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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016

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Mendocino and Sonoma Counties got doused Saturday as more than 2 inches of rain fell in most areas. More than 5 inches came down in the mountains north of Cazadero, a preview of a stormy week ahead leading into Thanksgiving. The storm is expected to continue through Sunday evening as two consecutive fronts move through. Another storm system is expected Tuesday night, and another one late Thursday into Friday. The rain totals of over two inches in most areas are just the beginning. By the end of the weekend several more inches are expected. The storm flooded some local roads. Large rocks and some mud also fell onto roadways early Saturday, including on Highway 1 north of Jenner and Highway 116 west of Duncans Mills. In Mendocino County, a 45-year-old Point Arena man was seriously injured Friday night when he lost control of his pickup truck on Highway 1 near Gualala. The driver went off the highway and down a steep downhill dirt embankment, crashing into several small trees and a large stump before the vehicle overturned and came to rest on the driver’s side. CHP officials said the driver was driving about 50 miles an hour, unsafe for the rainy conditions. Neither alcohol nor drugs were a factor in the crash and 10-year-old passenger received minor injuries, officials said. The forecast shows warming temperatures and rains tapering off in the North Bay Monday and Tuesday, before the next two storm fronts move in late Tuesday and into Wednesday, and again Thursday into Friday.

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WE WONDER how far the Navarro River has to back up before Fish and Game breaches the sandbar at the mouth? The sandbar, as of late Saturday afternoon, remained impregnable. It's never been thicker or higher, at least in my memory, which also includes a memory of R.D. Beacon and friends breeching it when he owned Navarro-By-The-Sea.

QUITE A NUMBER of houses are concealed from Highway One by trees on the south side of Lake Navarro, among them the home of marijuana crusader, Pebbles Trippett. (She lives about a mile-and-a-half in.) It's not unusual for the South Bank community to get around in boats when the river floods, and some evacuate altogether. But that kind of flooding usually occurs when the River rises from heavy storm run-off that simply overwhelms the river's ability to disgorge it out to sea. The road has been closed for a couple of days while the waters recede and life goes on as before.

WE'VE NEVER SEEN the Navarro back up so far and for so many days as it has this year. Pebs has told us stories of the water rising to the top rung of her stairway entry in big rain years. "I'd just swim out," she said, "if I have to." And I suppose someone would retrieve her when she washed up on Waikiki.


PAUL McCARTHY of Elk and MendocinoSportsPlus, keeps a close eye on the Navarro: “CA-128 is still CLOSED as the Navarro River mouth sandbar refuses to OPEN. Highway 128 has now been closed for 123 hours over six days.

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“Water Level Has Gone Down And Sr 128 At Sr 1 Is Now Open. Thank You.” (CHP Press Release November 19th, 2016 8:30pm.


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by Mark Scaramella

It would be incorrect to describe last Thursday night’s Blackbird Farm meeting at the Boonville firehouse as "hostile." But most of the 40 or 50 locals who attended the meeting certainly expressed skepticism about Blackbird Farms’ plans to expand from a current capacity of 36 residents and guests to 292 residents and guests, nearly the size of the town of Philo itself.

Organized by the local Community Action Coalition and moderated by Community Services District Chair Valerie Hanelt, the four Blackbird Farm representatives responded to a series of pointed questions, many of which were much more blunt than the kind of questions we hear at an ordinary Mendocino meeting.

John Walker introduced himself as Blackbird’s project manager. He said he'd functioned as project manager for the last four months.

Kristen Concepcion and Danielle French said they had something to do with the educational program at Blackbird, and a Mr. Modewleski said he was the president of Lupine Construction out of Southern California. (The two women praised the Blackbird educational program but they spoke mostly in edu-speak — I think I heard the word “curriculum” — and so softly they were difficult to hear during their opening remarks.)

The Blackbird people said that they expect to have up to 80 students in two camps with 40 students in each, and that the 292 was the "top number" of transients, not expected to be reached more than four times a year when there were larger events such as weddings and receptions.

The Blackbird delegation didn’t address the actual facility capacity of their ultimate build-out and how it would actually house 296 people. But they insisted that they are trying to be as transparent as possible and would answer all questions presented to them.

Steve Kreig of Petit Teton Farm pointed out that the permit says that they are asking for permission for an occupancy of 292 every day, despite their “only four times a year” promise. The Blackbird reps confirmed that, Yes that's what the permit says, drawing raised eyebrows from most of the people in the room.

There was considerable discussion of the two narrow, winding roads in and out of the remote farm which make access for the numbers proposed unreasonable. The roadwork now underway and planned will still be inadequate.

The Blackbird people think that the current arrangement is safe and has been in use for at least 100 years without any significant problems. Locals disagree, pointing out that traffic prior to Blackbird was sparse, and mostly non-existent in the winter months. Enlarging their current project — especially when added to other current and planned expansions on neighboring properties — will exacerbate existing traffic problems and overtax the limited local emergency services.

Local vacation rentier, Aaron Weintraub, said that the experience Blackbird cites as being safe does not apply to the scale that Blackbird is proposing to expand to. Weintraub also said that they do not have any of the agreements with neighboring properties to expand the roads to reduce the safety hazards that would be required by fire officials.

When the Blackbird people said they have offered to maintain the roads at no cost, several neighbors quickly responded that they either had not received any such offers or that those who did had not agreed to the expanded use of their roads that Blackbird has proposed.

Blackbird representatives insisted that they are open to negotiation, but under further questioning conceded that their offer to provide free road maintenance only applies for two years and would be limited to $8,000 -- a number most locals know wouldn't cover much.

There was also considerable discussion of traffic to and from the property, both in normal conditions and in emergencies.

Anderson Valley Fire Chief Andres Avila thinks the safest (or at least less hazardous) fire emergency plan is for people at the Blackbird Farm to "shelter in place" in the cleared area in the middle of the large ranch if a fire breaks out. The Chief acknowledges that the project area is surrounded by "dense fuels," but given the limitations of the two access roads it would be impractical to expect people to try to evacuate in an emergency, especially if hundreds of people and vehicles tried to evacuate at once.

The two access roads to the property are narrow and winding, with blind curves, no shoulders and deep drainage ditches where vehicles have been known to “high-center” (i.e., lose traction where the chassis hits the ground). There would obviously be problems if outgoing personal vehicles encountered incoming emergency response vehicles in an emergency.

Several people asked how the proposed minor mitigations and road improvements now being considered would be enforced if the permit was approved. Chief Avila said that the main method would be to not renew the Blackbird permit if they were not complying with it. Chief Avila also noted that so far Calfire (which has ultimate authority on road requirements) has said that if certain road improvements and brush-clearing were made that Calfire would accept the plan, even though most locals consider those modest steps insufficient.

Traffic problems would be compounded by other property owners and uses in the area, particularly at nearby Shenoa Resort, which already has a legal entitlement to expand to an occupancy of over 200 and which would use the same three-and-a-half mile Van Zandt (private) Road that Blackbird hopes to use.

Chief Avila said that imposing a one way traffic flow arrangement into the property along Van Zandt Road and then off the property off toward Greenwood Road would reduce the traffic hazard somewhat, but he acknowledged that there is still a major problem with the one lane bridge across the Navarro and the Van Zandt Resort Road approach to it compounded by the addition of the Shenoa traffic.

Mr. Modewleski at first denied knowing who owned Lupine Construction but when challenged by well-prepared locals that it was owned by John Hall conceded that it was owned by the same family that owned Blackbird Farm. Lupine Construction is basically John Hall's construction arm which has built a number of their charter schools in Southern California.

Several questions concerned the company's sketchy finances and the co-mingling of a profit-making resort operation with an "educational" charter school program, both of which are owned by the Hall family. The Blackbird representatives agreed that both kinds of operations would be occurring on the same property. Several audience members almost reacted saying, "Then what are you hiding?"

One neighbor pointed out that Blackbird has brought in some very heavy equipment which seems much more industrial than ordinary road maintenance would require, implying that Blackbird was already assuming they’d get their permit approved even without neighbor consent.

Several people wanted to know why the Blackbird Farm operation seems to be so disconnected to the Anderson Valley community. Blackbird has not made much of an attempt to inform the valley what their plans are, nor have they hired many local people to work there. David Severn said that when he had asked John Hall if he could share the ropes course with the local ambulance service Mr. Hall replied, "No, I have to make money here."

The Blackbird representatives agreed that they're certainly not making money now.

Anderson Valley School Superintendent Michele Hutchens said it seemed to her that the “lesser” camping facilities for the children they expect to "educate” were in stark contrast to the fancier facilities reserved for the paying resort customers.

Local psychologist Greg Sims said that he had experience with a number of group homes and educational establishments in the valley over the years and that he knows how hard it is to manage urban kids in a drop-in remote setting, and protect them and the community. Sims didn't see where the Blackbird Farm operation understood that difficulty. "So I think it's best if you just withdraw your application," said Sims, drawing applause from the room.

At the moment the Mendocino County Planning Commission has scheduled a hearing on the Blackbird Farm permit application for December 15. But according to David Severn who maintains close contact with the planning staff, the planning staff isn’t ready and will recommend another continuance to an indefinite future date and it's likely that the Planning Commission will agree.

When the meeting adjourned it was obvious to everyone (maybe even Blackbird) that there were a lot of big issues left unresolved.

When this reporter asked about a “Fire Emergency Plan” mentioned in the planning documents, Ms. French offered a few stapled pages entitled “Blackbird Farm Emergency Action Plan, 2016 2017 Programming Year.” This obviously hastily prepared document refers to "Evacuation routes" as spelled out in a diagram (not provided) and instructs "all persons to immediately exit the buildings … and meet at the designated assembly area between Highland Lake and Blue Hill." But then says if that isn’t possible that people should “evacuate the properly [sic] in an orderly and calm fashion using the Philo-Greenwood Road,” and “In the event of emergencies, Van Zandt Resort Road (aka the front driveway) will be used only for emergency personnel/vehicles.” More than half of the document is devoted to “active shooter” preparation, there’s nothing about fire prevention in the fire prone area, nor the limitations of the roads.

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PS. At Wednesday night's meeting (the night before the Thursday night meeting with the Blackbird reps) when several Blackbird neighbors attended the regular Community Services District meeting to point out the shortcomings of the shelter in place plan, CSD trustee Kirk Wilder observed that given his law enforcement background he would expect that if a fire broke out while there were large numbers of people on the Blackbird property the only word that would apply would be "chaos."

And Aaron Weintraub, who with his wife Anne Bennett, operates several vacation rental properties in the Anderson Valley, told the Board that when Highland Ranch (now Blackbird Farm) was first put up for sale Weintraub discussed buying it with his wife who immediately responded negatively saying, "It's too remote, people will get lost."

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TRUMP'S ELECTION was bound to have major repercussions given his inflammatory pre-election remarks, not to mention revelations of his boorish behavior towards a series of women. And the people he has in mind to run government for him are an undistinguished collection of dummies and thugs certain to inspire large scale national resistance. It's as if the wahoos who used to gather at that Ukiah pizza parlor to listen to Rush Limbaugh — "the dirigible of drivel," in Alexander Cockburn's memorable description — were suddenly appointed to make federal policy.

REACTIONS in Mendocino County include preliminary discussions in different areas of the County about establishing sanctuary set asides for persons in danger of deportation. There have also been student demonstrations, the most aggressive one in Ukiah where students chanted" Fuck Trump" and waved Mexican flags. A small group of those students also rushed onto State Street at the County Courthouse to menace a male driver who'd given the demonstrators the finger. The Ukiah Police Department herded those students back onto the sidewalk.

YOU CAN FEEL the Weimar vibe. Couple a nutball government to the economic crisis up ahead and here we go. It's already started in the cities.

THE UKIAH DEMO invites counter-attack, although in this County the rightwing has always been much less violent than people on the left, a lot less violent than some people on the left have been who, back in the day, monkeywrenched logging equipment and engaged in verbal provocations they got away with because most people simply regarded them as they were (and are) — mentally ill but not quite crazy enough for an institution. And their awful personal behavior made them irrelevant to the political life of this place. Fortunately, the younger generation of more or less left local "activists" is much more appealing.

BUT THERE'S also a new generation of political young people out there who are influenced by the hard right. So far, they don't seem to have a local leader or organization they can relate to, but you see the bolder ones around brandishing Confederate flags. One kid I've tried to de-brief in Boonville is beyond debriefing. He recites stuff, chapter and verse, from "Aryan" and neo-nazi websites without knowing who's talking to him. Smart guy, too, not the kind of kid you want on the other side. Frightening thing is, fascism resonates with him, and you can see why: poor, no skills, no prospects. Congressman Huffman is right to be alarmed at the Confederate flags he saw in Sonoma County during Veteran's Day memorials. And he only saw the boldest young ones. There are armies of them out there in the land.

AS A MATTER OF COURSE, unless the policy has suddenly reversed itself, Mendocino County has alerted the INS to illegals convicted of serious crimes. We doubt anyone would complain about a continuation of bad boy deportations, but lots of people would object to a federal demand that local cops round up people the feds might claim are here illegally and who have committed misdemeanor offenses. In any case, local cops, I don't think, are duty bound to carry out a federal directive of this sort. I don't think. And if ordinary local Mexicans refuse to help cops solve crime out of fear of deportation, many more crimes will go unsolved.

WE'RE GOING to try to get a clarification of local policies and procedures from Sheriff Allman and DA Eyster. The economy of Mendocino County runs on immigrant labor, especially the wine economy. Gang mopes are one thing, a son of the soil who racks up a DUI is another.

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A COMPARISON of four meals shows the challenges to low-income families trying to balance life, children, cooking and career. Homemade meals: a chili dish and turkey wrap cost $2.88 and $3.62 respectively, whereas taco truck fare totals $5.10 and a fast food salad and snack wrap cost $8.10. Participants in a recent study tried to live for one day using the CalFresh guidelines and a food diary to track all foods eaten and their respective costs.

USED TO BE that we had what were called "home economics" classes in all the nation's public schools. Young people, mostly women because the assumption was they'd be doing the cooking, learned how to prepare nutritious meals from scratch. Of course this was also before fast foods and before, mostly, women entered the workforce in large numbers. Given the national obesity achieved in large part by downing large portions of bad food, if young people could at least learn basic rice and beans, fruit and vegetables, they would be healthier and save a lot of cash, too.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, "What's the deal with the vote? Hell, me and the Pits next door could have had the count done by now! Woof!"


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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 19, 2016

(Unavailable due to “internal error” at the Sheriff’s booking website.)

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What now? Trump says he is going to deport criminal immigrants, but the police apparently have a say in the matter and the Feds cannot tell local police what to do.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Monday that he has no plans to change the LAPD’s stance on immigration enforcement, despite President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to toughen federal immigration laws and deport millions of people upon taking office.

For decades, the LAPD has distanced itself from federal immigration policies. The LAPD prohibits officers from initiating contact with someone solely to determine whether he or she is in the country legally, mandated by a special order signed by then-chief Daryl Gates in 1979. During Beck’s tenure as chief, the department stopped turning over people arrested for low-level crimes to federal agents for deportation and moved away from honoring federal requests to detain inmates who might be deportable past their jail terms.

What now? If the men in blue refuse to obey Trump’s commands, Trump is powerless to carry out his agenda.

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Donald Trump is great for Democrats. The liberals need to stop fighting Trump. He won, fair or unfair. Look for the positives and trust your intelligence. Let Trump lower taxes. Did that work in Kansas or Louisiana? Let Trump try and build a wall and get Mexico to pay for it; see how that works out.

Give Trump the chance to bring back well-paying jobs for the uneducated white male — good luck. Those jobs have been outsourced or given to robots, and even the “great” Trump is not going to persuade a CEO to bring back high-paying jobs (no CEO is going to risk their $20 million-a-year job by lowering profits to help Trump). Trump and his Republican Party will fail. It will hurt a lot, but this little experiment from the not-so elite and the shifting brown tide in America’s population should put the last couple of nails in the Republican coffin. Let Trump prove to all of us just how amazing he can be.

Roger Lema, Hayward

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by Michael Bodley

California’s lingering drought has pushed the number of dead trees across the state past 100 million, an ecological event experts are calling dangerous and unprecedented in underlining the heightened risk of wildfires fueled by bone-dry forests.

In its latest aerial survey released Friday, the U.S. Forest Service said 62 million trees have died this year in California, bringing the six-year total to more than 102 million.

Scientists blame five-plus years of drought on the increasing tree deaths — tree “fatalities” increased by 100 percent in 2016 — but the rate of their demise has been much faster than expected, increasing the risk of ecologically damaging erosion and wildfires even bigger than the largest blazes the state’s seen this year.

“It’s not beyond the pale to suggest that this is a pretty unprecedented event in at least recent history,” said Adrian Das, an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

There are about 21 million acres of trees spread across California’s 18 national forests, and the latest figures show 7.7 million of them — more than one-third — are dead.

The U.S. Forest Service has earmarked $43 million in California to help restore eroded sections of roads and trails throughout the state’s wooded areas, but officials say too much money is being spent on fighting wildfires that are becoming more and more common, as opposed to restoring the scarred forests.

It’s been a record-setting year for those wildfires, which have burned through 56 percent of the U.S. Forest Service’s budget, leading U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to petition Congress to classify wildfires as disasters, which would free up additional federal funding to fight them.

"These dead and dying trees continue to elevate the risk of wildfire, complicate our efforts to respond safely and effectively to fires when they do occur, and pose a host of threats to life and property across California,” Vilsack said in a statement.

The majority of the 102 million dead trees are in the southern and central Sierra Nevada region, the survey found, but the Forest Service also warned of tree deaths on the rise in northern regions, especially in Siskiyou, Modoc, Plumas and Lassen counties.

Rising temperatures throughout the state aren’t helping matters, and neither are the persevering infestations of bark beetles fond of gnawing through pine trees stressed by drought, leaving in their wake thousands of acres of brown, dead wood.

From his base in Sequoia National Park, Das said pines are dying faster than firs, but all the acres of trees he studies have been drying out and falling over faster than they should.

Tree mortality, and what drives it, “is still a poorly understood process,” Das said, adding that one of few immediate upsides to the stands of dying trees is that scientists can better study what specifically is causing their demise.

The old-growth forests he studies — resplendent with massive sequoia trees and sugar pines that often live for centuries — are changing more rapidly than he has ever seen, a matter of months in what usually unfolds over years or decades.

“You want to understand what’s going on in these systems, and you should be concerned when big changes are happening and you don’t really have a handle on what the mechanisms are and how they’ll play out,” Das said.

(The San Francisco Chronicle)

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by Kym Kemp

Though the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office refuses to confirm the incident, (their policy is to only speak through Lynn Ward, Administrative Services Officer, and she is gone until Monday) we have received a detailed account of a home invasion near Mad River which occurred this morning. The details have been confirmed as much as possible from neighbors. We would prefer to have the Trinity County Sheriff’s input but we feel that waiting until Monday could leave the community uninformed and unprepared. So we have chosen to go ahead.

An older resident of the Mad River area who prefers to remain anonymous but with whom we have had several contacts before, told us that he was the victim of an attempted home invasion between 6:30 and 7 this morning. A friend of his and fellow Mad River resident, AJ Calderone, confirmed that the man’s windows were broken out, that someone had attempted to kick in his door, and that “internet” wires were cut to the man’s house.

We are presenting the rest of the story here as much as possible in the victim’s words.

It seemed to me like it was probably four of them. They were coming and going and it was hard to differentiate them because they were dressed in black with masks…They come right at daylight. It was still somewhat dark when they got here. My driveway alert kept going off. I went to my window…I was on the top floor…They were all dressed in black with black [ski] masks. …I saw right away that one of them had a gun. It wasn’t until later that I saw the others [had guns].

They were all right in front of my front door. They were on my porch….These guys were all between 20 to 30 [years old]. I’m assuming by how physically healthy they were….Then they spread out and went all the way around [the house]. They cut my computer lines. They apparently thought it was an alarm…. They broke the front window. Then the side window…They took my driveway alert…[They carried] something like Mac-10’s. No one has them but criminals. [They are] like a sawed off shotgun but instead a machine gun.

 Machine gun


Image released into the public domain by its author, Mcumpston

I was definitely scared. After I was absolutely sure they were doing an invasion, I grabbed my gun. I yelled at them, “Why are you picking on me? I’m poor. You’re at the wrong house. I don’t got shit.”

They said, “We’re not going to take everything.”

I can’t tell exactly what time but I called 911 when they were still trying to break into the house….I was on hold for what seemed like forever. I had the gun in one hand and the phone in the other…They were here what seemed like a long time to me. I seen ’em leave and then go up where [we think] their truck was. [They came back.]…They broke my door almost completely down.

I was going door to door [inside the second floor of the house.] I was in a panic. I knew they were going to hurt me…Then I saw a guy right outside my [second floor] window[on a porch.] [The man who was dressed in black and masked did not seem to be carrying a gun.]

I had the gun on sort of angle…I pointed it at him…It was aimed right at his gut…He knew. He knew what was coming. He got real scared. His eyes got big like silver dollars. [He got off the second story.] Not too long after that [all the invaders] left. I didn’t even know they left. It got quiet.

The victim described seeing a ’98 Dodge 3/4 ton 4-wheel drive truck with dull white paint accelerate away from the scene. The truck bed had a black liner and possibly a diesel transfer tank in the back. A neighbor said he had seen a similar vehicle parked at the top of the victim’s land in the area where the victim had seen the men head towards in the middle of their invasion attempt.

According to the victim, about an hour after the invaders left, a deputy from the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office and a US Forest Service officer arrived on the scene. It is difficult for officers to get to Mad River which is over an hour and a half from Weaverville where the Sheriff’s Office is located.

According to Jada Krueger who alerted us to the home invasion, “We have spent all morning talking to locals-& giving the description of the truck (evidently the white truck & a red [Camaro] were seen driving up & down our street yesterday). Please be alert and report any issues to the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office at (530) 623-2611.

(Courtesy, the Redheaded Blackbett,

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If you dial 911 from a cell phone you are routed to a CHP dispatch center. The CHP then needs to call Trinity Control (the dispatch center for all Trinity County emergency services). Hence the need to put you on hold.

Several years ago something similar happened when we lived in Weaverville. I was away on a fire assignment; we had just moved into a new home and my wife was home alone. A man pulled up to our house, put a pistol in his waist band and tried to enter our home. The dispatch asked if my wife wanted dispatch to wake anyone up. Mind you this was 10pm on a Friday and only 10 min away from the sheriffs office. In the end we figured this shady fellow must have known the previous tenants.

I don’t blame the sheriff, there is only so much they can do given their lack of resources and the enormity of our county. But I would certainly hope, day off or not that Jake would have gone by to see if everyone is ok. I know he needs to be dispatched through Trinity Control, but come on, this is exactly why we have a resident deputy!

Moral of the story; when in a rural area, call your neighbors first! Doesn't matter if your rig is stuck, you need a cup of milk, or you’re getting robbed. I will always depend on my neighbors first and foremost. 
Sad thing is, these days I don't know who most of my neighbors are…

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by Jeffrey St. Clair

They have guilty consciences, they’re afraid — and fear and guilty consciences have a good savor in the nostrils of the gods. Yes, the gods take pleasure in such poor souls. Would you oust them from the favor of the gods? What, moreover, could you give them in exchange? Good digestions, the gray monotony of provincial life, and the boredom — ah, the soul-destroying boredom — of long days of mild content.
— from “The Flies,” by Jean-Paul Sartre

No one inside the Clinton machine saw it coming. They were whacked from behind, while sitting at the bar, casually ordering cocktails to celebrate their predestined triumph, as clueless of their fate as Luca Brasi in The Godfather.

A half-million computer simulations generated by Robby Mook assured them that their victory was foretold, a sure thing. They had the press. They had Wall Street and Silicon Valley. They had the Council on Foreign Relations, Colin Powell and Henry Kissinger. They had women. They had blacks, Hispanics and Asians. They owned the East Coast, the West Coast and the Great Lakes. Even those flinty Cuban exiles would help them take Florida this time.

You can almost hear the smug snickering oozing through the Podesta emails. Fuck every place else. We don’t need them. Those Jurassic States with their deplorable constituents — their Sunday schools and pick-ups, their deer hunts and bingo parlors — deserved what they were going to get (which, of course, wasn’t going to be much different than what they’d been getting since the rise of the neoliberals in the late 70s: nothing but condescension). This one was in the bag.

Alas, there was a bug in their program, call it the Hubris Virus, that blinded them to the sands eroding beneath the hulking edifice of their own conceit. Mook’s app couldn’t measure human emotion. Their software couldn’t calibrate the visceral mood of the electorate, which any amateur sociologist could detect in almost every bar in America.

One of the trademarks of neoliberalism is that the working poor are to be blamed for their own desperate condition, their failure to adapt to the shock therapy foisted upon them, their refusal to embrace the austere strictures of the new modernity.

This election was the chance for the America preterite, the left behind and demeaned, to strike back at one of their most vulnerable and pious oppressors. From Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, they did so with a vengeance.

The Clinton campaign, like Luca Brasi, now sleeps with the fishes, but that virus persists, gnawing away at the brainstem of the vanquished Clinton team and the leaders of the Democratic Party. The same self-righteous surrogates who assured nervous liberals of the mathematical inevitability of Hillary’s election have now been deployed to rationalize her inexplicable defeat.

Each day a new scapegoat emerges: James Comey, Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Anthony Weiner, rigged voting machines, Fox News, fake stories on Facebook, Bernie Bros, even Bernie Sanders himself, the man who debased himself by campaigning his ass off for a candidate who ridiculed him behind his back and then blamed him for her own predictable demise. Oh, and if it’s Friday, it must be Susan Sarandon’s fault for being one of the few “celebrities” with a conscience and the courage to articulate it. See the online ravings about her by Kurt Eichenwald, Paul Krugman and Joy Reid.

In Greek tragedy, hubris is a kind of all-consuming arrogance that blinds characters to the limits of their own power and the ruthlessness of their own deeds, as in the plays of Sophocles. Usually, the hero over-reaches, ignores oracular warnings, commits a grievous crime, falls from grace and then awakens, often near the point of death, to his or her own failures as a human being. Thus the hero and the audience experience a catharsis, a purification through understanding.

But Aristotle, who was obsessed with the notion of hubris, described another variety of this disorder of the power elites, a kind of sadistic pleasure derived from the suffering of others. Here’s Aristotle writing in his Treatise on Rhetoric: “Hubris consists in doing and saying things that cause shame to the victim simply for the pleasure of it. Retaliation is not hubris, but revenge. Young men and the rich are hubristic because they think they are better than other people.”

The Clintons and their acolytes are afflicted by both species of hubris. They are the power-hungry agents of their own downfall, yet shame the victims of their own inhumane policies, from the gutting of welfare to racist crime policies to the obliteration of Libya. They show no remorse, engage in no self-circumspection, admit no culpability for their own actions and deflect the blame for all failures on others. In this sense, they are beyond redemption or purification and richly deserve their fate. Live by the polls, die at the polls.

But the country at large is about to pay a heavy price for the Clintonian tragedy. The malign incompetence of this vain neoliberal coterie has unleashed a chilling and lethal force on the Republic: intolerant, self-righteous, bigoted and violent. There’s no way to diminish the threat that Trump poses to the most vulnerable among us. These aren’t chickens coming home to roost, but ravenous pterodactyls, emerging from a cthonic darkness, with maximum havoc on their minds.

We are, however, blessed that the Democratic Party, always little more than a vaporous sanctuary for the American underclass, no longer exists as an oppositional force. Their frail Maginot Line has been breached, routed and trampled. Like the French Resistance, we are now responsible for our own collective defense.

Let us unite in a new “refus absurd.”

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+ Alexander Cockburn used to talk all the time about his admiration for the pragmatism of the American voter. This year the choice of lesser evils seemed more vexing than ever. According to Zigby, 4 percent of voters decided which presidential candidate they were voting for on the day of the election, 3 percent scratched their heads until they were inside the voting booth. Another 3% aren’t sure when, or even if, they decided.

+ Suddenly it’s all about Steve Bannon, the shadowy Machiavelli of the Sturm und Trump movement. Bannon’s a white nationalist. Bannon’s a racist. Bannon’s a sexist. And, most fatal of all slurs in American politics, Bannon’s an anti-semite. Is Bannon an anti-semite? I have no idea. He’s certainly not disguised his hatred of Muslim-semites. But does that qualify as a transgression in American politics? Hardly. It’s been the path to career advancement. Certainly, Bannon’s alleged anti-semitism hasn’t bothered the Israeli government, whose ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, defended Bannon against his critics and calmed nervous American Jews by saying that he “has no doubt that President-elect Trump is a true friend of Israel.”

Of course, the Israeli government has never been worried about real anti-semitism. It’s anti-Zionism that they are determined to violently suppress. Of course, if any pro-Palestinian politicians had cheered Bannon’s appointment as a possible indicator of a re-set in US policy in the Middle East, the Israeli government would have quickly denounced them as anti-semites.

+ In the past, Bannon has described himself as a Leninist when it comes to the exercising of executive power. This appellation would prove unappetizing to his Breitbart audience, so in an an interview with the Hollywood Reporter he rephrased it terms that would make his governing philosophy more digestible to middle America, mentioning familiar figures of darkness they could understand and warm up to, Cheney, Darth Vader, Satan. “That’s power,” Bannon said, wryly one hopes. His real model is Thomas Cromwell, the dark power behind Henry VIII. Ready for the Trump Reformation? Hold on to your heads. (Naturally, that advisory about holding on to your head should apply to Bannon as well. Cromwell didn’t take good enough care of his.)

+ With the nomination of Jeff Sessions, a man whose views on race are more rancid than Strom Thurmond’s, Trump seems intent on replacing the neocons with the neocon-federates. Someone told me that Sessions had “softened” with age. Old Strom never did “soften.” Thurmond said they’d have to “whack my pecker down with a baseball bat to close my coffin.”

+ So the world won’t end with a whimper after all. (A BK Whopper, perhaps.) Trump wants to name Mike Huckabee as his ambassador to Israel and the Huckster is already telling his friends at AIPAC that Trump is committed to moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. Huckabee always was an Apocalypticist. He must be feeling pretty giddy about being one big step closer to that glorious moment when he will arise like a giant dirigible into the sky on rapturous currents after the final battle at Megiddo.

Trump’s mad pledge to move the US embassy to Jerusalem is not new. This genuflection to the Armageddon Lobby was also made by his golfing bud Bill Clinton and Bills’ pal George W Bush. Both of them soon backed down, when their inner circles informed them of the prospect of all hell breaking loose. Of course, all hell breaking loose may be just what Trump’s inner circle wants.

+ Last week, the Democrats were calling Trump the American Hitler. This week, new Senate Minority leader, Chuck Schumer, Wall Street’s new favorite on the Hill, says he may be willing to work with Trump to end the “Washington stalemate.” Who will break the news to Rachel Maddow?

+ In a big piece for the New York Times, Steven Erlanger and Alison Smale call Angela Merkel the “Liberal West’s Last Defender.” A few years ago, Merkel, the Scourge of Greece, was considered to be to the right of Nicolas Sarkozy. Of course, if you define “liberal” as “agent of austerity,” which the Times has always supported, I guess they might have a point.

+ Team Trump floated the name of Nikki Haley for Secretary of State. Resume: Degree in accounting, experience in the fashion industry, governor of small southern state. Not much bloodshed on that CV. Probably a less lethal choice than Hillary, the worse decision Obama ever made. Still would she take it if offered? It would give her an excused absence for leaving the country as often as possible over the next four years…

+ The International Energy Agency has just issued a report saying that the Paris Climate Accord didn’t go far enough to reverse or even halt climate change and that even those targets would be impossible for most, if not all, signatories to the treaty to meet. Doomed under Obama, doomed under Trump. Doomed, doomed, doomed.

By the way, 2016 will be the hottest year on record, after the hottest year on record, after the hottest year on record. Over to you, Myron Ebell.

+ I get a lot of groans for talking this way, especially at the kitchen table here in Oregon. Why are you always so depressing? That’s no way to motivate people! But regardless of how we speak about it, climate change is beyond control now. The time to act was 50 years ago. Want some recent evidence of the way things are heading? Temperatures at the North Pole this week are 36 degrees higher than normal. The living planet will survive, though our species, speaking of hubris, likely won’t in the long term. Life on earth survived the Permian Extinction, when more than 98 percent of the species on the planet were wiped out almost overnight geologically speaking. From that extinction new forms of life emerged, evolving in wild new directions. See Stephen Jay Gould’s Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History,which might be considered an uplifting book if your timeline is expansive enough.

+ For the last 20 years, Bernie Sanders has presented himself as either an independent socialist or an independent, although he voted in lockstep with the Democrats in the House and the Senate 95% of the time, even when they wanted to expand the police state, bomb a socialist country, and overthrow the governments of Iraq and Libya.

Now Sanders self-identifies as a Democrat and this very week accepted a leadership position (director of outreach, whatever that means) under Charles Schumer, the Senator from Citibank. The pretense has been dropped. Sanders is now an aging pitchman for a party that abandoned the working class about the time he entered congress. When Bernie “reaches out” to you, I’d think twice before giving him your credit card number.

+ Will one banal celebrity supplant another? That’s the hope of some diehard Democrats who are looking to recruit Tom Hanks to run against Trump in 2020. I’ve never understood the allure of Hanks. As an actor, he seems stiffer than Gary Cooper. In the film Castaway, written by Cockburn’s old pal Bill Broyles, Hanks was overshadowed by Wilson the Volleyball. His politics seem like leftovers from the Dukakis campaign. His one watchable film, Turner and Hooch, was carried by Hooch. Hooch for veep!

+ This week Obama ensured that his real legacy, where he left his deepest mark on the world, will endure, when the White House announced that he will not restrict or redact his drone kill book for the incoming Trump administration. Continuity in government you can believe in!

+ Norway is set to ban the sale of cars powered by fossil fuels within the next ten years. This welcome news was immediately applauded by the mad CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk. Hopefully, the Norwegians will also see the wisdom in banning Elon Musk, who believes the future of humans lies in the terra(de)forming of Mars, from their country…

+ The awful James Clapper, Obama’s director of National Intelligence, who famously gave perjurious testimony before congress on the extent of the administration’s domestic spying operations, has sent the president his letter of resignation, rushing, like a manic Black Friday shopper, to get near the front of the clemency line, right behind Hillary Clinton, who Jesse Jackson, servile to the bitter end, has already begged Obama to pardon.

+ SEC chair Mary Jo White has also announced she is abandoning her post, as K Street lobbyists sharpen their blades for the gutting of Dodd-Frank. Apparently, Bernie Madoff has forwarded his application for the post to Trump Tower, saying he could easily run the new SEC from his cell at the Butner Federal Prison.

+ Suddenly the Left is all aflame over word that Trump is considering a “Muslim registry.” Apparently, these brave defenders of civil liberties are unaware that a “Muslim registry” called the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System was imposed shortly after 9/11 with the endorsement of Hillary Clinton and many other Democrats and persisted well into Obama time, only being officially abandoned in 2011. (Who is to say when, or if, it unofficially ended?) Ajamu Baraka told me that he was stopped and interrogated about his residency and status no less than five times during that decade of dread. Let us also recall that Mrs. Clinton made a dramatic gesture of returning campaign contributions from American Muslims and Muslim groups during her senate campaign, more than a year before the events of 9/11.

+ The DNC’s Record of losses Under Obama / Kaine / Wasserman Schultz: 1 Presidency, 11 Senate seats, 60 House seats, 14 governorships, 900 state legislative seats.

Try, try, try again. Being a Democrat means never having to say you’re sorry. (I mean that in both senses of the word.)

+ In 1920, Eugene Debs ran for president from his prison cell in Atlanta, Georgia, where he was serving a 10 year sentence for violating the Espionage Act by opposing Woodrow Wilson’s entry into World War I and for promoting Socialism. (Even the infamous Mitchell Palmer thought that Debs should have been pardoned, but Wilson, one of the cruelest presidents, refused. It took Warren Harding to commute his sentence to time served.) Debs was also disenfranchised for life. Debs still won nearly 4 percent of the vote, nearly as much as all third parties in this year’s election. Many of the same structural problems continue to plague the country today. Yet our politics has become hollower, spiritless, more and more hopeless.

+ My old partner, Ken Silverstein, nails Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times’s dullest columnist (give or take Tom “Sominex” Freidman), for his outrageous speaking fees ($30,000 to talk about his reporting on global poverty!) and travel reimbursements. So many dollars, so little sense.

+ Lena Dunham breaks down the election: “It’s painful to know that white women, so unable to see the unity of female identity, so unable to look past their violent privilege, so inoculated with hate for themselves, showed up at the polls for him, too.”

If only Hillary had used Ms. Dunham more aggressively on the campaign trail … she might have lost California, too.

+ Dylan says he’s got better things to do than go pick up his Nobel prize for literature. Good for him. I hope one of those things involves writing another song as good as this one

Sound Grammar / What I’m listening to this week.

Julia Jacklin: Don’t Let the Kids Win

Pretenders: Alone

The Radio Dept.: Running Out of Love

JohnnySwim: Georgica Pond

Brad Mehldau & Joshua Redman: Nearness

Booked Up / What I’m reading this week.

Marc Bloch: Strange Defeat; a Statement of Evidence Written in 1940.

Wilhelm Reich: The Mass Psychology of Fascism.

Elizabeth Danto: Freud’s Free Clinics: Psychoanalysis & Social Justice.

The Redeeming Things

F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat; the redeeming things are not happiness and pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle.”

(Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: Courtesy,

* * *


* * *


by Ralph Nader

Optimists are hoping for a Trump makeover. They cling to his brief victory remarks suggesting that he wants to be the “president of all the people.” In his 60 Minutes interview following the election Trump said that the protestors were out in the streets because “they do not know me.” They recall his statement some months ago that he had to say outlandish things in order to get greater media attention and reach more people than his Republican primary competitors.

Character and personality are not prone to change in most people. Especially in the case of Trump, who sees these campaign tactics as reasons for his “successes.” However, the assumption to exalted, higher offices of public trust and power sometimes brings out the better angels.

So far, though, the signs are foreboding. Trump values loyalty, and people like Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich stuck with him at his lowest points earlier this year. Trump knows very little about the awesome job given him by that dead hand from the past — the Electoral College — which has once again caused a plurality of voters to see their chosen candidate lose (Even Trump acknowledged its unfairness on CBS’s Sixty Minutes after the election).

Lack of knowhow coupled with blind loyalty brings Trump to rely heavily on these old hands behind the worsening corporate state and military belligerence.

His transition appointments are delighting the corporatists. The man chosen to oversee the changes in the Environmental Protection Agency denies that climate change is man-made and scowls at regulation of harmful pollutants. Trump has opened the door to the big oil and gas lobbyists to control the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior. Wall Streeters are smacking their lips over Trump cavorting with opponents of regulating that giant gambling casino.

His military advisers do not come from the ranks of prudent retired officials who see perpetual war for what it is — a mechanism for national insecurity, authoritarianism and profits for the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us about in his 1961 farewell address. To the contrary, many of Trump’s military advisors have been quick to embrace an Empire mentality and its warfare state.

One can imagine how a major stateless terrorist attack on the U.S. during his administration could provoke Trump into a heavy-handed retaliation with dangerous and unforeseen consequences. This is exactly what these adversaries want him to do in order to further spread their propaganda campaign against the U.S. Meanwhile, our civil liberties, and the domestic necessities of the people are shoved aside.

His first two major assistants — Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon — have called for corporate tax reductions and elimination of the estate tax on the rich (the only ones who pay it). Despite the “small government” façade, they are not likely to challenge the deficit-swelling combination of a larger military budget, decreased revenue and continuation of the bailouts, subsidies and giveaways known as crony capitalism that have enriched Trump and his plutocratic allies over the years.

Intrigue and internal fighting inside the White House and top Cabinet levels are likely if Trump insists on giving powerful roles to his three children and son-in-law (albeit without pay). Nepotism and conflicts of interest are acidic cocktails and undermine the integrity and transparency of public office.

Then there is the explosive crackdown on immigrants — many of whom benefit millions of Americans by working in low-wage jobs — that can produce daily turmoil, not to mention the exorbitant human cost of breaking up families in communities across the country.

In past Republican Party electoral victories, there was always a modicum of checks and balances to slow their plutocratic greed and power grabs. As of January 21, 2017 the Republican Party controls the Executive Branch, the Congress, the Supreme Court and most likely 33 governorships and 32 state legislatures. The anti-democratic Electoral College is the cause this November of giving the GOP control over the White House and, by extension, the Supreme Court (see

Other than an unlikely vigorous and fearless free press, not just in Washington but also back in the localities, or a self-destructive Trump implosion, the redeeming power of the people can only come from the grass roots.

Our country is in an extraordinarily high-risk condition, given who possesses the reins of power. Self-described conservatives and liberals can curb that power if they form alliances back in the Congressional districts around the major initiatives on which they agree (See my book Unstoppable: The Emerging Left/Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State). Such alliances have occurred with success in the past.

With the power brokers employing their divide-and-rule tactics, such potent political alliances will require citizen action and adequate funding in all Congressional districts with focused and sustained intensity on their Senators and Representatives. Congress, with only 535 lawmakers, is the most accessible of the checks and balances reachable by the people back home.

How many enlightened billionaires, serious citizen-patriots and advocates for transforming elections and governance step up?

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!

* * *


Willits physician, Dr. Ace Barash, has been named 2016 Physician of the Year by Adventist Health. Barash was one of 19 physicians to be honored at the Adventist Health Physician Leadership held in San Diego last month.

Adventist Health has locations throughout California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. They employ more than 23,400 employees; nearly 5,000 medical staff physicians and 4,300 volunteers.

According to Cecilia Winiger, community outreach and communications manager for Frank Howard Memorial Hospital (HMH), Barash was nominated by hospital employees in honor of his 18 years of service and dedication to providing compassionate care to the Willits community.

Barash was working at another hospital when he became good friends with a well-known local surgeon who convinced him that HMH was where he belongs. In 1998, he started seeing patients in the emergency room at HMH. After years of private practice, Barash said seeing patients at HMH “was a breath of fresh air.”

Now he wears multiple hats, including director of inpatient care, overseeing the care of hospitalized patients and supervising the hospital’s nurse practitioners. He also tends to patients in the ER and assists orthopedic surgeon William Bowen in prepping patients for surgery.

A hospital employee wrote, “Dr. Barash is always willing to listen and advise without judgment. He is very approachable and never makes you feel like your need is any less important than someone else’s. He appreciates input and is receptive to others’ opinions. He is very concerned about our community as a whole and how to better it.”

Barash says it’s very gratifying to receive the awards and to be recognized by his colleagues. “It was a great surprise.”

It came as no surprise, however, to his patients and colleagues. “Dr. Barash goes above and beyond for his patients and staff. You can feel that he genuinely cares. He is an amazing doctor and a loving man and truly exemplifies the mission of Adventist Health,” says an HMH employee.

Aside from his commitment to patients, Barash is also known for his efforts to improve the community. He has been an ardent supporter of improving mental health services in Mendocino County, a cause he considers close to his heart.

Rick Bockmann, HMH president and CEO concurs, “Dr. Barash always has a way of making his patients feel like they are the most important person. His patients tell me how approachable he is and he just makes them feel at ease. His care goes beyond his patients, he truly cares about our community and he is very much involved in initiatives to improve the community, such as advocating for better mental health services.”

Barash shared some of his motivation toward the cause he is most passionate about: The improvement of services in the mental health industry throughout Mendocino County.

“Having seen so many patients in the ER with mental health issues, I felt guilty that I could not do more for patients,” he said. “I felt like it was my job not only to address their health issues, but also address the underlying mental health issues.”

Barash says although the outlook for improvement of mental health services was very bleak for a number of years, there is now a great opportunity to change that.

“I am very impressed with the quality of people and leaders working in mental health now,” he said. He said he was excited over the recent energetic feeling from many quadrants toward working to support efforts to improve mental health services.

“I hope it can continue and we can eventually have a model county for provision of health services,” he said.

(Howard Hospital Press Release)

* * *


The recording of last night's (2016-11-18) KNYO (and, three hours in, also KMEC) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is ready to download and enjoy, via

Also, at you'll find literally thousands of links to not necessarily radio-useful but certainly worthwhile things to see and/or do and learn about, rainy day or shiny day, brightest day or darkest night, such as:

Two minutes (total) of cinematical space. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is a sucker for this sort of material. If a movie has things that look like this in it, I like it. I also like movies about Gypsies, and flawed superheroes, and funny squalor. There, a picture of the inside of my head and my kitchen.

Clever Eastern European elevators that work like a cafeteria-line industrial toaster. Not so good if you're crippled or a daydreamer or you have a phone. Also, notice, in Eastern Europe the first floor is the top floor. Or maybe that's just an artifact of editing. Or maybe the building we see in the video is /beneath/ Eastern Europe, actually in Pellucidar and upside-down.

Mose Allison is dead, probably right-side-up.

And Jack Chick's last tract. "The future is in your hands. Don't become Satan's lunch."

Marco McClean

* * *



There comes a time when history begins to repeat itself. The Indigenous occupation around the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation is such a time.

While there are many differences between the occupation of Wounded Knee in the early 1970s and the Sacred Stone encampment of today, there are many common threads. Both occupations involved the theft of Native rights by corrupt officials, and both resulted in an unnecessary use of police force and infiltrators to threaten protesters. The more recent occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by a group loosely affiliated with non-governmental militias and the sovereign citizen movement also echoes the two Native movements.

Combined, all three protests were organized to orchestrate direct action against corrupt government officials in Congress and federal agencies far away in Washington, D.C. All three protests involved issues of land use that did not take into account the needs and desires of local people. All three protests were ordained for protesters via divine inspiration. And all three protests were brutally put down by law enforcement.

Another thing. All three protests sparked a debate in the United States on the meaning of the words "terrorist" and "militant", and on how the news media and law enforcement unfairly characterize protests involving people of different ethnicities or religions.

What can President Obama do now?

There are four things that President Obama can do on his way out of the White House: 1) he can find a way to withdraw the nationwide permit for Dakota Access Pipeline construction and bring it back to lawmakers for them to fix, consulting with Tribal governments in the process; 2) stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline altogether; 3) do what Bill Clinton should have done, and pardon Leonard Peltier of the Wounded Knee occupation, and 4) direct the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the cold-blooded murder of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation by agents from Oregon State Police and FBI, and to indict and vigorously prosecute them.

What can we do?

White. Black. Red. Brown. We must unite. We must come together as one. We must learn to work and fight together as one Army of Resistance.

Big government is our common enemy. A soulless, godless government is our common enemy. A faraway government motivated by greed, and greed alone, is our common enemy.

No more nukes, pipelines, fracking, and open pit mining. No more genocide.

In this fight, let us look to the buffalo -- tantanka -- for inspiration. In the Lakota language, the word “tatanka” is translated as “buffalo” or “buffalo bull.”

However, according to native Lakota speakers, the literal translation is something more like “He who owns us.” Lakota elder Birgil Kills Straight explains it this way:

“The four leggeds came before the two leggeds. They are our older brother -- we came from them. Before them, we were the root people, but that was a long time ago in the beginning of the world. We more recently came from the four leggeds. We are the same thing. That is why we are spiritually related to them. We call them in our language 'Tatanka,' which means 'He Who Owns Us.' We cannot say that we own the buffalo, because he owns us."

Meaning what? Meaning we do not own the land that we fight to protect. The land owns us.

And certainly -- most certainly -- corrupt government officials in Congress and federal agencies far away in Washington, D.C. do not own the land nor its buffalo.

John Sakowicz
KMEC Radio at the Mendocino Environmental Center


  1. LouisBedrock November 20, 2016

    And now for something completely different, as Monty Python would say.

    Bruce Mc– and other compañeros interested in linguistics:

    I am reading the short story that inspired the movie ARRIVAL.
    It’s called “Story of Your Life”, but could be titled “Don’t Sleep. There Are Heptapods” because it is so similar to the second part of Everett’s book.
    I’ve read 40 of 60 pages and so far the entire story is about linguistics—deciphering the spoken and written languages of the aliens. Of course, there are also reminiscences about the linguist’s dead daughter.

    I can’t imagine how they made a movie about this story without fucking it up with stupid subplots. I hope the parts about the dead daughter aren’t too much like GRAVITY and the pathetic Sandra Bullock character.

    • LouisBedrock November 20, 2016

      I vowed to stop using it in speech and writing.
      I guess it’s a habit that’s hard to break.

      One can say what one wants to say more eloquently without it.

      • Harvey Reading November 20, 2016

        Eloquence aint all it’s cracked to be, and not effective in all cases. Just ask my (medium-sized) dog.

    • LouisBedrock November 20, 2016

      Finished the story.
      Nothing like GRAVITY–much better.
      Read the story before seeing the movie.
      Science fiction with a theme of linguistics: impressive.

    • Bruce McEwen November 20, 2016

      The f actually came to the Proto-Germanic tongue, the roots of English, from the Phoenicians, believe it or not, Ripley, (and how these people got from ancient Carthage 200+ B.C. to Norway, is a story worth reading in a book called OUR MAGNIFICENT BASTARD TONGUEGE by linguist John McWhorter) which is where we get words with the f-sound in names like Phillip and Pfeiffer.

      It was the Phoenicians who taught us phonics and how to use swear words like phuck and pfucque…

  2. Rick Weddle November 20, 2016

    re: plus dollars, minus sense…

    This self-blinding ‘equation’ is the emblem, lately, of this exploding series of spectacles we insist on calling civilization. And we have an alleged President Elect who’s the living illustration, the prime example of having a point, but combing your hair just right so nobody who matters will notice.

  3. Harvey Reading November 20, 2016

    Re: USED TO BE: A home ec class is not a necessity for cooking. Been doing it for myself most of my life. Rice and beans are among the simpler items to prepare. Jeezuz, all you gotta do is boil water for Chrissakes. Those home ec classes were nothing more than a means of putting girls in their ‘places’, to mold them into the ‘father knows best’ image.

    • james marmon November 20, 2016

      Yeah, you’re right Mr. Reading, its better that women have evolved to be unskilled consumers. My ex mother-in-law taught home economics in High School for 25 years, its amazing how many women I met in Crescent City who still talk about what they learned in her class and have high praise for her. Many of them in their 40’s and 50’s now. It might make you feel better to know some boys enrolled in her classes as well. She is retired now but spends a great deal of time passing down her skills to my 6 year old granddaughter who is blown away with her great grandmother’s magic. They cook, bake, and sew together, everything from scratch.

      • Harvey Reading November 21, 2016

        Is that really your opinion of what women have become?

  4. Harvey Reading November 20, 2016

    Roger Lema, Hayward,

    Great letter.

  5. Harvey Reading November 20, 2016


    Apparently having a lot of dead trees is not a very good means of controlling population size among humans …

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