling you day after day
But you won't listen, you always stay and stay
How can I miss you when you won't go away?
Your never ending presence really cramps my style
I dream that it won't always be the same
At first I was attracted but after a while
Have you ever heard of the hard-to-get game?
How can I miss you when you won't go away?
I keep telling you day after day
But you won't listen, you always stay and stay
How can I miss you when you won't go away?
And I mean it, too
Out of three billion people, why must it be me?
Oh, why, oh, why won't you cut me loose?
Just do me a favor and listen to my plea
I'm not the only chicken on the roost
How can I miss you when you won't go away?
I keep telling you day after day
But you won't listen, you always stay and stay
How can I miss you when you won't go away?
HEADS UP, MENDO. NBC News, San Francisco, will be attending the Gurr-Borges restraining order hearing on the 8th in the County Courthouse. The Courthouse fraidy cats have put all kinds of conditions on the media to discourage them from attending, but we understand NBC has their lawyers looking into the legality of those conditions. NBC San Francisco has been given approval from New York to go for it. Rumors wafting over the hill from Ukiah say that NBC will be interviewing former Mendo Ag Commissioner Diane Curry, a woman who knows where whole cemeteries of County bodies are buried. If you came in late, here's the rest of the story: "Marijuana Mendo — A Cautionary Tale"
ANY NEWSPAPER IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
It’s been tough sledding for newspapers the past 30 years. Allow me to elaborate.
The first two newspapers I worked on were The Plain Dealer (once the biggest newspaper in Ohio) and the Cleveland Press (the biggest newspaper in Cleveland). The Press died in the 1980s, and today the PD delivers papers four times weekly. Its downtown newsroom closed many years ago.
In California I joined the Santa Rosa News-Herald, then the Cloverdale Reveille, later the Mendocino Grapevine and am now extremely part-time with the Daily Journal. Only the Reveille and Daily Journal survive, though in reduced circumstances.
The storms and changes that have ravaged the news industry since the 1990s have not spared the Journal. Classified ads and other revenues are now found online, draining talent from newsrooms and subscribers from circulation departments. Newspapers today chase dwindling dollars with diminished resources.
Recently the paper’s longtime editor, KC Meadows, sent out a mass email briefly detailing the importance of “professional, credible local news and information” to cities and towns across the land, and warns that this “fabric of our great nation, a cornerstone to our representative democracy” is at risk. She asks local citizens to support their paper via a full year of the online Daily Journal for just $29.
I share her worries for the future of the most important source of local news in Ukiah, and I suggest in a fairly loud voice and with a finger jabbing your chest that you do indeed subscribe. Today.
Think of other worthy causes local citizens support. The Boys & Girls Club, assisted in large part by the Daily Journal, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from locals over the years. Ditto the Christmas Effort. We voted to raise taxes to save the library and many of our neighbors find time to volunteer or give money to the SPACE Academy, Plowshares, Ukiah Playhouse and Senior Center. Are any of those organizations more important, day in and year out, than a local newspaper?
For many years I’ve listened to people proudly say they neither subscribe to, nor read, the Daily Journal. You know who you are.
They consider themselves well-educated and well-read and whenever the paper is mentioned their response is always the same: “There’s nothing in it,” they say, sometimes adding with a chuckle, “I call it the Daily Urinal.” Very clever, very original.
This was back in the 1980s when the Journal had a dozen reporters, including the legendary Glenn Ericksen in sports, all-stars like Charlie Rappleye and Gale Holland doing investigative reporting, along with photos by Evan Johnson. As the years rolled on, waves of fine journalists came through the UDJ: Glenda Anderson, Peter Page, KC Meadows and Justine Frederiksen.
And through all those years and generations of topnotch reporting the paper was sneered at by our intellectuals, the arrogant snobs whose idea of fine writing and quality journalism came from Rolling Stone and Newsweek magazines.
Today? No one is saying the present iteration of the UDJ is on a par with the best, early versions, but the same is true of newspapers in LA, SF, NY and Cleveland. All have suffered, many have died.
Yet the Daily Journal, bowed and battered, soldiers on. Locals smirk, continue to refer to it as the Urinal, and turn to Politico and the Huffington Post for hot news.
I tell my friends, and now I tell my readers, that even a struggling paper is a paper worth supporting. An ailing newspaper can be brought back to life and back to health. A weak paper can be revived. One that dies is dead forever.
Any newspaper is worth fighting for. Any city with a newspaper ought to support it because if it exists in even a weakened condition it can be rehabilitated. That’s because a standing newspaper retains a structure that will allow it to be made strong and viable once again.
Every paper has a circulation department with a delivery system and telephones with people who answer them. There is an advertising department and a steady, nourishing source of revenue remains via legal advertising.
Even a moribund newspaper has a system in place to print another edition tomorrow. If the paper dies all those elements die with it. Building a new paper is nearly impossible. Starting a newspaper from scratch can’t be done.
We’ve already touched upon Ukiah’s long history of volunteers helping worthy causes. How about rounding up some of the old suspects to rejoin the ranks of ink stained wretches? I’d love Laura Hamburg, Mark Hedges, Kathy Brigham and Evan Johnson to donate a few hours a month. It’d be great to pair up with Steve Caravello on a project now and then. There are others who have the talent, and might have the time.
Support the Daily Journal because it’s a local business. Support it because a city without a newspaper is vulnerable to all sorts of mischief from local governments and outside interests.
For $29 you’ll give the Journal a financial shot in the arm, and keep local journalism alive in Ukiah through the foreseeable future.
TAVION JOHNSON PLEADS
Defendant Tavion Jamel James Johnson, now age 23, formerly of the Willits area, finally admitted allegations this past Friday that in March 2020 he killed his wife, the late Elenah Louise Elston, age 49 years at the time of her death
With his jury trial scheduled to get underway in two weeks, defendant Johnson made a special court appearance Friday afternoon to change his not guilty plea to guilty of a form of homicide known as voluntary manslaughter, a felony.
California law defines voluntary manslaughter as the unlawful killing of a human being by a perpetrator who has the intent to kill during a sudden quarrel, in the heat of passion, or based on an honest but unreasonable belief in the need to defend oneself.
He also entered a guilty plea to a distinctly separate crime from the voluntary manslaughter commonly referred to as felony inflicting traumatic injuries on a domestic partner after having suffered a prior conviction for domestic violence.
Defendant Johnson was previously prosecuted by the DA in 2019 and convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery against the same victim.
He was ordered at that time to have no contact with Ms. Elston during Johnson’s three year term of probation. He was also ordered to complete the 52-week domestic violence/anger management counseling program, two orders intended to safeguard the victim that this defendant obviously disregarded.
Though no separate consequence will flow from the defendant having significantly violated terms of his misdemeanor probation, this prior misdemeanor conviction was used by the DA to enhance the sentencing triad of the second felony that the defendant admitted on Friday.
The defendant also admitted Friday that the traumatic injuries he inflicted on Ms. Elston constituted “great bodily injury,” as that phrase is defined by California law and alleged by the District Attorney.
Finally, the defendant agreed and stipulated that he shall receive an 11 year state prison sentence for the death, the maximum sentence allowed by California law for a killer convicted of voluntary manslaughter.
Then, in addition, to the 11 years, the defendant agreed and stipulated that four more years shall be added to the sentencing package for the separate felony count and GBI sentencing enhancement.
The defendant was also required to waive any and all appeal and writ rights, as well as waive all of his pre-sentence custody credits that an in-custody defendant is normally awarded, the waiver in this case covering all the time the defendant has served in-custody from his March 2020 arrest to the sentencing hearing (625 days).
After the guilty pleas and waivers were accepted and entered into the court record, the defendant’s case was referred to the Adult Probation Department for their preparation of a prison packet to accompany the defendant to CDCR.
The stipulated 15-year sentence outlined above will be formally imposed at a sentencing hearing to be held on September 28th at 9 o’clock in the morning in Department A of the Ukiah Courthouse.
Any person interested in this case or this defendant is welcome to attend that hearing. Come prepared – masks are required to be worn by all who enter the courthouse.
Because these convictions are collectively defined as violent by California law, any work or good time credits the defendant may attempt to earn once he arrives at state prison towards an early release date cannot exceed 15% of the stipulated 15 years, meaning current law will require that he serve a full 12 years, 9 months before being released to state parole supervision.
The two crimes admitted are also Strikes for future purposes under California’s voter-modified Three Strikes law.
Should this defendant commit another violent or serious felony in the future either in prison or outside thereof, the current version of the Three Strikes law would require, when convicted, that he be sentenced to 25 years to life.
As background, in March 2020, Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Emergency Room at Howard Memorial Hospital for a reported “accidental” fall victim whose injuries appeared suspicious in nature to the hospital’s medical staff.
Upon arrival, the deputies were shown a woman who was being treated for major head injuries which had left her unconscious and unable to communicate.
The deputies recognized the female from numerous prior calls for service, which included calls where she was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her younger husband.
Agreeing with medical staff that the head injuries appeared more consistent with violent causation than an accidental fall, the deputies responded to the victim’s residence to speak with her husband.
The deputies located and spoke with defendant Johnson at the victim’s Brooktrails residence. After speaking with the defendant and viewing what they came to believe was a crime scene, the investigators placed Johnson under arrest.
As the investigation continued, Sheriff’s investigators determined there had been a violent encounter between Johnson and the victim and that he had personally inflicted severe head injuries on the victim.
It was also later determined that the defendant delayed seeking medical aid for his obviously injured wife for many hours; instead speaking to his mother twice by telephone, cleaning up the victim and the blood evidence, and staging pictures to support his ruse that the wife had accidentally fallen down an outside staircase to cause her injuries.
Because this was far from an easy case to investigate and prosecute, the District Attorney wants to give special recognition and thanks to Dr. Bennet Omalu, the neuropathologist, for his forensic work at identifying the cause or causes of the victim’s demise.
Ultimately, it was Dr. Omalu’s opinion that the victim suffered and died from Primary and Secondary Traumatic Brain Injury [TBI], that the TBI suffered by the victim was not consistent with a self-inflicted fall down a staircase, and that the many hours delay allowed by the defendant before seeking medical care and treatment for the victim increased the probability and likelihood of Ms. Elston’s death from her TBI.
As an aside, some may recall Dr. Omalu’s name and reputation. He is a physician, forensic pathologist, and neuropathologist who was the first to discover and publish findings on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in National Football League players.
Dr. Omalu’s efforts to study and publicize CTE in the face of opposition from the NFL were chronicled in a GQ magazine article in 2009. The GQ article was later expanded into a 2015 book titled, Concussion, and that book was then adapted into a movie by the same name.
Special thanks are also extended to the vigilant and hard-working medical staff at Howard Memorial Hospital, who saw through the accidental fall ruse almost immediately and timely called for Sheriff’s Office assistance.
The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence underlying the defendant’s Friday convictions were the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s own investigators.
The attorney who pieced this case together for trial and will see it through the sentencing hearing is Assistant District Attorney Dale P. Trigg.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder accepted the defendant’s guilty pleas and waivers on Friday afternoon. He will preside over the late September sentencing hearing and at that time impose the agreed-upon state prison sentence.
CATCH OF THE DAY, August 29, 2021
JOSEPH BAILEY, Redding/Ukiah. Getting credit with someone else’s ID, conspiracy to defraud, prior felony enhancement.
STEVEN GREEN, Upper Lake/Ukiah. Protective order violation, failure to appear.
RHONDA SANDERS, Willits. Under influence. (Frequent flyer.)
ALYSSA SAWDEY, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, under influence, getting credit with someone else’s ID.
GINA ST.CHARLES, Ukiah. Carelessly starting a fire, failure to appear.
DANIEL WOLDT, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
KYLEE WOOD, Willits. Grand theft, stolen property, personate to recorded document, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
DON'T TAX SS BENNIES
I’m not sure what is in Congressman Mike Thompson’s Social Security 2100 Act, but if it does not make Social Security benefits tax free, then that needs to be added to this bill.
Social Security benefits are determined by how much a person and their employer pays into their account while working, with each side paying 6.2% on regular income. You can receive Social Security at 62 but get more money at full retirement of 66 or 67. Social Security benefits were tax-free until 1984.
As a result of earned income from working, interest income, pensions and dividends while receiving Social Security benefits, potentially up to 85% of Social Security benefits may be taxable. That depends on whether someone files as an individual or a couple and the amount of income earned. This is wrong, as people worked their whole lives and paid into the Social Security fund.
California does not tax Social Security benefits. So, the federal government should be like California in not taxing Social Security benefits.
TO STOP WAR, AMERICA NEEDS A THIRD PARTY
by Matt Taibbi
The American political system has been captured by the military, and only an independent political power can prevent the next Afghanistan
On the Sunday morning shows today, prestige media did its best to soften the blow of Afghanistan. A key theme: we didn’t lose to the Taliban, but beat ourselves. It was “self-defeat,” somehow not-disgraced former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told NBC, while Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson cautiously described the disaster of Afghanistan as “a war we did not win.” Chuck Todd on Meet the Press liked that. “I agree,” he said, smiling a little and noting, “I don’t know if you can say we lost, but we didn’t win.”
Just a few weeks in, the gruesome story of Afghanistan’s collapse is already being sanitized, cleaved into neat storylines for blue and red audiences who as usual are being herded into safe psychological spaces, where they can happily non-consider what happened across the last 20 years. The images they see on TV aren’t their party’s fault, it’s those other jerks to blame, etc.
Republicans are blissful over Joe Biden’s approval rating nosedive and are thrilled to blame the whole debacle on our Sundowner-in-Chief. Biden, they say, is prioritizing Afghan lives over Americans in his withdrawal plans, and continues to push his $3.5 trillion “socialist wish list” over national security, and should have used Mike Pompeo’s “conditions-based” withdrawal plan instead of the ass-over-elbow deal they used in reality. Multiple Republicans are aping Trump-era Democrats by demanding the president’s resignation, with one, Missouri Senator Vicky Hartzler, going so far as to demand closure of the U.S.-Mexican border to “protect American lives” from an alleged heightened terrorist threat.
Democrats, not completely without self-reflection in the first days of this crisis, are already back focused on counter-blame narratives. Blue-state audiences are being reminded Donald Trump negotiated the “premature” May 1st pullout date, and that when critics blasted that deal as “weak and dangerous,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy advised his caucus not to speak against it. McCarthy today is leading the charge in criticizing Biden’s withdrawal, which is “so freaking hypocritical,” according to Senate-to-MSNBC pipeline passenger Claire McCaskill. Moreover, they say, House Democrat Jason Crow offered an amendment for his own “conditions-based” withdrawal plan, and that was shot down by the likes of Matt Gaetz, who last year said, “I don’t think there’s ever a bad day to end the war in Afghanistan.”
It’s all noise, designed to distract from the fact that Afghanistan is as pure a bipartisan fiasco as we’ve had in recent times. Both parties were directly and repeatedly complicit in prolonging the catastrophe. Republicans and Democrats were virtually unanimous in approving the initial use-of-force, both voted over and over to fund the war to insane levels, and both Democratic and Republican presidents spent years covering up evidence of massive contracting corruption, accounting failure (as in, failure to do any accounting), war crimes, and other problems.
Afghanistan was the ultimate symbol of the two-party consensus, the “good war” as Barack Obama deemed it, and defense spending in general remained so sacrosanct across the last twenty years that the monster $160 billion defense spending hikes of 2017-2018 were virtually the only policy initiative of Donald Trump’s that went unopposed by a Democratic leadership. “We fully support President Trump’s Defense Department’s request,” was Chuck Schumer’s formulation in 2018, choosing then to reward the Pentagon for turning Mesopotamia into a Mad Max set and spending two trillion dollars on the by-then-inevitable fall of Kabul.
Worse, as the performance of the legacy media in the last few weeks shows, the national commentariat is also fully occupied by the military establishment. Staffed from top to bottom by spooks and hawks, the corporate press’s focus from the pre-Iraq firing of Phil Donahue through the past few weeks of guest star appearances on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC by the likes of Leon Panetta, John Bolton, Karl Rove, David Petraeus and Marc Thiessen — all people with direct involvement in the Afghan mess — has been the same. It keeps the public distracted with inane tactical issues or fleeting partisan controversies, leaving the larger problem of a continually expanding Fortress America unexamined.
We need new institutions free of Pentagon influence, probably starting with a new political party. It doesn’t even matter so much what such a party would stand for, ideologically, so long as it adheres to one basic principle: don’t accept contractor money. It seems like the only possible solution to the disease that gave us Afghanistan. Our two parties, just like our academic research institutions, news networks, and even Hollywood’s movie studios, have become de facto Pentagon subsidiaries. They’re all hopelessly corrupted by the financial powers Dwight Eisenhower warned about, in his famous speech prophesying “the disastrous rise of misplaced power” from America’s armaments sector.
A few stray pundits in the last two weeks have pointed out the obvious fact that despite awesome financial and technological advantages, the United States has now “lost” virtually every war it has entered since World War II (with the possible exception of the first Gulf War, though the cleanness even of that victory is very debatable). Dominic Tierney, the author of The Right Way To Lose A War: America in the Age of Unwinnable Conflicts, told Time magazine a big reason for this was that “the nature of war itself” has changed since 1945:
“Nearly all wars now are civil wars, complex arenas of counterinsurgency and terrorism. When you put the U.S. against another country where there’s a military that wears uniforms and they meet on the field of battle, the U.S. usually wins those kinds of wars—like the Gulf War in ‘91. But in complex civil wars, the United States has really struggled.”
I’d agree, with a twist: under the influence of captured parties and the military’s ubiquitous and extravagantly funded public relations apparatus, America has itself redefined the “nature of war.” Armed conflict has gone from being an occasional unpleasant political necessity to the core product line of the American corporation. Wars are what we make, and like blue jeans or Louisville Sluggers, we build them to last, with Afghanistan the prime example. That should be the issue dominating Meet the Press, not whether we lost or just “didn’t win,” or which party’s leaders decided to pull out first, and why.
Just as we’re always designing new rifles and tanks and jet fighters, we’ve become adept at manufacturing fresh intellectual justifications for deploying troops, churning out everything from “humanitarian war” to “benevolent hegemony” to “regime change” to “nation-building” to Eisenhower’s own “domino theory.” Where once we fought for literal survival against other nations, and knew who’d won when one side surrendered, we’re now sending our kids to die (and kill) in open-ended engagements where victory is either impossible or indefinable, and the main concrete “results” are masses of foreign deaths and the gigantic houses built by defense executives in places like Loudon and Fairfax Counties in northern Virginia.
This is why, whenever we get a rare look at the real thinking underlying our modern conflicts, whether via the Pentagon or Afghanistan Papers or the Wikileaks release of diplomatic cables, we keep seeing the same story: senior American military and intelligence officials struggling to come up with “metrics for success,” in some cases years after they’d already invaded and occupied places like Vietnam and Afghanistan.
It shouldn’t need to be said, but if you have to invent a “metric for success” in war that goes beyond defeating an enemy, you’re not really at war, you’re doing something else.
Is the military for building roads and power plants, fighting drug lords, promoting “democracy,” securing women’s rights, raising the average vehicle speed on roads, rooting out terror cells, training foreign police, improving “poultry management,” building independent radio stations (we can’t even do that in America!), ending sectarian or even domestic violence, even reducing carbon emissions? So long as the money kept coming, our military was willing to be about all of those things in Afghanistan, which initially mystified the Taliban, whose leaders had no concept of a war without goals.
Thinking we were there in search of revenge and bin Laden, the Taliban offered to turn him over once we started bombing, but were refused. We now also know that when we’d beaten them militarily at first, the Taliban tried to surrender, but we rejected even those overtures. The U.S. broadened the mission instead. “We originally said that we won’t do nation building,” said Bush National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, “but there is no way to ensure that al-Qaeda won’t come back without it.”
When those early efforts didn’t go so well, Americans blamed “endemic corruption” and then turned attention to eradicating that, forcing many initial allies into the Taliban camp, whose numbers began swelling for a variety of reasons. These included practices like drone-bombing funerals and assassinating “HVTs,” i.e. “high value targets” (a modern take on measuring progress by “body counts” which even the CIA, in a report leaked by Wikileaks, warned might “strengthen an armed group’s bond with the population”).
Instead of stopping practices like this, or reassessing the whole occupation, we then became convinced that keeping soldiers from joining battles against us required building a “stable economy” for a country that’s never had one, which in turn meant rebuilding the “agricultural sector,” a goal we began pursuing just as we began the related/contradictory work of eradicating poppy crops.
We ended up spending $8.62 billion on counter-narcotics programs that our Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) concluded were not effective on any level, with “local reductions in poppy cultivation… almost always short-lived or offset by increases elsewhere.” In fact, when we entered Afghanistan in 2001, the country was at an all-time low of 7,606 hectares of opium production, ironically thanks to a short-lived, Taliban-imposed ban. By 2017, however, the country had reached all-time highs of 328,000 hectares of production. In other words, we might have been 43 times as effective at our stated drug-reduction goals if we’d never dropped a boot in country.
There is no way to look at what happened in Afghanistan and conclude anything but that it was a giant spending program in search of a mission that ended with the mightiest army in the world fleeing from a pre-historic fighting force armed with our own weapons.
As Napoleon’s invasion of Russia was undone by typhus and snow, our army sank under the weight of its own 20 years of changing mission statements and nut-bar spending mandates. As SIGAR put it, “The U.S. government continuously struggled to develop and implement a coherent strategy for what it hoped to achieve.” The Afghan people were incidental to all this, bystanders who couldn’t do anything but wait to see how long American politicians would keep writing big checks for whatever it was they claimed to think we were doing there from week to week.
The reason we kept writing those checks is obvious: the leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties are little more than donation-fattened proxies for contractors, in particular the big five of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon, who also happen to be the top-five federal contractors overall. Lockheed Martin by itself gobbled a remarkable $75.8 billion in contracts last year, and the top five defense firms overall took in a staggering $167 billion.
By tradition a significant share of that money gets recycled back to congressional pols and presidential candidates in the form of lobbying efforts and donations. Six key committees — the Armed Services, Defense Appropriations, and Foreign Affairs/Relations committees in both the House and Senate — were the target of $135 million in lobbying cash since the start of the Afghan war, enough to guarantee that most every harebrained scheme and operational course change in that war got rubber-stamped.
Defense contractors spent nearly $300 million on congressional candidates from 1990 on, and throughout that time succeeded in crushing every political challenge to military spending or expansion of our footprint abroad. In 1993, Bill Clinton’s new Defense Secretary, Les Aspin, proposed deep cuts to the old “Cold War” defense budget, offering four “bottoms-up” scenarios that included cutting three army divisions, 110 ships, and 233,000 active duty personnel. Analysts predicted the proposals would lead to criticisms within the Beltway of unpreparedness, that in turn would lead to calls for increased spending, and they turned out to be exactly right. By the time Clinton left office, congress was plowing the $11 billion savings from welfare reform into the B-2 Bomber and the Seawolf submarine. This pattern repeats over and over: proposed cuts become increases.
When I wrote a few years ago about the Pentagon’s amazing decades-long refusal to submit to a legally mandated audit, a Senate staffer whose boss served on one of the relevant committees explained that because Pentagon contractors essentially control a permanent supermajority of appropriations votes by flooding both parties with cash, there is no realistic way to threaten consequences for the Department of Defense for things like failing to do accounting. “You can’t get the Pentagon to take an audit seriously unless you threaten to stop funding, and you can’t stop funding without campaign finance reform,” he said.
We now know that Democratic politicians will occasionally talk about shifting resources from defense to social programming, while Republicans will occasionally flirt with isolationist themes, but in the end, both parties always take the money. They consume massive amounts not just from weapons makers but from aerospace firms, energy companies, research facilities, and services companies like Bechtel and Halliburton, all of which profit handsomely from debacles like Afghanistan, whether those “missions” succeed or not.
These financial powers have successfully lobbied into existence the cancer-like growth of the American military presence abroad, where we have over 800 bases in over 80 countries, with special forces operating in as much as 70% of the world’s countries in any given year (we were in 135 countries in 2016, for instance). American troops are now in the middle of more conflicts than most voters can count, or know about in even the dimmest sense. For instance, even as we reduced our troop presence in the Middle East after some public outrage in the mid-2010s, we jacked up deployments to Africa 1600%, sending units to places like Niger, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Tanzania, and Uganda, where we’ve of late been moving many Afghan refugees.
The only way to start breaking up the “Iron triangle” of congress, the Pentagon, and defense contractors that holds all of this insanity together is to elect politicians with no financial affiliation to the war machine, and it’s now obvious that this can’t be done within the framework of the current two-party system.
The Bernie Sanders campaign in 2020 seemed like a plausible effort to switch out the Democratic Party’s dependence on industry cash to become a party supported by small individual donations, but we saw what happened in South Carolina when that came too close to being reality. In fact, the only Democrats with anti-interventionist leanings in that cycle, Marianne Williamson, Tulsi Gabbard, and Sanders, were all hit with smear campaigns that came from within their party, with Gabbard and Sanders both openly tabbed useful idiots for Russia to boot. Keeping antiwar sentiment off the ticket has always been a top priority of the DNC. Even Howard Dean, who later eagerly supported troop increases in Afghanistan, was bashed by his own party and the “liberal” press in 2004 as a terror-loving peacenik who’d had the temerity to propose asking “permission” of the international community before invading places like Iraq (“Dean and the McGovern Thing” was the Washington Post’s formulation). The party brahmins wiped him out so John Kerry, a yea vote for both Iraq and Afghanistan who reportedly tried to pick John McCain as a running mate, could be subbed in, just as another McCain pal in Biden was subbed in last year.
When Trump bashed NATO as obsolete and a waste of money, saying we should be spending more of it at home, the consternation in the Beltway was hysterical, bipartisan, and instantaneous, and lasted throughout Trump’s presidency, despite his record spending hikes. Trump’s later threat to pull out of Syria also inspired howls of outrage from within his own party. “Disastrous,” said Lindsey Graham, while Ted Cruz tweeted in all caps: “DISGRACEFUL.” Republicans like Josh Hawley may occasionally flirt with “rethinking America’s foreign policy consensus,” scoring points in flyover towns full of disillusioned vets nursing tumors, lung problems, and other nightmares after standing too long next to Middle East burn pits. The GOP archetype however will always be flag-waving clods like Duncan Hunter and Mac Thornberry, who wolf down Northrop checks by day and get dewey-eyed at showings of American Sniper by night. It will be a cold day in hell before the Republican Party does anything meaningful to break the Pentagon’s grip on government.
What went wrong in Afghanistan wasn’t just about a failed withdrawal plan. It wasn’t even about a mission that was corrupted from the start, or lacked clear goals, though those things are obviously also true.
The problem is the entire American government has become a factory for producing open-ended conflicts, and voters no longer have any political mechanism for slowing them. People like Chuck Todd can comfort themselves that we didn’t lose in Afghanistan, and merely beat ourselves, but that’s the problem. We can vote out Democrats or Republicans, but there’s no lever to throw the bums out at the Pentagon, which somehow keeps winning by losing. We need a way to vote on war in general, and just don’t have one.
What kind of snake
A local numbered route
somewheres grays, yellows
Shiny, black and orange
. . .
That has bitten me by
Birth and kin
To be bright and dark
Uniquely strange in certain light
And always looking to move
Before I’m feeling home
. . .
Scaled and scarred before
Our time, during, and after
. . .
With hammers, shovels and guns
On drugs and booze
And stern yearning for place
And freedom otherwise
Thoughts of gold
. . .
It claims the lives and grave
Of youthful friends, lovers, parents
Retired tourists alike
Suicides from Oregon arrive
Somewhere not found
Over its shoulders
. . .
Before the signs
Were cut and collected
By the Oak and his
Disparate gangly branches
In their resistance whim
. . .
To protect the unseen
Roots origins unknown
But aware of the work
Below ground near
Muddy and misunderstood
. . .
The river ran through trees
In shades of broken light
And silt still occasionally washed
To the ocean
— Quincy Steele
PATRIOTIC DISPLAY, WALMART
TRAISH LARUE AND THE RACCOON THAT QUOTED ZIZEK (say shla-voy-ZHEE-zhek).
"Most things people say are just to try to feel better about themselves, like, for example: Stuff THAT in your speedos, Jacuzzi Bob!"
The recording of last night's (2021-08-27) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) is right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0451
Thanks to Bob Young (no Jacuzzi Bob, he) who, when KNYO unexpectedly conked out and went off the air on Wednesday, alerted David Gealey to confirm the transmitter needed some toasted parts replaced that nobody in the area has, and then sent it overnight-rate (in this case more than $200, just for shipping!) to the people taking up the slack for the company whose entire staff is dead of COVID-19. Fixed in a jiffy to factory specs and shipped back, it was reinstalled just in time for Friday airpeople, including me, to do our shows. Speaking of which, go to KNYO.org, click on the big red heart and help the station out. Unlike the bloated high-power stuck-up NPR stations, KNYO doesn’t get any annual six-figure tax-derived shot in the arm from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to be in thrall to NPR and associated controlling-interest-posh-money donors, but depends on you. Also, unlike with every other station I know of, commercial or noncommercial, every penny of money donated to KNYO goes directly to something the station needs, like equipment, and electricity, and rent, and water to flush the toilet, and music publisher’s fees (and the occasional transmitter repair), and zero of your money gets skimmed off and diverted into the pockets of the gold-tooth glad-handers running the radio station. At KNYO everyone including management is a volunteer, in it for radio. Click on the heart. The heart. Yes. Just like that. Yesss.
There’s a lot of locally written material in this show. There usually is, but even more so this time. All the regulars and a few surprises... And I was reminded that I only mention the Anderson Valley Advertiser on the air, when I read something from it, and never here or on the MCN listserv or on Mendo.org, even though the AVA is often the source of a full hour of a show’s material, and I’m sorry about having given the impression of taking them for granted for so long, so here: The Anderson Valley Advertiser, a hoot and a holler and only a dollar, the last real newspaper in America. It’s just $25 a year (that’s 50 cents a week) for full access to everything on the website, late-breaking as well as archived material going back decades (and more of that all the time as the scanning and web work progresses). And they're still printing on real newsprint today, if that’s what blows your skirts up, and it should. Here are full details about subscribing, whichever way you want to do that: https://www.theava.com/subscribe
Here’s another thing you can do for me, if you don’t mind, and it’s free: Go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and scroll all the way down, enter your email address, click on Follow. After that you’ll get a notice by email when I update once a week with something just like this but complete with all two-dozen fresh links, not just two or three. You'll get the whole web post in your email, and it's usually plain text and links, so it's not giant and unwieldy but svelte, graceful, elegant, like a long slender finger in the finger puppet of a Russian ballerina, or like a tender tentacle of the space-alien octopoid woman Tony Shalhoub (say shuh-LOOB) falls in love with in Galaxy Quest.
ANYWAY, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering that show together. Such as, for instance:
Lachy Doley had a giant whammy bar installed in his Hohner D6 clavinet, the Cadillac of clavinets. Now all the kids will want one. The sound from a clavinet isn't generated electronically; it comes from hammers striking a harp of wires laid long-way inside, under the keys. The pickup is just a very long electric guitar pickup. And that's a real mechanical pitch-bending bar, just like the one on a guitar. Add a wah-wah pedal, turn the amplifier all the way up to 11, and voila.
God-Man will save her. (Recalls the ‘I sent you a truck, a boat and a fricking helicopter’ joke.)
Speaking of which, kind of, though no joke, there's Facebook Live video shot out the window by Linda Almond, 55, of Waverly, Tennessee a very short while before that flood out there knocked the house down and drowned both her and her husband. Their daughter and son survived. The moment-by-moment of it is fascinating: in the video Linda says, "I wish I had one of those," and then she says, "I need a light." Ah, they're smoking cigarets, which, nothing wrong with that, but it's the kind of clever/ordinary detail hook you appreciate in fiction about people in trouble in a disaster dystopia even before you see that's how people really are, here in the real-life awful and entertaining disaster dystopia future. Why not smoke a cigaret? Like when you find out from black-box compilations what people crashing in airplanes mostly always say at the last (when they're not fully engrossed in the important minutiae of trying not to crash). Hint: they tell someone not there how much they love them. And at the very last, what they shout or shriek. Hint: it's one or more of three common swears.
And it’s Leon Theremin’s (orig. Termen's) birthday today. Here’s the trailer for the definitive documentary about his life, which included stowing away in a freighter from Russia to take New York and the musical art world by storm in the 1920s with his electronic musical invention, the theremin; being kidnapped back to Russia by Soviet spies and put to work inventing secret listening devices for Stalin; and then being found by Western reporters at the end of his very long life, in the 1990s, working as a gardener/groundskeeper in a countryside music school for girls and brought back to America to be reunited with Clara Rockmore, his lovely 1920s protege and, incidentally, to repair a college professor’s broken antique theremin to good working order with a single sharp glance and a Swiss Army knife.
— Marco McClean, email@example.com, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com