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by AVA News Service, July 28, 2011
Dear brothers and sisters,
Please, for just a moment, pretend you have not been brainwashed by Barack Obama, or by folks like Timothy Geithner and Nancy Pelosi and all their enthusiastic mass media admirers. (And those few Republicans on the north coast, pretend for a moment you have not been brainwashed by the supposedly great Ronald Reagan and all of the Republican establishment through Bush I and Bush II down to Mitt Romney.)
National debt was invented by Britain to win what was considered a life and death struggle with Napolean's France and when peace was restored it was quickly paid off. Most of our 13 states got into debt during our revolution and the new federal government in 1789 assumed their debts and paid them. Rather than get into debt, Lincoln financed the Civil War by debasing the currency (though not nearly as badly as the Confederacy did).
The United States created a great World War II debt, but it was not a foreign debt. It was a debt to our own patriotic citizens who had bought war bonds and it was paid off in the 1950s.
The first big international war debt was owed to the United States by Britain and France from World War I and was never paid back. In World War II we simply gave aid to our allies under the mistitled, “lend-lease.”
Lyndon Johnson paid for the Vietnam War by debasing the currency — the full effect of which, 10 years later, and was blamed on Jimmy Carter, having been aggravated by the leap in world oil prices.
The supposedly great Ronald Reagan came up with the idea to treat the Cold War like World War II, but to also fight recession by cutting taxes and avoid inflation by borrowing vast amounts of money from our allies in Europe, Japan, and Saudi Arabia, the way Britain and France borrowed from the United States in World War I.
Our allies had so much money because the US was paying most of the cost of defense.
The Cold War, of course, ended. Reagan did not “win” it. Communism fell from within as Truman's adviser, George Kennan, had predicted in 1947. But we went on running high deficits and borrowing money until Bill Clinton finally balanced the budget for the first time since the 1950s. He had no time to reduce the giant Reagan debt before Bush II came in and doubled it, treating the “war on terror” like a world war and cutting taxes as Reagan did.
Then Obama tripled it, supposedly to save us from the end of the world as we know it.
Use your brains people! You can't solve a debt problem by borrowing more money! Most bizarrely, we now borrow the most from China, by no stretch of the imagination an ally, though they sell us running shoes.
Saying people who don't want to raise the debt ceiling are “irresponsible” and might cause terrible suffering, is like saying it would be “irresponsible” to take away dear old mom's heroin because she'd feel terrible kicking the habit and withdrawal would be cruel.
Our criminal leaders have totally screwed us all, and we or our children will suffer. But the more money we continue to borrow the worse will be the crash.
Unlike people who can lose all their property and become homeless beggars or businesses which shut down and cease to exist, governments always have a special wildcard hidden up their sleeves: they can legally print money. So whenever that day comes when they can't borrow anymore, they'll simply create billions of dollars as if by magic. This deliberately produces the sort of inflation that Germany's government resorted to in the early 1920s and Brazil's in the 1980s. Debts can be paid in dollars now worth pennies and any savings anyone has (except for gold) will be destroyed. I got these “crazy ideas” at Cornell from a man who studied under Friedman and Hayak, both of whom later got Nobel prizes for economics (which actually means something, unlike Obama's “peace prize,” which is given out in a different country).
Dear old Dr. Layton was actually a closet pot smoker — but he taught this reformed socialist about economic conservatism which he preferred to call “economic reality.”
Why do all you freethinkers who see through Obama's rhetoric defending his imperialist wars wonder why he opposes pot, even for sick people, not seeing that a huge growing 30-year foreign debt is a huge crime and that behind all the soothing rhetoric Obama is Reagan?
Michael Bear Carson
Mule Creek State Prison, Ione, California
PS. Obama's “taxes on the rich,” the usual Democratic slogan, will not save us any more than Republicans could by “ending Obamacare.” Only a big middle-class tax increase and cutting “entitlements” to our old people and totally getting out of all wars would begin to rescue this country. But no politician will tell the truth so we'll probably in the end get a military dictator.
Your cover article “What Is Mendocino County's Energy Plan?” was excellent. It clearly showed how PG&E and other giant corporations dominate state politics thru campaign contributions, lobbying, controlling regulatory bodies, and social connections. Its author, Darwin Bond-Graham, writes clearly and succinctly, and has a strong grasp on how Big Money controls politics. For example, he wrote, “PG&E is a well-oiled influenced machine, duly swaying California's entire political system. Practically every legislator gets some PG&E gravy… PG&E wouldn't cut campaign checks unless they know they were buying insurance, understanding and connections.”
I hope we get to read more of his writing and learn even more about how real power politics works in our so-called democracy, how it impacts us here in Mendocino County, and what folks are doing to reclaim local citizens' control over the forces shaping our lives.
STARING AT THE DEBT CEILING
As this debt ceiling standoff in Washington drags on day after day, it makes me want to tear my hair out, the way that the media permit Republicans to trot out the same discredited lies, ad nauseam, without ever challenging their assertions; that cutting taxes for the super rich and corporations will actually bring in more tax money, that it will also cause those elites and corporations to build more plants and hire more people, and that the very rich are, by definition, job creators.
The fact is that each of these talking points is not based on any observable evidence, but is instead an article of faith among many of those on the right; these things must be true, because an absolute certainty that they are is fundamental to the Republican right's belief system.
For those of us who prefer to base our beliefs on observable evidence, on the other hand, the fact that historically, every time taxes have been cut for the super rich and corporations, there is an immediate decline in tax receipts, that when capital gains taxes are cut, CEOs and large investors tend to take money out of companies, putting it in the bank or the stock market, often fueling investment bubbles, rather than hiring more workers (especially if there is not a demand for the goods being produced). Also, that the very rich are NOT the job creators, by and large; most new jobs are started by small businesses, and by CEOs who are nowhere near the quarter million-dollar/year threshold at which the administration would like to slightly raise taxes.
I don't get how the Republicans feel that they can make demands over their threat to not raise the debt ceiling; they have almost all signed on to the wacky Paul Ryan plan which calls for trillion dollar yearly deficits for a decade or more, and yet they're going to dig in their heels and not do this routine debt ceiling adjustment?! It is exactly like someone sitting at a bar guzzling beer, while at the same time decrying the evils of alcohol and swearing to never touch another drop. How did they get away with it!? Will no one in the media point out the complete absurdity of their position, which threatens the single most valuable asset our country possesses; “the full faith, credit and taxing authority of the United States government”? Once that is shot, it is a grim Third World Banana Republic future we and our children have to look forward to.
A PENDING REBELLION?
There is so much unrest in the world these days that it’s easy to find ourselves smugly feeling superior, more evolved, and even angry that things have come to this. We’re angry because these are not our battles. Yet we, claiming to be a more civilized people, keep getting involved, sending aid, losing lives, and wondering how those people ever let this happen to them in the first place.
It‘s apparent that the unrest has been brewing for a long time and just about everywhere on Earth at the same time. The pot is boiling over in one country after another; people who have had enough of dictatorship are demanding freedom from it. It’s messy, but it works. In every case though, they have a long way to go.
This unrest is nowhere more alive than in our own country. Here we are not gathering at the town square and throwing things at each other. We’re not taking up arms and pointing guns at the enemy. We’re not surrounding the White House; not yet anyway. But we are joining forces to expose the culprit and stop the nonsense before it’s too late.
Most people are not even aware of who the culprit is. Our unrest takes many forms: politics, medical bills, unemployment, Afghanistan, gasoline prices, education, etc. ad infinitum. But at the bottom of it all is the horrifying fact that big corporations now control every aspect of our lives.
We are in a dictatorship like none other. Even the remarkable man who won our presidency is trying to do his job with one hand tied behind his back. His every move is blocked by an arm of the corporate control of Washington DC.
What are the chances of our being able to overthrow this dictator? Well, they’re darned good. They’re good because there are so many of us (at least 85% of all Americans are against corporate control.) And our chances are good because we’re Americans.
Americans don’t surrender without taking a stand against the oppressor. An organization calling itself Move to Amend is growing like a wildfire. The hidden enemy has been gaining power since 1819, and now the people are losing ground all too fast. Corporations have the best lawyer money can buy, the Supreme Court of the United States.
Our power is in our numbers. We have them outnumbered almost nine to one. We can’t lose.
Details and a proposed Amendment to the Constitution can be found at. www.movetoamend.org . Sign the petition. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two North Coast citizens’ groups filed legal actions in Marin County Superior Court today seeking to set aside the North Coast Rail Authority’s (NCRA’s) recent environmental impact report (EIR) for its failure to address the impacts of rebuilding and operating the rail line from Arcata to Lombard.
The public was locked out of decision making for a project that impacts neighborhoods and health, our water and the environment. The Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) lawsuit says the NCRA hasn’t even tried to address existing toxic hotspots or to keep toxins out of watercourses when the railroad resumes operations. The law requires that we be fully informed, that hazards be identified and safer options devised. That’s what we’re asking for.
“We are gravely concerned the NCRA, a public agency, and the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company (NWP Co.), the private company that has leased the entire railroad for the next century, are doing their best to avoid real environmental review of the gravel train they want the public to pay for,” said Scott Greacen, North Coast Director of Friends of the Eel River.
Though the agency and the company now deny it in their EIR, Friends of the Eel River say the facts show they still plan to rebuild the railroad through the Eel River Canyon and dig an open pit mine on the banks of the Wild and Scenic Eel River. “They are seeking desperately to avoid giving the public a hard look at the impacts of not just rebuilding a railroad through some of the most unstable ground on the continent, but of building a gravel train to make Island Mountain and Humboldt County the gravel suppliers to the West Coast,” Greacen said.
After three state agencies sued the rail agency over cleanup of the entire line, the NCRA signed a Consent Decree in 1999 promising to take specific measures to protect water quality and clean up toxic spill areas. More than a decade later, the NCRA has yet to fulfill those promises.
Compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is a condition of the NCRA’s funding from the California Transportation Commission. When the City of Novato challenged the NCRA’s failure in an earlier instance to look at the whole railroad as a single project, the NCRA asserted it need not comply with California environmental law at all. The judge disagreed, and the lawsuit was later settled with another consent decree.
Under a lease agreement that was negotiated in secret and kept from public view, and which one member of the NCRA Board of Directors has criticized as “unfair” and “one-sided,” the NWP Co. has options to assume effective control of the entire rail line from Humboldt Bay to Lombard for up to 99 years. The public has promised, through the NCRA, to raise money to pay to rebuild and repair the line. The company would make lease payments to the agency if and when it made five million dollars a year in net profits.
The proposed Island Mountain mine, located in an extremely remote corner of Trinity County, would be a 350 acre open pit mine immediately adjacent to the Wild and Scenic Eel River. The Island Mountain mine was the centerpiece of the business plan presented by the NWP Co. when it was awarded the operator lease by the NCRA, as well as in seeking state funding through the California Transportation Commission. Island Mountain contains a large volume of very hard construction-grade rock.
The history of the rail line, the most credible assessments of its economic viability, and the NCRA and NWP’s own actions and statements all show that the small section of line that the railroad is now re-opening cannot hope to run at a profit. All evidence suggests that the railroad intends to reopen the northern parts of the rail line as soon as funding can be found and will continue to make every effort to avoid environmental review.
Coho salmon, chinook salmon, and steelhead trout are listed under the Endangered Species Act in both the Russian and Eel Rivers. Salmonids in the Russian River are critically endangered. In the Eel, signs of natural recovery in the river and its fisheries could be completely overwhelmed by unsustainable railroad reconstruction.
(Visit Friends of the Eel River website to view Petition for Writ of Mandate.)
Patty Clary, Executive Director
Californians for Alternatives to Toxics
UP TO US
Floods, drought, natural fires, hurricanes, violent storms, massive species extinction, infrastructure collapse, terrorist attacks, food riots, starvation, economic disaster, peak oil, climate change, water shortages, food shortages, soil depletion, wars, rumors of wars, entitlement slashing, and political ineptitude seem now to be reaching critical mass. Will technology save us? How about ideology? Don't want to think about it?
Here on Mendo Island, it's much easier to just go to the beach, or drift off in a purple haze of giggly weed. Surely someone is going to figure all this out and save us. Someone? Anyone? Where are you?
Nope, up to us… Up to you… And up to our local neighbors. We will get through this with local mutual aid or we will not get through this at all.
The world economy and corrupt politicos are bringing us down. Local economies and community-level solutions can bring us forward to a simpler, saner, sustainable living.
Here are some ideas and inspiration to google: "shareable", "resilience circles" and "transition towns.”
ANOTHER GREAT TRAIN RIDE
The Piver Skunk Train Gang, on behalf of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, would like to thank the Navarro, Breggo and Greenwood Wineries for their kind donations. We would also like to thank the Anderson Valley Advertiser for their free advertisement. We raised over $35,000.
Vern & Betty Piver, and Crew
POINT ARENA AT THE CROSSROADS
Point Arena is at a crossroads; do we recall the City Council or not? What the re-callers have told you to get your signature on the recall petitions are lies. It appears one of the main issues is the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP). They allege the Council is going to raise sewer rates. However, the Council cannot raise your rates without a majority vote from ratepayers. Three separate engineering studies indicate the plant needs upgrades. The controversial, current study was started with the previous Council, and the current Council is carrying on the work.
Two of the recall proponents have been former Council members who had the worst attendance record at Council meetings, accounting for 90% of the unexcused absences in recent history.
Candidate Burkey said at the last Design Review Board meeting, “We should not enforce the Muni Code because it would be unpopular.” Candidate Cross said at a recent Council meeting, “we don’t need the USDA loan/grant because the money for the sludge removal/spray fields is in the WWTP budget.” In fact, for the last ten years the WWTP actuals have been negative. Candidate Sanders, who has never attended a Council meeting, has been heard to say the only reason he is running for Council is: “to get rid of Lauren”! (Sinnott)
The only valid complaint from the recallers was the email Brown Act Violation, committed by recall Candidate Reihl, who forwarded the email to the local Independent Coast Observer.
The recall movement is about No Growth, No Economy, and No Change!
Some of the accomplishments of the current Council include: Improvements to Scott Place, Mill Street, Fisherman’s Park, and City Hall. We have purchased land at the Arena Cove, and secured a “Safe Routes to School” grant. We are also in the process of closing down the Sea Shell Inn.
I’m encouraging you to stick with the Council you’ve got. We have been working to level the playing field so all constituents are treated equally and fairly. We’ve made great strides toward an open and transparent government, cleaning up the recordkeeping and making City Hall more accessible.
Vote NO on the recall and keep the hard working, forward thinking, progressive Council.
Remember this; the Council did not make the rules you have charged us with enforcing. If we are not going to enforce them then we might as well go back to the old days and strap on a six-shooter and settle our disputes in the street.
Your Humble Servant,
Joseph Riboli, Point Arena City Council
RIVER RIGHTS & WRONGS
Probably Gerald Johns and I have more in common than disagreements. But it is obvious that we don’t see eye to eye on the public’s right to recreation on the Navarro River. I maintain that the Navarro River qualifies as navigable under current State guidelines and is therefore reserved by the State for public recreation. Gerald sees otherwise.
But one thing we do agree on is the obnoxiousness of certain segments of the general public who have no consciousness about trashing. This past Sunday morning as I scurried through the woods to my favorite swimming hole I noticed from a bluff some garbage strewn across the gravel beach on the Van Zandt’s property. It has been my policy for the past 30 years that I have been visiting the river to always retrieve any trash I come across. So I detoured back and around to access that beach. Besides several beer cans, an empty Jack Daniels bottle, a soda bottle and cup, I also found an unused plastic diaper, an arm and some stuffing from a burnt doll and in the river itself a shoe and a driver’s license issued to one Dustin Lee Clower of Carmichael. I giggled a little to myself thinking how painful it must have been for the 240-pound 21-year old Clower to walk partially unshod back up the river to wherever he came from. Maybe the shiatsu treatment from the rocks perked up at least one side of his brain.
I will make the trash and the license available to Gerald if he wants them, but otherwise I am inclined to mail it back to the guy with a stern letter of advice on how to treat our Mother Earth. After all he’s just a kid and obviously can use some guidance.
Greetings to you all,
I hope when you receive this letter you and your loved ones are doing well and are in good hands. I request you put my ad in your newspaper. My name is Fidel. I've been incarcerated since July, 2002. I'm 5-11, 223 pounds, brown eyes, black hair, stocky build and my birthday is December 8, 1979. I was born and raised in Compton, Los Angeles area. I'm looking for a female companion. I'm very fond of big/full-figured women. I'm not looking for donations nor do I enjoy wasting anybody's time. I enjoy drawing, exercising, reading and writing. I will respond all who write to me. I'm a teddy bear who enjoys laughter and joking around. I'm Filipino/Indian, Apache, Arizona, White Mountain. I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.
Fidel Bueno #T8672
3C-Gym 32L, PO Box 3471, Corcoran CA 93212
My friend Bob Dickinson, Paso Robles, paid for another year for my subscription. I want to thank him through the AVA for doing this for my birthday. We both love the paper and look forward to the great reads each week. I also want to thank you and all your contributors. Keep up the good work.
Missing the AVA. As my days slowly pass, my memories reflect. I think often of the AVA and the articles that have captivated me over the years. For example, the piece on Spy Rock Mountain. I close my eyes and I can almost see the snowy road trip to Laytonville for a chainsaw. The sweat to stay warm. The overall trek from the city to a new life on the mountain. I think also of the letters to the editor and the liberal view of the AVA to just print what is real and what comes from your fans, which I most assuredly am.
Although I myself have not lived in the Valley, it is a big part of my past. My father grew up under the care of the Nash family. Eleanor and Wilbur Nash raised him like their own. His named was Gene Anderson, Geno to his friends. I wrote a letter to the editor in the past hoping to establish contact with that family because my father passed when I was 12 and I lost contact with the ranch. My mother passed last month. She also was from the Valley, born in Boonville to Joann McKinley. My mother, Nikki McKinley, later Nicki Anderson, passed from cancer last month. So my ties to the Valley and Mendocino County are strong. I miss the news, the local chat, the arrest log and the jokes. I have not seen an AVA in over a year. I have no means pay for a subscription for myself. I ask that maybe if someone out there could bless me with even just a copy. I pray for you all. God bless America. God bless Anderson Valley. God bless you.
C.R. Anderson, G-53242 C-Gym 110-L
Kern Valley State Prison
Box 5103. Delano, CA 93216
STOP SMARTMETERS RALLY
Albion Community Awarenss Network Calls For Rally To Stop Smart Meters In Mendoino County. Rally at PG&E Fort Bragg Office, Main St. & Laurel St., noon, Friday July 29.
PG&E is installing “Smart” Meters in our County in defiance of our County law forbidding all Smart Meter equipment within our borders. We will demonstrate to express our concerns regarding the health, safety, and privacy issues with the meters and make known our objections to PG&E’s disregard for our local laws.
The Albion Community Awareness Network
Chris Skyhawk, 707-937-4295, email@example.com
Wow! What am amazing weekend we had at the Not-So-Simple Living Fair. This event has all of the ingredients to make up a completely fantastic experience for everyone, including the organizers. It would not be possible without the great energy that comes together to make it happen. There are so many people to thank for helping to pull this event together that it would be crazy to think that we could list them all.
But we are going to try anyway!
Thank you first and foremost to all of the presenters. Everyone volunteered their time and energy to present at this event. It is no small offering, their knowledge and experience is years in the making and they very generously share it so all can benefit.
Thanks also to Lori Lee for building us a beautiful website — she wasn't even able to come enjoy the event this year, unbelievably generous!
And many thanks to all the volunteers who stepped up with their support and energy in all facets to make this year's event seem very well put together — Via Keller, Catherine Keegan, Melissa Meader, Julie Liebenbaum, Barbara Goodell, Dennis Hudson, Dave Martin, Mike Crutcher, Roy Laird, Cindy Wilder, Stevie D., Lynda McClure, Jenny Burnstad, Kate & George Castagnola, Vicki Moss, Deleh Pasewalk, Lulu McClellan, Nikola, Tamara Wilder and Steven Edholm, Kevin, Charlie & Jade Paget-Seekins, Bill Sterling & Yvonne Rand, Polly and Rita Bates, Doug Mosel, Tom Brewer, Matt, Robbie and John for the outstanding BBQ, Peter Fields, Lady Rainbow, Ludwig Irrigation & Landscape, Bill Seekins, Alexis Moyer, Kira Brennan, Anne Siri and Michael Holmberg, Sarah Bennet-Cahn, Angela Dewitt, Bev & Doug Elliot, and many more who we may have neglected to name who willingly gave of their time and energy. One of the most beautiful things about this event is the amount of community support that comes in to pull it off. Thank you to everyone who helped make it such a beautiful and memorable weekend!
The Not-So-Simple Living Fair Organizing Team:
Captain Rainbow, Sophia Bates, Diane Paget,
Brent Levin and Linda MacElwee
WE WILL NOT STOOP
Dear Turkey Vulture,
Sorry to hear about your friend Steve Sparks and his displacement from the Sheep Dog Presentation. Personally I think Steve having sheep out of control last year was one of the high points of the fair, not only for humor, but a demonstration that it is Not So Simple to control sheep in the field, nor humans at a big fair for that matter.
But your friend Steve has accurately identified the perpetrators of this travesty, the Not So Simple Living Fair committee. In the great flux of organizing we did not decide to deny Steve but give the nod to Ellen Shilling partially because she was offering special sheep dog training classes after the fair. Although she is from out of town, she also had amazing insight into the mind of a human, dog, and sheep. I think Steve would have really appreciated the presentation.
As for Steve’s petition for a whole committee ass kissing, we will not stoop to such a lowly task, and, in his case, as I am sure you have observed Turkey Vulture, it would be such a capacious, even though magnanimous, job. Asses notwithstanding, we plead to Steve Sparks, Valley Ombudsman extraordinaire, for his forgiveness and support for the next fair.
Rob ‘Google’ Goodell
for the We Will Not Stoop Sub Committee,