- Pawnee Update
- Kent Rogers
- High-Times Partnership
- FB Politics
- Little Dog
- Ed Notes
- C Thanks
- C Math
- Yesterday's Catch
- Floundering Foundering
- Your Day
- Trump Dandy
- Hersh Interview
- Trump Blame
- Wheeled Meal
- Wrongful Death
- Sound Art
- Fish Wars
- Canadian Border
- Lame Interview
CALFIRE REPORTS: 11,500 acres burned, 5% contained
"The fire burned very actively throughout the day in the Spring Valley area, north east of Clearlake Oaks in Lake County. The fire is being driven by low relative humidity, erratic winds, and above normal temperatures. Expanded evacuation orders are in effect for the entire Spring Valley area and residents are reminded to heed all evacuation orders. Additional resources are enroute to the incident."
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PAWNEE FIRE IN LAKE COUNTY JUMPS TO 10,500 ACRES
Slightly cooler temperatures and lighter winds helped slow the advance of the wildfire raging east of Clear Lake on Monday, but the Pawnee fire remained a formidable foe, growing to 10,500 acres and continuing to menace the rural hillsides of a county besieged by repeated wildfires in recent years.
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CALFIRE’S TOWN HALL at the Moose Lodge (Clearlake Oaks), video shared with the Essential Public Information Center’s Facebook page:
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Pawnee Fire Relief: How to Donate
LAKE COUNTY, Calif. (June 25, 2018) – Our thoughts and prayers are with crews still battling to contain the Pawnee Fire, which has already ravaged thousands of acres in the Spring Valley area, northeast of Clearlake Oaks. “Lake County is fortunate to have the support of experienced and excellent first responders,” affirms Jim Steele, District 3 Supervisor. “They are working tirelessly to protect Lake County residents, stabilize the Pawnee Fire, and safeguard residents’ property.” With thousands of residents already ordered evacuated from their homes, the County has received requests for information on the most effective way to make donations to assist Pawnee Fire Survivors and their families. Cash donations are most helpful at this time. They allow those supporting disaster relief efforts to direct assistance where it is most needed. The County is unable to accept in-kind donations, such as clothing, household goods and other supplies. In-kind donations require significant time and financial resources to distribute. If someone close to you needs clothing or other everyday items, please provide them directly, if you can. If you are able to help the broader disaster response and relief effort, cash is best. Those who are able, please make cash donations at: ncoinc.org.
BETSY CAWN NOTES: The cash will go to NCO, which has produced no reports on donations, distributions, costs, and number of disaster survivors served (where, how, and to what degree) since the Valley Fire (2015); county government taking a definite back seat to lead agencies, with Red Cross falling to and pitching in for the short term, but we will see how this proceeds and let you know. Meanwhile, people are delivering local relief as needed, via Facebook pages — days ahead of local Office of Emergency Services. One new feature of local communications, on-screen Emergency Alert System bulletins on local (cable) television — for whatever that’s worth.
Kent R. Rogers, aged 88, died peacefully at a hospice home in San Diego on May 31st, 2018 of congestive heart failure, surrounded by loved ones.
Kent was preceded in death by Anne, his wife of 54 years. He is survived by his son Stuart (Dawn), daughter Jenne (Jerry), grandson Zachary, companion Neva, sister Eleanor (Don) and many nieces and nephews.
Kent was a long-time resident of Boonville where he enjoyed photography, gardening, and giving back to the community that meant so much to him.
In lieu of a funeral, the family will be making a donation in his honor to these local groups which were so important to him: Anderson Valley Elder Home, Anderson Valley Land Trust, and Hendy Woods Community.
We ask that you remember Kent by walking, bike-riding, or hiking in his footsteps in the Valley, on Peachland Road, or Hendy Woods Park.
Afterwards raise a glass in his honor at one of his many favorite Anderson Valley establishments.
For a wonderful tribute to Kent’s life, please see Steve Sparks’ 2010 interview Lives & Times of Valley Folks: Kent Rogers, November 17, 2010.
MATEEL: REGGAE FEST WON’T TURN INTO CANNABIS FEST
by Daniel Mintz
Facing questions on potential changes to the Reggae on the River music festival due to new management, boardmembers of the Mateel Community Center have told county planning commissioners that the event’s focus will be on music and financial stability, not cannabis.
The implications of the Mateel’s new partnership with High Times Productions, the event management subsidiary of High Times Media, figured into the Humboldt County Planning Commission’s June 21 deliberations on renewing the Reggae on the River’s five-year county permit.
A majority of commissioners approved the permit, allowing the event to proceed as planned in early August.
The new involvement of High Times concerned Commissioner Dave Edmonds. Saying that “instead of Reggae on the River, now we’re looking at a big marijuana festival,” Edmunds suggested that liability potential will intensify and he asked if the county would share liability if something goes wrong.
The commission’s counsel said the county wouldn’t be liable simply for issuing a permit.
The change of event management was also discussed during a public comment session.
Calling attention to the presence of forestlands and homesteads near the French’s Camp festival site, Piercy Fire Protection District President Cheri Porter Keisner said “fire is the number one threat to those of us who live in this community” and she’s concerned that former fire prevention measures aren’t in place.
She also told commissioners that camping cannabis users could pose fire risk.
“I’m really concerned because as we’re changing the event, it’s becoming cannabis-friendly, and the majority of the fires that I have helped put out have been cannabis-friendly fires,” she said. “Most people who are smoking pot come from out of the area and are not real fire-safe.”
Mateel Vice President Dusty Houston said the festival will continue to use a loop lot on the west side of the Eel River as a “holding area” for early arrivals, which will prevent “cars piled up on the 101” and the trespassing associated with fire risks.
Porter Keisner had also said that the fire district is one of many organizations owed money for services provided during last year’s event.
Houston said $141,000 of the Mateel’s total debt has been paid and he added that the High Times partnership will change the festival’s financial viability, not its purpose.
“We have partnered with High Times Productions not to create a larger cannabis event, but mainly to save the potential for this economic infusion into Southern Humboldt and in that same breath, it’s also saving the community center,” he said.
Mateel boardmember Garth Epling highlighted the new partnership’s potential to improve the Southern Humboldt economy – and allow Reggae on the River to survive.
“Yes, it’s now a for-profit company that’s going to be producing this event for us but it will still benefit us -- the non-profit Mateel Community Center,” he said. “And after last year’s downturn in the economy and last year’s poor performance of the festival leading to the Mateel’s current fiscal situation, we couldn’t afford to produce this event again – we needed to partner with somebody and also wanted to see this event continue for the foreseeable future.”
He added, “Partnering with High Times gave us a way to continue this event and it does so in such a way that there’s little to no risk of any financial problems for the Mateel in the future.”
A representative of High Times emphasized the company’s production experience and said that “we do not intend to make Reggae on the River a cannabis event.”
There are aspects of holding the festival that are still pending.
The installation of a temporary bridge across the South Fork Eel River has a new twist – the possible presence of the yellow-legged frog, a species that’s being reviewed for endangered listing, will ultimately require a state permit and state wildlife officials will oversee the installation.
An owner of B & B Six Rivers Portable Toilets said his company is one of the businesses that’s owed money from last year’s festival and will not be providing its services this year.
That concerned Commissioner Ben Shepherd, who said he couldn’t support renewing the festival’s permit without portable toilet management in place.
But Commission Chair Bob Morris warned against making decisions based on vendor circumstances, saying another company can be contracted and the commission’s per view is strictly land use.
Other commissioners agreed. The vote to approve the permit renewal was 4 -1, with Shepherd dissenting.
The approval came with an added condition – that the festival’s organizers must demonstrate that all essential services have been secured two weeks before the event.
There will be no increase in the festival’s attendance level this year. Like last year, it will be limited to 6,500 ticket holders and 2,500 staff members, vendors and performers.
UNDER THE BUS, FORT BRAGG STOP
by Rex Gressett
Fort Bragg has distinguished itself by its controversies more than anything else. More fur flies between the people of Fort Bragg and our City Council than any other city in the county. We have recalls and produce initiatives. We boot out City Council people and watch our politics on television like it was a sporting event. God knows it’s not the Council that causes all the excitement. The action comes from the public. The general interest in local politics keeps the Fort Bragg City Council significantly more aware of the people's temper than City Councils in general, but I don’t mean that the City Council people are actually candid. In fact, they keep a great many secrets, pull many stunts and duck as much responsibility as possible. I just think that comparatively speaking, the great unwashed keeps them on their toes.
God forbid that I would ever laud the likes of Linda Jupiter and her famous crew of dyed in the wool, old school, socialist, humanitarian greens, but when they are interested in something, they do fill out a section in Town Hall.
It is not just the liberals, we have a diversity of interest groups and outspoken individuals. Town Hall is frequently packed. The city has had to buy more folding chairs. Around the county in Willits say or in Ukiah, Fort Bragg has earned a reputation for vigorous participatory democracy. I know for a fact that in the county’s political hierarchy they think politics in Fort Bragg sufficiently vibrant and outspoken that they are glad not to have anything like it in Ukiah and Willits. We are almost but not quite comical in our civic animation. Outsiders sort of smirk, but one also senses a bit of a tip of the hat.
We have Ann Renneker, that marvelously honest soul. How often has she made the Council blush? We have the other team, Judy the wise, the eloquent and accomplished Ann Marie with her thirty-page appeals and initiatives. Fort Bragg can boast the “Concerned Citizens” who have in recent political memory so memorably rocked the political boat. We have the formidable George Reinhardt and the effective Gabriel Maroney. That’s just scratching the surface, but that much combined energy and talent properly focused could depose a dictator.
Of course, it's a little like herding cats. It just goes round and round while the administration steals bases. In tiny Fort Bragg, there are too many if not actually politically involved at least vividly opinionated people to easily catalog and more than two sides on most issues. It is our style to make occasional attendance at town hall an element in the regular exercise of our civic duty. Not every place is like that.
I watched the Planning Commission meeting on June 13th. The hot topic that evening was the relocation of Tucker’s Place bar from the Company Store to the main drag on Franklin. Geeze what nice people came to that meeting. There were the pro quiet street people, no barfing in the gutters folk and the pro-business Hey Main Street is dying folks so let’s get the bar going.
Intermixed among them were plain old Tucker’s defenders who made the winning point that Tucker’s is a local gem of real elegance, with superb management, should be given the benefit of the doubt. All sides were charmingly articulate. They expressed themselves without digression or irrelevancy and the whole business got sufficiently masticated that even the losers went home feeling they had used the public process right up to the hilt.
It is uncanny in a city known for its political discourse and participation how little public reaction there has been to Jacob Patterson's direct assault on the very institution of the City Council, and his personal quest to botch up effective city government. People are not talking about it because it's too bad to believe. It is like an old-time horror flick where believing it’s happening contends with sanity. It's not just the CVRA (California Voting Rights Act) which is terminally horrible, down at City Hall; the smiling staff really work to get your information request forms processed asap. They have 10 days by law, but it rarely, actually never, takes that long. But the system has been deluged with a production line of information request forms from this one guy, Patterson — 177 at last count. I am sure there are more by now.
The execrable Patterson, an unemployed young lawyer, says he feels uncomfortable seeing our exemplary superlative, unfailingly courteous and elegant City Clerk’s name on his email, so all his requests get the special attention of the City Manager. Then they go to Scott Snyder who processes the requests and submits them to the City Clerk who does the work and then sends them back to the City Manager who sends them back to Jacob Patterson. This one guy is eating thousands and thousands of dollars of city administration time and energy.
Jacob Patterson has dropped in on our little city and used Fort Bragg’s friendliness and access to government process to destroy it.
He sure is doing his best. All of that is small potatoes of course compared to Patterson's real focus on suing the city to end our tradition of general elections and reduce the City Council to neighborhood discussion groups. He is exploiting a vicious state law (the CVRA) that has hobbled local governments in cities across the state. Under the guise of ethnic electoral equity this guy is trying to wreck the town. The city can’t fight the phony redistricting Patterson is forcing on it without bankrupting itself. The CVRA hangs over the city like a pall.
Last week the demographic survey that is required if the city is going to implement neighborhood districting was privately released to the City Council. All efforts to get the survey released to the public were nixed, presumably by the City Attorney. The demographers and the city are working furiously to cave in under the 45-day deadline so that the mercenary Mr. Paterson's compensation will be limited to no more than $30,000 bucks. The completion of the survey is a necessary condition for capitulation to districting. The Council swore to fight districting in a gesture of empty bravado but they have barely mentioned the progress of negotiations publicly since their first announcement and now they are keeping the progress of surrender as quiet as possible. It’s either pay this shakedown artist or fight him in court. Fighting him is more expensive. Capitulation is cheaper.
It’s a tough job being on the city council. The people who do it deserve our thanks, but seeing the council thrown under the bus by Patterson and the CVRA, as grim as it is, hurts less than seeing the City Council throw the people of the city under the bus.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I asked Skrag about his pregnant girlfriend who now lives here with him. He says, ‘I took her in because I'm a nice guy, but if you think I'm the father of her kids, prove it!’ And he laughed his cynical laugh and sauntered off. A real gent, that one.”
THE RASTAFARIANS arrived in force Friday for Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, departed in droves Sunday. Monday morning, looking a bit worse for three days of One Love, a few stragglers stumbled around Boonville clutching their paper cups of coffee.
ONE OF THE EVENT’S managers told us Monday that several of the bands had had a terrible time at SFO where arbitrary INS agents allowed some famous musical personalities into the country without hassles while others were turned away. In one case a Brazilian band was admitted but its lead singer was not. A Jamaican was allowed in but his records were confiscated.
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IF YOU WANT to stay at the renovated Harbor House in Elk, a room is only $700 per night. Less expensive berths go for $300 a night. One on one tutorials with Charlie Acker, optional.
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IN THE AGE of instant communications, the more prosaic, non-inflammatory news travels slowly. Here in the Anderson Valley, who’s boffing whom is known in full English-to-Spanish translation minutes after the couple un-couples. But the fact that appliances are no longer accepted at the Boonville Transfer Station — water heaters, stoves, fridges, washers and dryers — remains unknown to many. You can offload this stuff at the Ukiah station, deep South State Street.
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THE ANDERSON VALLEY School Board met Tuesday evening (25th of June), and will meet again on Friday (the 28th). I planned to attend to get my two bits in but came to my senses before setting forth. I wanted to complain in person about the district’s reliance on the Santa Rosa-Eureka-based lawyer’s combine which has supplanted our school board’s authority. Case in point: Our school board, on the advice of one of these distant un-elected attorneys, recently agreed to a $60,000 deal the public is not privy to. Why? Because the lawyer said so, public money notwithstanding. Call me old school but I still think $60,000 is a lot of money. I also think the public has every right to know the details of the claim against the district that led to 60 grand sailing out the door. But the lawyer says it’s a secret. I also wanted to ask the school board to ignore the lawyer and tell us all the Why Fors of the 60 thou deal. But the new public agency strategy is to simply ignore impertinences from the pesky sectors of the public and stay with the errant private but also publicly-funded legal advice dispensed from Santa Rosa and, in this case, Eureka.
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SPEAKING of the local schools, our Superintendent, Mrs. Hutchins, has survived the Mean Girl’s Spring Offensive and is now our former Superintendent, but she is also now Superintendent of all Mendocino County’s schools, having bested a Ukiah edu-drone in the recent election, and bested him by a healthy margin, too. In a lot of ways, the County Superintendent’s job is a lot easier than overseeing a single school district with its entrenched, unsupervisable staff, often irresponsible parents, reluctant, under-achieving students, unpredictable, pressure-prone school boards. I challenge you to stop the next 20 people at the Boonville Post Office, and if one of them knows anything at all about the County Office of Whatever the Hell it is, you’ve encountered a rare informed citizen.
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BLACKBIRD FARM, the rogue charter school-funded all-weather youth camp in the hills west of Philo, has racked up another Notice of Violation for building an unpermitted road. Meanwhile, at the foot of Ray's Road, Blackbird's entry point, we've got OneTaste, a sexual "educational" business committed to instruction in "spiritual" masturbation. The onanists paid $4.9 million for the Philo property where, for $5,000 a weekend, men and women, previously unknown to each other, are taught "orgasmic meditation." The orgasmics arrive in Philo in droves, many of them traveling in charter buses from the Bay Area and paying lots and lots to, well, and not to put too fine a point on it, whack-off, er, orgasmically meditate, which seems to me some pretty darn tricky multi-tasking, but I guess that’s why some people need lessons. The Orgasmics are lately in the news because some of their customers think they’ve been scammed. Boy, some people are just too darn skeptical for their own good! Pretty sure OneTaste’s customers are drawn from the Rajneesh demographic.
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RE THE BANNING of Trump officials from “liberal” restaurants, wouldn’t it simplify things if the libs just went for it all at once and set up Liberals Only restaurants, and maybe safe spaces in every red state too where the poor dears wouldn’t be burdened by opinions they disapproved of? Heck, we’ve already got snowflake set asides right here in Mendocino County, in Albion, Mendocino and whole neighborhoods of Fort Bragg and Willits.
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HALF-BAKED OPINIONS. Sure, I've got 'em, and by the bushel, too. You asked for it. (1) The border with Mexico. Since the Monroe Doctrine, early 19th century, we've had our way with the Southern Hemisphere, installing and supporting murdering, thieving governments who've ransacked their countries and their peoples. And we wonder after nearly two centuries of these kleptocracies why their victims are massing at our border? (2) The cover story in the current Atlantic Monthly: "Your Child Says She's Trans. She Wants Hormone Therapy. She's 13." I'd say, Her Parents Are Sex-Obsessed Neurotics Who Should Lose Custody Of Her. Leave Her Alone To Figure Out Her Preferences And Whatever You Do Keep Her Away From San Francisco. (3) The two races for Mendo supervisor boil down, for me, to which candidates realize that our local government isn't functioning as it should be functioning. (4) I often see a large woman kinda jogging past the ava's Boonville bunker. I don't know her, and I'm hardly qualified to comment, but I want to tell her that exercise is something you have to look forward to, and that she can get the same training effect if she simply walked at a brisk pace and enjoy herself while she keeps herself healthy.
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WE RECEIVED an angry letter re the Trans item above. “How would you like to have your gender arbitrarily assigned, in a community with rigid gender roles…” Etc. Seems from here, fashionable arguments aside, you’re stuck with the repro organs you’re born with, and that a kid on the adolescent side of puberty’s rosy cusp isn’t old enough to choose a sexual identity. The alleged parents of potential changelings I’ve seen discussing it on tv are suspiciously eager on the subject. I think a lot of nutball mommies (especially) out there enjoy the attention they get as they apply subtle but relentless pressure on their kid to lop it off or paste it on, as the case may be. Of course, no kid with homosexual interests should be persecuted for having them.
MENDOCINO COAST DISTRICT HOSPITAL THANKS COMMUNITY FOR MEASURE C PASSAGE
Fort Bragg, CA - June 25, 2018 - Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) and the Mendocino Coast Healthcare District Board of Directors are overjoyed to report that Measure C has passed. The measure received 66.77% of the votes, more than the two-thirds required for passage.
MCDH leadership and the Board of Directors would like to sincerely thank our community, the Measure C Committee, volunteers, staff, and consultants for all the hard work that made this a success. We also want to thank everyone that helps organize and conduct our vital elections in Mendocino County for their hard work and dedication to our democratic process.
CEO Bob Edwards commented, "We are excited about the election results and have been energized by a realization that the overwhelming majority of our community members support us and our efforts here at MCDH."
A total of 6,879 votes were cast, with 4,593 of those in support of Measure C. MCDH is thankful for the remarkable amount of support we have received from our community. Throughout this process, we have appreciated every opportunity we've had to learn more about our community and their concerns, and we hope that through our efforts, community members now understand more about the modern healthcare challenges we face as well. Working together, we believe we can provide the healthcare our community deserves.
Additionally, as was shared in the information provided about Measure C over the last number of months, there is an exemption for contiguous parcels. This will allow immediately adjacent parcels, owned by the same owner and used for residential purposes, to be treated as a single parcel requiring the owner to pay $144 annually (as opposed to $144 multiplied by the total number of parcels). To provide these exemptions, MCDH will utilize an application process. Granted exemptions will be honored until there is a change of ownership of the parcels.
Normally, the deadline to submit this application will be June 15th of each year, allowing MCDH sufficient time to process all applications received and submit the updated parcel roll to the County, prior to their annual deadlines. However, given the proximity of the election to the deadline - and that we did not find out the final results until just last week, some days after the deadline - MCDH is committed to honoring any valid applications submitted at any point during this first year. This means:
* If MCDH receives a valid application prior to the County deadline in this first potential year of the parcel tax (likely in mid-July of 2018), that property owner will receive the exemption.
* If we do not receive a valid application prior to the County's deadline in this first potential year, MCDH will reimburse the owner for whatever is billed and paid in excess of $144 for contiguous parcels - and then the exemption will be granted in the following year. MCDH will soon make the application available and it can be submitted as referenced above. Should any property owner want to initiate this process more immediately, however, please just send an email, including owner name, addresses and APNs, to Gayl Moon (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the CEO's office.
If there are any questions about the Contiguous Parcel Exemption Application Process - or anything else related to Measure C - please call the CEO's office at 707-961-1234 or email Gayl Moon at email@example.com.
Doug Shald, Director PR & Marketing Communications, Mendocino Coast District Hospital, 707.961.4961
SIMPLE MATH (MCN listserve)
[Susie de Castro:] Measure passed by only 5 votes. That means most of us are dissatisfied with the status quo.
Gayle Moon has not bothered to return my calls, if she listens to them, at all. Most of the calls I make, I make to Bob Edwards, but someone decided he can't anwer his own phone or can't be bothered to return calls to lowly worms like me. I volunteered at the hospital because I care, but I left because the care was not reciprocal.
[Mark Slafkes:] Sorry but your math is seems to be lacking. 66.77% in favor means that 2/3 of the voters supported the measure. This means that the "vast" majority of the voters supported the measure. The super majority requirement for any measure involving MONEY was created in California by the Republican Party waaaay back when. At the time, they were so afraid of the Democratic Party that they tried to figure out a way to control the "awful" Democratic Party. A 2/3 majority has always been extremely difficult to find in any part of the USA and they figured they could control about 1/3 plus a couple of votes in the legislature. Thus, the Republicans could defeat any measure that involved taxes. That pretty much includes, well, you can figure this one out. This was the Republican Party's way of controlling taxation in California and they needed some way to have some power in this Democratic state. Historically, in our country we only need 50% plus one person to pass a measure. What happened in the last election is that a smidgen more than 2/3 of the voters approved the measure.
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 25, 2018
MICHAEL ARNOLD, Covelo. Contempt of court.
PAUL BAUGHMAN, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
SAMANTHA FRANK-GROSSMAN, Willits. Under influence, disobeying court order, failure to appear.
ANA MARIN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
JONATHAN MIRAVALLE, Ukiah. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
PATRISHA MOODY, Ukiah. Vehicle registration forgery, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
CLAYTON PIZZOLO, Fenwick Island, Delaware/Hopland. DUI-alcohol/drugs.
SILVESTRE RIVERA-NIETO, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ-ZEPEDA, Redwood Valley. Dog tethered for more than three hours, failure to provide care to animal.
by James Kunstler
My website was down early Monday morning, and I’m just a little suspicious that it had something to do with me expressing an opinion outside the “Overton Window” of what is considered acceptable discourse on illegal immigration. Namely, that it’s illegal, with all that implies. At least I wasn’t thrown out of a restaurant over the weekend, though the fact is I didn’t even try to eat out.
Now my particular problem may turn out to be no more than a cockroach chewing through some wires in the Jersey server farm where this blog dwells — we’ll find out soon enough — but there are obviously other signs that “the Resistance” is tuning up the antagonism against its perceived enemies.
I’m in the peculiar position of not being a partisan of President Trump, and yet being a publicly avowed enemy — if there’s any doubt — of the Resistance, especially these days its institutional branch known as the Democratic Party. What a ragtag and bobtail of mendacious cowards it has become.
The truth, I believe, is that the party wants to bring as many Mexicans and Central Americans as possible across the border, by any means necessary, to fortify its future voter base. And so they are acting to insure that it happens. Of course, this might also be viewed as a suicidal course of action for the party, since it puts them in opposition to the rule-of-law as a general principle, which is a pretty sketchy basis for any claim to govern. That being the case, the outcome for the Democratic Party may be its own demise as a legitimate political bloc. It’s one thing to ignore the economically foundering, traditional working-class constituency of actual US citizens who are having a tougher time every year making a living; it’s another thing to bring in a several-millionfold population of non-citizens to replace them.
Anyway, it’s a pretty poor strategy for success in the coming mid-term election. The effort got a boost over the weekend from Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Cal) who called for Trump administration employees to be thrown out of department stores and other retail establishments as well as restaurants. Why stop there? Why not enslave Trump employees and supporters? Force them to work without pay in the Chick-Fil-A regional distribution warehouses? One wonders what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi thinks of Ms. Waters’ proposal. Other Democratic party leaders zipped their pie-holes about it.
It may also be the case that the majority Republicans in congress are cowed and anxious about doing anything legislatively to clarify the disheveled US immigration laws. If that’s true, they might pause to consider that their own party is not so far from whirling around the drain, too, from a consistent demonstrated lack of principle — as well as its uncomfortable association with the maverick president who only nominally leads the party.
The trouble is that the entities waiting to replace both the useless, careless, feckless Democrats and Republicans are chaos and violence, not reconstituted parties with coherent political programs. The US, and really all the so-called advanced nations on earth, are heading into an era of scarcity and austerity that is likely to present as mortal conflict.
Bill Maher could easily get his wish of an economic crisis before many more months go by. The financial markets have never been under so much lethal stress. Everybody and every institution is drowning in debt that can’t possibly be repaid. The supposed remedies for that — like, inflating the debt away with official monetary policy — would be ruinous for the 99 percenters already struggling to lead normal lives. And the looming novelty of a cashless society would be even worse in terms of personal liberty.
Ah! We somehow miraculously got the website back up-and-running to post at the usual time today. Last week, I was awash in censure and obloquy for dissing the Resistance stand on illegal immigration, the alleged “torture” of children separated from their parents (or plain parentless) at the US / Mexican border. Much of the published opprobrium against Trump and the federal authorities under him proved to be quite false — such as the weeping child on the cover of Time Magazine, who was, in fact, not separated from her mother (a previous deportee who abandoned her husband and several other children in Honduras). As far as I know, Time Magazine has not offered an explanation or an apology for this attempt to misrepresent reality to an already confused American public.
I’ll be collecting questions for an “Ask Me Anything” segment of my podcast. Send them to me at jhkunstler at mac.com.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
HOW DO YOU LIKE HIM NOW?
How does everyone out there like the job President Trump is doing now? I know the Republicans do, most of them, and the conservatives. But the liberals? Oh! When they go to bed at night they sit down by their bed and they holler, or pray, "Oh Hillary, why didn't you win?" And the better Mr. Trump gets the more jealous they get and the more hateful they are and the more they try to clog up the system. That's the way it is. I want Mr. Trump to keep on doing the great things he's doing and I know he will. We will hope for the best.
Back when I was a kid the definition of a rapper was a guy who was really good on the drums or really good on the saxophone or some other musical instrument. But now -- oh! Far from it. Now they get up on the stage, both black and white, and they try to see how many times they can say the f-word in five minutes. Or they grab themselves by the crotch. And the crowd goes wild. That's what our society has become. I don't know.
God Bless Donald Trump
A REPORTER’S REPORTER
A Conversation with Seymour Hersh
by Daniel Falcone
Seymour Hersh states that the “deadliest words” in US media today are, “I think.” With media cycles constantly fluctuating and changing format and delivery based on website clicks it’s hard to keep up and find good reporting. For example, Hersh points to a lack of coverage or deep analysis regarding the war in Yemen and Trump’s removal of Sudan from the travel ban list, as crucial stories in need of further investigating.
Hersh also refers to America’s “continuing special forces operations and the never ending political divides” across several continents that don’t get enough play because of our current state of news coverage. Aside from “today’s newspapers that cannot afford to keep correspondents in the field,” for Hersh, the news of today seems “unstructured and chaotic,” and is pieced together much like the country as “partisan and strident.”
Author of My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath (1970), and Pulitzer Prize recipient and best-selling author, Seymour Hersh is “a survivor from the golden age of journalism.” Hersh, the author of numerous groundbreaking articles and nearly a dozen books, most recently, The Killing of Osama bin Laden (2017) and Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, (2004) has just come out with his memoir — a revealing look at one of the top-rated investigative journalists in US history. Reporter: A Memoir, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018) outlines Hersh’s early life, his rise in journalism, and sketches an illustration of the state of journalism in a changing world.
I spoke with Seymour Hersh on June 12, 2018, by phone from New York City, for nearly an hour in his Washington DC office and he shared with me great insights and stories about his career and his latest book. I started by asking Hersh to comment on how he was “a survivor from the golden age of journalism,” wanting to find out what was entailed in this “golden age.”
Hersh indicated that, “there was a period then when we could dominate the news. In other words, the newspapers were believed more than anybody else in the government, and that’s what I called a “golden age.” Hersh added it was a period that lasted for three or four years.
“There were a couple of years when the state couldn’t control what we were doing,” remarked Hersh. “They couldn’t do it.” Hersh’s message in Reporter is that good investigative journalism tells the story, and essentially does not set out to make the United States look good. “That is not the function of a good newspaper,” explained Hersh.
Hersh also explained to me how Trump is a “circuit breaker,” and is redirecting the nation’s foreign policy orthodoxy. Furthermore, his poll numbers increase in the face of constant attacks as he dangerously controls the agenda, partly because journalists got too far away from telling the story, or sat on stories, and instead settled on mediocrity, as they lost resources, over the past several years.
Hersh told me his thoughts on entering the memoir project to write Reporter. I tried to discover if he had learned anything about himself and if he enjoyed the process. Hersh told me that he never thought he would. He had a book deal on Dick Cheney. A book that he was starting to have people review and edit and there were some issues with it. First, Cheney is still alive and second, Hersh started this project in the Obama years when the administration was prosecuting people left and right or had the potential to.
The publishers were absolutely nervous about Hersh’s work-in-progress on Cheney. And so Knopf the publisher, who had financed his research for three years said, “Do a memoir.” Hersh remarked in self-deprecating fashion that the big thing he learned was that his “memory was absolutely useless.” He thought, at first, he would just go back and reread everything he wrote, but commented on the concern he had – of not being able to find his early work with the UPI in South Dakota in 1972 and 1973.
I asked Hersh to talk about his formative years and to discuss the impact of Chicago on his writing style and his worldview. Hersh grew up and worked in his father’s business in the black ghetto in the 1950s. In the 1930s it had been the area where James T. Farrell, a wonderful Chicago writer, wrote the Studs Lonigan Trilogy. Chicago was also a place where people like Studs Terkel used to talk about the South Side.
Hersh also admired Saul Bellow and Philip Roth commenting on how he “was influenced by the realistic style of fiction, because it was so gritty.” But it’s not as if Hersh was tuned in at the age of 20 to a writing style per se, the plain fact was simply: he could always flat out write.
Chicago was also where Hersh would later work as a police reporter for City News. “Cops basically ran the city with the mob, and if some guy was found downtown in a mob-controlled area, such as the nightclub on Rush Street—with 14 bullets in him, it was reported to be a traffic accident, you didn’t take on the police,” said Hersh.
It’s not that Hersh didn’t try to resist this tyranny. He once overheard a cop talking about killing a black guy as a suspect. The cop told the suspect “beat it, just get out of here,” and then shot him in the back, later claiming that he tried to escape from a bust. Hersh called his editor with the intent to break the story and was told it was his word against the cop’s. The editor, more or less replied to Hersh, we have to get you out of that police station or you’ll be out of the business [emphasis mine].
In Reporter, Hersh explains how the Civil Rights Movement and his close friendship with I.F. Stone shaped his approach to covering the war in Vietnam and his subsequent topics of study and investigative reporting. Hersh spoke about his work for the AP, where he was assigned to be a civil rights reporter. Hersh had “enormous respect for Martin Luther King, because he would walk through these neighborhoods in Southwest Chicago and be greeted with the worst abuses.” Not only were things thrown at King, recalls Hersh, but the language directed at him was awful, coming from a white area under threat of African encroachment.
Another area of interest and inspiration for Hersh was found in the Bertrand Russell tribunal, which had a lot of very interesting things to say about the war in Vietnam, with firsthand accounts of soldiers who had committed atrocities, but Hersh also paid attention to the various publications and church groups. “There were church groups in fact who did very good work on the atrocities in Vietnam, even long before Mỹ Lai,” said Hersh.
Hersh continued to explain, how later as a war reporter, he also got to know officers who had a lot of integrity, and who didn’t like the fact that “some got promoted by body count.” The more people an officer killed, the more the officer would get promoted. Hersh remarked that this was “a horrible unwritten rule.” It was also during Vietnam that Hersh realized that “the guys running the war didn’t tell the truth.”
When it came to I.F. Stone, Hersh stated, “The bottom line is, he taught me you have to really work hard, you have to read things and you have to do a lot of re-reading to understand events in order to put them in perspective.” I.F. Stone was a “golden age” journalist who saw Hersh as someone who had potential to look at the story, not in terms of it “hurting America, but if it were true, and that’s the way I reported,” remarked Hersh, “I didn’t worry about hurting America,” he added, “and that wasn’t my function. My function was to tell the story about how bad the war was and why I thought it was bad.”
A lot of readers are familiar with Mỹ Lai 4, but before that was Hersh’s first book, Chemical and Biological Warfare, where he gathered war crime research from Quakers all the way up to senior people in Washington and also those at Harvard. Hersh recalled Seymour Melman, who was putting out great writings like, In the Name of America, trying to alert the American people to what was going on in our names and if we only knew.
“I read that stuff carefully,” said Hersh. “I thought when I first got to the Mỹ Lai story that it was about some kid that just lost his mind and with a tank fired a rocket into a house or just blew apart a village and killed 75 people or so. And as I got into it more and more I discovered it involved the deliberate murder of 550 people including things like rape, throwing babies in the air and catching them with bayonets. It was really just awful stuff.”
Leading up to Reporter, Hersh has written extensively on not just Vietnam, but Henry Kissinger, American mid-east foreign policy, The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib, and many other pieces in several publications throughout his career, as well as books. Then, with the emergence of the Obama Administration, which many people held tremendous optimism for – he found it more difficult to cover his presidency than others in the past.
Hersh said, “more difficult is a mild way of putting it; it was much harder because [Obama] was a very attractive man and he wasn’t [perceived as uneducable] like George Bush, but he also beat Hillary, who a lot of people did not really like very much.” All of this made Obama criticism more difficult in Hersh’s view, even though he didn’t do much coverage of the Obama Administration, he did write pertinent and explosive stories.
“There’s a sad truth,” remarked Hersh, “a sad truth is all presidents lie.” The story that caused the most problems for Hersh was the Bin Laden story in 2013 after he explained with inside sources that Osama bin Laden was being held as a prisoner and Pakistan had facilitated the United States capture, retrieval, and murder of him. “My God, was that a time of trauma, there was a lot of anger at me for doing that,” lamented Hersh. “I was pretty much attacked from one end of the city to the other.”
I closed my discussion with Hersh by bringing up the topic of Syria. I wanted to discuss the article, “Whose Sarin?” from the December 2013 edition of the London Review of Books, where he challenged the widespread perception that Bashar Al Assad had used nerve gas against his own people.
Hersh wrote the piece to explain his evidence that the United States had “omitted important intelligence and that [Obama] presented assumptions as facts.” Hersh emphasized that the White House pretended there was only one suspect, Assad, when they were two, the Turks and the Saudis, both believed to be possibly responsible. Hersh commented on how the Saudis were likely working through Lebanon, while the Turks were working through the border of the Idlib province. In effect, large quantities of precursor chemicals were smuggled into Syria and the US government had knowledge of it. The overall point was, after the gas attack, how was anyone sure?
Everyone in the US media was ready to blame the Syrians, when in fact the American government knew for two months that there was a second group that could have been responsible. Hersh indicated that, “it was a grave disservice of the Obama Whitehouse to not tell the world that we had evidence.”
Hersh has never stated that Assad is a great leader but he does find the hatred for Assad in the US to be irrational and acute. He also finds it borderline hypocritical while he alluded to Vietnam:
“I know a country that used barrel bombs. They dropped them all by helicopters. And they were considered to be very pernicious and a violation of the Geneva Accord. I know a country that used barrel bombs for seven years, (particularly in the provinces between Saigon and reaching to the west of Cambodia) in a war in which the President of the country was never in danger. If Assad loses this war to ISIS or whomever, he’s going to end up like Mussolini, executed and strung up by his neck with his wife and children next to him on a pole somewhere in downtown Damascus.”
Hersh basically asserted that the US corporate media coverage of Syria is not independent from state pressure, it overcompensates, and it’s shocking that Assad is seen as such a horrible person without a comparison to Saudi Arabia.
Hersh also explained what it was like to first interview Assad and recalled when in 2003 Assad asked him, “do you mind if I give a long answer?” In other words, he was shy about it, or anxious in Hersh’s estimation. Hersh, and others, do see a problem with Assad – “he isn’t doing enough on human rights.” But he’s somebody who will protect the Sunnis in his country. That doesn’t mean he’s a peacenik, “but it’s a war for survival,” remarked Hersh, “it’s a brutal civil war.”
“And is he a great leader? No.”
Doug Henwood for The Nation said it best regarding Reporter: “Reading Seymour Hersh’s memoir. It is great. He is great.”
In closing, Reporter is another outstanding book by Seymour Hersh and reads very fast, insightful and entertaining. Hersh’s career is obviously prolific and his latest work covers an extraordinary amount of territory, making such a conversation with him about it somewhat difficult. (In the index Richard Nixon gets nearly an entire column of references.) Considering the age of Trump and what Noam Chomsky calls the “Me First Doctrine,” the most frightening portion of the book was the chapter that discussed Bush 43’s War on Terror, which reminded me that war can be used to reelect a president.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
In an article in Main Stream Media today it is claimed that while ”the United States has the highest rates of youth poverty infant mortality, incarceration, income inequality and obesity in all of the developed world, as well as 40 million people living in poverty,” and it also notes that all of the statistics that prove this date from before Donald Trump was president, it is being claimed that it is his fault because his policies are going to make it all worse. Wow, perhaps he is also responsible for disease, hunger, and slow internet speeds as well. Gee whiz, this guy is far more evil that I could have imagined. I’ll be he even stole your parking space yesterday!
SUPREME COURT CLEARS WAY for Sonoma County deputy to be tried for wrongful death in shooting of boy with a pellet gun
The United States Supreme Court has rejected Sonoma County's request to grant immunity to sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus.
WILLITS, CA: The Willits Center for the Arts Presents ‘The Sound of Art’.
This Saturday, June 30th, 2018 at 7:00pm, a premiere exhibition of Mendocino County instrument makers and musical sculptures will be unveiled at the Willits Center for the Arts. This uniquely Mendocino show will feature the fantastical musical sculptures of Spencer Brewer and master professional instrument makers from around Mendocino County. Many people in Mendocino County do not realize that world-class instruments are being made locally by a variety of master craftsmen who are recognized and sought-after masters of their crafts. This exhibition showcases the local wealth of talent our rural county has to offer and not to be missed!
Featured instrument maker craftsmen include Monty Levenson’s Shakuhachi traditional Japanese flutes, luthier David Dart’s old-world creations, Rick Micheletti, Ken Franklin & Greg Byers’ world class guitars and Bruce Potter’s harp guitars. Recently deceased Ralph Waldman’s unfinished string instruments will give people an indication of how these tools of music are actually are made and instruments by Bruce Potter and others will show a variety of skills in making musical instruments.
Composer, pianist and sculpture artist Spencer Brewer creates quirky and fantastical musical pieces of art out of re-purposed, or ‘found art’ materials; from the whimsical and humorous to the extraordinary. Creating compositions from vintage and rare objects, he inspires viewers with a sense of delight, surprise and often times awe. His creations are made in his and his wife Esther Siegel’s studio, the “Barn of Curiosities, Oddities and Light” which is a wonderland of eccentric ephemera and mechanical obscura.
The Sound of Art is a first of its kind show in Mendocino County and will host a grand opening with the artists present on Saturday, June 30th at 6 P.M. first for members. The public is then invited to attend this instrumental wonderland at 7 P.M. The show runs through Sunday, July 29th.
Willits Center for the Arts is located at 71 East Commercial St. (Next to the Noyo Theater) in Willits, CA. 707-459-1726
For more information about the show please contact:
Curator, Willits Center for the Arts
‘FISH WARS’ LOOM as Climate Change Warms Waters
Accelerating climate change means increasingly that cooler waters tempt fish to more tolerable regions. The result? Decades of diplomacy in creating fishing agreements to fix quotas and protect valuable species count for little, because the fish are moving hundreds of miles to distant seas.
LAME 60 MINUTES INTERVIEW WITH GOVERNOR BROWN
Governor Jerry Brown was featured on 60 Minutes last night. The CBS program has a completely undeserved reputation for hard-hitting interviews and stories. That makes the Brown segment typical, since there wasn't a single question about the governor's dumb high-speed rail project, the most expensive public project in the country.
Of course President Trump is a moron about climate change like he is about everything else. But why not ask Brown at least one question about the project? The answer: because 60 Minutes is a liberal program, and Democrats support the poorly-conceived and unfunded project (I say that as a Democrat).
Randal O'Toole said it best: "All you have to do is mention the words 'public transit,' and progressives will fall over themselves to support you no matter how expensive and ridiculous your plans."
And then there's an important part of the Democratic Party's political base: unions. Of course the California Labor Federation supports the project, since even dumb projects provide jobs for the membership, which is all that special interest group cares about.
(Rob Anderson, District5Diary)