- Maybe Rain
- King Tides
- Dope Stats
- BOS Graft
- Debris Cleanup
- Little Dog
- Pacifica Teetering
- Cult Radio
- GP Incineration
- Property Taxes
- Mandelbaum Partner
- Police Reports
- Yesterday's Catch
- Favorite Charities
- Dire Consequences
- Swamp vs Swamp
- Peoples' March
- Crab Feed
- Diablo Winds
- Private Pleasure
- Marijuana Breathalyzer
- Pension Question
- Poetry Reading
- Marco Radio
RAIN WEDNESDAY? Finally, a string of light rain days is expected to start Wednesday and continue through the weekend. With luck an inch or more in some areas. Temps expected to remain in a narrow cold band between 40 and 60.
HERE'S HOW THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE puts it: "Light rain across Del Norte and Humboldt county will diminish late Saturday morning. Mild, mostly dry, and cloudy conditions are expected to persist Saturday afternoon through Tuesday. Rain chances increase Wednesday through the end of the week."
NO SANDBAR BREACH, BUT LEVEL SLOWLY DROPPING
A glance at the USGS river gauge @ 10:15 am found the river level at 3.69' - a nice drop from the 3.74' yesterday proving that water is filtering through the sandbar. Perhaps the sandbar will breach when the "King Tides' come January 1st & 2nd? At any rate, flooding should lessen on Highway 128 just east of the Highway 1 bridge. We'll be taking a trip to check on the flooding later today.
UKIAH, Friday, December 29. – 4th Quarter 2017 Statistics: Prosecution of Illegal Marijuana:
With all the marijuana cases that can reach resolution in 2017 now complete, here's the final end of 2017 stats ….
Sixteen (16) individuals charged in Mendocino County with an illegal marijuana-related primary offense had their cases resolved during the 4th quarter of the 2017 calendar year. The resulting conviction rate for the quarter was 81%.
Of the 16 cases resolved with a primary offense involving an illegal marijuana crime, three defendants had his or her case dismissed for various reasons.
Two of the thirteen remaining defendants were convicted of a marijuana felony (yes, there are still marijuana felonies on the books). Following the completion of their local jail sentence, both men were deported to Mexico.
Of the remaining 11, all were convicted of marijuana-related misdemeanors. Ten of the 11 were placed on summary (informal) probation, meaning each of the 10 is subject to warrantless search and seizure on demand of any peace officer, as well as other terms and conditions of his or her probation.
Six of the 11 individuals placed on probation also have, as one term of their probation, an obligation to complete court-ordered community service. In the 4th quarter, 750 hours of community service were collectively ordered for this category of crime. The hours ordered work out to an average of 125 hours per defendant. These probationers are required to timely enroll to do their hours with Mendo Lake Alternative Service, Inc. (MLAS), a local non-profit, and then fully complete all hours within 6 to 12 months.
Note: The conviction information provided above does not include convictions suffered by defendants for marijuana-related BHO and other illegal chemical extraction labs.
(Mendocino County District Attorney Press Release)
THROW THEM OUT
Not often do I find myself in such total agreement with a writer in the AVA, but Michael Koepf nailed it. Our current county administration doesn’t deserve a raise. The BOS is ineffective and barely hides the fact that they don’t care about the citizens of Mendocino County. And Carmel Angelo now receiving upward of $300k a year compensation is a travesty! Please people remember this ruthless graft when election time comes around. Don’t reelect a single one of the current board. Anybody running for a seat in the next election should make it part of their platform to roll back this recent raise.
DEBRIS CLEANUP NOTICES AND LIENS
It has come to the attention of the County of Mendocino that numerous fire survivors received a California Preliminary Notice from subcontractors working on debris cleanup in the affected area. Fire survivors should not pay any contractor directly as the result of this notice, nor any future notice or bill related to debris removal they may receive.
This type of notice is typically filed pursuant to Civil Code Sections 8200 and 9300 to preserve a contractor’s right to file what is commonly referred to as a “mechanic’s lien”, which is filed against a property by an unpaid contractor, subcontractor, laborer, or material supplier. This notice is NOT a lien or a bill, and there is no reason to anticipate any liens will be filed on affected properties that are being cleaned up by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Consolidated Debris Removal Program.
Contracts through USACE for debris removal are backed by the State and Federal government, and USACE is solely responsible for direct payment to the contractor. No payments should be made to individual contractors by the property owner. The Consolidated Debris Removal Program is being provided at no direct charge to property owners (property owners are only responsible for the portion of funding allocated for debris removal in their existing homeowners insurance policy). For any insurance related payment, property owners will work directly with Mendocino County.
If any fire survivor participating in USACE’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program receives further notifications of this nature, or any other correspondence from a contractor that requests money or indicates that the property owner has unpaid bills in relation to cleanup, do not pay them, please contact the Mendocino County Fire Recovery Team in the Executive Office at 707-463-4441 or email@example.com.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “So Skrag saunters by, cigarette dangling, and just to make conversation I ask him if he smokes dope. ‘If I did, Little Dog, I'd smoke you!’ I don't know how much longer I can handle this level of aggravation without going for his mangey throat.”
BERKELEY'S KPFA RADIO FACING RUIN as New York Real Estate Corporation Considers Seizing Station's Assets to Settle Lawsuit
by Darwin Bond-Graham
KPFA radio first went on air in 1949, broadcasting from Berkeley and chronicling wars, social movements, and scandals with depth rarely seen in the mainstream media.
But now, KPFA <secure.kpfa.org/support/> faces the possibility of closure for reasons having nothing to do with the station itself.
A ruinous lawsuit by a New York City real estate company over sister station WBAI's $1.8 million in delinquent rent has thrown the Pacifica Foundation, which owns KPFA, WBAI, and several other stations, into turmoil.
The crisis began following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center which destroyed WBAI's transmission tower. Afterward, to continue broadcasting, WBAI signed a lease with the Empire State Realty Trust, a large Manhattan property owner, and began using a transmission tower on the top of the Empire State Building. ESRT subsequently increased rent by about 9% each year, charging more than a typical broadcasting tower costs.
WBAI's management called the rent increases unfair and complained of "being held hostage" by ESRT due to a lack of other options for a transmission tower, and the fact that the lease runs until 2020. As a result, WBAI failed to make its full rental payments and fell $1.35 million behind as of November 2016.
But ESRT successfully sued WBAI and Pacifica. Last October, a New York judge ruled that WBAI and Pacifica must pay what's owed, plus legal fees.
The judge also ruled that ESRT can seize Pacifica's assets to collect what it's owed. This could include KPFA's real estate, station license, or other property, even though KPFA is doing well financially thanks to its strong listener support. In fact, KPFA helps prop up weaker stations like WBAI.
The October ruling was devastating for Pacifica. Independent auditors wrote in Pacifica's last financial report <pacifica.org/documents/financial/Pacifica_Audit_FY2015.pdf> that there is "substantial doubt about the entity's ability to continue as a going concern."
Yesterday, KPFA General Manager Quincy McCoy warned the station's staff about the "imminent threat" they're facing in an email:
"Come January 12th KPFA's money and property may be seized by the Empire State Realty Trust because of a $1.8 million debt of our sister station WBAI. If this happens we will cease broadcasting because we will be unable to operate the station. At that point, our building and our bank account will no longer be under our control."
Pacifica insiders say the situation has been made worse by the foundation's notorious infighting. Over many years, Pacifica's board has been slow to address its debilitating financial problems. Board members are deeply divided about how to manage the five radio stations under their control. Although some board members have been calling on Pacifica to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect its assets like KPFA, it has yet to do so.
Another option is to sell WBAI's station license, which could be worth as much as $10 million. Others are opposed to this possible solution.
Doug Henwood, a longtime show host on KPFA, wrote in a blog post today <lbo-news.com/2017/12/28/pacifica-to-file-for-bankruptcy/> that the Pacifica Foundation's interim executive director Bill Crosier has now called for the foundation to file for bankruptcy.
The Pacific Foundation board is scheduled to meet tonight <kpftx.org/index.php> to consider its options.
As to whether KPFA can survive this financial mess created by its parent foundation, McCoy told the East Bay Express in an email, "this is the season of miracles, I like many others in the network are hoping for the best."
* * *
DOUG HENWOOD PUTS IT MORE SUCCINTLY
Pacifica death watch: this time it’s really real
Because WBAI is broke, almost listenerless, and run by idiots, the station didn’t pay its transmitter bill to the Empire State Building for a long time, and is now $3 million in arrears. The ESB has sued and wants to seize Pacifica’s assets, which would include KPFA and KPFK’s bank accounts and buildings.
Because the Pacifica board is staffed by idiots, the network is not filing for bankruptcy or taking any other meaningful measures to protect itself. The rational thing to do would be to sell WBAI’s frequency (at 99.5, it’s on the commercial section of the radio dial), because the station is braindead and pointless, and the proceeds could save the rest of the network. But that doesn’t seem to be happening.
There’s a high risk that KPFA — where Behind the News originates — will stop broadcasting on January 12. I don’t know what that means for the future of BtN, but aside from that, the loss of KPFA would be tragic.
It’s taken years to get to this point. If you wanted to destroy the network, you couldn’t have done any better than make Tony Bates the WBAI program director and Berthold Reimers the general manager. And you couldn’t have done any better than staff the board with people who have no idea of how to run anything. It would be premature to type “RIP,” but it’s not too soon to make what delicate people call “arrangements.”
DOUG HENWOOD is writing about Pacifica [above], but substitute KZYX and you have Mendocino County Public Radio.
MARCO McCLEAN WRITES:
RE KZYX: Bruce [Anderson]’s bid to participate in directing the board of Mendocino County Public Broadcasting Corp.: Bruce, to prepare for the farce of an election, get the details of how much each employee is paid, and get a statement from the manager as to why he pays himself $60,000 a year and pays the airpeople nothing. I mean, ask him if he’d stay on in that capacity if he had to do it for the pure joy of radio, the way the airpeople do. And if he would, invite him to; see what he says.
The idea of paying a handful of people in the office of a radio station $300,000 – $350,000 a year, when the entire cost of running the studios and transmitters comes to about a tenth of that, is ridiculous. And the article a few days ago praising the KZYX transmitter (!) and airpeople for “soldiering on” during the fire disaster… Soldiering on? The fire never got within thirty miles of the transmitter or the main studio. And airpeople relaying fire info from a computer screen or a phone call is one of the little things MCPB promised to do in return for getting control of those three frequencies in the first place. It’s the minimum they should be doing. And would the airpeople not have done their part if they weren't being paid? Would that somehow cramp their style?
We know MCPB thinks radio work is real work because they pay taxpayers’ dollars from the CPB toward NPR shows. Did you know that just Ira Glass and his two producers are paid $500,000 a year for their one-hour a week show? Is Ira Glass (and Jeffrey Parker, for that matter) worth that much more than all the local airpeople at KZYX doing all their shows, all year long, all put together?
And if Jeffrey and MCPB think the local airpeople’s work is worthless, which MCPB has demonstrated it does for 28 years now, why not put some people on the air who do radio MCPB can respect, for a change?
ED NOTE: The KZYX budget is opaque, for an ongoing murk of a fact. One reason I'm running is to raise the issue that fiscal clarity is in the best interests of the membership. To keep payroll and the rest of the operating costs a secret is (1) illegal because KZYX is a tax-subsidized non-profit and (2) reinforces the popular impression that the station is a private audio club. I'd say that over the years KZYX has operated more like a cult of paid people and programmers terrified of the great unwashed beyond the Philo bunker. They aggressively support each other, of course, as the mediocre always do. I'd also like to see the station's legacy black list eliminated. I doubt there are few people affiliated with the station these days who have any idea how Marco and the rest of that lengthy roster of non-personed persons managed to get themselves permanently banned. I think general manager Parker, considered solely in terms of his predecessors, is a step forward considering the snarling paranoids who've typically held down the top slot. (No one meaner creature ever existed than an old hippie.) Parker is smart, affable and at least has ordinary social skills, and simply stating qualities presumed in most areas of American life we don't have to wonder why KZYX isn't more widely supported. I agree, however, he makes way too much money for what is clearly a part-time job. Seems to me, though, the primary overall task is to include the large majority of Mendo people who presently have no reason to tune in. So they don't. I think a morning half hour of purely local news would increase membership because no one else in the area except for Joe Regelski out on the Coast does it, and his summaries can be radically improved upon. It would also represent a giant step forward to have at least one person on the board independent of things as they are. But, on a positive note, I invite all the middle-of-the-road extremists who comprise the station's paid-up membership to join my Truth and Reconciliation campaign! No one excluded!
WHAT WENT into GP's boilers?
George Hollister: "The timing of when the alleged tire burning took place is important. Remember the ubiquitous incinerator? They were all over. Apartment complexes, schools, and colleges used them. Any entity that produced a lot of burnable waste. All these units released dioxins into the air, and did the same in their ash. Where did that ash end up? The dump, or used as soil amendment. Whatever was going on at GP, there was likely nothing sinister about it. No one thought they were getting away with anything. What was being done was progressive at the time. For some, it is considered progressive today. There are still incinerator facilities in the US that burn municipal waste, not hog fuel, and these facilities produce electricity."
URGENT COUNTY FACEBOOK POST REGARDING TAXES!
The Mendocino County Tax Collector will accept postmarks by 12/31/17 for early payments on the second installment of 2017-2018 tax year. Due to 12/31/17 falling on a Sunday, as well as Monday 1/1/18 being a holiday, postmarks by 1/2/18 will be accepted as December 31, 2017 timely payments.
Prepayments for the 2018-2019 tax year will not be accepted as the bill is not created or issued yet.
You may also pay online and post directly to your parcel by going to https://www.mendocinocounty.org/…/tr…/property-tax-lookup-fr
The drop box for payments in front of the County administration center is open and you may drop your payment there and it will be accepted as timely through 12/31/17.
CHAYA MANDELBAUM OF BOONVILLE, and a graduate of Ukiah High School, is a partner in the law firm of Rudy Exelrod Zeiff and Lowe in SF. His specialty and passion is labor law. Besides his law practice for the past 5 years he has been and currently is the chair of the CA Fair Employment and Housing Council, having been appointed by Gov. Brown. A current article published in the SF Chronicle about the new CA legislation that has just been passed includes Chaya's and the Council's excellent work re these new laws.
MARTY'S BIG NIGHT
On 12-23-2017 at 4:00 PM Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a physical altercation between a male and female in the 44000 block of North Highway 101 in Laytonville. While Deputies were responding, dispatch advised the female left the location north on Highway 101. The reporting party gave dispatch a description of the male subject who was still in the area. He was described as a white male adult, in his 20's wearing a flannel shirt and carhart pants. An Officer from the California Highway Patrol contacted a subject fitting the suspect description nearby at Branscomb Road and Highway 101. The subject was identified by his California driver’s license as Martin Gerard Curran, 26, of Petaluma.
The CHP Officer detained Curran who was found to be in possession of a loaded concealed firearm and a concealed fixed blade knife. The Officer also located on the Curran’s person a small bag of suspected methamphetamine. Deputies arrived and took custody of Curran. The area was checked for the female but she was not located and she did not call law enforcement for a report. Deputies researched the serial number on the firearm and it came back as a lost or stolen firearm in 2009 near Bakersfield, California. Curran was subsequently placed under arrest for Possession of a controlled substance while armed, Concealed Dirk or Dagger, and Possession of a controlled substance. Curran was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $35,000.00 bail.
* * *
MAIL BOX THIEF
In preparation for the 2017 Holiday Season the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office began working with local citizens on an intensive surveillance program, targeting thefts from rural mail boxes. As a result of that effort, on 12/28/2017 at about 11:15 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office became aware that a suspect began taking mail and packages from the Oak Knoll Road area. Responding deputies spotted the suspect and he suddenly fled, speeding away in a vehicle as he observed an approaching patrol vehicle. Deputies pursued the vehicle to the area of Poulos Court where the driver jumped from the vehicle as it was still in motion. The vehicle impacted a parked car and the driver began running through the yards of residences in the area attempting to elude capture. Officers from the Ukiah Police Department, resonding to assist the deputies in this pursuit, contacted Javier Mejia exiting the rear of a residence on Tedford Ave.
Mejia told officers he lived in the house and had simply walked outside to see what was going on. Officers noticed Mejia was sweating and had mud and debris from trees on his head and clothing. When officers asked Mejia his address, he could not provide the numbers or the street name. Deputies found the vehicle was reported stolen out of Napa County. The license plates had been removed and paper dealer plates were attached to the vehicle. The vehicle contained several pieces of stolen mail and packages from the Oak Knoll Road area. Also located in the vehicle was Mejia’s cellular telephone. Mejia is currently on probation after recently being released from state prison, under the state prison realignment. Mejia was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on charges of mail theft, grand theft, possession of stolen property, reckless evasion and violation of probation. Mejia is currently held without bail.
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 29, 2017
ZACHARY BRINT, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JERRY DIVINE, Willits. Resisting/threatening officer.
RYAN GARCIA, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
MICHAEL LOCKETT SR., Ukiah. Probation revocataion.
JAVIER MEJIA-VALENCIA, Clearlake/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, receiving stolen property, evasion.
AARON OLIVIER, Boonville. Domestic battery.
JANET SILVA, Bakersfield/Willits. Under influence.
GERALD SIMPSON, Willits. Community Supervision violation.
BRIAN VANVRANKEN, Ukiah. DUI.
ABRAHAM WOMACK, Redding/Mendocino. Domestic abuse, witness intimidation, probation revocation.
FOR YEAR-END CHARITABLE GIVING: SOME FAVORITES
by Ralph Nader
Here are some of my favorite, frugal, effective non-profit citizen action organizations that you may wish to favor with your tax-deductible generosity.
- Veterans For Peace (VFP): Composed of veterans from World War II to the present, VFP takes strong stands, including peaceful demonstrations and marches, for peace and against a militarized, aggressive foreign policy and wars of choice. Donate here: (1404 North Broadway, St. Louis MO 63102 or veteransforpeace.org/take-action/donate/).
- Public Employees For Environmental Responsibility (PEER): A group of U.S. Forest Service professionals started this remarkable group, which has since spread to civil servants in other federal agencies such as the EPA and the Department of the Interior. PEER’s staff is knowledgeable, organized and relentless in protecting federal employees’ right to bring their conscience to work and speak out against unlawful or reckless devastation of our environmental resources and health. (962 Wayne Ave #610, Silver Spring, MD 20910; peer.org/give/)
- Appalachia-Science in the Public Interest (ASPI): This lean, dedicated and productive group works tirelessly to find solutions in one of the poorest regions of America through the application of practical science. They teach how to preserve forests, protect drinking water sources, how to cook without electricity or gas, how to grow their own food and build a home without visiting a big box store. (50 Lair St, Mt Vernon, KY 40456; donorbox.org/aspi)
- The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OPEPA) opposes the nuclear arms race, seeks enforceable treaties abolishing nuclear weapons (the latter is agreeable to numerous retired cabinet secretaries in both Republican and Democratic administrations) and monitors government arms contracts, radiation hazards and facilities such as the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Their newsletter is a must-read.(P.O. Box 5743, Oak Ridge, TN 37831; orepa.org/)
- The Pension Rights Center, the only national civic organization dedicated to reforming pension policies, unfair regulations and protecting and promoting retirement security. They help individual retirees and propose major retirement programs for all Americans. (1730 M Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20036; pensionrights.org)
- The North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) works to start and expand consumer and housing cooperatives, especially for young people in colleges and universities. NASCO provides “on-the-ground training for over 79 cooperative organizations…. Living in a co-op means learning that cooperation is not only an alternative solution but also a way to empower our local leaders and communities.” NASCO will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. Their fortune is bright and promising. (1100 West Cermak Road, #514, Chicago, IL 60608; nasco.coop)
- Organization for Competitive Markets Don’t let the name Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) mislead you. OCM is a ferocious, detail-oriented champion of small family farms in our country against giant agribusinesses squeezing farmers from both the supplying and buying their crops. OCM’s newsletter is unyielding in showing how preserving family farms is also good for consumers and the struggle against monopolization from industry giants like Monsanto. (P.O. Box 6486 Lincoln, NE 68506; competitivemarkets.com)
- The Center for Auto Safety: Without this watchdog group holding accountable the auto industry and its federal regulators, tens of millions of cars would not have been recalled over the past four decades. It has been the guardian angel of American motorists and consumers in other respects as well. (1825 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 330, Washington, DC 20009; autosafety.org/make-donation/)
- The Indian Law Resource Center, based in Montana generates justice and safety for Indigenous Peoples. Under its brilliant executive director, Robert T. Coulter, the Center seems to be everywhere, protecting American Indian and Alaska Native families, fending off the Trump Administration’s move to undermine long-standing trust relationships, keeping indigenous lands in community ownership and supporting sustainable development in Central and South America. (602 Ewing Street, Helena, MT 59601; indianlaw.org)
- Whirlwind Wheelchair helps people in less developed countries construct sturdy, inexpensive wheelchairs from local materials, building self-reliance and addressing the critical needs of safe mobility. Founder Ralf Hotchkiss has invented many improvements in wheelchairs for free public application. (2703 7th Street, #134, Berkeley, CA 94710; whirlwindwheelchair.org/donate/)
- The Salvation Army: And, of course, the old reliable Salvation Army – quick to the scene of natural disasters anywhere in the world with hands-on assistance, unbureaucratic and frugal. On a daily basis it helps the poor, the destitute and the hungry. Over 140 years old, with 15,409 congregations in 127 countries, 1,150,666 million members and many thrift stores, the Salvation Army is consistently rated near the top of the most popular charities/non-profits in America. As incorruptible as humans can possibly be. (615 Slaters Lane, Alexandria, VA 22313; salvationarmyusa.org)
I’ve given donations to all these organizations over the years. Consider their selfless work, in the age of Wall Street profit-glutted greed, and support their activities for the New Year.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The annihilation of several layers of the middle and working class and the creation of an impoverished under-class could have dire consequences that the Davos plutocracy and their perfumed bi-coastal clerisy are too arrogant and self-assured to see.
FDR saw what was going on with the Bolshies and Mussolini and Hitler. And I think it was FDR that told immensely wealthy Americans in the 1930s that they had a choice ahead of them, they could enact reforms that would take away some of their wealth for the general good of the country, or they could risk upheaval and lose it all.
The people that are nowadays so fact and evidence based seemingly can’t see the facts and evidence laid out before them, not only stuff directly underfoot, but that provided by history, a lot of which is within living memory and a lot of which is just outside of it.
The Russian and Chinese revolutions and the rise of fascism and Nazi-ism didn’t come out of nowhere. There were multiple factors behind these massive bloodlettings but without dire living and economic conditions I think that none of them would have come to pass. Hence FDR’s warning.
What happens on this side of the pond may have some surface similarities to what happened overseas. So while guys like Hedges prattle on and on about incipient fascism (I mean, what effrontery to tar people who have justified and legitimate grievances) I doubt that what takes shape here will be anything much like fascism though it could be nasty and may have guys doing straight armed salutes. But fascism was imperialistic and genocidal. I don’t see imperialism but rather its opposite on this side of the oceans, a national contraction and fragmentation. Neither is the massive Stalinist butchery nor anything like what happened to European Jewry in the cards.
That’s not to say that a lot of heretofore smug people won’t find themselves hanging from lamp-posts. Too much in-your-face flouting of the law (Wall Street and the Clintons), too many farcical miscarriages of justice (the Comey debacles, Holder-ist too-big-to jail-ism) and that’s what could happen.
THE YEAR IN TRUMP
by James Kunstler
There he is, our president, both immovable object and irresistible force, unsmiling with slitty eyes beneath that car-hood of a hair-doo, lumbering from one presidential prerogative to the next through squalls of opprobrium, perplexing leaders from foreign lands, punking congressmen and senators, inducing swoons of un-safeness among the zhes, theys, and thems on campus, provoking the op-ed bards of The Times to mouth-foaming hysterics, tweeting any old thing that flies through the interstices of his brain-pan, our Golden Golem of Greatness, MAGA sword in smallish hand against a swirling red sky.
Well, he made it through the year. I thought the fucker would be sandbagged by a claque of Pentagon patriots inside of three months, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong.
What seems to be forgotten is that Donald Trump brought his own swamp to Washington, as in a history of hinky real-estate wheelings-and-dealings, stiffed vendors, bankruptcies, lowbrow TV hijinks, and dark adventures in the Manhattan nightlife of the late 20th century. So, it’s swamp versus swamp.
You may detect that I’m not exactly a fan of the president, but I rather admire his standing up to the permanent bureaucracy that we call the Deep State, and especially its elite poobahs, who have driven this polity into a deeper ditch than the voters realize. The Mueller investigation hangs over Trump’s head like a piñata filled with dog-shit, but he soldiers on. After more than a year, the RussiaGate narrative is looking like something fished out of the Goodwill Industries dumpster, its chief sponsor, the FBI, riddled with conflicts-of-interest, suspicious political motivations, and flat-out partisan animosity. Right now, there’s more reason to suppose Mueller will have to start asking some hard questions about Russia collusion among the Hillary cohort —and don’t forget, there’s that stinky business featuring ex-DNC-Chief Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and her mysterious Pakistani IT go-fer, Imran Awan, waiting in the wings.
Trump’s management of the North Korea nuclear threat has been, shall we say, less subtle than his predecessor’s. The Prez and Kim look like a couple of characters out of a 1949 Warner Brothers LoonyTune. It’s almost enough to make you forget this is serious business. The issue has gone ominously silent for weeks and I rather imagine we’ll witness some real fireworks as the new year rolls out. But if it happens that the US manages to “neutralize” Little Rocket Man without blowing up Seoul and Tokyo, the GGG may get a brownie point from his fiercest auditors.
I saw nothing wrong with Trump’s attempt to constrict travel to the US by people from a list of mainly Islamic nations. The Left shrieked about ethnic “profiling.” Yes, that’s exactly what it was. Why? Because a lot of Islamic maniacs are blowing things up, shooting up joints, and plowing trucks into folks around the world, including This Land is Your Land. On the macro level, I’m all for a broad reduction in immigration. We’ve got enough strip-mall nail parlors for now. And there are something like 100 million American adults out of the work-force. A time-out, at least, is warranted.
I’m skeptical of Trump’s MAGA program. We’re not going to replay the industrial age in North America, and we’re for sure not going to return to the life-ways of 1962. I also doubt that we are heading into a Silicon Valley inspired robotic A-I nirvana of “creative” weenies in flying, pilotless Ubers. Rather, I think we’re more likely to land in a return to something more like 1834, with scant central heating, and a lot of suspense about getting a hot meal at sundown. I want a mule.
The Tax Plan? Real tax relief just doesn’t mean a whole lot without a reduction in the size and scale of government. Its unstated purpose is a temporary stimulant replacement for Federal Reserve money-printing. Its actual effect will be to shove the US closer to real and painful insolvency in which something has to give: either the value of our money, or our having any money. I wonder what sort of dark schemes are being hatched to cold-cock the public with a so-called “cashless society” regime. That’s only one move that could provoke real civil violence, and understandably so, because there’s no greater threat to liberty than the government electronically tracking your every transaction.
Happy New Year, everybody! Watch yourself out on the road!
Coming on Monday: Forecast 2018. Spoiler alert: I’m notoriously wrong about everything, further proof that reality is a slippery fellow….
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)
NUNS ON THE BUS
CNN AM, 12/28/17
Ray Moore, Alabama, challenges election results due to "large voter turnout" (Large turnout=Voter fraud?). They were bussed in to vote.
I remember the 10th anniversary of the March across the bridge in Selma. They were interviewing participants and witnesses. A Lady says “We came down here from E. St. Louis, Illinois, wearing our full Regalia nun’s habits, to march with Rev. Martin Luther King and freedom.”
An eyewitness to the March says, “Oh, you must be one of those people who dressed up like nuns to infiltrate the demonstration!”…10 years later the nuns aren’t wearing those Catholic Burkahs anymore.
Ask my Auntie, Sister Louise. How glad was she to be rid of those blinders? Can’t this eyewitness see?
Maybe some ideas won’t change…Forever Fraudulent Fixations.
Where’s John Belushi when we need him? The Penguin sent him on a mission from God, remember? It’s time for those of us who remember tyranny - from Rome, Italy; Rome, Georgia; Washington, D.C.-wherever, to stand up together - Enough, Already! Any candidate or Party which disenfranchises ½ of the population to maintain its greedy power must go.
Look out, Boys: Freedom Marchers, complete with inhalers, walkers, nostril-plugging oxygen tanks, canes, hearing aids, are still stirring up shit.
See you at The Peoples’ Marches, nationwide, on January 21, 2018. God Bless. She loves us all.
THE GARCIA GUILD - MANCHESTER COMMUNITY CENTER all-you-can-eat crab feed is tomorrow (Saturday) from 4 pm until 8 pm on Crispin Road in Manchester. For tickets and information call Susan or Gary at (707) 882-1750. Tickets are $40 thru today and $45 at the door.
THERE WAS A DESERT WIND BLOWING that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.
–Raymond Chandler, on The Science of Diablo Winds Fanning California Wine Country Fires
TURNING OUT NAPKIN RINGS
After all that family fun and awful Christmas music, it's time for some bracing negative thinking from Gustave Flaubert, thanks, if that's the mot juste, to Julian Barnes:
When I was still quite young I had a complete presentiment of life. It was like the nauseating smell of cooking escaping from a ventilator: you don't have to have eaten it to know that it would make you throw up.
What an awful thing life is, isn't it? It's like soup with lots of hairs floating on the surface. You have to eat it nevertheless.
From time to time, I open a newspaper. Things seem to be proceeding at a dizzy rate. We are dancing not on the edge of a volcano, but on the wooden seat of a latrine, and it seems to me more than a touch rotten. Soon society will go plummeting down and drown in nineteen centuries of shit. There'll be quite a lot of shouting.
I still carry on turning out my sentences, like a bourgeois turning out napkin rings on a lathe in his attic. It gives me something to do, and it affords me some private pleasure.
A CALIFORNIA COMPANY believes it has invented a viable marijuana breathalyzer. The cannabis equivalent of a DUI poses testing challenges that were solved for drunken driving long ago.
STATE SUPREME COURT TO CONSIDER ARGUMENT THAT BENEFITS ARE TOO GENEROUS
Cases could lead to state pension cuts
by Jonathan Cooper
For decades in California, a sacrosanct rule has governed public employees’ pensions: Benefits promised can never be taken away. But cases before the state Supreme Court threaten to reverse that premise and open the door to benefit cuts for workers still on the job. The lawsuits have enormous implications for California cities, counties, schools, fire districts and other local bodies facing a sharp rise in their pension costs. The ballooning expenses are an issue that Gov. Jerry Brown will face in his final year in office despite his earlier efforts to reform the state’s pension systems. His office has taken the unusual step of arguing one case itself, pushing aside Attorney General Xavier Becerra and making a forceful pitch for the Legislature’s right to limit benefits. At issue is the “California Rule,” which dates to court rulings beginning in 1947. It says workers enter a contract with their employer on their first day of work, entitling them to retirement benefits that can never be diminished unless replaced with similar benefits. It gives workers security that their retirement will be safe and predictable after a career in public service. But it also ties lawmakers’ hands in responding to exploding pension costs. The California Rule is controversial because it prohibits even prospective changes for work the employee has not yet done. California’s two major pension funds, which have more than $570 billion in assets, have enough money to pay for only about two-thirds of their anticipated costs. As a result, both the California Public Employees Retirement System and the State Teachers Retirement System will collect billions of additional dollars from state and local governments. Brown, in a brief filed in November, argued benefits have been handed out too generously. A ruling is expected before Brown leaves office in January 2019.
LOBA: a Poetry Reading Series featuring Annette Makino! (Open Mic follows) Saturday, January 20th at 3 pm
Join us for a reading & presentation by Annette Makino, artist and haiku poet! Open mic follows. Teens & adults are invited to share poems in any form or style.
Annette Makino combines joyful, vibrant paintings with original haiku and other words. She paints with sumi ink and Japanese watercolors using bamboo brushes. Much of Makino’s work is inspired by the Japanese tradition of haiga, artwork combined with haiku so the image and words deepen and enrich each other. She also draws on techniques of Japanese woodblock prints and etegami: hand-painted postcards combining words and images.
Raised by a Japanese father and a Swiss mother, Makino has lived in both Japan and Europe. She moved to Redwood Valley with her family when she was 15 and graduated from Ukiah High School in 1981. Since 1986, she has made her home in Arcata, where she lives on a redwood-covered hillside with her husband, two children and a dog. Makino comes to her work with more than thirty years experience in writing and graphic design as a communications specialist for nonprofit organizations. She has a degree in international relations from Stanford University.
Publications: Makino’s work has appeared in the leading English-language haiku and haiga journals, including Frogpond, Modern Haiku, The Heron’s Nest, Acorn, HaigaOnline, and DailyHaiga, among others. Her work has also appeared in several Red Moon anthologies of the best English-language haiku of the year and The Wonder Code by Scott Mason.
Awards and Shows: Makino’s poems have won awards in the Gerald Brady Senryu Contest, the Harold G. Henderson Haiku Contest, and the the ukiaHaiku Festival's Jane Reichhold International Prize and Dori Anderson Award. In addition, a poem was shortlisted for The Haiku Foundation’s Touchstone Award for best haiku of the year. Makino has exhibited her art around Northern California. Her work has shown at the Morris Graves Museum of Art, the Brenda Tuxford Gallery and the Redwood Art Association Gallery, all in Eureka; the Corner Gallery in Ukiah; and the Mateel Cooperative Art Gallery in Garberville, among other places. Light refreshments will be served. For more information please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A feminist epic by Diane di Prima, LOBA is a visionary epic quest for the reintegration of the feminine, hailed by many as the great female counterpart to Allen Ginsberg's Howl when the first half appeared in 1978. Loba, "she-wolf" in Spanish explores the wilderness at the heart of experience, through the archetype of the wolf goddess, elemental symbol of complete self-acceptance.
STAN LEE IS 95 TODAY. ALSO MEMO OF THE AIR: GOOD NIGHT RADIO TONIGHT AT 9.
I like this article about Stan Lee: https://tinyurl.com/DailykosAboutStanLee
That reminds me to recommend the Pulitzer-prize-winning /The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay/. It's about the early comic book industry, the immigrant experience, and it has a real golem in it, /the/ Golem of Prague, as well as Harry Houdini and Salvador Dali. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amazing_Adventures_of_Kavalier_%26_Clay
And The Arrival by Shaun Tan, an entirely wordless, sepiatone, densely detailed children's book about fleeing oppression (skyscraper-tall monster vacuum robots that suck you up through trumpets into their terrible bags) and traveling to a marvelous new land, and learning the rules and flora and fauna and flaming kitchen appliances and how to send for your left-behind family by balloon-kiosk. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Arrival_(graphic_novel)
In Other News: Tonight's Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show will be live /not/ from Fort Bragg, so if you want to talk about your project on KNYO or read aloud your writing in person, or bring your instrument(s) and fellow instrumentalists and play a song or a short set, or otherwise demonstrate your show-and-tell skills...
...Make that next week, First Friday, January 5; drop by 325 N. Franklin, Fort Bragg after 9pm and just barge in. Head for the lighted room at the back and get my attention. You're never interrupting me; I'm happy to see you. I have plenty of material, local and otherwise, to read to fill up the time whether you come or not, so there's no pressure. But, again, that's next week, because tonight I'm doing the show from Juanita's apartment, not from KNYO. So.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio: Every Friday, 9pm to about 4am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, and at the same time on 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. And anywhere else via http://knyo.org or http://TuneIn.com
Also, p.s., the deadline to email your writing to be read on Memo of the Air is about 5 or 6pm the night of the show. And it's not even five-thirty yet. You have a little time yet to get that together for tonight. Just paste it into a reply to this email, make sure it's going to me and not to the whole group (unless that's what you want) and press send.
Plus you can have your very own show on KNYO. Contact Bob Young: email@example.com and express your radiophilic desires. You'll be on the air before you know it. It's easy and fun. And it's your right.