- Trial Developments
- Solving Crimes
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- Infill Ukiah
- Casting Call
- Marijuana Properties
- Free Quinten
- Plant Sale
- Cannabis Conference
- Little Dog
- Grange Litigation
- Yesterday's Catch
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REYNOLDS CASE UPDATE
Last Friday being a court holiday, the trial of Charles Reynolds went into a three-day recess on Thursday afternoon, running on schedule despite a curtailed witness list for the defense.
As it happened only three defense witnesses came to court, and only one of these, Larry Sutherland, spent any significant time on the stand. Of the other two, Raymond Taylor was on the stand only briefly due to his inability or refusal to remember anything significant about the time and place in question, even though a video of the scene at Boomer’s Bar was played and re-played for him several times. Another witness for defense didn’t show up at all, and yet another [unnamed] witness was suspected of being in hiding. The reason for this seemed apparent when Mr. Sutherland said he’d been threatened.
The last defense witness was Dr. Geoffrey Loftus, a psychology professor from the University of Washington in Seattle, who specializes in perception and memory. Dr. Loftus was the subject of a long legal debate about what he would be allowed to say if he took the stand, and this debate used up the time allotted for the other witnesses, so the time estimates remained accurate.
The State’s case against Mr. Reynolds hinges almost entirely on the testimony of the eyewitness, Christopher Bradley, who said he saw Reynolds sucker-punch the decedent, Kenneth Fisher in the parking lot outside Boomer’s Bar, last August 28th.
Defense has tried to discredit this testimony, first by suggesting that Mr. Bradley didn’t like Reynolds, and later by alluding to allegations by Reynolds’ girlfriend that Bradley had hit on her prior to the incident. The expert on perception and memory, Dr. Loftus, was brought in to further erode the jury’s confidence in the eyewitness testimony of Mr. Bradley.
On Wednesday the prosecution brought in the medical specialists, and established that the decedent died of a ruptured artery emerging from the spine and running upward to the head due to a trauma of some kind, and on cross Mr. Petersen established that this artery was susceptible to bursting under such ordinary circumstances — supposing certain conditions were right — as a sneeze or a cough; and that, indeed, people sometimes died from this. This may have been one of the reasons the case was not filed as a homicide in the first place. So it was essential that the prosecutor, Deputy DA Luke Oakley, make it clear that the victim had been “assaulted with force likely to cause great bodily injury,” meaning the sucker punch — for if the two men were mutual combatants going out to the parking lot to settle their differences man to man, no crime was committed, and it was a tragic fluke of fate with no one to blame.
And that in essence was defense’s contention, as stated in Mr. Petersen’s opening remarks.
“We all agree that this was a tragedy,” Petersen said. “But we disagree that there was this huge colossal blow, this sucker punch.”
“Force and power,” Deputy DA Oakley said. “That’s what this case is about.”
Oakley had also argued in pre-trial motions that this was “a crime of moral turpitude,” and he cited some of the defendant’s record of arrests, some of them as trivial as having a shotgun shell in his possession 13 years ago; others, more recently, such as domestic violence and a misdemeanor assault five years ago. There was talk of telling the jury about these things and Judge Behnke was undecided — he would decide at the time, whether Oakley could mention the priors to the jury and use them to impeach the defendant’s credibility in the event Reynolds decided to take the stand in his own defense. As it happened, he did not. Oakley also wanted to bring these things up if defense made any negative references to the State’s witnesses.
One of the State’s witnesses was Mathias Marsh, who had been at the bar drinking on the fatal day and had a good deal of interaction with both Reynolds and Fisher. Here the business of character assassination began in earnest for both sides. Marsh had said that he was drinking Glenlivet single malt Scotch and that no, he was not taking any drugs, no methamphetamine or cocaine. He said his only drug was marijuana and he didn’t even use that when he was drinking.
Mr. Sutherland, when called by defense, said that wasn’t true, that anytime “Matty” Marsh was at the bar, he was most definitely snorting coke. When asked how he knew, Sutherland admitted that he was most often doing the coke with “Matty.” They were all friends. When Sutherland said he’d been threatened about testifying, the judge put a stop to the Q&A, and called the lawyers into his chambers. When they emerged sometime later, no more was said about threats to witnesses — which is a felony.
But whether or not Mr. Sutherland was threatened before coming to court, he most explicitly was threatened while on the stand. He had not only admitted to snorting the coke with Marsh, but testified that he’d been driving that day when he and Reynolds and a third party all went golfing and drinking that day at the Benbow Inn near Garberville; then drinking more at the Benbow Lodge, then driving to Laytonville, drinking more; and finally driving to Willits.
“You know, don’t you,” Oakley said pointedly, “that drinking and driving is against the law?”
Sutherland gulped and said he did.
“And I’m sure you know using cocaine is illegal, as well, don’t you?”
“And do you know that perjury is against the law?”
The look Oakley gave Sutherland was so significant that it was unmistakably a promise that he’d be prosecuted for admissions made in open court.
What pissed Oakley off was Petersen had put Marsh back on the stand and asked him pointedly if he’d discussed any of his testimony with anyone before the trial. Marsh said emphatically that he had not. So Petersen put Sutherland on and Sutherland said he’d met with Marsh a week or so earlier at Digger’s Bar in Willits, and they’d talked about the case together — totally compromising Marsh’s whole ordeal on the stand, because he’d now been caught in an “inconsistent statement” (read lie) and the jury would be instructed that anyone whose testimony had been proved “inconsistent” (read false) could be dismissed as a liar, out of hand, and everything they said disregarded.
These were some of the developments at the end of the first week of trial. We’ll follow up with a more inclusive report in next week’s print edition.
But there was one more point to be made: on Thursday a hearing for Mr. Caleb Silver, the man accused of a string of thefts in the Greenwood/Elk region and the murder of Dennis Boardman, was supposed to be heard by Judge Behnke, but the lengthy business with Dr. Loftus caused this to be postponed until the following week. We expect to have the details as they emerge on this case as well as the Reynolds trial.
— Bruce McEwen
A READER WRITES:
Katlyn Long. If Matson supplied the drug, at the very least, manslaughter is the charge. How hard is that to prove that with a known druggie?
Susan Keegan. What does the autopsy report show? Have you seen it? Where is or are the position or positions of the wounds to the head? Is the doc right or left handed? My friend Joe Kenda (Homicide Hunter) could figure this out in ten minutes. The doc was not particularly remorseful. Guilty, unless proven otherwise.
Baumeister. Has anyone looked into the killing of that young man up and around Westport in the mid 80s. (Sutherland?) Did Baumeister live there at that time?
ED REPLY: What all these cases have in common is the connected status of the presumed perps: Matson is the scion of a successful Fort Bragg family; Peter Keegan is a medical doctor with deep roots among liberals in the Ukiah area. Baumeister, however, was never a suspect in the two Westport disappearances. He was an employee of a man named James ‘Jimmy’ Denoyer who disappeared the two "missing" men, one of whom was his uncle, the other a long-time resident of the Northcoast. I keep mentioning Baumeister as a likely source of information about Denoyer's activities at the time of the disappearances.
ALL OF THESE CASES occurred during the haphazard reign of DA Meredith Lintott. Let's say Lintott's office did not take on tough cases and leave it at that. DA Eyster does take on tough cases and the prosecution of Keegan, for one, is long overdue.
SUSAN KEEGAN'S arms were terribly bruised, "defensive bruising," as it's called. The wound(s) to the top of her head that killed her could not have been sustained from a "bathroom fall," as Dr. Keegan calmly explained his wife's death to the two cops who appeared at his door when he called 911 the morning after, long after all traces of Mrs. Keegan's last blood were cleaned up. There is more than enough evidence to indict him, as anyone who watches crime shows will know. We see tough cases worked out all the time by tough, relentless investigators. (Keegan hired a criminal defense attorney within a week of his wife's death and continues to keep one on retainer. Innocent persons don't feel a need for a criminal defense lawyer.)
DA EYSTER has put a huge effort into the Keegan case, including a successful subpoena for the Keegan file lied about by Ukiah attorney Norman Rosen. Rosen had claimed he acted as attorney in his dealings with the Keegans and, therefore, whatever information he had about them was protected by the attorney-client privilege laws.
IN FACT, as the subpoenaed file has apparently revealed or it would not have been successfully subpoenaed, Rosen had functioned as family counselor to the Keegans, which is not protected. The file apparently confirms what Mrs. Keegan's friends have known all along, that Peter Keegan had flipped out in the presence of counselor Rosen when Keegan learned that his wife, upon their divorce, would get half of the couple's property, as per California divorce law.
WHY ROSEN did not report Keegan's behavior to the police goes to his character, I suppose, but one would think an officer of the court, let alone a long-time friend of Mrs. Keegan, would want justice for her.
THE KATLYN LONG CASE was never investigated after Matson lawyered-up with the late Richard Petersen. How did methadone find its way into the body of a non-drug using young woman? Where did it come from? And so on. A cop told me he was certain that Matson "would screw-up again, and we'll get him." Matson remains un-got.
UNFORTUNATELY for the victims and their families, here in Amnesia County, where history starts all over again every morning, there isn't sustained public pressure on the authorities to solve these cases.
FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION CARDS
President Donald Trump has issued Executive Order 17-76 requiring all US citizens to possess a Federal Identification Card. This card must be carried at all times while in public and must be shown on demand to law enforcement officers and Homeland Security Personnel. If you fail to provide this card you will be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel for either deportation, if you are not a citizen, or payment of a $200 fine if you are a citizen.
Studies have shown that the majority of illegal aliens in the US are Canadians. If you resemble a Canadian you should expect to be stopped and required to show your identification card.
Federal Identification Cards will be issued Saturday, April 1, 2017 at all US Post Offices.
Jay Eldee, Area Director
BOONVILLE BIG BAND, EAGLES AUDITORIUM, SATURDAY, APRIL 1ST, 7 — 10 PM
Hey all you swingers, er swing dancers and/or lovers of swing music and/or lovers of big bands and/or just lovers!
After a long dry spell Fort Bragg will at long last be hosting a swing dance concert at Eagles Hall sponsored by Gloriana Musical Theatre on Saturday April 1 (no fooling!) from 7pm to 10 pm.
This event will feature Bob Ayres’ Swingin’ Boonville Big Band and include a dance lesson and a dance contest. Fun! Come one come all to support Gloriana Musical Theatre and The Boonville Big Band. Tickets will be $15 at the door. The bar will be open along with concessions. See ya’ll there!
INFILL, NOT SLURB
To the Editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal:
Come on, KC [Meadows]. Seems the UDJ has gone in whole hog to promote a Group Think about the need for LA style suburban sprawl onto our farmland greenbelt; (see your front pages of March 10 & 28.) Pushed by Ukiah’s most economically powerful, those relentlessly repeating the Talking Points tell us our community suffers a crisis of insufficient single family dwellings for sale. The relentlessness now reminds us of the bogus 2002 war propaganda about Saddam and “WMD.” Ukiah’s memorized chant for sprawl has been well disseminated and is now promulgated by high paid city, county, hospital, and special district officials.
While there is a clear need for new rental housing in Ukiah, it’s vital we challenge the powers-that-be now promoting 1950’s style, environmentally absurd tract home sprawl onto our unrecoverable farm land. The targeted farm land just north of town is designated agricultural in the Ukiah Valley Area Plan. This General Plan came at a cost to taxpayers of some $400,000 and was supported unanimously by the Ukiah City Council and made law by a 4-1 vote of the County Board of Supervisors.
The claim that professionals cannot find homes to buy in our valley is unfounded. Today, a local realty listed eighty homes for sale in Ukiah, with one home being added to the listing daily; average listing time on this site has been 95 days. Yet we still hear the refrain that doctors and county administrators cannot find homes here to buy. Please give us a break.
Let’s save our vital farmland greenbelt while supporting rental housing and townhouse infill projects such as the 72 unit one in the Brush Street Triangle and others underway within the obvious urban boundary of Ukiah.
ED NOTE: Er, Phil, there's a difference between a straight account about a proposed housing development and advocating it. KC Meadows has not advocated either it or Weapons of Mass Destruction. We agree totally on infilling Ukiah before slurbing it outward.
ADS OPENLY LURE POT GROWERS IN SEARCH OF LAND
by Glenda Anderson
With cannabis’ increasingly legal status, it was only a matter of time before real estate ads aimed at pot producers came out into the open in California. That time is here.
“Awesome Marijuana Farm For Sale in Mendocino County, California,” states a recent ad on Craigslist.
The 80-acre parcel, represented by Sonoma County real estate broker Rene Caro, is among the first California pot-producing properties to be advertised as such since voters in November passed Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
“At first I was scared to do it,” said Caro, who deals primarily with residential properties. But after last year’s vote, it seemed like a good time to “list it for what it is.”
Caro said a friend who works in marketing helped convince him.
“It was a marketing decision entirely,” Caro said, adding it took some time to convince the landowner to advertise the property for marijuana growing. The owner remains unwilling to be identified.
Openly advertising cannabis properties may be new to California, but it’s a trend that began several years ago in Colorado, Oregon and Washington that earlier legalized recreational pot use.
Websites like www.420property.com have multiple listings advertising the merits of their clients’ properties.
“The hard work is done. Now it is ready to make money ... lots of money,” states an ad for a Washington state property with an existing 33,000-square-foot cannabis growing operation that includes water, power, security devices, greenhouses and state approval.
“Perfect grow climate. Lots of room. Will and can produce more than 500 plants. The future worth of this licensed operation is in the 7 figure range,” boasts an ad for 21 acres in southwest Oregon.
The new openness in California has surprised some of the most seasoned real estate agents as well as long-time marijuana advocates and farmers.
“I didn’t think I’d see it this fast,” outspoken Mendocino County-based cannabis activist and grower Tim Blake said of the advertising. “Even for me, that’s a trip.”
Kevin Sullivan, a real estate agent who, with a partner, specializes in ranch properties in Mendocino and Humboldt counties said “it sort of blows you away. You’re just not used to people talking about it openly.”
The rush to buy land in the two counties has increased prices by about 30 percent to 40 percent in the last year or two, he said.
While the properties may be openly advertised to the cannabis industry, many property owners accustomed to decades of hiding their crops prefer staying in the shadows. Some are leery of the new openness because cannabis cultivation remains illegal under federal law. Others may not want friends and family to know, said Dana Wallace, a Bay Area real estate broker who last year began specializing in cannabis-related businesses and properties. She said she represents buyers and sellers from throughout the country.
“It’s still very hush hush,” Wallace said. Most of the ads on 420property.com that feature existing growing operations do not list addresses. Some sites devoted to pot property sales don’t list agents. Instead, written inquiries must be submitted.
Often, property owners want to meet real estate agents and potential buyers face to face before divulging exact locations of their land, said Wallace, who’s been in the real estate business 14 years. She made the decision to focus on marijuana-related properties and businesses last year as the demand increased.
“I get calls every day” from people seeking properties for cannabis businesses, she said. She’s actively looking for properties suitable for growing cannabis or manufacturing related products for some 20 to 30 clients.
Ukiah-area broker Dick Selzer believes openly advertising marijuana properties is risky — under federal law, property involved in such marijuana transactions could be seized by federal officials and sold off to a third party. Many rural land sales are owner-financed, like the $649,000 marijuana property Caro has listed.
While there’s a big demand for properties, Wallace said, “it’s not like all of these sell like hotcakes.”
Investors prefer properties with water, plenty of sun, flat land, infrastructure including irrigation and greenhouses, and pot-growing permits and licenses from state and local governments, she said. Buyers also prefer locations with good road access and that are not too remote, qualities that ease their product distribution.
“They have to meet a lot of criteria,” Wallace said. She said properties that are “turnkey,” allowing buyers to walk in and start operating, can sell for substantially more. On 420property.com, a 240-acre Humboldt County property with residences, greenhouses, ponds, multiple water tanks and county permits is listed at $8 million.
A 12-acre property in Washington state with two log homes, a greenhouse, fencing, and state and local cannabis licenses, is listed for $10 million. The owner, who identified himself only as Dr. Dale, said in a phone interview the price is about $8.5 million more than it would be without the licenses and amenities. Dale, who leases a portion of the property to a licensed cannabis cultivator, said the asking price is based on an amount he needs for a project he’s working on. There have been four inquiries on the property since he began advertising in January.
Dale said he’s not a marijuana of advocate, but it’s legal in Washington and he feels it’s a safe and lucrative business.
“It’s just a business transaction. It’s a very good cash crop from what I can tell,” he said.
The value of any property depends on how much buyers are willing to pay, Wallace said.
Land in Mendocino and Humboldt counties are desirable because of their reputations for high-grade cultivation, she said, but areas like Monterey County and Southern California are among the most highly prized because of their near perfect growing weather.
Marijuana property transactions are complicated by a wide range of local and state regulations and are not sure bets.
“There is not one person that could sit down and tell you what all the rules will be. All the rules have not been set,” said Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman. He said the medical cannabis cultivation rules tentatively adopted this week by Mendocino County supervisors are unclear. They’re also not yet finalized.
As a result, people who prematurely jump into land purchases hoping to cash in on the current “green rush” could end up losing out if their land isn’t usable for pot production or worth what they paid.
That has created a bubble that could prove harmful over time, said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association.
Not only does it price area residents out of the real estate market, it also means speculators could walk away from properties — some of them polluted by careless cultivation practices — when the bubble bursts, leaving taxpayers to clean up the mess, he said.
Mendocino County officials do not have a computer system to track land sale prices, but it’s clear that rural parcels in the northern part of the county — an area famous for its marijuana growing — are changing hands with increased frequency, said Assessor-Clerk-Recorder Susan Ranochak.
“There’s definitely been more vacant land sales” in 2016 compared with 2015, she said. Actual figures were not available.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
* * *
Mendocino Cannabis Farm – 12.5 Acres
Mendocino, CA, United States
The farm has two 1800 sq ft greenhouses. One basic green house and one fully loaded GroTech (that means you can control the GH from your laptop. Full automatic light dep, wet wall, dehumidifier, heater) The property has a solar powered well (5gpm) and 12,500 gallons of water storage. a 2 story cabin. A 1200 sq ft insulated structure with dehumidifier for drying/curing.
The entire property runs off of solar except for the GroTech that uses a 200 amp diesel generator (not included). It has an unfinished 800 sq ft barn that could be easily finished for a living structure. theres 99 400 gallon pots with organic house made soil that can be reused next year with just some amending.
There are two seasonal creeks that run on both sides of the property. This is a 100% organic farm. No pesticides no chemicals in the soil (feel free to have it tested) It comes with three 300 gallon compost tea brewers. It has all of the amenities you would need.
The bathroom has a brand new toilet. You have new washer, dryer, fridge, freezer, oven stove in the kitchen. The immediate acre surrounding the grow and living quarters is fenced in by a new 7 foot fence.
The entrance has spike strips to engage from 5 pm – 9am. (because these are non business hours, during the business hours of 9-5 your farm has to be accessible by the sheriffs or any other inspectors.
This farm is completely compliant and legal and so not for someone who wants to operate a black market grow.
You will have to keep communication open with the sherrifs [sic] department until June 2017 and after that it will switch over to the Ag Department. Come 01/01/2018 you will receive your county permit and then the state permit. As of now this farm is grandfathered in along with 200 other farms. The water board has already approved and permitted the grow.
Listed at: $1.2 million
WORTHY GO FUND ME REQUEST:
Get Me Outta Covelo! UTI College
Hello I'm a 20 year young aspiring native american that wants to build, repair and paint drift/racecars. I'm raising money to attend autobody and collision repair, and painting courses at UTI in Sacramento. The money will be used to pay tuition and courses mainly and whatever is left will be used for rent and food. I am in the process of applying for scholarships and financial aid. I would love to be able to attend this summer or fall semesters, if not this year next year's semesters will be open. Haha. This means so much to me because I don't wanna be stuck in this Valley any longer and would love the opportunity to build, repair, and paint racecars across the country possibly the world. I would be extremely thankful if I am able to attend this Institute on behalf of your generous donations.
$250 PER FOR THIS?!
Over the weekend of April 8th and 9th, the second annual Mendocino Cannabis Resource Conference (MCRC) for current and aspiring cannabis business owners will take place in Willits.
In this time of dynamic change for the cannabis industry, the MCRC provides essential information necessary to understand and navigate the complex compliance process and successfully develop a cannabusiness.
Karen Byars, Founder and organizer of the MCRC, brings over 25 years of experience in grassroots organizing in cannabis and has a passion for educating both experienced veterans and newcomers to the industry.
Karen has lined up an extraordinary range of experienced professionals covering topics ranging from permitting, compliance, and funding to marketing and business infrastructure. Notable speakers include Dr. Amanda Reiman, Casey O’Neill and Pebbles Trippet, as well as Attorneys Ed Denson, Lauren Vasquez, Lauren Mendelsohn and authors, Chris Conrad and Ellen Komp.
The Mendocino Cannabis Resource Conference is targeted at compassionate professionals interested in building sustainable businesses while also growing a resilient and values-based community.
In the spirit of community building, a limited number of full scholarship tickets will be made available to:
— Native American Tribes located in Mendocino County
— Those who have served prison time for non-violent marijuana convictions.
A limited number of partial scholarship tickets will be made available to:
— Members of the California Growers Association (CGA), Small Farmers Association (SFA), Women Grow!, and individuals who are actively participating in CA Cannabis policy reform.
Day 1 attendees will learn about local and State compliance. Day 2 will focus on business development strategies to ensure solid business foundations.
Day 1 — Cannabis Compliance
Sunday April 8th 10am — 6pm
Welcome — Karen Byars Mendocino Cannabis Resource, LLC
Emcee — Kerry Reynolds, Cannabis Consciousness News
History of Mendocino Cannabis Activism — Pebbles Trippet
— North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
— State Water Board — Water Rights
— Village Eco Systems — Chantal Simonpietri
Mendocino County Regulations
— Mendocino CGA — Casey O’Neill
— Hannah Nelson Esq.
— Mendocino Agriculture Dept. — Diane Curry, Interim Agricultural Commissioner
Mendocino County Supervisor
Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA)
E.D. Lerman Esq.
Proposition 64 — The Adult Use Marijuana Act
— Prop 64 — Overview & Reconciliation with MCRSA — Lauren Vazquez, Esq.
— Mendocino 9.30 — Mendocino County Supervisor
— CA Ag. Hemp Regulations — Chris Conrad, Author, “Hemp — Lifeline to the Future”
How to Measure your Cannabis Garden for the Square Footage — Chris Conrad, Court Cannabis Expert Witness & Author
Organizations Working on Cannabis Legislation & Regulations
California Growers Association — Casey O’Neill
International Cannabis Farmers Association — Dr.Amanda ReimanCalifornia NORML — Ellen Komp
Saturday April 8th 6 — 9pm
Evening Networking Reception
Day 2 — Growing your Cannabusiness
Sunday April 9th 10am — 6pm
Welcome — Karen Byars Mendocino Cannabis Resource, LLC
Emcee — Kerry Reynolds, Cannabis Consciousness News
Know Your Rights — Ed Denson, Esq.
Fundamentals of Building Your Cannabusiness
— Cannabusiness Plan — Green Rush Consulting
— Standard Operation Procedures — Cara Cordoni, Asherah Consulting
— Bookkeeping & Taxes — Liana Held, Liana Limited
— Cannabis Banking — Lauren Mendelsohn
- — -
Developing Your Cannabusiness for Marketing
— Branding — Brandon Knight, Mendocino Group
— Trademarking — Luke Zimmerman, Esq.
— Social Networking — Kyra Reed, Markyr Digital
— Flow Kana — Brooke Carpenter
— Farmers Cooperatives — Casey O’Neill, Happy Day Farms
— NCGA Genetics — Ron Edwards
— Sunnabis — Wendy Kornberg
What the Market Wants from the Licensed Cultivation Community
— Terpenes — Crystal Rae, Cannaspirit Terpene Topicals
— Analytic Testing — Melissa Moore, Emerald Triangle Analytics
— Pesticides — Emily Richardson, CW Analytics
Funding for your Cannabusiness
Incubators — Carter Laren, Gateway Incubator
— - -
Enhancements for your Cannabusiness
— Certified Kind — Andrew Black
— Cultural Terroir; Narratives of Mendocino — Genine Coleman
Photos and interviews available by request
For more information and to request a scholarship contact Mendocino Cannabis Resource at 707-223-4367 or MendocinoCannabisResource@gmail.com
Contact: Karen Byars, Mendocino Cannabis Resource, LLC
Tickets available at: http://mendocinocannabisresource.com/mcr-2017-registration/
And in person at Compassionate Heart, 190 Kuki Rd, Ukiah
and Headroom, 215 Main st, Willits
* * *
COMMENTS (from kymkemp.com)
(x) Seems like I remember Mr. Denson telling everyone not to sign up, way back when. Now he has changed his mind and is out promoting his $500/hour consulting practice. Shame on him and all the others who have now jumped into this arena as profiteers.
(x) Thank you and yes—- everybody has sold out. Now we are being told from all sides that it’s “cool to be compliant”! Sign away your water rights, your privacy rights and everything else that we moved here for 20-40 years ago! Make way for the wonderful corporate machine!! Isn’t it great? Next step- federal “legalization” so we can all be even “safer”! And then federal cannabis taxes can be used to buy more bpmbs to blow up more third world peasants — because isn’t that why we all worked so hard building an underground economy for in the first place? So we can be “safe” and compliant and contribute to our corporate nation? Thanks everybody!! Yay!! Same team- We won!!!
(x) How many pounds of dope will it take to build a nuclear weapon?
(x) Depends on how much Uranium or Plutonium is in the weed.
(x) Unfortunately, you nailed it. Worse yet? It’s no different than what happened in Nevada, where the cowboys own the water rights that include grazing rights. Like Reagan said, the worst words anybody will ever hear is “I’m from the government & I’m here to help”. If you peacefully protest, epic will label you a terrorist. Orange garbage bags are the only bags that may grace the earth with their presence. Be forewarned.
(x) First, if you are upset about the status of marijuana now, BLAME BOB MARLEY! (Remember — “Legalaiiiiiizzze it!” So the law finally met Bob’s pleas). Next, Ed Denson was supportive of Prop 64 (even though it would hurt his ‘Marijuana Defense Lawyer’ business). When I asked why (I was skeptical and voted ‘No’ on 64) he said that one of the things he really liked was that so many people convicted of marijuana offenses would get out of jail and have their records clean. As someone who might benefit from knowing the latest laws and enforcement strategies I have long kept an eye on Denson. And I think you may be mistaken, GD. Ed has long been advocating that people ‘come in’ to the new regs, while he advocates for issues like the PRIVACY of permit holders. I got to speak to him at a meeting recently. I was impressed with his ability to look at laws and regs with ideas/solutions I did not think of. Creative. I, for one am going to try to get to that meeting to hear his latest strategies. Don’t go, or don’t listen to him if you don’t want to. But if you/ others are interested, I say SEE HIM SOON, cause he ain’t no spring chicken! (And if we are lucky sometime, he might regale us with stories from WOODSTOCK, when he was the MANAGER OF COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH!!!).
(x) Wrong Rasta! “Legalize It” is a Peter Tosh song.
(x) Ed Denson doesn’t need me to defend him but I think “Weathered” is off base. No one was forced to enter the permitting process. Some who chose to enter need expert guidance. Those experts get paid. The thoughts about permitting I heard Ed share on his Thursday KMUD show seemed well thought out to me. I don’t know him well but he seems intelligent, well informed, and quite competent professionally. I also believe he cares for the future of Sohum. If he felt it worth the attention, I’ll bet he would comment here under his real name (as he often does), not hide behind a handle. Finally, as a side note, Ed’s Saturday show is among the best on KMUD.
(x) great. go give this so called expert $250to here him bla bla bla. know one knows whats up yet. how can he know.
(x) Seems your memory is off.
(x) This might be a dumb question, but what is a “full scholarship ticket”?
(x) No mention anywhere of the price, but there are “scholarships”?
(x) the price is $250.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, "Now that I'm famous, a lot of city babes are sending me their pictures. Look at this one. Hey! Way too fast for me. I'm a country dog. I like 'em plain!
GRANGER BB GRACE WRITES:
The National Grange has had some more wins recently in the litigation against the California Guild, the organization formed by former members of the California State Grange.
As you may remember, both the state court and federal court judges ruled in favor of the National Grange in both lawsuits against the Guild in 2015. The Guild has filed appeals in both cases. Meanwhile, we have taken several actions to protect and recover the real and personal property belonging to the California State Grange.
In 2016, the federal judge awarded the National Grange $144,715.70 in legal fees that we were forced to expend due to the Guild’s “deliberate and willful” violation of the court’s order prohibiting the Guild from using any Grange trademarks. We still have not seen any of this money but we are continually trying to discover where the Guild’s funds may be hidden. Discovery demonstrated that, after the order awarding the National Grange its attorney’s fees, the Guild transferred large sums of money, including $80,000 into Robert McFarland’s personal retirement account as “severance pay” and tens of thousands of dollars to third parties via cashier’s checks. These transfers and other actions made it difficult for the National Grange to collect on its attorney’s fees judgment. Thus, in early March 2017, the federal court granted the National Grange’s motion to assign to it the right to collect dues and loan payments from Subordinate Granges and other entities that had been making payments to the Guild. The federal court held that the Guild “is hereby enjoined from assigning or otherwise disposing of the payments discussed [above] to any other person or entity until it has satisfied the court’s fees order.” ….
Above link provides the rest of the story and related information including court documents.
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 31, 2017
ROBERTO BARTOLO, Santa Rosa/Hopland. Hashish, resisting.
JASON HARLAN, Willits. Firearm theft.
JORDAN LUNA, Covelo. Drunk in public.
RONALD MITCHELL, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
SEAN MOYNAHAN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
BRYANT PERKINS, Venice/Willits. Resisting.
VINCENT RAMON, Fort Bragg. Protective order violation.
MICHAEL VICKERS, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault. (Frequent flyer.)
DOUGLAS WHIPPLE III, Covelo. More than an ounce of pot, community supervision violation.
ANGEL WILLIAMS, Ukiah. DUI.
INDIA FLEXES ITS MUSCLES (Part I)
by Jonah Raskin
Agra, India — I can see the Taj Mahal from the window of my hotel in Agra, India and I can hear the near constant honking of horns on the street below that seem to say "I'm here" and "look out for me."
The fifth largest economy in the world, and a nation still emerging from under the yoke of the British Empire after 70 years of independence, India is booming as never before. And Indians are tackling all of their many social and economic problems and turning a developing society into a powerhouse in Asia not beholden to China or Japan.
That's my observation after being here for just a week and talking with dozens of people. I have also come to the conclusion that Indians are also unwilling to be saddled with the old stereotype as an exotic land where sacred cows roam the streets and where tourists flock to see spectacular sights like the Taj Mahal.
For the record I am not a journalist in India but rather a tourist simply making observations. When I first applied for a visa for travel to India — no one is allowed in without one — I put down my occupation as "journalist" and asked for a tourist visa. Turns out journalists must apply for a journalist visa and they are much harder to come by than ordinary tourist visas. It could be that the Indian government doesn't want "foreign" reporters roaming around freely and writing about the gaps that divide rich from poor, men from women, the countryside from urban centers…
Indians themselves are aware of the gaps and the contradictions in their society as I quickly learned. Indeed, I came to India to attend a three-day conference about the gaps and about how to bridge them. The conference took place at a Hindu university that has a Hindu temple at the center of the campus and where the smiling priest in his robes gave me his blessing.
The male students live in one dorm and the female students in another, though there's a great deal of fraternalizing between the two groups. Whether they were male or female, they all called me sir. I have never been called sir so many times by so many different students day after day and I have rarely been around women as beautiful or dressed as colorfully. One Indian graphic designer told me there was too much "siring" in India. The British taught the Indians well.
The women at the university organized the conference and did the bulk of the work to make it happen, though the university has no women in the top administrative positions. Much the same holds true throughout India I was told. Indian women are restless. They want equality. I am not sure how they will reach their goal but I have no doubt that they will, much as I have no doubt that Indians will find ways to remake their ancient civilization and bridge the world of the Taj Mahal with the computer and the smart phone.
THE SADNESS OF THE BORDER WALL
by David Bacon
It took two days on the bus for Catalina Cespedes and her husband Teodolo Torres to get from their hometown in Puebla — Santa Monica Cohetzala — to Tijuana. On a bright Sunday in May they went to the beach at Playas de Tijuana. There the wall separating Mexico from the United States plunges down a steep hillside and levels off at the Parque de Amistad, or Friendship Park, before crossing the sand and heading out into the Pacific surf.
Sunday is the day for families to meet through the border wall. The couple had come to see their daughter, Florita Galvez.
Florita had arrived that day in San Ysidro, the border town a half hour south of San Diego. Then she went out to the Border Field State Park, by the ocean two miles west of town. From the parking lot at the park entrance it was a 20-minute walk down a dirt road to the section of the wall next to the Parque de Amistad.
At 11 that morning, Catalina and Florita finally met, separated by the metal border. They looked at each other through the metal screen that covers the wall's bars, in the small area where people on the U.S. side can actually get next to it. And they touched. Catalina pushed a finger through one of the screen's half-inch square holes. On the other side, Florita touched it with her own finger.
Another family shared the space with Catalina and Teodolo. Adriana Arzola had brought her baby Nazeli Santana, now several months old, to meet her family living on the U.S. side for the first time. Adriana had family with her also — her grandmother and grandfather, two older children and a brother and sister.
It was very frustrating, though, to try to see people on the other side through the half-inch holes. So they moved along the wall to a place where the screen ended. There the vertical eighteen-foot iron bars of the wall — what the wall is made of in most places — are separated by spaces about four inches wide. Family members in the U.S. could see the baby as Adriana held her up.
But only from a distance. The rules imposed by the U.S. Border Patrol in Border Field State Park say that where there's no screen the family members on that side have to stay several feet away from the wall. So no touching.
I could see the sweep of emotions playing across the faces of everyone, and in their body language. One minute the grandmother was laughing, and the next there were tears in her eyes. The grandfather just smiled and smiled. Adriana talked to her relatives, and tried to wake the baby up. Her brother leaned on the bars with his arms folded against his eyes, and her sister turned away, overcome by sadness. On the U.S. side, a man in a wheelchair and two women with him looked happy just to have a chance to see their family again.
Some volunteers, most from the U.S. side, called Friends of Friendship Park, have tried to make the Mexican side more pleasant and accommodating for families. The older children with Adriana sat at concrete picnic tables. While family members talked through the wall they used colored markers, provided by the Friends, to make faces and write messages on smooth rocks. Around them were the beginnings of a vegetable garden. Later in the afternoon one of the volunteers harvested some greens for a salad.
Members of the Friends group include Pedro Rios from the U.S./Mexico Border Program of the American Friends Service Committee, and Jill Holslin, a photographer and border activist. On the U.S. side, another of the participating groups — Angeles de la Frontera, or Border Angels, helped the families that came to the park. "We're here seven or eight times a month," said Enrique Morones, the group's director. "People get in touch with us because we're visible, or they know someone else we helped before." Border Angels helps set up the logistics so that families can arrive on both sides at the same time, often coming from far away.
Weekend visiting hours, from 10-2, are the only time the Border Patrol allows families to get close to the wall for the reunions. Once a year they open a doorway in the wall. Watched closely by BP agents, family members are allowed to approach the open door one by one, and then to hug a mother or father, a son or daughter, or another family member from the other side. To do that, people have to fill in a form and show the agents they have legal status in the U.S. During the rest of the year, the Border Patrol doesn't ask about legal status, although they could at any moment. For that reason, Border Angels tells families not to go on their own.
Such carefully controlled and brief encounters are the ultimate conclusion of a process that, at its beginning, had no controls at all. Before 1848 there was no border here whatsoever. That year, at the conclusion of what the U.S. calls "the Mexican War," the two countries signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mexico was forced to give up 529,000 square miles of its territory. The U.S. paid, in theory, $15,000,000 for the land, but then simply deducted it from the debt it claimed Mexico owed it. U.S. troops occupied Mexico City to force the government there to sign the treaty.
The so-called "Mexican Cession" accounts for 14.9% of the total land area of the United States, including the entire states of California, Nevada and Utah, almost all of Arizona, half of New Mexico, a quarter of Colorado and a piece of Wyoming. Some Congress members even called for annexing all of Mexico.
At the time, the city of San Diego was a tiny unincorporated settlement of a few hundred people. It was considered a suburb of Los Angeles, then still a small town. San Ysidro didn't exist, nor did Tijuana. To mark the new border, in 1849 a U.S./Mexico boundary commission put a marble monument in the shape of a skinny pyramid where they thought the line should go. A replica of that original pyramid today sits next to the wall in the Parque de Amistad. On the U.S. side the road leading from San Ysidro to Boundary Field State Park is named Monument Road, and the area is called Monument Mesa.
Early tourists chipped so many pieces from the marble pyramid that it had to be replaced in 1894. The first fence was erected, not along the borderline, but around the new monument to keep people from defacing it. The line itself was still unmarked, fifty years after it had been created.
The Border Patrol was organized in 1924. Before that, there was no conception that passage back and forth between Mexico and the U.S. on Monument Mesa had to be restricted. The Federal government only assumed control over immigration in 1890, when construction began on the first immigration station at Ellis Island in New York harbor. Racial exclusions existed in U.S. law from the late 1800s, but the requirement that people have a visa to cross the border was only established by the Immigration Act of 1924. The law also established a racist national quota system for handing visas out.
In the 1930s the Border Patrol terrorized barrios across the U.S., putting thousands of Mexicans into railroad cars and dumping them across the border. Even U.S. citizens of Mexican descent, or people who just looked Mexican, were swept up and deported. Trains carried deportees to the border stations in San Ysidro and Calexico, but on Monument Mesa there was still no formal line to keep people from returning.
That changed for the first time after World War Two, when barbed wire was stretched from San Ysidro to the ocean. Mexicans called it the "alambre," or the wire. Those who crossed it became "alambristas." Yet enforcement was still not very strict. During the 1950s and early 1960s, thousands of Mexican workers were imported to the U.S. as braceros, while many migrants also came without papers. In the Imperial Valley, on weekends during the harvest, those workers would walk into Mexicali, on the Mexican side, to hear a hot band or go dancing, and then hitch a ride back to sleep in their labor camps in Brawley or Holtville.
In 1971, Pat Nixon, wife of Republican President Richard Nixon, inaugurated Border Field State Park. The day she visited, she asked the Border Patrol to cut the barbed wire so she could greet the Mexicans who'd come to see her. She told them, "I hope there won't be a fence here too much longer."
Instead, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986. Although many people remember the law for its amnesty for undocumented immigrants, IRCA also began the process of dumping huge resources into border enforcement. A real fence was built in the early 1990s, made of metal sheets taken from decommissioned aircraft carrier landing platforms.
The sheets had holes, so someone could peek through. But for the first time, people coming from each side could no longer physically mix together or hug each other.
That old wall still exists on the Mexican side in Tijuana and elsewhere on the border. But Operation Gatekeeper, the Clinton Administration border enforcement program, sought to push border crossers out of urban areas like San Ysidro, into remote desert regions where crossing was much more difficult and dangerous. To do that, the government had contractors build a series of walls that were harder to cross.
On Monument Mesa the aircraft landing strips were replaced in 2007 by the 18-foot wall of vertical metal columns. Two years later a second wall was built on the U.S. side behind the first. The area between them became a security zone where the Border Patrol restricts access to the wall itself to just four hours on Saturday and Sunday. The metal columns were extended into the Pacific surf.
In Playas, though, the wall is just a sight to see for the hundreds of people who come out to the beach on the weekend. The seafood restaurants are jammed, and sunbathers set up their umbrellas on the sand. Occasionally, a curious visitor will walk up and look through the bars into the U.S., or have a boyfriend or girlfriend take a picture next to the wall, uploading it to Facebook or Instagram for their friends.
The wall itself at the Parque de Amistad has become a changing artwork. As the bars rust, they've been painted with graffiti that protests the brutal division.
One section has the names of U.S. military veterans who've been deported to Mexico, with the dates of their service and death. A deported veterans group comes down on occasional Sundays, with some in uniform. In angry voices, they ask why fighting the U.S.'s wars didn't keep them from being pushed onto the Mexican side of the wall.
A READER WRITES: One of many more outrages.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The human body was meant for 3 mph walking with some short sprinting not marathons, hurdles or ski moguls.
Most everyone I know who needs a hip or knee replacement either broke the darn bones from an acccident or continued with hard athletic use after youth (30 years.)
Regarding a triple by-pass: sometimes the problem is genetic but so often it is diet, exercise and stress. Sitting at a computer is the worst activity for girth — see the video gamer generation looking like a Shar Pei or Honey Boo Boo’s mom before the gastric bypass — not to mention one's eyes.
BRIT ULTRA-RIGHTIST NIGEL FARAGE SIGNS UP TO SPLIT CA IN TWO
HE'S OUT WHEN HE'S IN, IN WHEN HE'S OUT
President Trump’s secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has been so cut off from his own diplomats during his tenure that employees have been told not to speak directly to him or even make eye contact, according to a new report in The Washington Post. The former ExxonMobil chief executive reportedly takes a private elevator to his office, and he is rarely seen by State Department workers, including higher level career diplomats. Many have told the Post that they haven’t even met him, and Tillerson has on foreign trips broken with tradition in skipping over embassy stops that have for decades been morale-boosters under other administrations. According to the Post, Tillerson’s isolationist approach has created discord within his agency. Even still, one unnamed official said: “We’re rooting for our secretary of State to come around.” Others denied that characterization. “We are having absolutely no problem, I promise you, with access or accessibility” at the State Department or White House, said British Ambassador to the United States Kim Darroch.
IL DUCE’S LAST MISTRESS
At dawn on April 19, 1945 Clara Petacci, aged 33, travelled to Milan from Lake Garda to join her lover of more than a decade as he made plans for his endgame. The Allies had effectively won the war and Mussolini and his associates were no longer safe in Italy. Claretta could have fled to safety in Franco’s Spain with her parents and sister, but she told her family it was her “destiny” to be with Mussolini at his time of need. For her journey to Milan, she had packed two gold watches studded with diamonds and rubies, a necklace of cultivated pearls, two diamond rings, a little gold box containing a rosary crown and various other trinkets and a gold locket containing a miniature of Mussolini. She asked for another bag to be packed with “her cardigans with pink buttons, eight of her best blouses, two négligées, one black, the other velvet with fur trimming, plus an orange one to wear on getting up from bed in the morning.” She also requested her father’s chestnut leather bag, plus stockings, shoes, toiletries and sanitary absorbers. Plus some extra négligées for the summer. This wasn’t the luggage of a woman who expected death at any moment.
But ten days later, Claretta was executed by communist partisans who intercepted Mussolini’s convoy as it left Milan — it’s not clear whether they were en route to Switzerland or Germany. She urged the partisan chief Pier Luigi Bellini, who had captured them, to hand Mussolini over to the Allies so that he would be spared the humiliation of a trial in Italy. Bellini refused, so she pleaded instead to be allowed to die with Mussolini, declaring that she alone of all women had offered him “true love, absolute devotion”; her life, she said, would “mean nothing once he is dead.” For years, she had been waging a battle with Mussolini’s wife, Rachele, to be recognized as the most significant woman in his life and now, in death, she saw her chance. Her wish was granted at around 4.15pm on April 28, when she and Mussolini were executed together by firing squad.
The next day, their bodies were laid out at the Piazzale Loreto in Milan, along with those of 15 Fascist bosses, plus Claretta’s brother, Marcello, who had made a dash for freedom, swimming as fast as he could across Lake Dongo before being machine-gunned in the water. Eventually, seven of the bodies, including those of Mussolini and Claretta, were strung up by their heels from steel girders above some Esso petrol pumps at the side of the square.
As R.J.B. Bosworth writes in his gripping and scholarly biography of the life of Claretta, the image of her inverted body with her head of curly black hair facing downwards is the “visual niche” she now occupies in the memory of the world outside Italy. A priest who happened to be present safety-pinned Claretta’s skirts together to save her modesty: she hadn’t had a chance to put any knickers on when it was time to leave for the firing squad, though she did manage to put on a shoulder-padded camisole, inside which were sewn one of her diamond rings, her rosary and the gold locket Mussolini had given her. Inscribed in it were the words: “Clara, I am you and you are me. Ben 24 April 1932-24 April 1941.”
(— Bee Wilson, “Claretta: Mussolini’s Last Lover by R.J.B. Bosworth.” London Review of Books.)
DEMOCRATS AGAINST SINGLE PAYER
Single-payer health care has always been a goal of the Left. But Democrats have turned it into a punching bag.
Establishing some sort of universal health care in America has been a cherished goal of the broad left since at least as far back as Harry Truman’s administration, when a proposal for a single-payer national health insurance system was buried under a barrage of right-wing, red-baiting attacks. Since then, while president after president has tried and failed (or, more recently, simply abandoned) similar efforts, most liberals and Democrats have persisted, at least rhetorically, in fulfilling Truman’s now-seventy-two-year-old promise.
That is, apparently, until now.
The possibility of achieving single payer is “a bigger problem” than America’s already broken health-care system, according to one Democratic governor; it’s a boondoggle that would require a “massive tax increase,” says a Colorado senator; one liberal commentator charges that it “doesn’t make sense,” and shows an “indifference to real-world consequences.”
The push for “Medicare for All,” one high-profile liberal pundit tells us, is simply based in “outrage that private insurers get to play any role,” and aims to “punish or demonize insurance companies.” Oh and by the way, it’ll “never, ever come to pass” anyway, according to the Democratic Party’s former standard-bearer. How times have changed.
Hearts and Minds
To be sure, the attempt by some Democrats to “triangulate” on health-care reform isn’t exactly new. When Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Coalition challenged the Democratic establishment back in the 1980s, with a single-payer system one of their chief demands, the center-right Democratic Leadership Council used its new influence to push the Democratic Party rightward.
Virginia Democratic senator Chuck Robb, one of the DLC’s founders, warned in 1989 that “policies forged in the economic crisis of the 1930s and the social and cultural schisms of the 1960s” were irrelevant to most Americans. Two years later, Bill Clinton’s issue director Bruce Reed, who doubled as policy director for the DLC, made sure to distance Clinton from single payer.
The issue flared up again during the 2008 Democratic primary fight, where both Obama and Hillary Clinton tried hedging their bets. Clinton put forward a plan that was basically Obamacare while insisting that “Medicare for All” could still be on the cards under the right circumstances. Meanwhile Obama repeatedly flip-flopped, at one point telling an audience that “the Canadian model won’t work in the United States” and that “we’ve got to develop a uniquely American approach,” and nine days later hinting to a different audience that over time single payer may be on the table.
DLC leaders felt reassured however, telling the New York Times they were “pleased that none of the Democratic candidates supports a single-payer health-care system.”
So Democrats’ attempts to quell their base’s clamoring for a comprehensive, public health-care system isn’t new. What is new is the open, public disparagement of such a goal — not just by Democratic leaders, but by leading liberal commentators, too.
Ironically, this appears largely to have been due to the Sanders campaign — or rather, the challenge it posed to Hillary Clinton’s previously wide-open road to the White House. Needing to differentiate herself from Sanders’s unabashed progressivism, and to dampen popular enthusiasm for his message, Clinton began attacking his policies, despite her historic sympathy toward single payer.
Sanders’s proposals were “ideas that sound good on paper but will never make it in real life,” she told crowds; for good measure, she insisted that single-payer health care “will never, ever come to pass.”
Two years earlier, she explained her opposition to the policy on the basis that “we don’t have a one size fits all; our country is quite diverse.” In January 2016, she warned breathlessly that Sanders’s plan would “end all the kinds of health care we know” and claimed it would “send health insurance to the states,” while her daughter warned that it would “dismantle Obamacare” and “strip millions and millions and millions of people off their health insurance.”
As late as October, Clinton’s team was still trying to distance herself from Trump’s accusation that she — heaven forbid! — “wants to go to a single-payer plan,” with her spokesman directing Politifact to an earlier fact-check confirming her lack of support for the policy. (Lest we mistake this for mere expediency, we can rest assured that at least some of the Clinton camp really felt this way: campaign manager John Podesta declared in an email to ThinkProgress editor-in-chief Judd Legum that Sanders’s “actual proposal sucks, but we live in a leftie alternative universe.”)
These doomsday warnings didn’t seem to sway the public. By May 2016, Gallup polling found that more than half of Americans favored replacing Obamacare with a single-payer system, including a whole 41 percent of Republicans.
The same can’t be said for well-placed liberal columnists and Democratic lawmakers, who during — and since — the Clinton campaign have followed her lead and continued pouring cold water on the idea.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s about-face on the issue, for instance, is well-documented. Krugman went from regularly writing screeds about the superiority of entirely government-controlled health care to insisting that “single payer just isn’t a political possibility” and running column after column attacking Sanders’s policy.
To be fair, Krugman had always been wary of the political feasibility of single payer, writing in 2007: “In an ideal world, I’d be a single-payer guy. But I see the chance of getting universal care, imperfect but fixable . . . And I want to grab that chance.” But by 2016, Krugman’s criticisms of single payer went beyond this, at one point cautioning that “switching to single payer would impose a lot of disruption on tens of millions of families who currently have good coverage through their employers” and warning of tax hikes on the middle class.
The same man who once called an anti-health-care reform editorial “vile and stupid” and charged that the “greed of the medical-industrial complex” was the only thing standing in the way of universal health care in the United States began complaining about “demonization” from the Sanders campaign, accusing it of painting “anyone raising questions about the senator’s proposals” as “a corrupt tool of vested interests.”
Krugman wasn’t as concerned about civility back when Obama abandoned the public option element of his health-care plan in 2009, complaining that “the inspiring figure progressives thought they had elected comes across, far too often, as a dry technocrat,” calling him “weirdly reluctant to make the moral case for universal care” and defending the “progressive backlash” over his falling short. (Puzzlingly, seven years later, Krugman praised Clinton as being “pretty good” on policy for having a proposal that was identical to the final version of Obamacare that 2009-era Krugman appears so disappointed with).
Krugman was by no means the only one. In January 2016, the centrist Brookings Institution called single payer an “impossible (pipe) dream,” something that “was, is, and will remain a dream,” because “it is radical in a way that no legislation has ever been in the United States.” A month later, New York magazine columnist Jonathan Chait complained with respect to Sanders’s single-payer proposal that Sanders was “not merely pushing the envelope of policy imagination,” but had a platform “predicated on completely ignoring mainstream economic analysis.” (Curiously, nearly half a year earlier, Chait had lamented that “socialized medicine” had “never caught on in the United States.”)
Vox’s Ezra Klein labeled Sanders’s plan “vague and unrealistic.” The American Prospect’s Paul Starr, who helped work on Bill Clinton’s original unsuccessful health-care reform, wrote two separate columnsthat warned in part that Sanders’s single-payer plan would lead to a scary and unprecedented centralization of power in Washington.
Even when single-payer reform appears to dodge such concerns, powerful Democratic and liberal interests can’t bring themselves to get behind it. Nancy Pelosi recently told frustrated town hall attendees that “if you want to move to single payer, what you should do . . . is support state options,” referring to state-level campaigns for single payer.
She should tell her own party. When a ballot initiative popped up in Colorado in the middle of the presidential campaign that would have encoded a single-payer health-care system in the state’s constitution, Democrats fell over themselves to discourage the initiative, echoing Clinton’s rhetoric in the process.
The state’s Democratic governor John Hickenlooper said that “it would be premature to dramatically remake our health-care system at this time” while existing reforms were “just beginning to bear fruit.” He complained behind closed doors to a powerful lobby of business leaders and political operatives that the “cost [is] going to be huge.”
The state’s Democratic senator Michael Bennett told a local paper that single payer wasn’t “the right approach to solving our health-care problems,” partly due to the “massive tax increase” involved. (Incidentally, both politicians received a ton of money from the health-care, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries).
Other Colorado Democrats opposing the measure were the state’s previous governor, Bill Ritter, state House majority leader Crisanta Duran, and Kelly Brough, president of the Denver Chamber of Commerce. Coloradans for Coloradans, a group that fought the measure, cited Democrats’ opposition to it to defend their efforts, and even bragged that they had “Democratic consultants running the campaign.”
Meanwhile, liberal group ProgressNow Colorado also came out against the measure, which was ultimately defeated — likely in part because high-profile Democrats fought it. (In a perfect feedback loop, one liberal commentator has recently used the Colorado example to dampen renewed calls for Medicare for All).
Liberals’ newfound antipathy to one of the Democrats’ traditionally long-coveted goals survived the end of Sanders’s primary campaign. In July, the Clinton campaign’s appointees on the Democratic Party’s platform-drafting committee united to vote down a plank advocating for a single-payer system — particularly galling given the plank’s merely symbolic status.
Most recently, as California considered instituting a state-wide single-payer system on the eve of a possible GOP repeal of Obamacare, the state’s Democratic governor Jerry Brown rubbished the idea, asking: “Where do you get the extra money? … How do you do that?” He compared it to solving a problem “by something that’s … a bigger problem,” which “makes no sense.”
With the GOP repeal having devolved into utter failure, Clinton confidante and Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden — who as late as January this year seemed to be suggesting that progressives should get on board with a future Sanders push for single payer — recently penned a USA Today op-ed about what was next for health-care reform. Single payer wasn’t in it. (Tanden happened to have been one of the Clinton delegates on the platform drafting committee who voted against the single-payer plank last year).
The particularly bizarre thing about many of these attacks on single payer from prominent liberals and Democrats is that they’re fundamentally conservative arguments: single payer is too radical and far-reaching a change; it’s too expensive; it’ll mean raising taxes; it’ll involve giving the federal government too much power.
Do Democrats and liberals really want to be making these arguments? After all, they can be (and have been) used against virtually any policy favored by progressives and the Left more broadly, which typically do cost a lot of money, necessitate extra taxes to pay for them, require a great deal of government involvement to successfully implement, and tend to temporarily disrupt people’s lives as new rules, regulations, and systems are put in place. Go ahead and look up conservatives’ attacks on Obamacare as it was cobbled together — virtually every liberal complaint now made about single payer was launched by the Right against Obamacare.
There Is a Season
Meanwhile, while liberals and Democrats attack single payer on “practical” grounds, they appear to have forgotten the importance of the moral case for such policies.
In their haste to defend Obamacare (and, by extension, a former president’s legacy) from often dishonest right-wing attacks, they ignore the very real and painful flaws and inadequacies of the law as it stands, which, for all the good it’s done, continues to leave people trapped in impossible, heart-rending situations and forces them to beg for money online in the hopes of paying their exorbitant medical bills.
What makes this steadfast opposition even more puzzling is the fact that the moment is ripe for making the push for single payer. It’s not just that the GOP has spectacularly failed to gut Obamacare. Polling suggests Americans are more amenable to the idea than ever (even if not all polls are as rosy as Gallup’s).
Meanwhile, the last few months have been a spate of editorials in local newspapers extolling the virtues of single payer and necessitating the need to pass it. The long list includes the: Redding Record Searchlight, Berkshire Eagle, Reno Gazette-Journal, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Grass Valley and Nevada County’s Union, Winston-Salem Journal, Eugene, Oregon’s Register-Guard, Napa Valley Register, and the Florida Times-Union. Similar editorials have also appeared in major papers like USA Today, the LA Times, and the Baltimore Sun.
Even Mark Cuban has come out in favor of the policy. Do Democrats really want to be outflanked on the left by Mark Cuban?
The party should thank its lucky stars President Trump remains tethered to a radically anti-government GOP which hates the thought of the government stepping in to help people in need. Were Trump allowed to run free — and were his commitment to economic populism authentic and not just a cynical appropriation of a few slogans — he might actually adopt some form of single-payer proposal himself (no doubt with some pointed, Roosevelt-style “tactical” exclusions of certain marginalized groups), shoring up his standing as the self-proclaimed champion of the “forgotten man.” After all, such policies tend to be quite popular once ordinary Americans start receiving their benefits.
The Trump administration has been unwilling to launch the challenge to corporate interests that would be needed to make such an effort a success, perhaps because the Ayn Rand—worshiping GOP he has thrown his lot in with won’t entertain the thought. But the Democrats should be wary of leaving a space on their left open for a cynical right-wing populist to fill, whether now or down the line. After all, that’s a big part of what got them into their current predicament.
The good news is that the same popular, grassroots pressure that ordinary people successfully put on Republican lawmakers who were preparing to strip Americans of even the meager protections afforded by Obamacare can also be used to push Democrats to support single payer. As much as numerous pundits and politicians mocked Sanders’s concept of getting things done through a “political revolution,” the past few months of widespread activism by ordinary Americans have shown this was far from the out-of-touch fantasy many dismissed it as.
After all, it was years of grassroots organizing and agitation from the labor movement that forced Harry Truman to cite these simple moral imperatives while proposing a single-payer system all those decades ago: “that the health of this Nation is a national concern; that financial barriers in the way of attaining health shall be removed; that the health of all its citizens deserves the help of all the Nation.” There’s no reason those forces can’t force today’s reluctant Democrats to do the same.
CDFW SEEKS PUBLIC INPUT to Study Abalone Management
The Mendocino Fish and Game Commission is happy to provide the link below regarding public input on the study of abalone management. If you have any questions and would like to speak with a Fish and Game Commissioner, please respond via email.https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/cdfw-seeks-public-input-to-study-abalone-management-preferences/
Fish and Game Commission Secretary
860 North Bush St, Ukiah, CA 95482
by Manuel Vicent
Translated by Louis S. Bedrock
Blood, sweat, and tears: these excretions of the human body with which heroic exploits of history are concocted are actually a compound of water and salt that comes from that sea, which, to a great extent, we still carry inside of us.
We were fish; we were amphibians; we were monkeys; then two-legged primates, Homo Habilis, Erectus, and Sapiens, and everything evolution has made us since — even getting us beyond Einstein; but whatever our final destiny shall be, basically our flesh will continue being sea water until we cede the baton of rational existence to the robots created by us.
Nanotechnology will make it possible that all the necessary neurological information condensed in our brain be copied onto nano chips and stored in the bookshelf of the cloud; from there, it can be inserted into robots so that they can replace us and even reproduce or auto-replicate. Their artificial intelligence, developed exponentially in the quantum age, will permit them to exercise autonomous actions including ones contrary to our orders.
We humans will begin losing parts of our body as they become unnecessary and fall into disuse. Eventually we will find ourselves reduced to an immaterial substance similar to what we now call the soul, composed of subatomic particles suitable for traveling at the speed of light and with a capacity for omniscience typical of gods.
Meanwhile, on our planet, if it still exists, robots will have acquired humanoid form and texture. They will suffer all the problems man abandoned. They will become involved in emotional conflicts and labor conflicts, and in bloody wars. But their historical exploits will not produce blood, sweat, or tears because not having sprung from the sea, robots will possess neither water or salt, the basic ingredients of the grief and the glory of humanity.
RACKET OF RACKETS
by James Kunstler
If you thought banking in our time was a miserable racket — which it is, of course, and by “racket” I mean a criminal enterprise — then so-called health care has it beat by a country mile, with an added layer of sadism and cruelty built into its operations. Lots of people willingly sign onto mortgages and car loans they wouldn’t qualify for in an ethically sound society, but the interest rates and payments are generally spelled out on paper. They know what they’re signing on for, even if the contract is reckless and stupid on the parts of both borrower and lender. Pension funds and insurance companies foolishly bought bundled mortgage bonds of this crap concocted in the housing bubble. They did it out of greed and desperation, but a little due diligence would have clued them into the fraud being served up by the likes of Goldman Sachs.
Medicine is utterly opaque cost-wise, and that is the heart of the issue. Nobody in the system will say what anything costs and nobody wants to because it would break the spell that they work in an honest, legit business. There is no rational scheme for the cost of any service from one “provider” to the next or even one patient to the next. Anyway, the costs are obscenely inflated and concealed in so many deliberately deceptive coding schemes that even actuaries and professors of economics are confounded by their bills. The services are provided when the customer is under the utmost duress, often life-threatening, and the outcome even in a successful recovery from illness is financial ruin that leaves a lot of people better off dead.
It is a hostage racket, in plain English, a disgrace to the profession that has adopted it, and an insult to the nation. All the idiotic negotiations in congress around the role of insurance companies are a grand dodge to avoid acknowledging the essential racketeering of the “providers” — doctors and hospitals. We are never going to reform it in its current incarnation. For all his personality deformities, President Trump is right in saying that ObamaCare is going to implode. It is only a carbuncle on the gangrenous body of the US medical establishment. The whole system will go down with it.
The New York Times departed from its usual obsessions with Russian turpitude and transgender life last week to publish a valuable briefing on this aspect of the health care racket: Those Indecipherable Medical Bills? They’re One Reason Health Care Costs So Much by Elisabeth Rosenthal. Much of this covers ground exposed in the now famous March 4, 2013 Time Magazine cover story (it took up the whole issue): Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us, by Steven Brill. The American public and its government have been adequately informed about the gross and lawless chiseling rampant in every quarter of medicine. The system is one of engineered criminality. It is inflicting ruin on millions. It is really a wonder that the public has not stormed the hospitals with pitchforks and flaming brands to string up that gang in the parking lots high above their Beemers and Lexuses.
There are only two plausible arcs to this story. One is that the nation might face the facts and resort to the Single Payer system found in virtually every other nation that affects to be civilized. There is no other way to eliminate the deliberate racketeering. The other outcome would be the inevitable collapse of the system and its eventual re-set to a much less complex, cash-on-the-barrelhead, local clinic-based model with far less heroic high-tech interventions available for the broad public, but much more affordable basic care. Both outcomes would require jettisoning the immense overburden of administrative dross that clutters up the current model, with its absurd tug-of-war between the price-gouging hospital “Chargemaster” clerks and the sadistic insurance company monitors bent on denying treatment to their sick and hapless “customers” (hostages). Be warned: these represent tens of thousands of supposedly “good” jobs. Of course, they are “good” because they pay middle class wages, of which there are fewer and fewer elsewhere in the economy. But, they are well-paid because of the grotesquely profitable racket they serve. They’ve turned an entire generation of office workers into servants of criminal enterprise. Imagine the damage this does to the soul of our culture.
My suggestion for real reform of the medical racket looks to historical precedent:
In 1932 (before the election of FDR, by the way), the US Senate formed a commission to look into the causes of the 1929 Wall Street Crash and recommend corrections in banking regulation to obviate future episodes like it. It is known to history as the Pecora Commission, after its chief counsel Ferdinand Pecora, an assistant Manhattan DA, who performed gallantly in his role. The commission ran for two years. Its hearings led to prison terms for many bankers and ultimately to the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932, which kept banking relatively honest and stable until its nefarious repeal in 1999 under President Bill Clinton — which led rapidly to a new age of Wall Street malfeasance, still underway.
The US Senate needs to set up an equivalent of the Pecora Commission to thoroughly expose the cost racketeering in medicine, enable the prosecution of the people driving it, and propose a Single Payer remedy for flushing it away. The Department of Justice can certainly apply the RICO anti-racketeering statutes against the big health care conglomerates and their executives personally. I don’t know why it has not done so already — except for the obvious conclusion that our elected officials have been fully complicit in the medical rackets, which is surely the case of new Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, a former surgeon and congressman who trafficked in medical stocks during his years representing his suburban Atlanta district. A new commission could bypass this unprincipled clown altogether.
It is getting to the point where we have to ask ourselves if we are even capable of being a serious people anymore. Medicine is now a catastrophe every bit as pernicious as the illnesses it is supposed to treat, and a grave threat to a nation that we’re supposed to care about. What party, extant or waiting to be born, will get behind this cleanup operation?
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)
BIG OIL LOBBY GROUP HIRES FORMER ASSEMBLYMAN HENRY PEREA AS SENIOR V.P.
by Dan Bacher
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, has announced the hiring of former Assemblyman Henry Perea (D-Fresno) as Senior Vice President, Policy and Strategic Affairs.
In Perea’s new role, he will advise WSPA on public policy and legislative matters in California, according to a statement from Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association and former Chair of the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative to create so-called “marine protected areas” in Southern California.
WSPA ranked number one in lobbying expenses of all organizations in California during the 2015-16 legislative session, spending a total of $18.7 million. It also ranked first in spending among the states’s oil industry lobbying organizations in the state during the session, with Chevron finishing second among oil industry spenders with $7 million.
"The members and employees of our industry and the thousands of small businesses that join us in fueling California's economy deserve the best team possible representing them in Sacramento and all around the state," Reheis-Boyd said. "Henry brings us unique expertise. He understands our state, our industry and how smart public policy can ensure California's continued leadership in environmental protections while maintaining a diverse, vibrant economy." (www.prnewswire.com/...)
During his career in the legislature, Perea became known as the leader of the so-called “moderate Democrats,” those legislators most friendly to the interests of Big Oil, Big Ag and other corporate lobbies.
Besides being an ally of the oil industry, Perea was also a strong supporter of Governor Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels plan, co-authoring a pro-tunnels opinion piece in the Fresno Bee California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird on August 22, 2015. (www.fresnobee.com/...
"I am pleased to join WSPA and help tell the important story of the petroleum industry and the role it plays in our economy," Perea said in a statement. "California is a state known for innovation, leadership and opportunity, values WSPA's members have brought to our state for generations."
Prior to joining WSPA, Perea was Senior Director with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America where he oversaw public policy issues in California, Arizona and Nevada. Perea represented the 31st Assembly District (Fresno-area) in the California State Assembly from 2010 to 2015.
Perea's first day at WSPA will be May 1, 2017.
In addition to Perea, WSPA also recently hired four other staff members to increase its already enormous influence over the Governor’s Offices, state regulatory agencies and the legislature. The communications department added three new team members in March.
“Our industry has a great story to tell and we have hired a team with the talent and enthusiasm to do it effectively,” Reheis-Boyd said. “We sought best-of-class talent, and we found it.”
Kevin Slagle will lead communications efforts for WSPA as Vice President, Strategic Communications, a newly created position.
“He brings more than two decades of wide-ranging public affairs, public relations, and issues management experience for clients throughout the West. Before joining the team at WSPA, Kevin was a senior vice president at Ogilvy Public Relations in Sacramento for five years,” said Reheis-Boyd.
Kara Siepmann joins the communications team as the Manager, Media Relations.
“Kara has a wealth of experience with marketing and advertising campaigns, public affairs, and media relations and served as commander of the 69th Public Affairs Detachment in the California Army National Guard," stated Reheis-Boyd.
Julie Berge joins the communications team as the Manager, Public Relations.
“Julie brings 15 years of experience in all areas of corporate communications, public affairs and media relations. She most recently was a Social Media and Brand Communications Manager at VSP Global,” said Reheis-Boyd.
“I’m thrilled to have a team with such experience and previous success join us,” Reheis-Boyd, said. "We welcome Kevin, Kara, and Julie to the WSPA family.”
The Association has also created a new post, In-House General Counse, hiring Oyango Snell,
“Oyango is an outstanding attorney with extensive and successful experience in working with industries like ours,” Reheis-Boyd, said. “He will play a key role at WSPA as we confront the complex legal challenges facing our members.”
Oyango is moving from Washington D.C., where he currently serves as Counsel, State Government Relations, for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). Prior to joining PCI, Oyango spent his professional career in state government relations in both the public and private sectors in Columbus, Ohio.
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) describes itself as “a non-profit trade association that represents companies that account for the bulk of petroleum exploration, production, refining, transportation and marketing in the five western states of California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Nevada.”
In spite of California's dubious reputation as the nation’s "green leader," Big Oil is the largest corporate lobby in the state and exerts enormous influence over the Governor's Office, Legislature and regulatory agencies. California is the third biggest oil producer in the U.S., exceeded only by Texas (first) and North Dakota (second).
As usual, the California Oil Lobby was the biggest spender in the 2015-16 legislative session, spending an amazing $36.1 million as of December 31, 2016.
The spending amounts to $1.5 million per month — nearly $50,000 per day — over the last two years. The $36.1 million surpassed the $34 million spent in the prior session, according to a report by the American Lung Association in California. “That’s enough money to buy 103,000 goats,” reported Stop Fooling California, stopfoolingca.org.
Since the 2007-08 Session, the oil industry has spent $133 million in lobbying in California.
To read the complete report, go to: http://www.lung.org/local-content/california/documents/Oil-Industry-Lobbying-2016-update-4_1-31-17.pdf
Background: the five ways Big Oil exerts its influence
WSPA and Big Oil use their money and power in 5 ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) getting appointed to positions on and influencing regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups: and (5) working in collaboration with media.
Big Oil and other corporate advocates have dominated appointments to Commissions and regulatory panels in California under Governors Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, ranging from the Department of Conservation, to the California Public Utilities Commission, to the California Energy Commission, to the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force.
In a classic case of the “fox guarding the hen house, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Forces to create faux “marine protected areas” in Southern California from 2009 to 2012 at the same the oil industry was fracking South Coast ocean waters.
Reheis-Boyd, appointed by Schwarzenegger, also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast, and North Coast from 2004 to 2012. These so-called “Yosemites of the Sea” fail to protect the ocean from fracking, offshore oil drilling, oil spills, pollution, military testing and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
It gets worse. Reheis-Boyd’s husband, James D. Boyd, first appointed by Governor Davis, sat on on the California Energy Commission from 2002 to 2012, including serving as Vice-Chair of the Commission from 2/2007 to 1/2012.
In September 2016, the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) opened an investigation into the California Democratic Party in response to a report by a prominent consumer group, Consumer Watchdog, claiming that the party acted as a “laundry machine” to funnel donations from oil, energy and utility companies to Brown’s 2014 election campaign. For more information, go to: http://redgreenandblue.org/2016/09/29/jerry-browns-campaign-launder-dirty-money-big-oil/
In the "Brown's Dirty Hands" report, Consumer Watchdog revealed that that twenty-six energy companies including the state’s three major investor-owned utilities, Occidental, Chevron, and NRG—all with business before the state—donated $9.8 million to Jerry Brown’s campaigns, causes, and initiatives, and to the California Democratic Party since he ran for Governor for his third term. Donations were often made within days or weeks of winning favors. The three major investor-owned utilities alone contributed nearly $6 million.
"Occidental’s attorney, former Governor Gray Davis, successfully pressured Brown to fire two oil and gas regulators who wouldn’t grant oil waste injection permits without proof that aquifers would not be contaminated," according to the group. "Two months later, when Brown’s new interim oil and gas supervisor granted Occidental a permit without an environmental review, Occidental contributed $250,000 to Prop 30, Brown’s ballot measure to raise taxes, then another $100,000 two weeks later to his favored Oakland Military Institute. Seven months later, Occidental made a second $250,000 donation to Prop 30."
You can download "Brown's Dirty Hands" at: www.consumerwatchdog.org/dirtyhands
More recently on February 6, twelve public interest groups, led by Consumer Watchdog and Food & Water Watch, unveiled a comprehensive report card on the Brown Administration’s environmental record revealing that he falls short in six out of seven key areas, including fossil fuel generated electricity, oil drilling, and coastal protection. Read the report “How Green Is Jerry Brown?” at: www.consumerwatchdog.org/isbrowngreen
There is no doubt that Big Oil and other corporate interests dominate politics in California and Washington — and that we must relentlessly work to get Big Oil out of politics by supporting efforts like the Move to Amend, movetoamend.org, and the California Clean Money Campaign, www.caclean.org.