Off The Record

by AVA News Service, October 12, 2011

CORRECTION: ETHAN CHENEY was with Jere Melo the day Melo was shot and killed by Aaron Bassler, not Ted Balassi.

RICHARD KRUSE is the Albion man arrested months ago for child molestations Kruse allegedly conducted under the auspices of the water ski club he founded for little girls only. Kruse has been offered a sweetheart plea deal that would get him time served, probation, and a requirement that he register as a sex offender. Kruse has refused that offer and apparently will take his case to a jury with Linda Thompson, Public Defender, presenting it, which undoubtedly means he will soon be wishing he'd agreed to the DA's most generous offer of time served, probation and permanent perv registration. Kruse insists he is innocent of the charges.

CIRCUSES WITHOUT THE BREAD. The Blue Angels were roaring overhead tuning up for the weekend's big Fleet Week air show as I arrived early Thursday afternoon at Occupy Wall Street, San Francisco branch. There were about a hundred people in front of the Federal Reserve's edifice at 101 Market, roughly a third of them the usual collection of outpatients and apolitical retro-hippies you find at any Frisco public event. (On Saturday, a naked guy and a Rasta Man bellowing "One Love!" were prominent.) In the great demos of yesteryear the media would have seized upon the most bizarre visuals to discredit the whole, but this time the media, at least in the Bay Area, have been sympathetic, probably because the truth of the We Are The 99% message is inescapably true. The night before Thursday's demo the SFPD had swooped down on the budding Occupy Wall Street encampment to confiscate tents and sleeping bags. SF simply won't allow a permanent camp of dissidents at the foot of Market Street. It would take thousands of people to bring that off, and it could happen yet. Exhibitionists aside, serious people predominated at both Thursday's and Saturday's events. Even more encouraging was the thumbs-up honking responses of passing work trucks and Muni buses. The proletariat is all the way on board for this thing, as are a majority of Americans. Maybe not 99 percent but I'd say 65 percent get the full picture. Will we act? The rub will be converting the proliferating Occupy Wall Street demonstrations to a real occupation of public buildings until we get the money back in the form of a new New Deal which, at a minimum, means guarantees of affordable housing, a federal jobs program, single payer health insurance, free education through college, a shutdown of overseas adventures — in other words, the Norwegian Plan. The only bring down for me at the Occupy Wall Street San Francisco was the domination of Thursday's main discussion group by twinklers, a practice I thought had been entombed somewhere deep on Albion Ridge along with The Last Hippie. Twinkling, if you've forgotten or never knew, is the silent wriggling of fingers to show approval for the statements of the speaker rather than the allegedly brutishly violent verbal cheer. A small band of twinklers not only possessed Thursday's bullhorn, they were chanting back at the rest of us Roberts Rules of Order-like distinctions of their endless resolutions. I felt like I was suffocating as did, it seems, most of the rest of the crowd who remained mostly out of earshot. The twinklers weren't the only cult present. Ron Paul's gang were well represented with their signs: "Universal consciousness is the red pill." Whatever that means, and you're supposed to ask. Which I refused to do, but a red pill guy told me the Paul people wanted a return to the gold standard, a desire only a person with no knowledge of the misery ordinary people suffered under the gold standard of the 19th century could aspire to. But around the perimeter of the demo there were a lot of people who really want to go after the 1%, and just as many affecting placards, including: "My mom has lupus. Why can't she have an American dream?" And a cleancut young man holding this message: "Ask me how my family lost everything." The giant of American disaffection is not only awake, it has a clear understanding of what has happened to US. Maybe this time we can take it right over the top.

WHILE WE LINGER at Baghdad by the Bay, and all I have to say on the next two subjects has been said a million times before, but I really, really wish The City would not give over Golden Gate Park to these mass mob music events. With the layoffs of about a quarter of their gardening staff, and the Park already besieged by the Aaarghs, thousands of people descending on the Park's struggling vegetation for a weekend of tunes is just too much. Golden Gate Park is slowly being strangled to death. Beef number two: Professional dog walkers. There are too many of them concentrated from dawn to dusk in the southwest corner of the Presidio, endless packs of apartmentalized pets who often descend into snarling, biting piles of flying fur. San Francisco doesn't enforce leash laws so you get the professional dog walkers, sometimes as many as ten of them at a time each with upwards of ten dogs, allowing the untethered beasts to fan out over whole acres, fighting and menacing passersby. How about a law that says if you don't have time to walk your own dog you can't have a dog in the city? Don't get me started on tour buses. Way too many of them.

E. J. DIONNE JR. is the second worst columnist in the English language. (David Brooks is by far the worst.) Dionne asks in last week's Ukiah Daily Journal, "Can the left stage a tea party?" The left, such as it is, is not driving Occupy Wall Street. Occupy Wall Street is a spontaneous expression of the prevalent realization — among young people especially — that they, short of fundamental political change, are screwed.

AND THERE'S a big difference between the rightwing media's Tea Party creation and the uprising just beginning. The 99 percenters will show up. The Tea Party is just a bunch of nuts, windbags and natural born serfs who might rally behind a police cordon but on their own don't stray far from Fox News.

JAMES HOULE, of Redwood Valley, tells us that "Occupy Wall Street" Comes to Ukiah, Sunday October 16th.  Meet in front of the Court House at 12 noon. March to J.P.Morgan Chase and encircle the banksters.  Then back up South State to the Bank of America and onward to Wells Fargo. Bring signs, lungs, placards and heart-wrenching stories.  We will have additional signs and flyers. We have the cooperation of our local Ukiah Police Force. We will stay on the sidewalk and not block those folks headed for the ATM machines. A companion group will join in with the Pumpkin Fest crowd and parade at Alex Thomas Plaza on the previous day, Saturday the 15th.  They will award a prize for the largest locally grown pumpkin, but we plan to confront the truly GREAT PUMPKINS — the big banksters on Sunday. Information at 485-8229.

I TRY TO SPARE Cockburn and the rest of us a lot of back and forth on dead horse conspiracy subjects, but I can say on one them that as a Marine of the same vintage and qualifying marksmanship as Oswald — he was at Pendleton same time I was, and, I think, may even have been in the same ITR regiment — and having seen the charts of the distances between the Book Depository window and the fatal street below, and having read up on Oswald's imported scoped rifle, my mom could have hit Kennedy twice from that vantage point without getting out of her wheelchair, and I could have hit him at least three times. No insult intended to any of my conspiracy buds, but what strikes me about conspiracy theorizing is the seemingly dire emotional need of the theorizers to believe this stuff and their equivalently intense need to damn non-believers. Every time any of the primary stations of the conspiracists' cross are mentioned, Cockburn's opinions on the subjects are either misunderstood or deliberately ignored. Anyway, there are, after all, larger conspiracies. Real ones. The biggest one is called capitalism. It just ripped off our whole country and about half of Europe and Asia. Let's focus on that one.

A READER WONDERS, "How come you guys don't run man beaters anymore?" For more than a month now there haven't been any. I suspect that the DA got together with the cops to put an end to arrests for minor domestic incidents, most of which consisted of Mr. Wimp-Twit calling the cops on his girl friend for slapping him. The cops show up, Wimp-Twit has a barely visible red spot on his cheek but the law requires that since Wimp-Twit can show that he's been hit the cops have no choice but to arrest the girl friend. Then the DA gets the case, the girl friend is soon court ordered to attend jive-o "anger management" classes and that's the end of it, a big waste of everyone's time. Readers might be interested to know that the wife beater feature was just as popular with women as it was with men. We hope they'll resume, and maybe they will as the cold, wet weather commences.

DOUG LUMMIS WRITES: "This is to let you know that an English translation of veteran anti-nuke writer Hirose Takashi’s Japanese best seller, Fukushima Meltdown: The World’s First Earthquake-Tsunami-Nuclear Disaster is now available at Amazon Kindle Books. As you know, we are not going to learn what happened at Fukushima by reading the mainstream media, or by studying the pronouncements of the Japanese Government and TEPCO.  For people who want to know what went wrong at Fukushima, what went haywire with the media, and what is likely to happen next in earthquake-prone Japan, I think this is a must read.  If you agree, please send it along to any person or group that you think might be interested.  Thanks!"

CALIFORNIA'S FOUR US ATTORNEYS, invisible in this area for more than a decade since the glorious day they swooped down on a couple of 14-year-old hackers in Cloverdale, have now rolled out to shoot even larger stationary ducks. Announcing that they are “getting increasingly frustrated with the proliferation of dispensaries, they feel they need to take action.” US Attorney for the Northern District of California, Melinda Haag, said she had been “monitoring” Arcata’s dispensary licensing process. Ms. Haag then informed a captive press conference in Sacramento that she and her fellow California US Attorneys intended to sick federal law on landlords and others who do business with “marijuana stores" and “large” growing operations. Ms. Haag also said she had begun informing local government agencies that medical marijuana ordinances make them “complicit in drug trafficking,” adding that she is taking a “close look” at Mendocino County’s marijuana cultivation ordinance.

THE THREATENING LETTERS from Ms. Haag’s associate, US Attorney Laura Duffy in San Diego, warn, “Under United States law, a dispensary's operations involving sales and distribution of marijuana are illegal and subject to criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions. Real and personal property involved in such operations are subject to seizure by and forfeiture to the United States ... regardless of the purported purpose of the dispensary.”

ACCORDING to the Sacramento Bee, “The specter of new federal intervention against California dispensaries follows the disclosure this week that the IRS is seeking a $2.4 million tax penalty against California's largest medical marijuana provider, the Harborside Health Center in Oakland."

THE BEE also reported that “the federal actions could have significant consequences in California where medical marijuana transactions are estimated at $1.5 billion or more. The state of California receives an estimated $100 million in sales taxes on dispensaries. Several cities, including Sacramento, have sought to infuse depleted coffers by taxing medical marijuana at local dispensaries.”

THE THING IS that no one, not cops or citizens, is complaining about pot shops. There are a dozen in Mendocino County, and nobody other than the pot people even notice.

PAULA DEETER, who runs the Fort Bragg marijuana dispensary, “Herban Legend,” Mendo’s first and longest lasting marijuana dispensary, told KZYX last week that she was not planning any changes for the time being, adding that she’s been paying federal income tax all these years and she knows that the feds are aware that she’s operating a pot dispensary. "Are they going to give me my tax money back?" she asked.

WHEN PRESIDENT OBAMA first took office his newly appointed Attorney General, the now invisible Eric Holder, told states with medical marijuana laws in place that as long as someone was legal under state laws they’d be free from prosecution by the Obama Justice Department.

SO WHY this threat of a crackdown now? The key word seems to be “proliferation.” Marijuana stores are indeed sprouting like, well, weeds all over California, especially in large cities. A reader sent us a copy of a recent Sacramento News & Review, the free weekly serving the Sacramento area. About a third of its pages consist of ads for pot dispensaries, the most hilarious of which is a full-page color job featuring a babe with a stethoscope. For forty bucks she'll check you out and, on the spot, discover that you need cannabis. Forty bucks and you're out the door with a 215 card.

SOME LOCAL pot growers we know are not only not surprised, but pleased at the prospect of federal raids on pot shops because, these growers say, California's depressed marijuana prices will begin to go back up. "When it's totally illegal we make money. When it's semi-legal, and everybody and his brother is growing, we don't make money."

COSTCO is coming to Ukiah. Should be big boxed and open for business alongside 101 in about a year. Trader Joes can't be far behind as Ukiah's downtown withers and dies, the general public perplexed at the Ukiah City Council's precious refusal to consider chain food outlets west of State Street. The most precious council people of all, Ms. Landes and Ms. Rodin, say they want healthy food chains downtown.

A READER WRITES: "Today is the day Obama did it. He took out his political pistol and put a .45 caliber political hollow point through his other foot. He's already been hobbling around with that big hole in the other one, the one he put there via ten years of fighting unwinnable wars in the Middle East. I'm not here to argue the pros and cons of marijuana. I'm simply talking about what he said he would do. He said, loud and clear in public, that he would leave the MJ issue to the states to decide. As of today, it's plain to see, Obama is clearly in the hands of Big Pharma. He's just another political hack, and like all politicians, whether it's our city council or him, the prez, he doesn't listen to the people; he listens to the money. Seriously, he just lost California. This will throw it. A lot of people will vote the ‘indie’ ticket, and that will be that. I don't see how the guy can look in the mirror. Who do you think he sees if he looks hard? Dick Nixon? You know, Dick with the “secret plan” to win in Nam? Whistling past the graveyard. PS. Remember, I have no dog in this fight. ‘Never in history has there been a black market defeated from the supply side.’ — Economist R.T. Naylor”

FRIENDS of the Willits Library will hold their annual book sale on Thursday, October 13 from 6-9pm for the members of the Friends and then will open to the general public on Friday, October 14 from 10-6pm, and Saturday, October 15 from 10-4pm, and Sunday, October 16 from 10-3pm. All day Sunday the remaining books will be $3 a bag. The book sale will be held at the Willits Community Center, 111 East Commercial Street in Willits.

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