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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, April 8, 2017

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A LITTLE MORE RAIN ON SATURDAY, a break Sunday and Monday, light rain on Tuesday on through the rest of the week. Cool with daytime temps barely reaching 60, into the 40s overnight.

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IT'S OFFICIAL: While months of rain have filled reservoirs and turned mountainsides a brilliant green, only Friday did Governor Jerry Brown declare an official end to the California drought.

The move, which is mostly ceremonial yet a welcome reminder of how dramatically weather conditions have changed, does away with an emergency declaration that three years ago ushered in a period of unprecedented water rationing across the state.

Most of California’s strict conservation rules have already been lifted since the worst days of the drought, and fewer people still shorten their showers or refrain from flushing. The governor’s repeal of the emergency order Friday morning ensures many remaining regulations will be dropped.

Still, Brown warned in a public statement that just because the weather is wetter doesn’t mean water should be wasted.

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FOOTBALL IS FINISHED at Mendo College. The long anticipated coooooo de graaaahhhhh was administered to the troubled junior college pigskin program by the College's slo-mo trustees who have now voted unanimously to permanently bench it.

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AVA, Oct. 12 2016

AND NOW EVICTION. Mendocino College brings in football players from around the country to man a football program woefully short of local talent. This year's College team depends on about twenty athletes from Florida.

MENDO KIDS who can make the big jump from high school ball are themselves recruited by historically more competitive teams out of the area, leaving maybe a half-dozen or so gridders from Mendocino College's natural draw area — Mendo, Lake and Humboldt County — for the Mendo College team.

THERE'S NOT ENOUGH homegrown talent to field a Mendo team, and junior college coaches want to win at all costs because, like their players, they want to move up into grander college-level programs, hence Florida kids lured across the country to Ukiah to play football.

THIS YEAR'S MENDO squad is heavily dependent on the Florida kids, good kids, mostly, kids who dream NFL dreams but are academically unprepared for four-year schools, not that academic standards at big football colleges are any tougher than they are at Mendocino College. JC football is, for lots of the imported jocks, their only chance at catching on with a four-year program.

101 HORTENSE, WESTSIDE UKIAH, is a dilapidated former nursing home. A mercenary doctor named Gitlin owns the building. When Gitlin isn't slum lording, he maintains an office in Redwood Valley and an affiliation with the Adventist medical complexes in Ukiah and Willits.

GITLIN AND THE COLLEGE'S football coach, an ambitious fellow named Espy, arranged to rent Gitlin's crumbling Westside structure to about half this season's Mendo College football team, the Florida half. The doctor charged the boys $9,000 a month for premises without hot water. (The Ukiah Daily Journal carried the no hot water allegation.) Into Gitlin's decrepit structure, Gitlin and Espy stuffed the Florida Twenty. They slept where they could in a house woefully short of the usual amenities like beds, sheets and blankets. What the Florida kids did for food money is unknown, but a Ukiah liberal associated with Mendocino Environment Center offered to donate some collard greens, which may or may not be an ethnic slur depending on the degree of the donor's sophistication.

101 HORTENSE'S NEIGHBORS complained about the football players, then petitioned the City of Ukiah about late night noise, poor housekeeping, an unmaintained yard in an otherwise tidy and silent neighborhood. (The Westside is strictly haute bourgeoisie, the kind of place where homeowners nervously monitor their lawns for signs of rebel crab grass.) The complaints really boiled down to young guys being young guys.

THE COMPLAINING NEIGHBORS were immediately accused of racism by, of all people, landlord Gitlin, who stood to lose nine grand a month for his otherwise un-rentable slum.

THERE IS ZERO evidence that the neighbors are racists. They include a superior court judge, a former mayor, a reporter for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and the famous ex-communist, Mike Sweeney.

JUST AS IT SEEMED like everyone was getting along, just as mutual outreach and a general kumbaya vibe was established between the black jocks and their liberal white neighbors, landlord Gitlin served the Florida delegation with eviction papers. The kids have got to be out by Saturday, game day, as it happens.

HOW THE FOOTBALL PLAYERS had managed to come up with the nine thousand a month rent money remains a mystery, but they were clearly getting help from unnamed donors who also pay for football accommodations at the Motel Grunge on North State.

MEANWHILE, and from the start, Mendo College president Arturo Reyes, Coach Espy, and the school's athletic director, Matt Gordon, have shirked all responsibility for student-athlete living arrangements. They claim to abide strictly to NCAA rules governing aide for athletes. To hear them tell it, there's no association with the Florida Twenty and the school other than football.

INLAND LIBS of the better sort, Barry Vogel for one, are marshaling practical support for the evicted ball players (and Vogel is certainly launching a lawsuit against deep pockets Mendo College) while one of the kids, according to the Journal, has already departed for home.

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AVA, December 21, 2016:

MENDO COLLEGE'S board of trustees have begun closed session talks that will almost certainly result in an end to the school's football program. Odd occurrence at last week's meeting of the board when school president Reyes denied football had been discussed in closed session. Ukiah attorney Barry Vogel immediately popped up to apparently throw board member Ed Haynes under the college's closed session bus when Vogel said that it was Haynes who had told him about the closed session football deliberations.

MOST OF THE COLLEGE'S gridders are from out of state, way out of state, with Florida providing most of them. This past season, a winning one incidentally, a good part of the team had been housed in a decayed Ukiah property on Hortense Street owned by Dr. Gitlin of Redwood Valley. It still isn't known who was paying Gitlin the nine thousand a month rent on the place. But when the Redwood Valley healer closed his grim premises, previously home to twenty imported football players, a number of the athletes were housed either at a grungy hot sheet motel on North State Street or at an Assembly of God church. The church evicted the remaining footballers this week.

LANDLORD GITLIN, becoming ubiquitous as a kind of free range Mendo humanitarian, popped up in the news again this week when it was revealed he owns a structure on South State Street that has been expensively re-modeled via public money and private donations as a cold weather shelter.

FURTHER INVESTIGATION into the funding of Ukiah's cold weather shelter reveals that the County put up $50,000; the City of Ukiah is in for $30,000; Adventist Hospital $10.000; the Community Foundation $10,000. The group running it, the HSAG (Homeless Services Action Group) needs to fundraise about $50,000 more if they want to keep the doors open for the authorized four months.

TURNS OUT that Dr. Gitlin, contacted the HSAG to offer his building when he heard they were having trouble finding a location, offered the decayed structure at a rent of $3,300 a month. And landlord Gitlin has since magnanimously allowed the group to clean up and haul away several truckloads of trash, sheetrock a wall to meet the fire codes and repair the plumbing and wiring, happy improvements to Gitlin's private property via mostly public funds.

EVEN WITH ALL the fix-ups, HSAG still had to rent a portable shower unit and portapotties to make the space fully habitable. To repeat, Gitlin is the same guy who was sticking the football players and/or the college $9,000 a month for a run down fire trap on Hortense where, when the hot water heater went out, Gitlin didn't bother replacing it.

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WELCOME TO MENDOLIB, Mr. O'Donnell. O'Donnell is a new reporter for the Ukiah Daily Journal, and a very good one, I would say based on his work so far.

O'DONNELL'S STORY on Ukiah's cold weather shelter contained these two emblematic paragraphs:

"Peter Barrett, who has coordinated the intake process, has repeatedly declined to speak to The Journal. Vincent-dePaule instructed the newspaper’s photographer Friday not to photograph certain parts of the shelter, both inside and outside. Bekkie Emery, the county’s deputy director of Adult and Aging Services, would answer questions only by email, declining to speak over the phone.

"HSAG board Chairman David Taxis told The Daily Journal Friday that the board’s tight press policy came about after ‘a number of inaccuracies’ reported in a previous article. He declined to say what article he was referring to or to specify what had been reported inaccurately, and nobody has ever alerted The Daily Journal to any such inaccuracies.”

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Of course I keep up on The Big Picture. I was discussing Orange Man's attack on Syria last night with the Pits next door. They were happier than I've ever seen them. ‘I hope Trump puts a missile in Putin's pocket,’ one of them said. ‘And blast that fat kid in North Korea, too!’ another one said. Me? I'm a moderate. I thought attacks on other countries had to be cleared by Congress.”

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A reader writes: Someone come into Redway Liquors last week and bought up every issue of the Mar 29 AVA (the only SoHum outlet). I perused my copy but can find no local issue or name that would warrant suppressing the news. Many or a few of us are wondering, and wishing they could have their AVA! Any idea?

ED NOTE: Hmmm. Happens occasionally at this or that venue but, as you say, usually because someone wants to curtail circulation for whatever reason. We also sell the paper up the road in Arcata, if the truly desperate can't find it at Redway. We'll send a few of this week's the along with next Wednesday’s dispatch.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 7, 2017

Britton, Cervantes, Gunby

NICHOLAS BRITTON, Covelo/Ukiah. Meth for sale.

BEATRIX CERVANTES, Under influence, smoking or injecting device, smuggling controlled substances/liquor into jail, resisting.

JAMES GUNBY, Fort Bragg. County parole violation.

Liebig, Lu, Olsen

ASAAD LIEBIG, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JUNOING LU, Ukiah. Dirk-dagger, failure to appear.

JACOB OLSEN, Redway/Laytonville. DUI, suspended license, resisting.

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“So he bombed an airport, after warning the Russians to remove their personnel from the vicinity.” –James Kunstler

First Trump informs the Russians. Then he informs Congress. What more evidence of ongoing collusion with Russia is needed?

There are now six grounds to impeach Trump and Pence.

First: In taking the oath of office, a president promises to “faithfully execute the laws and the constitution.” That’s Article II Section 2.

But Trump is unfaithfully executing his duties as president by accusing his predecessor, President Obama, of undertaking an illegal and impeachable act, with absolutely no evidence to support the accusation.

Second: Article I Section 9 of the Constitution forbids government officials from taking things of value from foreign governments. But Trump is making big money off his Trump International Hotel by steering foreign diplomatic delegations to it, and will make a bundle off China’s recent decision to grant his trademark applications for the Trump brand — decisions Chinese authorities arrived at directly because of decisions Trump has made as president.

Third: The 1st Amendment to the Constitution bars any law “respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” But Trump’s ban on travel into the United States from six muslim countries — which he initiated, advocated for and oversees — violates that provision.

Fourth: The 1st Amendment also bars “abridging the freedom of the press.” But Trump’s labeling the press “the enemy of the people,” and choosing who he invites to news conferences based on whether they’ve given him favorable coverage, violates this provision.

Fifth: Article II Section 3 of the Constitution defines “treason against the United States” as “adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” Evidence is mounting that Trump and his aides colluded with Russian operatives to win the 2016 presidential election.

Sixth: The strikes against Syria — done in the absence of a U.N. Security Council resolution, and without any apparent justification of self-defense — violate Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter, which requires the U.S. and all other signatory states to “refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”

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‘Lapis Lazuli’ by William Butler Yeats: When ‘gay’ meant something else

Three friends were having lunch together yesterday.
 One of them wondered aloud if Archduke Ferdinand hadn’t been assassinated, would we still have had World War I? If there had been no Lenin, would we still have had the Russian Revolution? If there had been no Einstein, would the discoveries of someone else had led to the development of the atomic bomb?

Later, one of them wondered whether Yeats was answering the question in his poem “Lapis Lazuli”:

Lapis Lazuli

by William Butler Yeats

(For Harry Clifton)

I HAVE heard that hysterical women say
They are sick of the palette and fiddle-bow.
Of poets that are always gay,
For everybody knows or else should know
That if nothing drastic is done
Aeroplane and Zeppelin will come out.
Pitch like King Billy bomb-balls in
Until the town lie beaten flat.

All perform their tragic play,
There struts Hamlet, there is Lear,
That's Ophelia, that Cordelia;
Yet they, should the last scene be there,
The great stage curtain about to drop,
If worthy their prominent part in the play,
Do not break up their lines to weep.
They know that Hamlet and Lear are gay;
Gaiety transfiguring all that dread.
All men have aimed at, found and lost;
Black out; Heaven blazing into the head:
Tragedy wrought to its uttermost.
Though Hamlet rambles and Lear rages,
And all the drop-scenes drop at once
Upon a hundred thousand stages,
It cannot grow by an inch or an ounce.

On their own feet they came, or On shipboard,'
Camel-back; horse-back, ass-back, mule-back,
Old civilisations put to the sword.
Then they and their wisdom went to rack:
No handiwork of Callimachus,
Who handled marble as if it were bronze,
Made draperies that seemed to rise
When sea-wind swept the corner, stands;
His long lamp-chimney shaped like the stem
Of a slender palm, stood but a day;
All things fall and are built again,
And those that build them again are gay.

Two Chinamen, behind them a third,
Are carved in lapis lazuli,
Over them flies a long-legged bird,
A symbol of longevity;
The third, doubtless a serving-man,
Carries a musical instmment.

Every discoloration of the stone,
Every accidental crack or dent,
Seems a water-course or an avalanche,
Or lofty slope where it still snows
Though doubtless plum or cherry-branch
Sweetens the little half-way house
Those Chinamen climb towards, and I
Delight to imagine them seated there;
There, on the mountain and the sky,
On all the tragic scene they stare.
One asks for mournful melodies;
Accomplished fingers begin to play.
Their eyes mid many wrinkles, their eyes,
Their ancient, glittering eyes, are gay.

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An egg hunt set amongst the spring blooms

Start a new family tradition at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens this Easter Sunday and join us for an egg hunt set amidst the spring blooms. Be sure to hop over to the Gardens early on Sunday, April 16 where the first 50 guests will receive an egg-cellent prize! The egg hunt (children ages 10 and under) will begin at 1:00PM on the Event Lawn. Please allow plenty of time to reach the Event Lawn, we suggest arriving by 12:30PM. After the “hunt" head to Rhody’s Garden Cafe for a healthy salad, satisfying panini, house-made soup, or treat your sweet tooth to some Cowlick’s ice cream. Local guitarist and vocalist Chuck T. will play on the Plaza from 1:30PM to 3:30PM. Pop in to The Garden Store and Nursery on the Plaza for fresh new decor and plants.  The Gardens will be a-buzz with activities all weekend long. There will be prizes, live music, adorable adoptable animals, a guided Rhododendron Walk, and of course, a great big egg hunt! All activities are free with regular Gardens admission, visit for more details on all of the happenings.

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by Manuel Vicent

Translated by Louis S. Bedrock

If during a game of poker, you have not realized who the fool is that’s going to lose, it’s because the fool is you. This might be the vulgar version of the famous test of Alan Turing, the pioneer of computer science and artificial intelligence, who proposed a formula to identify from the first moment the impostors and crooks that may steal your wallet.

The test consists of putting you in front of a human being and a computer, both hidden from your view, with the challenge of determining their identity according to the responses you receive from them to a series of your questions. If the machine manages to deceive you during the first five minutes, the possibility of your managing to identify them afterwards will be practically nonexistent.

The test of Alan Turing may be applied to daily life, politics, love, and business. If you find yourself before two real people who tempt you with an offer or a promise and doubt doesn’t allow you to discover which of them is lying with in the first five minutes, the possibility that he or she will continue to deceive you and that you will continue to be ensnared by the imposture is practically assured.

Those first five moments are golden, but few people take advantage of them to save themselves. Five minutes are enough to expose, before he or she takes advantage of you, the corrupt politician disguised as a patriot whose promises are mere flatulence; to discover the friend or colleague who is going to betray you; to understand that the girl who is so sweet will wind up causing your ruin or that this beloved man in your life, so respectable and so affectionate, is basically a sexist; to not be surprised that the neighbor who greets you so politely in the vestibule is a murderer.

Three questions should be enough to find out who the fool is in any poker game as long as the fool isn’t you for not having used a mere five minutes to make this determination.

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L: Illegal in Russia

R: Legal in US.

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by Jeffrey St. Clair

I don’t know who was behind the grisly chemical attack in the northern Syrian city of Khan Shaikhoun that killed more than 70 people, including many children. All of the actors in the region–the Assad regime, the rebels, Russia, Al Qaeda, Israel, the Kurds, the Turks, the Iranians and the US–have access to chemical weapons and we know that the US, Israel, the rebels and Assad have probably used them in the past. Take your pick, choose your poison.

I am not a conspiratorialist who furiously digs through deep strata of fantasy to find an alternative theory for every bombing or mass shooting. In fact, I find most conspiracy theorists to be lazy thinkers, craven opportunists and intellectual thugs. They are the bane of my inbox.

The question here, as always, is who benefits from this depraved act and who suffers?

The timing is certainly suspicious. The Assad regime had nothing to gain and everything to lose from dropping chemical bombs on civilian targets. The Syrian government is winning the war. The rebel forces are in retreat. ISIS is a splintered force. Europe is desperate for a resolution to the Syrian war and an end to the tide of refugees. And the Trump administration had announced only a few days earlier that the future of Assad was up to the Syrian people. Of course, all of this assumes that Assad is still a rational actor, which may prove an assumption too far.

Obama, who so often made the dumb move, made the right call in 2013, when he rejected the demands of many in his inner circle and in Congress to escalate the US intervention in Syria in the wake of the chemical weapons attacks on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta. After the Ghouta attacks, Syria agreed to turn over the remains of its chemical weapons arsenal to the Russians, who certified their removal and disposal. The US, by contrast, still retains about 12 percent of its chemical and biological weapon arsenal from the Cold War peak, which it doesn’t plan to totally destroy until 2040.

All of the incentives for launching this attack favor those who want the Syrian war prolonged and the Assad regime overthrown. And it seems to have worked. Those gruesome 70 deaths, out of more than 400,000 in the Syrian war, flipped the Trump administration before it could even ascertain the precise cause or perpetrators.  Rex Tillerson, who is about as loquacious as Bartleby the Scrivener, said last week: Assad can stay. This week: Assad must go. Trump, who in November warned US intervention in Syria could lead to World War 3, swiftly followed suit, mumbling his own fatwa against the Assad regime a few hours before those missiles hit Homs: “Something must happen.”

What we do know for sure is that the chemical weapons attack will be used as a pretext for even more bloodshed in Syria, punitive bombing raids and incursions that will kill more civilians, more kids, and prompt a new flood of refugees who will be turned away by the nations that have been the principal agents in exacerbating their misery.

So mission accomplished for the neocons and the Hillaroids. The laptop bombardiers are flying high once again. Prepare to reap the whirlwind.

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+ The hawks were quick to criticize the 59 cruise missiles launched Thursday night on the Homs airbase as a “conservative” response. The awful Richard Engle of MSDNC called the missile strikes “merely a slap on the wrist,” Little Marco Rubio said Congress would be “open to ground troops” in Syria and the New York Times’ Lt. Gen. (honorary) Nicholas Kristof advised that “Trump is right to make Syria pay a price for war crimes, and taking out airfields is the best approach. I do worry about his execution.”

So we have the frantic spectacle of liberals, conservatives and the mainstream press converging in mad new pro-war consensus with Trump running the show! It’s the bi-partisan bravery of being out of range…

+ Earlier in the week, Darling Nikki Haley set the stage by promising to “begin attacking” Syria, “alone if necessary.” The US has been attacking Syria for years. Last year, under President Peace Prize, the US dropped 12,197 bombs on Syria, more than any other country.

+ Any “surgical strike” on Syria by the US is likely to kill Syrians, Russians, Iranians and Hezbollah fighters, none of whom can be expected to react passively to the carnage. Surgical strikes are to warfare what clean coal is to the atmosphere. Stock up your fallout shelter, the Doomsday clock is ticking once again.

+ A few hours before Trump fired his volley of cruise missiles at the Shayrat Air Force Base, Hillary Clinton (who appeared to be co-chairing Trump’s shadow cabinet with Jared Kushner) advised Trump to “take out Assad’s airfields.” Message sent, message received.

+ Will Trump fulfill all of Hillary’s campaign promises or just this one?

+ The search for clean hands: When it comes to chemical weapons let us recall that in the war to eliminate Saddam’s mythical WMDs, the US was the first to use chemical weapons in its brutal assault on Fallujah. A type of warfare replicated many times by our chief ally in the region, Israel.

+ Then there are the Brits. Let us recall Winston Churchill’s deranged view on the use of chemical weapons against Iraqi revolutionaries in 1920, five years after the first major bombardment of poison bomb in World War One, when the Germans dropped chlorine weapons on French, British and Canadian troops at the Second Battle of Ypres. “I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes. It would spread a lively terror.”

+ This just in from CNN Talking Skull Fareed Zakaria on the strikes against Syria: “I think Donald Trump became President of the United States last night.” This is yet more proof of the old maxim that you’re not really CEO of the Empire until you’ve killed a bunch of people in a foreign country. Cockburn and I used to run a kind of “death pool.” We called it the First Blood game, where we’d take bets on how many days it would take before a new president launched some kind of lethal raid. Zakaria, of course, is several months behind the times. It only took Trump two full days in office to green light that botched raid in Yemen that killed many civilians, including several children.

Contrast Zakaria’s blood lust with the sober assessment of Rand Paul: “If we topple Assad what comes next? Will we like the Islamic rebels that take over?” Stop making sense, Rand, it won’t get you anywhere in this climate…

+ You just wanted some Bang and a few laughs, but it looks you’re going to get Bang-Bang, instead, and things might not be so amusing…

+ The jobs report tanked on Friday, but the news was bright for weapons stocks. Shares of Raytheon, maker of the Tomahawk cruise missile, rose 2.1 percent in premarket trading after the U.S. missile strikes in Syria.

+ RussiaGate© is a distraction from what is really going down. Saying RussiaGate© is a distraction is a distraction from what’s really going down.

+ Trump’s Rasputin, Steve Bannon, apparently went into a rage and threatened to quit after getting 86’d off of the National Security Council, but stayed after Trump assured him he can continue to attend meetings, where he will no doubt be taking down names in his little black book. Recall that Rasputin came back from the dead multiple times. Bannon needed to be evicted from NSC before the Syrian airstrikes could be launched. When it all backfires, they’ll probably let him back in.

+ Less than 24 hours later, Bannon’s congressional factotum Devin “High” Nunes was forced to recuse himself from chairing the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into RussiaGate© after becoming the subject of an ethics investigation for, irony of ironies, leaking classified documents in his attempt to defend Trump’s smack-Tweeting about Obama tapping his phones.

+ These internal purges were orchestrated by what the Breitbart crowd is now calling the “liberal” wing of the White House, headed by Jared “Hindu” Kushner and HR McMaster, Trump’s National Security Advisor. McMaster is basking in the praise of the liberal press for cracking down on the Bannonites, including the exile to far-off Singapore of his deputy KT McFarland. These encomiums ignore the fact that McMaster has been accused of committing war crimes in 2005 against Iraqi detainees at the infamous military prison under his control in Tal Afar. The accusations come from Col. Arnaldo Claudio, a retired US military police officer who investigated the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. Of course, having a resumé flush with war crimes has long been prerequisite for holding the post of National Security Advisor.

+ I have no sympathy for Susan Rice. Her hands are stained by the blood of thousands and she should be hauled before the Hague. But her unmasking of the names of the Trump crime syndicate is the least of her offenses. Moreover, when Trump told the New York Times this week that he believed Rice had committed a crime, he almost certainly let her off the hook. Some may remember that Charles Manson’s trial was almost derailed when Nixon proclaimed he believed Manson was guilty, a statement which garnered frontage headlines. Ultimately, the judge ruled that the sequestered jury had not been contaminated by Nixon’s pronouncement. Can’t say the same about Trump’s ex parte judgment.

My friend Elizabeth Ferrari observes that “In El Salvador, rightwing darling Blowtorch Bob D’Abussion named names in his public speeches and the people attached to those names were murdered. Hard to say how close Trump is to using the same tools but they were already tested out back.”

Actually, this kind of assassination-by-subliminal suggestion dates back at least to 1170, when Henry the Second complained loudly to his courtiers: “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” A few days later Thomas á Becket lain slain on the floor of Canterbury Cathedral by three of Henry’s most deplorable acolytes, thus inaugurating generations of lusty pilgrims and a collection of bawdy tales.

+ Note that Jared Kushner dressed comfortable for an afternoon of yachting and cocktails on the Tigris, but apparently donned a flak jacket at the last moment just in case. No one else in the picture is wearing any body armor. Did he have some advance warning about a potential shoe-thrower in neighborhood? What was Kushner really doing in Iraq this week? Helping plot the bombing of Homs?

+ Speaking of Russia: With the emasculation of Bannon and the ouster of Nunes, is Trump on his way toward becoming a Potemkin President?

+ A key prong in Trump’s “extreme vetting” of foreign travelers to the US is the expansion of intrusive searches of cell phones. This is another policy, like near universal surveillance by the NSA and killer drone strikes, that the Donald can thank Obama for instituting so he didn’t have to. According to data from the First Amendment Foundation, searches of mobile phones by border agents grew from less than 5k in 2015 to 25k in 2016.

+ One could describe the surveillance of Trump, if it happened, as a kind of “extreme vetting” that failed.

+ If the NSA is going to spy on all of us, the least they can do is spy on our politicians, too, so that one day the documents will end up in a Wikileaks dump and we can see what the hell they’ve been up to.

+ Filibusted! Strom Thurmond is turning over in his grave that his own party just killed his favorite senatorial weapon. But I say good riddance. The filibuster is an anti-democratic rule used for decades to protect the “peculiar privileges” of the southern states. It’s up to the Left to retake the Senate–the states may not be one-person one-vote democracies but at least they aren’t gerrymandered. Not yet anyway.

+ Liberals don’t understand that politics is about power and are always shocked when rules are broken to achieve long-held political objectives. A dose of Foucault might do them some good, if they want to understand how the game is really played.

+ The beneficiary of the filibuster-freed senate, newly-minted Supreme Justice Neil Gorsuch, has redefined Textual Originalism: to copy text originally written by others and claim as your own.

+ Here’s a little metaphysical graffiti from the Oval Office. Apparently, Trump has been reading Descartes for Beginners, but he only got halfway the through the illustrated booklet due to the rigorous demands of his golfing schedule. Trump told the New York Times this week: “Do I think? Yes, I think.” Now this maxim needs some parsing by philosophical minds. Is Trump saying, quizzically: “I think I think?” Or is he plunging deeper and suggesting that while he thinks, he is not sure if he is, in which case the president might be revealing himself as a Heideggerian, which would please Steve Bannon, who otherwise has had a tough week.

+ If it’s spring, it must be time to threaten North Korea with military action. Cue retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane. “We’re rapidly and dangerously heading towards the reality that the military option is the only one left when it comes to getting North Korea to denuclearize and not weaponized [intercontinental ballistic missiles].” The bellicose Keane was Trump’s first choice to become Secretary of Defense. Those South Korean zombie films, such as the terrific Train to Busan, may soon be reclassified as documentary features….

+ Speaking of Korean zombies, Senator Al Gore, Sr.’s solution to ever-lasting peace on the Korean peninsula was cooked up over hot toddies in the bar of the Willard Hotel with his good buddy Edward “Take It to the Bank” Teller. The plan was to irradiate the DMZ with highly radioactive nuclear waste. No joke. Read all about it in that timeless classic by Messieurs Cockburn and St. Clair, Al Gore: A User’s Manual.

+ Kshama Sawant: “It’s not good enough for Seattle to be a Sanctuary City if immigrants can’t afford to live here.”

+ Prison staff at Gitmo: 1,750. Prisoners at Gitmo: 41

Average teacher/student ratio in US public schools: 1:27

+ China’s President Xi arrived at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday. Or as Trump calls him: “President Eleven.”

+ Polls show that Americans now view China more favorably than they do Trump. Perhaps President Eleven can stick around for the next 3.5 years to steady the ship?

+ Whatever will the Putinescas make of the announcement this weekend from the Kremlin that Russia recognizes Jerusalem as the true capital of Israel?

+ And on Day 5 of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Donald Trump praised…Bill O’Reilly. On Day 6, Trump rested. Rest in peace, Donald, or do something really whacky like bombing Syria…

+  Alabama takes one small step out of the Stone Age and into the Early Bronze Age by banning judges from imposing the death penalty when juries have voted for life in prison.

+ Russia is banning the pacifist Jehovah’s Witness sect as an “extremist” cult. I like the Jehovah’s Witnessess and always invite them for tea when they knock at the door. They are as militantly anti-war as the Quakers, more so since their faith never coughed up a Richard Nixon to my knowledge. I’m willing to talk to any anti-war activists–there are so few us when it really matters most. I’m an atheist, but I don’t condemn people for their faith, especially those who are oppressed for their political views. JW’s have helped all antiwar activists by challenging the draft and winning supreme court cases validating the rights of Conscientious Objectors, as well as other cases striking down ordinances forcing political and religious groups to have government permits to engage in door-to-door advocacy. For that alone, they should be honored.

But if they become the next wave of Russian refuseniks I don’t know how many of them I can entertain in one week. There are only so many copies of The Watchtower that will fit on the coffee table next to my well-thumbed copy of Being and Nothingness–even though the covers almost always feature adorable paintings of animals and humans living in prelapsarian harmony….

+ When it comes to racial disparities for drug possession arrests, Montana, Iowa and Bernie’s Vermont lead the way. Even in the more diverse state of New York, blacks are five times more likely than whites to be arrested for minor drug crimes.

+ Police have killed 307 people this year. That’s hard sweaty work, which is why Kendall Jenner generously handed one of them a Pepsi….

+ Memo to Scott Pruitt:

1970-2011 in US

-air pollution ↓68%

-GDP ↑212% ↑88%

(Source: Senate Committee on Energy and Environment)

+ Chomsky, in an otherwise very edifying interview on Democracy Now!, veered off into a discussion of climate change, political terrain that is not his native habitat: “Every Republican candidate… either denied what is happening, or… said we shouldn’t do anything about it.”

I have a query for Noam. The Democratic candidate (like almost all Democratic politicians) confessed her belief in climate change and did nothing about it; in fact, she abetted it. Which is worse, ethically speaking?

+ When leaded water just isn’t enough anymore, there now comes news of the presence of neonic pesticides in US drinking water for the first time.

+ I know Jared Kushner has had a busy week telling Mad Dog Mattis how to plot the final push into Mosul and prepping Trump for Xi’s visit to Mar-a-Lago, but he might want to squeeze in a word with Ortsgruppenleiter Gorka, perhaps by recommending a text by George Lakoff on how to “reframe” some of his “messaging” about his support for anti-semitic paramilitary groups.

+ Alexander Cockburn used to say that the NYTs runs two or three corrections a day to convince its readers that everything else printed in the paper is true. Perhaps this correction, the best of the year so far, is meant to convince us that it is false?

Correction, April 5, 2017:

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article identified Ivanka Trump as President Trump’s wife. His wife is Melania. Ivanka is his daughter.

+ Russ Baker: “Pwesident Twump, Stop tweeting people like garbage.”

+ The fall of Trump Tower can’t be long now that Alex Jones has moved on from Pizzagate to the Case of Jared the Leaker

+ According to his physician, a certain Dr. Li, Mao Tse Tung, a candy fiend, never brushed his teeth, allowing a thick green patina to form over his grill, a coating which probably protected the enamel from decay–unlike Queen Elizabeth I who had lost all of her chompers by the age of 40, from sucking on sugar sweets all day long.

+ Trump donated his paycheck of $77,000 to the National Park Service this week. Two weeks ago his budget proposed slashing the Park Service’s budget by $1.6 BILLION! Only 22,000 checks to go, Donald!

+ Rep. Jodey Arrington, a Texas Republican, justified the cruel cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by saying that the Bible commands that “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”

Starve the poor and beat the weak

When they don’t work, but beg and tweak

How do I know? Because the Bible told me so….

+ Trump has no detectable sense of humor. So it’s hard to tell if he’s joking, as in this quip: “I will tell you one thing, [Pence] has one hell of a good marriage going.” Pence cringed, but then he cringes at everything.

+ In college, my classics professor used to call me Little Boots. For several weeks, I thought he was referring to my grungy habit of showing up to class in a pair of scuffed Timberland work boots. Finally, I asked. He responded tartly: “Jeffrey, read your Suetonius.” In that sacred text, I discovered that Caligula is a loose translation of the Latin for Little Boots.

Gaius Caligula has always gotten a bad rap (and not just for Malcolm McDowell’s over-the-top portrayal in Gore Vidal’s film Caligula, which had nothing to do with Gore Vidal). He was a populist who tried to purge the Senate of the land barons and aristocrats. I’ve always considered him Rome’s second greatest emperor, a close runner-up to the poet-prince Nero.

Now people have taken to calling Trump the “comb-over Caligula,” which I consider an insult to man who made his horse, Incitatus, a consul of Rome. The plebs understood the symbolism. Yet I suppose there is at least one similarity. Both of them owned ornate pleasure yachts. Trump once owned, on paper at least, the 280-foot long Trump Princess, which he bought from arms dealer Adnan Koshoggi (of Iran-contra fame) and sold to Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal al Saud for $100 million. Caligula’s three yachts were sunk in Lake Nemi after the assassination of the great man. Two of the boats, at between 230 and 240 feet long, were excavated under the orders of Benito Mussolini and then bombed to fragments during World War II. A third 400-foot long yacht, the so-called floating palace, remains buried in the murky depths, where divers are now searching for it and its lost treasures.

+ Alvin (Future Shock) Toffler interviews the world’s most erudite Lepidopterist…

Booked Up

What I’m reading this week…

The Unchosen: the Lives of Israel’s New Others by Mya Guarnieri Jaradat

A People’s History of the Russian Revolution by Neal Faulkner

Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories by China Miéville

Sound Grammar

What I’m listening to this week…

On a Monday Evening by Bill Evans

The Catastrophist by Tortoise

Planetary Prince by Cameron Graves

Reflection by Brian Eno

Drunk by Thundercat

Like Evil or Truth

Joseph Conrad: “The silent wilderness surrounding this cleared speck on the Earth struck me as something great and invincible, like evil or truth, waiting patiently for the passing away of this fantastic invasion.”

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution. He can be reached at: or on Twitter  @JSCCounterPunch

* * *

Coastal Lilies (Photo by Susie de Castro)

* * *


Special City Council Meeting April 11, 2017

There will be a Special Meeting of the Point Arena City Council at 5pm on Tuesday April 11. Items on the agenda: Resolution 2017-06 Declaring a State of Emergency Relating to Storm Damage at the Point Arena Water Works Well Located on Windy Hollow Road Resolution; 2017-07 Extending the Declaration of a Local Emergency Related to Storm Damage to Arena Cove, Point Arena Pier, and Local Roadways as the Result of a Winter Storm Event


Paul Andersen
Admin Assistant/Deputy City Clerk
City of Point Arena

* * *


Now in its fourth year, The Krenov Foundation has welcomed three new board members.

Kerry Marshall, long-time member of the Mendocino Furniture Makers who operates a small woodworking studio where he specializes in one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture, custom woodworking projects, and wood sculpture, joined the Board in January. The Krenov Foundation has a fully working Board, and Marshall has also taken on the duty of Fundraising Chair.

More recently, Taimi Barty, co-owner of Wood Joint Studio, a full-featured fine cabinet and furniture shop, joined the TKF Board, assuming the role of Board Treasurer. Both Marshall and Barty were students at College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program in Fort Bragg, exhibit their work regularly, and are knowledgeable about and experienced in the world of woodworking.

Tina Krenov, daughter of Britta and James Krenov, internationally recognized cabinetmaker and author who established and taught at CR’s fine furniture program, has also become a member of the TKF Board. Krenov is a popular teacher in her own right at Fort Bragg Middle School who brings a depth of insight about her father’s values and philosophies, which are concepts held deeply by the Foundation.

The Krenov Foundation’s mission is to continue the legacy of James Krenov, his values, approach to woodworking, and teaching. It supports the art and craft of fine woodworking through scholarships, exhibitions, and developing an online archive of Krenov's work. Check out the foundation’s work by visiting

* * *


Spiritual Direct Action Group Needed Now...before the implosion of the natural world happens, beginning August 21, 2017, a scientifically certifiable date for the beginning of a movement in the direction of "no return", insofar as global climate destabilization is concerned.  Feel free to add to this: 1. the accelerating Trumpocalypse, 2. the general meaninglessness of postmodernism, and 3. if we don't do this now, what the hell are we doing on the earth plane...vacationing?

Craig Louis Stehr

April 7, 2017




  1. LouisBedrock April 8, 2017

    Turing test questions for detecting Androids:

    1 How come time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana?
    2 Is the difference between a fish purely that one of its legs are both the same?
    3 The following sentence is true. The previous sentence is false. Is the previous sentence true?
    4 I wasn’t originally going to get a brain transplant, but then I changed my mind. Is that funny? Why?
    5 What do you get if you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?

    • Betsy Cawn April 9, 2017

      How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?

      • LouisBedrock April 9, 2017

        Or “How does it feel, ah how does it feel?
        To be on your own, with no direction home
        Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone?”

  2. LouisBedrock April 8, 2017

    I’ve already exceeded my quotient of comments.
    I’ll post this from Chris Hedges and then shut up for the rest of the weekend:

    Why the moral outrage now among Americans? Why have we stood by as Syrians died daily from barrel bombs, bullets, famine, disease and drowning off the shores of Greece? Why have we been mute as schools, apartment blocks, mosques and hospitals have been bombed into rubble? Where is the outrage about the deaths of the thousands of other children, including those we killed recently in Mosul when a March 17 coalition airstrike took the lives of as many as 200 civilians? Why are we not enraged by the Trump administration’s flagrant violation of domestic law by carrying out an act of war without approval from Congress or the United Nations? Why do we lament these deaths yet bar Syrian war refugees from entering the United States? Is American foreign policy to be dictated by the fickle emotions of Donald Trump, whose perception of reality appears to be obtained exclusively from a television screen?

    • Bill Pilgrim April 8, 2017

      …They are popping champaign corks at Raytheon. All of Trump’s campaign promises about disentangling from foreign ‘regime change’ agendas and creating a working relationship with the Russians have been destroyed by the neocons, the Congressional warhawks, the aged Cold Warriors, a bloodthirsty MSM, and rogue elements in the Pentagon and CIA.
      Ignorant, inexperienced, incurious…he’s now just another sock-puppet for the perpetual war machine. Orange is the new black.

      • BB Grace April 8, 2017

        I don’t see it like that. I see that Jinping’s Jig is up.

        First, Israel found a massive pool of gas and oil a couple of years ago plus their technology advancements and success has solidified the agreements between Israel, Egypt, Jordan to follow the Saudi Plan. That leaves Syria/ Russia, with Iran and Turkey, IOWs, no longer the US problem (the French holdings over ME since WW1).

        China is Trump’s concern as Jinping witnesses himself as the ultimate globalist (and they are making really bad deals for other nations (like US) that have little choice because the UN is corrupt). While Jinping met Trump at MarLago, Trump shocked everyone by bombing Syria.

        Trump televised live an announcement to the American people while he was blowing up Syria with Jinping and Mrs. Trump (born and raised in a communist country). While Trump is talking Jinping sits there. Trump gives Jinping the opportunity to say something, but Jinping just sits there. He just got the shock of his life with Trump’s message.

        “We will attack you because we are not afraid of you at all. BOOM!!!! 60Xs BOOM!!!!” Plenty more where that came from. (Trump admitted he got NOTHING from Jinping).

        Trump has explained his method of handling resist, revolt, etc.. he will come down 10 times harder after each refusal to make a fair agreement. Jinping being no fool understands that what just hit Syria, which is rubble by comparison to China or NK (least we forget the Chinese held property in the USA), they can expect 10xs (if not more because I only count once and Trump may count more). Trump isolated Jinping who could do nothing but sit there. He had no way to communicate anything to anyone. He was on camera and speechless. Jinping’s jig is up.

        • Bill Pilgrim April 8, 2017

          Curious…that you seem not to be concerned about a shooting war with the Russians in Syria, the Mediterranean, or Russia’s western flank.
          …You ought to be.

          • BB Grace April 8, 2017

            Why not tell me why I ought to be concerned as you are correct that I am no longer concerned about the ability of Egypt, Jordan and Israel to follow the Saudi plan agreed upon. They all look pretty happy and Russia.. well USA did give Putin time to remove his troops before the bombing. What do you suppose is up with that? Trump further colluding with the Russians? Maybe each nation wants to be a nation and not in a globalist proxy war? Hmm?

          • Bill Pilgrim April 8, 2017

            You seem utterly clueless about the internal struggle raging between the regime change warhawks (the crazies who remain hell-bent for global domination) and the nationalsts. The globalists are winning. That’s worrisome.

          • BB Grace April 8, 2017

            re: “You seem utterly clueless about the internal struggle raging between the regime change war hawks (the crazies who remain hell-bent for global domination) and the nationalists.”

            Regime? Are you referring to international unelected military authoritarian regimes of the UN? (NATO and Transjordan comes to mind and I don’t see that as any way of winning but what the globalists had in store for everyone in the name of “solidarity”). The nationalists are winning and why MSM and the globalists are freaking out and lying. All they got is propaganda and it’s not working as well as with Obama.

            What Putin and Trump have in common is ending NATO (that keeps UN regimes in operation in the name of democracy (mob rule).

          • Bill Pilgrim April 8, 2017

            blah…blah…blah…”It’s a beautiful thing” …blah blah…”It’s going to be great”
            Stick with your briefing book. (The one that’s telling you Trump is prevailing over the neocons & the Deep State.)
            I’ll stick with mine. (…which indicates he is not.)
            We’ll see.

        • Harvey Reading April 8, 2017


  3. Jim Updegraff April 8, 2017

    Giants: Cain performed about as expected -ERA is now 8.31 – Kontos blew the save. record is now 1-4.
    A’s: one of their no name starters gave up 8 runs in 2 innings record is now 2 and3.

    • George Hollister April 8, 2017

      Kontos never has been reliable, and rarely good.

      • Stephen Rosenthal April 8, 2017

        I disagree about Kontos. He’s actually performed quite well over the course of his career in the roles he’s been placed. Lifetime ERA is 2.97, 224 hits, 205 SO, 79 BB in 266 IP – all above average for a middle reliever. Yesterday he had a bad outing, but every pitcher does. I expect him to pitch well next time. As for Cain, I’ve commented before that he’s done but because of his contract I expect the Giants to give him at least 4-5 more starts (= losses). They have 3 legitimate starting pitchers. The Giants overpaid for a bonafide closer but did not really improve the bullpen, as more than half of the 30+ blown saves last year occurred before the 9th inning and the pattern is continuing so far this year. They could instantly remedy that by using Samardjiza in the 7 & 8 inning role and making Blach and Beede their 4 & 5 starters. But they won’t. Their outfield ranks near the bottom in baseball. Look out below?

        • Bruce Anderson April 8, 2017

          Agree totally with Mr. Rosenthal. Kontos is usually pretty good. Like all sports romantics I was hoping against hope for Cain, but he’s done, not that he’s likely to find himself coal-mining. Where lots of people disagree with me is Bochy, who I think is the most predictable manager in baseball and the man who lost last year’s playoffs to the Cubs. Ever see Bochy calling a safety squeeze, ever see him depart from statistical probabilities? No, maybe one safety squeeze in the past decade, and lefty righty no matter what. Still and all, this is a good team, a very good team off to a bad start. They’ll be in the playoffs despite Bochy.

        • George Hollister April 8, 2017

          Bochy might very well do what you are suggesting. He has used nonperforming high priced starters as relievers in the past.

  4. Lazarus April 8, 2017

    I find it fascinating that 59 Tomahawk missiles wiped away in one day all the crap Trump had gotten himself into in less than a hundred…with the exception of Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid and a few other lefties who absolutely hate Trump and always will.
    And then there’s…, this deal has put Bill O’Reilly, Gorsuch and health care to bed for the holiday…can’t help but remember what Rahm Emanuel once said, “You never let a crisis go to waste”.
    As always,

    • Harvey Reading April 8, 2017

      Can’t wait ’til people realize that there so far has been no evidence that Syria had anything to do with this more recent gassing. Just a rich clown prince, who wanted to prove his manhood, reacting to rumor and hearsay. Back in 2013, Putin had to bail out, with insistence on a diplomatic solution, the stumblebum Kerry who was blaming Syria for that attack, which turned out not to be the case. Of course this is the U.S. where the memory span is no more than a few hours … and the average IQ sinks by the second. Come to think of it, I’m starting to hate the guy, too. I knew he was an unqualified clown, but now he’s a damned murderer, as bad as Obama.

    • BB Grace April 8, 2017

      #60 was a flare for NK, if you didn’t know Trump conducted a test for NK to see at the same time he hit Syria, unifying the US as Pelosi, Schumer, McCain and Graham, have all praised Trump’s response to the use of Chemical Weapons President Obama claimed was a red line, and did nothing about. False flag? Umm; Order out of chaos? OK.

      Gorsuch is in and that’s not good news for US globalists as Consensus governments are going to lose and Parliamentary government, putting power back in the hands of the Mayor and Supervisors, people we elect, to lead rather then them being managed for programs that don’t trickle down evidenced by the burgeoning population of homeless, jobless and hopeless.

      Dr. Rand Paul, son of Dr. Ron Paul, who made some excellent presentations back in 07 with Kaiser about healthcare and insurance (he was a flight surgeon in Nam and then OB/GYN); Rand has a plan that will open healthcare to support more alternative healthcare providing more choices to be covered by insurance

  5. BB Grace April 8, 2017

    Ms. de Castro, Everything you wrote about President Trump I share this feeling or understanding and found your statement eloquent until here: “However, the Enemy is saying, in part, that the US is responsible for keeping the general conflict alive by accusing the wrong people for 9-11 and the Bush invasion of Iraq.”

    The Enemy in a word is globalism that has been like a cancer to ALL nations. President Trump is a hotelier. A luxury hotelier who owns properties globally, as many billionaires from many nations that have a tourist, cruise ship, inclusive resort, which only California has Disneyland (that owns Comcast and MSM) and Universal (that owns MSM) have all inclusive resorts. Mexico has more all inclusive resorts that employ Mexicans only. All the resorts only hire their nationalities. Hawaii’s Polynesian Cultural Center tries to hire as many Hawaiians, but like Kamehameha High School, 1/4 Hawai’ian will suffice. The US does not protect it’s Chefs, or Butlers or Hospitality employees overseas, so US Citizens are not traveling (and China is creating conflicts as ity underbids, brings in their own labor. The resorts are filled with non Americans. Mexican cruise lines are coming in as Mexican bus service. It was insanely hard under the Obama administration, especially when one like Trump knows, is capable, has the funds to make things beautiful. He appreciates beautiful things like the happy employees at luxury resorts who are proud to be Jamaican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Haitian for that matter. They love their countries their homes, their foods and music while Americans hate their jobs, hate America, and hate each other.

    Even here on the AVA you read about people leaving for the Caribbean and places where the wind don’t blow so strange. Californians don’t even know their own food anymore. Anyone remember BBQ at the beach? Salmon BBQ.. OK.. but it’s not the same as when we went to the beach, or deep pit BBQ, which EPA regulated right out of production. We always had Mexican street foods, but we also had Basque, Portuguese fish houses, Smorgasbords, I don’t know.. now we get food festivals. I guess CA food today is In and Out Burger and Taco Bell.. that doesn’t fly at a luxury resort in the Caribbean or Mexico. So I think Trump having tackled NY and won, because he’s in it to create something beautiful, a hotel, a home, a country or a world, by allowing the people of America, who are good people that have suffered real bad deals, be given the opportunity to be like the happy people he is surrounded by in his business, Luxury resorts, or home.

    To answer your last question I introduce you to my favorite attorney, as her cases all concern your questions:

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