- Next Storm
- FB Broke
- Grandmother Rock
- Redwood Trail
- 50 Ways
- Variety Players
- Ed Notes
- Sewage Treatment
- Zero Waste
- Kafka Shuffle
- Wilson Tweets
- Times Bombing
- Meth Seizure
- Worst Schools
- Yesterday's Catch
- Mistaken Futures
- U.S. Threat
- Contemplating Extinction
- Writing Machine
- Lord Linlithgow
- Portapotty Contest
- Animal Shelter
- Orange Clock
THE NEXT SYSTEM will arrive late this afternoon, bringing with it rain, mountain snow, and gusty winds. Additional systems will impact the area through the weekend. (National Weather Service)
FORT BRAGG QUIETLY HITS THE WALL
by Rex Gressett
Tuesday afternoon at Town Hall, while the city plied its thousand trades and the winter wind blew fiercely over Fort Bragg’s signature 420 acres of desolated Mill site, City Manager Tabatha Miller announced to the Fort Bragg Finance and Administration Committee that our city is flat broke and running on empty.
In 2019 we will see how our now carefully managed little city plunged $50,000 into the red. Ms. Miller's delicately balanced budget cobbled together in the first months of her administration through personnel and project cuts, a police force reorganization, and a relaxation of the budget guidelines, was quietly declared DOA. A few months after a City Council election notably devoid of serious discussion on the state of our city finances, we have gotten the bad news.
Tuesday afternoon Tabatha Miller laid out of the grim facts for the Finance and Administration Committee of Lindy Peters, Tess Albin-Smith and an almost empty room. The City Manager asked for direction and set the stage for discussion at the upcoming Council retreat. The failure of the sales tax initiative in the last election by 50 votes pulled the plug on our very temporary municipal solvency.
The Finance and Admin Committee took no vote and made only general recommendations to the City Manager. But in discussion the committee of two split decisive, Victor Damiani, stated somewhat plaintively that the TOT, (Transient Occupancy Tax) now the largest single source of city funds was entirely discretionary and could be legally used by the Council for any purpose, Lindy Peters was clear that he had promised the money would be used solely at the discretion of the Visit Fort Bragg committee. Anticipated revenues from sales taxes from new visitors were not meeting expectations. No wonder since the committee that spends the TOT tax, is still mired in grand and vague conceptions of “branding” (I don’t know what it is either). Tess Albin Smith leaped into the discussion with assurances pointing out that the city could be making big money doing weddings, and possibly concerts and events on the Georgia Pacific owned mill site. No problem.
In the saner sanctums of City Hall, Tabatha Miller has explored every option. A proposal for parking meters in the central district was shot down, the sales tax was defeated. The Fort Bragg police department was reorganized and continues to struggle with mandatory overtime and a reduced force. Cutting costs even to the bone has not been enough. The announcement Tuesday morning that Fort Bragg was sliding back into red ink was itself a radical departure from ten years of occluded budget deficits, massive cash misallocations and impenetrable “transparency” under the administration of former city manager Linda Ruffing. This time, we are being told, under incorruptible management and careful accounting, at least the cards are on the table. In a brief reference to the stunning multimillion-dollar illegal cash misallocations from the water enterprise into the discretionary general fund that had been illegally made available to the Ruffing administration in her last years, the new city manager, Ms. Miller, noted that in 2017-18 revenues from the enterprise funds had been docked one million bucks. City Hall continues to struggle with an inherited liability from a “bookkeeping error” that sent $3 million into the money available to the subsequently fired city manager and her long compliant lapdog City Council. The long struggle to keep the financial scandals of the Ruffing administration under the rug ended Tuesday afternoon. That sound of beating wings you hear is chickens coming home to roost.
NIGHT LIGHT OF THE NORTH COAST: GRANDMOTHER ROCK
by David Wilson
It was nearly dark when I arrived at the Trinidad Head parking area. Sunset gazers had seen the sun set some 45 minutes earlier and were heading for their cars when I struck north up the beach. Night was descending, and in the waning light I could see the footprints of the evening’s activity in the sand. Low tide would be in a little over half an hour. My destination was Grandmother Rock, a huge rock in the apparent profile of a figure forever staring out to sea.
Only a faint glow remained over the western horizon, and stars were beginning to show all over the sky. The crescent moon hanging over the Pacific would set in about an hour, and helped to cast a delicate glow on the world. The retreating tide’s fresh sand was a faint lightness stretching out before me, and I was making the only marks in the new smoothness. Rocks and driftwood slipped by as shadows beside my soft tread. It was dark enough to tempt my flashlight, but to do so would have set back my night vision, and I continued without it.
I think about mountain lions when I’m out there at night, particularly if I’m alone. It freaks me out. But for some reason I reasoned they wouldn’t be looking for me at the beach. I’m not sure there was any reason in that at all, really, but I did note that the wind was coming from the shore, so I knew they wouldn’t smell me. I didn’t read all those Tarzan books for nothing.
I heard water ahead. I’d forgotten about the creek. I could make out its shape as I approached. Close across the stream loomed the towering form of Grandmother Rock, but I needed to cross to get the angle I wanted. Mill Creek isn’t especially large, but in early February it was certainly in healthy condition and was too wide to jump across. I looked around. Maybe I could find a way over there —
My heart slammed into my chest and I froze. The splash was close. A fish? It seemed too large. I had been walking without my light, and I saw little more than shadows as I peered toward the sound.
It didn’t sound like a critter’s splash this time. I turned on my light, already figuring what it was: the sandy sides of the creek caving in as the stream eroded them. You know the miniature cliffs that are fun to help cave in when you’re a kid. I might still be one.
With the light on I saw that I wouldn’t be able to cross without getting wet, and there was no way to line up the shot that I wanted from this side of the creek. There were some rocks I could have used to hop across, but not all by myself in the dark, carrying a camera bag, a large tripod, and wearing a pack. That seemed like a bad idea easily avoided, the kind of thing one might read about in the news blogs the next day.
So I would ford the stream. I took off my shoes and socks, rolled my pants up over my knees, and waded across. This had not been in the plan. It was about 40ºF out, and don’t tell the Midwest folks, but it felt cold. And now my feet were going to be wet and my socks were going to have sand in them and I would have to do it all again on the way back, too. Ah, Photography!
I set up just on the other side of the creek. Grandmother Rock sits atop a pile of huge rocks, the chunks of stone that Mother Nature had chiseled away from what once had been a gigantic boulder as she sculpted Grandmother’s contemplative figure.
I had one idea for a photograph in my mind for this trip: a long exposure with the north star Polaris above Grandmother’s head. In a long exposure from that angle the trails made by the stars would create rings around her that could represent different things to different people. I also wanted Pewetole Island in the image if possible. I found a single spot that would give me that angle: it was on the steep side of a sloping boulder, but from there it would all fall into line. I climbed up, wedged my tripod in and perched there next to it.
I stayed in that spot for almost an hour and tried different exposures and slightly different angles, some zoomed in, some zoomed out. The lights of half a dozen fishing boats shone across the horizon, sometimes themselves directing beams of light toward me bright enough to throw shadows. The fading moonlight and the final vestiges of dusk’s glow on the horizon cast the softest of light onto the shore.
The star trail image I’m sharing here was a 699-second exposure. The star trails you see show how far the stars moved across the sky as Earth’s globe rotated beneath me. Watching the stars turn I could feel I was on the surface of the Earth, the light of their myriad billions falling upon my face as the planet revolved beneath me.
I would have stayed longer to make more images but for a couple of considerations. One was that by then the tide had been coming in for half an hour and was beginning to send waves up the beach to the rock I was using, and the other was that I’d told my mom I’d come watch the second half of Warriors game with her. I packed up, climbed down, removed my shoes and socks, rolled up my pants, forded the creek again and headed back down the beach.
And the Warriors won.
(To keep abreast of David Wilson’s most current photography or peer into its past, follow him on Instagram at @david_wilson_mfx or his website mindscapefx.com, where you can also contact him, but which Wilson says he updates less frequently.)
NORTH COAST’S GREAT REDWOOD TRAIL WOULD CONVERT DECAYING RAILWAY INTO 320-MILE PATHWAY
“No longer just a dream…”
ED NOTE: This project is partly a scheme to reimburse prominent Northcoast Democrats like Doug Bosco who have somehow managed to get their grasping hooks into the long defunct railroad running between San Rafael and Eureka. In the meantime, since he has accomplished absolutely nothing else, it makes McGuire look like he's actually doing something. An unbroken trail running the length of the old tracks will never happen, but it sounds like, and would be, a good thing.
A READER WRITES: "The workout is not the workout it used to be, but neither am I. We adapt and overcome etc. I just did a two hour ramble along the creek this morning. It's just not as FAST as it used to be. Somebody ought to study guys who used to run A LOT and are no longer are able. After nearly 30 years of running trails, five or more miles a day, those endorphins are truly missed. They affect your attitude. I used to say that your body makes the best drugs in the world via intense long term exercise. I have not run since my late 50s, I'd guess. I struggled with it from that time on. Just too much compression from all those miles over the decades. Oh well."
I'M ABLE to get a pretty good endorphin blast from push-ups, and a teensy lift from walking for an hour or so, but nothing like the one I got from long distance running, or farther back, ball games, although I know all that running years ago took all the tread off my knees. I get shots of super glue (or whatever it is) in the knees when they ache bad enough to interfere with my sleep, and have no intention of getting replacements because of the down time involved. At my age a guy's gotta do the actuarial math; I've done it, and it tells me to steer clear of the operating tables.
THE ANDERSON VALLEY GRANGE’S 28th annual Variety Show is on Friday March 8th and Saturday March 9th, and we will make room for you! That means YOU, or your funny/weird/talented friend or ANIMAL. We have had dogs, cats, horses, sheep, alpacas, cattle, iguanas, goats, pythons, doves, turtles, but never parrots, llamas, wombats…what kind of animal do YOU have, and what can it do? We want to see it!! Please contact Captain Rainbow at 895-3807, or Robyn at 272-2127 (you can text her, too) if you have a talent, skill, animal, joke, or anything else you'd like to put onstage for all of us to enjoy. We have rehearsals the weekend before the show, and we can illuminate and amplify anything. The best part is the A.V. audience, we're the most enthusiastic folk found anywhere. You won't find a better place to strut your stuff!
C.T. ROWE of Upper Peachland Road has successfully (and expensively) defended himself against a bullying complaint by the Anderson Valley Land Trust that the Rowe property was somehow in violation of the Trust’s lofty preservationist standards. Rowe was found not in violation of his agreement with the Land Trust, and here’s hoping Judge Nadel will award him the considerable attorney fees he had to spend to defend himself against utterly false charges.
THE DEATH of a 55-year-old Rancho Navarro woman on Friday, the 1st of February has been recorded but her name and cause of death has not yet been revealed.
I'M VERY SORRY to learn that Diane Hering is quite ill and presently confined to a Ukiah nursing home. A smart, capable person as only a person affiliated with the Boonville newspaper can be, Diane worked with us way back at the dawn of the enterprise. And over in Lakeport, where he’s resting after suffering a stroke, we find Andreas Alvarado, a long-time resident of Boonville where his military bearing as he walked through town has always made him unmistakable.
DOES ANYONE RECOGNIZE this Silver 4-door Dodge Dakota, license plate # 24482V1? It was found it at the bottom of a driveway in Philo this morning as they were leaving.
DON’T know the author, but this is what it pretty much boils down to: "We have four boxes with which to defend our freedom — the soap box; the ballot box; the jury box; and the cartridge box."
STARTLED TO READ this headline in this morning's on-line Press Democrat: "It smells like farts if you open your window’ — pollution from Mexico fouls border city." If you included this vulgarity in a letter-to-the-editor of that or any other paper your letter would either be tossed or the fart edited out by the old farts who edit the thing. Another odd headline from the PD: “Ted Bundy’s murderous charm still polarizes.” Huh? There are people for Ted Bundy?
PD HEADLINE, Feb. 11, 2019: “Thirst persists for white wine emoji.”
HARVEY READING comments on Boonville’s proposed sewage system:
“’Although the engineers continue to insist that treated effluent is not very smelly, some locals are still skeptical.’ I would agree with the engineers.
The small town (+/- 650 republicans) where I live has its treatment facility less than half a mile from where I live. Others live even closer. I have never noticed any odors from it. There was a time though, shortly after my residency here began, when the town fathers, who had not long before approved construction and operation of a mushroom growing and processing plant that was VERY odoriferous, would tell us that what we were smelling was the treatment pond! The original owner of the mushroom plant, a crook of renown, who had been run out of California for his sloppy management, went under a few years later and the plant now is run by a more environmentally oriented engineer, using techniques that avoid the odor problem. Even so, the town now has a grant for putting its treatment plant underground, which is probably better in the long run anyway. Now, if some two-bit-wide-spot-in-the-road of a town in Wyoming can do that, surely a small town in brilliant California can do as much. Doncha think?”
INTERESTED in learning about Zero Waste? Come hear about what is happening in Sonoma County and discuss what we might do in Anderson Valley on Weds. 2/20 2:30 - 4:30 at the Boonville Firehouse community room. Potia Sinnott of Zero Waste Action will introduce Zero Waste and Sonoma County’s new ZeroWaste initiatives followed by a short discussion of how we can start Anderson Valley moving toward ZeroWaste on Feb. 20, 2019 from 2:30 to 4:30, Boonville Fire House. More info: Donna, 684-0325.
THE KAFKA SHUFFLE: Board Of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, and February 5, 2019, Public Expression
Patrick Hickey, Mendo SEIU representative: “We are here this morning to share our concern about what we see as the growing use and abuse of paid administrative leaves by the County. Under the current practice, county employees are put on paid administrative leave in many cases for months on end with no explanation or time limit. Employees are required to stay at home during normal work hours subject to discipline if they are not there when the county calls while the County investigates some unnamed issue. This is a perversion of the role and purpose of paid administrative leave. They should be rare and used in those uncommon situations in which an agency believes that an employee’s continued presence in the workplace may pose a threat to the employee or others, may result in the loss or damage of County property, or otherwise jeopardize legitimate County interests. Otherwise, the employee should be able to carry out their duties while any investigation is being conducted.”
A REAL LIVE VICTIM of admin leave spoke: “My name is Henry Fram. “I have been on paid administrative leave for almost seven months now. Every time I have called to ask why or if I can come back to work yet, all I get is, Still investigating, we will let you know. They just want me to stay at home, I guess. I really want to get back to work. I know my department is hurting. The bosses are running like crazy and they are very eager to get me back.”
SEIU’S HICKEY: “This is not a paid vacation but a form of psychological torture, something out of Franz Kafka. Imagine having to wait for months to even know what the county is investigating or potentially accusing you of. Employees who are placed on administrative leave regularly report anxiety, stress and sleeplessness. This also has a detrimental effect on an employee's reputation at work. Coworkers assume he must have done something really bad to justify having your phone and key card confiscated and being escorted out of the building. Staff is then directed to have no contact with that individual. This is not a wise use of taxpayer dollars. Numerous county employees are sitting at home collecting paychecks on paid admin leave. The board is expected to be wise stewards of our hard earned money, not fritter it away as you slow walk investigations on employees who could easily be at work doing their jobs. Surely there is productive work that these employees could be doing while the county conducts any interviews or investigations that need to be done. Mr. Fram has been paid for six months to sit at home doing nothing. His department continues to work short-staffed. If, after the excessive paid leave, the county decides to impose some sort of discipline the employee is at a distinct disadvantage, long after whatever incident is being reviewed to try to remember what happened. If I asked you what you did on a particular day last August, how much do you think you would remember? So we call on the Board to direct Human Resources to treat employees better, to cease their excessive use of paid administrative leave, to notify employees what they are being put on administrative leave for, and to give an expected return date from leave. Under no circumstances should employees be out for months on end.”
RESPONSE from the Supervisors was suitably Kafka-esque: “Thank you Mr. Hickey. We will move on. Any more public expression?”
I KEEP thinking of the bewildered schlub who appeared last week to ask the supervisors why he's been placed on paid leave for what, six months now? For his impertinence the guy got the patented Mendo Stare Back in lieu of an answer. Paid leave, as applied in Mendo, is a form of house arrest, with some spiritual Stalinist calling the man's home at random intervals during work hours to make sure he hasn't snuck off to do what? What he's paid to do? Is this expensive, humiliating, shameful practice of suspending county employees with pay common anywhere else?
A WILLITS READER WRITES:
“The collective noun for a group of anti-vaccinators is ‘a murder of Karens’” – hah! This clever post by a “Dusty Giebel” was re-posted on Twitter by one of my favorite GOP never-Trumpers, Rick Wilson. You may have seen the protest photo around, it’s a good one.
Did these women even think twice about the risk of injury or even death by highway accident the last time they loaded their precious children into the SUV to take them to school or on vacation? No, I expect they didn’t. It would be much too inconvenient for their own daily lives to stop accepting THAT risk!
We’ve got more “inches” of snow over here in Willits this morning – I hear there’s a little snow sticking even in Fort Bragg!
Rick Wilson writes like lava, I love it. Maybe most suitable for small bursts on Twitter? But his book “Everything Trump Touches Dies” was great, and his longer columns, too. He’s been getting op/eds in a variety of print outlets, but most regularly writes for the Daily Beast.
SIXTEEN STICKS of dynamite placed in a suitcase in 'Ink Alley' between the Times Building and Times Annex, where combustible newspaper ink was stored. At 1:07 AM on October 1, 1910, an explosion ignites the ink and breaches the gas line feeding the Los Angeles Times Building (1st & Broadway), which quickly catches fire and is completely destroyed. Twenty-one Times employees were killed, and over a 100 were injured.
For the curious, here's a well-written synopsis on the historical context behind the Times bombing: http://digital.libraries.uc.edu/exhi…/…/mcnamara/bombing.php
LAKE COUNTY TRAFFIC STOP YIELDS APPROX. 1 POUND OF METH POSSESSED FOR SALE
On February 10, 2019 at about 12:16 am, Charles Pitre, 48, Clearlake, was contacted during a traffic stop conducted by Officer Barreto in the 14000 block of Olympic Drive. During the traffic stop, Officer Barreto observed a used glass smoking pipe of the type commonly used to smoke methamphetamine in the passenger compartment of the vehicle in plain view. Pitre was arrested and a search of his vehicle lead to the discovery of approximately one pound of methamphetamine hidden in the vehicle. Packaging and other material was also located indicative of the sale of methamphetamine. Pitre admitted to possessing the methamphetamine for sale.
Pitre was in possession of approximately $2,000.00 in U.S. currency which was believed to be unlawful gains from narcotic sales. The money was subsequently seized by the Lake County District Attorney’s Office pursuant to asset forfeiture proceedings. The Lake County Superior Court ordered a source of bail hearing and bail was set at $100,000.00. Pitre was booked into the Lake County Jail for the possession and transportation of methamphetamine for sale and other related charges.
AMONG the state's worst performing schools, we find perennial under-performer Point Arena High School and Manchester Elementary. In Ukiah, Pomolita Middle School does not meet the state's minimal functioning standard as does the Eel River Charter School of Covelo.
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 11, 2019
MORGAN AMMERMAN, Ukiah. Evasion, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
JAMES AVANTS, Albion. Trespassing, probation revocation.
SONO CARRIGG, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
SCOTT FABER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
CASEY IRELAND, Willits. Controlled substance, parole violation.
RHANDA JACK, Ukiah. Petty theft, probation revocation.
KEVIN PIKE, Ukiah. Parole violation.
LAWRENCE TEXEIRA, Albion. Burglary, grand theft from building, conspiracy.
ROBERTO VARGAS JR., Hopland. Probation revocation.
MALISSA WARNER, Ukiah. Failure to appear, parole violation.
by James Kunstler
And so the Democratic Party has gone and hoisted the flag of “socialism” on the mizzenmast of its foundering hulk as it sets sail for the edge of the world. Bad call by a ship without a captain, and I’ll tell you why. Socialism was the response to a particular set of circumstances in time that drove the rise of industrial societies. Those circumstances are going, going, gone.
The suspicion of industry’s dreadful effects on the human condition first sparked in the public imagination with William Blake’s poem “Jerusalem” in 1804 and its reference to England’s newly-built “dark satanic mills.” Industry at the grand scale overturned everyday life in the Euro-American “West” by the mid-19th century, and introduced a new kind of squalor for the masses, arguably worse than their former status as peasants.
And thus it was to be, through Karl Marx, Vlad Lenin, and the rest of the gang, ever-strategizing to somehow mitigate all that suffering. Their Big Idea was that if government owned the industry (the means of production), then the riches would be distributed equally among the laboring masses and the squalor eliminated. You can’t blame them for trying, though you can blame them for killing scores of millions of people who somehow got in the way of their plans.
Nobody had ever seen anything like this industry before, or had to figure out some way to deal with it, and it was such an enormous force in everyday life thereafter that it shattered human relationships with nature and the planet nature rode in on. Of course, the history of everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and we’re closer to the end of the industrial story than we are to the middle.
Which opens the door to a great quandary. If industrial society is disintegrating (literally), then what takes its place? Many suppose that it is a robotic utopia powered by some as-yet-unharnessed cosmic juice, a nirvana of algorithms, culminating in orgasm-without-end (Ray Kurzweil’s transhumanism). Personally, I would check the “no” box on that outcome as a likely scenario.
The self-proclaimed socialists are actually seeing the world through a rear-view mirror. What they are really talking about is divvying up the previously-accumulated wealth, soon to be bygone. Entropy is having its wicked way with that wealth, first by transmogrifying it into ever more abstract forms, and then by dissipating it as waste all over the planet. In short, the next time socialism is enlisted as a tool for redistributing wealth, we will make the unhappy discovery that most of that wealth is gone.
The process will be uncomfortably sharp and disorientating. The West especially will not know what hit it as it emergently self-reorganizes back into something that resembles the old-time feudalism. We have a new kind of mass squalor in America: a great many people who have nothing to do, no means of support, and the flimsiest notions of purpose in life. The socialists have no answers for them. They will not be “retrained” in some imagined federal crusade to turn meth freaks into code-writers for Google.
Something the analysts are calling “recession” is ploughing across the landscape like one of those darkly majestic dust-storms of the 1930s, only this time we won’t be able to re-fight anything like World War Two to get all the machines running again in the aftermath. Nor, of course, will the Make America Great Again fantasy work out for those waiting in the squalid ruins of the post-industrial rust-belt or the strip-mall wastelands of the Sunbelt.
Most of the beliefs and attitudes of the present day will be overturned with the demise of the industrial orgy, like the idea that humanity follows an unerring arc of progress, that men and women are interchangeable and can do exactly the same work, that society should not be hierarchical, that technology will rescue us, and that we can organize some political work-arounds to avoid the pain of universal contraction.
There are no coherent ideas in the political arena just now. Our prospects are really too alarming. So, jump on-board the socialism ship and see if it makes you feel better to sail to the end of the earth. But mind the gap at the very edge. It’s a doozie.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
7 Feb 2019 — If I know anything, it is about people, such as you, I am a man of the people. I was born and raised in a poor neighborhood of Caracas. I forged myself in the heat of popular and union struggles in a Venezuela submerged in exclusion and inequality.
I am not a tycoon, I am a worker of reason and heart, today I have the great privilege of presiding over the new Venezuela, rooted in a model of inclusive development and social equality, which was forged by Commander Hugo Chávez since 1998 inspired by the Bolivarian legacy.
We live today a historical trance. There are days that will define the future of our countries between war and peace. Your national representatives of Washington want to bring to their borders the same hatred that they planted in Vietnam. They want to invade and intervene in Venezuela — they say, as they said then — in the name of democracy and freedom. But it's not like that. The history of the usurpation of power in Venezuela is as false as the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It is a false case, but it can have dramatic consequences for our entire region.
Venezuela is a country that, by virtue of its 1999 Constitution, has broadly expanded the participatory and protagonist democracy of the people and that is unprecedented today, as one of the countries with the largest number of electoral processes in its last 20 years. You might not like our ideology, or our appearance, but we exist and we are millions.
I address these words to the people of the United States of America to warn of the gravity and danger that intend some sectors in the White House to invade Venezuela with unpredictable consequences for my country and for the entire American region. President Donald Trump also intends to disturb noble dialogue initiatives promoted by Uruguay and Mexico with the support of CARICOM for a peaceful solution and dialogue in favor of Venezuela. We know that for the good of Venezuela we have to sit down and talk, because to refuse to dialogue is to choose strength as a way. Keep in mind the words of John F. Kennedy: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
Are those who do not want to dialogue afraid of the truth?
The political intolerance towards the Venezuelan Bolivarian model and the desires for our immense oil resources, minerals and other great riches has prompted an international coalition headed by the US government to commit the serious insanity of militarily attacking Venezuela under the false excuse of a non-existent humanitarian crisis.
The people of Venezuela have suffered painfully social wounds caused by a criminal commercial and financial blockade, which has been aggravated by the dispossession and robbery of our financial resources and assets in countries aligned with this demented onslaught.
And yet, thanks to a new system of social protection, of direct attention to the most vulnerable sectors, we proudly continue to be a country with a high human development index and low inequality in the Americas.
The American people must know that this complex multiform aggression is carried out with total impunity and in clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations, which expressly outlaws the threat or use of force, among other principles and purposes for the sake of peace and the friendly relations between Nations.
We want to continue being business partners of the people of the United States, as we have been throughout our history. Their politicians in Washington, on the other hand, are willing to send their sons and daughters to die in an absurd war, instead of respecting the sacred right of the Venezuelan people to self-determination and safeguarding their sovereignty.
Like you, people of the United States, we Venezuelans are patriots. And we shall defend our homeland with all the pieces of our soul.
Today Venezuela is united in a single clamor: we demand the cessation of the aggression that seeks to suffocate our economy and socially suffocate our people, as well as the cessation of the serious and dangerous threats of military intervention against Venezuela.
We appeal to the good soul of American society, victim of its own leaders, to join our call for peace, let us be all one people against warmongering and war.
Long live the peoples of America!
President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
IN 2017 SCIENTISTS working on the Eastern Siberian sea shelf, reported that the permafrost layer has thinned enough to risk destabilising hydrates. That report of subsea permafrost destabilisation in the East Siberian Arctic sea shelf, the latest unprecedented temperatures in the Arctic, and the data in non-linear rises in high-atmosphere methane levels, combine to make it feel like we are about to play Russian Roulette with the entire human race, with already two bullets loaded. Nothing is certain. But it is sobering that humanity has arrived at a situation of our own making where we now debate the strength of analyses of our near-term extinction.
ITALIAN TRUMP FLOAT
MY LAST PROBLEM — breakfast — is gone. I have simplified everything. If there are any new problems I can carry them in my rucksack, along with my dirty wash. I am throwing away all my sous. What need have I for money? I am a writing machine. The last screw has been added. The thing flows.
— Henry Miller
IN THE EARLY DAYS of World War II President Roosevelt was trying to enlist the support of India and its large army to resist the Japanese forces threatening to overrun India after overrunning Burma. Roosevelt, like most other Americans and many Brits, was sure that the best way to motivate the Indian Army was to assure them that after the war they’d be granted independence and self-government. The British viceroy of India, Victor Alexander John Hope, the second Marquess of Linlithgow (Lord Linlithgow) was deadset against conceding any form of self-government or independence to Nehru and India even though both he and Winston Churchill knew that doing so would be the only way Roosevelt would agree to supply desperately needed arms and munitions to England in their battle against Hitler.
In a private letter to Lord Halifax, British ambassador to the United States at the time, Lord Linlithgow admitted that England needed the support of the United States "for heavy gear. So don't tell them what I think of them." Lord Linlithgow then proceeded to document his opinion of America: "What a country! And what savages who inhabit it! My wonder is that anyone with the money to pay for the fare to somewhere else condescends to stay in the country even for a moment! What a nuisance they will be over this Lease-lend sham before they have finished with it. I shan't be a bit surprised if we have to return some of their shells at them, through their own guns! I love some clever person's quip about Americans being the only people in recorded times to have passed from savagery to decadence without experiencing the intervening state of civilization!" Linlithgow added that Halifax should nevertheless continue trying to obtain as much free military assistance from the US as he could while "toadying to your pack of pole-squatting parvenus!"
(Mark Scaramella, based on Nigel Hamilton’s fascinating recent FDR At War biography, “The Mantle of Command.”)
WHALE FESTIVAL SPONSORSHIP
Whale Festival planning is in full swing here at the Chamber and we’d love your support for this shoulder season event. In addition to our traditional sponsorships, we are doing something fun this year. The 1st Annual Mendocino Whale Festival Porta Potty Decorating Contest! Inspired by the Alaska Run for Women, we’re excited to announce this fun and exciting new sponsorship opportunity. For just $150, your business can sponsor and decorate one of 12 portapotties: 10 in Mendocino and 2 in Fort Bragg. Your business can help others to do their business! Now is the time to get creative and promote your business in a fun way that will be sure to get you noticed. We’ll have two categories: Most Creative Decor and Best Eco-Friendly Decor Be the first in line to make going to the loo an artistic adventure to support a worthy cause! Decorated Porta Potties will be photographed and publicized on social media, and on the Whale Festival website all year long. Judging will take place after the Fort Bragg Whale Festival, March 16. Winners will be announced on Monday, March 18. Sign up Deadline: Friday, Feb 22, 2019. Seats are going fast so reserve your potty now! Call us at 961-6300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Fort Bragg is sold out but there are still Mendocino potties available.)
Traditional sponsorships: mendocinocoast.com/whale-festival-sponsors
Sharon Davis, chamberCEO@mcn.org
RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY FOR THE FORT BRAGG ANIMAL SHELTER
The County of Mendocino will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house for the newly re-opened Fort Bragg Animal Shelter on Saturday, February 16, 2019. The ceremony will take place at 1:00 p.m. at the Fort Bragg Animal Shelter, 19701 Summers Ln, in Fort Bragg, CA.
Remarking on the re-opening of the Animal Shelter, Fourth District Supervisor Dan Gjerde stated "I hope residents here on the Coast will stop by the County's Coast animal shelter. I'm grateful the County was able to re-establish this service on the Coast."
"The reopening of the coast shelter represents the priorities of residents and County government in ensuring humane care and treatment of animals," added Supervisor Ted Williams.
The Fort Bragg Animal Shelter’s new regular hours will be Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. To contact the Fort Bragg Shelter, please call 707-961-2491 or email Shelter Supervisor Adrianna Vega at email@example.com.
For more information, please contact the Mendocino County Executive Office at (707) 463-4441.
Carmel J. Angelo
Chief Executive Officer
ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK
 Or, if we insist on having corporate personhood, institute the corporate death penalty for misbehavior. That means revocation of the articles of incorporation, disbandment of the organization, sale of the assets, repayment of debt with the proceeds, any left-over going into government coffers as opposed to shareholder pockets.
On the environmental front, what we have is the substitution of talk for action. There is no way in hell that the bi-coastal glitterati have got any intention of inconveniencing themselves or those of their class with ANY measures that would reduce their carbon foot-print. Ain’t gonna happen. As in never ever.
We’ll get a lot of posturing, a lot of talk of green this and green that, maybe some taxes on gasoline, but the multi-thousand pound, mammoth SUVs that could give a WW2 armored vehicle a run for its money will stay on the roads, the gasoline tax offset by cuts in income taxes on the wealthy, because as we all know, the rich need to pay less tax. And heaven forfend that private jets be mothballed. Those are a dire necessity, Hollywood types otherwise expiring, dying of jetlessness.
 Universities are now profit centers and diploma mills resulting in a credential society, where lack of a degree – worthless as it almost always is – is used solely as means to whittle down employment pools. I am continually pissed off as my current employer hires new people in my career field and starts them at levels commensurate with the meaningless outside credentials they carry on their resume, rather than actual relevant work experience, which is the only thing that matters in my line of work. Then the staff (including me), gets the pleasure of carrying these losers for a year or three while they come up to speed, all while the new hire makes more money than the experienced staff who’s carrying them. A recent hire included on her resume that she’s currently pursuing a PhD in Business Administration of all things (a classic “basket weaving” degree, the only use for which is to become a University Professor). Fortunately I won’t be working with her, as I doubt seriously I would be able to contain my contempt. Business these days is a dog eat dog charnel house and the only way to break even and maintain your self-respect is to be the most ruthless and duplicitous motherfucker on the block. Don’t remember them covering THAT in any of my MBA seminars, although we students certainly shared horror stories amongst ourselves.
LET'S MAKE HIM SWEAT
Every pore of his visible skin oozes his sense that he owns us, that somehow, he is responsible for us and all that we witness. And all those things, all that stuff weighs down on us, and we are, as has often been noted, pissed. He's got to be worried, so let's make him sweat.
He can never escape the sound of the clock. It is driving him mad. Every day, he manages to seem dumber and dumber. This is no longer easy, the bar is so low, but like a limbo dancer from hell, he makes look easy every time he opens his mouth.
Most amazing, he has stolen our country, and even the world we have made. And he sees that we are taking it back. The bell is beginning to toll. Smirking as usual, he has shit in his shorts, but we will never see it 'til his happy last day in office, the death carriage at the service entrance to the White House he and his vermin-like family have lived in for years. The old place takes a long time to clean.
Most likely, there will be few of his staff left to do it. They will have lined up and left along with the boss. The real leaders will step up, cleaning, while outside, the hanging has started. It is likely to begin with those suited phonies with the most out of the way offices, the crappiest parking.
The last one standing will most likely be the Orange One himself. Nobody left to protect him, the smirking, now-sniveling used-to-be boss. Halftime at the Super Bowl. The stadium stuffed full as always. Pack the bong, pour your martini, sit back and relax. Inhale. The clock begins funereal tolling.
Outside, people dance.