SACRAMENTO BEE COLUMNIST Dan Walters wrote Saturday about a phenomenon that we’ve covered at length in the AVA as it applies to the Northcoast:
“An insidious political syndrome popped up in California during the 1990s involving large tracts of land whose owners wanted to sell to state and federal governments. The owners would announce, very loudly, plans to develop their properties, sparking Pavlovian opposition from environmental groups and political pressure to ‘save’ them from a rapacious fate. Those efforts would culminate in acquisition by the state or federal governments at inflated prices, allowing the politicians involved to polish their environmental credentials and landowners to walk away with big bucks from taxpayers.
“It happened on the North Coast when corporate raider Charles Hurwitz, having acquired Pacific Lumber Co., threatened to cut a tract of old-growth redwoods known as the Headwaters Forest. The environmental groups went nuts, conducting months-long and occasionally confrontational protests, demanding that politicians intercede. Hurwitz had paid $970 million for Pacific Lumber and its more than 200,000 acres of timberland, but state and federal governments eventually paid him $495 million for just 7,000 acres of it, even though it would have been virtually impossible for him to obtain regulatory permission to cut its trees. Even so, Pacific Lumber eventually slipped into bankruptcy and the bankrupt company’s litigation trustee, Avidity Partners, sued the state, alleging that a piece of the sales agreement was that the firm could accelerate timber-cutting on its remaining acreage, but that permission was later denied by state agencies.”
WALTERS' summary is correct, albeit without some important details. AVA readers may recall our coverage of the insider deal engineered by Senator Feinstein, whose husband, San Francisco financier Richard Blum, had done big business deals with Hurwitz. Feinstein, supported by pivotal local enviro groups including the Bari-Cherney version of Earth First!, the Clintons, and, of course, Northcoast Democrats, proceeded with a major gift of public funds to Hurwitz. The self-certified enviros knew that both the federal Endangered Species Act and California timber rules, if enforced, would prevent logging of Headwaters old growth, but they agreed to the huge gift to Hurwitz. If Hurwitz didn't get the $495 million for 7,000 acres the Clintonites threatened to jigger logging rules in favor of Hurwitz.
THEN-CONGRESSMAN Dan Hamburg, in his bravest stand ever, participated in the negotiations, and correctly voted against the deal, but ultimately his fellow enviros rolled over for Hurwitz and Feinstein.
WALTERS ALSO FAILS TO MENTION that most land trust arrangements are versions this same fraud: Landowners make empty threats of “development” then they get either tax breaks or cash for not “developing” even when development was not doable, much less legal.
TIM STOEN, presently a deputy DA for Mendocino County, later tried to prosecute Hurwitz for fraud (for intentional misrepresentions in formal submissions to CDF), but lost when a Humboldt County judge (and Jared Carter acolyte) ruled that lying to the government is perfectly legal under the “Noerr-Pennington doctrine” — a derivative of the corporations-are-people theory in which corporations enjoy the same Constitutional protections as people) — another story we covered in depth at the time of that crazy ruling. (Carter, of Ukiah, is a major Northcoast Republican player and former Hurwitz attorney, who's managed to get two people placed on the Mendocino County Superior Court — Cindee Mayfield and Richard Henderson. He's also the guy who came up with the cockamamie “takings” theory, i.e., that any interference with private property, i.e., Hurwitz clearcuts, represents confiscation of that private property.)
THE BANKRUPTCY mentioned by Walters that PL later filed was entirely artificial. Hurwitz’s financial gurus had jiggered PL’s books to separate the timberland from the mill and mill town of Scotia, looting the worker's pension fund as he went. He also separated out Headwaters itself so that the larger non-Headwaters timber segment of PL (which Hurwitz knew was financially unloggable at the time) was in the red so the money Hurwitz got from the government for Headwaters went straight back to Hurwitz, and thus not included in the timber part of PL’s P&L sheet.
JUDI BARI herself was the first to point this out when Hurwitz first broke PL up into the three separate companies in advance of the windfall he knew he was about to get from Feinstein and associates. The bankruptcy left several big Pacific Lumber investors holding the empty bag and they later sold their huge-but-overcut Humboldt timber holding for pennies on the dollar to the wealthy Fisher Family (owners of The Gap and related clothing store chains) which had already bought up Louisiana-Pacific’s overcut land in Mendocino County forming two new timber companies now known as Humboldt Redwoods and Mendocino Redwoods.
THE LESS FORTUNATE
by Lyra Jubb
Do you believe that your contributions are really helping the less fortunate? Do you want to know where the tax dollers and honerable contributions for the needy are really going? Have you been told that there are pleanty of services, programs, and much help given to the empoverished people in your community? I asked these same questions and would like to share my experience with you.
I came to the Mendocino Coast with two kids and a husband, as has already been revealed in past posts on my blog: http://lyrasprisms.blogspot.com
We had very little money and employment was limited. My spouse and I also have mental and physical disabilities. Soon our life of strife became too difficult and we separated. I did not know anyone in my surrounding community and did not know where to go for assistance. I found myself in a relationship where the man was not as honorable as he had presented himself to be, having issues of his own. Of my own lack of knowledge, I did not make the right decisions for me and my children and was rendered homeless and alone.
Over the past two years I have been enrolled in a number of programs designed to help people learn skills of coping and living without allowing oneself to become a victim again. The housing component is very strict and limited on the Mendocino coast. After struggling for a year and a half on my own, I became willing to ask for a bed at the Hospitality House. It soon became clear that the limited space provided to homeless in my community was not enough and that the rules of the house are such that the homeless have very little opportunity to keep their bed for longer than two weeks before they are kicked to the curb and someone else takes their spot.
This environment, combined with the limited resources for mental health, has created a vacuum for those who do not fit in between the lines.
In July of 2013 I attended a meeting of the Mendocino Mental Health Board along with a group of representatives from my community. The discussion was centered around what is to be done with over $8.5 million tax dollars allotted for mental health clients in Mendocino County. There were representatives from different organizations and mental health groups from inland communities to the outstretch of the coastal community. Many of these representatives are in the business of providing mental health services for the youth and young adults of our county.
The discussion revolved around what OMG Corporation, an independent entity contracted to organize and streamline mental services to Mendocino County residents, was going to do with funds allocated to assist in providing mental health assistance for our community and the “Less Fortunate,” provided through independent contributions and our tax dollars set aside. When asked about what resources would be provided to the coastal community, several board members and the representative of OMG expressed that there were some programs which would be combined and that there would be more outreach programs provided to the youth in those outlying communities. They also were unable to define the exact dollar amount allotted to this portion of the county.
When asked what resources were going to be provided for the victims of domestic violence, a board member who used to work for Project Sanctuary proclaimed that that was not a part of the burden of the Mental Health Board. She went on to proclaim that Project Sanctuary provides the necessary aid for those who have suffered such injury. When it was further elaborated that there was very little assistance provided in my circumstance and that there is no shelter for victims of domestic violence on the coast, she replied that there is a shelter in Ukiah which such victims are directed to. She went on to say that this issue was not a mental health concern, but a matter for Child and Family Protective Services. Another board member suggested that if I had any plan to present them for this cause that I should submit them a proposal.
Being one of the members of our community who has suffered injury due to a domestic dispute, I have experienced very little in the way of help from the organizations set up in my community. The alarming thing is that there are many others who are not being assisted and the resources available are discriminating and biased to the point of causing great injury and, sometimes, death to those they are supposed to be helping.
Our community's health depends upon the health of those individuals who are in desperate need as much as those who have the ability to see to their own health. With only a mere 10% of the financial budget for mental health programs actually being received by those who it is meant for, how is this really a “hand-up” and not a “hand-out”?
In light of this discrepancy, some women have begun to join together in my community in an effort to acquire funding and support for a shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children on the coast of Mendocino County. It is not easy, when all of the financial support has been siphoned off to government agencies and service providers for the treatment of the mentally ill.
Therefore, an independent group has begun to take shape and can be sought out by those who have access to the internet. The group is called “Women Against Abuse Unite,” and this group is tenuously taking shape. It is the group's intention to acquire a board of directors who will be instrumental in creating a shelter for victims of domestic violence on the Mendocino Coast, with programs centered around self sufficiency and better decision making skills, as well as how to cope with the effects of domestic violence upon the victim as well as those who witnessed it.
If you feel passionate about helping those less fortunate than yourself and you have come to a realization that there is still not enough support out there for those who need it, I beseech you to seek out the truth for yourself and, if you are so moved, join in to help victims of domestic violence recover both mentally and physically. To learn more about what this private group of women is doing, please visit us on our Facebook page: “Women Against Abuse Unite.” We welcome contributors and victims alike. I can not do it alone, but WE can make a difference together.
There is no excuse for abuse — physical, mental, emotional, or economical. If you do not want to help victims of domestic violence specifically, there are plenty of opportunities for you to volunteer in your community to give a helping hand up to those of us suffering in economic strife.
HOT TAMALES, and they're red hot, yes she got 'em for sale
I got a girl, say she long and tall,
She sleeps in the kitchen with her feets in the hall.
— Robert Johnson, bluesman
I THINK ALL OF US WHO HAVE SMOKED MARIJUANA will admit that it's a drug that doesn't bring out one's inner Einstein. That said, nobody is dumber, or for that matter more dangerous, than a drunk, and we long ago realized that we had to make alcohol legal. That's because the legalization question, whether about pot or alcohol, is never really a referendum on the drugs in question. It's much more a referendum on prohibition, which didn't work with an extremely dangerous, addictive and destructive drug like alcohol, and makes even less sense with marijuana. The Brooks [David] column is particularly infuriating because in just a few hundred words it perfectly captures why marijuana needs to be legalized. Here's this grasping, status-obsessed yuppie who first admits that he smoked an illegal drug without consequence in his youth, then turns around and tells us, as a graying and bespectacled post-adult, that it would be best if the drug remained illegal for the masses. Would David Brooks feel the same way about drug laws if he was one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans arrested in weed-related incidents every year? (It was over 700,000 people in 2012.) If he'd been prevented from getting a student loan or getting a state job because of such a bust? If he'd lost a professional license, or had his property seized, or even had a child taken away from him? (—Matt Taibbi, "Yuppie Prohibition League Denounces Pot Legalization")
I WENT OUT TO BOEING
I thought I'd be flying high
But they closed down and sold the parts
And left me high and dry
I got a job at Vlasic
Puttin' pickles in a jar
But they shut down and GMAC
Came and took my car.
— Carol Brent
MENDOCINO COUNTY CELEBRATES THE BIRTH OF JESUS AND THE NEW YEAR
The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Ukiah Police Department.
LOUD PARTY -- Caller in the 1200 block of Homewood Drive reported at 11:03 p.m. Tuesday that a nearby house was playing loud music and had cars all around it parked in "all different directions." An officer responded and noted that the music would be turned down and the parking violations corrected. Caller in the 1100 block of Elm Street reported having similar issues and an officer responded and advised those responsible to keep the music down and park properly.
FIREWORKS -- Caller in the 700 block of El Rio Street reported at 11:38 p.m. Tuesday that people were setting off fireworks near cars. An officer responded and spoke with people who denied setting off the fireworks.
BONFIRE -- Caller in the 400 block of Clara Avenue reported at 4:51 a.m. Wednesday that someone had started a bonfire in a backyard with stolen wood. An officer responded and advised the people.
WELFARE CHECK -- Caller in the 700 block of Village Circle requested at 1:33 p.m. Wednesday a welfare check on someone who hadn't been heard from for several days. An officer responded and determined the person was out of town visiting family.
MAN TRIED TO KICK IN DOOR -- Caller in the 600 block of North State Street reported at 7 p.m. Wednesday that a man tried to kick in a door. An officer responded and arrested Daniel B. Dolan, 41, of Willits, on suspicion of being drunk in public and violating his parole. He was booked into Mendocino County Jail.
BURGLARY -- Caller in the 1300 block of Airport Road reported at 7:36 a.m. Thursday that a city yard had been burglarized. An officer took a report.
CAT HIT BY CAR -- Caller in the 300 block of North Barnes Street reported at 1:32 p.m. Thursday that a cat had been hit by a car. An officer responded and took the cat to the animal shelter.
* * *
The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Ukiah Police Department regarding calls handled by the Fort Bragg Police Department.
WOMAN WITH TOY GUN -- Caller in the 100 block of North Franklin Street reported at 7:56 p.m. Wednesday that a neighbor was standing in a doorway with a shotgun. An officer responded and determined the woman had a toy gun that was never brandished.
* * *
The following were compiled from reports prepared by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office:
DUI, GRAND THEFT -- Ronald P. Powell, 52, of Ukiah, was arrested at 11:57 a.m. Dec. 18 on suspicion of driving under the influence, DUI with prior convictions, grand theft, burglary, forgery and defrauding an innkeeper, and booked at the county jail under $80,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
MARIJUANA SALES -- Sergio Navarro Vasquez, 36, of Boonville, was arrested at 3:15 p.m. Dec. 18 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale, being armed with a gun and illegal entry, and booked at the county jail. The Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force arrested him.
MARIJUANA SALES -- Jose A. Mendoza, 23, of Boonville, was arrested at 4:06 p.m. Dec. 18 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MMCTF arrested him.
DUI WITH PRIORS -- Zachary M. Knighton, 27, of Willits, was arrested at 9:42 p.m. Dec. 19 on suspicion of driving under the influence with prior convictions and booked at the county jail under $50,000 bail. The Willits Police Department arrested him.
DUI -- Tyler Oneil, 31, of Santa Cruz, was arrested at 5:50 p.m. Dec. 19 on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit and driving with a suspended license, and booked at the county jail under $7,500 bail. The California Highway Patrol arrested him.
DUI -- Matthew L. Wells, 27, of Willits, was arrested at 12:15 a.m. Dec. 20 on suspicion of driving under the influence with prior convictions and driving with a suspended license, and booked at the county jail under $20,000 bail. The WPD arrested him.
MARIJUANA SALES -- Raymond N. Turner, 36, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was arrested at 2 a.m. Dec. 20 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and transporting marijuana for sale, and booked at the county jail under $30,000 bail. The WPD arrested him.
MARIJUANA SALES -- Jorge A. Pena, 20, of Boonville, was arrested at 2:23 a.m. Dec. 20 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale, being armed with a gun and illegal entry, and booked at the county jail. The MMCTF arrested him.
MARIJUANA SALES -- Brandon J. Smith, 26, of Ukiah, was arrested at 11:53 a.m. Dec. 20 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale and being under the influence of a controlled substance, and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
CHILD ABUSE -- Nathan R. Morales, 23, of Covelo, was arrested at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 20 on suspicion of child abuse and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
DRUG SALES -- Brigido A. Lopez-Nieto, 25, of Willits, was arrested at 9:42 p.m. Dec. 20 on suspicion of transporting an organic drug for sale and possessing a controlled substance for sale, and booked at the county jail under $35,000 bail. The WPD arrested him.
DUI -- Travis J. Killmer, 24, of Willits, was arrested at 10:47 a.m. Dec. 22 on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail. The WPD arrested him.
DUI -- Michael C. McVey, 57, of Whitethorn, was arrested at 5:53 p.m. Dec. 22 on suspicion of driving under the influence, and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.
DUI -- Shawn J. Clark, 36, of Albion, was arrested at 8:33 a.m. Dec. 23 on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Jaime Aguilar, 25, of Point Arena, was arrested at 10:23 a.m. Dec. 23 on suspicion of domestic assault and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
ROBBERY -- James R. Avants, 57, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 10:35 a.m. Dec. 24 on suspicion of robbery and booked at the county jail under $62,500 bail. The Fort Bragg Police Department arrested him.
VEHICLE THEFT, RECKLESS EVADING -- Armstead D. Want, 38, of Covelo, was arrested at noon Dec. 24 on suspicion of vehicle theft, driving recklessly while evading a peace officer, possessing a controlled substance and possessing methamphetamine, and booked at the county jail under $55,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
METH SALES, THEFT -- Jessica A. Bauer, 26, of Ukiah, was arrested at 12:49 p.m. Dec. 24 on suspicion of selling methamphetamine, grand theft, forgery, burglary, conspiracy and violating her parole terms, and booked at the county jail under $15,000 bail. The Ukiah Police Department arrested her.
ROBBERY, VEHICLE THEFT -- Daniel M. Jones, 33, of Auburn, was arrested at 1:20 p.m. Dec. 25 on suspicion of robbery and vehicle theft, and booked at the county jail under $15,000 bail. The CHP arrested him.
FALSE IMPRISONMENT -- Manuel R. Ramirez, 25, of Willits, was arrested at 7:48 p.m. Dec. 25 on suspicion of false imprisonment, making threats and violating his probation terms, and booked at the county jail under $10,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
DUI -- Michael J. Vasquez, 31, of Redwood Valley, was arrested at 11:13 p.m. Dec. 25 on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail. The WPD arrested him.
ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON -- Andrea M. Fischer, 26, of Caspar, was arrested at 2:18 a.m. Dec. 26 on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and domestic assault, and booked at the county jail under $50,000 bail. The MCSO arrested her.
ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON -- Kathryn F. Moorehouse, 67, of Ukiah, was arrested at 1:25 p.m. Dec. 26 on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, domestic assault and battery on a peace officer, and booked at the county jail under $40,000 bail. The MCSO arrested her.
GRAND THEFT -- Holley S. Torres, 28, of Ukiah, was arrested at 2:48 p.m. Dec. 26 on suspicion of grand theft, and booked at the county jail under $15,000 bail. The MCSO arrested her.
MARIJUANA SALES -- Fermin M. Munguia, 45, of Boonville, was arrested at 7:46 p.m. Dec. 26 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale, being armed with a gun, possessing a short-barreled rifle and illegal entry, and booked at the county jail under $50,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Talina A. Rose, 30, of Willits, was arrested at 7:58 a.m. Dec. 27 on suspicion of domestic assault and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested her.
VEHICLE THEFT -- Kenneth R. Whipple, 39, of Covelo, was arrested at 5:01 p.m. Dec. 27 on suspicion of vehicle theft and booked at the county jail under $500,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
DUI WITH PRIORS -- Randy W. Pike, 22, of Point Arena, was arrested at 1:22 a.m. Dec. 28 on suspicion of driving under the influence and DUI with prior convictions, and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.
LEWD ACTS WITH CHILD -- Luis R. Perez Garcia, 20, of Ukiah, was arrested at 9:04 a.m. Dec. 28 on suspicion of lewd or lascivious acts with a child younger than 14 and illegal entry, and booked at the county jail. The MCSO arrested him.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Nicole M. Bochman, 32, of Ukiah, was arrested at 12:04 a.m. Dec. 29 on suspicion of domestic assault and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested her.
VEHICLE THEFT, RECKLESS EVADING -- Morgan K. Ammerman, 19, of Ukiah, was arrested at 7:10 p.m. Dec. 29 on suspicion of vehicle theft, driving recklessly while evading a peace officer and receiving stolen property, and booked at the county jail under $35,000 bail. The CHP arrested her.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Kyle C. McCoy, 18, of California, was arrested at 8:15 p.m. Dec. 29 on suspicion of domestic assault and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Jerry J. Anaya, 21, of Navarro, was arrested at 10:16 p.m. Dec. 29 on suspicion of domestic assault and possessing drug paraphernalia, and booked at the county jail under $30,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
DUI CAUSING INJURY -- Kenneth L. Philips, 49, of Willits, was arrested at 1:35 a.m. Dec. 30 on suspicion of driving under the influence causing injury and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $50,000 bail. The WPD arrested him.
DUI -- Scott A. Ephraim, 41, of Little River, was arrested at 3:06 a.m. Dec. 30 on suspicion of driving under the influence and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.
MARIJUANA SALES -- John C. Smith, 34, of Willits, was arrested at 9:11 a.m. Dec. 30 on suspicion of possessing marijuana for sale, cultivating marijuana and being armed with a gun, and booked at the county jail under $50,000 bail. The MMCTF arrested him.
CHILD PORN -- Bradley K. Saunders, 40, of Ukiah, was arrested at 2:52 p.m. Dec. 30 on suspicion of possessing child pornography and booked at the county jail under $60,000 bail. The UPD arrested him.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE -- Jared C. Hawkins, 31, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 5:10 p.m. Dec. 30 on suspicion of domestic assault and booked at the county jail under $25,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
METH SALES, MARIJUANA TRANSPORT -- Augustin L. Amador, 48, of Willits, was arrested at 8:54 p.m. Dec. 31 on suspicion of selling methamphetamine, possessing methamphetamine for sale and transporting marijuana for sale, and booked at the county jail under $50,000 bail. The WPD arrested him.
DUI -- Crystal L. Britton, 35, of Covelo, was arrested at 12:38 p.m. Jan. 1 on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $5,000 bail. The CHP arrested her.
GRAND THEFT, FORGERY -- Timothy M. McCann, 26, of Ukiah, was arrested at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 1 on suspicion of grand theft, forgery, burglary and possessing a controlled substance, and booked at the county jail under $15,000 bail. The MCSO arrested him.
DUI -- Miriam C. Gibson, 45, of Ukiah, was arrested at 6:11 p.m. Jan. 1 on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, driving with a suspended license and violating her probation terms, and booked at the county jail under $37,500 bail. The CHP arrested her.
BATTERY WITH SERIOUS INJURY -- Jon P. Rickel, 41, of Ukiah, was arrested at 11:13 a.m. Jan. 2 on suspicion of battery causing serious injury, violating his parole terms and committing offenses while released on bail, and booked at the county jail. The MCSO arrested him.
DUI -- Brian D. Schat, 19, of Ukiah, was arrested at 12:40 p.m. Jan. 2 on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $5,000 bail. The CHP arrested him.
DUI -- Carlos Flores, 23, of Fort Bragg, was arrested at 2:45 a.m. Jan. 3 on suspicion of driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit, and booked at the county jail under $30,000 bail. The CHP arrested him.
DUI -- Justin P. Timberlake, 30, of Ukiah, was arrested at 7:33 a.m. Jan. 3 on suspicion of driving under the influence with prior convictions and booked at the county jail. The CHP arrested him.
GOOD RIDDANCE to Candlestick Park. Enough of the feel-good, warm and fuzzy Candlestick memories. Best credit anyone can think of is that it didn't fall down in the quake. Wonderful. No mentions of: the vomit on the concourses and in the bathrooms, people falling down, fights, drunken “fans” because regular ticket holders gave up their tickets, bathrooms with feces and urine on the floor, awful vendors, poor sight lines, a can't-see scoreboard, seagull poop on the seats, freezing, fires and floods in the parking lot, ridiculous traffic, nasty security. Otherwise, sorry to see it go. (Thomas Bonk, San Francisco)
MAKE BOOKS MATTER AGAIN
Ten Books to Provoke Conversation in the New Year
By Ralph Nader
1. Think Like a Commoner: A Short Introduction to the Life of the Commons by David Bollier (New Society Publishers) David Bollier is a leading writer and advocate for all those real-life commons – what we own, from the public lands, public airwaves, online information and local civic assets. He calls the commons a “parallel economy and social order that…affirms that another world is possible. And more: we can build it ourselves, now.”
2. All the President’s Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power by Nomi Prins (Nation Books) All the President’s Bankers is about the hidden alliances between big bankers and the government leaders they have controlled for the past 100 years. A gripping history that reflects the words of the famed Louis B. Brandeis (later to become Supreme Court Justice Brandeis) who wrote: “We must break the Money Trust or the Money Trust will break us.” Prins was a former Goldman Sachs director. She knows this world.
3. How Can You Represent Those People? Edited by Abbe Smith and Monroe H. Freedman (Palgrave Macmillan) How many times have criminal defense attorneys been asked this question when they represent unpopular, unsavory, or horrific accused defendants? Fifteen criminal defense lawyers write short but educational replies in both personal and professional terms. You’ll learn a lot about our legal system.
4. The Truth in Small Doses: Why We’re Losing the War on Cancer and How to Win It by Clifton Leaf (Simon & Schuster) The Truth in Small Doses is a detailed, sober myth-busting report. Leaf concludes the “war on cancer” is a failure due to a dysfunctional “cancer culture” – “a groupthink that pushes tens of thousands of physicians and scientists toward the goal of finding the tiniest improvements in treatment rather than genuine breakthroughs; that fosters isolated and redundant problem-solving instead of cooperation; and rewards academic achievement and publication above all else.” He shows why “the public’s immense investment in research has been badly misspent.”
5. The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by Sasha Abramsky (Nation Books) The American Way of Poverty is a worthy successor to Michael Harrington’s The Other America which came out in 1962 and helped spark a war on poverty. Abramsky puts many faces of poverty into a broader context which sparks reader indignation that statistics alone can’t provoke.
6. The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Influence on American Business by Duff McDonald (Simon and Shuster) The Firm portrays a finishing school for the plutocracy both as an early recruiter of future power brokers in business and government and as a “prestigious” provider of dated business management advice often of dubious value.
7. Censored 2014: Fearless Speech in Fateful Times by Mickey Huff and Andy Lee Roth with Project Censored (Seven Stories Press) Censored 2014 is an annual open window to censorship of the big and routine kind. It is always a must read. This volume describes the top censored stories with media analysis of 2012-2013. What a shocking commentary on the so-called free press!
8. Lethal but Legal: Corporations, Consumption and Protecting Public Health by Nicholas Freudenberg (Oxford University Press) Aggregation is a key strategy for justice movements. Author Freudenberg gives readers an absorbing aggregation of corporate crimes and abuses that destroy or damage every day the health, safety and economic well-being of the people. Then he aggregates the past civic/political victories over market fundamentalism and its corporate outlaws for framing future reform initiatives.
9. Front Porch Politics: The Forgotten Heyday of American Activism in the 1970s and 1980s by Michael Stewart Foley (Hill and Wang) Decades are stereotyped and often exaggerated. Foley counters the conventional take that there was a sharp and sudden letdown in civic activism after the sixties. Maybe the impression was conveyed by the media’s lessened coverage. Good antidote for those still demoralized by decennial mythologies.
10. The Capitalism Papers: Fatal Flaws of an Obsolete System by Jerry Mander (Counterpoint) The Capitalism Papers is a fundamental critique of the intrinsic problems of the capitalist system that the author believes are inherent to its structure and unreformable. A former celebrated advertising executive, Mander goes deeper into the perverse incentives of corporate capitalism than almost anyone writing today. And man, can he write. Too bad top Wall Streeters won’t debate him.
Years ago books mattered more in provoking change. It is up to readers today not to be overwhelmed by information overload, to be selective and make books matter again.
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.
Let us all spiritually align ourselves and cooperate for world peace. The seasons go around and around and the earth goes around and around and the turning wheel of time goes around and around and the yugic cycles go around and around and the view from the center is perfectly still. Scriptures declare that the appearance of avatars is inevitable, and will happen as a direct response to the decline of civilization, in which demonic forces will be destroyed as a prelude to a brand new civilization based on the immortal spiritual Absolute. In terms of this present earthly civilization, there is no other direction for it to go, considering that everything is a circle, and even the postmodern global crisis is subject to change, dissolution, and transformation as a return to the beginning source of all continues. The environmental report is bad. Climate scientists are increasingly in agreement that a tipping point of no return will be reached before 2020 Anno Domini. The date of August 21, 2017 (which marks a solar eclipse) is noteworthy, as the irreversible moment beyond which ecological systemic implosion is certain. Both ongoing peace and justice activism and radical environmental organizing have been educational, and have clarified contemporary global situations, which are now well known and reported daily by the media. This has not, however, resulted in adequate changes in lifestyles or appropriate governmental legislation. The dramatic changes needed to avert ecological systemic implosion are not happening. Therefore, what has been effective in the past is no longer sufficient. Historical political and environmental activism is not successful today in producing the results necessary. This leaves the question as to what is capable of deterring the forces which are responsible for the worsening global condition. Returning to scriptures of different traditions, the instruction is to align oneself inwardly with powerful spiritual reality, and take action from there. In other words, the instruction is to center one's mind at its source, and act accordingly. This guarantees that the individual is unified and associated with all present and future spiritual restorative actions. There is a way to proceed in the midst of worldwide confusion, and those who have cultivated a spiritual life may practice in their own unique manner. Om Shanti.
Craig Louis Stehr, Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com