Mendocino County Today: November 14, 2013

by AVA News Service, November 14, 2013

NOTHING BUT CLEAR, DRY WEATHER in the foreseeable forecast for northern California. According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency, the West Coast stands to be in drought conditions for the rest of the month and lots of people are starting to wonder if water rationing will be required if the predicted low winter rainfall persists.

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RHONEY STANLEY, ARE YOU OUT THERE?

Hello.. This may be so random, but I figured I would give a try.. I am enquiring about Rhoney Stanley's Book.. I am trying to email her as to Reaquire one of The Bears Grateful Dead belt buckles.. She signed my book and I am unable to contact her as to order one of his silver $1500 buckles.. Mine was stollen and i am trying every avenue I know to contact her .. I know she would love to see one and I would love to buy one.. Again. random, Ava thank you, for your time to read this. My name is Persefoni I love In Charleston SC and frequent your area of the world often.. Just thought I would throw my line out there..  Take care.. persefoni misoyianis <persefoni09@gmail.com>

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FINDING FAULT EVERYWHERE HE LOOKED

‘A Colossal Wreck’ — Alexander Cockburn’s Take on America

by Dwight Garner

The radical Irish-American journalist Alexander Cockburn — he called himself Marxish, not Marxist — liked to bomb around America’s blue highways in large, decrepit cars, preferably convertibles, faxing in and later emailing his rowdy political columns (for The Nation, The Village Voice and elsewhere) from the road.

In “A Colossal Wreck: A Road Trip Through Political Scandal, Corruption and American Culture,” we witness Mr. Cockburn, who died last year at 71, collect traffic ticket after traffic ticket with resigned sang-froid.

“His ferrety little eyes swivel around the back of the station wagon,” he wrote about a patrolman, “linger on some cactuses I’ve picked up in a nursery in Truth or Consequences, linger further on my Coleman ice chest and then come back to my car papers. Either this is a training session for Ferret Eyes or a pretext stop to see if I’m carrying drugs.”

ColossalWreck“A Colossal Wreck” is an acerbic new compendium of Mr. Cockburn’s work from the past two decades, and the volume he was completing at the time of his death. It’s an untidy book — it mixes published and unpublished material in a series of journal-like entries — that captures an untidy mind. It’s alive on every page, this thing; its feisty sentences wriggle.

It’s worth lingering on Mr. Cockburn’s Kerouac-ian impulses (“I love scrubby old state highways, warm with commercial life”), because out in the middle of America was where he seemed happiest. From his mobile war rooms, he kept an eye on his adopted country. A class warrior, he kept closer watch through his windscreen on unchecked corporate power.

He was able to shift effortlessly from the personal to the political. Noticing that American radio has gone to hell, for example, he reminds us why.

“Since the 1996 Telecommunications ‘Reform’ Act, conceived in darkness and signed in stealth, the situation has got even worse,” he wrote in an entry from 2001. “Twenty, 30 years ago, broadcasters could own only a dozen stations nationwide and no more than two in any single market. Today the company Clear Channel alone owns more than 800 stations pumping out identical muck in all states.”

Those who have followed the career of Mr. Cockburn (it is pronounced CO-burn) will find his usual obsessions here. He loathed the Clintons, finding Hillary “the candidate for corporate power at home, and empire abroad.” He tangled often with Christopher Hitchens, whom he considered a hack writer, a warmonger and a tattler. “The surest way to get a secret into mass circulation is to tell it to Hitchens, swearing him to silence as one does so.”

He banged away relentlessly against what he called “the criminal tendencies of the executive class,” writing in 2002: “The finest schools in America produced a criminal elite that stole the store in less than a decade. Was it all the fault of Ayn Rand, of Carter and Kennedy, of the Chicago School, of Hollywood, of God’s demise? You’d think there’s at least a Time cover in it.”

He considered the establishment media, including The New York Times, to be apologists for the status quo. Noting in 1996 that newspapers tend to adore free trade, he wrote: “The day that column-writing is subcontracted to high school students in Guatemala, I expect to see a turnaround on the trade issue among the opinion-forming classes.”

He added: “Free trade is a class issue. The better-off like it. Their stocks go up as the outsourcing company heading south lays off its work force. The worse-off see the jobs disappear.”

Mr. Cockburn was prescient. He saw Wall Street’s 2008 collapse coming from a mile away, with the partial overturning in 1999 of the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial and investment banking. He nailed Barack Obama from quite far off, too. He observed during the 2008 campaign: “I don’t think Obama is a real fighter. He’s too pretty, and he doesn’t want to get his looks messed up.”

Mr. Cockburn ended up on the unexpected side of some issues. He liked gun shows, for example, because “they are anti-government, genuinely populist and lots of fun.” (He was a gun owner; he describes shooting, hanging, plucking and consuming a wild turkey at Thanksgiving.)

In response to a school shooting in 2007, he argued that “appropriately screened” teachers should carry weapons. He admired the Tea Party’s zeal, even if he disagreed with most of its ideas. He wished America’s socialists had as much brio.

Collections of political essays, even those presented in offbeat form, as is this one, tend to date quickly. “A Colossal Wreck” will have a long life among those who care about the crackling deployment of the English language, partly because Mr. Cockburn had such a wide-ranging mind. He was interested in everything.

This book contains vivid writing about food, art, orgasms, Halloween costumes, blues singers, tear-jerking movies, surprise parties and dozens of other things. Mr. Cockburn was a fan of British obituaries, noting that in America “jaunty frankness about the departed one is not tolerated.”

This book is filled with jaunty little obits. Upon the death of Tim Russert, for example, Mr. Cockburn wrote: “He could be a sharp questioner, but not when it really counted and when courage was required.”

There are many other free-range put-downs. The former Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, he says, “would drill through his mother if he thought there was oil in substrates below her coffin.”

My favorite parts of “A Colossal Wreck” are Mr. Cockburn’s catapult volleys against the nanny state and the culture of therapy. “It was when the Challenger blew up on national television in 1986 that the idea of counseling children in the wake of such disasters seems to have caught on,” he wrote, adding: “In my experience kids are pretty realistic and most times enjoy a good disaster. They can take it.”

There’s a witty section in which he worries aloud in a grocery store that soon it will be mandatory to wear a helmet during sex. “And mandatory kneepads against carpet burn,” a woman behind the counter adds.

Mr. Cockburn opposed euphemism and coddling of every sort. His book is a stay against boredom.

(Courtesy, the New York Times)

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STATEMENT OF THE DAY: In these northern climes, this turning into the year’s final quarter feels written in the blood, or at least into the legacy code of culture. The leaves skitter across the streets in an early twilight, chill winds daunt man and dog, the landscape buttons itself up for the long sleep, and human activity moves indoors — including the arduous festivities around the spooky solstice. We take the comfort that we can in all that. But a strange torpor of event attends this year’s turning. In the year’s final happenings, nothing seems to happen, and what little does happen seems not to matter. The world sits with frayed nerves and hears a distant noise, which is the cosmic screw of history turning. The nation gets over everything without resolving anything — fiscal cliffs, debt ceilings, health care implosions, domestic spying outrages, taper talk jukes, banking turpitudes, the Syria bluster, the Iran nuke deal fake-out. It’s dangerous to live as though there was no such thing as consequence. Societies have a way of reaching a consensus about something without ever stating it outright. The American public has silently agreed to sit on its hands through one more Christmas and after that things shake loose. — James Kunstler

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JEFF COSTELLO WRITES (from Denver): Keep it illegal, it was more fun that way. The old bald guys with ponytails are 50 years too late with long hair as a statement, as well as the notion that pot makes them hip and groovy. There's a paralegal with a big law firm here with a big pot grow in her basement. This is probably also true of many petty bureaucrats in city gov. Everything is topsy-turvy, it's the squares and rednecks with long hair and weed, and they remain squares and rednecks. On the Big Island in the early 80s I watched marijuana growing change from part-time activity for a few hippies and locals, to a deadly-serious business with guys patrolling their driveways with big guns and bad attitudes. Big money rolled in and with it came cocaine and later meth, people buying big ostentatious vehicles and other high-profile consumer items.  I have a picture somewhere of me with a guy who later was killed in a pot deal. Yep, peace love and brown rice.

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PRIVATIZE EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE?

by Dan Bacher

I wrote this song, “Privatize Everything,” back in 2000. The song was meant as political satire, but unfortunately, many of these lyrics have already become reality in recent years, as evidenced by the federal “catch shares” program, the state's fake “marine protected areas,” the Obama administration's tentative approval of Frankenfish and the state-federal Bay Delta Conservation Plan to build the twin tunnels.

Catch Shares — The oceans are being privatized under the Obama administration's “catch shares” program that concentrates ocean fisheries in fewer, increasingly corporate hands.

According to Food and Water Watch, “Catch shares are a system for managing our nation’s fisheries that are causing consolidation in the fishing industry at the expense of the livelihoods of thousands of smaller-scale, traditional fishermen and their communities. Such programs are being heavily touted as a means to promote sustainable fishing, but a closer look reveals they do not have a positive environmental record. Catch shares can incentivize the use of larger-scale boats, more damaging gear and wasteful fishing practices that hurt fish populations and the habitats on which they depend.”

Fake Marine Protected Areas — Ocean conservation management has been privatized under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative's creation of so-called marine protected areas in California that fail to protect the ocean from oil spills and drilling, pollution, military testing, corporate aquaculture, wind and wave energy project and all other uses of the ocean other than fishing and gathering.

Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association, chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force that imposed the so-called “marine protected areas” that went into effect in Southern California waters on January 1, 2012. The initiative was funded privately by the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation in an unaccountable and corrupt “public-private partnership” with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Frankenfish Approval — Monsanto and Obama's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are leading the charge to privatize the food supply and life itself by fast-tracking the approval of genetically engineered foods. The Food and Drug Administration is currently rushing the approval of genetically engineered salmon, “Frankenfish,” for human consumption in spite of the tremendous risk these fish pose to imperiled salmon populations and public health.

Peripheral Tunnels Plan — The water in Central Valley rivers and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is being privatized though the Obama and Brown administration Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) to build the peripheral tunnels, designed to increase water exports to corporate agribusiness interests, including Beverly Hills billionaire Stewart Resnick and the Westlands Water District, developers and oil companies. Resnick and others are notorious for making millions in profits selling back subsidized water to the public in a water marketing scheme.

Habitat “restoration” and infrastructure “improvements” to greenwash this corporate water grab will be funded by the taxpayers through a water bond. In essence, public water agencies are using public water and money to enrich corporations in a dangerous alliance between big corporate interests and big government.

When you add the current campaign to privatize the prisons, public education, health services, military operations and public services in the U.S. and around the world, it is so clear that the Wall Street 1 percent and corporate leaders, in collaboration with corrupt government officials, are indeed well on their way to “privatizing everything.”

To save the country and the planet, everybody who cares about democracy, human rights and the environment must resist and stop the insane plan to “privatize everything!”

Take Action: To resist the privatizers, help to stop the Corporate Water Grab in California by opposing the peripheral tunnels. The Bay Delta Conservation Plan is bad for four reasons:

(1) The construction of the $54.1 billion peripheral tunnels would sink California's budget.

(2) It will establish corporate control of water. Corporate agribusiness giants would get more taxpayer-subsidized water that they could resell to developers and oil companies for huge private profits.

(3) It is bad for the environment. It will lead to the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon, Sacramento splittail, southern resident killer whales (that feed on salmon) and other imperiled species, as well as threaten the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.

(4) It will raise water rates for Southern California water users. A groundbreaking economic analysis released on August 7, 2012 by Food & Water Watch and the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN) reveals that Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) customers could be on the line for $2,003 to $9,182 per customer to pay for the 37-mile Peripheral Tunnels project. To download the report, go to: http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/doc/BayDeltaConveyanceLAEconAnalysis.pdf

Take action now by going to:

http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/take-action/in-your-community/western-region/california/stopthecorporatewatergrab/

Privatize Everything in the Universe (by Dan Bacher)

We’ll privatize the water, we’ll privatize the air

We’ll privatize the oceans, we’ll privatize your hair

We’ll privatize the world as we sing this verse, we’ll privatize everything in the universe!

We’ll privatize fish in the sea, we’ll privatize the whales

We’ll privatize sea turtles, we’ll put ‘em up for sale

We’ll privatize the world as we sing this verse, we’ll privatize everything in the universe!

We’ll privatize the corn and wheat, we’ll privatize all seeds

We’ll privatize all life forms, we’ll privatize all weeds

We’ll privatize the world as we sing this verse, we’ll privatize everything in the universe!

We’ll privatize the prisons, we’ll privatize the schools

We’ll privatize the highways, we’ll privatize car pools

We’ll privatize the world as we sing this verse, we’ll privatize everything in the universe!

We’ll privatize your secret thoughts, we’ll privatize your genes

We’ll privatize your emotions, we’ll privatize your schemes

We’ll privatize the world as we sing this verse, we’ll privatize everything in the universe!

We’ll privatize the sun so bright, we’ll privatize the moon

We’ll privatize the Galaxy, we need more living room

We’ll privatize the world as we sing this verse, we’ll privatize everything in the universe!

We’ll privatize religion, we’ll privatize all souls

Instead of God, we’ll appoint, One Big, Bad CEO!

We’ll privatize the world as we sing this verse, we’ll privatize everything in the universe!

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