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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, April 9, 2017

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MENDO got about half an inch to one inch of rain Saturday morning. Overnight temps for Saturday/Sunday were expected to approach freezing in some areas. More light rain expected Monday morning, and then scattered showers Tuesday through Friday.

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FATE OF RUSSIAN AND EEL RIVER FLOWS rests in big fight over small hydroelectric project

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/6841074-181/fate-of-russian-and-eel

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BAD PROBATION LEADERSHIP

On [blank] March, [blank] 2017

[no other letter head, but looks like an All Department Staff email]

“The following e-mail is being sent on behalf of Judge Reimenschneider:

Dear Probation staff:

This notice is to advise you that probation of adult division manager Kevin Kelley has been appointed as acting chief probation officer effective immediately and until further notice. I understand you may have questions; however, we will not be able to provide additional information at this time.

The court and the county appreciate the hard work you do every day at probation and Juvenile Hall. We anticipate that you will continue to do so and that you'll give acting chief Kelley your full cooperation during his appointment.

Please feel free to contact me or Heidi Dunham, County Human Resources Director, if you have questions or concerns. Sincerely, Judge Reimenschneider”

Editor,

Is it bad luck or just bad leadership? The brand new Chief Probation Officer out on paid leave being investigated? Who knows? Of course it's confidential but once again the staff are left hanging, being told nothing as rumors fly of her affair with one of her managers resulting in her third divorce. And the CEO and judges were warned she was a party girl who openly discussed already being fond of the boys "in" the good old boys club at probation. Her own words that she foolishly shared at training with line staff prior to being her being hired but she smoothly turned it all around when confronted and warned by the judges.

She told the entire staff how hurt she was when her new boss told her this "gossip" after she gave up so much to come to Ukiah (better salary) with only good intentions for saving the department.

Like becoming a female chief probation officer at her age with her experience was likely in a larger county. This is what everyone uses as a steppingstone to a better paying county when they can't get promoted in their own county. She was very convincing that she was only here for us, wanting to make things better. We were directed to not discuss the past investigation, everyone gets a clean slate with her. Right.

Well, not quite everyone, she clearly didn't want to include or work with specific managers, supervisors and line staff. She hadn't been here a week before she was changing assignments, shunning and excluding.

It is truly a mystery what she is on leave for right now. It's hush hush, but conveniently thr affair has now come out giving the department staff time to accept the news should she return unscathed and even more empowered.

This woman knows how to "lean in" and "use her womanly ways," which is her phrase. But there must be more than just the sex, divorce and scandal, because following the last year long investigation under the previous chief for sexual discrimination, harassment and favoritism, this department was ordered to attend several mandatory meetings with human resources to "train" on sexual-harassment so everyone was clear per the county it is okay to have sex with coworkers, even married supervisors sleeping with line staff. As long as it isn't connected to promotions or discipline that isn't sexual-harassment and the county only cares about getting sued.

But wait, she just got approval for a new assistant chief and lead supervisor positions and it was obvious to all of us that this boy toy manager is the only one qualified for the big promotion. She completely excludes the other managers from her team, they are openly left out of meetings as she sits in the Superintendent of Juvenile Hall’s office for hours or he sits in her office. It's like being a voyeur on their dates. If you try to discuss work you feel you're interrupting. After all, who wants to talk work?

We staff were told by human resources that it isn't good practice having affairs at work and it could end up badly but as coworkers we just need to accept this in our work environment. But she says she has an open door and we can ask her anything, but because she is so open she also says if she finds anyone "gossiping" about her, it will not be tolerated and they will be written up. She doesn't want to hear negative information about anyone or anything, only solutions if you come to talk to her. Sort of tough to go in and ask her if her affair with the only manager she has leaned on since her arrival seven months ago is going to have any impact on her decision about who should be promoted to that new fat salaried assistant chief position. Perhaps if she was focused on running the department she wouldn't need an assistant since no one has needed one for over 25 years at probation.

This woman got the red carpet rolled out for her when she came here, the CEO basically gave her an open checkbook, a little human resources helper was at her side like a personal assistant, a direct line to give her whatever she needed to get this poor department back on track. But the CEO and judges who hire and supervise her once again underestimated her will and the power of the "boys" club who were clearly in favor the day she started.

Part of the problem is that no one really supervises the chief probation officer. They are an at-will employee but our staff has been told over and over by human resources that the chief can do anything they want. Department staff have risked telling the judges and investigators about improper use of department funds, no accountability or discipline for really bad behavior inside and outside of work by supervisors. But ultimately feedback and directions from the CEO and judges are only suggestions that can be completely ignored by the chief.

They even went so far as to spend lots of money to hire a retired chief to be a "consultant" for the last bad chief but he still wouldn't take a look at what was wrong in the department and fix it. So when that chief "retired" we searched far and wide to get this new out of county chief to ensure no favoritism.

But only one person applied and amazingly it was a woman. How perfect? Of course a woman will protect us from sexual discrimination and favoritism.

Whatever the outcome of this time off for her, we know we won't be told anything. It's confidential. But trust the CEO and human resources and the judges that they have taken steps to ensure it is addressed. Right. For God's sake, what will it take for the probation department staff to get help to heal from years of trauma due to poor leadership?

If Mendocino county would pay competitive salaries perhaps they would get quality department heads and managers. We have become the training ground for everyone to learn and then move on to a better paying county. But the trauma of surviving new leadership to the underpaid lines staff is unreal. Our CEO’s decisions don't seem to be based on getting high performance from happy staff as much as minimizing the fiscal damage of potential lawsuits and wasting lots of money on internal investigations and consultants.

Oh yes, the new chief recently announced we are being sued in federal court by a past female employee, Amanda Carley. Nothing more about why, but we were warned we can't discuss it at work and don't erase your e-mails.

Here we go again.

But I find it amazing as a taxpaying citizen of this county that our CEO is more willing to pay for these investigations and lawsuits, most of which are resolved with a clause that the county will pay lots of money, but the defendant is sworn to secrecy about the outcome and the amount paid. This must have a huge fiscal impact on the budget which ultimately impacts the CEO’s ability to give the working staff raises which would ultimately get us better quality staff and leaders who would stay around and not behave immaturely as they learn how to lead.

Oh my god, and this poor sucker who has to be the interim chief! This should be his opportunity to prove he can lead and fix this new mess but this is quite possibly a setup for the poor guy if she comes back. She already is open about the fact that she doesn't like him, so he is a dead man walking if he doesn't do what she would do. They should have just given the interim position to her boyfriend. He knows what she wants and he won't get punished. If it is already this bad in only seven months, why would they work so hard to keep her there? Everyone knows an employee will do their best during the first year. So if there are problems during that time it won't get better.

Obviously I can't sign this.

I hope you can do some investigating and report on this.

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From the Probation Department’s webpage:

Leadership: Leadership for the Probation Department is provided by the following individuals:

Chief Probation Officer — Pamela R. Markham

Adult Division Manager — Jean Glentzer

Juvenile Division Manager — Kevin Kelley

Juvenile Hall — Brady Bechtol

Business Services — Cathy White

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(Superior Court press release May, 2016)

Pamela Markham appointed as new Chief Probation Officer for Mendocino County

Pamela Markham of Lakeport has been appointed as the next Chief Probation Officer for Mendocino County. Markham will succeed Buck Ganter, who will be retiring in July after serving as CPO since May 2013. She will assume her new duties on July 5.

Carmel J. Angelo, Mendocino County CEO, stated, “We are very excited to have Ms. Markham joining our executive leadership team as the County’s Chief Probation Officer. Her experience and leadership skills will be an asset to the County and will bring a new energy to the Probation Department.”

Markham has a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice from Sacramento State University, and is pursuing a master’s degree in justice management from the University of Nevada in Reno. Since February 2014, she has served as probation program manager for the Nevada County Probation Department. Previously, Markham served as a deputy probation officer and as a supervising deputy probation officer in Nevada County. She has also served as adjunct faculty in administration of justice at Yuba Community College. In 2014 she received the Trainer of the Year Award from the Chief Probation Officers of California.

She currently lives in Lakeport with her husband, attorney David Markham, and her four daughters.

Juvenile Court Judge David Riemenschneider, chair of the CPO Search Committee, stated, “We recognize this is a very important appointment and position to fill for Mendocino County; and after a thorough search process involving many people, I concluded that Pamela Markham is the right person for this job. We are fortunate to have hired someone with her experience and qualifications, and we look forward to many years with her as our Chief Probation Officer.”

Markham stated, “I am honored to be chosen as the next Chief Probation Officer; and I am excited to work with the Court, the Board of Supervisors, community justice partners and community based organizations in Mendocino County, as well as the staff members at the Probation Department. I look forward to filling Chief Ganter’s shoes and continuing to implement evidence based practices to promote public safety by reducing recidivism.”

Excerpt from Probation Newsletter, May 2013

The Happiest Probation Officer In Mendocino County: Amanda Carley

Walk past her office and there are affirmations all over the walls and windows telling everyone, “Live for today and make it so beautiful that it’s worth remembering.”

Amanda Carley instills a message of comfort to all who greet her. She has been with the department for one and a half years and has excelled in the duty of embracing the needs of each probationer on her case load. When staffing a probationer in her office it sounds as if a student is in the dean’s office getting instructions on the things they need to do and the things they should not do.

Ms. Carley enjoys her work and enters the probation department with a smile and leaves at the end of the day with that same smile. Behind that genuine smile is the inclination to be a professional photographer and use her skills whenever needed. She shared her talent at the first Mendocino DRC Transition Celebration and every photo in this newsletter is the result of her skills and devoted time.

We at the Mendocino DRC salute Probation Officer Amanda Carley and thank her for her efforts to help our staff, guide program participants to success and record those successes to help them feel appreciated over and over again.

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CHARLIE LAMB NEEDS SOME HELP

One of Humboldt’s own is ill, very ill. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Charlie Lamb, a father of four, was diagnosed last month with stage 4 Lymphoma. Lamb has been stationed all over Humboldt County including for a time as the Shelter Cove resident deputy.

“He plays a really huge role from Southern Humboldt to Orleans,” explained Jessika Sterling, his niece. “He is one of the most honest hardworking men I know…He never turns his head when it comes to helping someone out.  I don’t know anyone more deserving of help in a time of need then he is.”

In the last two weeks, the community has rallied around Deputy Lamb and raised over $27,000. “It makes me teary to think about all the people who have reached out to help my family,” Deputy Lamb said. “I can’t tell you the stress that this removes. Taking care of my family means more to me than I can ever tell you.”

Still, more is needed. A tumor the size of a volleyball has been discovered in Lamb’s abdomen. Plus, other smaller ones have been found.

Lamb and his family need your help. If you can donate, go to his GoFundMe site here.

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THE PHONE CALL

It was an hour-long call whose point, the man said several times, several ways, was that there was no help for the self-destructive woman he was in love with. “I know you know that, I know everyone knows that now, but still….”

He proceeded to tell me his story, breaking down several times, a story we’ve all heard many times, the now old story about someone self-destructing. If there’s a family anywhere in the country untouched by drugs or alcohol, that’s a rare family indeed, and this was one more. The caller commenced the usual story, unusual only in its specifics of persons and places, of one woman’s disintegration and his partial disintegration because of it. A woman whose behavior estranged her family and segued on into arrests, hospitalizations, sympathetic but powerless therapists, suicidal drinking.

I had no reason to disbelieve the caller, but there were things he said that made me want to hear from her. “But she’s gone again,” he said, “and I have no idea where.”

He said he could look out his window at the exact spot he met her as she walked alone in a night rain. “I stopped to offer her a ride, and long story short I told her she could stay at my place until she figured out what she wanted to do. I wasn’t hitting on her. I just felt sorry for her. She’s twenty years younger than me, and some people wonder about that. I know some people thought I was taking advantage of her, trading a place to stay for sex. I wasn’t. I fell in love with her.” He said she’d been married to “a millionaire” but her drinking and, as the therapists characterize psycho-meltdowns, her “disintegration” blew up the marriage.

And so commenced the Fort Bragg man’s years of martyrdom to a woman who drank so heavily that at one point, when her liver began to bleed out, she had to be medically detoxed at the Adventist Hospital in Ukiah, an eight-day process that saved her life. “They were all wonderful to her,” the man said. “In all her trouble in Mendocino County everyone, except one Fort Bragg cop, has been wonderful to her. She needs permanent help but there isn’t any.” (That cop seemed to assess their cohabitation as some kind of psychotic mutual dependence, the solution to which was hauling the female half over the hill to the County Jail.)

The Fort Bragg police were often at the couple’s door. Drinking heavily, the woman would go off, screaming, breaking stuff. The neighbors would call the cops, and she’d be arrested and he would be looking for a new rental.

Not the first quicksand relationship, certainly. But this fool for love (in the better sense) says he’s gone broke trying to save her, and from the despair he radiates, he’s doomed, too. But he’s still unwilling to de-couple himself. Most people would have bailed early on as, from what he said, this woman’s intact family did years ago when they threw up their hands and wrote her off, if it’s ever that simple.

The man’s affection, from what he said, was seldom returned while he fed and sheltered her, took care of her, worried about her. She once accused him of raping her, charges that DA Eyster took one look at and tossed, but it cost him three days in jail with a dangerous charge.

I looked up her mug shots. She doesn’t appear as prematurely ravaged as most of the female frequent fliers her age. In fact, she looks pretty good considering the way she often lives, pinballing between her Fort Bragg benefactor and homeless camps in Eureka, Chico, and the Bay Area where, as an attractive female, she’s undoubtedly more than welcome among the legions of unhoused males roaming the state. Doesn’t have to be stated that homelessness is no place for an unhinged mother of two teenage daughters.

Used to be that persons unable or unwilling to care for themselves were immediately confined to mental hospitals. Governor Reagan, with the usual bi-partisan complicity of liberals, took down that logical solution to “the homeless problem.” And the voters of Mendocino County narrowly voted down Sheriff Allman’s sensible 2016 proposal for an in-County psychiatric facility.

I called the Fort Bragg Police Department today, Saturday. I asked if the peripatetic outpatient had been reported as a missing person. Brusquely informed, “I can’t release that information” by the dispatcher, as if a simple Yes or No was stratospherically beyond her pay grade.

There’s no way a happy ending is even a remote possibility in this one, but at a minimum she ought to be formally registered as missing.

The missing woman's parents, we're told, are on their way to Mendocino to rescue her, assuming she can be found.

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WE THE LIVING

Editor,

I was really impressed with Bruce Patterson’s article in the April 5th’s issue of the AVA. My situation was almost exactly like his. Back from Vietnam at 19, out of the Marines at 20, and having a wife and kid by 28. His article was a written masterpiece and should be published in all the national periodicals like Time, Newsweek, New Yorker, etc. Even in Sojourners.

John Rensen

Potter Valley

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “It was cold and wet yesterday evening about 6 when I heard a lot of running around outside. I ran outside and what I saw scared the hell outta me. It looked like a bunch of dwarf Druids out there until I realized the incompetents hadn't paid any attention to the frost warnings and were frantically improvising protection for the new trees Darius gave us. Uh, please don't tell the incompetents I called them incompetents. I need these people to open my food every day.”

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PROPANE CO-OP?

Interesting discussion on MCN-listserve of the possibility for propane-dependent Mendo to drive prices down:

Subject: Great Propane Pricing

We use more than 700 gallons a year.  I'd venture to say that the homeowners on this list average a similar amount.  Think about it:  20 homes from this list could buy as much as 14,000 gallons a year.  A pretty strong competitive position to take in negotiating pricing. Any suggestions on how to put this coop together would be welcome on this list.

Mark Slafkes

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Peter Reimuller wrote:

Why doesn't someone on this list start a MCN-Propane CO-OP group?  One person would do the negotiation, and everyone on the list who live in the coastal, or inland, market area serviced by your winning distributor would get the benefit. You'd meet lots of people, you'd do good for your community. You could keep more money local. I already belong to a coop at a great price so it's not something I will do. It's easy. I can teach you how. There's at least 1500 people on this list, and most live on the coast. Hell, 100 is a giant coop. 15 would be a good coop. You'd need your own MCN list serve category, but that's easy to get.

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A READER COMMENTS on how the HumCo pot permit process works (and how it will work in Mendo, too):

It’s awesome, I'm buying more land! I'll run by the undeveloped department and pick up a few more affidavits. Grow one or two crops before the permit gets processed. When the workaholics get around to processing the permit, I'll just jump to another couple properties, and restart. All of this has to stay in the black market. Without a permit you can't operate in the legal market. Thank you Humboldt County. Please open up the permitting again, I'd hate to have to go back to growing in the tree tops on Forest Service land.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, April 8, 2017

Blank, Cannon, Dodson

GARY BLANK*, Garberville/Ukiah. Murder, murder-robbery, murder-burglary, first degree robbery, burglary, attempted murder, felon with weapon.

BRIANNA CANNON, Fort Bragg. Vandalism.

TRACY DODSON, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

Faber, France, Garcia

DOMINIC FABER, Ukiah. Parole violation.

CHRISTOPHER FRANCE, Willits. DUI-drugs, vehicle theft, DUI, suspended license.

DANIEL GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Meth possession for sale, under influence,

Garrett, Herrera, Hull

SHAWN GARRETT, Lakeport/Fort Bragg. Domestic assault, assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury.

BRANDON HERRERA, Ukiah. DUI-drugs&alcohol.

JOSEPH HULL, Fort Bragg. Vehicle theft, vandalism, controlled substance.

Moore, Sowers, Vigil

JOSHUA MOORE, Willits. Dirk-dagger, county parole violation, resisting.

KNOX SOWERS, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

LOUIE VIGIL, Redwood Valley. Meth possession for sale, probation revocation.

(* Gary Blank is the last suspect to be arrested for the murder of Laytonville pot grower Jeffrey Settler. He was arrested in New Jersey in early March and is now being booked into the Mendocino County Jail. Looks like the police think he may have been the ringleader since he has more serious charges than the other five suspects in custody who are all charged with murder but not burglary or attempted murder.)

Blank (wanted poster, Blank (arrested in New Jersey in March), Blank (booked in Mendo in April)

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INDIA FLEXES ITS MUSCLE: PART II

by Jonah Raskin

Jaipur, India — I have watched a whole family of monkeys perched on ancient stonewalls, and I have followed elephants as they’ve galumphed down the avenues of monstrous cities—undaunted by polluting buses, trucks and scooters. From the back seat of an air-conditioned car I have observed farmers harvesting wheat on plots of land so small I wonder how they can possibly eke out an existence. I have also visited villages without proper sanitation or potable water and I have stopped along super highways to sip chai tea when it's 100 degrees by 8 a.m. and 100 degrees 12 hours later, and no relief in sight. It's April in India and the rains are far away. The dry hills around Jaipur—one of the most popular tourist destinations in India—make me think of California in the drought. Even the monkeys look parched. The elephants could use a cold shower.

The Indians I have met on my quest to find the soul of India tell me that their country is a land of contrasts and contradictions. I can see them before my own eyes. Almost everywhere I turn, I notice opulence and squalor, along with indelible beauty and unforgettable suffering. I have never seen human beings so thin and emaciated and so determined to survive. Granted, China, Russia and the U.S.A. are lands of extremes. Still, extremes seem to thrive in “Mother India,” as its sons and daughters call it. They thrive here more completely than in any other places I have ever visited, from the jungles of Mexico to the teeming streets of Hanoi.

Often described as the world's largest democracy—and at the same time as one of the most corrupt nations on the face of the earth—India refuses to be wrapped up in a single phrase or image, though the English novelist, E. M. Forster, caught something essential when he called India both a “muddle” and a “mystery.” Traffic in New Delhi is certainly a mess. At almost any time of day, it might take 30 minutes to go 3 kilometers. The car is killing New Delhi. But when compared with corruption, traffic jams are a minor blip on the screen. Many Indian friends told me on my recent visit that corruption is the number one problem that holds their nation back from social and economic progress. Indeed, corruption seems to pervade India from top to bottom: from New Delhi, the capital, all the way to the coconut groves of Kerala near the southern tip of the country, once a Communist stronghold, now increasingly a destination for eco-tourists. From my own perspective, Indian corruption seems to be inseparable from the illiteracy and poverty that stare a visitor in the face.

In the swimming pool at the back of the luxury hotel where I stayed for three days and nights, a dark-skinned tourist from Sri Lanka who works as a nurse told me tales of corruption in his own country and in India, too. He added that Indian politicians have fueled the conflicts between Muslims and Hindus to fatten their own bank accounts and to tighten their grip on the levers of power. My Indian friends—who shall remain anonymous—are mostly teachers, writers and intellectuals who express both sadness and anger about the fate of their nation that came into existence seventy years ago—in 1947—a year before Gandhi was assassinated by a member of the Hindu Nationalist Party. Some of my friends blame the British for India’s problems today: for dividing and conquering the country and setting the stage for the seemingly unending strife between Hindus and Muslims. A college student named Hamid explained that the British Empire was a snake that injected India with its poison and that India had not yet recovered. But a feisty woman who teaches English literature and who encourages her students to take risks and defy the authorities told me: "at least the British came here and sweated it out with the rest of us." She added "these days the new imperialists do it all by e-mail from far away."

Most of the Indians I met on my recent visit were Hindus. Some complained that Muslims are largely uneducated, and that they had far too many children for their own good and the good of the society. Not true, Muslims insisted! In fact, Muslims often view themselves as a minority persecuted by the Hindu majority: told what they can eat and what they can or cannot wear; when and where to cover-up faces and bodies, and where and when to meet in public. Under new “Anti-Romeo” laws as they are called, the police can arrest young men simply because they talk to young women in public. Meanwhile, the men who make war against women go free.

At times, India seems to be a cultural and religious battleground between meat-eating Muslims and vegetarian-eating Hindus. Perhaps if Rudyard Kipling were alive today he would have to revise his statement about the irreconcilable differences between east and west and say, "Hindus are Hindus, Muslims are Muslims and never the twain shall meet."

Still, most of my Indian friends are a cheerful lot who love good food and good books and like nothing better than to sit, drink tea and talk about Shakespeare, about the brilliant Indian novelist, Salman Rushdie, and their unsung heroes, including a little known Indian nationalist named Subhas Chandra Bose (1897-1945) who worked with Gandhi and then broke with Gandhi and created an army of Indian soldiers to battle the British with bullets and bayonets and drive them into the Indian Ocean. Call Bose an Indian Mao.

Since Bose's death following a plane crash at the end of World War II, a sleek and sinister empire has turned India into a new source of cheap labor and a market for mass-produced goods. A few hours at a gigantic mall made it clear to me that the same designer brands that are available in the U.S.A. are also available in India. And an afternoon of watching Indian TV convinced me that American-style ads and programs are poisoning a land that has been invaded and occupied for centuries—by the Moguls, the Persians, the British, the Japanese and now the Americans. The lords and their overseers lashed the men who constructed the tombs, temples, forts and walls that tourists now flock to see. The laborers who actually built the grand edifices rarely if ever receive credit for their toil. So, too, today tens of millions of workers who build the towering skyscrapers and the new metro lines and stations are never publicly acknowledged. Bertolt Brecht addressed that issue in his poem, “A Worker Reads History”:

Who built the seven gates of Thebes?

The books are filled with names of kings.

Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?

And Babylon, so many times destroyed.

Who built the city up each time?

One night, gazing up at the blue sky from the courtyard of a run-down hostel where I slept and ate vegetarian food for three days, I wondered when and where India might find its saviors and when Indians might again mutiny against their masters?

When I repeated to a young Indian mother the hostile comments I had heard about Hindus by Muslims, she turned to me, sniggered and said, “Bull Shit.” I was refreshed to hear that mild obscenity in a land in which Mahatma Gandhi himself said, “Pure thought is far more potent than the spoken word.” Sorry, Mahatma, but in my view, India could use a lot less pure thought, a lot more of the spoken word and perhaps even a smattering of four-letter words.

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PRICEONOMICS

This story the other day in the Chronicle read like a MTA press release (Parking officer’s career is no ticket to popularity) about a regular meter guy just trying to do an unpopular job.

The reporter didn't ask him any uncomfortable questions, like How many tickets are you expected to issue every day? That is, what's your quota? Governments hate to admit there is such a thing, but there obviously is, as has been verified over the years (See No matter what you call it, it's a quotaMeter guy issued "as many citations as I could..."and Parking meters: "Managing" parking or about "revenue benefits" for the city?).

The latest Transportation Fact Sheet tells us how much "revenue" the meter maids/dudes bring in: Parking meters (page 9) made $53,738,314 and parking tickets (page 12) made $88,261,220 for what the City Treasurer calls our "predatory government."

It's not just San Francisco, though we apparently have the most expensive parking tickets in the country. See also Revenue-Hungry Cities Mess with Traffic Lights to Write More Tickets and Make Driving More Dangerous.

(Rob Anderson, Courtesy, District5Diary)

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Fort Bragg Blooms (photo by Susie de Castro)

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I was watching Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox last night. It is the only one I watch. Tucker, for those who don’t know, has been decidedly anti-war and has been going toe-to-toe nightly with the hysterical democrats shaking in their boots over bogeyman Putin. Tucker was in the midst of skewering a guest over this no evidence gas attack thing when Fox broke for a war update, and Tucker was gone for the night. I doubt if it was coincidental. Fox couldn’t have Tucker questioning the mission at the same time all the networks, especially Fox, were promoting it. So, unless all the talk shows are cancelled for round-the-clock war coverage, I’m wondering if Tucker will be on at 9 tonight. Even though he topped the ratings, Phil Donohue was abruptly fired when he refused to toe the war line at MSNBC in the run up to W’s Shock & Awe. Same thing in 2012 (or was it 2008?) when Judge Napolitano was cancelled by FBN for opposing war and favoring Ron Paul. Face it, we live in a corporate totalitarian dystopia and there is no free press except on the Internet – and that is in grave danger. If Tucker does come back on, I look for him to be muzzled, like a Stepford wife on Soma.

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AMERICAN CRUISE MISSILES blew up an airfield last night in Syria because the dictator there was using chemical weapons—which he has done many times. In 2013, 98 Republicans signed a letter saying bombing Syria in response to a chemical attack was unconstitutional without congressional authorization. But this is different, because Obama was president then. That would have involved bombing while black. This is very tricky for Donald Trump, because the Syrian regime is propped up by Russia, and Russia does not want us bombing there. If Trump does the wrong thing, Putin might not re-elect him. But the temptation to use his new toys was too much. In America, you’re not really president until you bomb something. Even the liberals were all over this last night. Everybody loves this fuckin’ thing. Cable news loves it when they show footage of destroyers firing cruise missiles at night. It’s America’s money shot. — Bill Maher

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GUESS WHO

Editor:

I love Google.

Question 1: What does the head of Medicare get paid?
Answer: $115,000 to $122,000 per year.

Question 2: What do the CEOs of health insurance companies get paid?
Answer: The two top guys at Aetna and Cigna topped out at $17.3 million each.

Question 3: Which party did they contribute to?
Answer: Guess.

Bill Siemering

Bodega Bay

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RECORD LOW KLAMATH SALMON RUN SPURS TRIBAL, COMMERCIAL AND SPORT FISHERY CLOSURES

by Dan Bacher

Fishery scientists are expecting a record low return of fall-run Chinook salmon to the Klamath River this year, due to a combination of several years of drought, water diversions in the Klamath Basin and to the Sacramento River and the continued presence of the PacifiCorp dams.

Tribal, commercial and recreational fishermen are currently waiting for the decision by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) on the fishing seasons at its meeting in Sacramento on Monday, April 10, but the outlook is dismal, based on the low Klamath salmon estimates.

The pre-season numbers released by Michael O’Farrell of the National Marine Fisheries Service in March estimate only 54,200 Klamath River fall Chinook adults and 230,700 Sacramento River fall Chinook adults will be in the ocean this year.

Commercial fishermen and families and sport anglers are facing an “unmitigated disaster” in the Klamath Management Zone (KMZ) of the ocean extending from Humbug Mountain, Oregon to Horse Mountain, California, according to Noah Oppenheim, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.

This disaster takes place as Governor Jerry Brown continues to move forward with a Delta Tunnels project that will not only hasten the extinction of Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt and green sturgeon, but will further imperil the salmon and steelhead fisheries of the Klamath and Trinity rivers.

Due to the poor status of Klamath River fall Chinook this year, none of the three alternatives proposed by the Council provide for any Chinook–directed fisheries in the Klamath Management Zone, although one alternative does include a mark-selective coho fishery in the Oregon portion of the zone and extending north to Cape Falcon.

“California and Oregon are facing an unprecedented crisis,” said Oppenheim, in a press teleconference on April 6. “We are facing a closure in the Klamath Management Zone and we also expect to see restricted seasons in Northern and Central California. This follows a disastrous salmon season last year.”

“Even if Klamath stocks were healthier, we would likely see fishing restrictions due to below average returns to California’s Central Valley. Salmon, the West’s original water users, are paying the highest price for this tragic water management failure,” stated Oppenheim.

Yurok Tribe: worst year in history for Klamath salmon

For the Yurok Tribe, who have fished the Klamath for thousands of years, the looming closure will be also be an “unprecedented disaster,” according to Amy Cordalis, the Tribe’s General Counsel, a Yurok Tribe member and fisherwoman.  Her family lives and fishes in Requa at the mouth of the Klamath River.

““This is the worst year in history for Klamath salmon,” said Cordalis. “There is no mystery as to why. The effects of an unprecedented drought were exacerbated by dams and diversions. This year, Yurok, Karuk and Hupa people will have little to no salmon for the first time in history. Although the fish are important economically, they are more important as an irreplaceable part of our identity as people who care for the river.”

“Since time immemorial we have practiced a fishing way of life. We have never ever relocated, but we are still on our river and continue our fisheries way of life,” she stated.

The Tribe will have no commercial fishing season this year, a fishery that many tribal members depend on for their income. And the subsistence allocation is 650 fish, the lowest allocation ever.

“That’s only 650 fish for a total of 6100 members of the tribe,” Cordalis said “Last year, it was 5,800 fish, the second lowest ever allocation. People in the community are devastated. They are coming to the tribal offices in shock. People are asking how they are going to feed their families and how they are going to keep the lights on.”

“When the fish leave our area, we are back home smoking and canning fish and talking about the great times we had,” said Cordalis. “None of this will happen this year. The great sense of community won’t be there. Our community is also suffering from already high unemployment and an 80 percent poverty rate. This is a social justice and is survival issue.”

“Our cultural covenant requires that we never take more than we can sustainably harvest,” Cordalis said. “Because there are not enough fish, we won’t have a commercial harvest this year. We won’t have income to support our families. Our people left with no other options.”

She emphasized, “Closing the fishery same for us as closing the plant in one plant town. It will be a hard time for us.”

Cordallis said this year’s fishery failure is the result of “200 years of water development and consumptive use in the Klamath Basin,” noting that the PacifCorp dams were built without fish ladders. The dams also cause poor water quality, spurring big toxic blue algae blooms and creating warm water conditions that allow fish diseases to spread.

The fish disease C. Shasta killed 81 percent of juvenile salmon on the Klamath and 90 percent in 2015 , resulting in this year’s record low numbers of fish. “These are sampled Chinook juveniles that are a surrogate to indicate rates of coho salmon (ESA) listed species) infection,” noted Craig Tucker, Natural Resources Policy Advocate for the Karuk Tribe. “You need a surrogate species as there are too few coho to sample.”

Lawsuits spur plan to increase river flows to mitigate disease

Although the outlook for 2017 is grim, Tribal, commercial and recreational fishermen say they have some cause for optimism, due to the current efforts to restore the river and the heavy snow and rain that fell in the Klamath and Trinity watersheds this season.

Water managers are currently developing a plan to increase river flows to mitigate for fish disease outbreaks. This plan is the result of successful lawsuits by the Hoopa Valley Tribe and the Yurok Tribe, PCFFA, the Klamath Riverkeeper and Earthjustice.

On February 8, a U.S. District Court judge ordered federal agencies to immediately take steps to protect juvenile coho salmon after several years of deadly disease outbreaks in the Klamath River. Klamath River coho salmon are listed as threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Hoopa Valley Tribe, who initiated the lawsuit, lauded the decision challenging the government’s inaction during two years of high disease rates and poor adult salmon returns.

“The Hoopa Valley Tribe depends on salmon for our livelihood and will not stand idle while our people’s culture is jeopardized,” said Ryan Jackson, Chairman of the Hoopa Valley Tribe. “This decision is a win for the Tribe and all communities that depend on Klamath salmon.”

The Hoopa Valley Tribe will also be greatly impacted by the looming salmon season restrictions, particularly  during their biannual white deer skin dance and world renewal ceremonies that will begin in August, according to Mike Orcutt, the Tribe’s Fisheries Director.

“Approximately on 130 fish will available for the  3400 members of the Tribe,” said Orcutt. “Not to have salmon for people participating in our ceremonies will be unfathomable.”

Dam removal plan moves forward

Tucker also said Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Energy, operating as PacifiCorp, has proposed “an ambitious plan” to remove the lower four Klamath River Dams, “a product of years of negotiations with basin stakeholders along with state and federal agencies." Many consider this the largest salmon restoration project in history.

Tribal fishery biologists said the high, flushing flows this year point to more promising salmon runs in future years. Mike Belchick, Yurok fishery biologist, said the trouble with the fishery we’re now seeing is largely the result of the disease problem the juvenile salmon migrating out of the river and its tributaries encountered in 2014 and 2015.

“It’s too early to determine what happen with disease this year," Belchik said. “With this year's large winter flows, we have hope for the future, althought it doesn’t help with the salmon run this year.”

Cordallis called on the entire nation to join the Yurok Tribe in supporting the restoration of the Klamath — and emphasized that this year’s salmon collapse impacts people throughout the Klamath watershed and in coastal communities through Oregon and California.

She said she is more hopeful than ever over dam removal, scheduled to occur in 2020. “According to the agreement, environmentalists, Tribes and fishermen will facilitate dam removal by going through the FERC process. I am so encouraged to have all the partners committed to dam removal now," she said.

Cordalis also said that river advocates must review and update the “whole set of laws" that determine how the operations system on the river is managed. She pointed out the need for comprehensive river management on an ecosystem basis.

Mike Orcutt emphasized, “In addition to the dam removal that we have supported through the FERC process, there’s major water quality and quantity ssues we need to address in the areas where the dams will be removed.”

Leaf Hillman, Natural Resources Director for the Karuk Tribe, said PacifiCorp’s dam removal plan gives him hope for the future.

“They know that dam removal is in the best economic interests of their shareholders and customers. And I know dam removal is in the best interests of the Karuk Tribe.”

“We’re confident that dams will come down,” concluded Cordalis. “We’ve always been on the Klamath and we will continue to be there. This fishery disaster will come to pass.”

Tucker said the dam removal plan requires no federal spending. PacifiCorp is contributing $200 million and California has committed up to $250 million in additional funds as needed. The Tribes and anglers are hopeful that the Trump administration will support dam removal, as did both the Bush and Obama administrations.

The dam removal proposal is now awaiting approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). A 2012 Environmental Impact Statement and other studies have concluded that Klamath dam removal is safe and will dramatically benefit Klamath fisheries and water quality, according to Tucker.

This will be last generation of salmon fishermen — unless salmon runs improve

Meanwhile, Oppenheim said commercial fishermen, along with Tribes, are working with state and federal agencies to take all of the steps necessary for securing disaster relief.

“We will hunker down and make this work,” he noted. “Commercial fishermen are a resilient bunch and will get support from local communities. Commercial fishermen will be defaulting on loans, selling boats, and taking other measures to get by. We need change and we need it now.”

Recreational anglers and charter boat skippers, particularly in the Klamath Management Zone, will also be impacted by the looming closures.

“This announcement means we’re going to have to fish for other species in order to make a living, that’s a fact,” said Tim Klassen, captain of the charter fishing vessel Reel Steel, fishing out of Eureka. “The long term health of salmon is more important than just one season. We’ve been through this before and it hurts, but if we don’t do something soon to improve our salmon runs, we will be the last generation of salmon fishermen in California.”

For the latest information on the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s decision on the salmon fishing seasons, go to: www.pcouncil.org.

* * *

EARTH DAY MAKER SPACE:

Build a Live Moss and Lichen Terrarium

Sunday, April 23rd 2:00-3:30pm

Keep the spirit of Earth Day alive the following day with an Earth Day Maker Space at the Library - make a terrarium! A terrarium is “a sealed transparent globe or similar container in which plants are grown.” Help build a new habitat for live moss and lichen we’ve gathered from the wilds of Ukiah to take home. Feel free to bring any special embellishments you’d like to add to your terrarium. All other materials & supplies will be provided. Please call 463-4490 to sign up. This workshop will be facilitated by Kevin Carr, Mendocino College Agriculture Department. Sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.

* * *

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

Immigrant Rights & Protecting Undocumented Individuals

by Antoinette Gonzalez, California-licensed attorney

Friday, April 21st 5:30 pm

Know Your Rights! Join us for a presentation by local attorney, Antoinette Gonzalez, about immigration rights & how best to prepare & protect undocumented individuals. She will also share information about potential immigration remedies & about “What’s Next? - Proposed Immigration Relief.” This presentation will be in both English & Spanish.

Antoinette Gonzalez is a California licensed attorney & a solo practitioner that enjoys legal advocacy in immigration and nationality law. She is currently a Board Member of the Northern CA Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

For more information – please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or carrm@co.mendocino.ca.us

* * *

More Library info/activities at:

www.mendolibrary.org

* * *

OH, MAGOO, YOU’VE DONE IT AGAIN!

(Marco McClean’s Friday Night Memo of the Air/KNYO Radio program summary.)

“When a grid’s misaligned with another behind, that’s a moire/ When the spacing is tight and the difference is slight, that’s a moire.” — Randall Patrick Munroe

Here’s the recording of last night’s (2017-04-07) KNYO (and, three hours in, also KMEC) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show ready to download and enjoy.

Or, thanks to Hank Sims of Lost Coast Outpost, you can get it this other way, which you might like better because it offers an instant-play option and isn’t surrounded by confusing flashing ads.

Just as I was starting the show John Redding came in and played a few songs on his guitar. He had an appealingly Mister-Rogers-like manner. I hope he visits again. Keeter Stewart (sp?) showed up and played a few songs of his and others, sounding, I thought, very like Greg Brown in both guitar style and voice, and that was it for walk-ins. After that you can expect the usual odd items and louder, less even flow of when I’m doing the show from next to the bar and not from Juanita’s apartment where I have to not wake up the neighbors. When I read parts 3-6 of Ezekiel Krahlin’s story about a time-traveler in a Motel 6 going back to relatively ancient Jerusalem to investigate the myth of Jesus I blew the crucial last line, and here’s how that happened:

Ezekiel sent email to the MCN announce and discussion listservs, and at deadline time I was speed-checking (blinking at) all my all-week email one last time as I snatched up the last of the text for the file to print to take to the show, and there was email with something vaguely like what I remembered from Ezekiel’s story, which was already printed because I had it left over from last week, already in the milk crate in the car, and for some reason I mistook this email for a correction request. It wasn’t even addressed to me, but to someone else on the listserv, but I saw it, misread it and misinterpreted it and at like 2:30am when I got to that part I was a little proud of remembering and just changed the line on the fly. Changed the word lilies to dildos. The last word of the story. When I got home at 5 or 6 I checked my email before I went to bed and there was Zeke’s surprisingly gentle WTF? Jesus, sorry, Zeke. Wow. Oh, well.

That will go down in my personal things-to-ever-after-wince-at ledger right next to the time I had just been reading a funny story about how you should never ask a woman if she’s pregnant because 1. it’s none of your business and 2. she might be just fat, which is equally none of your business, not to mention: if you (the world) think she’s fat enough to be pregnant, why say it and make it worse?, and I was talking with a woman who was not fat –statuesque, rather, much bigger than Juanita, my standard for women, but well-enough-proportioned– but something in conversation reminded me of the article and that kind of funny foot-in-mouth moment and I said, “…Like, what are you, pregnant?” (referring to the article that, who knows why, my brain just assumed everyone else had read) and everybody at the table froze, and she glared at me, and inside I was like, Marco! What, why, no, arghh! Go back! But you can’t go back, can you.

Then there was the time in the mid-1990s I was delivering the pulp version of Memo in Ukiah and went to put a couple in the library and went in the back to talk to Pat Hunt, who ran Redwood Free Net and so I knew he worked for the library, and his office was plastered with pictures of singer Holly Near in all stages of her career and age and size and so on, and I was amusedly creeped out by the stalker-ness of it all, and I said, “You must be a big fan of Holly Near.” He said, “I love her.” I said, “Uh-huh. Does Holly Near know of your feelings on the subject?” “Yes. She’s my wife.” It interested me to be in the same room, you know, in an office setting, with someone so fucked up, and so this weird conversation went on for a very long time before I finally grasped that he was really married to Holly Near. I have a vast internal gallery of moments like that. I’ll take you on a tour sometime.

Oh! And at the end of the show, instead of an old-time radio drama, I played the recording I made Wednesday in Helen Schoeni Theater of Susan Maeder’s one-woman show, The Goosefoot Tango: A Love Story, about a 14th century French holy woman who had a goosefoot for a foot, and who invented cigarets, and who had a relationship with Jesus who would, when not away on business, teach her different dances and stay for breakfast, as they say. It was so late, though; I’ll make arrangements with Bob and play it much earlier in the evening one night this coming week on KNYO, and I’ll let you know before that, so you can listen. I’ve known Susan Maeder for thirty –almost forty years, and I had no idea what a great writer she is. It’s a wonderful story. It’s like an hour long.

Besides all that, here are links to a few not necessarily radio-useful but otherwise worthwhile items that I set aside for yez while putting the show together, found mostly thanks to the fine websites listed to your right:

Man builds and learns to fly a real-life Iron Man flying suit.

http://technabob.com/blog/2017/04/03/daedalus-iron-man-flying-suit/

Water from air.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtKXkCfWmyY

The arrow of time.

https://laughingsquid.com/a-long-haired-woman-shows-what-simple-tasks-look-like-when-performed-in-reverse/

“No, his ears were rather like a fat Japanese businessman.” “What about the mouth, then. Did he have a mouth?” “No.” (You’re wondering where you know that actor from. He was York in Hyperdrive. And he was policeman in Hugo.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rEBtpWQ7x8

A textbook case.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhSjYT7pWkw

“I think there’s something cathartic about being quite thoroughly freaked out. To have the adrenaline rush with the knowledge that these things are safely confined to the book. You put it away. Not real.”

http://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com/2017/04/mastermind.html

Terrorist attacks plotted in real time. (Left out, of course: domestic violence, or even just a small part of the world would look like popcorn popping.) (Look up /terrorism/. Domestic violence fits the description perfectly.)

https://storymaps.esri.com/stories/terrorist-attacks/?year=2017

Puddles the Clown sings Pinball Wizard to the tune of Folsom Prison Blues.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bfPwtUTP4k

Where the pro pianist is looking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVvY8KfXXgE

“Nobody ever handed /me/ anything on a plate.”

http://thewireless.co.nz/articles/the-pencilsword-on-a-plate

Service.

https://vimeo.com/211513023

“What kind of private school would let in these kind of guys? It started out as Hogwarts, now it’s Lord of the Flies.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsgWUq0fdKk

Slide mouse around to change gaze. Click to change character.

http://alteredqualia.com/xg/examples/eyes_gaze2.html

Soviet kid cartoon.

http://boingboing.net/2017/04/05/watch-this-trippy-soviet-kid.html

The story of American ingenuity.

http://boingboing.net/2017/04/05/the-story-of-american-ingenuit.html

Some more Vietnam photos.

http://dangerousminds.net/comments/viet_cong_during_vietnam_war

Gravity-powered analog 3-D printer.

http://theawesomer.com/analog-3d-printer/419709/

And, while you’re here, tell Congress to pass the Social Security Expansion Act.

https://act.credoaction.com/sign/sanders_ssea?t=1&akid=22485.942004.1U5my7

And tell Congress to support Medicare for All.

https://act.sumofus.org/go/352860?t=1&akid=29095.1043744.CJrCEH

 

29 Comments

  1. LouisBedrock April 9, 2017

    Syria discussion for adults:

    Many of the analyses of the Syrian conflict I’ve read in the comments section are simplistic and puerile.

    The real reasons for the conflict in Syria involve money, resources, and U.S. imperial strategy. What else?

    The conflict revolves around the competition to build gas pipelines between Qatar and Iran as explained in a 2015 article by Pepe Escobar.

    “Syria is an energy war. With the heart of the matter featuring a vicious geopolitical competition between two proposed gas pipelines, it is the ultimate Pipelinestan  war, the term I coined long ago for the 21st century imperial energy battlefields.

    It all started in 2009, when Qatar proposed to Damascus the construction of a pipeline from its own North Field – contiguous with the South Pars field, which belongs to Iran – traversing Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria all the way to Turkey, to supply the EU.

    Damascus, instead, chose in 2010 to privilege a competing project, the $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria, also know as «Islamic pipeline». The deal was formally announced in July 2011, when the Syrian tragedy was already in motion. In 2012, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with Iran.

    Until then, Syria was dismissed, geo-strategically, as not having as much oil and gas compared to the GCC petrodollar club. But insiders already knew about its importance as a regional energy corridor. Later on, this was enhanced with the discovery of serious offshore oil and gas potential.

    Iran for its part is an established oil and gas powerhouse. Persistent rumblings in Brussels – still unable to come up with a unified European energy policy after over 10 years – did account for barely contained excitement over the Islamic pipeline; that would be the ideal strategy to diversify from Gazprom. But Iran was under US and EU nuclear-related sanctions.

    That ended up turning into a key strategic reason, at least for the Europeans, for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear dossier; a «rehabilitated» (to the West) Iran is able to become a key source of energy to the EU.

    Yet, from the point of view of Washington, a geostrategic problem lingered: how to break the Tehran-Damascus alliance. And ultimately, how to break the Tehran-Moscow alliance.

    The «Assad must go» obsession in Washington is a multi-headed hydra. It includes breaking a Russia-Iran-Iraq-Syria alliance (now very much in effect as the «4+1» alliance, including Hezbollah, actively fighting all strands of Salafi Jihadism in Syria). But it also includes isolating energy coordination among them, to the benefit of the Gulf petrodollar clients/vassals linked to US energy giants.”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/12/08/syria-ultimate-pipelineistan-war/

    While the chemical attack may have been a false flag attack, no one has presented any convincing evidence that it was. There’s been little convincing information about anything about this attack. I tend to agree with Jeffrey St. Clair:

    “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.

    Trump’s decision to hit a Syrian government facility was an act of stunning rashness, made before any independent investigation into the chemical weapons attack or official determination of who was responsible–and, of course, without international or congressional authorization. It is perhaps most comparable to Bill Clinton’s bombing of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998, an act which helped to spawn two decades of endless wars.”

    I agree also with Harvey Reading. Trump is not merely an imbecile and a clown–as are his suppoorters: he’s a mass murderer like his imperial predecessors.

    The Syrian conflict is one of the reasons I was glad Clinton lost the election. Her talk of a Syrian no-fly zone scared me. However, it seems no matter who is elected, U.S. imperial foreign policy remains the same.

    • George Hollister April 9, 2017

      For conspiracies to happen, people need to be smart, not imbeciles. indications are there is nothing smart about what America is doing in the ME. Never has been. Better to start with what is on the face of it. The roots of war are in conflicts of faith, not money. The US is saying, and trying to impose a Western view on an ancient Eastern culture, and not having much luck. Why? Not because the US wants their wealth, but because the wealth they have allows these ancients to conduct war. The question of the day is, how do we best deal with that? It seems no matter what the US does, it is the wrong thing.

    • Harvey Reading April 9, 2017

      What? Why wouldn’t they?

  2. Jim Updegraff April 9, 2017

    Giants: Bumgarner allows 2 runs, pitches a complete game and the bats go dead and the Giants lose 2-1 – record now 1 – 5.

    A’s: Graveman goes 7 innings no hita and A’s win 6-l – record now 3 -3.

  3. Jim Updegraff April 9, 2017

    The Shi’ites and Sunnis have been at war with each other for a 1,000 years, so why are we getting involved?

    • George Hollister April 9, 2017

      Good question. Our answer is, freedom is embraced by everyone. It is”God’s gift” and brings people together. Right now in the ME freedom doesn’t seem to be working, and if it is a gift, there are too many there that are not taking it.

      • LouisBedrock April 9, 2017

        This is simplistic, puerile nonsense.

        • George Hollister April 9, 2017

          Start with the simple, and what is presented. Since WW2, there has been a dominant narrative from the left that the US goes to war for money. We have not seen that. Conspiracy theories, involving monied elites, are necessarily complex, and like all conspiracy theories unlikely. Yes, the war machine makes money, but the war machine does not take us to war.

          The US has not benefited, financially, from the Iraq War. Guess who has? China. Does that mean there must have been a conspiracy between the US and China involving Iraq? More likely, China is the second mouse getting the cheese. What war did the US see a direct financial benefit from? As far as I know, none. Wars cost money, and only those with money can afford war.

          George Will has a good piece in today’s PD about WW1. It speaks to the dynamic of war, all wars. Check it out. It is pretty good.

          • LouisBedrock April 9, 2017

            I’ve retired as a teacher and have neither the time nor energy to school you on the realities of imperial foreign policy. The United States wages war to maintain and expand its control of land, resources, and people—as did the British, French, Spanish, and Roman empires before it; as did the Catholic Church.

            I could compile a reading list for you, but my heart isn’t in it.
            George Will would not be on it.

            Here’s a primer for you—If you get through it and want some more recommendations, let me know.

            http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Blum/US_Interventions_WBlumZ.html

          • George Hollister April 9, 2017

            All true. But the conquests involved the necessary spreading of culture, and faith. If the cultures involved were the same, conflict would have been limited, or nonexistent. Trade would have happened without war. The British were pretty successful at spreading their culture, and making compliant trading partners. Just look at the British Commonwealth today.

            And that leads us to the question of how much does trade between divergent cultures lead to war? The existence of trade is the key. And trade will not go away, differences in culture and faith will not go away; so war will not go away.

            One can make the case that money is at the root, but the US has many trading partners that we are not at war with. In fact it is hard to imagine us being at war with. Why is that? Either we have similar cultures and faiths, or we manage to insulate ourselves from each other. The ME Muslim culture is under assault, and can not insulate itself. They are being changed by exposure to their Western trade partners. This is creating the basis for war. And we see it.

          • LouisBedrock April 9, 2017

            No, no, no.

            I’m not going to play your debating team games–your patronizing “Yes, the bombs killed a hundred people, but everyone dies anyway” games, your peremptory, “Can’t we agree
            that buying and selling inevitably leads to war games.” Your “it amounts to the same thing” games.

            We were talking about history and politics, not philosophy and sociology. Yes, the British Empire and the Catholic Church and the Spanish conquistadors were successful in spreading their cultures–a large part of Ireland is Protestant, the people of Ireland have produced their shared of “English Literature”. But how many people died at the hands of British soldiers and secret police?

            Yes, almost everyone in South America is Catholic–or at least Christian, and they all speak Spanish or Portuguese. So is your conclusion that this is a good thing because the Church spread its hideous religion and the Portuguese and Spanish empires imposed their cultures–killing perhaps 100 million indigenous people in the process?

            Your comments are subversive in the sense they are designed to confuse and to muddy the waters. What has destroyed Iraq, Syria, Libya and the entire continent of South America are the imperial designs of the United States: its hunger for resources, markets, and cheap labor; its desperate need to maintain the dollar as the international currency of exchange. Please don’t attempt to excuse this with silly platitudes about culture, faith, and trade.

          • George Hollister April 9, 2017

            Louis, I have admiration and respect for your peers that taught my son’s in the Mendocino school system. With help and support at home, the experience for them was a good one. Take solace in that, and don’t be frustrated.

          • LouisBedrock April 9, 2017

            Please do not flatter or patronize me.

    • LouisBedrock April 9, 2017

      Oil and gas.

      • Bill Pilgrim April 9, 2017

        Yes. And the destructive effects associated with them include support for despotic, autocratic regimes, the crushing of secular Arab nationalism, whole populations repressed and kept in penury. Perfect for jihadi recruitment.

      • Bruce McEwen April 9, 2017

        Here’s a good show, demonstrating the scope of the divisions in American political structure. Good George, on the right, answers Lefty Louis’s leading jab from CounterPunch with a roundhouse knockout right hook by George Will, suggesting Lefty Lou have a nice read and mend his opinion thereby — of course LL would no more read a Geo. Will column than he’d bless the sacrament at a local Sunday School; so what does he do? Gives GG a bibliography for a study course in red-letter internet links which GG is about as likely to click on and indulge in as a LL is to subscribe to the PD so he doesn’t miss the next syndicated column by George Will.

        This is almost a constant on the comment page; this posting up of sources which, whether ye be the foul churl who contradicts me or the sterling scholar in agreement, there is always a red-letter bibliography directing me to your comfort-zone web pages.

        That is why I think it would be helpful to start out by putting down your own private opinion — sans bibliography — and let it stand on it’s own merits. And never mind these lengthy quotes (which even I — perfect as I otherwise am — have a weakness to indulge in).

        • George Hollister April 9, 2017

          Bruce, I think you are describing the way it is, and the way it has always been. George Will is worth the read, BTW. He is not your standard conservative, and I believe most people who read these pages would agree with much of what he is writing, in today’s PD. There is no roundhouse knockout intended, in this case.

          On the other hand, read “Lukewarming”. That is an intended roundhouse knockout. I do not expect the faithful to get beyond page one of this book. It is the way it is.

        • LouisBedrock April 10, 2017

          Thank you for referring to my comments as a “show”.
          I’m glad you find my opinions entertaining.

          It’s not a question of left vs. right—I despise these labels.
          And I despise sophistry.

          Hollister likes to play the zero sum game: “Yes, but isn’t this inevitable?”, “Doesn’t everyone do this?”, “Doesn’t this always happen?” It’s a cheap way of avoiding discussion of the empire’s war crimes.

          George Will isn’t a scholar: he’s a propagandist. So is Hollister.

          I don’t have the time or energy to unravel the apologetics of either of them.

        • LouisBedrock April 10, 2017

          Thanks Bill.
          Syria is a pipeline war and so is Afghanistan.

          It’s amazing that adults actually believe in “American Exceptionalism” or that the U.S. government gives a damn about human suffering anywhere.

  4. BB Grace April 9, 2017

    re: •DIY Crucifix

    Best cartoon I’ve seen in years and the timing couldn’t be more apropos. I’ve got tears in my eyes from LOL.

  5. Randy Burke April 9, 2017

    “We the living” Exellente!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Harvey Reading April 9, 2017

    RE: AMERICAN CRUISE MISSILES blew up an airfield last night in Syria because the dictator there was using chemical weapons—which he has done many times

    Some documentation for your assertions, if you please, Mr. Maher.

  7. Rick Weddle April 9, 2017

    re: war over matters of ‘spirit’…
    No, for feck’s sake. Every time some burglar strikes up the band and passes the compulsory hat for war contributions of blood and money, and then for way more blood and way more money, there’s some well-appointed faux ‘religion’ in the mix, anointing the Troubles with (of all the rotisserie ironies!) gasoline. Hello, Baghdad! Aloha, Kabul! Onward Xristian Soldiers, with a full tank of Freedom! This raises yet more blisters of outrage, flat-out guaranteeing more war. This fact is almost as much in your face and nasty as ‘Kardashian.’ ‘Religions’ have ridden high and cozy on the sanguine tsunami, helping define the Official, Extreme Limits of Spirit at somewhere around Fighting Mad. Fuck that. This is Mammon/Mars behavior, y’all. When General Smedley Butler (most decorated U.S. officer, then) wrote “War Is A Racket,” he wasn’t barking just to hear his jarhead teeth rattle. War – each and all of it – has so little to do with any spirit worth the name, you’ll not likely find it with the naked eye. Now, with all the wonderful drone-tech, the good old ‘Love Affair With The Automobile’ we’ve all been so eagerly head-over-heels in, paying someone’s arm and a leg every few seconds, and the odd thermosphere and water supply now and then, no longer finds itself in much need of We the Wetware from which it sprang. We Living humans imagine ourselves still Authors-in-Control, being in fact mere taxyak appendages which become ever more ‘problematic’ in the taking of Profit, moving from Sovereign, to Asset, to Liability in a couple quick strokes. The Problem, Inc., now consolidating their Corpirate Insurrection over the Planet, has no use whatever for any pesky spirit, except down in PR. Now, His Crumpling Orangeness is making such wide distinction between their gas attacks on innocents, and our high-explosive attacks on innocents, it’s just like he’s setting the cannibals’ table. I bet you didn’t fully comprehend that when Trumpty promised to serve us, he was actually placing We, the People on the menu, with our All and everything else, pretty much.

  8. Jim Updegraff April 9, 2017

    As far back as recorded history goes humans have been at war with each other. No difference with all other forms of life. From parasites to animals it is a dog eat dog world. It is the way of nature on our planet.

    • George Hollister April 10, 2017

      That is correct. Humans have also had religion. Attempts to eliminate either, or both of these human conditions will fail, and likely will increase the negative impacts of both as well. There are no higher animals other than humans, that I know of, that go to war. Of all animals, bees go to war, and have some otherwise distinctly human traits as well.

    • LouisBedrock April 10, 2017

      “I believe the common denominator of the universe is not harmony; but chaos, hostility and murder.”
      ― Werner Herzog

      I agree with Herzog.

      However that does not imply that we should not do everything in our power to make our world a better place, a more humane place.

      I wish I knew how.

      • sohumlily April 10, 2017

        I think it is human hubris to even try to understand the ‘true nature of the universe’.

        Humans always trying to see the patterns, so they can control things~

        I blame the culture; I don’t think ‘we’ are born evil.

        Bees go to war?? Show me…

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