RECOMMENDED READING, kind of.
Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream by Neil Young. A friend called it a great book and told me I should definitely hustle out and get it. I did, and a few pages in I knew I was totally unqualified to read it because I know zero about the guy's music, and even less about popular music generally. I didn't understand most of the references to other musicians, and Young lost me completely in long paragraphs about the antique cars he collects and his work on sound technology. In a way, though, Waging Heavy Peace was interesting in the way the movie about Johnny Cash was interesting, in that you keep waiting for something interesting to happen. When the movie ended, I said to myself, “That was the story of a guy who was poor, got rich as an entertainer, got addicted to speed, got divorced and married again.” It was a very boring movie. Neil Young's book, to me, was like the Johnny Cash movie. These guys, if their bio's are any guide, all lead very odd but identical lives, endless rounds of encounters with other celebs and fancy hotels. Neil Young grew up in a stable, prosperous home then, still quite young, became rich and famous, and life mostly became the usual extended debauch of women and dope and, of course, music. Unless you're a really good writer, describing a life like this is much less interesting than even the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Young isn't a very good writer and his life, as he describes it, is awfully boring. He comes across as a good person, certainly, in a profession where there probably aren't many good persons, but his book is only for the most avid of his fans.
ON NOVEMBER 23, 2013, at about 12:30pm, recreational divers were swimming in the Pacific Ocean near the shore in the area of milepost marker 3.89 South Highway 1, Gualala, when they located the floating body of a deceased person. The divers called the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. The Sonoma County Sheriff Helicopter (Henry 1), members of the South Coast Volunteer Fire Department, a California Highway Patrol Officer, and a California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden also responded to assist with the recovery of the decedent. The warden donned a wetsuit and swam out to the decedent and pulled him to the shore. Due to the height and steepness of the cliff it was not possible to carry the decedent up to the roadway. A Sonoma County Deputy Sheriff and a South Coast Firefighter were suspended under the helicopter and lowered to the decedent. They were able to place the decedent's remains in a litter and they were moved to an open field near the roadway with the helicopter. The male decedent appears to have been in the water for more than a few days and no identification was located. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is investigating the identity of the decedent at this time. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office wishes to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Highway Patrol, and South Coast Fire Department.
UPDATE: On November 26, 2013, a forensic autopsy was conducted on the decedent and during the examination the decedent was found to have hip replacement implants. A check of the serial numbers on the implants confirmed the decedent as being Stephen Clark Pease, 57, who had been reported missing to the Roseville Police Department on October 31, 2013. The Roseville Police Department missing person’s investigation determined Pease had checked out of a Fort Bragg area motel on November 3, 2013, which was approximately 50-60 miles from where his body was recovered. Pease was last known to be driving a rented silver 2014 Chevrolet Captiva with Oregon license plate 500GKN and at this time the vehicle's whereabouts are unknown. The coroner's investigation is ongoing into the cause of Pease's death.
OUR MOST IMPORTANT CITIES are overcrowded, alienating habitats for most of those who live and labor in them but palaces of consumer delights for those with money. And the rest of the nation consists of the lesser cities, with their moribund downtowns and decaying infrastructures; suburbs, with their sameness, shopping malls, green lawns, trim houses, and spiritual deadness; small towns, with no services, inferior food in the grocery stores, poor medical care, and their own brands of environmental destruction; the vast wastelands of what is left of rural America, with factory farming, pesticides choking the air, trailer parks, amphetamine epidemics, and towns where residents so often look worn out and alone. Even the remaining beautiful places have become victims of urban cash. You will never see a full moon or stars as bright and numerous in a city as you will in Moab, Utah or Estes Park, Colorado. Yet, tourism wreaks havoc in both places, and natural gas fracking devastates the landscape. (Michael Yates)
A READER WRITES: “The dastardly USPS once again shirks its duty to deliver the AVA in a timely fashion [or at all]. Bottom line is that my last edition is November 6; so, that's two-and-one half editions that are probably stacked up behind useless piles of Lands' End catalogues and mountains of ‘It's the holiday season: please send us $$$ for The Great Cause.’ I finally broke down and went to the website (first time) to console myself with reading online but — although it is a very snappy website, it is of course inadequate to those of us accustomed to, and weekly hoping for, THE REAL THING. It was a pleasure meeting you, Major, briefly, back on October 17th our way through Boonville en route to Daniel Parker's ranch in Comptche, where my wife and I were communards back in '69-74. Sorry to have missed meeting the Great Satanic Socialist/anarchist himself, who you said was in SF. Anyway, my fond hope for the holiday season is that Santa, or the USPS, will bring me the AVA in its beloved paper edition, on a weekly basis, in 2014 and henceforth. Best wishes for a good Thanksgiving, etc.”
by Claudia Jimenez
Inspired by Greg Ludwig’s story in this week’s paper, I want to express my deepest gratitude to important people in my heart. For some of you who have a slight idea about my life (or maybe not so much) I will start by telling you how everything started.
Jose Jimenez Barragan and Luz Maria Espinoza Malfavon, my parents, decided to start a family from which they had five children; two boys and three girls. My brothers, Arturo and Rodolfo Jimenez, even though we have our disagreements, have given me their protection, care, great sense of humor, the biggest and most sincere laughs with no restrictions but over all honest love. To my sisters, Hilda and Isidora Jimenez, I have no words to describe how proud and thankful I am for their unconditional love. For you ladies, I only have pure admiration, respect, and love.
Following the story about my parents, they decided, after hard work and dedication to my siblings and my well being, to move to the United States and start a new chapter of our lives. A year after arriving, my mother died from terminal cancer. Without hesitation, Tony and Debbie Sanchez offered us a home and a family. To these angels, I just have to say thank you for everything you have done for my siblings and me. Your love and given selves have taught me to love unconditionally. After being part of their family for a couple of years, we discovered my dad had cancer too. Doctors gave him seven months to live. My old man, not giving up on himself or us, lasted for almost eight more years after his diagnosis.
During this hard time, I met Leslie Hummel, my business partner, and her wonderful granddaughter, Siana. I don’t have enough words to describe how delighted and grateful I am to know these wonderful women. Thank you Leslie not only for giving me my first job when I didn’t even know enough English but for guiding me through the hazards of having my own business and becoming an important part of this community and its members.
Also, I want to thank Anne Bennett and Aaron Weintraub for providing All That Good Stuff, my future business, a safe and sound home. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to flourish to my full capacity as an entrepreneur in one of your many wonderful buildings.
To Jan Pallazola and Flick MacDonald I would love to thank for the warm hearts and always making sure I am doing good. Also, I would like to thank uncle Joe MacDonald who has offered me his home as my home for over three years with an open heart.
Dawn Ballantine has showed me so much, especially the way to care for myself even when I was not willing to do so. Pilar and Liz Echeveria: thanks for always being there for me when I needed you the most, always giving me the smile and drive I needed to go through the day.
Thank you so much to my unconditional friend who has been there for me through the good, the bad, and the ugly, Soledad Baroza. I love you! Also, during these hard times, I met the Mendoza family. Thank you for always supporting me and helping me through the roughest times.
Nowadays I have someone who has given me so much without expecting anything back — his name is Noe Benavides. I am grateful for having you in my life and for giving me the chance to be part of yours. Even though I haven’t mentioned lots of names, I want to thank everyone who has given meaning to my life. This includes but is not limited to my teachers, friends, relatives, etc. With a humble heart and a big smile I thank every person who has made a difference in my life for the best! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
(Claudia Jimenez and Leslie Hummel are co-owners of the Boonville Gift Shop ‘All That Good Stuff’ where all kinds of holiday gifts including Books, Jewelery, Games, Good Kids stuff , Greeting Cards and Works from local artist and crafts are on sale.)
A FEW THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT THANKSGIVING and the earliest European settlements in the New World:
(by historian James Loewen)
In the summer of 1526, 500 Spaniards and 100 black slaves founded a town near the mouth of the Pedee River in what is now South Carolina. Disease and disputes with nearby Indians caused many deaths. Finally, in November the slaves rebelled, killed some of their masters, and escaped to the Indians. Only 150 Spaniards survived, and they evacuated back to Haiti. The ex-slaves remained behind. So the first non-Native “settlers” in “the country we now know as the United States” were Africans.
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British fishermen had been fishing off Massachusetts for decades before the Pilgrims landed. After filling their hulls with cod, they would set forth on land to get firewood and fresh water and perhaps capture a few Indians to sell into slavery in Europe. On one of these expeditions they probably transmitted the illness to the people they met. Whatever it was, within three years this plague wiped out 90-96% of the inhabitants of southern New England. The Indian societies lay devastated. Only “the 20th person is scarce left alive,” wrote British eyewitness Robert Cushman, describing a death rate unknown in all previous human experience. Unable to cope with so many corpses, survivors fled to the next tribe, carrying the infestation with them, so that Indians died who had never seen a white person.
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John Winthrop, Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, called the smallpox plague that decimated American Indians “miraculous.” To a friend in England in 1634, he wrote: “But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by the smallpox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not 50, have put themselves under our protection…”
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Indeed, the plague helped cause the legendary warm reception Plymouth enjoyed in its first formative years from the Wampanoags. Massasoit needed to ally with the Pilgrims because the plague had so weakened his villages that he feared the Narragansetts to the west.
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Europeans were never able to “settle” China, India, Indonesia, Japan, or most of Africa because too many people in those lands who had developed some immunity to the European diseases already lived there. Advantages in military and social technology would have enabled Europeans to dominate the Americas, as they eventually dominated China and Africa, but not to “settle” the New World. For that, the plague was required.
WARMEST SPIRITUAL GREETINGS. Our friend Jamie ‘Bork’ Loughner contacted me to come to New Orleans and assist her in the realization of a critically needed multi-purpose community center for the neighborhood which now has the Common Ground Health Clinic. I am posting this on the DC IMC, to let others who know her (and who were in NOLA after the hurricane in 2005 performing disaster relief in the midst of one of the most chaotically racist and socially dysfunctional places on earth) have the opportunity to be involved. What is at issue is the population of children here who have next to nothing, except a future of drug dealing and prostitution, and the elderly who have nothing at all. We are receiving knocks on her door regularly from people asking us for food to survive! We don't have that much to share, but we give out noodles and bread and cheese at least. And yes, we're four blocks from Gretna, LA, where a statue of the founder of the Ku Klux Klan stands in front of the courthouse. Please contact Bork at (504) 302-9951, or send snail mail to: Jamie Loughner, 333 Socrates St., New Orleans, LA 70114. HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE ON THE WASHINGTON DC RADICAL FRONTLINES!
PRESS RELEASE FROM JARED HUFFMAN’S OFFICE:
Huffman, Feinstein, Boxer, CA Reps: Address Environmental Damage Caused By Trespass Marijuana Grows
Bipartisan House-Senate letter targets trafficking organizations that make forests and open spaces unsafe for working and recreation
WASHINGTON—Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) led a bipartisan letter to the U.S. Sentencing Commission recommending a legal response to the threat posed by trespass marijuana growing operations on public property and private land. Huffman was joined on the letter by California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer as well as Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), and Sam Farr (D-CA).
“Drug trafficking organizations… are making forests and open spaces unsafe for working and recreation,” the lawmakers wrote. “We urge you to consider the significant impacts of drug cultivation operations on public and trespassed lands throughout the country and add new emphasis to countering the environmental damages of drug production.”
The U.S. Sentencing Commission is responsible for establishing sentencing policies and practices for the federal courts. The Commission has not yet directed federal courts to appropriately sentence those who cause environmental harm during trespass marijuana operations.
In 2012, nearly one million marijuana plants were eradicated from 471 sites on National Forest lands found in 20 states across the country. The operators of these illegal grow operations frequently level hilltops, starting landslides on erosion-prone hillsides, divert and dam creeks and streams, and use excessive pesticides to protect their crop. A single 2011 law enforcement operation in Mendocino National Forest located 56 marijuana cultivation sites and removed 23 tons of trash, over a ton of fertilizer, 57 pounds of pesticides and herbicides, 22 miles of irrigation piping, and 13 man-made dams.
Individuals and private landholders, including ranchers, timber companies, and forest trusts, report that they are increasingly forced to confront criminals and eradicate drug operations from their own land, endangering lives and costing significant sums of money for eradication and reclamation.
In July Congressman Huffman introduced the bipartisan PLANT Act, which would establish new penalties for causing environmental damage while cultivating marijuana on federal public lands or while trespassing on private property.
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HUFFMAN’S LETTER TO JUDGE SARIS
The Honorable Patti B. Saris . Chair United States Sentencing Commission . One Columbus Circle N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002-8002.
Dear Judge Saris: As the U.S. Sentencing Commission begins the 2013-2014 guidelines amendment cycle, we write to recommend revising sentencing guidelines to respond to the direct threat to our environment and public safety posed by the production and cultivation of controlled substances, in particular marijuana, on public lands or while trespassing on private property. We are concerned that existing guidelines do not address the long term detrimental threats these operations pose to the environment and nearby communities.
Over the past decade, drug cultivation has significantly expanded in terms of both geography and scale. In rural and remote areas, today’s marijuana operations can involve tens of thousands of plants and industrial-scale farming practices. Drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) composed of both foreign and American criminals have profited greatly from this expansion, and are making forests and open spaces unsafe for working and recreation. High powered weapons are routinely found on remote cultivation sites, and criminals have demonstrated a willingness to use them in order to defend their plots. Neal Ewald, Vice President of California Timberlands for a large privately-held timber company in the Pacific Northwest, recently described the impact of trespass marijuana operations on his workforce, stating “[they] are a serious safety concern for our employees and contractors. Green Diamond now conducts annual safety training for employees who may discover criminal drug trafficking during work in our forests.
The damaging environmental impacts of trespass drug operations are documented in scientific literature and have elicited concern from a range of stakeholders including ranchers, farmers, local businesses, tribal leaders, environmental advocacy organizations, law enforcement officials, and local community leaders. A single 2011 law enforcement operation in Mendocino National Forest located 56 marijuana cultivation sites and removed 23 tons of trash, over a ton of fertilizer, 57 pounds of pesticides and herbicides, 22 miles of irrigation piping, and 13 man-made dams. This damage is expensive to remediate and often undoes significant federal, state, and private investment in the landscape.
In addition to the impacts of drug cultivation on public lands, we would like to draw your attention to the increasing number of drug traffickers trespassing on private lands. Rural communities with large ranching, agriculture, and timber lands are particularly vulnerable to criminals trespassing to cultivate and produce narcotics. Worker safety is a growing concern, and the reclamation of abandoned cultivation sites can be both dangerous and expensive for the landowner. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that reclamation efforts average a cost of $15,000 per cultivation site.
We are pleased that the Department of Justice, Department of the Interior, federal law enforcement agencies, and other federal entities have demonstrated increased interest in pursuing drug operations that inflict harm to wildlife and natural resources. Deputy Attorney General James Cole highlighted the issue in his recent testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, describing “enforcement against those who were wreaking environmental damage by growing marijuana on our public lands” as a federal priority. The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s 2013 National Drug Control Strategy identified the eradication of environmentally harmful marijuana cultivation sites as a top “drug problem” warranting heightened federal attention.
As the Sentencing Commission continues to review sentencing guidelines, we urge you to consider the significant impacts of drug cultivation operations on public and trespassed lands throughout the country and add new emphasis to countering the environmental damages of drug production.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.
Sincerely, Jared Huffman
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ON LINE COMMENT re Huffman's grow initiative: “Jail time isn't the answer, Friend. Increased mandatory sentencing for possession, manufacture, and sales have done exactly ZIP to reduce drug-related crime in this country. About the only thing such measures have done is increase prison overcrowding and enrich for-profit penitentiaries. If we really want to hurt these individuals, go after their money — every last cent that can be even remotely associated with their illegal grows. Confiscate their equipment, their vehicles, their homes. Everything they own, down to the backpacks on their scrawny backs. Then branch out and go after those they know— relatives, friends, everyone. If you can't prove that what you have hasn't been purchased with illegally earned drug money, it's gone. Impoverish the bastards and instead of such monies being turned over to local law enforcement for shit like military style ordnance, use the money to clean up these grow sites. I'm sick of our elected officials enacting this kind of legislation — laws that do nothing to actually address the problem. It sounds good on the evening news and gets a cheer from an ignorant electorate, but it doesn't do a fucking thing to change the behaviors. Go after these assholes' pocketbooks. Then they might actually think twice and realize that it's not worth the trouble when the Feds come confiscate everything down to their Tevas.”
CAN RIGHT & LEFT RALLY AGAINST WALMART?
Underpaid Workers Need Our Support
by Ralph Nader
One of the most profitable corporations in America is having a holiday food drive. Sounds good — it’s the least Corporate America can do for those struggling to make ends meet while big companies rake in record profits and give so little back. But wait… there’s a catch. The food drive is for the company’s own underpaid, poverty-stricken workers. You really can’t make this stuff up.
Last week, it was reported that a Walmart store in Canton, Ohio is asking for food donations for its own employees. Photos of the food donation bins circulated online showing signs that read: “Please donate food items here so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.” (That’s if they even have a chance to — Walmart stores are open on Thanksgiving and are beginning their “Black Friday” deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to get a jump on the holiday shopping madness.)
Walmart is America’s largest employer with a workforce consisting of 1.3 million “associates.” The company made nearly $17 billion in profit last year. So why can’t Walmart afford to pay its own store workers enough for them to enjoy a holiday meal with their families? The answer is Walmart doesn’t really care about its workers.
If the Walmart food donation drive doesn’t get you properly steamed, then consider that Walmart CEO, Mike Duke, makes approximately $11,000 an hour — he took home about $20.7 million last year, plus ample benefits. Still not mad? It has also been recently been reported that Duke has a retirement package worth more than $113 million! That is 6,200 times larger than the average 401k savings of a non-executive level Walmart employee! (Check out this recent report which charts other massive CEO pensions in relation to those of average workers)
One final fact to really get your dander up — The Walton family, heirs to the Walmart fortune, have accumulated more financial wealth than the entire bottom 40 percent of the population of the United States or 313 million Americans. That’s six Waltons worth a combined $102.7 billion!
No matter what one’s political leanings may be, the problem of massive income inequality and insatiable corporate greed is worsening year-by-year as CEO salaries rise, overall corporate profits soar and worker salaries stagnate. Liberal or conservative–all Americans should be outraged by this trend.
I recently wrote to conservative anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist to bring both sides of the political spectrum together on this troubling issue. In the past, Mr. Norquist and I have backed popular, reasonable policies, such as putting the full text of government contracts online, rolling back corporate welfare and opposing the civil liberties restrictive Patriot Act. As someone who claims to care about taxpayer protection, the issue of poverty-level wages and their major effect on taxpayers should be an important issue for Mr. Norquist.
Here’s why — low wages at the 10 largest fast food chains cost taxpayers $3.8 billion per year. Fifty-two percent of families of fast food workers have to rely on government assistance. McDonald’s’ “McResource” help line goes so far as to advise workers who cannot make ends meet from their poverty-level wages to sign up for government food stamps and home heating assistance. Is it fair that taxpayers have to shell out $1.2 billion a year to subsidize McDonald’s paying its workers while the fast food giant rakes in $5.5 billion in profit?
Walmart is even worse — according to a study from the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce study, a single Walmart Supercenter store in Wisconsin can cost taxpayers upwards of $1.75 million in public assistance programs. If taxpayers have to cover over $1 million for just one 300-employee superstore, consider how much Walmart is costing taxpayers each year at their 4,135 stores in the United States. According to the 2012 “Walmart Associate Benefits Book”, which is distributed to employees, the company also advises its workers about getting on public assistance. Is this a fair or reasonable burden on taxpayers as Walmart reports $17 billion in profits?
Over the past five years, Walmart has had enough excess funds to buy back billions in its own stock. Walmart reportedly spent $7.6 billion last year buying back its shares. These funds are enough to raise the salaries of the lowest paid workers by $5.83 an hour. Catherine Ruetschlin, policy analyst at Demos, stated in a recent release: “These share repurchases benefit an increasingly narrow group of people, including the six Walton family heirs. But buybacks do not improve the fundamentals of the firm. If the funds were used to raise the pay of Walmart’s 825,000 low paid workers, it would not harm the retailer’s competitive ability and would add no cost to the consumer.”
(See the recent report from Demos titled: “A Higher Wage is Possible”)
The quickest way to lessen reliance on food stamp, EITC and Medicaid outlays is to raise the federal minimum wage. Raising the wage has the backing of 80 percent of Americans, 69 percent of Republicans, and even writers from The National Review and The American Conservative magazines. So why isn’t their more rage from the other end of the political spectrum? Even Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney supported raising the minimum wage to keep up with inflation — at least until Mitt Romney flip-flopped on the issue during the 2012 election.
The support of Grover Norquist and the Congressional followers of his no-tax pledge would be a significant boost for 30 million struggling workers who make less today than workers made in 1968, inflation adjusted. With a doubling in both worker productivity and the cost of living, there is no excuse for such a decline in their livelihoods.
Mr. Norquist, join this fight to protect taxpayers. Underpaid workers (who are also taxpayers) and their families need your support.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.)