FROM SATURDAY’S SACRAMENTO BEE, by Phillip Reese and Bill Lindelof: “A Mendocino County deputy district attorney shot and wounded another man on a downtown Sacramento street following an argument early Thursday morning, according to police. Deputy District Attorney Damon Gardner and a colleague were walking near the intersection of 15th and L streets at the northeast corner of Capitol Park just after midnight when they passed two men, Sacramento police spokesman Doug Morse said. Words were exchanged, and a physical confrontation began. The fight didn’t go well for Gardner and ‘he ended up on the ground,’ said Mike Geniella, a spokesman with the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office. Gardner then allegedly pulled a gun and shot one of the men in the upper body. ‘He contends it was self-defense,’ Geniella said. The victim, whose name has not been released, was treated at a local hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening. Gardner likely did not know the man he shot, Geniella and Morse said. Neither said what started the argument between the two groups. Before the shooting, Gardner had been drinking at a bar, Geniella said. Gardner has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, Geniella said, but that may not help his case if it is determined Gardner fired after consuming alcohol. Sacramento police investigators are working with the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office to determine whether to file charges, Morse said. No arrests had been made as of Friday afternoon. Gardner is not considered a flight risk, Morse said. ‘When you have a self-defense element to an investigation, it’s important we look at it from all angles,’ Morse said. Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster placed Gardner on administrative leave pending the results of investigations into the shooting. Gardner had already been on medical leave since mid-August. The colleague (female) walking with Gardner – also a deputy district attorney for Mendocino County – is not suspected of wrongdoing, Geniella said. She was in Sacramento for a training seminar. A seven-year employee of the the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office, Gardner has no disciplinary record with the State Bar of California. He attended Sonoma State University as an undergraduate and did his graduate work at the New England School of Law in Boston, state records show. Gardner did not respond to an email seeking comment Friday afternoon.”
CASIMIR G. JANUSZ is still missing despite a large-scale police search for him in the area of family property in Hopland. On Wednesday morning, Janusz appeared at the Ukiah Valley Medical Center’s emergency room with his lifeless son. Doctors soon determined that the infant boy was dead. Janusz left the hospital and drove south to his family’s place in Hopland where his vehicle was soon found, but there was no sign of Janusz. Police said the infant presented no visible injuries. The cause of death, dependent in this case on toxicology reports, is pending.
THE WELL-KNOWN American writer, T.C. Boyle, has been spending a lot of time lately in Fort Bragg doing prep work for a novel based on the Aaron Bassler saga.
RECOMMENDED READING: “R. Crumb, The Weirdo Years,” published by Last Gasp whose proprietor, Ron Turner, has been an absolute rock over the years in publishing and defending artists who would otherwise have lived and died unknown. I still remember a visit Fred Gardner and I made to Ron Turner’s treasure trove of a warehouse at 777 Florida, San Francisco, some years ago. Shelves and shelves of great stuff including, of course, Robert Crumb’s, whose Weirdo Years Turner has just published. When’s the last time you saw cartoons — which Crumb has elevated to high art — that made you laugh out loud? This book does it front to back. And it’s especially gratifying in these chokehold politically correct times we’ve got going here in Liberty Land, the pious hand of the joyless eternally poised to, to, to…. lash out at anyone who looks like they might laugh at their catechism. It’s seldom mentioned what a wonderful writer Crumb wa with his hilarious and pitch-perfect illustrated narratives. Turner’s Last Gasp publishing house is more important than ever, especially in the pretentious Frisco context where culture tends heavily to style — no substance.
Roses are red, / Or so says the text,
Our hospital is broke, / And Winesong! is next.
By ten drunken sailors, The Foundation’s been run,
On two sets of books, / While showing us none.
With a website so scant, / You’d think them quite frugal,
But just wait until, / You find it on Google!
At NCCS, / I’m sure you’ll agree,
You’ll find one set there, / You weren’t supposed to see.
At page twenty-two, / You’re likely to cringe,
When at last you can view, / The cost of that binge.
Six hundred grand made! / The Foundation decrees,
(Less one hundred thousand, / In volunteer fees).
Of donations remaining, / In the Foundation’s till,
The petty cash spent, / Was a cool quarter mil.
The remaining two-fifty, / Was reportedly sent,
To nurses and doctors, / But is that where it went?
That’s what they said back in 2008, / Of largess paid from their trough,
Yet a hospital audit found nothing, / Except sailors sleeping it off.
The auditors did find an office, / The hospital gave to that band,
But the sailors say they pay for it, / Each year for a mere sixteen grand.
Violets are blue, / And sugar is sweet,
Now ten drunken sailors, / Are out on the street.
They’re headed your way and looking for cash, / As winos so often do,
Threatening that if you don’t pay them, / Your doctors and nurses are through.
The lesson here is shame on us all, / We’ve been so incredibly dumb!
Empty pockets is all that you get, / For taking the word of a bum.
DEAR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS,
The Board of Supervisors is meeting Tuesday, October 22nd at 10 a.m. at St. Anthony’s Hall on Lansing St. in Mendocino for a public hearing on the proposed Mendocino Town Plan re-write. A local working group local working group has submitted suggestions to the Planning Department but some of our most important recommendations are not supported. It is vitally important for all of us to speak up and speak out on these critical issues. You can be sure main street and developers will show up in force. The two most important are: 1) Restoration of the Sensitive Coastal Resource Area (SCRA) designation for the Town. The Board of Supervisors adopted this policy in 2006, but it was never implemented. If not implemented by the Board Of Supervisors proposed developments in the town cannot be appealed to the Coastal Commission. The Town of Mendocino has been designated a Special Community since the 1970′s and deserves maximum Coastal Act protections from inappropriate development. This SCRA status allows for Coastal Commission appeals protection for the Town. Without this protection, appeals of inappropriate development projects in the Town end with the Board of Supervisors. The areas immediately north and south of Mendocino have this SCRA designation as Highly Scenic Areas; Mendocino deserves no less. 2) To phase out Vacation Home Rentals (VHRs) in portions of Town which are zoned Residential. Protecting the residential character of Mendocino is vital to preserve a living, breathing Town. Phasing out Vacation Home Rentals from residential areas will serve as an incentive to the owners (who are usually absentee) to rent the houses out long-term, which will help provide vitally needed housing here in Town. WE need you to speak up and speak out about these issues to the Board of Supervisors. Attend Tuesday’s meeting if you can and make your thoughts known. But also, send your comments to: Tim Mitchell, Clerk of the Board: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask him to please distribute your comments to the individual Supervisors. Now is the time to act. Please write the Supervisors now. Do you want mendocino to be a town or a mall? And please forward this email to your friends and family who care about the Town. There are other issues involved in this re-write. Please call with any questions. 877-3551, 357.5555 cell or e-m at: email@example.com The future of the Town of Mendocino is in y(our) hands. Thank you. — Norman de Vall
SENIORS AGAINST OBAMACARE
I wanted to let you know that earlier today I received my “Obamacare enrollment packet” from the White House.
• An aspirin and a band-aid.
• An “Obama Hope & Change” bumper sticker
• A “Bush’s Fault” yard sign
• A “Blame Republicans first, then anybody and everybody else” poster
• A “Tax the Rich” banner
• An application for unemployment and a free cellphone
• An application for food stamps
• A prayer rug
• A letter assigning my debt to my grandchildren
• And lastly, a coupon for a machine that blows smoke up my ass.
Everything was “Made in China” and all directions were in Spanish.
Keep an eye out. Yours should be arriving soon.
— Randy Burke, Gualala
A READER WRITES: Hi AVA: I bought the October 16 issue after some programmers said really disparaging things about the editor on the air during the KZYX pledge drive. It was a low class move made without any context or explanation, and after reading the paper I’m even more confused, as the criticisms aired echo my own problems with their tendency toward double-speak and concealing information members should have easy access to. So I’d planned to rejoin anyway, but now think my money might be best invested elsewhere. Do you offer six-month subscription?
ED NOTE: Yes we do, my child. As for Public Radio Mendocino County, every day in every way, dumber.
MAKING AN OBJECT
look like what you see
is not as important
as making the whole square
you paint it on
feel like what you feel
about the object.
— Georgia O’Keeffe, 1928
STATEMENT OF THE DAY
Advice from An Old Farmer: Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong. Keep skunks and bankers at a distance. Life is simpler when you plow around the stump. A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor. Words that soak into your ears are whispered— not yelled. Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight. Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads. Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you. It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge. You cannot unsay a cruel word. Every path has a few puddles. When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty. The best sermons are lived, not preached. Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway. Don’t judge folks by their relatives. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. Live a good, honorable life — Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time. Don’t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none. Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance. If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’. Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got. The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’. Always drink upstream from the herd. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment. Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in. If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you. Most times, it just gets down to common sense. A ship doesn’t sail on yesterday’s wind.
TIME FOR A HOUSE CLEANING
The Democrats Can’t Defend the Country from the Retrograde GOP
by Ralph Nader
The Congress, that polls show the American people would like to replace in its entirety, has “kicked the can down the road” again, putting off the government shutdown until January 15th and another debt ceiling showdown until February 7th.
The polls also show, convincingly, that people blame the stubborn Republicans more than the Democrats for the adverse effects of the impasse on workers, public health, safety, consumer spending, recreational parks and government corporate contracts.
There is another story about how all this gridlock came to be, fronted by the question: “Why didn’t the Democrats landslide the cruelest, most ignorant, big-business-indentured Republican Party in its history during the 2010 and 2012 Congressional elections? (See “The Do Nothing Congress: A Record of Extremism and Partisanship”)
There are a number of answers to this fundamental political question. First and most obvious is that the Democrats are dialing for the same commercial campaign dollars, which beyond the baggage of quid pro quo money, detours the Party away from concentrating on their constituents’ needs, in a contrasting manner with the GOP. Democrats like Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Dem. Ohio) tell me that when the House Democrats get together in an election year, they go into the meetings talking about money and walk out talking about money, burdened with the quotas assigned by their so-called leadership.
Last year, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Dem. Calif.) was reported to have attended 400 fundraisers in DC and around the country for her campaigning Democrats. Helping Democratic candidates with fundraising is a major way she asserts her control over them. Over ninety percent of the Democrats in the House defer to her and do not press her on such matters as upping the federal minimum wage, controlling corporate crime, reducing corporate welfare giveaways, reasserting full Medicare for all, diminishing a militaristic foreign policy and other policies reputed to be favored by the Party’s Progressive Caucus, numbering 75 Representatives. Instead, the Progressive Caucus remains moribund, declining to press their policy demands on leader Pelosi, as the hardcore Tea Partiers do with their leaders.
So when election time comes around, voters do not know what the Democrats stand for other than to save Social Security and Medicare from the Republicans. Former Senator and Presidential candidate Gary Hart, now living in Denver, said last year that the local Democrats in Denver didn’t know what the national Democrats stood for.
The 2010 election was crucial for the winners in the state government races who gained the upper hand in redistricting decisions for a decade. That meant more gerrymandered one-party dominated districts. The Republicans won a majority of those gubernatorial and state legislative races and took over the U.S. House of Representatives with Speaker John Boehner (Rep. Ohio) and his curled-lip deputy, Eric Cantor (Rep. Va.).
And there is also President Obama’s political selfishness. Obama knew that he could not govern with a knee-jerk blocking Republican House of Representatives. Yet he did not provide serious campaign support and progressive policy leadership for Democratic candidates. Consequently he was overcome in 2011 by the Republican demands for sharp cuts in federal budgets serving people, while exempting corporate entitlements from similar cuts, and the spectre of government shutdowns and Republicans in Congress refusing to raise the government’s debt ceiling to pay current debts, during his first term Presidency.
So you’d think that in 2012 President Obama would run arm-in-arm with Congressional Democrats. No way. He not only signaled his “going it alone” approach by turning down a Democrat’s request for $30 million from his billion dollar campaign hoard, but he had little interest in campaigning with the local Congressional candidates as he travelled around the country. The House Democrats were dismayed, but kept quiet.
So he got the Boehner/Cantor duo for another two years after the 2012 election. That meant another shut-the-government-down don’t-lift-the-debt-ceiling imbroglio – a clash that crowded out all the necessities and the matters of justice that our government is supposed to champion. The greed and power of the Walmarts, the Exxons, the Aetnas, the Lockheed Martins and the rest of the global corporate power structure that has turned its back on taxpaying, American workers and their families remains unchecked by our government.
Fast forward to the elections of 2014. No House Democrat believed, until the recent Congressional impasse, that the Democrats would win back the House in 2014. Given that many House-passed Republican votes since 2011 sided with big business, on the wrong side of fair treatment of children, student borrowers, workers, women, consumers, small taxpayers and providing necessary public services, one would think the Democrats should win next year in a slam dunk. Not likely, unless the Republican echo chamber, with its “mad dog” extremists, hand control of the House to the Democrats.
From the Nineteen Forties to the Nineteen Nineties, the Republican Party did not behave as badly as today’s snarling version of the GOP. Yet the Democrats beat Republicans in most Congressional races. Imagine what Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson would have done with today’s crop of Republican corporatists and rabid ideologues.
Today’s Democrats with very few exceptions are dull, tired and defeatist. They regularly judge themselves by how bad the Republican Party is, instead of how affirmatively good they could be for our country and its politically alienated people. They cannot even muster themselves to battle for a higher minimum wage on behalf of 30 million American workers, just to the level of 1968, inflation adjusted, which is supported by over 70 percent of the people.
Neither Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, nor House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi are really taking this minimum wage fairness issue to the people and directly confronting the Republican Party. Yet they both profess to believe in “catching up with 1968.” They just don’t believe in themselves enough to generate the focused energy to make it happen.
(For those readers interested in letting their members of Congress have an earful, the switchboard is 202-224-3121.)
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.)
WE NEED A PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT: SOON
by Doug Dowd
This article is the tenth of a group — “modernized” — which began in the fall of last year. I do that again, with the strong hope that those who receive it will send it on to many others. It is my always stronger conviction that the world, led by the USA, is now headed for its worst ever disasters. I am not alone in believing that the USA is a major source for much of today’s angers and violence. “We the people” must take the lead in transforming the country toward peace and decency: beginning now. Time is running out.
What follows here concerns two overlapping actions we must work on now and continue:
1) Overcome the rightist movement lurching us toward a US version of fascism.
2) Organize to bring to life— at last — a truly democratic society. In the distant past we called the US “democratic” while enslaving black millions, robbing the land and lives of Indian tribes, and sweating most workers as though they too were enslaved. Subsequently a minority unionized, now and then but a substantial percentage of workers has always been and remains unorganized, overworked, underpaid, or unemployed. As we continue to rob and kill abroad, and millions of workers fight poverty at home, we also continue to see ourselves as the world’s leading democracy.
Enough of that: we must get to work now to create and maintain a substantial people’s movement and take the US toward becoming a genuine democracy.
That can be done only if millions of us make political actions part of our existence. A good example of what we must do now may be found in what we did in the 1960s, when the antiwar movement was created to stop our war in Vietnam. The movement was created at a meeting of 18 representatives of political organizations of both the left and the middle. In our strong years we had more than 200 participating organizations (unions, health care and women’s organizations, peace and religious groups, etc.) The movement dwindled away as the 1970s took hold, but in its strong years our participating organizations also had us creating and working with many “non-war” social actions, with hundreds of thousands participating.
Today many more must organize for decency and wellbeing and never quit. We may or may not win, but surely it’s better to lose while fighting, than while kneeling.
Today’s social crimes and those on their way are more vital and more complex than those of the 1960s. We still must work against US militarism, but there are many other vital matters to be dealt with; to be ended or to be strengthened. Near the top is that we replace today’s heavily corrupted Congress with one that represents us, not only the rich. We must work together constantly to end the control of the government from the top and put it in the hands of the middle and the bottom. We must democratize US politics if we are ever to have a decent society with an economy which meets the needs of the majority for health care and decent housing for all, a protected environment, an end to wars, and whatever else is needed for a safe and decent life for all.
In sum, if we are to attain such a society we must now work toward the creation of a genuine democracy. Today the US is a sick and dangerous nation run by a handful of the politically powerful, permitted to do so by a population much of which envies them instead of fighting them. Beginning now and staying with it, we must create a set of national policies to transform today’s plutocracy into a genuine democracy.
That said, there are many serious questions to be raised and dealt with, only some of which I can discuss here, and only superficially.
1. Who are “we” in terms of the relevant politics?
2. How do we create a national movement? In which political realms should we work most — local, state, national? Which issues — economic, social, military, environmental, etc. — should take priority? How are we to resolve the serious political conflicts likely to happen among us?
3. If and when we create a “third party,” how will its politics be decided? Which will be its main issues; decided how? How will it be financed?
What follows are only a few tentative answers to those questions, with the hope and expectation that a substantial movement will soon be underway. It is my strong wish that those who read this are already or will soon become part of that badly-needed mass movement.
What follows are merely suggestions of what answers might be.
1. A few years ago, the answer to “who are we?” would have come from relatively small groups. That began to change dramatically for the better just a year ago, when New York City gave birth to “Occupy Wall Street.” It was soon to be followed by many other cities. However, what also spread and deepened were the political efforts of the financial world, determined that the successes of “Occupy” would be confined to crowded sidewalks. Now the financial giants have multiplied and strengthened their political muscles and their bought and paid for servants in Congress. The existing political strengths of finance, other business realms, and the military are now at their historical highest, and all too likely to be increased month by month.
“We the people” have seldom had significant political influence and when we have — as for a few years after World War II — the business world has soon created and increased its use of professional “mind controllers” as regards the economy, wars, taxes, poisoned air, elections, etc. It is up t us to fight and outdo them politically: now.
2. How do we create a national political movement, and in what should we work at most? The simple answer is “get to work in all realms: local, regional and, especially, national.” To create a political movement in any realm and at any level is hard work, but success on one level assists substantially to success in the others. Our main need is to have political involvement become the norm for a large movement, or we will never defeat the powers of the always more dangerous conservative world and its financial Big Brothers.
The answer to the question of “Which issues” cannot be put forth here, except to note that ongoing harms and dangers done to the economy, the society, peace, and the environment interact and the have the same source: monopoly capitalism.
3. Should we create a third party? I say “yes,” adding that In the near future, and probably longer, those in the middle must recognize that the all too many of the politicians of the middle have been bought and paid for, and that they will remain that way until those of the middle shift themselves to go to political work that will take us toward decency and honesty: even if that means working with people on the left. And, of course, those to the left — my realm — must recognize that for an indefinite period in the future its political strength can be effective only by working “step by step” with a “liberal” middle. It is worth studying the kind of progress now existing in, e.g., Finland and Sweden, where the left has done just that. We too must work with a transformed middle; if we don’t, if we stick with traditional leftism, we will remain powerless.
Those who read my articles have political positions ranging from somewhere in the middle to somewhere on the left. The ways and means and the focus of politics vary greatly among cities and states, but there is at least one similarity regarding the creation of a national movement: those active in local and state politics are more likely to open then to shut the door on national politics. The ongoing regional politics are not very likely to support what is needed on the national level: all the more reason for those who are aware of today’s dangers to get to work on all three levels.
The critical need in the US today is to change our political structures, south and north, east and west. The main participants in politics in all realms have been leaning more to the right than to the middle. To change that there must be an increased involvement by those in both the middle and the left.
Again the question: should we — can we — create a third party? The answer is complicated; of course. To begin with, it is essential to recognize that the politics of both of the main parties are thoroughly corrupted and are all too likely to become more so. Even if not, even if our US politics continue to function as now, the socio-economic, military, and environmental problems will almost certainly become literally disastrous.
“Yes,” we should create a third party. That raises at least these questions: How? Financed how? How would its politics be determined? There are, of course, many other questions to be dealt with whose answers will not be found here, except for this: All must never forget that our aim is to have a truly democratic society, a society in which corruption, poverty, wars, the poisoning of Mother Nature, all other mixtures of evil and stupidity will cease.
So let’s get to work. The foregoing was easy to write; it will require much difficult work by many thousands of us to bring about a meaningful third party. But if we don’t get to work on that our lives will continue to be corrupted and ruined and, with the rest of the world, soon be wiped out. Notes
1. Before going further it is probably appropriate for this self-appointed advisor to be identified. I will be 94 in December, and since the early 1930s I have been involved politically on the left. Those were not only years of economic difficulties but also, understandably, of substantial national and international political conflicts whose upheavals produced World War II. I was living in San Francisco, where the possibilities and pressures for becoming politically involved were strong, more toward the left than the right. I worked with the left, seeing myself — then as now — as a democratic socialist.
2. My involvement in that movement took me, Noam Chomsky, and Richard Fernandez to North Vietnam for three weeks during the war. While there, we met with their leader, Ho Chi Minh. He told us that continuing our movement in the US would allow the Vietnamese to win the war. The movement continued, and they won. Our movement’s initial aim was to stop the war but, happily, it came to be a mixture of dozens of political groups whose earlier existence had been something other than the war (e.g., labor unions, health care groups, women’s power groups, etc.; of which, more later).
3. For three strong and readable analyses see J. Stiglitz, The Three Trillion Dollar War 2008), R. Reich, Supercapitalism; The Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business (2009), and J. Rasmus, Obama’s Economy: Recovery for the Few.