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Mendocino County Today: Friday, July 6, 2018

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WHAT IS being called the “Peach” fire broke out about 3:15 Thursday afternoon due east of the Little Red School House Museum about a mile north of Boonville off Peachland Road at the foot of Octopus Mountain, formerly Tarwater Hill.

A prompt response by CalFire and the Anderson Valley Fire Department contained the blaze to about 23 acres.

The first billowing smoke appeared just east of Elke Vineyards. Soon fire trucks sped through Boonville sirens blaring and a few minutes later a CalFire spotter plane circled over the blaze closely followed by Helicopter 101 with its water scoop dipping into Mary Elke’s wine pond, and then a fire bomber arrived to drop three large loads of fire retardant on the flames as firefighters took up positions flanking them as a light but worrisome wind blew fire and smoke up Octopus Mountain.

MendocinoSportsPlus’s Paul McCarthy — the man is everywhere! — happened to be driving by on his way home from a Ukiah shopping trip. McCarthy filmed the fire off and on for about an hour and a half until it was clear the fire was out. Then he stuck around for a post-fire video, declaring the overall response, “a great job.” His videos and running commentary can be seen on the MendocinoSportsPlus facebook page.

We don’t yet know if any structures were burned, whose property the blaze scorched, or what the cause was. We have questions in to local fire officials and will provide as many details about the blaze as info becomes available. And a full account of the incident and response is being prepared by local first-responder.

Because of the acreage involved and limited access to the Peach fire area, mop-up operations continued for several hours into the late evening.

For now, lots of Boonville residents are breathing a lot easier. They have put away their hoses, taken their belongings back out of their cars and returned to life after a sober reminder of how easy it is for these fires to get going in these dry, windy conditions.

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DOG DAYS OF SUMMER at the Ukiah Library.

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Searing but localized weekend heatwave across SoCal; heat slowly spreads north in coming days.

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DIRT BIKE PASTORAL (Bushansky strikes again)

by Rex Gressett

It was the snow job from hell, right in Fort Bragg’s own elegant and spacious Cotton Auditorium. Smack in the public’s astonished face without wit or imagination, the Mendocino Parks and Recreation District took the occasion Thursday night to hurtle like an Olympic bobsled down a precipitous slope of crazed dissimilation, shattering all records for fraudulent misstatement and succeeding brilliantly in pissing off the whole region and exposing in the limelight of a major public meeting the long-running culture of corruption and deception that has long distinguished the Mendocino Coast Parks and Recreation District as Mendocino County's hands down, most dissolute, dishonest and incompetent public agency.

The proposal under discussion was the reinvention of the Parks District’s mile square property off Highway 20 as a zone of unrestricted environmental destruction, caged with chainlink fences where dirt bike and off-road vehicle mayhem could rage without restraint.

The meeting was well attended. There was a sizable contingent of dirt bike enthusiasts but a much larger group of appalled local citizens. The Parks District Board Chairman, Bob Bushansky was there controlling the microphone to make the case to a famously ecologically conscious local public that massive environmental degradation was good for nature. The substance of the Bushansky-ites argument was that the reduction of the property to a dirt lot ground into dust under the roaring rampage of thousands of dirt bikes was friendly to plants and animals and convenient to proximate neighbors. They had to do some mighty contortions to get there.

They were led forward by professional grant getter Sara Huff, top promoter for the Recreational Alliance, a dirt bike and off-road vehicle advocacy group keen to control the property. They floated a heavily ironic argument that would have had everybody laughing if the issue wasn’t so tragic, the promoters not so hell bent and the Parks and Rec District a little less obvious in their avaricious support for irresponsibility.

The Parks and Rec District started the meeting off by firmly admonishing the crowd that since the issue was so contentious everyone would have to be extra nice and the conventional three minute limit on public comments was too generous. Public comments would be restricted to two minutes each. I don’t know where we got the idea that public comments are reasonably limited to three minutes to begin with. It serves authority very well, but I can see no logical or legal reason for it, still the three-minute rule has become a local convention.

The Parks District or perhaps Bob Bushansky himself (former Fort Bragg councilwoman Meg Courtney’s paramour) as the Chief Crowd Comment Containment Official thought that temperatures overall might be reduced by the restriction. So they gave us two minutes each.

Ms. Sara Huff, however, got 30 minutes to tell the crowd how great an idea it all was and how much it would benefit the animals and trees to have dirt bikes tearing up the landscape. She said she first became interested in the property as a biologist. Actually, I am not aware of any credentials Ms. Huff may possess as a biologist, but she is the principal promoter for the alliance of dirt bike riders that want to control the property. Perhaps she can straighten that out for us someday.

Ms. Huff went on to describe the catastrophic mess that the Parks and Recreation District had allowed to accumulate on the property subsequent to their long ago failed enterprise to convert it to a golf course. She had a lot of pictures of the trash, blamed it (no doubt correctly) on the homeless, and seemed to think that the color pictures made an excellent argument for the further degrading of the property by dirt bikes and off-road vehicles.

Certainly, the mess was substantial. Ms. Huff deserves a lot of credit. This is her baby. The Parks District is putty in her hands.

In eager anticipation of eventual control of the property, Ms. Huff was avid to first recruit well-meaning volunteers to do the work. (She christened them the “Silver Seven.”) Then she captured some CalWorks grants to assist cleaning up some of the heaps of garbage that Parks and Rec had permitted to accrue, and most convincing of all brought money to the Parks District.

Ms. Huff's contribution in time and energy provided the funds to acquire a secure a chainlink fence. Parks and Rec were very gratified. Such clean-up initiative was apparently way over Parks and Rec’s pay grade. Thursday night was to be the formal ratification of a quid pro quo worked out in Park’s board meetings with humble acknowledgment by Parks and Rec that they were not in any sense responsible property owners and are not capable of taking care of their own property. They rejoice that the dirt bikers intend to do something since they have no ideas of their own.

Ms. Huff has made powerpoint presentations to the Fort Bragg City Council as well, notably enlisting councilman Will Lee as an outspoken supporter of dirt bike havoc on the premise that anydamnthing we can do that brings people to visit us is a good thing. Trees and animals do not spend money in Fort Bragg.

It is understandable that Ms. Huff has been able to swing such influence. The Mendocino Coast Parks and Recreation Department is desperate and systemically bewildered. They were the subject of a Grand Jury report last year that revealed not only were they in bankruptcy but had gone to considerable lengths to get into that condition and keep that information from the public.

The Grand Jury report was a bit of a bombshell. When I spoke to the Parks and Rec chief administrator a few months ago in reference to the grand jury report, he told me that he was not actually sure if they were or were not in bankruptcy but he would check, and anyway the report (true or not) was grossly unfair, intrusive and overblown. The huge golf course project that crashed and burned was irrelevant to the bankruptcy and the bankruptcy had nothing to do with the appalling condition of the Highway 20 property.

I guess it was indeed irrelevant since the simple reduction of the property to a dirt lot, ripped to the very bones by dirt bikes, is proposed to be sufficient to take care of all the problems, alleviate the trash that had piled up in the absence of responsible management and get Parks and Rec a free fence. Who can argue with that?

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To the Editor:

The Mendocino Coast Recreation and Parks District held a Public Forum addressing the use of the Regional Park (2 miles out Hwy 20 at Summers Lane) at Cotton Auditorium. This is the only large park owned by the District, which includes the whole Mendocino Coast, and has been underutilized and abused for many years.

The Park has a desolate history of being used by illegal Off-Road Vehicles, which have broken through the forest to run on the old trails and dirt roads, causing deep cuts in the surface and loosening the dirt to erosion. Newman Gulch, which supplies drinking water to Fort Bragg, cuts across the property and receives much of this sediment. The Park was also proposed to contain a golf course, and many of the taller trees cut down for fairways. That proposal died, but new plans for an Off-Road Vehicle Park have brought new challenges to the Park. Despite the impacts, much of this property can be allowed to recover and can be protected in a manner that values its natural significance, while at the same time serving to educate the public about the uniquely special habitats that are found there.

The Sierra Club has a great concern that the entire Park will be dedicated to Off-Road Vehicles to the exclusion of any other activity, and that the botanical resources will be destroyed. Specifically, the California Native Plant Society has stated their concerns: “The 586-acre property off of Highway 20, which the MCRPD and the California Recreational Alliance plan to develop as an Off-Highway Vehicle Park, contains one of the rarest plant communities in California, and one that is unique to our Mendocino Coast, the pygmy forest . . . only 1480 acres of pygmy forest remain.” The property contains approximately 20 percent of all remaining Mendocino Pygmy Cypress Woodland (“pygmy forest”). Additionally, other sensitive natural communities including Bishop pine forest exist on the property. CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife estimates a majority of the Regional Park is comprised of sensitive natural communities. The Regional Park rests on soils that are essential to the maintenance of that habitat. Pygmy soil types are ancient soils perched on a very flat and sandy terrace and retain water in a wetland type regime. Disturbance of the surface causes quick erosion and down cutting, which can drain the vegetation of needed moisture. The Park already has some road cuts of 12-30 inches deep and at least one 6’ deep.

The MCRPD has received a grant for restoration in the Park, which is mainly to be used for fencing. While fencing is a good idea, the plan for it was proposed with no environmental review, using an “exemption” for the State Parks Off-Highway Vehicle grant. Therefore there is no document that directs the restoration in avoiding damage and protecting sensitive plants. In fact, the MCRPD Board already allows continued use of the Park for Off-Road Vehicle training and trail rides. The “restoration” would not include improving or decommissioning the damaged roads at all, but anticipates continuing their use by ORVs and dirt bikes. A new EIR in the works is addressed to only the ORV proposal, not other desired activities.

The Park is simply not a good place for off-road use, with issues of water pollution, sensitive plants, neighborhood noise and exhaust, and incompatible activity. The public has an interest in developing its only Park in a responsible way for the enjoyment of all sorts of activities, and the neighbors are very concerned about the impacts to their neighborhood.

Rixanne Wehren, Sierra Club, Mendocino Group

Fort Bragg

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(Photo by Judy Valadao)

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(We're for either Lit or de Vall):

The list of candidates running for the Interim Board seat:

  1. Karen Arnold
  2. Tom Birdsell
  3. Norman de Vall
  4. Amy McColley
  5. Peter Lit
  6. John Redding
  7. Barbara Kilian
  8. Lea Christensen

The Special Board Meeting will take place on Monday, July 16 at 5:00 pm in the Redwoods Room and will be an Open Meeting, so the public will be invited to attend; however they will not be allowed to ask any questions. Each candidate will have 2 minutes to make an opening statement. There will be a set of 5 questions and each applicant will have 2 minutes to respond to each question; each applicant can make a 2 minute closing statement. The Board will vote and appoint the Interim candidate that night.

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MendocinoSportsPlus heard from a reliable source that Measure C, the Mendocino Coast District Hospital parcel tax that won a two-thirds passage by 7 votes, has survived a recount paid for by a private citizen.

No press release was issued by the Mendocino County Clerk’s Office - yet. But we certainly hope they’ll issue one. They never mentioned there was a recount in progress on their website. So much for informing the public.

Last Friday, Malcolm Macdonald broke the news in the AVA that: “An Albion area resident has paid a $2,900 deposit to the Mendocino County Clerk's Office to start a recount on Measure C, the $144 per parcel tax that would fund Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH). County Clerk Susan Ranochak has estimated that the 6,879 ballots cast would be individually recounted at an approximate additional cost of $870 per six hour day. The individual paying for the tally can ask for the recount to be stopped at any point. Ms. Ranochak hopes that the count will be concluded by July 5th.”

What Is Measure C?

The measure is a $144 per parcel per year ($12/month) that will provide the Hospital $1.7 million each year. Payments end (“sunset”) in 12 years.

The money can only support:

*local emergency room and ambulance services

*attracting and retaining quality doctors and nurses

*critical repairs/upgrades to medical equipment and facilities

*maintaining local surgical and obstetric services

And Measure C funds cannot be spent on administrators’ salaries, benefits or pensions.

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NAVARRO RIVERMOUTH, awaiting a big summer swell

(photo by Steve Heilig)

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Organic Biodynamic

11750 Anderson Valley Way
Boonville CA 95415

Freshly Picked Santa Fe Blueberries
By the basket $3.80
Flat ( 12 baskets) $40

Flame Peaches

Olive Oil

Come by and have a taste!!!

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“Go Jump In The Lake - The County’s Emergency Operations Plan In the Event of a Wildfire” (starts on page 114) is the title of our Grand Jury’s report on the status of Lake County’s emergency operations systems, ending with this oh, so, true depiction of local government ineptitude.

However, the 2018 wildfires, most noticably the “Pawnee Fire” in Spring Valley, have been handled directly by local Fire Protection Districts and CalFire, with support from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office for evacuation assistance and (somewhat laconically) public notification (Nixle). As usual, numerous non-governmental Facebook “reporters” were enormously helpful, including Mendo’s DJ-Ken Steely, whose recent outreach to our side of the Cow has been a real boon.

So, the times they are a’changin, and although our Grand Jury really nailed it on our Office of Emergency Services, their report (curiously) misses the legal responsibility of the Disaster Council (which was formed in the 1940s after the California War Council was abolished) and which holds the statutory responsibility for the ultimate management of all county emergency services. Peculiarly, the Board of Supervisors, under the direction of Disaster Council’s "permanent-Chair" Rob Brown — a Board of Supervisors delegation in 2012), has consistently ignored the responsibilities delegated to that body, despite a clear set of requirements provided to the Supes by CalFire after the 2012 “Wye Fire.”

Nonetheless, this report ratifies the current state of affairs where it comes to exclusion of non-County agencies and multiple civic activists whose collective voice have consistently been ignored by the Board of Supervisors, the Administration, and the Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services. Brian Martin gets a pass — he didn’t create this mess; but the Administration will now have to work a lot harder to implement long-standing local ordinances and established state and federal requirements that have never fully been understood or recognized here.

Cheers from Upper Lake,

Betsy Cawn

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When I came to Fort Bragg in 1979 I stayed with my then-girlfriend Julie in the garage of a mutual friend's house for two weeks until we rented a house out Highway 20 for $200/month. (Three days after I got to the coast I went to town expecting to get a job and just got one.) In 1982 I moved to a giant apartment in half of the downstairs of an old house at the T of Caspar Road and Caspar Street and paid $40/month (!) rent, and that included electricity. There was a contract with the gas company that amounted to about $15 a month for gas for the stove and water heater. The neighbor in the other half of the downstairs used to let his gas run out and just walk in and use my bath. I put in a $50 tin Lizzy sheetmetal woodstove and burned about $50 of firewood per winter. Those stoves lasted a couple of years and then burned through, and you just went to Rossi's and got another one.

A couple of years into that the rent went up a little, to $70/month. In 1985 I moved next door into a whole house that was $150/mo. at first but went to $200/mo. That was the ancient little pink house across from the Caspar Inn. Tim Givon and I got /that/ close to winning a license to put up a noncommercial-commercial radio station there. We did all the work, paperwork, engineering, surveying, correspondence, everything, we were sure of it, and at the last minute they gave the frequency instead to a man who paid a Washington D.C. law firm like $20,000 to grease his application through, so go figure.

Tim moved back east. I met Juanita in late summer, 1986. In 1988 we got married. In 1992 the landlord told me he'd be tearing down the house to replace it, so Juanita and I moved to a trailer up Little Lake Road, then to Albion, and in 1998 Juanita moved to Rohnert Park for a job in San Rafael and I've been doing one week on the coast and one week at Juanita's ever since. I'm not making much more money than I was in 1980, and everything and every place costs /way/ more now. Also, back then I never bothered to insure the shitty disposable old cars I bought for a few days' pay, fixed up as well as I could and drove till they died -- six months, a year, a couple of years each. They'd put a fresh set of four recap tires on your car at Coast Tire And Recapping for $60. And there's a whole raft of expenses now in fresh categories no-one had then. All the overlapping and interlocking projects so many creative people accomplished then were only possible because living was cheap and easy, the way it could be still if not for the entitled Nice People and the real estate racket.

Carol Root, who edited/typeset the Mendocino Peddler and Commentary until 1989, lived from the middle 1970s in a converted sheep house in Little River with an outhouse down a path behind it. Her bathtub was outside too, on rocks in a patch of plants in the sun, next to the front door. She heated the bathwater by building a little fire under the tub; there was an air channel and a little chimney to take the smoke away from the foot end. She told me once that she paid $25 a month for rent. She was living in Heaven and she knew it, and she didn't begrudge anyone else living in Heaven too.

And now that the whole coast has become a giant upscale retirement community, it strikes me as funny when baby boomers who brought their comparatively vast elsewhere-derived fortunes here, and drove living prices into the stratosphere, complain bitterly about others indistinguishable from them in the minutest detail potentially rocking their golf-course-like manicured seaside neighborhood and serene golden years with a Saturday afternoon fish fry and a skiffle band, good cause or scam, who cares?

Even funnier when it turns out to be a false alarm, as it just did with the threat of a South Caspar imported-abalone porta-potty-henge. And the spectral standing event porta-potties bear witness, to paraphrase Robin Williamson.

That reminds me. Here, hear this. Five Denials on Merlin's Grave (14 min.):

That was one of the first things I ever heard on Fort Bragg radio. It was Late Night Liz on KMFB.

–Marco McClean

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 5, 2018

Behrens, Ceja-Lopez, Lopes, Miles

MICHAEL BEHRENS, San Rafael/Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.

JOSE CEJA-LOPEZ, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.

ANTHONY LOPES, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, Probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)

DAKOTA MILES, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Outlaw, Seilhan, Sperling

JASON OUTLAW, Rohnert Park/Willits. Concealed dirk-dagger.

SHAWN SEILHAN, Willits. DUI, no license.

CHARLES SPERLING, Domestic abuse, damaging power/connecting lines.

D.Whipple, K.Whipple, Yeomans

DOUGLAS WHIPPLE III, Covelo. County parole violation.

KENNETH WHIPPLE, Covelo. County parole violation.

DANIEL YEOMANS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

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The liberal double standard is rearing its ugly head yet again. The divorce rate among registered Democrats in the United States is just over 55 percent, according to a recent article in Politico magazine. Instead of screaming about immigration policies written before Donald Trump took office, why don’t liberals get their own house in order?

The separation of parents and children from divorce in our country is what is truly appalling.

T.C. Randolph

Rohnert Park

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SID AND IRV are business partners. They make a deal that whichever one dies first will contact the living one from the afterlife. So Irv dies. Sid doesn't hear from him for about a year, figures there is no afterlife. Then one day he gets a call. It's Irv.

"So there is an afterlife! What's it like?" Sid asks.

"Well, I sleep very late. I get up, have a big breakfast. Then I have sex, lots of sex. Then I go back sleep, but I get up for lunch, have a big lunch. Have some more sex. Take a nap. Huge dinner. More sex. Go to sleep, and wake up the next day."

"Oh, my god," says Sid "So that's what heaven is like?"

"Oh no," says Irv. "I'm not in heaven. I'm a bear in Yellowstone Park.”

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"With ever deeper pockets, the rich can more easily afford to pull multiple levers of influence and many are doing exactly that, which is a second thing that’s changed about the elite power game. Increasingly, top donors are simultaneously putting money into elections, private foundations that press an ideological agenda, 501(c)(4) groups and media."

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Failure of the US media

From Daily Kos (Seven questions for Jim DeBrosse):

...You first wrote about JFK’s assassination for a Ph.D. thesis in journalism school. Why return to the subject now?

It wasn’t so much a return as it was an expansion and update of my previous research. The JFK assassination is an ever-evolving puzzle as new bits of evidence have been released, most recently in April. That was supposed to be the “final” deadline for declassifying all relevant documents under the JFK Assassination Records Act of 1992.

But President Trump, like others before him, tapped into the law’s major loophole by honoring a CIA request to keep hundreds of key documents under wraps in the alleged interest of protecting our national security and foreign alliances. For some reason, even 55 years later, this is more important than the public’s right to know.

Some of the still-classified evidence JFK researchers would like most to see relate to Lee Harvey Oswald’s alleged visit to Mexico City during the summer prior to the assassination. Oswald, or an Oswald impostor, showed up at both the Cuban and Soviet embassies in Mexico City that summer for reasons that would have painted him as a Castro and communist sympathizer.

He sought a travel visa to Cuba at the Cuban embassy but was turned down. And at the Soviet embassy, he allegedly met with KGB station chief and suspected assassination specialist Valery Kostikov. However, most of Oswald’s associates in the U.S. were pro-Castro Cubans and/or U.S. intelligence operatives, a clear indication that he was working as a double agent.

JFK researchers are anxious to see the surveillance tapes and listen to the phone taps at the two embassies to determine if the real Oswald made those appearances and what was discussed. Oswald’s whereabouts during that week are still a mystery.

Hundreds of records still sealed by the CIA are also linked to legendary spymaster and CIA chief of counterintelligence James J. Angleton or operatives who reported to him. It was Angleton’s counterintelligence staff that first drew government attention to Oswald’s alleged contacts in Mexico City, creating the impression that Oswald was a Soviet or Cuban agent.

Many high government officials, including LBJ, feared this would lead to World War III if disclosed to the American public. Many JFK researchers call this Phase One of the cover-up. Phase Two occurred when the evidence was destroyed or manipulated to make Oswald look like a crazed gunman acting on his own.

Perhaps most tantalizing of all are the suspected documents related to George Joannides, the CIA’s chief of psychological warfare operations in Miami in 1963. Joannides supervised a group of Cuban exiles in New Orleans who publicized Oswald’s pro-Castro activities before and after the assassination. In 1978, Joannides deceived congressional investigators about his role with the exile group and, two years later, received a CIA medal for his service to the agency.

What makes your new book different than other books on the assassination?

As a longtime newspaper reporter, I’ve always been puzzled and disturbed by the fact that the news media in this country had done so little to investigate the JFK assassination and to question the findings of the Warren Report.

I was even more disturbed — outraged? — after the mainstream media universally panned Oliver Stone’s 1991 film JFK about the Jim Garrison investigation in New Orleans, where the plot may have been financed and coordinated. Although I had found the movie to be too wide-ranging in its accusations, I admired Stone for having had the guts to bring to the attention of the American public the numerous flaws and distortions in the Warren Report.

When I was looking for a dissertation topic toward my Ph.D. in journalism in 2013, a friend and former colleague of mine suggested, “Why don’t you look into why the media crucified Oliver Stone for making JFK.” The dissertation was approved a year later in 2014. From there I knew I wanted to make it a book.

The result, See No Evil: The JFK Assassination and the U.S. Media, is the first book to take a comprehensive and analytical look at how the mainstream American media have covered the Warren Report and the myriad of conspiracy theories that have developed since the report’s release more than 50 years ago. “Covered” is hardly the right word, however.

The mainstream media have collaborated, and continue to collaborate, in the cover-up by failing to take a critical look at the claim that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and by ignoring and even ridiculing more plausible conspiracy theories.

What’s the most convincing evidence that something is not right with the official Warren report story about how JFK was assassinated?

It depends on your expertise. If you’re a pathologist or expert in medical forensics, it’s the missing, distorted, and obviously falsified medical evidence from JFK’s autopsy. The original autopsy report was burned and destroyed. JFK’s brain is missing. Even his medical transport casket was dumped secretly at sea.

A half dozen or more emergency room physicians, nurses, and Secret Service agents present at Parkland Hospital in Dallas when JFK arrived there insist to this day they saw an entry wound to his throat and a large blow-out at the back of his head, indicating a second gunmen from the front of his motorcade. Radiologists say it’s obvious that many of the X-rays and photos in the revised autopsy report were faked or altered to hide any evidence of an entry wound from the front.

For the lay person, here’s part of the cover-up that I find almost laughable for its brazenness. After the shots were fired in Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963, dozens of spectators rushed toward the grassy knoll in front of JFK’s motorcade where they say they heard the source of the shots, possibly from behind a fence there.

But the witnesses, including a sheriff’s deputy, were immediately stopped on the grassy knoll and prevented from going near or over the fence by men in dark suits who identified themselves as Secret Service agents. Why is that so revealing? Because the Secret Service said they had no agents in Dealey Plaza at the time — all of them were in the motorcade racing JFK to the emergency room at Parkland Hospital. No government official in any agency has been able to provide an explanation as to who those “agents” were and why they were there.

One of the things I find most interesting about your book is that there are some great critiques of corporate media and how it protects the status quo. How does establishment media work, and what’s an example from JFK’s assassination?

I borrowed my critique mostly from the seminal book Manufacturing Consent by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky. The authors point out that the owners of corporate media don’t have to intervene directly in the stories that their reporters and editors produce. Instead, the owners hire “right thinking” employees who mostly share their views and then apply the more subtle workplace pressures that can lead to promotion or demotion within the company. On top of that, the authors point out, elite journalists often travel in the same social circles and share the same interests as those in power.

Reporters who wanted to pursue the truth in the JFK case often had to leave their mainstream newspapers and magazines and work for themselves. Other journalists turned JFK researchers came up through the ranks of alternative or non-profit media.

The list includes Jim Marrs, who left the Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Jefferson Morley and Carl Bernstein, both of whom left The Washington Post; Josiah Thompson, who quit working for Life magazine: Jerry Policoff and Anthony Summers, who had previously worked for public radio and TV; and David Talbot, who cut his investigative teeth at the alternative magazine Mother Jones.

At least two mainstream journalists helped sabotage New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s investigation into businessman and CIA informant Clay Shaw and his ties to Lee Harvey Oswald and CIA-backed anti-Castro groups.

Life staff member Tom Bethal was assigned to work with Garrison in what Garrison believed would be a friendly story about his prosecution of Shaw. But Bethal handed over Garrison’s trial strategy, his list of witnesses, and their expected testimony to Shaw’s defense team. Newsweek reporter Hugh Aynesworth fed the same inside information to the intelligence unit of the Dallas Police Department...

It’s interesting to note that, in a recent interview with NPR, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh talked about the “self-censorship” all journalists face in determining what they can or cannot write about. As a young reporter in the 1960s, Hersh recalled overhearing a Chicago police officer at the police station bragging to his colleagues about murdering a black suspect.

But when Hersh approached his editors about doing a story, he was told to forget about the incident because the newspaper staff would have hell to pay from the Chicago police and its supporters...

How has coverage of JFK’s assassination been different outside of the U.S.?

Foreign media, with the exception of the most conservative newspapers in England and Australia, have been far more critical of the Warren Report and far more open to conspiracy theories. A good example was the critical reaction to Stone’s JFK. The U.S. mainstream media universally panned the movie even before its release and came close to portraying Stone as a traitor.

But by and large, newspaper critics in other countries applauded the film. Why? Returning to the arguments of Herman and Chomsky, foreign journalists are not subject to the same pressures from American corporate owners and government agencies.

Given we now live in the era of “fake news,” what’s your advice about determining what’s credible in the media?

I try to look at coverage from all sides of the political spectrum, including Fox News, if only to be aware of the propaganda that’s being put out there. “Fake news” can easily be identified by visiting or or any of the Internet websites now vetting the news. By “fake news” I mean obvious distortions of the facts or even lies.

What’s harder to detect, however, is how the respected mainstream media — such as The New York Times or The Washington Post — also distort the news. In most cases, they do this by leaving out the background and context that would give a whole new meaning to the story. One of the best examples is the rush to war against Saddam Hussein and Iraq in 2003.

The mainstream media failed to question or look deeply into the false claims that Hussein was developing and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. Even some in the CIA were questioning that claim (look into the whole Plame Affair, for instance).

But the mainstream media fell for it hook, line, and sinker, as they usually do whenever there is some patriotic call to war. If you really want to know why we invaded Iraq, pick up Gary Vogler’s excellent new book Iraq and the Politics of Oil.

What one question am I not asking that I should be asking?

Why after 55 years are key documents related to the assassination of JFK still being withheld from the American public? After all, aren’t nearly all the key players and conspirators involved in the assassination long dead? Here’s my answer, and it’s one that many people shy away from discussing for fear of being labeled anti-Semitic.

I believe the cover-up continues because revealing the whole truth might implicate one of our closest allies — Israel. Let’s make clear that I am not talking about some widespread, insidious Jewish conspiracy that involves all Jews either in the U.S. or in Israel, past or present. I’m talking about a very select group of Israeli leaders and their intelligence operatives during the 1960s when the assassination occurred. Hear me out...

Israel and the Mossad had both the means and the opportunity to get involved in the plot through the auspices of CIA counterintelligence chief and infamous “super spook” James J. Angleton, a rabid anti-communist, a fervent supporter of Israel and, as the chief liaison to Israeli intelligence, someone who was known to use both Israeli and American intelligence operatives to achieve his aims. Angleton was so secretive and paranoid that he even had his own private network of communications separate from the rest of the CIA.

Nearly all credible JFK researchers believe that Angleton was at the very heart of the assassination plot. (Again, too much evidence to present here. Read the book.) Angleton hated JFK for any number of reasons — his willingness to negotiate arms control with the evil Soviets, his refusal to supply air support to the doomed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, his open vow to break the CIA “into a thousand pieces,” his opposition to arming Israel with nuclear and American offensive weapons...

In fairness, there is no direct evidence pointing to Israel’s involvement in the assassination, but there are plenty of strong hints. First, some important background. Ignoring the oft-cited rule of investigative reporting — “follow the money” — not a single U.S. news organization has ever looked into the operations and funding sources of Permindex and its parent company Centro Mondiale Commerciale (CMC), a phony world trade promotion group and an elaborate ruse for laundering money that may have financed the JFK plot...

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(See also The assassination of JFK: Case not closed, which I wrote during the controversy about Oliver Stone's movie. And David Talbot on What really happened in Dallas.)

(via Rob Anderson, District5Diary)

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The US wasn’t the only country to have it good after WW2. Prosperity was widespread across the western world ie Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries, France, even the UK, to name some. Even Argentina, before they fucked it all up.

But what afflicts the US afflicts much of the west. Trump, Brexit, nationalist parties all over Europe all come from the same place, the decline of economic prospects for ordinary people.

In the US, as in these other places, the oligarchy that runs things and its administrative clerisy, disdain the average citizen, they claim that discontent comes from unworthy places, from xenophobia and racism, and the inability or unwillingness to keep up. Just read the NY Times or Atlantic if you don’t believe me. The claim is that interests of people in the broad interior of the US don’t count, that these interests are illegitimate. And the same goes for the millions of people in Europe that have been just as systematically screwed.

The folks that run things are running out of time.

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Coupla little kids dropped by to see me today, said they'd read about me and wanted to meet me in person. ‘And Skrag, too,’ they said. But no class Skrag said, ‘I don't do groupies,’ and walked off.”

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Gloriana Musical Theatre is honored to present the Mendocino coast audience with the Tony Award-winning musical, FUN HOME with music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron and based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. Running July 26 – August 12, FUN HOME tells an enthralling and complex coming of age story from the pages of Bechdel's tragicomic memoir, woven together with Tesori's beautiful, remarkable score. With stage and vocal direction by Jenni Windsor, and musical direction by Jack Leung, FUN HOME is a refreshingly honest, wholly original musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes.

After her father dies unexpectedly, lesbian graphic novelist Alison dives deep into her past to tell the story of the volatile, brilliant, one-of-a-kind man whose temperament and secrets defined her family and her life. When memories of her 1970s childhood in a funeral home merge with her burgeoning college love life they help her discover she had more in common with her father than she ever knew.

The show will be performed at Eagles Hall from July 26 through August 12 with performances at 7:30 p.m on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and Sunday matinees beginning at 3 p.m.

Admission is $22 for the general public, $20 for Seniors and $12 for youth (17 and under). Fun Home is recommended for ages 13 and up. Advanced tickets available at

Be sure to join us for our Gala performance! On Sunday, July 29th following the performance celebrate with the cast and crew and enjoy iconic 70s dishes, a champagne toast and more! Tickets are $30 for general, $28 for Seniors and $15 for youth (17 and under).

For more information, visit

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MCHC in Top 30% nationwide for Best Clinical Outcomes

Ukiah, CA — In small communities like those in Lake and Mendocino Counties, some people assume they need to go to out of town to receive top-quality healthcare, but according to the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), this is not the case—at least when it comes to care at MCHC Health Centers (MCHC).

HRSA recently bestowed MCHC with a Silver Badge representing the health center’s standing as one of the top community health centers in the country. The HRSA spokesperson said to MCHC and other awardees, “As a HRSA Health Center Quality Leader, you were among the top 30 percent of all HRSA-supported health centers that achieved the best overall clinical outcomes, demonstrating high-quality across clinical operations. Thank you for your commitment to providing quality primary health care services to your community.”

MCHC provides comprehensive services including medical and dental care, behavioral health care, preventative services, wellness care, acute and chronic care, obstetrics and women’s health services and, crucial to the wellbeing of its patients, case management.

MCHC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jerry Douglas said, “I think part of the reason we’re so successful is because we use a team approach. Each clinician or staff member contributes his or her particular expertise, so patients get the best from everybody.”

MCHC is a designated Patient-Centered Medical Home, which means the MCHC healthcare team collaborate with the patient in making healthcare decisions. By strengthening the relationship between patients and providers, MCHC is can prescribe treatment that best fits with a patient’s unique needs, culture, values and preferences.

“By combining our healthcare expertise with the patient’s knowledge about themselves and what will work best for them, we are able to work with patients to develop practical, workable solutions to their healthcare problems,” said MCHC Quality Improvement Director Dr. Jaisingh Niemer.

Dr. Niemer explained that MCHC continually strives to improve quality and meet the highest national standards.

“We work with patients to help them meet their healthcare goals, supporting them along the way,” he said. Not only does MCHC help patients address existing health problems, it also encourages patients to be proactive about their care by reminding them to come in when it is time to get routine screenings and preventive care for chronic conditions.

“The other thing that sets us apart from a big, metropolitan health center is the fact that the people who work here tend to live here, too. Our patients are members of our community. It’s more personal,” Dr. Douglas said.

MCHC is a local non-profit organization providing access to comprehensive healthcare for people in Ukiah, Willits and Lakeport. All MCHC health centers accept Medi-Cal, Medicare, Covered California insurance and other insurance. Learn more at

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The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is extending evening hours beginning Thursday night! Come and experience the magic of our 47-acre garden by the sea in the warm filtered evening light. The Gardens will be open until 7:00pm each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from July 5 through September 29. Regular Gardens admissions applies. Free for members of the Gardens, sign up for a membership today (online or at The Garden Store)!

SUMMER HOURS - Jul through Sep: 9:00AM to 7:00PM - Thursday, Friday, Saturday; 9:00AM to 5:00PM - Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday

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“Hear ye! Hear ye! Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump, at M.I.T.—good genes, very good genes, O.K., very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart—you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, O.K., if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you’re a conservative Republican they try—oh, they do a number…”

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Craig Stehr Solves Postmodernism's Crazy Problem

Warmest spiritual greetings, As I am about to leave Boston for Portland, Maine to visit with friends for at least one week, I pause to share my discovery with you. Henceforth, I will only be seriously interested in focusing my mind on the "Eternal Witness", for the purpose of unification. In other words, Sahaja Samadhi Avastha, or the continuous superconsious state. That is the only thing that I want. Period! If everybody exclusively focuses their mind on the "Eternal Witness", that will be the end of all socio-political and environmental problems on earth. This solves the crazy problem of postmodernism, both generally and in the specific.

~OM Shanthi~

Craig Louis Stehr




  1. ppartee July 6, 2018

    Re: Palace Hotel for Sale
    The old Ukiah Post Office at 224 N Oak Street is also listed on Trulia as a “Contact for Estimate”: The lender, ROBERT F KENNEDY AND JANET E KENNEDY, has taken ownership of this property through a foreclosure auction. The lender may list it for sale as a foreclosure property in the future.

  2. Alice Chouteau July 6, 2018

    I strongly support Peter Lit for the hospital board; He can shake things up as needed.

  3. Betsy Cawn July 6, 2018

    Lake and Mendocino Counties’ emergency management systems include the FCC-regulated “Emergency Alert System” that produces programming interruptions (“ticker-tape” type streams across the bottom of televised images and approved/designated official radio barks) triggered and transmitted by the regional authorities, which — until this year — were used solely by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

    Lake County deployed this service for the first time in memorable history during the “Pawnee” Fire in the eastern rural enclave and outback of Spring Valley (and Long Valley) settlements and ranches on the southwestern flank of Indian Valley Reservoir. The fire rapidly devoured the area around the southern end of the reservoir, where the dam releases water to the North Fork of Cache Creek — owned and controlled by the Yolo County Flood Control & Water Conservation District — and the “subdivision” of Spring Valley, which was heavily defended by Lake County’s Northshore Fire Protection District in cooperation with CalFire as the incident’s “unified command” operation, with support from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office (executing rapid evacuation from the imperiled ~600 dwellings).

    Southern spread of the uncontrollable (then) wildland conflagration caused the evacuation of an enclave known as the Double Eagle Ranch (another Lake County “subdivision” of off-the-gridders and social hermits) twice; once early in the week, lifted quickly, and then again on the next weekend. Highway closures off and on left the “repopulated” Spring Valley residents virtually trapped by the Yolo County “County” fire off Highway 16, even though the western wildfire was by then at least 75% contained and residents in Lake County were being served by a multi-agency “local assistance center” (on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday).

    Vicious winds and intense smoke (accompanied by high-90s temperatures and depleted humidity levels) surrounded the firefighters day and night, as initial efforts to drive through otherwise impenetrable brush succeeded in creating solid fire lines, while continuous bombardment from the air squelched the fire’s avaricious appetite. The whole effort was a marvelous demonstration of coordination and dedication of state resources, spearheaded by our 22-man local Fire Protection District.

    12 Spring Valley homes were incinerated quickly in the first day of the Pawnee, before the massive onslaught of air and ground forces penetrated the canyonside homesteads along Wolf Creek, with towering trees lining narrow homely roadways where, on Saturday, PG&E, AT&T, and multiple vegetation management crews were already replacing power poles and stripping hazardous limbs before dismantling the denuded trunks 40-50 feet in the murky sky.

    Those who chose not to evacuate were without means of replenishing supplies for most of the week, even though the lone provider of mercantile and nutriments (“The Pantry”) was open as soon as the power was restored to it; venturers headed in its direction, from besieged surrounding neighborhoods, were told that they were not permitted to be “out” and if they were caught again they could be arrested. We never got confirmation from the Sheriff’s Office of the intention or criminal penalty of this infraction, but of course local law enforcement also had the task of busting advantitious human vultures — one of which was nailed and jailed with alacrity, so their edict (as reported by distressed non-evacuees) is understandable if crude.

    Much like Mendocino County, local resident LE and FPD personnel are in short supply. Remember that only five deputies were on duty the afternoon of the Valley Fire, in 2015, at the beginning of a mass evacuation that sent somewhere between 17,000 and 20,000 refugees out of Lake County in the course of a few horrific hours.

    Sparse public information was released/issued by the Lake County officials — in spite of three years’ effort by the bureaucratically deaf and dumb official agency (Lake County’s Office of Emergency Services, funded by Homeland Security grants to produce massive catch-up documents like the recent update of our then approved 1996 Emergency Operations Plan); nearly all the minute-to-minute useful information came from Facebook pages, most of them “administered” by professional dispatch operator friends.

    KPFZ, Lake County’s Community (Volunteer) Radio Station, hosted the next best thing throughout the week, with ample contributions from CalFire’s Public Information Officer, Guy Anderson, and “open source” audio reports from friends and local residents throughout the week. We’ll be discussing the recently published Lake County Grand Jury Report, which devotes considerable space (the bulk of the tome) to the state of our Emergency Operations Management services and the County’s ineptitude following the Valley Fire in 2015, on Sunday, July 8, from 2 to 4 pm (streaming live from and looking forward to the contributions from eye witnesses and deep readers alike. This ain’t over by a long shot.

  4. Harvey Reading July 6, 2018

    What’s the divorce rate for born-again fundamentalists? And, kindly use real, valid figures.

  5. Jim Updegraff July 6, 2018

    Glanced at the comments late yesterday and noted Susie’s comment about a book’s discussion concerning the U. S. over the next 100 years. Apparently the writer is unaware of climate change and its effect over the next 100 years.

  6. Mike J July 6, 2018

    Wednesday July 4th
    Journal entry by Samantha Abbott — Jul 4, 2018

    Hawk was moved out of ICU a couple of days ago and is doing OK – slowly progressing, no setbacks. We are waiting to find out where he will be next – rehab somewhere closer to home.
    Thank you for all your love and support – it means a lot to us.

    heart 18 Hearts 11 Comments
    Can you help power Chris’s site?
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  7. MarshallNewman July 6, 2018

    Thank you to all who responded to the Peach Fire. Your efforts helped control it quickly and minimize its impact.

  8. james marmon July 6, 2018

    You call that a wildfire? We have barbecues larger than that over here in Lake County.

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