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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, September 21, 2014

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RAIN BY WEDNESDAY, real rain by Wednesday noon in Mendo moving south into the Bay Area by Wednesday afternoon. Maybe not an inch, but enough to damp down fire danger.

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MENDOCINO COUNTY has a homeless problem. Everywhere has a homeless problem. But everywhere defines “homeless” differently. In Northern California, especially the ecotopian region of Mendocino County, liberals, many of them ensconced deep in the hills, “homeless” is a viable description of an eclectic number of mostly male drifters, many of them addicted to strong drink and stronger drugs. They are homeless because they prefer to be homeless. Indoors, they can't stay loaded, which is their reason for being. In a comfortably enabling place like Ukiah, the full time vagrant can get a free meal every day and panhandle and scam enough money to get drunk and stay drunk, often committing petty crimes as he goes, and more often hassling and otherwise disconcerting regular citizens. The cops deal almost exclusively with this floating population of “homeless,” a small minority of whom are an ongoing violent menace to themselves and others.

USED TO BE there were socially sensible ways of caring for people unable or unwilling to care for themselves. There was a state hospital system with a multi-faceted program nearby-handy at Talmage. For local incompetents — frequent flyers as they're now known — the County of Mendocino ran a County Farm at Bush and Low Gap. And churches and secular charities helped temporarily pauperized families and children. Every community of any size was home to an orphanage.

THIS WAS BEFORE the homeless industrial complex, people well-paid to “fight poverty.” This apparatus has its tentacles sunk so far into Mendocino County and the San Francisco Bay Area that even the hint of a political impetus to deal realistically with street people is fiercely resisted. The liberal position, as manifested here in Mendocino County from the Superior Court on down through the DA and the Supervisors is to let the self-destructive die on the streets.

THE SIMPLEST, most basic commonsense strategy to at least make it easier for the cops to babysit the small army of derelicts and old fashioned bums wandering around Ukiah, Willits and Fort Bragg, many of them unreconstructed ex-cons, runs into political resistance from showboating libs, as happened the other night in Ukiah when the Ukiah City Council voted 4-1 (a pointless and spine-free abstention by Councilman Scalmanini) for ordinances that would increase the penalties for camping and panhandling inside the city limits. Final adoption of the new rules will be taken up at the October 1st meeting of the City Council.

SCALMANINI SAID he was against going from an infraction to going straight to a misdemeanor. Which might sound reasonable if you didn't know that the Ukiah cops are currently responding to 90-100 public nuisance calls a day, and if you assume the cops don't know the people they're dealing with and know who has to get some jail time and who doesn't. Consecutive repeat misdemeanors would compel the DA to ask for jail time. As it is, certain of the more volatile of the frequent flyers know that the Mendo system might hold them for a couple of days but they'll be back out there in a few hours menacing old ladies in front of Safeway.

THE PRESENT SYSTEM was intended to provide for graduated punishment, but because the police and DA have no way of tracking the disposition of infraction citations, and because the courts won't, the result has been that no one gets a misdemeanor, ever, no matter how many times they go back to the same place.

LIKE Scotty Willis and Kelisha Alvarez who have been living and shitting in the Russian River feeder creeks for years. Making an offense a misdemeanor will allow the police, DA and courts to hold the worst offenders accountable. It will also mean that the police, instead of writing endless misdemeanor citations will be able to decide at some point to take people who are not getting it to jail.

THE LIB FEAR seems to be that the police will surround Plowshares and march everyone straight to jail (because that's what the libs would do to their enemies if they had the power). But the reality is that no one in law enforcement wants to go hands on with any of these people, wrestle them into cop cars, or wait around for a couple of hours while they get booked — and Sheriff Allman does not want them in his already crowded jail either — so the lib jackboot fantasies will not come true — the cops will exercise the enhanced power with discretion if, for no other reason, out of necessity.

AS A VETERAN of a dozen or so arrests going back to my first in, I think, 1960, and several of them here in Mendocino County, I have, on several occasions, been on the receiving end of, ahem, police misconduct. In the 1960s, getting slapped around by the cops was part of the arrest procedure. My worst beatings, however, were sustained in Marine Corps boot camp where beatings were an integral part of the program. Arrest beatings consisted more of quick punches and shoves — no big deal and not, objectively considered, 'beatings.' Standing at attention while a heavily decorated psychopath of a war hero chokes you out, or raps out a "knowledge knock" on your forehead, well, Americans aren't Hindus, are we?

POLICE shouldn't beat people up. I think we all agree on that. It used to happen a lot, it doesn't happen much at all anymore. A lot of the Blue Meanie mentalities like Scalamini know about brutality only from what they've heard or read, not from their own experience. Besides which, the libs are more for psychic violence, politically correct bullying — chickenshit types of behavior, not full-on ultra-vi which, to me anyway, is much preferred. The Ukiah cops should have the misdemeanor option. Misdemeanors are not powers of summary execution, for crying in a bucket.

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by Daniel Mintz

Responding to complaints about inconsiderate urban campers, Humboldt County is banning overnight parking on the Sprowl Creek Road overpass in Garberville.

The overnight ban was part of a package of parking items approved the Sept. 16 Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting. It prohibits parking between 10pm to 5am.

Deputy Director of Public Works Art Reeve said the impacts of overnight camping on the overpass, which crosses Highway 101 in the downtown Garberville area, were flagged by Supervisor Estelle Fennell.

“Supervisor Fennell brought to our attention that people actually use that as a camping area and are really disrespectful,” Reeve said. “There have been lots of complaints.”

Fennell responded to the complaints by requesting the action, which she described as being necessary to protect a nearby neighborhood “where people are trying to sleep and feel healthy.”

The camping vehicles include RVs, Fennell continued, and one of them caught fire on the overpass earlier this year.


“That was very dangerous,” she said. “Explosions of propane rocked the local houses.”

If similar incidents occur, they could also affect the vehicles on Highway 101, Fennell added.

Among the complaints Fennell fielded was one sent via email from a Southern Humboldt resident who asked for the parking change on the overpass. The email noted that “people are living and pooping there right now – on the sidewalk.”

But during a public comment session, a man who didn’t give his name objected to the elimination of overnight parking and said it hasn’t been adequately publicized. Accusing supervisors of rushing the ban through, the man told them, “Shame on you guys.”

“We really need to be calm about these kinds of things,” said Fennell, reacting to the man’s somewhat hostile manner. “What we’re doing is actually helping the parking situation.”

Campers tend to stay on the overpass, she continued. “People who camp overnight are also camping during the daytime and they are taking parking spots away from those people who either work or shop in town,” she said.

Fennell described the ban as “a move to make it safer for the community, to provide parking for those who need it and to not enable people who want to hog space and not allow anybody else to park.”

The ordinance that includes the overpass parking change will get final approval at this week’s supervisors meeting. Fennell invited people to comment on it if they have objections but said, “I think you’ll find that the community is very supportive of this.”

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DATELINE BOONVILLE — If you've noticed all the refurbishing at the corner of Haehl and 128 in SoBo, Cub Reporter Bruce McEwen has the scoop: What was for a long time Pecluculia's Elegante Video Rentals has closed and will shortly be the home of an “upscale repurposing” clothing boutique/art gallery, featuring on-site sewing room, personalized re-adaptation and fitting of classy stuff that everyone can afford, and very exciting furniture and sundry other elegant appointments for your bod and your pad. The Frosted Owl is the brain-child of Stephanie Frost and her dear old Auntie D'Ann. Hold your breath No Bo — So Bo is the new Greenwich Village of our bourgeoning metropolis!

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THE FAST-FOOD CHAINS insist that if they were to pay their employees more they would have to raise menu prices. Their wages are “competitive.” But in Denmark McDonald's workers over the age of eighteen earn more than twenty dollars an hour — they are also unionized — and the price of a Big Mac is only 35¢ more than it is in the United States. There are regional American fast-food chains that take the high road with their employees. The starting wage at In-N-Out Burger, which is based in Southern California, and has two hundred and ninety-five restaurants in California and the Southwest, is eleven dollars. Full-time workers receive a complete benefits package, including life insurance — and the burgers are cheap and good. (Dignity, William Finnegan)

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“MWPC is endorsing Heidi, Mark and Dave”

Writing on the MCN Coast Listserve, Jesse VanSant wrote:

Come out to VOTE!!!

It is vital that we all turn out to vote. Our right to vote has been under assault for years now leading to that reported 25% eligible voter turn out because we have become downtrodden and hopeless. WE can turn it around though.

Our local iconic poster artist John Chamberlain made a little poster several years ago which is the story in a small package. It is in an 8 1/2" X 11” format - it says “VOTE as if your Life depended on it…. (it probably does) {A Public Service - Pass It On}

I have used this poster and shared it at every election and I will gladly share it with you if you wish. Send me an email ( ) and I will share the pdf file I have.

Regarding upcoming LOCAL ELECTIONS…. In Fort Bragg there are 3 seats for the City Council up for our vote. (Only Fort Bragg residents can vote for city council even though it will and does affect all of us.)

Meg Courtney, current city council member, is stepping down ; 2 incumbents are running to keep their seats: Dave Turner and Heidi Kraut.

5 people are standing for the 3 available seats. Dave Turner, Heidi Kraut, Mark Iucaniello, Lindy Peters and Mike Cimolino.

Lindy Peters is a radio personality who served on the FB City Council for many years, retiring from public service prior to the turn of the century; Mike Cimolino worked for the City of Fort Bragg, retiring not too long ago. He is the son of long time council member and 4th District Supervisor John Cimolino.

Mark Iucaniello is a retired educator who lives in Fort Bragg, has worked as teacher, principal and Superintendent in Mendocino County Schools. He feels he has a lot to offer to the community in his capacity as communicator and leader.

Heidi Kraut is a local business owner (Hospice Thrift Store), grew up on the Coast, has been a very active council member with great enthusiasm during her tenure so far. As a young mother, she is very interested in educational excellence and a sustainable future for Fort Bragg and the rest of the Coast.

Dave Turner is also a local business owner (FloBeds) and has served multiple terms on the council. He is very excited by this campaign and wants to keep working on projects he has taken personal focus on - he feels very driven to go forward for the future of Fort Bragg and the Coast.

Dave Turner, Heidi Kraut, Lindy Peters and Mark Iucaniello were interviewed by the Mendocino Women’s Political Coalition. MWPC is endorsing Heidi, Mark and Dave for election to the Fort Bragg City Council.

Bringing out the voters is vital this time

We can dream and then we can make it real!!

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My life, like a sandbar,

has been taken over by a monster of a man

who wants my body under his control

so that, if he wishes,

he can spit in my face,

slap me on the cheek,

pinch my rear;

so that, if he wishes,

he can rob me of the clothes,

take my naked beauty in his grip;

so that, if he wishes.

he can chain my feet,

with no qualms whatsoever whip me,

chop off my hands, my fingers,

sprinkle salt in the open wound,

throw ground-up black pepper in my eyes,

with a dagger can slash my thigh,

can string me up and hang me.

His goal: to control my heart

so that I would love him;

in my lonely house at night

sleepless, full of anxiety,

clutching at the window grille,

I would wait for him and sob;

tears rolling down, I would bake homemade bread,

would drink, as if they were ambrosia,

the filthy liquids of his polygynous body

so that, loving him, I would melt like wax,

not turning my eyes toward any other man.

I would give proof of my chastity all my life.

So that, loving him,

on some moonlit night

I would commit suicide

in a fit of ecstasy.

--Taslima Nasrin

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by Nemo Erehwon

It seemed as though colleges started a rather disturbing procedure when enforcing political correctness. An accusation was tantamount to established guilt, followed by immediate and arbitrary implementation of punishment. It now appears as though the NFL has followed suit.

Goodness gracious, a quarterback said a naughty word on the field; in the heat of competition, he momentarily lost composure, failed to have his editor in place, and blurted out something (that a minion of the PC Police possibly heard). Golly, what would be suitable punishment? Is there an official, NFL-sanctioned brand of soap that should be used for washing his mouth?

What really riles me and strikes me as asinine is a player being sanctioned (suspended, fired, etc.) for being suspected of slugging a woman. Of course domestic violence sucks. But what business is it for the team, or league (but not both, according to the rules) to punish a guy for domestic abuse? That's an issue for the courts.

Just for fun, suppose some other sort of over-paid standout from a different arena was a suspected wife-beater; say, some vice president of some enormous corporation. Would his company be obliged to can him, or even garnish his outlandish salary? Not likely. Furthermore, if the company were to try pulling such a stunt, we would see two opposing teams of lawyers having a grand time racking up loads of billable hours. Corporate bigwigs are not performers in blatant public view, so little effort is needed for hush-hush. However, the issue does not seem to be a matter of being in the public’s eye. Rock musicians and movie stars seem to thrive on publicity generated by an amazing menagerie of misbehaviors; the more, the better. So why pick on the jocks? Why does the public chortle and rejoice when certain celebrities go out of control, but condemn other celebrities for the same misdeeds? Are all these people supposed to serve as role models?

Odds are that if a person is caught and convicted as a murderer or armed robber, that person will be removed to a jail cell; a number of athletes have lost time away from their sport for such misdeeds. But what is the limit and since when does a team or league impose sentencing? Should a football player be suspended from a game because he was caught shoplifting a candy bar? Two games for participating in a bar brawl? Or forced to sit out two quarters because he urinated in public; one quarter for having unpaid parking tickets? Teams and the league seem to have a peculiar court and sentencing system that even bypasses a star chamber.

I hope this holier-than-thou nonsense gets smacked down. It's none of the teams’ or league’s business whether the players commit misdemeanors, felonies, or are merely law-abiding crude thugs (or religious fanatics, for that matter). There are referees to decide whether a player did something naughty on the field (and now there is even a quasi-legal bunch of red tape with review of the call). But off the field and in society at large, naughtiness is a matter between the accused miscreant and complainant (or prosecutor), with punishment decided in court.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 20, 2014

Barton, Bearrunner, bogart, Boyce, Detwiller, Fragale
Barton, Bearrunner, bogart, Boyce, Detwiller, Fragale

JANELL BARTON, Ukiah. Court order violation, offenses while on bail.

DONAVON BEARRUNNER, American Canyon. Vehicle theft, vandalism.

JONATHAN BOGART, Manchester. DUI with injury, probation revocation.

WILLIAM BOYCE, Ukiah. Unlawful possession of firearm/ammo, probation revocation.

BRANDON DETWILLER, Fort Bragg. Battery on peace officer.

ANTHONY FRAGALE, Apple Valley. Murder. (*See below.)

Gustin, Hess, Jensen, Ouspensky, Peters, Rodriguez
Gustin, Hess, Jensen, Ouspensky, Peters, Rodriguez


MARK HESS, Comptche. DUI.

KENDALL JENSEN, Willits. Violation of court order (3 times).

TODDIA OUSPENSKY, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

JESSE PETERS, Little River. Possession of meth, concealed/loaded firearm, receipt of stolen property, driving without valid license, evasion, probation revocation.

ERICA RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Domestic assault.

A.Simpson, S.Simpson, Stencil, Tomahawk, Valencia, Zeher
A.Simpson, S.Simpson, Stencil, Tomahawk, Valencia, Zeher

ANGIE SIMPSON, Rio Dell. Drunk in public.

STEVEN SIMPSON, Ukiah. Possession/sale of meth, driving with invalid license.

BRYAN STENCIL, Willits. Parole violation.

CHARLINA TOMAHAWK, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault, probation revocation.

ADAN VALENCIA, Fort Bragg. Violation of protective order.

JANIE ZEHER, Ukiah. Possession of meth, court order violation.

(*Note: The following is a repost of a Sheriff’s Press Release from September 19, 2014)


ON WEDNESDAY, September 17, 2014 at 2:57pm the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a telephone report of a shooting incident on a piece of property located in the 78000 block of Highway 271 in Piercy, California. While Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were responding to the location the Sheriff's Office was contacted by a representative of the Jerold Phelps Community Hospital located in Garberville, California. It was reported that Carl Fragale, 28, of Apply Valley, the victim of the reported shooting in Piercy, had been transported to the hospital by family members. Upon arriving at the hospital Carl Fragale was pronounced dead as a result of a gunshot wound sustained during the shooting incident. Sheriff's Detectives were summoned to conduct an in-depth investigation into the shooting incident and were assisted by investigators from the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office. Sheriff's Detectives learned Carl Fragale had been staying in Piercy while growing approximately 120 marijuana plants with his brother (Anthony Fragale, 23, of Apple Valley), father, and friend. On Wednesday, September 17, 2014 while working in the marijuana garden Carl Fragale verbally confronted Anthony Fragale for being disrespectful towards the pair's father. The verbal argument led to a minor physical altercation between the brothers at a different location on the property. After the physical altercation concluded, Anthony Fragale took possession of a handgun and confronted Carl Fragale. During the confrontation Anthony Fragale shot Carl Fragale and subsequently helped transport him to the hospital where he died. Sheriff's Detectives arrested Anthony Fragale for murder and booked him into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $500,000 bail. (Sheriff’s Press Release)

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ON FRIDAY September 5th at about 9:05 AM Ukiah Police responded to the Food Bank, at 888 North State Street, for a traffic collision. Officers found 76 year old Mike Fitch had driven his 1999 Dodge Caravan backwards from a parking space, and struck a vehicle passing behind it. Fitch apparently panicked and accelerated forward, driving into the side of the building. Fitch was unlicensed and cited for driving without a driver’s license. Fitch was on Post Community Release Supervision from the California Department of Corrections, and was arrested for violating terms of his release.

ON THURSDAY September 11th at about 12:45 PM Ukiah Police responded to the 100 block of Talmage Road for a female “freaking out” and possibly putting her child in danger. Officers contacted 28 year old Maranda Jo Adams, of Montana, who had her 9 month old child in a stroller. Witnesses reported observing Adams yelling and acting erratically, and appeared to have struck the child on the hands or arms. Officers found the child was calm and in good health, but noticed Adams appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance. Adams was evaluated and placed under arrest for drug use and child abuse, and her child was released to the care of Mendocino County Child Protective Services.


ON FRIDAY September 12th at about 1:05 PM Ukiah Police responded to a residence in the 1200 block of West Standley Street for an unwanted subject causing a disturbance. Officers discovered the subject, 33 year old Todd Allen Taylor, had a warrant for his arrest for drug use, and had just fled the location. Officers were directed to Low Gap Road and Pine Street, and observed Taylor riding a bicycle. Taylor accelerated from the officers and rode towards a residence in the 200 block of Low Gap Road where he discarded his bicycle and fled on foot. Offices chased Taylor and located and arrested him in the yard of the residence for the warrant and for resisting arrest. A visitor at the residence was contacted and identified as 50 year old Alfredo Medina, who also had a warrant for his arrest and initially tried to hide from the officers. Medina was located and arrested for the warrant.


ON FRIDAY September 12th at about 2:00 PM Ukiah Police responded to the parking lot of a business in the 800 block of South State Street for a hit and run traffic collision. Officers learned witnessed had observed 39 year old Alberto Morfin-Garcia backing his 2007 Toyota Tacoma pick-up in the lot, and strike the front fender of a parked 1935 International pick-up with the rear of his vehicle. Garcia-Morfin left the scene, and was subsequently contacted by telephone. Garcia-Morfin denied knowing he was in a collision, and agreed to respond back to the scene. At about 2:40 PM Garcia-Morfin arrived at the scene with his two 5 year old children in his vehicle. Garcia-Morfin had been drinking, and was found too intoxicated to drive and was arrested for DUI and child endangerment. The two children were released to the care of Child Protection Services.

ON FRIDAY September 12th at about 9:05 PM Ukiah Police responded to Frank Zeek School, at 1060 North Bush Street, for an alarm. The officer determined the alarm had been activated accidentally, and was referred to a group of juveniles believed to be smoking marijuana near the picnic tables. The officer approached a group of 5 to 6 juveniles seated at the table, who all fled on foot upon seeing the officer. The officer located a marijuana smoking “bong,” marijuana, and a cell phone left behind. At about 10:15 PM the phone rang, and officers spoke with the mother of a 16 year old male juvenile and owner of the phone. The male juvenile and his mother arrived at the police station, and the juvenile was found to be under the influence of marijuana. The juvenile was arrested for public inebriation and fleeing from officers, and was released to his mother as was the cell phone.

ON SATURDAY September 13th at about 12:25 AM Ukiah Police responded to the 500 block of Capps Lane for a traffic collision. Officers found a white 2005 Mini Cooper on the grass in the front yard of the residence at the corner of Capps Lane and North Bush Street. The vehicle had sustained significant damage to its front end, and had driven through a metal and brick fence in the yard. Officers determined the driver had lost control of the vehicle while turning from northbound Bush Street to go west on Capps Lane. The driver of the vehicle, 37 year old Phillip Harris Pease, was located at the scene and had been drinking. Pease was found too intoxicated to drive and was arrested for DUI.


ON SUNDAY September 14th at about 4:35 PM Ukiah Police responded to the 700 block of South State Street for a suspicious subject walking in traffic. Officers contacted 24 year old Samuel Sam Sanchez who was picking up his belongings that were scattered about the sidewalk. Sanchez spun around quickly and confronted the officers in a fighting stance with his fist clenched, and challenged the officers to fight. Sanchez physically resisted being taken into custody, kicked the patrol vehicle, and tried to spit on the officers while kicking them. Sanchez continued to spit inside the police vehicle, and kicked the interior of the vehicle. Sanchez was charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest, and battery on a police officer.


ON MONDAY September 15th at about 4:45 PM Ukiah Police responded to the Savings Bank at 1100 Airport Park Boulevard for the passing of a fraudulent check. Officers learned 26 year old Tiffany Ambrosia Moody had tried to cash a check written on the account of a deceased person. Officers contacted Moody at the scene, who reported she was owed money for trimming marijuana, and that she was given that check for payment. Through further investigation officers determined the check had been stolen during a residential burglary several days prior within the City of Ukiah. Moody was subsequently arrested for burglary, forgery, possessing stolen property, and violating probation.


ON TUESDAY September 16th at about 11:30 PM Ukiah Police stopped a vehicle being driven by 29 year old Nathan Scott Kirk, of Windsor, in the 100 block of South Orchard Avenue. The officer smelled marijuana from within the vehicle, and Kirk told the officer he was currently on bail for charges in Sonoma County. Kirk was found to have two felony warrants for his arrest for possessing marijuana and a narcotic, and was arrested. Kirk had over $2500 US Currency in his possession, and inside the trunk of his vehicle officers located more than 14 pounds of marijuana in one pound packages. Kirk was charged with the warrants, and for possessing and transporting marijuana for sale, and for committing a felony while on bail release.

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Damaging Our Country from Wars of Choice

by Ralph Nader

The drums of war are beating once again with the vanguard of US bombers already over Iraq (and soon Syria) to, in President Obama’s words, “degrade and destroy ISIS.” The Republican Party, led by war-at-any-cost Senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain, wants a bigger military buildup which can only mean US soldiers on the ground.

Here they go again. Another result of Bush’s war in Iraq. Washington has already expended thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of American injuries and illnesses, and over a million Iraqi lives. The achievement: the slaying or capture of Al Qaeda leaders, but with that came the spread of Al Qaeda into a dozen countries and the emergence of a new Al Qaeda on steroids called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which has nominal control over an area in Syria and Iraq larger than the territory of Great Britain.

Still, no lessons have been learned. We continue to attack countries and side with one sectarian group against another, which only creates chaos and sets in motion the cycle of revenge and sparks new internal strife. So if slamming a hornet’s nest propels more hornets to start new nests, isn’t it time to rethink this militarization of US foreign policy? It only increases the violent chaos in that region with the risk of a blow back affecting our country, such as suicide bombers attacking heavily populated public spaces. This kind of attack is very hard to stop, as we have seen thousands of times overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to Richard Clarke, former White House anti-terrorism advisor to George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden wanted Bush to invade Iraq, so that more Muslims would take up arms against the US and more Muslims would hate our country for its destruction of their land and people. Similarly, ISIS would like nothing better than to embroil the US and our soldiers in a ground war so that it can rally more people to expel the giant US invader.

Then there is the massive over-reaction by our government and its ever-willing corporate contractors. Political turmoil ensues and our democratic institutions, already weakened in their defense of liberty, due process, and the rule of law, are further overwhelmed by the policing dictates of a profitable national security state.

Randolph Bourne, a hundred years ago, wrote an essay with these words about war:

“It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate cooperation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense… Other values such as artistic creation, knowledge, reason, beauty, the enhancement of life, are instantly and almost unanimously sacrificed…”

Benjamin Franklin understood this collective panic, when he said that people who prefer security to liberty deserve neither.

The fundamental question is whether our civil society can defend our institutions critical to maintaining a democratic society.

Will our courts fold before the over-reaching panic by the Executive Branch and its armed forces?

Will our Congress and state legislatures stand firm against sacrificing our liberty and our public budgets that serve our civil society’s necessities in the face of a police/military state’s over-reacting ultimatums?

Will our media resist hyper-focusing on the “war on terror” and give us other important news about ongoing American life?

Will our government pay more attention to preventing the yearly loss of hundreds of thousands of American lives from hospital infections, medical malpractice, defective products, air pollution, unsafe drugs, toxic workplaces and other domestic perils?

Not likely. The aftermath of the 9/11 atrocities resulted in brutal reaction. In devastating two countries and their civilians, far more American soldiers were injured and killed than those lives lost on 9/11, not to mention the trillions of dollars that could have been spent to save many lives here and repair, with good-paying jobs, the crumbling public works in our communities.

Sadly, our democratic institutions and civil resiliency are not presently prepared to hold fast with the forces of reason, prudence and smart responses that forestall a national nervous breakdown – one which happens to be very profitable and power-concentrating for the few against the many.

Consider what our leaders did to our democracy during their “war on terrorism.” Secret laws, secret courts, secret evidence, secret dragnet snooping on everyone, unauditable, massive secret spending for military quagmires abroad, secret prisons and even censored, judicial decisions that are supposed to be fully disclosed! Government prosecutors often have made shambles of their duty to show probable cause and respect habeas corpus and other constitutional rights. Thousands of innocent people were jailed without charges and detained without attorneys after 9/11.

The Al Qaeda leaders wanted to not only instill fear about public safety in America, but also to weaken us economically by tying us down overseas. Why are our rulers obliging them? Because, in a grotesque way, power in Washington and profit on Wall Street benefit.

Only the people, who do not benefit from these wars, can organize the exercise of their constitutional sovereignty to shape responses that promote safety without damaging liberty.

One percent of the citizenry diversely organized in congressional districts and reflecting the “public sentiment” can turn around, perhaps with the funding support of an enlightened billionaire or two, the Congress and the White House. Are you up to this challenge.

(Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.)

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Volunteers will be at The Pay & Take in Gualala on Saturday, October 4th to register voters for Mendocino and Sonoma counties. Voter registration forms must be postmarked no later than Monday, October 20th, 2014. Volunteers will also have informational handouts about Mendocino County's Measure S, the No Fracking/Save Our Water initiative, which will be on the Mendocino County ballot in November. The information sheet is in English and in Spanish. Fracking -- Water -- Who Decides? A Mendocino County Community Bill of Rights Ordinance UPHOLDS the right of Mendocino County residents to local self-government, the right to clean water, air and soil, the right to freedom from pollution resulting from fracking, the rights of natural communities and ecosystems without harm from fracking. EMPOWERS community members and the County government with legal standing to enforce these rights. BANS fracking within Mendocino County. To learn more: YouTube Community Rights TV:; Facebook:, Information: 707-884-4703

(— Yasmin Solomon)

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THE TRUTH that Martin Luther King was telling toward the end of his life may have been too subversive for the nation to handle. When King came out against the war in Vietnam and called America the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — this is a black man, even though he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967, telling America: YOU are the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. Then he talked about that triple threat, as he called it, of racism, poverty and militarism, and he started organizing a poor people’s campaign. So basically what happened was they said to him: Negro, we told you you could talk about civil rights. But you don’t talk about foreign policy. You don’t tell America how to spend its federal budget dollars. Because King was saying that war is the enemy of the poor. Those bombs that you’re dropping over there are landing in the ghettos and barrios of America. So what happened when he told that truth? The White House turned on him. Lyndon Johnson turned on him. They worked together on voting and civil rights, but now that he’s against the Vietnam War? Johnson doesn’t like that. So the Johnson White House turned on him, the media turned on him. When you read now in this century, in my book ‘Death of a King,’ what the New York Times, the ‘Liberal’ New York Times, the ‘Liberal’ Washington Post and Time Magazine said about him in that last year it’s embarrassing. Even black media turned on him! So the White House turned on him, the media turned on him, then white America turned on him. The last poll taken in his life, the Harris poll, found that 75% of Americans thought he was irrelevant in the last year of his life. AND — hold onto your hat — almost 60% of black folks thought Dr. King was persona non grata. He couldn’t get his own organization to support him on the poor people’s campaign. My book is the story of the Martin Luther King most people don’t know. We deified him in death, but we demonized him in life. And this story about King we ain’t come to terms with yet.

— Tavis Smiley


  1. Rick Weddle September 21, 2014

    Yes, Smiley! Rev. King’s trajectory then and since has been deftly sidestepped in good part, mightily profiting a handful, and vastly endangering the rest of us. Your points seem true to me. How else could the ‘triple threat’ which Rev. King named Racism/Poverty/Militarism come to RULE?
    Now we get a ‘two party system’ of Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber CREATING crises, taking taxpayers’ money to fix the problems, then doing zero with the funds or further, making these crises worse and creating more.
    We’ve got nine hundred and ninety nine mortally dangerous problems, and Corpirations are ALL of them. Along with the unHumanized appendages they rode in on.
    Say…the staff of this Ortner outfit’s job description includes posing for group pics to put a folksy, if quirky, face on their ‘corpiration,’ while they collect millions of taxdollars for nada, leaving legions of lunies loose. And the supervisory personnel at County keep writing the checks and looking the other way, and dare to call themselves ‘public servants.’ Yes, yes, Rev. King was even righter than he knew; what was a triple threat is now about all of what we’re up to.
    The regular appearance of the ‘Catch of the Day’ in the AVA, the only one of its kind I know of, might be called ‘American Dreamers,’ as well; while the corpiration can’t see its reflection in the mirror, the Catch of the Day, day after day, is what it really looks like…and Baghdad…and Gaza…and Mexico…

  2. Harvey Reading September 21, 2014

    Why do people even give a damn what the NFL, or any of the corporate “sports” outfit do? Whadda country …

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