- Hospitality Expansion
- Murals Saved
- Arson Investigation
- Bypass History
- Scofflaw Logic
- Pollinator Appreciation
- Little Dog
- HOBY Legacy
- Skunk Tactics
- Yard Sale
- Crypt Keepers
- Fecal River
- Yesterday's Catch
- Impeachment Process
- Democrats Meet
- Stupidity Suicide
- Marco Radio
- Bezos Laughing
- Yellowstone Wildlife
- Brown Action
- Arming Terrorists
FORT BRAGG'S Hospitality House has become the source of much contention in Fort Bragg. Founded in 1986 by congregants of the Episcopal church, the idea was to provide meals and shelter for locals struggling to resume mainstream lives. Since '86, the 24-bed facility on McPherson Street has grown far beyond its modest beginnings, recently acquiring the Old Coast Hotel, also in the center of town, a town whose economy is largely pegged to tourism.
AND THERE'S THE RUB, or much of it. The growth of Hospitality House has coincided with the growth of the homeless population, many of them transients, many of them alcoholics, and many others free-range drug addicts. Add in the inevitable mentally unhinged and old school bums drawn to Hospitality's daily hospitality, and central Fort Bragg's downtown business owners, not to mention ordinary citizens, are understandably upset.
THE CITY OF FORT BRAGG has expedited Hospitality House's expansion every step of the way, faithfully defending the program against its growing body of critics. A new City Council, rightly concerned about HH's no questions asked influence with the City, has recently been elected by people hopeful that HH can be reined in.
BUT Hospitality House's board meetings are not open to the public, most of the trustees and HH bigwigs don't live in Fort Bragg, the organization is unreasonably secretive, its director seldom available. And now…
AND NOW we learn that HH, in violation of its use permit, has quietly increased its rehabbing population from an authorized 24 "guests" to 34 residents. As word of the flagrantly illegal move by Hospitality House's phantom management gets around, the unauthorized expansion is certain to further anger the sorely put upon people of Fort Bragg.
These murals at the Ukiah Fairgrounds, painted fifty years ago by Kathy Shearn and Ed Cassel, have been preserved.
There had been tentative plans by the Ukiah Fair board to paint over them, but thanks to last minute alarm raised by William French and other local art lovers the murals have been spared.
The original murals were commissioned as part of a state or federal Arts In Public Places grant, with Michael Barton Miller, the force behind the project, creating and submitting the proposal, about 40 years ago.
FIRES BEING INVESTIGATED:
Arson suspected in about 15 incidents near the railroad tracks
by Justine Frederiksen
The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority is investigating a series of about 15 fires in the past three months believed to have been intentionally set. "We are actively working with the Ukiah Police Department to try and figure out the potential arsonist we have on the railroad tracks," Kirk Thomsen, interim chief of the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, told the Ukiah City Council Wednesday night. "We are hoping to close in on the person before it gets really dry and hot." Thomsen said the investigation is centering on about "30 fires set since the first of May" some near Highway 101, but most near the railroad tracks between Brush Street and Gobbi Street. "A few of them may have been cooking fires left unattended, but the vast majority, about 90% of them, we believe are suspicions," he said. One of the most recent fires was reported in the 600 block of Waugh Lane on June 30 around 10 PM and the neighbors who reported it helped firefighters douse it. Although the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority has responded to about 30 fires since May 1, Captain Justin Buckingham, the lead investigator on the case for the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority said he has identified about 15 of them as being set by the same suspec(s), although he did not want to go into detail about what exactly made him suspicious. Buckingham said the fires range from as far north as the fairgrounds to as far south as the airport and most seem to be "in the center of town" near the railroad tracks. "Sometimes we get two or three in one day and then sometimes we go a week and a half without one," he said, explaining that wildfire season has officially started. "It is abnormal for us to get that many along the railroad tracks. Luckily most of them are in the middle of the night when it's cooler so the intensity hasn't been as bad," Buckingham continued. "But my concern is that it's just going to get hotter and drier and with the winds that we have some of those fires could be catastrophic. Especially on the railroad tracks where we don't have a lot of access."
The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority has identified "a couple of persons of interest," but no official suspects so far, Buckingham said. He is working with Ukiah Police Department officer Jason Chapman on the investigation and asks that anyone who might have information about recent fires in the area called the Ukiah Police Department at 463-6262.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
A READER WRITES
Contrary to what was reported by a reader in last week’s Off The Record, the Willits bypass route options were discussed and analyzed extensively around 2000 or 2001, with CalTrans showing eight different possible routes and asking input from the community. One of the bypass options was west of town and would have intersected with Highway 20 and with traffic from Brooktrails, and would have had little environmental impact and millions of dollars less cost compared to the route through the valley and the wetlands.
However, that western route would have cut across the bottom of property owned by Hal Wagenet, whose family was very influential in Willits. Mr. Wagenet did not want a freeway down the hill from his house. Mr. Wagenet fought against the western route tooth and nail, he lobbied and argued and petitioned for the valley route, and persuaded the town and the City Council to go along with his opposition. I guess you have to admire Mr. Wagenet for his determination. He certainly admired himself, as it gave him a taste of political muscle that he then used to run for county supervisor.
The western route that Mr. Wagenet shut down would have been the most direct and least expensive route, other than John Pinches’ proposal for using the railroad right of way, which could not be accomplished because the railroad, which was state owned and also regulated by the Federal Railroad Administration, refused to give up the right of way, claiming it was an active railroad even though it had been unused for years and was slowly crumbling away. State and federal law was on the railroad’s side, and even CalTrans could not overrule it. John Pinches had a lot of good ideas but had no way to implement them and had no support from the people who had the authority to do something, a big part of Mr. Pinches’ ineffectiveness.
The great majority of people who lived in and around Willits wanted and worked for a bypass for many years. Its location was of much less concern to them than the basic human desire to live in a town that was not continually polluted and damaged by a non-stop parade of semis, busses, RVs, and car after car after car of vacationers headed north on Fridays and south on Sundays. A small and mostly “new-settler” population of people who had the luxury and good fortune to live out in the valley were opposed to a freeway destroying their idyllic existence, but they were outnumbered and “out-politicalized” by the locals. The hippies and city-bred “farmers” who moved to the valley were disliked then, and still pretty much disliked today.
The City Council and the city administration gave significant input to the freeway design and options, and they stuck by CalTrans until they discovered (and admitted privately though never publicly) that they’d been screwed. By then it was too late, the damage had been done and all the talk in the world would accomplish nothing except embarrass themselves. And CalTrans has been sticking it to Willits ever since.
LARRY LIVERMORE comments on the Ghost Ship Fire piece we ran last week by Marilyn Davin:
Plenty of blame to go around, and Oakland, which is run more like a Third World fiefdom than a modern American city, is far from exempt.
However, the tenants, as well as the subculture they represent, can’t have it both ways. For years they were like, “Stay out of our autonomous spaces, we don’t need your bureaucracy and your rules,” turning away any visits from fire inspectors or police. At which point, the City of Oakland, to its everlasting discredit, shrugged its collective shoulders, saying in effect, “Well, they won’t let us in, what can we do?” (I’ve had enough personal experience with the authorities of more rationally run jurisdictions to know there is plenty they can do, but never mind that…)
Ultimately, though, you’ve got a bunch of self-proclaimed anarchists and rebels claiming that they don’t need the protections of government and the law, until, the minute something goes horribly wrong, they begin wailing, “Why didn’t the government protect us?” Given the ubiquitous and nearly institutionalized disregard for rules, regulations, and the law in Mendocino County (the whole Emerald Triangle, really) there may be some lessons to be learned here.
SAVE THE BEES!
On Saturday, July 8, from 10 a.m. to noon Jess and Erin Arnsteen invite the public to visit the Parducci gardens on Tollini Road right off 101 where they have created an extensive pollinator friendly garden environment with an abundance of nectar plants.
They have also planted several kinds of native milkweeds, the critical larval host plants of the monarch butterfly. Some local 4-H beekeepers have been invited to share information about their honeybees.
On Sunday, July 9, pollinators will be featured in two films to be shown at the Grace Hudson Museum from 2 to 4 p.m. The main feature is “The Flight of the Butterflies,” about the search for the overwintering site of the monarch butterflies.
Also showing is “A Ghost in the Making: Searching for the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee.” This event is free to the public courtesy of the museum and the RVOEP who showed these films as part of its film series this year.
Summer is a great time of year to get out and appreciate the work of our pollinators as our gardens and farms produce their bounty.
Apples, pears, berries, cherries, squash, peppers, tomatoes and watermelon are just some of what is brought to us by pollinators. Seventy-five percent of all flowering plants, including chocolate and coffee, depend on animal pollination. It is not just food for people but wildlife depend on the fruits of their labor and successful plant reproduction.
Worldwide there are over 200,000 species of animal pollinators, all but about 1,000 being insects such as beetles, bees, ants, wasps, butterflies and moths. Get outside and look for these busy workers.
You’ll see that honeybees are only part of the action. Thousands of different kinds of native bees in California contribute significant pollination services. It only takes 250 orchard mason bees to pollinate 1 acre of apples that requires 15,000 to 20,000 honeybees to do the same job.
But in common with the plight of the honeybee many of these other pollinators are in serious decline. Scientists agree that pesticides, and loss of forage and habitat are part of the problem. So there are ways that you can be part of the solution.
Educate yourself and others with some of the good pollinator information on the Internet at such sites as Xerces, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and Pollinator Partnership.
The Pollinator Partnership is promoting a nationwide Million Pollinator Garden Challenge — even window boxes can help. Basically our pollinators need food, shelter, water and an environment free of toxins.
Plant a pollinator friendly garden with lots of different nectar plants that bloom throughout a long season. Include larval host plants for our butterflies and moths.
Use native plants in your landscape. They coevolved with our native pollinators.
Accept some plant damage from the larva of butterflies and moths.
Provide a source of clean water like a shallow pan filled with partially submerged rocks.
Leave nesting sites for native bees such as bare ground, some weedy plant debris, and dead wood.
Avoid or eliminate pesticides.
Don’t use products with neonicotinoids or plants treated with them since even the nectar and pollen becomes toxic. Find out more from Thanksgiving Coffee’s Bee Bold campaign with Friends of the Earth. Maybe we can have more local official Bee Friendly Cities like Fort Bragg.
You can make a difference to help bring back the pollinators.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “So, then I said to the solar boys as they stood around congratulating themselves on their eco-coolness, "How about wind power? A windmill would look real nice back here. "Go ahead, Little Dog, build yourself one," and they all laughed. This is the kind of thing I deal with here every day.”
HUGH O'BRIAN'S LEGACY
by Gladys Brayer
Published in the June Guns Magazine was an article titled "Was Wyatt Earp Hero or Heel?" by Hugh O'Brian. It was, however, actually written by my husband, Dr. Herbert O. Brayer who was at that time author of the NBC television series Frontier and the western editor of Guns Magazine.
Herb met O'Brian when their careers were in "full swing," and they remained friends until Herb’s death in 1984. Recently I received a letter from O'Brian who won lasting fame by starring in the television series "The Life And Legend Of Wyatt Earp" which began in 1955 and ran for seven years.
However, his real life's work began in 1958 following a nine-day visit to Africa where he was a volunteer for Dr. Albert Schweitzer and his famed jungle clinic, passing out medicine and doing odd jobs. O'Brian had long admired the great humanitarian and remembers their evening discussions in which Schweitzer, then 83, recipient of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts on behalf of the "brotherhood of nations," expressed his concern about global peace prospects. The League of Nations had failed, the United Nations seemed shaky and Schweitzer was convinced that the United States was the only country in the world with the ability to bring about peace.
"He said the United States must take a leadership role," O’Brian recalls, "or we are a lost civilization." It was an unforgettable nine days. At the moment of parting, Schweitzer took O’Brian’s hand and asked, "What are you going to do with this?"
O'Brian pondered the question — recognized the need to do something useful with his life — and came up with the concept of motivating tomorrow's leaders today. He founded the Hugh O'Brian Youth Foundation (HOBY) to show high school students at the 10th grade level the realities of what makes America today. "We accomplish this," he said, "through interactive question and answer sessions with today's leaders who are on the firing line in business, government, science, education and the professions. I call it "preventive medicine," inspiring sophomores while they still have two years left in high school to accept responsibility, redirect themselves and motivate their classmates."
Each spring HOBY conducts 90 leadership training workshops for 10th graders in each of our 50 states, Canada, Mexico and the Bahamas. HOBY's selection process begins each September when the National Association of Secondary School principals send HOBY nomination materials to all public and private schools in the United States. Every 10th grader is eligible and encouraged to apply. There is no cost to students, school or parent. All schools, regardless of size or location have the opportunity to select their outstanding sophomore leaders to attend a three-day "HOBY experience" at the state level. All HOBY programs are funded entirely by the private sector. At the conclusion of these 90 HOBY leadership development seminars each volunteer committee selects two students, a boy and a girl, to represent that area of the state to attend HOBY’s "Super Bowl" of seminars, an all-expenses paid week-long trip to the World Leadership Congress (WLC). At the WLC this select group of high school sophomores representing every corner of America meets with their peers who have also been selected to represent 35-45 other countries. At the WLC these bright students interface with renowned panelists in leadership positions from around the world in question and answer seminars on a great variety of topics ranging from international trade, entrepreneurship, energy, culture, education, communications, government and medicine in the 21st century.
In July of 1996 the WLC was held in Houston, Texas, at Rice University and the July 18-24, 1997 Congress was held at Purdue University, the coordinating University, and Indianapolis was the host city. In the summer of 1998 HOBY’s World Leadership Congress was held in Washington DC coordinated by George Washington University.
Born Hugh Krampe in Rochester, New York, Hugh O’Brian was educated in Winnetka, Illinois, and left school at 17 to join the Marines, going on to become one of the Corps' youngest drill sergeants.
This then is the right answer to Dr. Schweitzer's challenge — an answer which has enriched the lives of some 185,000 HOBY alumni who called Hugh O’Brian "Big Daddy," and where he likes to say "Old Wyatt" is putting all his guts, bucks and time. HOBY is O'Brian's true legacy.
HOBY is still going strong. For more information go to www.hoby.org or contact the Hugh O'Brian Youth Foundation and 10880 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2121, Los Angeles, CA 90024. 310-474-4370.
(Hugh O’Brian died at his home in Beverly Hills in September of 2016 at the age of 91.)
(Gladys Brayer lives in Ukiah. This article was originally published in the Lake County American Observer and the Record Bee.)
SKUNKS IN THE WALLS, OR...
Woodlands Wildlife--Skunks And Others In The Walls
Ronnie James Clarifies: re skunks in the house. Are they really skunks and some large rodent? Even a small mouse in the wall makes a huge amount of loud noise. 1) First try mouse-size rodent and rat traps, either snap-traps or have-a-heart sized for rats. 2) shine some inexpensive shop lights (the kind with a round cone with a light bulb in the middle) They seek dark, and illuminating their chosen shelter area will often cause them to leave. 3) The one-way-door: Do a complete search around the perimeter of your house and find their entry point(s). Seal off all entry places except one. They are diggers, so look for gopher-type holes within a foot of the house also. To seal a hole, use wire or hardware-cloth and bury it also down into the ground 6 inches. Then put a one-way flap over the hole so the animals can get out, but not back in. Use 1/4 to 1/2" plywood attached with a hinge or two at the top. You can sprinkle flour outside the hole so you can see tracks exiting and know the animal hasn't gotten back in. Leave in place for 2-3 days before finally sealing the door by nailing it shut or replacing it with hardware-cloth. If there are babies trapped inside, mama will make a lot of noise as she tries to get to them. If this is the case, just wait a few weeks until they are old enough to leave with her. It's important not to use the door if there are babies that are not yet able to follow their mother outside, as it will trap them inside and they will loudly starve and a dead smell will fill your house. It's a bit early in the baby season to use this trick though, as many babies are still too young. Skunks will move their nest several times to keep it clean, and when the babies are old enough, the mother will take them for a long walk and come back without them. At that time she often moves to a new nest site also. 4) Have-a-heart traps are a bit of a problem with skunks because the adult will get trapped and spray. Then you have to figure out how to move the skunk and trap without getting more sprayed, and the young will be left behind to either die or probably starve. If you can trap the young, they don't know how to survive on their own until they are almost fully grown, so trapping and releasing is really a death sentence for them. If you try to be patient, all will probably move out by the end of August. Then do a perimeter search and close off holes using a one-way door for one of them.
PACK RAT YARD SALE - Saturday from 8AM to 4PM
The Friends of the Gardens annual Pack Rat Sale is noted for quality items, fair prices, and friendly service. Finds include everything from garden supplies and household goods to antiques and collectibles. This annual fundraiser has earned its recognition as the "greatest garage sale on the coast" having raised over $165,000 in the 14-year history; 100% of the proceeds benefit the Gardens and enhance visitor experiences. Early arrivals have the best selection of items; those arriving later benefit from price reductions throughout the day. Come find a treasure and support the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens by donating and attending this fun event. Thank you for your support of the greatest yard sale on the Coast!
by Scott M. Peterson
GALLFLIES are plentiful on planet Earth. There are about 800 species on this continent alone, and another 360 in Europe. They’re tiny critters, barely a quarter of an inch long. But gallflies are easy to spot, thanks to the unique structures where they raise their young. These ‘galls’ can be found on plants and trees. Not just by the curious, but by those with an appetite. Especially by a wasp with a macabre name.
THE CRYPT-KEEPER is only half as big as a gallfly. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in sheer gall. Adult females drill into gallfly nests with a hardened ovipositor and lay a tiny egg on the gallfly larva. Once the egg hatches, it tricks the baby gallfly into chewing an escape hole that’s too small. And then into blocking the opening with its head. Leaving the crypt-keeper to devour the hapless gallfly belly first. Finally exiting by eating through the gallfly’s empty skull. Yum.
ZOOLOGISTS know this behavior as hypermanipulation. Where one parasite controls the behavior of others. There are fungi that turn ants into zombies, hairworms that compel crickets to jump into water and tapeworms that force shrimp to swarm in groups. All to target their hosts. But very few who target other parasites. That’s what sets the crypt-keeper apart.
NOT MUCH is known how the crypt-keeper brainwashes its host — only that it happens. This was discovered just recently and is pretty ingenious when you think about it. One animal tricking another into becoming a time release MRE. Parasites come in all shapes and sizes. From microscopic amoeba to fifty-foot tapeworms. Size matters in this realm. The larger the parasite, the bigger the host. So if anything, large parasites point to abundance.
THE EMERALD TRIANGLE is the land of milk and honey. According to official estimates $40 billion — with a ‘B’ — in tax free marijuana is grown in California these days. Mendocino County is ground zero for that industry. So naturally there are manipulative parasites here — ginormous ones. Starting with the Mendocino Coast District Hospital. Something that’s been playing local taxpayers like a four-dollar banjo for years.
HOSPITALS — like any industry — are transformed by time. A century ago, we had one in the town of Mendocino. As did every mill town on the Mendocino Coast. Highway projects consolidated that into fewer sawmills. And when a sawmill closed, so did the nearby hospital. Everywhere except Fort Bragg. By the year 2000, it was the only area left with such an industry. In fact, it had two saw mills. One just west of the city, and another to the south at Gibney Lane. By 2005, both of them were closed — but not the hospital.
LOSSES MOUNTED at the Fort Bragg hospital after the sawmills closed. Yearly deficits went from $1.3 million in 2001 to $1.8 million in 2005. Instead of closing, MCDH ran a PR campaign to float a parcel tax initiative called ‘Measure R’ to get the difference out of local taxpayers. But thanks to the splendid work of CEO Bryan Ballard, the loss was understated. In 2006, it was found to be $5.6 million. That prompted Ballard’s replacement, a smiley-faced fellow named Ray Hino. Who decided to take advantage of the 1997 Balanced Budget Act and downsize MCDH from 45 beds to a 25 bed Critical Access Hospital. In 2003, legislation was passed that enabled such hospitals to recover 101% of care costs from Uncle Sam. So things should’ve improved at MCDH. But they didn’t.
IN 2012 the Fort Bragg hospital declared bankruptcy to dump millions in debt on creditors. That didn’t work either. By 2015, its losses were still at $4 million plus annually and climbing. Hino was gone by then. He’d been replaced by pencil-pusher Wayne Allen for a couple years. Who was then succeeded by Bob Edwards. A man who MCDH’s recruiters had just gotten out of jail. Seriously. Edwards last gig was running a prison hospital in Stockton. A place known by inmates as ‘Devil’s House.’ But Edwards had another problem behind him.
THE LEGISLATION that’d saved 1,337 Critical Access Hospitals between 1997 and 2003 did so at a cost. Jobs had been traded for patient outcomes. Still worse was a 1% incentive for opportunists to game the system. Not all at once. But like a crypt-keeper wasp does, over time. All the parasites had to do was to brainwash their hosts.
HARVARD figured that out in 2011. With a peer-reviewed study titled, ‘Hospital Closures Had No Measurable Impact On Local Hospitalization Rates Or Mortality Rates, 2003–11.’ Then in 2013, Stanford chimed in with another study titled, ‘Mortality Rates Have Increased at Hospitals in Rural Communities For Certain Conditions Compared to Other Acute Care Hospitals.’ Both studies were widely published and would’ve been impossible for any Critical Access Hospital to miss. Unless they were being brainwashed. Hmmm.
PARASITES ARE GOOD at hiding. One surefire way of finding the business version is through audited financial statements. Not just with spiraling operating losses, but through a line item titled ‘accumulated depreciation’ — something comparable to weight loss in a biological entity. Fifteen years of them tell the tale for MCDH. In 2001 that amount was a little over negative $12 million. By 2016 it was negative $30 million plus. Think about it. You’re in a situation where you’ve lost two-thirds of your body weight. What could be the cause besides a parasite?
THAT TAKES US to the type of parasite. The current administration at MCDH hides its financial statements. The ones I’ve got all came from whistleblowers. It also hides evaluations and insurance applications. That points to a manipulator. So we can’t rule a hypermanipulative parasite out. At least not yet. But even so, MCDH appears to have suffered from a series of parasitic administrators — four of them to be exact. What could they have in common?
CRYPT-KEEPERS are on the menu for even smaller parasites called fairy wasps. Not much is known about them or how they brainwash their winged meals. But seeing them as hypermanipulators helps us to understand how four successive hosts could be programmed to behave the exact same way. Fairy wasps are among the smallest animals alive, but could be targeted by microscopic fungus with the same prime directive. Like cute Russian nesting dolls that devour one another. MCDH has one too. That’s a freeloading outfit called the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation. Operated by Charlene McAllister, MCHF gets free rent, free insurance and a free pass from MCDH taxpayers to suffocate the Fort Bragg hospital while it rakes in 65% profits on a yearly bender called Winesong! McAllister joined the MCDH board in 1999 and became president a few years later. But when the Mendocino County Grand Jury investigated in 2006, she fled to the Foundation. McAllister’s Form 990s at that organization don’t track with each other, and its make believe audits have six-figure math errors. 2017 is McAllister’s tenth year as trustee of that scam. And naturally, she’s still the president.
NONPROFIT PARASITES have to watch out for the biggest bloodsucker of them all — the IRS. Needless to say, Uncle Sam is rather fond of his action here in the Emerald Triangle. So he doesn’t take kindly to those who to cheat him. Hell, he even offers a cash reward for information about those who have. And I had just the ticket. Since MCDH has been a nonprofit since 2010, it’s obliged to file Form 990s every year. Something it hasn’t done since — oh, say — 2010. It’s also required to provide members of the public a copy of its nonprofit application on request. Mister Edwards appears to have just been too darned busy for that. So I gave the IRS’s media relations department a jingle the other day, and a very nice agent named Richard C. Sanford answered the phone.
NEWS STORIES for the IRS are handled by Mr. Sanford’s department. Like the one in 2010 where a deranged pilot named Joseph Stack crashed his airplane into a U.S. Treasury building in Austin, Texas. Sanford’s ears perked up when I told him that six years worth of Form 990s hadn’t been filed for a $50 million dollar nonprofit smack dab in the middle of the Emerald Triangle. Even more so when I told him about the $558,707 in grant money that’d vanished at the very same place seven years ago. Could the IRS help with my little parasite problem?
SANFORD was eager to help. ‘You’ll need a Form 4506-A,’ he said. ‘That’ll get you everything the IRS has on file for — what was the name of that nonprofit?’ When I told him, he practically fell over laughing. Then he suggested that I get a Form 211 as well. Why? ‘You could collect a fifteen percent award on whatever the IRS collects,’ he answered. Holy cow! Fifty grand for taking a parasite down? Hook me up!!! So I downloaded both forms, filled them out and sent them to the IRS — with a courtesy copy to Agent Sanford and all my friends at MCDH. Particularly Bob Edwards and his crackerjack assistant, Gayl Moon. Along with all the folks she’d been copying on hospital business. Just in case they had any information on where that suitcase full of untaxed cash might have gone.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, I contacted the media relations department at Health & Human Services in Washington, DC. That’s the agency that issues those grants. Peter Ashkenaz is the press dude there. HHS keeps darned good records of where their money goes — including deposit records. All I needed was access to them. And in particular which bank accounts they wound up in. ‘Ah,’ Peter told me. ‘You need to talk to my buddy Marty Kramer over at HRSA.’ So I collected his email address and dropped him a line with a copy to Mr. Ashkenaz. Once my nickel cleared the mechanism, I pulled the handle and waited for the reels to stop.
PARASITES are good at mimicry. The hapless gallfly’s mama had no idea there were two infants in her cradle. Not to mention the fact that one that was eating the other. So she simply went on about her business. Such was the case with the Fort Bragg hospital. In 2010 somebody created a second entity with a similar name — and then dumped it like a murder weapon. That’s the five-word Mendocino Coast Health Care District. Federal Employer ID #952627981. As opposed to the four-word Mendocino Coast Healthcare District — which has no such number. Could somebody have imitated the hospital to take that grant money? If so, that’d show up on the HHS deposit record.
THE OTHER MYSTERY concerned six years of Form 990s that were supposed to have been filed under that tax number — but never were. Mike Dell’Ara was on the board of directors then, but swore up and down that he’d never seen such a form. That statement flies in the face of Form 990s with what appears to be his presidential signature — under penalty of perjury — on Form 990s for 2002 and 2003 at the Caspar Community. Mike’s a pretty bright guy, so they suggest three possible explanations. That; (a) smart people can be tricked into signing important documents they don’t understand; (b) Form 990s can be forged, or; (c) both. Either way, that casts a shadow on what could’ve happened under Dell’Ara’s watchful eye at the Fort Bragg hospital. Especially in light of IRS penalties for not filing them.
THAT PENALTY runs $20 a day. So — at least according to my math — the Fort Bragg hospital’s current arrearage is $60,000 and climbing. And if the IRS can actually recover that money, I’d be entitled to $9,000 of it. That’s in addition to whatever they get from any grant money that disappeared. Then we’ve got the penalty for failure to provide members of the public with a Form 1023. That runs $20 a day more. Since my first request for that document was made — and documented — on March 24, 2017, that tab is now $1,800. $270 of which might be mine. And because there’s no cap on that penalty, my little investment increases at the rate of $3 a day for doing nothing but feeding off my brand new crypt-keeping host.
PARASITES are equally skilled at exploiting hostage situations. That’s especially true in nonprofits. Where crypt-keepers embed themselves so closely that trying to remove them can jeopardize their nonprofit hosts. Well, the IRS is way ahead of them on that one. According to its Compliance Guide, penalties aren’t taken from charitable assets — but from individuals instead. That was the case in Cars 4 Causes, a Southern California charity whose parasitic managers got nailed for precisely that in 2015. Not by the IRS — but by State Authorities. Who filed a lawsuit to remove all of C4C’s trustees and to fine them individually. In other words, the Fort Bragg hospital isn’t liable for any penalties or reward money that might come my way. But Gayle Moon might be. The same for her unrepentant boss — Bob Edwards. Who — before the IRS came knocking — was the most successful crypt-keeper of them all.
PS: The illustrated version of this article with snarky photo captions and hyperlinks is here: https://tinyurl.com/ya7agkdj
MONTE RIO BEACH ON RUSSIAN RIVER CLOSED OVER EXCESSIVE BACTERIA LEVELS
by Mary Callahan
Sonoma County health officials have closed Monte Rio Beach on the Russian River to swimming, wading and other activities that would put visitors in direct contact with the water because of elevated bacteria levels in the wake of an extremely busy holiday weekend.
The Department of Health Services posted signs on the beach Thursday afternoon warning of contaminated water after recent testing that showed both E. coli and total coliform levels were above state standards, officials said.
Those bacterial strains are used as markers for the possible presence of fecal material, though the testing does not distinguish which E. coli strains may be present or whether any of the bacteria in evidence are from a human source or some other mammal, according to Dr. Karen Holbrook, the county’s deputy public health officer.
It’s also impossible to determine whether bacteria was introduced through some kind of septic tank leak, homeless encampment or some other form of direct contamination along the river.
The beach was crowded with people for four days, starting Saturday with the two-day Big Rocky Games, Sunday night’s fireworks, a busy Monday and overwhelming visitorship on Tuesday, Monte Rio Recreation and Park District officials said.
“Tuesday we had the biggest crowd we’ve ever had,” said Steve Baxman, district chairman and the local fire chief. “It was unreal.”
But the level of total coliform at Monte Rio already was elevated on Monday, when all 10 river beaches that are part of the county’s weekly testing program were sampled.
At that point, Monte Rio Beach’s result for total coliform was 10,462 organisms per 100 milliliter. The state standard is 10,000 organisms per 100 ml.
Additional samples were collected at Monte Rio on Wednesday, under the county’s retesting protocol, and showed total coliform of 11,199 organisms per 100 ml.
Measurements of E. coli were 833 organism per 100 ml on Wednesday, almost four times the state standard of 235.
When those results came back from the lab Thursday showing excessive and increasing concentrations of both bacterial families, the need to close the beach was clear, Holbrook said.
None of the other Russian River beaches have shown exceeding levels of the contaminants.
Additional samples at Monte Rio were collected Thursday, with the possibility that lab results available today will show bacterial levels already have fallen below the state standard. If they do not, the health department will decide whether to test through the weekend, she said.
Baxman said he expected strong seasonal river flows to return the water to safe standards promptly, and said many beach visitors present when the signs went up on Thursday chose to stay, but just refrained from swimming.
Holbrook said river testing at all the beaches bounces up and down. She noted that Patterson Point, in Villa Grande on the lower river, had a total coliform level of 8,164 on July 3, 932 on June 26 and 1,658 June 19.
Cases of excessive bacterial levels have generally been relatively rare.
“I’m hopeful that this was a blip based on all of the bodies that were out in the water at Monte Rio Beach over the weekend and on the Fourth, and we timed our testing perfectly to capture that — that given a little time, that’s going to dissipate,” Holbrook said.
She urged beach-goers to practice safe health habits that include avoiding ingestion of river water through drinking, swimming or any hand-to-mouth contact. Children and pets also should be monitored closely.
Water quality information
Sonoma County’s beach hotline offers information on beach closures in English and Spanish, at (707) 565-6552.
Additional information and full beach test results are available here.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 7, 2017
CRAIG BRADY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
KYLE BYRNE, Ukiah. Suspended license, controlled substance, probation revocation.
STEVE COUTHREN, Ukiah. Parole violation.
FORREST COVEY, Ukiah. Indecent exposure.
NICHOLAS DELEON, Eureka/Ukiah. False ID, parole violation.
MANDY GRINSELL, Ukiah. Controlled substance.
DARIN HOLBROOK JR., Ukiah. Indecent exposure, failure to register, “transient registion,” disorderly conduct-alcohol.
KELVIN KEPA, Talmage. Petty theft, parole violation.
MARTHA KUTCH, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
JOSHUA MOORE, Willits. Probation revocation.
JORGE OLIVAS, Tulare/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
RICHARD RODRIGUEZ, Lower Lake/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
NICHOLLE ROUSSEAU, Sanford/Willits. Protective order violation.
NICKOLAS WADE, Fort Bragg. Criminal threats with intent to terrorize, conspiracy, participation in criminal street gang.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Impeachment is not a legal process, it is political. Impeachment does not require a president to violate criminal law. But once impeachment proceedings get underway, and particularly if Trump were to refuse to resign, the House Judiciary Committee could examine Trump’s possible conflicts of interest, attempts to intimidate judges, and violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
Should members of Congress begin subpoenaing business records to explore those issues, given the president’s previous reluctance to disclose records, Trump might decide the game is up and resign.
MIDDLE OF THE ROAD EXTREMISTS GATHER IN FORT BRAGG
Mendocino County Democratic Central Committee Agenda
From: "jonathan torres" <email@example.com>
Kenny Jowers Jim Mastin
Coast Vice Chair: Ric Martin
Inland Vice Chair: Helen Sizemore
Secretary: Jeff Tyrrell
Treasurer: Sally Webster
Ex Officio: U.S. Congressman Huffman, Heather Gurewitz, State Senator McGuire, Kerry Randall Assemblymember Wood, Jeff Tyrrell
1st District: Kerry Randall, Vacant, Vacant ,Vacant
2nd District: Judy Popowski, Helen Sizemore, Mike Webster, Sally Webster
3rd District: Kathryn Cavness, John Haschak, Perri Kaller, Vacant
4th District:Ric Martin, Ken Fennell, Vacant, Vacant, Vacant
5th District: Rachel Binah, Kenny Jowers, Jim Mastin, Val Muchowski, Jeff Tyrrell, Jonathan Torrez
DATE: July 11th
PLACE: Harbor Lite Lodge, 120 North Harbor Drive, Fort Bragg, CA
Call to order
Revision and approval of agenda
(Non-agenda items, 3 minutes max)
Consider June Minutes
Fair Coordination New Business
National Monument Review
SB 649 Standing Committees
Finance, Fundraising/Events, Publicity/Media/Digital, Club Support, Candidate Recruitment, Elections
State Senator McGuire
Coast Democratic Club
Redwood Coast Democrats
Inland Mendocino Democratic Club
Good of the Order
Next meeting: August 1st, 2017, 43700 Mountain View Road, Manchester CA
SUICIDE BY STUPIDITY
by James Kunstler
“But if Mr. Trump agrees to work with Mr. Putin despite a list of Russian transgressions beginning with the annexation of Crimea and ending with its interference in the 2016 presidential election, he will also look weak while Mr. Putin can claim that he reconstructed the relationship.”
—The New York Times
* * *
America wakes up to astonishing bullshit from its so-called Newspaper of Record in this lead front-page propaganda dump du jour. Granted, American education has succeeded in destroying the critical faculties of at least three generations so that the public drowns in a soup of unreality every day. In the news business now, as in the national life generally, anything goes and nothing matters.
One has to wonder, though, about the editors who serve up this baloney. Are they mere servelings of the Rand Corporation, Raytheon, and other parties with an interest in the war business, or can they possibly believe their own extrusions of fabricated agit-prop?
For instance, the imputed Russian “annexation of Crimea,” as if the place was some kind of nostalgic, sore-beset Ruritania of independent princes, colorful peasants, and earnest postal clerks cruelly enslaved by bloodthirsty Cossacks. No, Crimea had been officially a province of Russia since exactly 1783 — which was, by the way, the same year that the American Revolution officially ended via the Treaty of Paris.
After the Russian Revolution (1917) the Crimean peninsula became an autonomous province of the Soviet Union, meaning it remained a part of what was then Russia. In 1954, Nikita Khrushchev turned the administrative duties over to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which was then also a province of the greater USSR, i.e., Russia. Through the entire modern era, Crimea has been the site of the USSR’s, and now Russia’s, only warm-water naval bases. Ask the average American college student why that is, and you will surely receive a blank stare.
Crimea is a peninsula on the Black Sea, which connects to the Mediterranean Sea. Hence Crimea’s strategic value. For a few short years in the 21st century, following the breakup of the USSR, the now-independent Ukraine had possession of Crimea and essentially rented the existing naval bases to Russia. That provided a much needed revenue stream for the struggling country, which was also utterly dependent on imported Russian natural gas supplies, which Ukraine had to pay for.
When the elected president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych, was overthrown in 2014, with the help of the US State Department and CIA, Russia was obliged to secure its naval bases in Crimea — where the overwhelming majority of citizens were culturally and linguistically Russian anyway. A referendum ratified the transfer of Crimea back to Russia. Apart from these procedural details, it must be obvious that Russia would never have ceded its strategic naval bases on the Black Sea to Ukraine, especially when that beleaguered country was being manipulated by the USA and NATO into becoming an adversarial presence on Russia’s border.
At the same time, the US and NATO have been running war games near Russia’s border in the Baltic region and American soldiers have been deployed into Lithuania. What war are they preparing for exactly? What is supposedly at issue (besides America’s apparent lust for war)?
That last question applies equally to the incessantly repeated trope that Russia interfered in the 2016 US election. What is supposedly at issue? The New York Times has been making this empty allegation for a year now, without ever specifying exactly how Russia might have “interfered.” In the process, the newspaper has squandered its credibility on what looks exactly like a witch hunt — a campaign against dark and mysterious supernatural forces. It is doing great harm to an already badly-educated, misinformed, economically distressed, drug-addled American public. It also looks like plain old war-mongering.
Coverage of the Trump-Putin meeting during the G-20 conference this week is being played like a WWF championship bout. Which president is weak or strong? Which one will be a loser or a winner? This is no way to cover geopolitical relations. The United States and its news media look like they want this country to commit suicide by stupidity.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)
KNYO: ON THE RECORDS
Free to good home with a 78 rpm turntable... It's finally time to let them go. I have a small, eclectic collection of 78's inherited from my dad, from jazz (Hannah and the Harlem Hamfats) to Sousa marches.
Yes! Hanna and the Harlem Hamfats. Best band name ever! Although, looking it up, I find simply the Harlem Hamfats (not from Harlem at all but from Chicago and New Orleans) and Frankie Half-Pint Jaxon and the Harlem Hamfats, and possibly a connection to George Hannah, but... Who cares? It's the best name.
And here's a tip for whoever gets the records: if your record player will only go up to 45 and not 78 rpm, you can still digitize them. Do all of them, one right after another, at 45 rpm into a regular wav file, resample the file to speed it up to 173 percent (78/45), then cut and save and name each song into its own file. Done.
In other news, tonight I'll be doing my show by live remote from the particleboard typing table next to the bed at Juanita's place, not from the KNYO storefront in Fort Bragg, so if you (the general form of you, meaning you) want to come in and play your musical instrument(s) or talk about your project, or whatever, make that Friday next week when I'll be there.*
It's 325 N. Franklin (next to the Tip Top bar). Just waltz in any time after 9pm (Friday, next week), head for the lighted room at the back and get my attention away from whatever I'm doing, and we'll go from there.
(If you ever write something you want read aloud on the air, email it to me any time during the week and I'll do that. The deadline is always around 5:30 or 6pm the night of the show. Tonight, for example.)
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio. Every Friday, 9pm to about 4am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, including midnight to 3am 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. And also there and anywhere else via http://knyo.org or http://TuneIn.com
*(Or contact Bob Young <firstname.lastname@example.org> and get your own regular airtime on KNYO, to do a show entirely of own whimsical devising, and never need to depend on me at all. Either way, it's easy and fun and there's zero pressure.)
THE DESTRUCTIVE POWER TRIPS OF AMAZON’S BOSS
by Ralph Nader
For his smallish stature, Amazon Boss Jeff Bezos has a booming, uproarious laugh. Unleashed during workdays, its sonic burst startles people, given it comes from as harsh and driven a taskmaster as exists on the stage of corporate giantism.
Is Bezos’s outward giddiness a worrisome reflection of what Bezos is feeling on the inside? Is he laughing at all of us?
Is Bezos laughing at the tax collectors, having avoided paying most states’ sales taxes for years on all the billions of books he sold online, thereby giving him an immediate 6 to 9 percent price advantage over brick-and-mortar bookstores, that also paid property taxes to support local schools and public facilities? That, and being an early online bookseller, gave Bezos his crucial foothold, along with other forms of tax avoidance that big companies utilize.
Is Bezos laughing at the bureaucratic labor unions, that somehow can’t get a new handle on organizing the tens of thousands of exploited blue collar workers crying for help in Amazon warehouses and other stress-driven installations? With a net-worth over $80 billion, why should he worry?
Is Bezos laughing at the giant retailers, who are closing hundreds of stores because their thin margins cannot withstand Amazon’s predatory pricing?
Is Bezos laughing at the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division which, before Trump, was studying how old antitrust laws could be used to challenge monopolizing Molochs such as Amazon in the 21stcentury? It is time for antitrust officials to explore new regulatory actions and modern legislation to deal with today’s conglomerates.
Is Bezos laughing at Main Street, USA which he is in the process of hollowing out; along with nearby shopping malls who can’t figure out how to supersede the convenience of online shopping with convivial ground shopping experience?
Is Bezos laughing at Walmart, bestirring itself, which is starting to feel like giant Sears Roebuck did before Walmart’s relentless practices caught up and crushed what is now a shrunken, fragile Sears?
Is Bezos laughing at the United States Postal Service, to which he has given – for the time being – much business for shipping Amazon’s packages? Bezos has no intention of this being a long term arrangement. Imagine Amazon with its own fleet of driverless vehicles and drones. Amazon is already using part-time workers to deliver its wares.
Is Bezos laughing at the Washington Post, which he bought for a song in 2014 while he was holding down a large contract with the CIA and other government agencies?
Is Bezos laughing at Alibaba, the huge (bigger than Amazon) Chinese online seller that is trying but failing to get a toehold in the US market? It is hard to match Amazon’s ruthlessness on its home turf. Is Bezos laughing at people’s manipulated susceptibility for convenience, hooking them with $99 a year for free shipping? Ordering from their computer or cell phone for speedy delivery to sedentary living, Amazon’s customers are robbed of the experience of actively going to local businesses where they can personally engage with others, get offered on the spot bargains and build relationships for all kinds of social, civic and charitable activities.
Is Bezos laughing at many millions of Amazon customers who think temporary discounts and minor shipping convenience can make up for the billions of tax dollars Amazon has learned to avoid and the thousands of small business competitors whose closures shrink the local property tax base that supports schools and other essential public services?
As Amazon spreads around the world selling everything and squeezing other businesses that use its platform, is Bezos laughing at humanity? His ultimate objective seems to preside over a mega-trillion dollar global juggernaut that is largely automated, except for that man at the top with the booming laugh who rules over the means by which we consume everything from goods, to media, to groceries. Crushing competitors, history shows, is leads to raising prices by monopolizers.
Consumers, workers and retailers alike must be on higher alert and address this growing threat. You have nothing to lose except Bezos’s tightening algorithmic chains. To start the conversation, you can wait for Franklin Foer’s new book out this September, titled World Without a Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech. Until then, a good substitute is his 2014 article in The New Republic, Amazon Must be Stopped.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
THE WOLF AT TROUT CREEK
by Jeffrey St. Clair
The bison are in rut at Alum Creek.
Two or three hundred of the shaggy beasts are crowded in the little valley. The bulls have left their normal bachelor groups and joined the big herds of cows and calves to parry each other for preferred mates. They are antsy, kicking up dust devils that swirl around them like brown mist.
I walk slowly up the creek to a group of five dark bison, three females and two males. One of the bulls looks ancient. His eyes are crusty, one of his black horns broken. He is large, but unsteady on his legs, which look too thin to support his bulk. He sucks breaths deeply and raggedly. His lower lip is extended and quivering as he approaches one of the young cows. He shakes his head, his tongue flicks repeatedly at the air, as if tasting the estrus.
As the old patriarch struggles to mount the cinnamon-colored female, a young bull rushes over, butts him in the side, nearly knocking him down. The young bull kicks at the ground, snorts aggressively. The old bull stands his ground for a moment, drool stringing from his mouth. Then finally he turns away from what will almost certainly be his last summer. He staggers downstream towards me, his head hung low, flies gathering at his eyes.
I am less than a mile from Yellowstone’s main road through the Hayden Valley, an artery thickly clogged with vans, mobile homes and the leather-and-chrome swarms of weekend motorcycle ganglets. There is no one else here in the pathway of the great herds. Even the metallic drone of the machines has faded so that I can hear the heavy breath of the bison in their annual ceremony of sexual potency.
Even bison, the very icon of the park, aren’t safe here in their last sanctuary. The shaggy bovines are victims of rancher panic and a gutless government. Like cattle and elk, bison can carry an infectious bacterium that leads to a disease called brucellosis which can, rarely, cause cows to abort fetuses. There’s no evidence that Yellowstone bison have transmitted the disease to Montana cattle, grazing cheaply on public lands near the park. But as a preventive strike, all bison that wander outside the boundaries of the park in search of forage during the deep snows of winter are confined in bison concentration camps, tested and either killed on site or shipped to slaughter-houses.
Not to worry. Ted Turner is coming to the rescue. I read in the morning paper that Turner is offering to liberate the bison quarantined at Corwin Springs, ship them to his 113,000 acre Flying D Ranch south of Bozeman, fatten them on his vast rangeland grasses and serve them up for $18 a plate at his restaurants.
Suddenly, the old bull turns my direction, angry and frustrated. He snorts, paws at hard dirt and feigns a charge.
I retreat and stumble south across the slope of stubborn sagebrush, over a rounded ridge and down into the Trout Creek valley, leaving the bison to settle their mating preferences in peace.
I’m leaking a little blood. The day before I took a nasty plunge down the mossy face of an andesite cliff at a beautiful waterfall in the Absaroka Mountains, ripping the nail off my big toe.
Each time my foot snags a rock an electric jolt stabs up my left leg. I stop at the crest of the ridge, find a spot clear of bison pies, and sit down. I ease off my boot and bloody sock, untwist the cap from a metal flask of icy water and pour it over my swollen toe, already turning an ugly black.
Even in late summer, the valley of Trout Creek is lush and green with tall grasses in striking contrast to the sere landscape of the ridges and the broad plain of the Hayden Valley. The creek itself is an object lesson in meander, circling itself like a loosely coiled rope on its reluctant path to the Yellowstone River. Once acclaimed for its cutthroat trout, the creek has been invaded by brookies, rainbows and brown trout—though these genetic intrusions are viewed with indifference by the great blue heron that is posing statuesquely in the reeds, waiting to strike.
Fifty years ago, Trout Creek was an entirely different kind of place. This valley was a dump, literally, and as such it was then thick with grizzly bears. The bears would assemble in the early evening, after the dump trucks had unloaded the day’s refuse from the migration of tourists to Fishing Bridge and Canyon and Tower Junction. Dozens of grizzlies would paw through the mounds of debris, becoming conditioned to the accidental kindness of an untrustworthy species.
The bears became concentrated at the dump sites and dependent on the food. This all came to a tragic end in 1968 when the Park Service decided to abruptly close the Trout Creek dump, despite warnings from bear biologists, Frank and John Craighead. Denied the easy pickings at the trash head that generations of bears had become habituated to, the Craigheads predicted that the grizzlies would begin wandering into campgrounds and developed sites in search of food. Such entanglements, the Craigheads warned, would prove fatal, mostly to the bears.
And so it came to pass. The dump-closure policy inaugurated a heinous decade of bear slaughter by the very agency charged with protecting the bruins. From 1968 to 1973, 190 grizzly bears in Yellowstone were killed by the Park Service, roughly a third of the known population. That’s the official tally. The real number may have been twice that amount, since the Park Service destroyed most of the bear incident reports from that era. Many bears died from tranquilizer overdoses and dozens of others were air-dropped outside the park boundaries only to be killed by state game officials.
The situation for the great bear has scarcely improved over the last forty years. There are more insidious ways to kill, mostly driven by the government’s continued lack of tolerance for the bear’s expansive nature. New park developments have fragmented its range, while cars, trashy campers, gun-totting tourists and back-country poachers rack up a grim toll. And now the climate itself is conspiring against the grizzly by inexorably burning out one of the bear’s main sources of seasonal protein, the whitebark pine.
Yellowstone is a closed system, a giant island. Genetic diversity is a real concern for Yellowstone’s isolated population of bears. So is the possibility of new diseases in a changing climate. The death rate of Yellowstone grizzlies has been climbing the last few years. The future is bleak. So, naturally, as one of its opening shots, the Trump and his wrecking crew move to delist the Yellowstone population from the Endangered Species Act, stripping the bear of its last legal leverage against the forces of extinction.
During the very week I was hobbling around Yellowstone one of Montana’s most famous grizzlies was found by a rancher, shot and killed on the Rocky Mountain Front near the small town of Augusta. He was a giant, non-confrontational bear who weighed more than 800 pounds and stood more than seven-and-a-half feet tall. He was beloved by grizzly watchers, who called him Maximus. His anonymous killer left his corpse to rot in a field of alfalfa in the August sun. The government exhibited only its routine apathy at this illegal and senseless slaying. Let us pray that the great bear’s DNA is widely disseminated across the Northern Rockies and that his killer meets with an even more painful and pitiless end.
I catch a flash of white circling above me. Osprey? Swainson’s hawk? I dig into my pack and extract my binoculars and am quickly distracted by a weird motion on the ridgeline across the valley. I glass the slope. Four legs are pawing frantically at the sky. It is a wolf, rolling vigorously on its back, coating its pelt in dirt, urine or shit. Something foul to us and irresistible to wild canids.
The wolf rolls over and shakes. Dust flies from his fur. He tilts his head, then rubs his neck and shoulders onto the ground. He shakes again, sits and scans the valley.
His coat is largely gray, but his chest is black streaked by a thin necklace of white fur. He presents the classic lean profile of the timber wolf. Perhaps he is a Yellowstone native. He was certainly born in the park. His neck is shackled by the tell-tale telemetry collar, a reminder that the wolves of Yellowstone are under constant surveillance by the federal wolf cops. He is a kind of cyber-wolf, on permanent parole, deprived of an essential element of wildness. The feds are charting nearly every step he takes. One false move, and he could, in the antiseptic language of the bureaucracy, be “removed,” as in erased, as in terminated.
This wolf is two, maybe three years old. His coat is thick, dark and shiny. There is no sign of the corrosive mange that is ravaging many of the Yellowstone packs, a disease, like distemper and the lethal parvo virus, vectoring into the park from domestic dogs.
It has been more than 20 years since thirty-one gray wolves were reintroduced into the park, under the Clinton administration’s camera-ready program. With great fanfare, Bruce Babbitt hand-delivered the Canadian timber wolves to their holding pens inside the high caldera. Of course, it was an open secret — vigorously denied by the Interior Department — that wolves had already returned to Yellowstone on their own—if, that is, they’d ever really vanished from the park despite the government’s ruthless eradication campaign that persisted for nearly a century.
These new wolves came with a fatal bureaucratic catch. Under Babbitt’s elastic interpretation of the Endangered Species Act, the wolves of Yellowstone were magically decreed to be a “non-essential, experimental population.” This sinister phrase means that the Yellowstone wolves were not to enjoy the full protections afforded to endangered species and could be harassed, drugged, transported or killed at the whim of federal wildlife bureaucrats. Deviously, this sanguinary rule was applied to all wolves in Yellowstone, even the natives.
The Yellowstone packs, both reintroduced and native, are doing well, but not well enough considering the lethal threats arrayed against them, even inside the supposedly sacrosanct perimeter of the park.
This young wolf might well be a member of the Canyon pack, a gregarious gang of four wolves frequently sighted at Mammoth Hot Springs on Yellowstone’s northern fringe, where they dine liberally on the elk that hang around the Inn, cabins and Park Headquarters. This close-up view of predation-in-action agitated the tourists and when the tourists are upset, the Park Service responds with a vengeance. The federal wolf cops were dispatched to deal with the happy marauders. When the wolves began stalking the elk, Park Service biologists lobbed cracker grenade shells at them and shot at the wolves with rubber bullets. Finally, the small pack left Mammoth for less hostile terrain, showing up this summer in the Hayden Valley, throbbing with elk and bison.
But the non-lethal warfare waged on the Canyon pack wolves came with a bloody price. The wolves lost their litter of pups, a troubling trend in Yellowstone these days. Pup mortality in Yellowstone is on the rise. Last year, on the northern range of the Park only eight pups survived. Several packs, including the Canyon and Leopold packs, produced no pups. Over the last few years, the wolf population inside the Park has dropped by 30 per cent. Even so, the Bush administration decided to strip the wolf of its meager protections under the Endangered Species Act in Montana and Idaho, opening the door for wolf hunting seasons in both states. Then Judge Donald Molloy, a no-nonsense Vietnam Vet, placed an injunction on the hunts and overturned the Bush administration delisting order.
Revoltingly, the Obama administration redrafted the Bush wolf-killing plan and again stripped the wolf of its protections under the Endangered Species Act. So now both Montana and Idaho are set to kill hundreds of wolves each in state authorized hunts—unless Judge Molloy once again intervenes to halt the killings. Both states have brazenly threatened to defy the court if Judge Molloy rules in favor of the wolf. The putatively progressive governor of Montana at the time, Brian Schweitzer, was especially bellicose on the matter, vowing: “If some old judge says we can’t hunt wolves, we’ll take it back to another judge.”
In Idaho, the state plans to allow 220 wolves to be killed in its annual hunt and more than 6,000 wolf gunners have bought tags for the opportunity to participate in the slaughter. Up near Fairflied, Idaho rancher vigilantes are taking matters into their own hands. Six wolves from the Solider Mountain pack in the wilds of central Idaho were killed, probably from eating a carcass laced with poison. Don’t expect justice for these wolves. Rex Rammell, a Republican from Idaho, has placed wolf eradication at the top of his political agenda. Rammell also made repeated quips about getting a hunting tag for Obama. After catching some heat for this boast, Rammell sent out a clarifying Tweet: “Anyone who understands the law, knows I was just joking, because Idaho has no jurisdiction to issue hunting tags in Washington, D.C.” Welcome to Idaho, where Sarah Palin got educated.
Across the valley, the wolf is standing rigid, his ears pricked by the bickering of a group of ravens below him on the far bank of Trout Creek. He moves slowly down the slope, stepping gingerly through the sagebrush. He stops at one of the looping meanders, wades into the water and swims downstream. He slides into the tall grass and then playfully leaps out, startling the ravens, who have been busy gleaning a bison carcass. Earlier in the morning a mother grizzly and two cubs had feasted here, I later learned from a Park biologist. Perhaps the Canyon wolves had made the kill, only to be driven away by a persuasive bear. Perhaps it was an old bull, killed during the rut.
The wolf raises his leg and pisses on the grass near the kill site. He sniffs the ground and paces around the remains. Then he rolls again, twisting his body violently in mud near the bison hide and bones. The ravens return, pestering and chiding the wolf. He dismisses their antics and grabs a bone in his mouth.
I lurch down the hillside for a better view, bang my aching foot on a shard of basalt and squeal, “Fuck!”
The wolf’s ears stiffen again. He stares at me, bares his teeth, growls and sprints up and over the ridge, his mouth still clamped tightly on the prized bone, and down into the Alum valley, where he disappears into the dancing dust of mating bison.
(This essay is excerpted from Heatstroke: Earth On the Brink, forthcoming soon from CounterPunch Books.)
* * *
+ The best news of the week: a new wolf pack has been located in northern California in the shadow of Mt. Lassen. The pack is rearing a litter of pups. There are photos.
+ The verdict is in: Marijuana has finally been linked to violent crime….REDUCTION.
+ 27 people have been killed by US police in the last 7 days–that’s more people than the police in the UK, France, Denmark, Austria and Germany combined killed in all of 2015.
+ Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke served a little more than one term in Congress as the Representative from Montana. But he put his tenure to profitable use. Over that time, Zinke raked in more than $375,000 in campaign cash from the Oil & Gas industry.
+ Perrynomics: Rick Perry showed up at a coal plant this week and invoked a novel economic theory to explain his push to expand coal mining in an age of declining coal use. “Here’s a little economics lesson: supply and demand. You put the supply out there and the demand will follow.” The Chicago School must be flummoxed by Perry’s understanding of the dynamics of supply and demand. Of course, this pearl of wisdom was dropped by a man who could only manage a 2.0 GPA at Texas A&M, where he peeked out a D in a class called “Meats.”
+ Mike Pence, channeling George Orwell, has vowed to “put American boots on the face of Mars.” Why Mars? Perhaps it’s a humanitarian intervention meant to liberate the sex slave colony Trump propagandist Alex Jones claims that NASA is running on the red planet.
+ Apparently, ICE has run out of grandmothers, fieldworkers and sick teenagers to deport and is now hunting down veterans…
+ How HRC sowed the Myth of the 17 Intelligence Agencies and the courtier press ate it up…
+ In the bused-in crowd of Polish nationalists at Trump’s speech in Warsaw, someone had the presence of mind to wave a Confederate flag to make Donald feel at home…
+ Poland just inked a deal to buy 8 Patriot Missiles for $7.6 billion. Suckers…Patriot Missiles, manufactured by Raytheon, are about as accurate as Trump tee shots.
+ By the Pentagon’s own assessment, “at least 607 have been unintentionally killed by coalition airstrikes” in Syria. If it happens month after month after month can you really call the civilian casualties “unintentional”?
+ The latest entry into the NewSpeak Dictionary: “Collective Self-Defense Strike.”
+ Imagine the mass hysteria if Chinese bombers were buzzing Kauai…
+ A dog story from The Dead Bird, October 12, 1889 (Sydney, Australia).
There is an excellent dog story by Mr. Blenkinsop, AVD, in the last Hayes Sporting News. It appears that he has been in the habit of treating a considerable number of dogs. And amongst them two for wounds about the head and ears. Some six weeks after the latter were cured, a Spaniel with a severe gangrened wound in the front of his left ear presented himself at Mr. Blenkinsop’s house, and utterly refused to be turned out. Mr. Blenkinsop then operated on and attended to the wound until it was completely cured, and the dog has stuck to him since. He now asks whether that dog came to him knowing him to be a veterinary surgeon, and if so, whether it had ascertained the fact from the two dogs previously treated for similar wounds. We incline to the latter hypothesis, for the dog could not possibly have spotted Mr. Blenkinsop as a veterinary surgeon by looking at him.
(Thanks to Jonathon Green.)
+ The American Middle Class bought into Neoliberalism, but someone else cashed in at their expense.
+ When it comes to air quality there’s EPA safe, Obama safe and Trump safe, none of which are actually “safe.”
+ The average working-class American household can no longer afford to buy a new car. Apparently that’s okay with Detroit, That’s okay, because some people in the country can afford to buy 100 of them a year.
+ The great German actress Nina Hoss gave a revealing interview with The Guardian this week, where she lamented the collapse of the European and American Left. “Neoliberalism has managed to take away the safety net underneath people’s lives – and convinced them that, from now on, it will be entirely their own fault if they fail,” Hoss said. “If there is ever going to be a revival of the left, it’ll be because they have managed to fill that space and regain trust. We have to work together to make sure people feel valued and connected again.” Hoss is performing in Manchester in a play called “Returning to Reims.” Don’t know about the play–though Hoss was one of the best things about the awful Homeland–but the memoir it is based on, Returning to Reims, written by Michel Foucault’s biographer Didier Eribon is one of the best things SemioText(e) ever published, analyzing in a very personal way how the French Left lost (abandoned) the working class.
+ This week readers of the New York Times were treated to that rare occasion when the paper consulted the opinion of Noam Chomsky. But it comes a price: 200 columns by David Brooks and Bret Stephens and Clinton hatchet man Mark Penn to try to repair the damage.
+ How McCain Celebrates 4th of July: Calling for more troops in a war against an Army-less “enemy” that no one remembers why we are fighting…
+ Jeremy Corbyn, the world turns its lonely eyes to you…
+ The more Corbyn repudiates Blairism and purges the party of Blairites, the higher Labour’s fortunes rise…There are plenty of lessons here for Democrats, none of which will be learned.
+ France’s mercurial new president Emmanuel Macron invited Mahmood Abbas to the Elysee Palace this week, where Macron said that Palestinians had a “legitimate right” to their own state. Macron is a one-step to the left three-steps to the right kind of politician, which still may put him at the top of the heap of European heads of state these days…
+ There’s simply no level of harassment of daily life in the West Bank that’s too petty for the IDF to sink to, such as swiping solar panels donated to small Palestinian villages by the Dutch government.
+ Trump is apparently considering wiping out federal heating assistance to low-income families this winter. Why? Like poverty, hypothermia is merely a state of mind. And if that doesn’t pan out, perhaps global warming will come to their rescue…
+ There’s a civil war breaking out among the One-Percent over the escalating housing prices in Washington, DC.
+ Nixon Library has the Watergate tapes. Let’s hope the Obama Library, now rising on the southside of Chicago, one day houses the tapes of the millions of phone calls his eavesdroppers tapped into…
+ A detailed study by researchers at Georgia State University discloses that terror attacks committed by Muslims receive 449% more coverage in the American press than terror attacks committed by non-Muslims.
+ The New York Times, fulfilling its mission as the bleeding edge of neoliberalism, launches a pre-emptive strike on the movement to lower prescription drug prices…
What I’m reading this week…
Unusually Cruel: Prisons, Punishment and the Real American Exceptionalism by Marc Morjé Howard
What I’m listening to this week…
Blue Again by Javina Magness
Royal Mint by Cash Box Kings
Résistance by Songhoy Blues
West Coast Sessions (Vol. 3) with Lee Konitz by Art Pepper
Cornerstone by Kris Funn
Little Pieces of Blazing Hell
Roberto Bolaño: “American television is full of smiles and more and more perfect-looking teeth. Do these people want us to trust them? No. Do they want us to think they’re good people? No again. The truth is they don’t want anything from us. They just want to show us their teeth, their smiles, and admiration is all they want in return. Admiration. They want us to look at them, that’s all. Their perfect teeth, their perfect bodies, their perfect manners, as if they were constantly breaking away from the sun and they were little pieces of fire, little pieces of blazing hell, here on this planet simply to be worshipped.”
(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: email@example.com or on Twitter @JSCCounterPunch. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org.)
JERRY BROWN ANNOUNCES GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTION SUMMIT AS HE PROMOTES FRACKING, DELTA TUNNELS
by Dan Bacher
California Governor Jerry Brown announced yesterday, via video message at the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Germany, that the state will convene the “world’s climate leaders” in San Francisco in September 2018 for a “Global Climate Action Summit.”
Brown made the announcement at a time when increasing numbers of Californians are challenging his environmental credentials as he teams up with the Donald Trump administration to build the controversial Delta Tunnels and to exempt three major California oilfields from protection under the federal Safe Water Drinking Act. (www.counterpunch.org/...)
“It’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of carbonization and join together to combat the existential threat of climate change," said Governor Brown in his remarks on the eve of the G20 Summit. “That is why we’re having the Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, September 2018.”
“President Trump is trying to get out of the Paris Agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America. We in California and in states all across America believe it’s time to act, it’s time to join together and that’s why at this Climate Action Summit we’re going to get it done,” he claimed.
Mainstream media provides fawning coverage
After hearing the announcement, the mainstream media responded with fawning puff pieces portraying Brown as an international “climate leader,” with doing little or no research into the Governor’s actual environmental policies.
“Gov. Jerry Brown of California on Thursday reinforced his reputation as America’s de facto leader on climate change, announcing to cheering crowds in Hamburg, Germany that his state would gather leaders from around the world for a global warming summit next year," wrote Lisa Friedman of the New York Times.
“Speaking by videoconference to the Global Citizens Festival in Hamburg, where President Donald Trump is joining other world leaders for the Group of 20 economic summit, Governor Brown said the president ‘doesn’t speak for the rest of America’ in pulling out of the Paris agreement on climate change,” Friedman said. (www.nytimes.com/...)
The New York Times didn’t mention that “America's de facto leader on climate change” received $9.8 million from oil and gas companies and utilities, often within days of winning big favors, since he ran for Governor, according to a report released by the Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog last August: www.consumerwatchdog.org/…
Consumer group says summit should be held in California refinery city
Liza Tucker, consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog, responded to the announcement by challenging the Governor to hold the summit in Northern California’s Richmond or in Southern California cities like Wilmington or Torrance—home to emissions-spewing refineries.
“It’s time to get real about the need to regulate refinery emissions directly and as quickly as possible when their global warming gases come in a package with toxic, smog-forming chemicals and murderous fine particles that lodge deep in the lungs and other organs of children as well as adults,” said Tucker, who has relentlessly exposed Brown's anti-environmental and pro-Big Oil policies that betray his green rhetoric.
“So far, Governor Brown has failed on this score, and is considering the exemption of refineries from air pollution regulation. But it is these California communities who are feeling the consequences of global warming’s pollution. It may be more comfortable to hold a summit and dine in San Francisco, but the proper venue is a refinery town that must be seen to be understood,” Tucker stated.
For example, she said data for Richmond, home to a Chevron refinery, reveals that refinery community residents are one-and-a half times more likely to die from heart disease and strokes than the Contra Costa County average, according to a 2010 report by the Contra Costa Health Services’ Public Health Division.
Big Oil and Brown collaborate on carbon trading measure
Tucker pointed out that Brown’s call for a summit comes as he spearheads negotiations to extend California’s 2006 law on capping global warming emissions and trading pollution allowances past 2020, when it is set to expire.
“Consumer Watchdog recently obtained documents showing that Governor Brown is shopping cap and trade bill language directly from Big Oil’s playbook to exempt refineries from air pollution regulation as part of a deal to extend the program. If introduced and enacted, the legislation would block powerful Air Districts in the Bay Area and Los Angeles Basin from setting tough limits on emissions that would leave refineries no choice but to install pollution control equipment,” said Tucker.
“Instead the legislation would hand regulation of refineries to the state regulator in charge of emissions from trucks and cars that is not equipped to oversee refineries. That regulator, the Air Resources Board, would be prohibited from deviating from the use of a prescribed cap and trade system that would keep the program from becoming anything more than just another cost of doing business,” said Tucker.
As is the case with the leaders of many consumer, Indigenous and environmental organizations, Tucker is highly critical of neoliberal carbon trading policies that do little to actually lower emissions while at the same time imperiling Indigenous and front line communities across the globe.
“California’s cap and trade system has done little to lower emissions of global warming in the state and, as currently envisioned, will not meet the state’s aggressive goal of lowering emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030,” said Tucker. “Instead, researchers have found that emissions have actually risen from high emissions-producing sectors such as refineries since cap and trade was introduced.”
In fact, Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) and the former Chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create faux “marine protected areas” in Southern California, backs carbon trading. She says a "well-designed cap-and-trade program is the prudent approach to meeting the state’s climate change targets.” (www.dailykos.com/...)
On June 28, In These Times revealed that leaked documents show that the Brown administration is promoting a cap-and-trade measure, not yet a bill, “that’s laden with talking points that appear to be ripped near verbatim from a policy paper by the state’s influential oil and gas lobby.” (inthesetimes.com/...)
Indigenous leaders oppose pollution trading, REDD
The opposition to carbon trading was spotlighted at the end of Governor Jerry Brown’s keynote address at the World Climate Summit in Paris on December 8, 2015, when indigenous leaders heckled Brown, challenging him on his support of controversial carbon trading polices that they say represent “a new form of colonialism” that could potentially cause genocide.
Brown had just finished his brief remarks when Penny Opal Plant of Idle No More, San Francisco Bay, stood up and shouted, “Richmond, California says no to REDD and no to evacuating indigenous people from their forests. NO REDD!”
Indigenous leaders and environmental activists in the room around her joined her in yelling, "NO REDD!"
REDD is the acronym for “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation.” It is used by the Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force, including California officials, to describe programs to promote reduced emissions from deforestation and land use.
However, Indigenous leaders say REDD really means "Reaping profits from evictions, land grabs, deforestation and destruction of biodiversity.”
For more on California’s current cap and trade negotiations, see: http://capitolwatchdog.org/article/jerry-browns-cap-and-trade-bill-would-exempt-refineries-air-pollution-regulation
Brown administration praises Trump regime’s Delta Tunnels decision
Meanwhile, the Trump administration on June 26 released a no-jeopardy finding on the biological assessment to build the tunnels, claiming that the California WaterFix will not jeopardize threatened or endangered species or adversely modify their critical habitat. The biological opinion is available here: https://www.fws.gov/sfbaydelta/HabitatConservation/CalWaterFix/Index.htm
The Brown administration praised the deeply flawed biological opinion, a document that may have been politically manipulated, in spite of the vow Jerry Brown made in January to “resist” Trump administration attacks on science.
"We've got the scientists, we've got the lawyers and we're ready to fight," Brown said during a speech to the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. (touch.latimes.com/...)
However, Michelle Banonis, Assistant Chief Deputy Director at the California Department of Water Resources, was hardly ready “ready to fight” when she spoke at a joint teleconference, a virtual lovefest between the two administrations to promote the decision.
Banonis gushed, “On behalf of the California Department of Water Resources, I would like to thank the US FWS (US Fish and Wildlife Service) and the NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) for their significant efforts in putting together the biological opinion for California Water Fix. We feel this is a momentous step towards the future and we feel that this will help in the future in balancing between water and environmental resources in California."
Background: California oil lobby tops spending in 2015-16 session with $36.1 million
In spite of California's reputation as a "green leader, Big Oil is the largest corporate lobby in the state and exerts enormous influence over the Governor's Office, Legislature and regulatory agencies.
As usual, the California Oil Lobby was the biggest spender in the 2015-16 legislative session, spending an amazing $36.1 million as of December 31, 2016.
The spending amounts to $1.5 million per month — nearly $50,000 per day — over the last two years. The $36.1 million surpassed the $34 million spent in the prior session, according to an American Lung Association report. “That’s enough money to buy 103,000 goats,” reported Stop Fooling California, stopfoolingca.org.
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) was the top overall oil industry spender during the 2015-16 session, spending $18.7 million. As is normally the case, WSPA ranked #1 among all lobbying spenders this session.
Chevron, the second overall oil industry spender, spent $7 million in the 2015-16 session. It spent $3 million in 2016, sixth among all lobbyists in the current session.
In the seventh quarter alone, WSPA dumped $2.6 million into lobbying legislators and state officials while billionaire Tom Steyer's Next Generation Climate Action spent an unprecedented $7.3 million, almost 3 times the oil industry group’s expenses.
The spending by Steyer’s group helped propel the passage of Senate Bill 32, legislation that reduces greenhouse gas level to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, in spite of strong opposition by the oil industry.
Since the 2007-08 Session, the oil industry has spent $133 million in lobbying in California.
To read the complete report, go to: www.lung.org/…
Gareth Porter, (703) 600-9057, firstname.lastname@example.org, @GarethPorter
Independent investigative journalist Porter just wrote the piece "How America Armed Terrorists in Syria" for the American Conservative.
Porter writes: "Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators.
"Gabbard’s 'Stop Arming Terrorists Act' challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be 'relatively moderate' anti-Assad groups -- meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism.
"This flood of weapons into Syria, along with the entry of 20,000 foreign fighters into the country -- primarily through Turkey -- largely defined the nature of the conflict. These armaments helped make al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, al Nusra Front ... and its close allies by far the most powerful anti-Assad forces in Syria -- and gave rise to the Islamic State. ...
"By helping its Sunni allies provide weapons to al Nusra Front and its allies and by funneling into the war zone sophisticated weapons that were bound to fall into al Nusra hands or strengthen their overall military position, U.S. policy has been largely responsible for having extended al Qaeda’s power across a significant part of Syrian territory. The CIA and the Pentagon appear to be ready to tolerate such a betrayal of America’s stated counter-terrorism mission. Unless either Congress or the White House confronts that betrayal explicitly, as Tulsi Gabbard’s legislation would force them to do, U.S. policy will continue to be complicit in the consolidation of power by al Qaeda in Syria, even if the Islamic State is defeated there."