Ridging | Panthers Fall | Adoption Event | TG Bouquets | Neily Found | Annexation Approved | Ukiah Mural | Bless TWK | Ravens | Suicide Attempt | Assange/Zuckerberg | Ed Notes | Faulkner Park | Rising Prices | Helicopter Hoop | Smoke Weed | JDSF Action | Outlaw Lawson | Arson Kirk | Yesterday's Catch | Chester Movie | Inconvenience Store | Trump Day | Influencers | Shoestore | Marco Radio | Mexican Soldiers | Corporate Power | Army Wives | Gas Pricing | Troops | Profit Taking | Breadmaker | River Flow | Life Goals | Disasters Aplenty
WARM DRY WEATHER will occur across the region today in response to a broad upper level ridge positioned over the west coast. A frontal system will then enter the region on Monday and aid in light rainfall during the afternoon and evening across Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. After the frontal passage, an upper ridge will amplify over the northeast Pacific during Tuesday and cold high pressure will develop southward across Nevada. Gusty east winds will develop as a result across the ridges of Del Norte, Trinity, and Lake Counties during Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Dry and mild conditions will then occur Wednesday afternoon, followed by another round of rain and gusty south winds on Thursday. (NWS)
THE AV GIRLS VOLLEYBALL TEAM, having advanced deep into the regional play-offs, fell Saturday night in Modesto to Big Valley Christian. The matches were hard fought but the combination of an all-day drive from Boonville and the BVC's home court advantage could not be overcome by the visitors who finished yet another winning season.
SAVE-A-LIFE ADOPTION EVENT!
We've got lots of canine guests at the Ukiah & Fort Bragg Animal Shelters, so we're having an adoption event to help find them homes! All spayed and neutered dogs' adoption fees are waived until further notice. The only charge is the $25 dog license for residents of Mendocino County.
All dogs will be vaccinated and micro-chipped. Please go to our website to meet the dogs at the Ft. Bragg and Ukiah Shelters: mendoanimalshelter.com/
If you are interested in any of the dogs, fill out an online adoption application, which you will find on our website. Shortly after you have completed & submitted the online adoption application, a staff member will contact you. Let's get these pooches into their new homes for Thanksgiving!
THIS MAN WAS MURDERED
On May 7, 2020, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was contacted by a private forester representative who advised one of his employees had located what was believed to be human remains in a remote forested area west of Wilderness Lodge Road in the 15000 block of Branscomb Road in Branscomb, California.
Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Detectives responded to the location and recovered the partial human remains.
The remains were then sent to Forensic Odontologist (California State Assembly Member) James Wood (DDS) for examination.
In June of 2020, a sample was forwarded to the California Department of Justice DNA laboratory for DNA extraction and analysis.
In August of 2020, the remains were forwarded to the California State University, Chico Human Identification Laboratory for examination and analysis. No evidence of trauma was identified or observed on the recovered remains.
In September of 2021, the Mendocino County Coroner's Office was advised of a successful DNA extraction from the provided sample.
In October of 2021, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Coroner's Division was advised of a positive match to an active Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Missing Persons Investigation (Case #2006-01611) and identified the partial human remains as missing person David Virgil Neily (69 years-old at time of disappearance) from Albion.
David Neily was reported missing on 07-24-2006 from the area of Albion Ridge Road E. The investigation at the time determined Neily was last seen near the end of March 2006 or beginning of April 2006 in Albion, California (Albion Ridge Road E).
Further investigation associated Neily with a property in the 24000 block of Howard Creek Road in Westport (California) where his vehicles were located. Westport is located approximately 33 miles north of Albion with both being located on the Mendocino County north coastal area.
The recovered remains were discovered to be about 3 1/2 miles from that general area of the Howard Creek Road property.
The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the circumstances concerning David Neily's disappearance and ask for anyone with information concerning the last known whereabouts of David Neily to contact Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Detective Alex Johnston at (707) 463-4086 or the Sheriff's Office Tip-line at (707) 234-2100.
We would like recognize the assistance of California State Assembly Member James Wood (DDS); CSU, Chico Human Remains Laboratory CSU,Chico Anthropology Department); and the California Department of Justice Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory for their assistance in identifying David Neily and providing the Neily family with some closure after more than 15 years of searching for him.
David Neily found missing person identified I'm sure you got the same email as I regarding the remains found in 2020 being identified as David Neily who had been missing from Albion since 2006.
I've put together some things I found regarding Neily.
He was born in LA in 1936, married twice, had at least five children between the two wives. Divorced the second wife in 1974. He had lived in LA and Santa Cruz as well as Utah before coming to Amnesia County. He had mental issues and would go off his meds.
I expect that if you post about him you will get some feedback from the Albion community about him.
Background: "Where Are They, Jimmy?"
UKIAH VALLEY FIRE AUTHORITY - CITY ANNEXATION MOVES FORWARD - PROTESTS RECEIVED WELL BELOW THE NECESSARY THRESHOLD
by Justine Frederiksen
With not nearly enough landowners and voters declaring opposition this week, the approval of an annexation of the city of Ukiah by the Ukiah Valley Fire District will stand.
“The protest hearing for the annexation for the city of Ukiah by the Ukiah Valley Fire District was held Nov. 8, and in order to overturn the decision of the Mendocino Local Agency Formation Commission at their Oct. 4 meeting (to approve the annexation), there would have had to be (protests received from) people who own at least 25-percent of the assessed value of the city of Ukiah, or from 25-percent of registered voters (in the city),” Craig Schlatter, Community Development Director for the city of Ukiah, told the Ukiah Planning Commission this week.
“At that hearing, the protests received were insufficient to meet those thresholds, and, in fact, they were below even 5 percent of the total of those two populations. Because there was insufficient protest, the decision of LAFCo stands, and at this point the local process is complete, and there is an approved annexation,” Schlatter continued. “The final step is a procedural one, where we will submit some final information to the (California) State Board of Equalization, and that really is a fairly straightforward process. Once they receive the packet, it will become official. And that is due on Dec. 1, so we will be turning that around relatively quickly.”
In a letter mailed to city residents, Leonard Winter, president and chief executive officer of Medstar Ambulance of Mendocino County, described the annexation as “forcing (Ukiah residents) to pay an estimated $850,000 to $1 million annually to the Fire District, (and that) there has been no explanation as to what this $1 million in new taxes will go toward.”
According to the city of Ukiah, the Ukiah Valley Fire District and the city of Ukiah fire department provide services to the approximately 33,000 residents of the Ukiah Valley as a merged entity called the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, but residents within the city limits currently do not pay the “same fire specific property taxes that residents outside the city do.
In a press release this week, Deputy City Manager Shannon Riley described the annexation as providing “for the fair application of the Fire District’s special funding measures to all residents in the Ukiah Valley. As such, the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority will be able to pursue more appropriate staffing levels and to purchase modern equipment that is needed to be best prepared for emergency response.”
For people owning property within the city limits, the “average cost would be about $120 a year for a single-family residence,” and for commercial properties, the “costs may range from $180 for a small ‘mom and pop’ style business to $900 for a larger, big-box type business.”
(Ukiah Daily Journal)
LAUREN'S WORKING ON HER FINAL PANEL
(Take a look at this wonderful project next time you're in Ukiah)
TWK: A WRITER’S WRITER
To the Editor:
I wish that I’d have met TWK earlier in our brief 5 years of our residency in Ukiah. At least, I think so, now.
He and I have become good friends. Who’d a thunk it? We are quite dis-similar in such a multitude of ways.
But we bonded, and we bonded for some reasons I’d like to mention.
First of all, TWK has guts. He is always willing to state what he thinks, in writing. This is not to say that he doesn’t care about what you think…but it is HIS article. Not yours.
Now, he might tell you that he writes for “readership”. Geez, even facebook algorithms are programed to promote differences of opinion via crowbar to encourage readership.
TWK would simply appear to be ahead of his time regarding this concept. But, you see, even though he might deny this, he writes to provoke thought. He writes to provoke action.
He writes to interject humor in our daily lives, well blended with a healthy dose of satire. And this is what has fathered the readership, and nurtured us along for so many years.
You see, he still has to go shopping and stand in line at Safeway with those that would possibly be at odds with his last article, and maybe even most articles, but TWK is bold and brave.
May we all be so bold and so brave.
My next point would be that, although many may think that he is only interested in one opinion:
Au contraire. To me, he has always been open to opinion, including other’s opinion of his writings. Even mine. Who knew?
Ladies and Gentlemen, TWK is a writer’s writer. He has a strong command of the language, his subject matter, and his wit. Tart wit.
Tart Wit Kramer = TWK
TWK doesn’t mince words, he prefers to play with them, juggle them around, sometimes throwing them into the air like confetti, and sometimes like little pebbles that come down as boulders. Sometimes meteors.
Whatever one might think about the man, let me tell you this. He is the real deal.
He is like a good umpire. He may be right, and he might be wrong, but he ALWAYS calls them like he sees them, and he has been such a good sport in the game of journalism that he was just inducted into the Ukiah Journalistic Hall of Fame, which will be opening in 2030, along with the rail trail fast-track speed lane.
In closing, I find it ironic that here is such a force, to still be plugging away at his craft, after these recent cardiac events. The irony is that TWK may be having current heart issues, but the man has heart all day long, and enough of a strong heart to overcome whatever may be thrown his way.
So, maybe don’t bother him on the phone, or send him a card. Maybe just emulate TWK. He has guts. This is a valuable commodity. He has great communication skills. We should all work to communicate better.
But lastly, he cares, and therein is the gold of this “Thank You” article. May anyone reading this, step up to the plate, and maybe do as TWK does. He works to provoke thought and promote changes for the better. He cares. If there was one thing to take from this, it would be to care as deeply as TWK does.
He might not say this, but hey,….this is MY article, not his.
The community should feel indebted to TWK for his thoughts, opinions, writings, and efforts to enlighten. To me…this is what he works so diligently at achieving. Enlightenment, whether the light switch goes on, off, or just causes the light to flicker or blink intermittently.
Bless you TWK. I am dog-gone happy to be able to call you my friend. As TWK should already know, we all wish the best for him, Trophy, and the rest of his family, both now, and in their best years ahead!
Stay safe, TWK. Be well. Live Long and Prosper. Write-On!!!
Former Ukiah resident
JAIL SUICIDE ATTEMPT
On November 12, 2021 at about 2:10 PM, correctional staff members were inside one of the female housing units returning an inmate to her cell. While doing so, one of the corrections deputies began performing a safety and security check of the unit. When the deputy looked through one of the cell windows, she observed a 38 year old female inmate lying on her stomach inside the cell. The deputy noticed that there was something around the inmate’s neck.
The deputy immediately alerted corrections staff and jail medical that there was a suicide attempt in progress. The deputies quickly secured the housing unit and entered the cell to assess the inmate. Staff members lifted the inmate up and removed a ligature from around her neck. The corrections deputies turned the female onto her side and assessed her airway and pulse. The inmate was breathing and had a pulse. Deputies protected the inmate’s neck as they waited for medical staff.
Contracted jail medical staff from NaphCare were onsite in under a minute and began a medical assessment of the inmate. At the same time, emergency medical services were summoned by jail staff.
Emergency medical services arrived onsite at about 2:17 PM. EMS completed an initial assessment, loaded the patient onto a gurney and left the facility at about 2:29 PM.
The inmate was assessed at a local hospital and later returned to the jail. The inmate will remain under close observation at the jail until cleared by mental health staff.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the corrections deputies and NaphCare medical staff that were involved for their quick response. Their actions can be directly attributed to saving this person’s life.
THE SECOND in a revelatory two-part investigation of former Congressman Doug Bosco's grasping career appears this week in the Pacific Sun and the North Bay Bohemian. If you've ever wondered how Bosco managed to become the private owner of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, this fine investigative work by Will Carruthers explains, in detail, how Bosco did it as the Press Democrat, which he also owns, not only looked on but editorialized on his behalf.
THE FIRST FEW paragraphs of “Train Lines” nicely summarize Carruthers' findings:
“Last week, we reported that two owners of the Press Democrat, Darius Anderson and Doug Bosco, helped craft a state-funded bailout deal benefiting Bosco's privately owned Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company while Anderson's Platinum Advisors was a contract lobbyist for SMART from 2015 to 2020.
“This week, we report the details of a real estate transaction in downtown Petaluma in which the A.G. Spanos Corporation paid $1.4 million to SMART and $1 million to another public rail agency which is financially intertwined with Bosco's railroad company for their ‘right of ways’ on less than 600 feet of railroad track traversing the triangular lot upon which Spanos is currently building the North River Apartments…
“Without securing these easements, Spanos' project was dead in the water and could not move through Petaluma's planning process.
“…Public records show that SMART's executive director, Farhad Mansourian, allowed Anderson to guide SMART's easement sale to Spanos. Simultaneously, Bosco negotiated Spanos' purchase of an overlapping right of way on the short spur owned by the North Coast Railroad Authority. NCRA is a state-chartered rail agency which critics say was largely operated to benefit Bosco's company, commonly known as the NWP Co.
“…Last week, we reported on how Anderson's firm, as part of its work for SMART, lobbied on state legislation which helped the interests of his business partner, Bosco, and the NCRA and the NWP Co. foundered. This week we report another instance of Anderson leveraging his position as SMART lobbyist to benefit his media business partner and political mentor, Bosco.”
UKIAH, and its Democrats, always eager to function as Useful Idiots where hustling co-Democrats are enriching themselves, helped shovel a few public bucks to Bosco via the proposed new County Courthouse on railroad property on West Perkins. As reported at the time in 2016 by Justine Frederickson, “The City of Ukiah worked closely with the NCRA and the Judicial Council of California in an effort that city staff described as a way to ensure that all 11 acres owned by the NCRA, as well as city-owned parcels along Leslie Street, could be used to their fullest potential. The city also paid for extensive clean up of the site, after signing an agreement with NCRA to be reimbursed once the sale of the property is completed. The improvements to the site are expected to take 16 months, and the 90,000-square-foot courthouse, which will have eight courtrooms, is expected to be completed in 2020.”
THE PROPOSED COURTHOUSE was another inside deal engineered by local Democrats John McCowen and Dave Nelson. It hasn’t happened (yet) but Bosco got paid while the unwanted project remains on hold.
CARRUTHERS WRITES: “In subsequent NCRA-related bills authored by [State Senator Mike] McGuire, the state set aside more millions of dollars to cover NCRA debts. On top of paying $4 million to NWP Co for freight rights and equipment, the state paid NWP Co $3.47 million to cover NCRA’s interest-bearing debts to the company, according to Garin Casaleggio, a CalSTA representative. That amounts to a $7.47 million cash payout to the NWP Co enterprise”. … “A few years later, NWP Co would pocket $7.47 million in state funding as part of the NCRA shut-down process.”
AND THAT “SHUT-DOWN PROCESS” is the Great Redwood Trail — Bosco’s Great Scam continues.
IF WE SOMETIMES forget we live in a rural area, this report from Vista Ranch, Boonville: “We have 2 goats attacked by a mountain lion. We scared it off before he killed them but they have pretty bad punctures on their necks…”
ALSO LAST WEEK: “Big mountain lion spotted just North West of Mill Creek bridge (128 and Nash Mill Road area) just now. Keep your pets accounted for!! Stay alert!”
I WAS IN WILLITS last Wednesday on a mission unrelated to the County Museum, but so long as I was there I stopped in, paid my $4 Museum admission, hoping to see how the spiritual Stalinists had arrayed their false memorial to Judi Bari as they eternally agitate for the false narrative they've crudely promoted all these years, enriching several of these cash and carry “activists.”. (Hint: The ex-husband did it.) From the photos on-line, the exhibit looked like Lenin's Tomb with Bari standing in for Vlad. But I was a week late. I'd assumed, Mendo being Mendo where history starts all over again every morning and you are whatever you say you are, the Bari exhibit would be part of the Museum's permanent collection. And maybe it is, stashed somewhere in those cavernous premises for annual re-display. Nope. Gone. Ill-attended, my informants say, but I encourage visits to the Museum anyway. It has expanded its reach with a lot more local displays. I was particularly impressed by the exhibit on the history of the county's Native Americans.
AND THERE, also on display, Andree Connors and her hippie van, with a photograph of Andree herself proudly displaying her double mastectomy. It occurred to me that I'm one of a dwindling number of people who knew Andree when she co-hosted a morning talk show with the late Ed Kowas and the present Lindy Peters on KMFB. Always smart and lively. And modest. I didn't know until years later that Andree had written a well received novel called “Amateur People,” which is still in print. Exchanging her oppressive marriage and all convention, Andree headed for Mendocino (where else?) for rebirth as the free-est of free spirits.
HEARING FROM THE FOUR PG&E STAFFERS at the meeting Ted Williams arranged at Faulkner Park yesterday was both instructive and cautionary. PG&E outlined the steps they are taking to move our concerns up the bureaucratic ladder.
They understand that we believe undergrounding the line through the park is the only reasonable alternative. And they seemed to indicate they could see our point. But the most they could promise us now is a pledge not to operate without first notifying Mendocino County, and that, for sure, no big trees would be cut before the end of 2021. That’s seven weeks.
Community advocacy is the only reason the company is considering alternatives to cutting many of the old growth redwoods at Faulkner Park. We will have to keep up the pressure. When they conduct the planned minor line maintenance over the next few weeks, which is supposed to be no more extensive than the sort of clean-up they have been doing for years, we will have to make sure there are no misunderstandings or confusion on the part of the contractors. Thanks for keeping your eyes open. And thanks to Ted Williams for arranging the meeting and to the four PG&E staffers who made the effort to join us for a discussion at Faulkner Park."
OVERFLIGHTS SURVEYING NORTH BAY GROUNDWATER BASINS this weekend and early next week
by Mary Callahan
If you think you see a very large, very strange object flying overhead in the coming days, it’s not your imagination.
The state Department of Water Resources is launching a specially equipped helicopter over the region this weekend that will be flying low and dangling a 100-foot-wide hoop that will send electromagnetic signals into the earth. The signals will bounce back and be recorded on onboard instruments.
The flights are part of a three-year effort to collect data on the geological structures and characteristics of key groundwater basins around California to enhance sustainability planning and focus future groundwater recharge efforts.
After working in more northerly parts of California earlier this week, the helicopter is expected to fly over the Big Valley Basin the Kelseyville area of Lake County on Saturday, followed Sunday by the Ukiah Valley Basin in Mendocino County.
The survey crew is tentatively scheduled to arrive Monday in Sonoma County, where it will fly the Santa Rosa Plain, the Petaluma Valley and the Napa-Sonoma Valley over the following two to three days.
Tentative Schedule for Airborne Electromagnetic Surveys:
Big Valley Basin (Kelseyville/Lake County) Saturday, Nov. 13
Ukiah Valley Basin (Mendocino County) Sunday, Nov. 14
Santa Rosa Valley/Santa Rosa Plain Monday, Nov. 15
Petaluma Valley Tuesday, Nov .16
Napa-Sonoma Valley/Sonoma Valley Wednesday, Nov. 17Source: Department of Water Resources
Each basin has been identified as a medium- or high-priority groundwater basin under the state 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
Though the time required to synthesize and interpret data from the Airborne Electromagnetic Survey program means it won’t be available to help with the first round of local groundwater basin plans due to the state in January, AES data will be of value as five-year updates are drafted in the future.
The data and hydrologic mapping that results also should aid development of engineering projects like flood management, water conveyance and infrastructure.
“We’re excited to have the state come in and help us,” said Jay Jasperse, chief engineer and director of groundwater management at Sonoma Water, “because this is going to help us improve our plans.”
The survey technology was developed in Denmark and has been tested in California as part of a pilot project, though it’s also been used nationally and internationally, according to Katherine Dlubac, engineering geologist for the Department of Water Resources and AES project manager.
She said it’s completely safe, generating about the same electromagnetic field exposure as a common toaster or standing mixer. “It’s really very minimal,” Dlubac said.
It’s carrying an awkward load, however — a large, hoop frame about 100 feet in diameter suspended 100 feet below the aircraft, she said — so the flight path is generally outside densely populated areas.
The larger reason, however, is that highly urbanized areas produce too much electromagnetic noise that interferes with data collections. Metallic structures, pipelines, rail lines and other infrastructure render the exercise moot.
Dlubac said electromagnetic signals emitted by the airborne instruments gather information about electrically conductive and resistive materials underground. That is used to help define where there are course grain materials, like sand and gravel, that might allow water to filter through, as well as fine grained silts and clays that would inhibit water flow.
Electromagnetic surveys also can help map fault lines, Jasperse said, and “can also help you kind of, in the broad sense, understand about saline groundwater instruction — where there’s brackish water — which is especially important in Sonoma Valley and Petaluma Valley, because of San Pablo Bay.”
“There’s a lot of good information that can come from this technology,” he said.
Dlubac said aircraft flies in a grid pattern to assess the spatial reach and depth of different subsurface properties, filling in gaps in data largely dependent on decades of observations made by well drillers, as well as more recent hydrologic modeling.
“Now we have more continuous data that provides us more of a three-dimensional understanding of these layers,” Dlubac said.
The $12 million project is funded through Proposition 68, a $4 billion general obligation bond approved by voters in 2018 for drought, water, parks, climate, coastal protection and outdoor access programs.
ACTION ALERT--JACKSON FOREST
Ask the Board of Supervisors to Pass Resolution to Save Jackson Demonstration State Forest, JAG meeting 11/16
Just An E-Mail Will Do It.
This upcoming Monday at 9am, the Mendocino Board of Supervisors will vote on a resolution that calls for a reconsideration of the management objectives of the Jackson Demonstration State Forest. The resolution, sponsored by Supervisors Ted Williams and Dan Gjerde, recognizes that in this time defined by rapid and accelerating climate change the Jackson can and should be managed differently to sequester and store carbon in the forest, protect wildlife, safeguard rural communities against wildfire, and ensure clean water. This is BIG. You can read the full resolution here.
What the Board is asking for—that science guides forest management, not timber profit—seems obvious but Calfire has thumbed its nose at the community and has continued to move forward with timber sales on the Jackson despite widespread opposition. The Board’s resolution won’t change management overnight but it /will/ be an important chapter in the campaign to protect the Jackson State Forest from continued commercial timber harvest.
We need your help. The timber industry is going to turn out in force. We need to be louder. We need *you* to take action.
First, send the Supervisors an email thanking them for putting this item on the agenda and urging its passage.
- Ted Williams firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dan Gjerde email@example.com
- John Haschak firstname.lastname@example.org
- Maureen Mulheren email@example.com
- Glenn McGourty firstname.lastname@example.org
Second, we need to pack the (digital) house. The Board is meeting at *9am on Monday, November 15*. If you can, please make a live comment urging the passage of the resolution. To do so, you must register for a time slot here <https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/board-of-supervisors/agendas-and-minutes/bos-telecomments>(we are item #4a). Then, listen to the Board meeting here <https://www.youtube.com/mendocinocountyvideo/live> or here <https://mendocino.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx>. Once you hear the request for public comment or the beginning of the specific agenda item, call in using the information emailed to you. You will be placed on hold until it is your turn to speak.
Busy on Monday morning? You can also leave a voicemail message that will be played during the meeting. Call 707-234-6333 and leave a voice message, up to 3 minutes in length, to be played during public expression/public comment, as it relates to the agenda. Speak clearly, being sure to leave your full name and state that you are calling in favor of item 4a: science-based management of Jackson Demonstration State Forest. Anonymous phone messages will not be played back during the meeting
On Monday, November 8, 2021 at about 6:35 PM Round Valley Tribal Police requested the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office's assistance on a traffic stop on Mina Road near Agency Road in Covelo.
Round Valley Tribal Police had conducted a traffic stop and contacted the driver, Lawrence Lawson, 51, of Covelo, who was found to have an out of county felony warrant for his arrest.
During the stop Tribal Police Officers also noticed a firearm in the vehicle, which was found to be a loaded Glock 19 semi-automatic handgun.
As a Sheriff's Deputy began responding to Covelo, they confirmed the out of county warrant and that Lawson was on PRCS (county parole) with numerous terms to include search and seizure and to obey all laws. Sheriff's Office Dispatch further confirmed Lawson was a convicted felon and prohibited from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.
Tribal Police Officers searched Lawson prior to detaining him in the back of their patrol vehicle and found him to be in possession of a live 12-gauge shotgun shell.
Tribal Police Officers further secured the Glock 19 which was found to be loaded with 14 live rounds inside a 17 round magazine. A records check of the firearm showed it had been reported stolen from Napa.
When the Deputy arrived a search of the vehicle was conducted. Inside the vehicle, the Deputy located more various caliber ammunition.
The Deputy also found a clear plastic baggie containing a white crystal type substance, suspected to be methamphetamine, behind the driver's seat. The substance and packaging later weighed approximately 8.2 grams.
Lawson was arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, Possession of Ammunition by a Felon, Possession of a Stolen Loaded Firearm, Possession of Controlled substance while armed with Firearm, Violation of County Parole and an Out of County Felony Warrant, where he was to be held on a No Bail status due to the out of county arrest warrant.
ARSONIST GETS OFF
Serial Arsonist Cut Loose By Legislature.
UKIAH, Friday, November 12. –
Defendant Charles Levi Kirk, age 21, of Piercy, was given an early Christmas gift Friday morning in the Mendocino County Superior Court, one that unfortunately cuts against the public’s overwhelming and reasonable concern about fire safety, according to Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster.
As background, the Shimmins Ridge Fire that started September 4, 2018 and burned 10 acres was one of a string of fires that occurred late summer 2018 and was immediately suspected as arson.
A resident of Shimmins Ridge found a burning gas can near the fire and worked with another neighbor to put out the fire until local fire personnel could arrive.
One of the residents believed he saw a car similar to the one that had been reported at the scene of the fire on August 27 at Bell Springs Road. According to Cal Fire, soon after the Shimmins Ridge Fire was reported, there was another fire reported out Hwy 162, and then a third fire was reported closer to Covelo.
Defendant Kirk was eventually identified as the criminal who had set six separate wild land fires in northern Mendocino County in August and September of 2018. He was arrested, charged, and convicted of six counts of arson of forest land, felony violations of California Penal Code section 451(c).
He also was required to admit a sentencing enhancement, charged by the DA, that in the course of the Shimmins Ridge fire Kirk used an accelerant to cause that fire to take off and spread faster.
In December 2018, Kirk was sentenced by now-retired Mendocino County Superior Court Judge John Behnke to 17 years, 8 months in state prison; however, the execution of that state prison sentence was suspended for a probationary period to be no less than five years. This conditional leniency was granted because of the defendant’s young age at that time (18) and his lack of prior criminal record.
During the “no early termination” five-year grant of probation, the defendant was ordered to serve a year in the county jail, that he complete a fire starter education program, that he be subject to random search and seizure by law enforcement with or without a warrant, that he not possess incendiary devices, such as a lighters, matches, or flares, and that he pay partial restitution of $392,128 to the fire departments and state agencies that fought and investigated the six fires that had been intentionally set by Kirk.
Jumping forward to August 2021, law enforcement officers from Cal Fire and the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department conducted an unannounced search of Kirk at his Piercy residence. In violation of terms of probation, Kirk was found in possession of three prohibited incendiary devices.
When brought to court and arraigned on allegations that he had violated his probation in this manner, defendant Kirk was remanded into custody and held no bail as a means to ensure public safety.
As an aside, it was also alleged in the violation petition that the defendant had only mustered $4,750 in payments towards his almost $400,000 restitution debt during the 34 months he had been subject to probation supervision.
Given what can only be considered serious probation violations for a serial arsonist and there being no proof issues of his violations, it might appear to law-abiding citizens that a dangerous arsonist had blown his one and only chance to avoid state prison, right?
Wrong. Instead, the California Legislature, including our local representatives, had already ridden to his rescue.
In 2020, a majority of the California Legislature came to the conclusion that court-ordered grants of felony probation lasting up to five years -- as had been the accepted state of California law for many years -- were victimizing and unfair to convicted felons.
How did these longer terms of probation all of sudden become unfair to convicted felons?
It was claimed by certain legislators, particularly from Southern California, that the longer a felon is required to participate in probationary rehabilitation efforts, the greater the opportunity for these individuals to violate court-ordered terms of probation, such as obey all laws, that could result in court violation proceedings and further sanctions.
Asked today whether our local representatives signed on to these arguments, DA Eyster said the answer is unfortunately yes.
Without first seeking input or otherwise consulting with the local DAs, Sheriffs or Police Chiefs in their districts, both of our local legislative representatives, Assemblyman Jim Wood and Senator Mike McGuire, hopped on the felon bandwagon and voted in favor of taking judicial discretion away from the elected local judges and limiting judicial authority to choose how long a felon needed to be on probation.
Thus, AB 1950, having successfully passed through both houses of the Legislature, was moved to the Governor’s desk and signed -- over the objection of many law enforcement and public safety-oriented groups -- on September 30, 2020.
Thus, effective January 1, 2021, Assembly Bill 1950 became law. Subject to limited exceptions not applicable to defendant Kirk, AB 1950 now mandates that these judicial grants of leniency – felony grants of probation – shall no longer exceed a legislated two-year ceiling.
Moving past the politics underlying the bill, AB 1950-related appeals began arriving at the appellate courts in the months following its effective date. The new law, codified as Penal Code section 1203.1, was silent as to whether it should be applied retroactively, but the appellate courts have now interpreted the new statute to operate retroactively to protect all felons convicted prior to January 1, 2021 but who were/are still on probation after that date.
So this chronology brings us full circle and back to defendant Kirk’s current legal proceedings.
Friday morning, having reviewed an admittedly proper motion filed by the defendant’s court-appointed attorney to dismiss the pending revocation proceedings and terminate the defendant’s probation, the court had no choice but to overrule the DA’s objections and dismiss the defendant’s pending violation proceedings, terminate early what had originally been ordered to be a “no early termination” probation, release the defendant from the threat of the suspended prison term, and otherwise cut the defendant loose from supervision to go about whatever his business may be these days.
Is there a public safety silver lining in any of this? No, not really, unless one subscribes to the belief that the best way to rehabilitate convicted felons is to get them off probation faster so as to lessen the chance that they may fail to follow court orders and/or commit new violations of law.
As for an epilogue for defendant Kirk, he still must register for life with local law enforcement where he lives as an arson offender. At his discretion, Kirk may or may not continue to make payments towards his restitution, a restitution bill that will continue to grow at the non-compounded legal rate of interest of 10%. And he remains convicted of the six separate “serious” felony offenses, each constituting a separate Strike, which the DA will charge to enhance future felony criminal proceedings should he once again cross over the line.
Concluding, please stay safe, please continue to keep defensible space around your residence and outbuildings, and please keep your eyes open for and report suspicious fire activity, especially if you see Mr. Kirk at or near the scene of a fire.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 13, 2021
MYQ ATTANASIO, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting. (Frequent flyer.)
FOLEY AZBILL, Covelo. Controlled substance/transportation.
AURUELIO BARRAGAN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JEANNIE BIOLETTO, Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance, under influence, child endangerment.
MARTHA COBIAN-NARANJO, Madera/Piercy. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
LORENZO CRUZ, Ukiah. Zip gun, ammo possession by prohibited person, probation revocation.
JULIO DELVILLAR-ACEVEDO, Bakersfield/Ukiah. DUI with prior.
DORIS MCCONNEL, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
MARCO MUNOZ, Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.
A movie that's set in Chester, California???? I thought I'd seen everything.
This is one of those hour-long Saturday matinee specials that veers between the wildly improbable (was there ever a huge drawbridge in Chester or sailing ships parked in Lake Almanor? Doubt it.) to the just-possible (glass observation cars on trains going through the Feather River Canyon? Maybe. That would've been really cool.) to snap shots of real life (a guy spending his day playing mumblety-peg - look it up - on the side of a barn. That's the Chester I know.)
Mumblety-peg Guy: "I took a regular mail order course in detective work. I saw the ad in a magazine. It said, "Follow that man." And I did. I found him. In another magazine."
Bonus vocabulary word: "bindlestiff.” Watch "Western Pacific Agent" and you will know what that means.
Cool scenery. Plenty of goofballs and sharp cookies. One actual (not mail order) railroad detective. Dining cars with real table cloths and flowers in vases. The trains that are still running today and look like crap, when they were all shiny and new 70 years ago. Three and a half popcorn boxes.
P.S. Why don't they make hour-long movies anymore? Most movies could have 45 minutes shaved off of them and be all the better for it.
A Guy Fawkes Day for US.
Observed in the United Kingdom every year on Nov. 5, Guy Fawkes Day — also called Bonfire Night or Fireworks Night — commemorates a failed assassination attempt from over 400 years ago. On Nov. 5, 1605, Guy Fawkes and a group of radical English Catholics tried to assassinate King James I by blowing up Parliament’s House of Lords. The plot went awry and all of the conspirators were executed. We in America could celebrate Jan. 6 as Donald Trump Day. We could hold bonfires, burn effigies and light fireworks to celebrate his failed attempt to blow up our Constitution.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Re: “And can anybody explain how influencers get rich from being “monetized” on youtube? How the heck does any of that work?”
A “personality” with a big following – let’s say tens of thousands typically to start having meaning – gets approached by companies to mention their products. The guy who does lots of skateboard tricks with 500,000 YouTube followers eventually may get $15,000 to talk up a brand.
More interesting I think is how this is a “job” at a more local level. There are people who cover food and bars for just one city – and I know restaurants that give out $2,000 a month in free food to a handful of influences who post videos of the food on their TikTok, etc. Think of it: some restaurant doing say $800,000 in sales finds value in handing out $20,000 plus a year in free food. They also have to balance these “stars” who sometimes make silly demands (throw in two bottles Absolut with my order).
This business model is in a lot of cities around the world. Of course, trying to become an influencer is competitive – lots of people want a bunch of free food three times a week from one restaurant, and a cash gift card from a retailer, etc., and they keep their day job.
I NEVER DO ANYTHING TWICE.
“Always put your best workers on the corners.”
The recording of last night's (2021-11-12) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) is right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0462
Email me your writing on any subject and I'll read it on the radio next week. That's what I'm here for. If it's more than plain text, please provide a link to the media you want me to see or hear, rather than attach it.
Max Forsetter called about half an hour into the show and talked about and presented some of the music and stories from his musical and storied career, interspersed with my inappropriate and clueless interview style, not from my being out of practice but because I'm just not trying much anymore to be at the top of my or anyone's game; I'm rather resting on my laurels and, let's be honest here, it's a thin bed. Max is great, though, and the rest of the show is, ehhh, pretty good, and pretty good all night long, as usual, so kaplah (say kuh-PLAH). Oh, right, also at 1am (four hours into the show) there's the half-hour Part 1 of Scott M. Peterson's mathematical dissertation on the subject of art prices in Mendocino over the years, figuring in the Chinese knockoff factor, which, did you know about that? Because I didn't. And the latest in the Craig L. Stehr saga. He's housed, in a real house with a real couch, and once again exuberantly typing in capital letters, which I express on the radio by shouting, so you get the full benefit of the treatment.
FURTHERMORE, 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:
”Just because an expert tells you something is hyperspectral video of an alien mothership dropping off cargo, it does not mean that's probably what it is.” Four minutes of dry, competent debunkment, and well worth it.
They can't all be right, they can all be wrong, which throws a wrench into Pascal's wager. He was pretty smart about numbers but the human heart is a pretzel of desire and mystical mumbo-jumbo, and there you jolly well are, aren't you. (To paraphrase Lord Buckley.)
One photo of Canadian women’s hockey teams from a hundred years ago is not shown here. Their sweater logo was the American Indian swastika. I used that photo for a cover of my newspaper in the very early 1990s and it caused a kerfuffle (say kur-FUH-fuhl). Example: In the post office I was shrieked at by a survivor of the Holocaust, his nose to my chin and his index finger poking my chest, “Thehw is PAIN HEAH, MAHCO! PAIN!” (The accent of Barry Kripke in The Big Bang Theory.)
And the reason why you always put your best workers on the corners.
— Marco McClean, email@example.com, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
WE NEED TO TALK About the Real Reason Behind US Inflation
by Robert Reich
Corporate giants are raising prices even as they rake in record profits. How can this be? Because of their unchecked power
On Wednesday, the US labor department announced that the consumer price index a basket of products ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents rose 6.2% from a year ago. That’s the nation’s highest annual inflation rate since November 1990.
Republicans are hammering Biden and Democratic lawmakers over inflation and attacking his economic stimulus plans as wrongheaded. “This will be a winter of high gas prices, shortages and inflation because far left lunatics control our government,” Marco Rubio, the Republican senator from Florida posted on Twitter Thursday.
A major reason for price rises is supply bottlenecks, as Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, has pointed out. He believes they’re temporary, and he’s probably right.
But there’s a deeper structural reason for inflation, one that appears to be growing worse: the economic concentration of the American economy in the hands of a relative few corporate giants with the power to raise prices.
If markets were competitive, companies would keep their prices down in order to prevent competitors from grabbing away customers.
But they’re raising prices even as they rake in record profits. How can this be? They have so much market power they can raise prices with impunity.
Viewed this way, the underlying problem isn’t inflation per se. It’s lack of competition. Corporations are using the excuse of inflation to raise prices and make fatter profits.
In April, Procter & Gamble announced it would start charging more for consumer staples ranging from diapers to toilet paper, citing “rising costs for raw materials, such as resin and pulp, and higher expenses to transport goods”.
But P&G is making huge profits. In the quarter ending 30 September, after some of its price increases went into effect, it reported a whopping 24.7% profit margin. It even spent $3bn during the quarter buying its own stock.
It could raise prices and rake in more money because P&G faces almost no competition. The lion’s share of the market for diapers, to take one example, is controlled by just two companies P&G and Kimberly-Clark which roughly coordinate their prices and production. It was hardly a coincidence that Kimberly-Clark announced from-kimberly-clark.html> price increases similar to P&Gs at the same time P&G announced its own price increases.
Or consider another consumer product duopoly PepsiCo (the parent company of Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Quaker, Tropicana, and other brands), and Coca-Cola. In April, PepsiCo announced it was increasing prices, blaming “higher costs for some ingredients, freight and labor Rubbish. The company didn’t have to raise prices. It recorded $3bn in operating profits through September.
If PepsiCo faced tough competition, it could never have gotten away with this. But it doesn’t. To the contrary, it appears to have colluded with Coca-Cola which, oddly, announced price increases at about the same time as PepsiCo, and has increased its profit margins to 28.9%
You can see a similar pattern in energy prices. If energy markets were competitive, producers would have quickly ramped up production to create more supply, once it became clear that demand was growing. But they didn’t.
Why not? Industry experts say oil and gas companies saw bigger money in letting prices run higher before producing more supply
They can get away with this because big oil and gas producers don’t operate in a competitive market. They can manipulate supply by coordinating among themselves.
In sum, inflation isn’t driving most of these price increases. Corporate power is driving them.
Since the 1980s, when the US government all but abandoned antitrust enforcement, two-thirds of all American industries have become more concentrated.
Monsanto now sets the prices for most of the nation’s seed corn.
The government green-lighted Wall Street’s consolidation into five giant banks, of which JP Morgan is the largest.
Airlines have merged from 12 in 1980 to four today, which now control 80% of domestic seating capacity.
Boeing and McDonnell Douglas have merged, leaving the US with just one large producer of civilian aircraft: Boeing.
Three giant cable companies dominate broadband: Comcast, AT&T and Verizon.
A handful of drug companies control the pharmaceutical industry: Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck.
All this spells corporate power to raise prices.
So what’s the appropriate response to the latest round of inflation?
The Federal Reserve has signaled it won’t raise interest rates for the time being, believing that the inflation is being driven by temporary supply bottlenecks.
Meanwhile, Biden administration officials have been consulting with the oil industry in an effort to stem rising gas prices, trying to make it simpler to issue commercial driver’s licenses (to help reduce the shortage of truck drivers), and seeking to unclog overcrowded container ports.
But none of this responds to the deeper structural issue of which price inflation is a symptom: the increasing consolidation of the economy in a relative handful of big corporations with enough power to raise prices and increase profits.
This structural problem is amenable to only one thing: the aggressive use of antitrust law.
THE MAIN DRIVER OF INFLATION IS A MURDEROUS MANIAC IN RIYADH
Saudi Arabia is withholding oil production because Biden won’t meet with Mohammed bin Salman after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the president suggested.
by Ryan Grim and Ken Klippenstein
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is enacting revenge on Democrats in general and President Joe Biden specifically for the party’s increasingly standoffish attitude toward the kingdom — by driving up energy prices and fueling global inflation.
Biden himself seemed to allude to this at a town hall event with CNN last month, during which he attributed high gas prices to a certain “foreign policy initiative” of his, adding, “There’s a lot of Middle Eastern folks who want to talk to me. I’m not sure I’m going to talk to them.”
Biden was making a not-so-veiled reference to his refusal to meet with Salman and acknowledge him as Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler due to his role in the grisly murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October of 2018. The move came after Biden vowed during a debate with President Donald Trump to make MBS, as he’s known, “a pariah” and represented a stark departure from Trump’s warm relations with the desert kingdom and the crown prince.
In 2017, Trump broke with tradition by choosing Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, for his first foreign visit and soon announced a record arms sale to the kingdom. Later, after Khashoggi, a contributor to the Washington Post, was brutally dismembered in a Turkish consulate, Trump cast doubt on MBS’s involvement, saying, “Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.” After his own CIA director briefed Congress on Salman’s culpability, Trump reportedly boasted about his efforts to protect the crown prince, saying, “I saved his ass.” Since then, a senior adviser to Trump’s campaign, Tom Barrack, has been indicted for allegedly working as an unregistered agent of the UAE — Saudi Arabia’s closest ally.
In June 2018, heading into the midterms, Trump requested that Saudi Arabia and its cartel, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, lower energy prices by increasing output, and the kingdom complied.
Prices bottomed out in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, and usage sank to record lows. Prices surged once the pandemic waned and the economy reopened, and Biden in August 2021 requested that OPEC again increase output.
This time MBS refused, angry at having yet to be granted an audience with Biden and contemptuous of the U.S. pullback from the war in Yemen. As one of his first pieces of business, Biden had ordered the end of American support for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates’s war, though caveated it by barring only the backing of “offensive operations.” Saudi Arabia nevertheless received it as a grievous blow.
Ali Shihabi, a Saudi national who is considered a voice for MBS in Washington, made that clear in October, tweeting, “Biden has the phone number of who he will have to call if he wants any favors.”
In a comment to The Intercept, Shihabi said, “Saudi has put a lot of work into getting a cohesive OPEC+ to work over the past 15 months since the crisis that dropped oil futures below zero so will not break ranks with the consensus or Russia on this. Also the Kingdom resents being blamed for what is essentially a structural problem not of its own making in the US which has hampered its own energy production. Finally, I hear that the price of Thanksgiving Turkeys has doubled in the US so why can oil prices also not inflate?” Shihabi added a wink emoji to the end of his comment.
The American economy is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and on top of the prices consumers pay directly at the pump and for energy at home, the costs of food and manufactured goods are also heavily susceptible to swings in energy prices.
“Gas prices relate to a foreign policy initiative that is about something that goes beyond the cost of gas,” Biden said at the town hall last month. “And we’re about $3.30 a gallon most places now when it’s up from — it was down in the single digits — I mean single digits, a dollar-plus. And that’s because of the supply being withheld by OPEC. And so there’s a lot of negotiation that is — there’s a lot of Middle Eastern folks who want to talk to me. I’m not sure I’m going to talk to them. But the point is, it’s about gas production.”
Since the town hall, gas prices have risen further, now standing at around $3.40, a seven-year high.
“There’s a possibility to be able to bring it down,” he continued. “[It] depends a little bit on Saudi Arabia and a few other things that are in the offing.”
Biden made similar comments at the G-20 summit in October, saying Russia, Saudi Arabia, and others were withholding their capacity to produce more. “It has a profound impact on working-class families just to get back and forth to work,” he said.
“The United States, through our own policies, has essentially empowered MBS to impose economic sanctions on us,” a senior Senate aide, not authorized to speak on the record, told The Intercept.
Salman’s refusal to bail Biden out by opening the spigot is calculated, said Jon Hoffman, a Middle East analyst who recently penned a critical article on the UAE and Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of UAE capital Abu Dhabi and the country’s de facto ruler, in Foreign Policy. “They definitely know what they’re doing, and those who play innocent and act like this is not a coordinated strategy are either just ignorant or in the pockets of MBS or MBZ,” Hoffman said.
The politics of oil, the economy, and foreign policy played out this week as the Biden administration moved ahead with a major arms sale to Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen while taking heat from a leading Saudi critic, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.
The arms sale underscores Biden’s Saudi dilemma, as MBS doesn’t just want the arms — he wants a thank you, without a word of dissent from any Democrat.
Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute and a critic of Saudi Arabia, said the move by MBS is aimed at boosting Republicans, whom the crown prince sees as a more reliable ally. “As I see it, it is part of a broader Saudi strategy to favor the GOP as MBS calculates that a Republican president will reinvest in the idea of dominating the Middle East militarily, which makes the relationship with Saudi Arabia critical once more,” Parsi said.
Regional political realignments have led many key leaders in the Middle East to favor Republican leadership. Following former Democratic President Barack Obama’s pursuit of the Iran nuclear deal in the face of opposition from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel, an alliance tightened between the three nations.
Parsi said Salman wants to return to the days when Saudi Arabia was fully immune from any criticism and had U.S. support with no questions asked. “While Biden has clearly not broken fully with these policies, despite his rhetoric, the Dems — particularly progressives — are adding friction to it and are more hesitant about rehabilitating MBS,” said Parsi. “So for MBS specifically, as well as the Likud [a right-wing Israeli political party] and the leaders in Abu Dhabi, a Republican president and Congress is much preferred. And all three of these states have already shown a significant propensity to interfere in American politics.”
The Saudi intervention in U.S. politics on behalf of the GOP could have profound implications for clean energy policies, as Democrats increasingly have powerful incentives to move away from an oil-based economy that can fall victim to puppeteering by political adversaries. “The answer ultimately is — ultimately meaning the next three or four years — is investing in renewable energy,” Biden said during his town hall, outlining an unrealistically optimistic timeframe but describing the direction Democrats plan to go.
Republicans, meanwhile, could have a steady grip on a lever — oil output — that can easily move approval ratings or congressional generic ballots up or down at will. All it takes is looking the other way.
AS AMERICA FALLS APART, PROFITS SOAR
As the county again prepares to go to war with itself, this time over a high profile trial, a bigger story goes unnoticed.
by Matt Taibbi
The Mayhem Watch is on. Closing arguments in the trial of “Kenosha Shooter” Kyle Rittenhouse are expected Monday, and after weeks of hype, the country is primed to explode again. Wisconsin governor Tony Evers announced 500 National Guard troops will be on hand for potential post-verdict “unrest,” which seems almost guaranteed, no matter the result.
As with all major news stories lately, the Rittenhouse case saw idiosyncrasies wash away as coverage accumulated, with pundits pounding the trial into yet another generalized referendum on American culture war. Prestige media made Rittenhouse a stand-in for the Proud Boys, January 6th, school board protests, anti-mask protests, QAnon, Blue Lives Matter, Trump, “Domestic Terrorism,” fascism, school shooters, and every other naughty thing, with everyone from then-candidate Joe Biden to The Intercept blithely declaring him a white supremacist. The efforts to cast Rittenhouse as a symbol of racism and white rage have been awesome in quantity and transparently, intentionally provoking, with even leading papers like the New York Times standardizing a practice of underscoring Rittenhouse’s race (“white teenager”) while leaving the identities of those shot out of coverage. Glenn Greenwald pointed out that his old outlet, The Intercept, noted Rittenhouse’s race 20 times in one piece while keeping schtum about the color of those shot. This has gone on for so long, we’ve seen a foreign newspaper misreport that the two people killed in the case were black. In the public consciousness, they might as well have been.
Because Rittenhouse from the day of the shooting was made a symbol of Fox-watching, Trump-loving conservatives, he was also quickly adopted in red media as a hero, which “he surely wasn’t,” as Andrew Sullivan put it. This turbo-charged the freakout even more, as Rittenhouse’s defenders turned his case into a referendum on everything from media coverage of last summer’s protests of Black Lives Matter to the performance (or non-performance, as it were) of police during the George Floyd/Jacob Blake demonstrations, to a dozen other things that made public passions rise in the last year.
Rittenhouse in other words became a symbol of so many things to so many people that the specifics of his legal case have ceased to be relevant. There seems to be no such thing as an editorialist who has negative feelings about, say, Rittenhouse posing with Proud Boys, yet also believes that incident can’t be evidence since it happened after the shooting. Everyone picks a side and stays there. Pundits are telling us that any opinion on how the jury should rule can only be understood as a reflection of racial attitudes. “If you’re defending Kyle Rittenhouse, you might be a white supremacist. Just sayin,” is how Tweeter-with-beard and sometimes-journalist David Leavitt puts it.
On the day the Rittenhouse trial began, the financial data firm FactSet released an eyebrow-raising report about the Covid-19 economy.
The firm noted that companies in the S&P 500 were set to post a net 12.9% profit in the third quarter of 2021. They pointed out this was the second-highest result since the firm began tracking the number in 2008.
The only better result? The previous quarter, i.e. Q2 2021, when net profits sat at 13.1% overall. These results track with the true great story of the pandemic era, which not-so-mysteriously hasn’t made the news much, while Americans have been tearing each other’s faces off over issues like race and vaccination policy: the massive widening of our already-obscene wealth gap.
Remember last year’s long summer of riots, that period that saw the whole world arguing over the definition of “mostly peaceful,” and saw Rittenhouse go charging into the streets of Kenosha? During that long stretch of unrest, corporate America, which had been headed for a depression in March of 2020, was soaring above the fray on an apparently endless, and endlessly escalating, ride to record profits. Take a look at this graph from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, and focus on the Jeff-Bezos-rocket-like ascent beginning in the second quarter of 2020:
Corporate profits in the second quarter of 2020 sat at $1.58 trillion. One year later, that number was $2.69 trillion, a roughly 71% increase. How many stories have you read in the last year telling you about how well the top end of the income distribution has been doing, while the rest of the country seemed to be falling apart?
Compared with how often you heard pundits rage about the “insurrection,” how regularly did you hear that billionaire wealth has risen 70% or $2.1 trillion since the pandemic began? How much did you hear about last year’s accelerated payments to defense contractors, who immediately poured the “rescue” cash into a buyback orgy, or about the record underwriting revenues for banks in 2020, or the “embarrassment of profits” for health carriers in the same year, or the huge rises in revenue for pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, all during a period of massive net job losses? The economic news at the top hasn’t just been good, it’s been record-setting good, during a time of severe cultural crisis.
Twenty or thirty years ago, the Big Lie was usually a patriotic fairy tale designed to cast America in a glow of beneficence. Nurtured in think-tanks, stumped by politicians, and amplified by Hollywood producers and media talking heads, these whoppers were everywhere: America would have won in Vietnam if not for the media, poverty didn’t exist (or at least, wasn’t shown on television), only the Soviets cuddled with dictators or toppled legitimate governments, etc. The concept wasn’t hard to understand: leaders were promoting unifying myths to keep the population satiated, dumb, and focused on their primary roles as workers and shoppers.
In the Trump era, all this has been turned upside down. There’s actually more depraved, dishonest propaganda than before, but the new legends are explicitly anti-unifying and anti-patriotic. The people who run this country seem less invested than ever in maintaining anything like social cohesion, maybe because they mostly live in wealth archipelagoes that might as well be separate nations (if they even live in America at all).
All sense of noblesse oblige is gone. The logic of our kleptocratic economy has gone beyond even the “Greed is Good” mantra of the fictional Gordon Gekko, who preached that pure self-interest would make America more efficient, better-run, less corrupt. Even on Wall Street, nobody believes that anymore. America is a sinking ship, and its CEO class is trying to salvage the wreck in advance, extracting every last dime before Battlefield Earth breaks out.
It’s only in this context that these endless cycles of hyper-divisive propaganda make sense. It’s time to start wondering if maybe it’s not a coincidence that politicians and pundits alike are pushing us closer and closer to actual civil war at exactly the moment when corporate wealth extraction is reaching its highest-ever levels of efficiency. Keeping the volk at each other’s throats instead of pitchforking the aristocrats is an old game, one that’s now gone digital and works better than ever. That might be worth remembering after the coming verdict, and ahead of whatever other hyper-publicized panic comes down the pipeline next.
TRIBES, FISHERMEN AND CONSERVATIONISTS demand action to restore flows in Scott and Shasta rivers
by Dan Bacher
Scott River, CA - After a spring and summer marked by fish kills on the Klamath and Sacramento rivers and their tributaries, Save California Salmon and other fish conservation and environmental organizations recently joined Klamath River Tribes in asking the California State Water Resources Control Board to establish permanent instream flow requirements on two of the Klamath River’s largest tributaries, the Scott and Shasta rivers.
The groups sent the letters after multiple Klamath River Tribes, including the Yurok Tribe, Karuk Tribe and Quartz Valley Indian Rancheria, sent similar requests to make instream emergency flow requirements permanent, according to Regina Chichizola from Save California Salmon in a statement.
The 12 groups signing a joint letter dated October 31 include the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Friends of the Shasta River, Climate Water Trust, Coast Action Group, Friends of the River, Native Fish Society, California Coastkeepers Alliance, the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center, the Sacramento River Council and Sustainable Northwest.
The Golden State Salmon Association (GSSA) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) also sent separate letters making the same request, noted Chichizola.
On May 3, 2021, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) sent a letter and supporting materials to the California Water Board requesting establishment of a legally enforceable flow standard in the Scott and Shasta Rivers.
Then on September 29, 2021, the Karuk Tribe sent a letter to the Board supporting the Department’s request. The Tribe also provided additional information that underscores the imminent threat of extinction facing Southern Oregon Northern California Coho.
Using the authority granted by Governor Newsom’s emergency drought declaration, the Water Board curtailed water diversions to alfalfa farms and ranches in the Scott and Shasta valleys for the first time in history.
After diversions were curtailed, the rivers began flowing again and salmon were able to move upstream on their spawning journey.
“We support these requests from the Karuk Tribe and the Department,” the groups’ letter stated. “Most of our organizations have a long standing interest in the Klamath Basin and have worked with the Karuk and Yurok Tribes and Quartz Valley Indian Rancheria to ask the State Board, along with other state and federal agencies, to protect Scott and Shasta River fisheries and water quality.”
Both the Scott and Shasta Rivers are listed under the state’s 303(d) list for temperature and dissolved oxygen impairments caused by lack of flow in the rivers. The Shasta TMDL explicitly lists “lack of flow” as a cause for impairment and sets flow objectives, the letter stated.
“Groundwater compliance studies on the Scott River that were done in compliance with the 303(d) listings and TMDL show that groundwater pumping both inside and outside the zone of adjudication is the underlying reason for the Scott River flow impairments. Despite these facts, the Board delayed any action to protect these critical watersheds until this year’s emergency drought proclamation,” the letter noted.
“The Scott and Shasta Rivers are the last strongholds for wild Coho and Chinook salmon in the Klamath River but they go dry most years due to water diversions and groundwater pumping,” emphasized Chichizola. “This has had devastating impacts on the West Coast fishing industry and Tribal subsistence fishing, but up until now California has turned a blind eye.”
Klamath River Coho are listed as threatened under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts (ESA), while Klamath Spring Chinook are listed under the California ESA and under consideration for federal listing. Fall Chinook numbers are falling as well, according to Chichizola.
“In only a few decades, we have watched Scott and Shasta River salmon populations plummet due to excessive water diversions and mismanagement,” said Frankie Myers, the Yurok Tribe’s Vice Chairman. “For millennia, these streams supported a sizable portion of the Yurok Tribe’s subsistence harvest, but in the last six years we have not been able to harvest enough fish to feed our elders, let alone the tribe.”
“We ask the state water board to restore balance to the management of the Scott and Shasta before it’s too late. The board has a legal and ethical obligation to expeditiously establish and enforce a flow schedule that supports the recovery of these critically important salmon runs,” noted Myers.
Advocates of setting permanent instream flow standards say that the Scott and Shasta rivers dry up most years due to diversions and that local growers practice “disaster capitalism” by farming more alfalfa during droughts when other farmers in the state have their diversions cut off, said Chichizola.
“Commercial fishing families all up and down the coast rely on Klamath salmon for their livelihoods,” said Glen Spain, NW Regional Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), a major West Coast commercial fisheries trade group. ”Allowing too much water to be taken out of the Scott and Shasta Rivers, which once supported tens of thousands of adult salmon every year, cuts the economic heart out of many coastal communities.”
He noted that commercial ocean salmon fisheries throughout Northern California had to be closed again this year, for the second year in a row, to protect the very weak stocks returning to the Klamath basin under what are called “weak stock management” constraints.
In the Karuk Tribe letter, Tribal Chairman Buster Attebery pointed out, “Action is urgently needed to save Coho salmon, which is listed as threatened on the California and federal endangered species lists. Action is not only needed to protect endangered fish, but also dwindling populations of Fall Chinook salmon before they too are listed as endangered. Currently Fall Chinook populations are inadequate to meet the subsistence needs of tribes or support California’s commercial salmon fishing industry. Already, Spring Chinook have been extirpated from the Scott and Shasta Rivers.”
Likewise, in their joint letter, the 12 fish and environmental organizations concluded that “the science is in, minimum flow standards need to be set, and they need to be legally enforceable. If the Board does not take action, it will be letting the wild Coho salmon in these watersheds go extinct and failing to protect the public trust.”
FATE OF THE WORLD
by John Arteaga
I have been struggling, this last week or so, with how I might be able to compose a coherent column when there are so many urgent, infuriating issues crying out for strident commentary.
It seems like the fate of the whole world, political, environmental, cultural, is teetering on the edge of ruin; while inexorable climate change is making more and more populous parts of the world uninhabitable, right-wing demagogues in so many places are leading their bleating masses to clamor for giving up their basic liberties for the perceived protection of their great leaders. Who was it who said, “Those who are willing to give up their freedom for security deserve neither”?
While weather extremes become worse every year and the doomsday clock of sea level rise never stops its tic-tocking, threatening NYC’s trillions of dollars worth of vital transportation infrastructure, like so many other heavily populated coastal cities around the world, the Cop 26 meeting taking place right now, I am afraid, may be too little, too late.
Without China and Russia, two of the three world’s biggest emitters of carbon, at the table, it’s hard to see how much of a dent the rest of the world can make in the looming catastrophe. Perhaps if the previous president had built consensus with other nations, instead of scoffing at all forums for cooperation…
How ironic it is that just before Biden’s attendance at the Glasgow COP conference, he was in Geneva at the G 20 meeting lobbying the Gulf oil states to pump more oil in an attempt to lower gas prices here and boost his popularity. Not exactly the inspiring leadership that we need so much.
The only way that humanity is going to survive this global climate Armageddon with any recognizable civilization is for the whole world to take decisive action. And let’s face it; it still might not be enough. We may have already gone past the tipping point, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. We owe it to future generations to do all we can!
The US continues to be an outlier (and not in a good way) from the rest of the civilized world. As a result of the infamous Citizens United decision, where the ‘Supreme’ court decreed money to be speech and corporations to be persons, we have been reaping the bitter harvest of this nonsensical ruling. The totally predictable result has been that politicians are now weathervanes, directed by the drafts of money into their reelection campaigns.
Instead of making any kind of progress toward the pressing exigencies that we, as a species, MUST make if we are to pass on a habitable planet to future generations, Americans have been cynically divided into warring tribes based on completely frivolous and insignificant differences over emotional obsessions; the rights of the ‘pre-born’ (never mind the long-established Roe V Wade decision gives that right clearly to the mother, pre-viability), or the absurd hullabaloo that the right has stirred up over ‘critical race theory’, which seems to be, in my understanding, simply teaching the grim truth of our nation’s racial history, including such horrors as the Tulsa pogrom against the successful black middle class there, rather than the Pollyanna fairytales that constituted most of our history education.
Just hours ago, they finally succeeded in passing an anemic version of Biden’s first installment of the much needed infrastructure investment plan. It remains to be seen whether the much bigger portion of the ambitious proposal will be passed. That would finally drag the United States into the company of the rest of the First World, where everyone else takes for granted such things as much higher minimum wages, free or almost free high quality childcare and college education, and not only essential medical care but dental, vision, and hearing. These are all things that poll incredibly high among Americans, but unfortunately our political system tends to disregard the overwhelming will of the people and focus solely on the interests of the top tiny fraction of 1% who basically hold the vast bulk of our Nation’s wealth, and provide the lifeblood of the political campaigns of both parties.
We are SO close to being able to institute these progressive changes which, once they are enacted, will prove so popular that it will be impossible for whatever reactionary regime may ascend to the presidency and congressional majorities, to take them away. Meanwhile, the media muddies the waters by seldom mentioning the great things that Bidens BBB plan will bring to ordinary Americans, while doting endlessly on their cost. Of course it is almost never mentioned that that cost would be borne almost entirely by the top fraction of 1% when we manage to get them to pay their fair share of taxes, which is a major part of the proposal!
If there is a deity, and heaven and hell await us after we leave this mortal coil, may he or she condemn to eternal perdition senators Manchin and Sinema; these two holdouts in the evenly divided Senate, who for some reason append a D after their names, though they are basically Republicans who are joining their comrades in the scorched-earth destruction of any progress for our society, and indeed the whole world.
It makes me want to tear my hair out every time I hear them referred to as ‘moderates’. There is nothing moderate about their criminal connivance. Joe Manchin is a coal baron, getting rich off of this filthy fuel’s destruction of our fragile atmosphere, and Ms. Sinema is the top recipient of the incredibly rapacious drug industry, its fangs deep into the nation’s fiscal jugular. She just voted to oppose the long overdue proposal for Medicare to bargain with the drug industry like every other country does.
Let us hope that the Democrats can somehow pass these wildly popular investments in our people before the midterms, otherwise we can look forward to Trumpian fascism rolling right over whatever rights we may have left then.
(John Arteaga is a Ukiah resident.)