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MCT: Thursday, March 14, 2019

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Fort Bragg High School Students March For Climate Friday

Students at the Fort Bragg High School are joining in solidarity with students all over the world on Friday for a walkout and march this Friday, March 15, 11:00 AM in front of Fort Bragg Town Hall (corner of Main and Laurel in FB). They are asking everyone in the community to join them in their call for to avert climate catastrophe. Organizers have decided to make this event a march from Town Hall to Bainbridge Park. Organizers have reached out to the Justice Group and the Coast Climate Crew looking for four people to act as monitors along the walk, directing people and keeping them from impeding traffic. If you are up for this mitzvah, please contact Judah Millen at

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AGRICULTURAL FAMILY LOOKING FOR NEW HOME: We would like to grow flowers, veggies, culinary herbs and other food crops. Rustic/off grid fine. We have pictures of previous gardens. Cabin, cottage, yurt/efficient house with garden/farm space. Skillset includes: Planting, Harvesting, Orchard Care, bees wax candle making, Growing Plant Starts (Edible Flowers, Herbs, Veggies and Fruits), mulching, weeding, animal husbandry and more. :) 707-683-2369 Thanks :)

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(REPOST FOR COMMENT): Since early 2017 the Code Enforcement Division has received more than 30 complaints regarding a residence in the 4300 Block of Old River Road, Talmage, CA.

The complaints were for illegal cannabis cultivation, conversion of structures without permits, tree removal, grading without permits and the construction of new structures without permits.

Over the last two years Code Enforcement Officers conducted numerous inspections of the property and issued notice of violations for all regulatory building and grading violations on the property. The property owner would make minor efforts to correct some violations, including removing the non-permitted cannabis only to place the cannabis back on the property, usually within weeks of removal. This resulted in Law Enforcement eradicating the cannabis at least twice within the last two years.

The property owner failed to correct the building and grading violations called out in the notice of violations and was subsequently issued progressive administrative citations which resulted in penalties owed in excess of $200,000.00.  In the Fall of 2018 the County then initiated judicial action in the Mendocino County Superior Court against the property owner to seek injunctions to correct the many violations on the property and for judgement for the administrative penalties owed.

On March 8, 2019, the County obtained a court judgment for the code enforcement action against a property owner for violating the County’s building regulations. The judgment included an award of $223,600.00 to the County for unpaid administrative penalties, and three injunctions, restraining the property owner from continued maintenance of the property in violation of the law and ordering the owner to take all actions necessary to abate the conditions causing the violations.

If the property owner does not comply with the Court’s Orders, the County will seek further remedy from the Court to enforce those orders.

The Code Enforcement Division receives all Cannabis and General Code Violation complaints in the unincorporated areas of the County. Complaints can be made in person at our offices or by visiting our website at: to file an online complaint. Cannabis specific complaints can also be filed by calling the Cannabis Complaint Hotline at: (844) 421-WEED(9333).

COMMENT 1: Mapping hint- Go to Google Maps. Since it’s the 4300 block just punch in 4300 and then “directions to 4400” and you will see which places it might be. Then hit satellite view and guess. I’m guessing it’s the parcel with the large clearing (#4300)? Some nice houses there and some large vineyards and we all know those folks not only tend to dislike weed grows but also have clout w/ the county. Also it’s very close to county offices and very easy to inspect repeatedly. And…the area of the property is pretty valuable and so the county can probably collect pretty easily through liens, etc. Kind of a stupid thing to do in a spot like that! …Because yes- the counties are all out for smashing and grabbing whatever they can from this wonderful “legalization” and they will call it “protecting the good players”….I’d like to know how big this scene really was. Was it 20 plants? Or 2000? I imagine the neighbors would complain either way.

COMMENT 2: Another big difference between Humboldt and Mendocino (or all other counties) is that Humboldt has the expensive software satellite program. Most other counties rely on complaints so far. Humboldt uses its expensive software to pick out real-time potential offenses (sometimes it’s just a greenhouse full of vegetables) and then sends out abatement notices, posts them in the paper and starts cranking its egregious fines. Humboldt Planning Department tries to say that they are abating the environmentally abusive and extremely large grows but they are also hitting people with small backyard greenhouses and grows. Humboldt is the worst place for small mom n pops now. And they do this while they issue permits for huge grows that they know will sell out-of-state because there really is no effective track-and-trace. I will love to see Humboldt County Planning Department sued and to see the Supervisors along with John Ford personally held accountable for their terrible behavior.

COMMENT 3: It’s not a very lucrative business to be in anymore anyway. To put out a competitive product these days can be pretty tough work for very little pay. It is still a fun hobby for an enthusiast for sure, but if making money is your thing there are much easier ways to do that these days at a regular job.

COMMENT 4: These fines are excessive, for certain, the grape growers do this stuff all the time and the county says nothing..With that said. Mendocino has not passed out to many abatements, it kinda sounds like there were a lot of complaints against this particular grow, and it is more of a complaint driven policy.

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APPLAUSE TO TRUMPETTE Kellyanne Conway for best line on the college admissions scandal: “They worried their daughters are as stupid as their mothers.”

INSIDER HIRING has always been a fact of life in Mendocino. Here's one recent example: Sarah Dukett is Deputy CEO, Megan Dukett, as of last October, is "program administrator" at the County Museum, and you can be excused if you were unaware the county has a museum, but a gold star for you if you not only were aware of the museum but had visited it. To be fair and balanced about it the museum is putting together an exhibit called something like "Mendocino County's Contribution to World War One," which might actually be of interest. Had to laugh Tuesday when the museum boss said only four people visit on previous Sundays, so, like, why not close Sundays? Translation: We don't wanna work weekends. The museum claims 4,000 visitors a year. I've visited three times over the last five years in good weather and I was the only person on the premises apart from a couple of ladies who work there. I've always thought the County Museum, the Held-Poage Museum, the Grace Hudson Museum, and all the old County Courthouse records a'mouldering in the Courthouse basement — a HUGE trove of true history — should be put under one roof. Mendo County would pack 'em. As is, well….

KUDOS and karnations to Governor Newsom for putting California's death penalty on hold. A lot of the boys on Death Row would be much more likely anyway to be knocked off in general population than their endless waits for the Midnight Nighty-Night Needle, thus, perhaps, sating somewhat the public's blood lust for revenge.

AS NEWSOM declared, the death penalty doesn't deter anybody from murder, which is a statistical fact, as is the stat fact that ethnic minorities are much more likely to get a death penalty sentence than a white monster. (Scott Peterson is middleclass; pretty sure the other white boys on Death Row derive from the doomed social class.) Edward Wycoff was sentenced to die for killing his sister and her husband in El Cerrito because he thought they were too liberal, were "too easy" on their children and hadn't invited him over for Christmas. During his trial, Wycoff, who chose to represent himself, tried to make a joke during the closing arguments by stabbing a plastic bowl of cereal with a pen, saying, "I'm a cereal killer." He ended up stabbing himself in the hand and bleeding.


DON'T GET ME WRONG. This here lib-lab would have no qualms about delivering Scott Peterson a quick bullet to the back of his evil head, and here's the prob with the death penalty apart from its class and race bias: (1) it gives government the right to kill citizens which, in the turbulent times ahead, just might result in executions of political dissidents and the socially undesirable, especially if we get the fascism so many rightwingers yearn for (2) executing people in the middle of the night via problematic drugs does not serve as an example of deterrence to the society it allegedly protects. To be any kind of more or less likely deterrent we need public executions — I suggest half-time at pro football games and Pay Per View to raise money for victim's families (3) And whether or not this or that psychopath should be put to death must be the decision of the victim's immediate family, one of whom would have to deliver the coup de grace, and no torture allowed to prevent executions from becoming as grisly as the original crime. Newsom has just saved Golden State taxpayers a ton of public money by eliminating, at least for now, imposition of the death penalty. Putting these guys away permanently is a lot cheaper, and in the present social context nothing is likely to slow down the murder rate.

I CLIPPED the following from somewhere I can't now remember: "Scott’s (Peterson) social life allegedly hasn’t been affected by being locked up. Journalist Nancy Mullane was given access to the maximum security prison, San Quentin State Prison, where Scott is being held. She said he’s living in an “Exclusive” part of the prison, where he has his own cell and can socialize with other prisoners, as opposed to some prisoners who have to spend 23 hours a day in their cells. He also allegedly has access to a roof deck with a basketball court, and Mullane said, “When I saw Scott, he was playing basketball. He didn’t look depressed. He looked like someone you’d see on the street playing basketball.” Scott is apparently classed as a “Grade A” prisoner, who gets 5 hours a day social time, access to exercise and chess and three showers a week. These prisoners are also able to attend religious services, receive mail, phone calls and visitors, as well as having a private TV in their cells (although they must pay for it themselves)."

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‘Mendocino County Appointments Approved; Proposal To Change Willits Museum Hours Rejected.’

Better Headlines might be:

  • ‘Mental Health Insiders Praise Selves At Great Length For No Reason At All’
  • ‘Pot Program Blows Up in Supes Face; Solution: A Trip to Sacto’
  • ‘Supes to Spend Another $100k on Bogus Employee Lawsuit’

PS. The Museum hours change proposal was not “rejected,” it was simply sent back to the Museum Advisory Board. (Mark Scaramella)

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QUIZ TONIGHT! Tonight, Thursday, March 14th, is the second Thursday of the month and your wishes have come true: it’s General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz time. The last two such events have been very well-attended and hopefully that will continue. It’s always more enjoyable when we have several teams competing and bantering —- particularly when it’s local folks who all know each other. The fun and brain exercises take place, as if you don’t already know, at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville, with first pitch at 7pm. Hope to see you there, Steve Sparks, The Quiz Master

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UKIAH, Tues., March 12. -- A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations Tuesday afternoon to announce an acquittal of the trial defendant.

Gerardo Cervantes, age 31, generally of the Ukiah area, was found not guilty of domestic violence, a misdemeanor. 

The attorney who presented the People's evidence at trial was Deputy District Attorney Melissa Weems. The investigating law enforcement agency was the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, with trial assistance by the District Attorney's own investigators.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the two-day trial.

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On 3-06-2019 at about 2:41 AM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a domestic disturbance in the 8400 block of East Side Road in Potter Valley. Upon their arrival, Deputies contacted an adult male, who had visible injuries. Deputies learned the male's girlfriend, Samantha Mendez, 20, of Potter Valley, was intoxicated and causing a disturbance at the location.

Both subjects were determined to be in a romantic relationship. Deputies learned they had been consuming alcoholic beverages early in the evening and had gone to bed together. Approximately two hours after going to bed, Mendez awoke and began yelling at the male. It was unknown why Mendez was upset. During the disturbance Mendez bit the male causing visible injuries to his forearm. The male had to push Mendez away in self-defense. Mendez was arrested for Felony Domestic Violence Battery without incident and was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.


On 03-09-2019 at approximately 9:00 PM, a Mendocino County Deputy Sheriff conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for a mechanical violation in the 600 block of South Main Street, Fort Bragg. Upon making the stop, Deputies observed Aron Hernandez, 41, of Fort Bragg, was a passenger in the vehicle.

Deputies were aware Hernandez was wanted pursuant to a felony arrest warrant. The recently issued warrant was for Vandalism and Burglary. Hernandez was arrested without incident for Vandalism and Burglary, Possession of Cocaine, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.


On 3-10-2019 at about 7:40 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to the 32000 block of North Harbor Drive in Fort Bragg. Upon the Deputies arrival they were advised there had been a possible stabbing and the victim was being transported by a private vehicle to the Mendocino Coast District Hospital. Sheriff's Deputies went to the hospital and contacted a 26 year-old male. Sheriff's Deputies learned the male was standing outside of a building when Trevor Roycroft, 49, of Fort Bragg approached him with a pocket knife in his hand.

Roycroft stood close to the male's face and began yelling about money. The male had allowed Roycroft to live on his property in a van. Reportedly Roycroft misplaced some money and believed the male had stolen the money. After accusing the male of stealing the money and him denying it, Roycroft hit the victim in the stomach with what the male thought was a closed fist, but he quickly realized he had been stabbed. Roycroft then left the area. The male suffered a deep stab wound to his abdomen and was later transferred to an out of county medical facility for treatment. Deputies began searching in the area for Roycroft and at about 9:10 PM a Deputy found him sleeping in his van near a business on North Harbor Drive. Deputies contacted Roycroft and recovered a pocket knife from him during the contact. Roycroft was arrested for assault with deadly weapon other than a firearm without incident. Roycroft was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail.


On 03-12-2019 at approximately 4:50 P.M., an adult female called the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office to report she was hiking in the Brooktrails area and had become lost. The lost hiker directed Deputies to the area of Goose Road near Ridge Road where she took a trail off the west side of Ridge Road. The hiker walked for approximately one hour and had become disoriented and could not find her way back to the roadway. The hiker located an excavator along a timber road, which she used as shelter while waiting for responding personnel. The hiker continued to communicate with Sheriff's dispatchers for multiple hours while responding Sheriff's Office personnel were directed towards her location. Assistance was requested from personnel with the Brooktrails Fire Department, who responded and assisted in locating the excavator along the timber road. The missing hiker had left the excavator and traveled uphill along a creek. Personnel from the Brooktrails Fire Department and Sheriff's Office used their emergency lighting, sirens, and public address systems in attempts to locate the hiker. During the rescue efforts, the hiker was regularly sounding a whistle to alert responding personnel to her exact location. After multiple hours, the missing hiker was located and escorted to safety. The hiker was evaluated by medical personnel at the scene and did not have any notable injuries. The hiker's use of her cellular telephone and whistle greatly assisted in the search and rescue efforts during this incident. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the Brooktrails Fire Department for their immediate response and diligence in locating the missing hiker and assisting in her recovery to safety.


On 03-12-2019 at approximately 10:30 A.M., Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a reported assault that just occurred at a property in the 22000 block of Covelo Refuse Road in Covelo. Deputies responded to the scene where they met with an elderly male subject who was reportedly the victim of an assault and had numerous injuries on his face. It was reported that the elderly male was kicked in the face multiple times by Emergene Phillips, 18, of Covelo.

Deputies ultimately located Phillips in the general area and interviewed him regarding this incident. There was evidence located on Phillips' person that corroborated the reported assault on the elderly male. Phillips was placed under arrest for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Battery and Elder Abuse with Great Bodily Harm. Phillips was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, March 13, 2019

Brunett, Chan-Medina, Cubillos, Goedinghaus

RAYMOND BRUNETT IV, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

GILBERTO CHAN-MEDINA, South Lake Tahoe/Ukiah. Suspended license, probation revocation.


KIRSTEN GOEDINGHAUS, Calpella. Under influence, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

Gonzalez, Isenhart, Jack, Phillips

JAIME GONZALEZ JR., Ukiah. Disobeying court order.

JIMMIE ISENHART JR., Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

RHANDA JACK, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

EMERGENE PHILLIPS, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, battery, elder abuse resulting in great bodily harm or death.

Pinola, Poe-Garcia, Zimmerman

IVORY ROSE PINOLA, Willits. Suspended license, failure to appear.

CHRISTOPHER POE-GARCIA, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

STEVEN ZIMMERMAN, Covelo. Failure to appear.

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(ms notes: Why does this remind me of a drowning victim pulling down his rescuer too?)

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Edgewater Gallery this Saturday

I am March's featured artist at Edgewater Gallery in Ft. Bragg and I'll be at the Gallery on Saturday, March 16 and Monday March 18 from 10 to 5. For this exhibit, I produced (at Bragadoon) oversized prints from 'The Feminist Series' - work with text and images. I am also exhibiting b&w portraits of writers, including Alice Walker, and other b&w images from the 70s & 80s, color images printed from film, and, of course, my newer digital work. It would be great to have you stop by when I'm there - or when I'm not if it's more convenient for you. I'm excited about this work and trust you will be, too. See you at Edgewater!

Happy/L.A. Hyder

visual artist & writer

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"I FIND DONALD TRUMP reprehensible as a human being, but a socialist candidate is more dangerous to this company, country, as far as the strength and well-being of the country, than Donald Trump.  I would vote for Donald Trump, a despicable human being…I will be so distraught to the point that that could even come out of my mouth, if we have a socialist [Democratic presidential candidate or president] because that will take our country so down, and we are not Denmark.  I love Denmark, but that’s not who we are. And if you love who we are and all the great things that still have to have binders put on the side. Please step away from the socialism."

– Donny Deutsch, advertising executive, “branding and marketing expert,” and regular MSNBC commentator

One of the many amusing things one hears on the American right is the charge that MSNBC is a “far” and radical “leftist” network.

Right, and the North American Meat Institute is a vegan advocacy group.

— Paul Street, CounterPunch

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New Mexico is set to become the 13th state to approve national popular vote legislation. The legislation is a backdoor way of abolishing the Electoral College. If states that combine to have 270 electoral votes approve the legislation, then they are bound to cast their electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote as opposed to the winner in each state. The result would be to elect a president who won a plurality of votes without a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College.

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FRANK HARTZELL COMMENTS on the college admission's scandal:

I'm amazed at how many people think USA is a meritocracy and are outraged over this college cheating. To me, that's how everything has become since 1980. its overt in our politics to believe in trickle down theories. We tax rich speculators at 1/4th what we tax working people. We love the idea of favoring the rich at every turn. But I'm glad people still want college to be fair, its charming. We still live in a feudal class war (by the rich on the poor) system.

ms comments: Why does anyone think this is even “news”? For just one example from way back in 2004:

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In the weeks and months following the 2017 Redwood Complex Fire, one question was asked repeatedly: Where were you the night of the fire? Megan Barber Allende, CEO of the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, was not directly impacted. But her life, and the lives of “second responders": community organizations, city and county employees, faith community members, therapists and businesses…

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At first 2000 was the big watershed year for the 1st generation of weather doomsday cranks. Granted it was a rather small cult then, and they hadn’t yet reached into the schools and colleges.

Basically, “we have until the year 2000 to turn this ship around.”

After that sea ice melts, crops fail, cities disappear, snow is a thing of the past, summers become unbearable, air is unbreathable, water undrinkable … and so on. You get the picture.

When none of these terrible events happened, two things occurred. The first is ordinary weather became evidence of ‘climate apocalypse’. Hurricane, snowstorms, heatwaves, suddenly they were the worst ever. If you pointed out for example the most intense and destructive hurricanes occurred 1925-1938, you were simply ignored. Bring up the Dust Bowl and you were ignored. The other thing is that goal posts were moved, and now armageddon is the year 2030. That’s when everything goes down if we don’t change the way we do things. Of course when they say ‘we’ they mean me and you giving up our cars and use of cheap electricity, not them flying in private aircraft and living their high end degenerate lives in DC, LA, NYC or San Francisco.

That’s the way it stacks up right now. This might go on for a long time and spark violence and civil strife like what is happening in France now with the yellow vest movement.

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“VENEZUELA ALWAYS SEEMED SAFE TO ME. I grew up in one of the valleys. We lived in a gated community. As a child I always felt secure. We’d walk home from school. We’d stay out late. Nobody I knew had ever been robbed. But when I was ten years old, my mother got kidnapped on the way home from the grocery store. It was only for twenty-four hours. The guy just wanted drugs. But things seemed to change after that. It didn’t feel safe anymore. I was very lucky because I’m a swimmer. I broke a national record when I was fourteen. So it was easy for me to leave the country. I just emailed my times to a bunch of coaches in the United States, and ended up getting a full scholarship to a school in California. We were privileged. So most of my friends were able to leave. My dad and brother got out with tourist visas. But my mother stayed behind. She doesn’t speak English and wanted to remain with her friends. We support her as best we can by sending money home. She doesn’t tell me much. She protects me from the specifics. I just feel so helpless about the situation. I try to avoid the news. I stay off social media. I’d rather not know if people from my childhood are eating out of trash bags. Or if they’re dying because they can’t get medicine. I can’t handle any more stress. I already spend 75 percent of my day thinking about it. Right now I’m on my way to swim. It’s the only way I can escape the thoughts.”

(Humans of New York)

From the comments section on the original post: “This is not about Chavez or Maduro. The entire world needs to open their eyes to how the US has destabilized every country it deems strategic.”

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IN CALIFORNIA, only 15 out of 478 municipalities have voluntarily passed rent control, and larger efforts to strengthen the statewide policy have failed. Last November, California voters shot downProposition 10, a ballot measure that would have overturned the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which weakened rent control policies statewide when it was passed in 1995.

After the failure of Proposition 10, a handful of California cities have passed new tenant protections on their own which specifically address urgent concerns about displacement.

Just this week, in the Southern California city of Inglewood, the city council adopted an “emergency rent control” ordinance. For the next 45 days, property owners will not be allowed to raise rents more than 5 percent and cannot evict tenants except for reasons of “criminality or drug use.” The council has the option to extend the moratorium for up to a year 

“After years of advocacy, we are proud to have gotten the city to take this important step to send the message to corporate landlords that rent gouging is not okay in the City of Inglewood,” said D’Artagnan Scorza, a member of the Uplift Inglewood Coalition.

Tenant advocates from Uplift Inglewood claim that evictions and rent hikes increased after construction began on a new NFL stadium. Corresponding data from CoStar showed that rents in Inglewood have been increasing at a faster rate than the county average—up 10.8 percent last year, compared to 7 percent across Los Angeles County—creating worries about rising rents pushing out longtime members of the city’s black community…(Oregon just enacted statewide rent control—and it could be a model for the country)


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Neither the airlines that bought the planes nor the pilots who flew it were told about MCAS. They did not know that it exists. They were not aware of an automatic system that controlled the stabilizer even when the autopilot was off. They had no idea how it could be deactivated.

Up to now the FAA was a highly regarded certification agency. Other countries followed its judgment and accepted the certifications the FAA issued. That most of the world now grounded the 737 MAX while it still flies in the States is a sign that this view is changing. The FAA's certifications of Boeing airplanes are now in doubt.

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Letter to the editor (NY Times):

What has justice come to when a judge can say that a man who has served tyrants and engaged in every manner of political skulduggery has led an “otherwise blameless life” before being found guilty of multiple counts of fraud and tax evasion? This speaks to the very heart of what is wrong with the moral compass of this country.

Michael Scott

San Francisco

NO PRESIDENTIAL PARDON possible if any of these state charges result in a guilty verdict

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DESTRUCTION FROM SEA LEVEL RISE in California could exceed worst wildfires and earthquakes, new research shows a team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists concluded that even a modest amount of sea level rise — often dismissed as a creeping, slow-moving disaster — could overwhelm communities when a storm hits at the same time. The study combines sea level rise and storms for the first time, as well as wave action, cliff erosion, beach loss and other coastal threats across California. These factors have been studied extensively but rarely together in the same model.

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“It’s all there: 1600 in small, marked bubbles.”

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Dear Editor:

Bad enough Philbrick’s a major contributor. Till he popped up in full Trumpkin bloom, I never thought a person could write rightwing, crypto-Christian agitprop so repetitious and boring that the ghosts of Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, the Greek Generals and a whole limo load of Banana Republic Caudillos (Strong Men) would gladly give back all the money they’ve stolen and quit politics forever if only they never again have to endure any more of that gremlin’s fevered discombobulations.

I remember when our esteemed editor used to make fun of these quacks and quackers wearing tinfoil hats to keep the sun from frying their brains, or curling their eyebrows, ruining their complexions or whatever. But now, on page 2 of the 3/6/19 issue of the AVA, comes an excerpt from a public proclamation made by one Mr. Peter Hitchens (?). Obviously a gun nut and likely another withered old Trumpkin reactionary, Mr. Hitchens asserts that the one thing that ties nearly all “rampage killers” together is their use of illegal drugs and/or their illegal use of legal drugs. And I think: legal drugs good; illegal drugs bad? Huh?

Since Hitchens includes “cannabis” (“illegal”) on his list, but excludes alcohol (“legal”), his argument crumbles. After all, most violent crimes are committed by men and women about drunk, stone drunk or 18 carat shit-faced. And nobody has ever heard of a pot party ending in a bloodbath. Besides, long term use of booze not only rots your guts, it pickles your brain the same as getting punch drunk pickles your brain. Yet the long term effects of pot use are not yet apparent, which means it’s harmless as far as anybody knows. Then to think that anybody has ever smoked a joint that caused him to up and kill somebody is preposterous. Here Hitchens puts a torch to his straw man.

Then there is his novel use of the adjective “rampage killers.” A nice little euphemism for “mass shootings,” I suppose, of which there is just the opposite of an “epidemic.” What is going up is the body counts and that’s attributable to the proliferation of military weaponry. Today at least 20 million semi-automatic, military-style assault rifles are in the hands of civilians who, a half-century earlier, wouldn’t have believed even for a minute that any educated and responsible American citizen could find any wisdom in doing something as haywire and downright senseless as that. Back then, you see, what military weaponry does to people was very clear in most everybody’s mind.

When I think of massacres committed by teetotalers in what is now the USA, I remember Utah’s Mt. Meadow Massacre. On 9/11/1857, a lynch mob of “Mormon Militia” attacked a wagon train out of Arkansas they’d caught “trespassing” on the Old Spanish Trail. Over five days, they killed at least 120 immigrant men, women and children. Thinking they might make good converts, they took at least 17 children under the age of seven as prisoners. I also think of the Massacres at Wounded Knee and Washita Creek and wonder if any of those brave American cavalrymen were under the influence of illegal drugs.

Lastly, his blanket statement that the individual possession of “guns” has always been “legal” in the US is, well, full of holes (no reason for me to add more). Now that it seems the uber-patriotic National Rifle Assoc. has been exposed as a bagman and stooge of Russian Counter-Intelligence and the Trump Organization (Trump promised to “self-finance,” remember?), I think it’d be wise for their shills to lay low until the jury comes in. Won’t be long.

Bruce Patterson

Prineville, Oregon

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by Lee Simon

We all like to think we have a pretty good handle on reality. We get up in the morning, we function throughout the day reasonably well, we maintain relationships, we make or have enough money to sustain our basic needs, and so on.

Most of us very seldom question whether or not we are in touch with reality.  We just assume that we are. We're not in the  midst of a psychotic break.  Most of the people we know think pretty much as we do, and act within the boundaries of the norms of our culture.

We may express an idea once in a while that somebody tells us, "That's absurd", but we usually just shrug it off and move on.  Most of us don't question what is meant by the word 'absurd'.

The dictionary defines the word absurd as "completely stupid, unreasonable, or impossible to believe".  That is using the word as an adjective.

As a noun it is defined as "a situation or way of thinking that seems crazy or impossible to believe".

If we combine those two definitions, we can see that many of things that modern people believe are absurd.  What follows here are many examples that support that conclusion (I've numbered them for ease of reference).

1.  When we should pray, and where, and with whom; what words to memorize; what to wear or not wear; how to adorn oneself or not do so; what songs to sing; what food to eat or not eat; what books to read or not read; what foods to eat or not eat; who you can marry or not marry; how much money to give to the rule makers; what rites and rituals must be obeyed; and, if you don't do it right you will be punished, here and after you die. The people who agree with enslaving themselves to those kind of rules and prohibitions also think of themselves as free beings, who love freedom.  The contradiction never even occurs to them. They think of themselves as being moral people because they perform those rites and rituals.  That is absurd.  Those rites and rituals have nothing to do with morality.  The basis of morality is the idea that one should not impose on others what he or she does not wish for himself or herself.

2.  Most modern people eat a diet that is directly contrary to good health. "fast food", which is, in reality, salt, sugar, and fat prepared in a myriad of different ways.  Those ingredients lead directly to heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, seizures, and other ailments.  Those foods are thought to be, and voiced to be "good".  In reality, they are good to the taste, or good to make one feel full.  They are not, however, good for your health.  To put one's health in jeopardy and call it good is not only stupid, it is absurd.

3.  It has been very many decades since the majority of our people looked at other people and told themselves, and the other people, that they are not human. They are, they said, a different race, an inferior group of people, not fully human, and therefore not entitled to the benefits of freedom. Yes, the males of the dominant group mated often with the females of the enslaved group, while at the same time telling themselves that they are not fully human.  That is absurd.

4.  We have known for quite a while that greenhouse gasses are very dangerous to life on earth. We also know that people driving around in cars and trucks, and flying around in airplanes greatly contributes to the volume of greenhouse gasses we send into our atmosphere. Yet we continue to do so, individually and collectively, as if the danger is not there.  That is absurd.

5.  Billions of people tell themselves that we humans are a special exception. Unlike all of the other species on earth, including all of the other mammals, including all of the primates with whom we share over 90% of our genes/DNA, we are a special creation.  All of the scientific evidence leads any intelligent, rational person to reject that idea.  We are part of nature; we are not separate and above nature.  To think that we are is absurd.

6.  We live in a world in which the basic organization is that of nation states.  That's what passports are all about.  This arrangement is roughly four or five hundred years old.  Prior to that there were kingdoms and tribes, but no nations. Modern technology and transportation have made things global.  We speak of micro and macro, global economics.  That is the reality.  However, we still continue to act on the basis of nationalism, with tariffs and flags and anthems and armies and wars.  With mankind on the verge of extinction nation states have outlived their historical usefulness.  But we continue to talk of 'national interests'.  That is absurd.

7. One of the most basic human freedoms in that of freedom of speech.  We can say what we wish to say, no matter what, unless there is a clear and present danger from that speech.  There is, however, in the minds of billions of people, the idea that free speech is not permitted if it in any way is critical of one of more deities.  There are laws against blasphemy in many countries. To  punish people, by force of law, for saying what they think, while at the same time claiming to believe in freedom, is a contradiction in terms.  That is absurd.

8.  We are animals.  That is simple biology.  We have instincts and drives, as do all other mammals.   The instinct to survive is deeply tied to the sex drive.  Sex is basic to survival of the species, as long as it is consensual and not harmful. Yet there are many societies in which certain sexual ideas and behavior are considered to be morally wrong, even though they are not harmful and are consensual.  That is absurd.

9.  Billions of people today use the tools and modern technology, computers, cell phones, airplanes, medical technologies, and so on.  Yet those same people deny the results of scientific discovery about our earth and hold to the belief that the earth is only 6,000 years old, that humans and dinosaurs walked the earth together.  That is absurd.

10.  Most people drive an automobile over the speed limit.  They are not late or in a hurry, it's a habit.  These same people believe in the rule of law, they believe that laws should be obeyed.  They do not see the contradiction between their beliefs and their actions.  They put their own and other drivers lives at greater risk because of it.  That is absurd.

11.  It used to be against the law to work on Sunday; there were blue laws' as they were called.  With modern people there is still widespread adherence to not working on Sunday or on the Sabbath to please a god. The world is fundamentally different today that it was one or two or three thousand years ago. Yet, people act as though the world is the same as it was back then.  They maintain a worldview that fits how it was, but is not geared to how it is now. That is absurd.

12.  When we are sick we take one or more drugs.  If we take drugs when we are not sick, any drugs, it can be said that it is a health problem.  Addiction is epidemic in many cultures, and it thought of as a moral issue, not a health issue.  Or, it is thought of a legal problem, not a health issue. We use laws to put addicts in jail, or we condemn them as morally unfit because of their health problem.  That is absurd.

13.  We are all born naked.  We put on clothes to satisfy the taboo against walking around with no clothes on.  Every cultures does that, even if the garb is minimalist.  The range of degree of attire varies from a g-string to a Burka. Nakedness is culturally defined, not biologically defined.  In colonial America is was shameful, like nudity, for a woman to wear a dress with a sleeve that showed bare wrist.  It was thought to be as immoral as nudity.  That is absurd.

14.  There are tens of millions of people in America who live below the poverty line.  Yet Wall Street and its related economic banking engines act in a world that has no relation to producing goods and services.  The mortgage banks create financial instruments to sell which make them tons of money without producing anything that benefits society.  It's a giant ponzi scheme.  That is absurd.

15. We are one of the richest nations in human history, and one of richest on earth today.  Our Constitution, in its preamble, says we are to "promote the general welfare".  The system does not do that.  It promotes the welfare of those at the top of the economic pyramid, in the hope some of it will trickle down to the masses. Then, when it doesn't trickle down, those at the top blame those left out, telling them it is their own fault.  That is absurd.

16.  We live in the belief, politically, in the idea of one person, one vote; an everybody who is eligible to vote gets to vote.  In 1919 women got the right to vote; minority people already had it, but not much before the women got it. Those in power say they believe in equality, but they gerrymander the voting districts, and suppress minorities from voting.  That is absurd.

17.  We have been fighting a 'war on drugs' for decades, even thinking of building a wall around our borders to keep them out.  We do this in the belief that if we curtail the supply of drugs the desire for them will go away.  That is not reasonable. To get rid of drug use we need to get rid of the demand for it; then the supply will dry up.  We go at it backwards, which is absurd.

18.  We are in the midst of an epidemic of suicide. It is the second highest cause of death for young people.  It is a leading cause of death for veterans.  This is a national health crisis. We say we are the land of the free, yet, by law, nobody is free to take his or her own life, whether in abject despair or great pain and suffering.  That is absurd.

19.  We teach our children that certain words are "dirty" words; they must be avoided or used judiciously.  Those words are called obscene, which has a moral overtone to it. Most of the words on the 'obscene' list are words that have to do with sex and/or bodily functions of elimination.  Both sex and bodily functions are biology, not morality.  When a person utters one or more of them there is no dirt in the word itself.  The dirt is solely in the mind of the listener, projected onto the word. Biology has no morals attached to it.  It just is. To think otherwise is absurd.

20.  Religion gets a pass.  Someone may say something or do something that should be seen as indicative of a lack of mental health.  But when the person says or does it, and is questioned about it, and they respond, "Well, it's my religious belief".  Then the majority of people will excuse the idea or the action, just because it's stems from religion, no matter how crazy it is.  That is absurd.

21.  Many people suffer from mental illness, and for some it is debilitating.  It  may be temporary or long lasting, but for some reason it gets separated from physical illness. It gets blamed, more often than not, on the person with the illness, when it could be genetic, or due to physical or emotional abuse, or trauma from war, or whatever. To blame the person who has  polio for his or her disease would be thought to be absurd.  To blame the victim for mental illness, for having it or causing it, makes no sense and does not help.  It is absurd.

22. It is common in sexist cultures (and which one isn't?) to blame the person who got raped.  It's their own fault; they asked for it; they provoked it. The rapist is not given the blame.  That is absurd.

23. Most people will say that they love animals; they may even have a few in the household.   They are, most of them, domesticated mammals that we care for at great expense and give lots of time and energy. Then we play god and make decisions about which we will eat and not eat.  Some we will, some we won't.  If you love animals, truly love them, you do not then pick a few to kill and eat-unless it's a matter of survival.  We call killing love, and that is absurd.

24.  We live in an intermeshing web ecologically.  Every species is a vital part of the ecosystem, until, due to natural selection it isn't.  We are, however, making thousands of species go extinct, due to human selection, not natural selection. This will eventually wipe out the eco-balance.  We are creating our own demise.  To do that is absurd.

25.  Education open the mind; religion closes it.  The current movement to put Bible instruction into the public schools, and to put the slogan "In God We Trust" on the schoolroom walls is a contradiction in terms, and then call it education, is absurd.

26.  Propaganda is always false; news is always fact based, otherwise it is just propaganda, not news.  To call that which is news "fake news" and that which is propaganda news flies in the face of reality.  It is absurd.

27.  Puritanism is deep in our psyches from our colonial past.  Gambling was, and for many still is, a sin.  Yet these same religionists gamble their whole lives, betting on there being an afterlife in a heaven.  This is absurd.

28.  The Bible says we should all be like God; it then tells stories of lots of mass murder.  This is absurd.

If by absurd we mean that it flies in the face of reason, it is not rational, it cannot pass the test of common sense, then we live in an absurd world.  It is getting harder and harder to maintain ones hold on reality in the face of so much absurdity, when it doesn't have to be this way. Or does it?

Lee Simon, Round Hill Farm, Virginia

* * *

* * *


From somewhere on that flexible edge between sleeping and waking and peeing every hour after eleven PM, I wrestled with the problem of how to write this essay by describing and reaching its intended audience without coming across as overdramatic. I am dead, so to speak, serious here. This is my intent. I hope the plain language goes down on the page smoother than this paragraph, which seems like something I could work at for hours. It might birth a comma, which, like Flaubert, I might replace before calling it finished.

I'll try my best to express this simply. If I find at the hospital Thursday that the medical folks will be shortly doing some awful surgery on my brain -- the kind you may not survive -- I will continue to describe as best I can given the smorgasbord of painkillers that will doubtless be administered. I'll do my best to express what it's like inside. Even if it's only a single sentence. Or maybe just a word.

Whatever comes out of this, it will be my view of how whatever they did has felt. It will be intended to sound optimistic if there's room for that. It will honor the Great Spirit as it shines in all of it. An example. Modest. And it will come wrapped in love. I promise. Eh?

(Bruce Brady)

* * *


  1. Harvey Reading March 14, 2019

    So, it looks like a bunch of dull-witted, greedy yuppies and nouveau riche got caught cheating in order to get their low-grade kids into college. Whadda shock. Where’s the story on the truly wealthy, the real ruling class, and their kids? You surely don’t believe that dolts like Pappy, along with W and his siblings, got into top colleges on their own do you? Or the Kennedys? Or the Rockefellers? Their kids are guaranteed admission to elite institutions as a birthright. But, of course, the media is not gonna touch them, since their kind own the corporate media, and the elite colleges, along with the judicial system, and everything else, stock, and barrel.

  2. Harvey Reading March 14, 2019


    You looked around lately? Your accounting is pathetic, too. Colleges were talking about climate change in the early 70s.

  3. Harvey Reading March 14, 2019

    Thanks, Bruce Patterson and Lee Simon.

    The guillotine cartoon was great, too, and spot-on.

  4. james marmon March 14, 2019

    “…there is confusion resulting from the practice of the Warmists to always use the phrase “climate change” and almost never use the more exact term of their true position, “manmade climate change”.

    When Warmists want to discredit the skeptical position, they accuse skeptics of denying “climate change”. Which no thinking person does. The climate always is in the process of changing. Even the village idiot would not attempt to deny it.”

    • Harvey Reading March 14, 2019

      Whom are you quoting, James?

      Sounds like the “confusion” as you put it is on the part of your fellow magaists, though it very closely parallels the nonsensical assertions of the right in general: it’s the “when ya caint beat ’em with facts, then dream up some other objection” game the way I see it.

      By the way, have you started reading Richard Powers’s The Overstory yet?

  5. Eric Sunswheat March 14, 2019

    Mar 13, 2019 6:22 pm ET
    In fact, drug companies have around 1,000 inactive ingredients to choose from when manufacturing pills, the researchers found. Of these ingredients, 38 of them, such as peanut oil, lactose and some dyes, are known allergens. But though most inactive ingredients are usually tested to see if they’re toxic — and though they’re found to not have a major effect on most of the population — these toxicology tests may miss certain small side effects in some people, according to the report.

    The study found that 93 percent of pills contain at least one of the 38 allergens and that almost all of them contain substances that could be problematic for people with certain food intolerances, such as gluten or sugar.

    As such, “for the vast majority of patients with [a] food allergy, there is no reason for them to avoid medications with [inactive ingredients] derived from the foods to which they are allergic,” Kelso said.

    He did note, however, one inactive ingredient in that may cause problems for people with allergies: gelatin. That’s because some medications and vaccines are either administered intravenously or injected can contain larger amounts of gelatin, and can trigger allergy reactions. Therefore, these drugs should be avoided for people with gelatin allergies, but Kelso added that “even most of these patients tolerate [taking] gelatin in capsule form.”

  6. Harvey Reading March 14, 2019

    There’s a great article on militia types showing up in border towns in a publication called High Country News (HCN). Its title is “Militias, MAGA activists and one border town’s complicated resistance”. The HCN web site is The publication requires a subscription, but as I recall, they allow a certain number of free views of articles. My apologies if my recollection is incorrect. I’m a subscriber, so don’t really know the ins and outs of free viewing. Of course, you COULD subscribe.

    • Bruce McEwen March 14, 2019

      Be a good fellow, Harvey, and explain again, for those of us who are slow learners, how you get italics and other basic stylistic effects in your comments, if you please.

      • Harvey Reading March 14, 2019

        Ok (and thanks to Mike K. for telling me).

        For italics: left bracket (open triangle with point to the left, near bottom right of my keyboard) , then i, then right bracket, then type the text to be italicized, then another left bracket, then /i, followed by another right bracket.

        For bold it’s the same except using b and /b for beginning and ending commands. I think there are several commands for different type modifications, but these two are the only ones I used. Maybe u would give underlined text ????

        • George Hollister March 14, 2019

          I always told my kids, there is something that can be learned from anyone. Harv, thanks.

  7. Craig Stehr March 14, 2019

    This is a somewhat different message from me. I am in the midst of a life transition, going toward a more fully spiritual life. Am still in Washington, D.C. and plan to speak with vocational directors. There is a possibility that I will return to California, and I have been offered a guest stay in Redwood Valley if needed. Frankly, I am asking others to pray for me. Thank you very much. Craig Louis Stehr (Email:

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