Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Feb 13, 2016
by AVA News Service, February 13, 2016
Lee Kemper will present his report at 10 am (NOT 1:30 pm as you may have heard) Tuesday Feb 16 in the BOS Chambers. Carmel Angelo thinks it will take about an hour as supervisors got it last Friday and will have already read it. Then the rest of the day will be spent on the Kemper Report and Mental Health discussion, comments, and questions from the supervisors and the public. This is a very small window of opportunity for us to be heard about the horrible state of adult mental health services.
You all have the Kemper Report (it's up now on the Mendocino County Website) and it gives numerous examples of the failures of Ortner and the County. There are plenty of specifics of breach of contract and plenty of recommendations for Ortner to improve that they will likely reject. This is a perfect situation for a mutual agreement to end the Ortner/County contract right away.
One of the important issues we need an answer to on Tuesday is, Ortner gave Kemper the wrong numbers about adult hospital placements.
The Mendocino County hospital placements data Ortner gave Kemper (p. 42) is different from the Mendocino County data. Ortner told Kemper that 171 adults were hospitalized in 2013/14 and 261 were hospitalized in 14/15. County records show that 196 adults were hospitalized in 2013/14 and 316 were hospitalized in 2014/15. So why did Ortner eliminate 80 people and what hospitals did they go to?
Kemper states, “There is no appearance of increased utilization of facilities with which OMG has a business affiliation.” Kemper’s conclusion needs to be revisited after the County gets answers about what happened to the additional 80 adults who were hospitalized. Further, since Ortner, County data shows a significant increase in re-hospitalizations of adults within 30 days, much higher than for children. There are costly penalties for re-hospitallizations and does the County pick that up for Ortner?
A READER WONDERS
WHEN did the board of supervisors become governmental therapists? When did it become their Tuesday job to listen to a litany of personal stories and whiney temperamental brats? I thought ideas were supposed to be discussed, non-personal actual ideas. Can I go to the board next week and complain that I got a bad haircut?
DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but we're feeling Pot Regulation Fatigue. All this discussion in the context of the federal trump card seems futile. The wackiest discussion we're seen occurred recently among the Clearlake City Council.
CLEARLAKE? Is there an entirely sober person over the age of ten anywhere within the city limits? Or anyone outside, perhaps — a big perhaps — outside the police department who would pay the slightest attention to local pot regs?
FROM WHAT WE CAN GATHER, Clearlake has passed a medical marijuana ordinance that would ban commercial cultivation altogether (har de har), place a six-plant limit on properties of any size, install an annual permitting system, and would ban "growing in scenic and beautification corridors, near water bodies, or close to parks, schools and daycare centers."
ALSO JUMPING ONTO pot reg's hamster wheel is Mike "Mikey" McGuire, State Senator from Healdsburg. Li'l Mike has introduced a bill "to tax medical marijuana as its sold at 15% and claims his Marijuana Value Tax Act is expected to bring the state as much as $100 million dollars in new revenue."
WHICH IS PURE FANTASY but got Mikey some ink from his stenographers at places like the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, perhaps the most credulous publication in California. If the scrappy second baseman's new proposal magically becomes law, some of the revenue would create the “Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation.”
THING IS, if the millions of twenty year olds with bad backs face a big price increase in their medicine they will continue buying it where they've always bought it — their long-time dealers. Legalization in Colorado has seen no diminution in illegal pot sales because illegal remains cheaper than legal, and it will always be thus because illegal is tax free.
BESIDES WHICH, as we never tire of pointing out, illegal marijuana makes the Northcoast economy go round. It employs lots of badged people hunting it down who take off just enough every year to keep prices up.
I'VE PUT IN SO MANY ENIGMAS and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality.
— James Joyce on writing Ulysses
THE 2015 grape harvest was down about 25% from 2014. According to the USDA Mendocino, Lake, Napa, and Sonoma counties gathered 400,174 tons of grapes last fall. But while the yield was down, the prices were up. Napa County grapes went for an average of $4,329 per ton, Sonoma County $2,441 a ton, Lake County $1,600 with Mendo averaging $1,515 a ton. Pinot goes for almost $3,000 a ton in Mendo. (By comparison, a vegetable farmer is lucky to get $100 a ton for commercial tomatoes.)
THE LOCAL ANGLE: Marin's supervisors have rejected adoption of Laura's Law on a 4-1 vote. If applied, Laura's Law mandates court-ordered outpatient treatment for the mentally ill who otherwise refuse treatment. The Marin No Vote was recommended by Dr. Grant Colfax, home-schooled in Boonville, Harvard graduate and Marin's health and human services director. According to a column in the San Rafael Independent Journal by Dick Spotswood, Colfax, eldest son of former 5th District supervisor, David Colfax, advised the four Marin supes that implementation of the law would only help "five to 14 individuals."
A DOZEN FAMILY MEMBERS of mentally ill Marinites disagreed. Spotswood wrote, "that common sense and a walk around downtown San Rafael show there are easily 100 mentally challenged Marinites unable to realize they need treatment. As a mother of a homeless youth told the supervisors, 'If you saw a person with dementia walking in the middle of traffic, you'd stop them and take them to a facility for treatment'."
MARIN DOES BOAST the Helen Vine Center, a facility designed to rehab drop-fall drunks. Police can take persons paralyzed by drink directly to Helen Vine where they dry out and have the opportunity to rehab. Of course drunks aren't crazy, merely one more public nuisance these days. The worrying street people are insane. There's no place for them other than jail most places, and jails are not staffed to assist the insane.
FATHER TIME & THE MAIDEN & A BLACKBIRD...
A view of the iconic redwood sculpture atop the Masonic Temple on Lansing Street, Mendocino, Thursday morning.
CARNAL PLEASURES without communion of the souls is always brutish; afterwards, one enjoys no trace of noble feeling, but only of regret.
THE DISPARITY in life span for America’s rich and poor has grown significantly in recent years, according to a Brookings Institution report. The study found that for men born in 1950, there was a 14-year difference in the life spans of the top 10 percent and bottom 10 percent of earners, compared with a six-year difference for men born in 1920. For women, the gap more than doubles, from 4.7 years to 13. Many researchers argue that the widening gap in life span is connected to growing income inequality, as poorer Americans are unable to access the same level of care that richer Americans can.
THE SINKING OF 'FROLIC' NEAR POINT CABRILLO, a diorama by Mendocino Model Railroader Mike Aplet.
Thought that I would share the latest on our Point Cabrillo diorama with the Wreck of the clipper ship Frolic capsized in the surf. Clubmember Mike Aplet of the Mendocino Model Railway & Historical Society has been building a diorama showing the wreck of the Frolic on the rocks below the Point Cabillo lighthouse for weeks. Over the past couple of weeks Aplet has textured the “rocks” which are made completely of scrap redwood.
CAPTAIN SIMON SILVERMAN, of the SFPD's Richmond District, writes: "In a typical week, the officers of Richmond Station handle about 750 incidents involving everything from noisy neighbors to aggravated assaults. Listing every case in the weekly update would make for a long read. Instead, I look for incidents that have a lesson to teach about crime prevention, that are representative of a general trend, that show the variety of police work or that are noteworthy. Think of the weekly update as a prix fixe menu of offerings selected by the chef. For those of you who prefer to order à la carte, the SFPD posts much of its crime data here:
AS IN MENDOCINO COUNTY, the San Francisco police spend much of their time dealing with people either under the influence or mentally ill.
02/07/2016 10:15 AM, Clement & 22nd Ave
A resident saw a shirtless man, with his face covered in baby powder sitting on neighbor’s motorcycle. The suspect got off the motorcycle and began attacking a balloon bouquet attached to the front of a home for a child’s party. The resident confronted the suspect who pulled a knife on him. The resident backed off and called 911 then stayed on the line with the dispatcher to help guide officers to the suspect. The suspect ran from officers and was caught after a brief foot pursuit. He was arrested and also taken to the hospital for mental health treatment.
Medical Assistance, 02/07/2016 6:15 PM, Baker & Sutter
A father called 911 for help with his 16 year old son who was behaving strangely. The son ran into the street, took off his pants and was talking very rapidly about wanting to meet God. Officers suspected that the young man was under the influence of LSD and he confirmed that he was “having an acid trip.” Paramedics took him to the hospital.
Captain’s Note: Timothy Leary (who had more than a passing familiarity with hallucinogens) advised, “Don’t take LSD unless you are very well prepared, unless you are specifically prepared to go out of your mind.”
Traffic Collision, 02/09/2016 10:10 AM, Geary & 6th Ave
A driver was trying to back his pick-up truck into a parking space in front of Richmond Police Station. The area is posted for police car parking only and has a red curb. A uniformed officer told him that he could not park in the spot. The driver yelled, “I don’t see any signs!” and promptly backed into one of the taxpayers’ police cars, damaging the front end. He was cited (for unsafe backing) and the City will be contacting his insurer to pay for the repairs.
Captain’s Note: You can always tell a bad driver… but apparently you can’t tell him much.
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 12, 2016
We are again unable to produce the Catch due to “internal errors” at the Sheriff’s booking website.
HEY! IT’S ONLY SUPPOSED TO BE A METAPHOR!
On February 9, 2016 at about 3:00 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were advised of an [unidentified] victim located at the Laytonville Fire Department that was suffering from a gunshot wound. Upon arrival Deputies learned, a 28-year-old adult male had been cutting wood in a wooded area on Cahto Peak Road when he had accidentally shot himself in the foot with a 12-gauge shotgun. While cutting wood the adult male had removed a shotgun from his vehicle. After finishing the task of cutting wood he started to place the shotgun back into his vehicle, at which time the shotgun accidently fired resulting in pellets impacting his left foot. The adult male was transported to the Laytonville Fire Department by family members and was subsequently transferred to Frank Howard Memorial Hospital by ground ambulance. The adult male was treated for the injuries to his foot and later discharged from the hospital.
(Sheriff’s Press Release)
FORT de BRAGG
(Photo by Susie de Castro)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
2017 US Budget has about $1 trillion disretionary spending (the other $3 Trillion goes for mandatory spending like the interest on the national debt). The 2017 US Budget has about $582.7 billion military spending. So, about 50%, or 58.27%, of our national budget goes to the military (with its waste, fraud, and theft), to provide an inefficient military and pay for the world’s largest bureaucracy, the Pentagon. One half of the military budget could be cut without harming national defense. $290 Billion could be reassigned to more pressing needs like rebuilding our national infrastructure, which also contributes to national defense. (see Eisenhower administration, 1956)
WHEN PLAN A MEETS PLAN B: Talking Politics & Revolution With The Green Party’s Jill Stein
by Paul Street
We are in a state of emergency and it requires a new way of thinking and political independence to stand up not just for what we can get but what we must have if we are to survive as a human species.
– Jill Stein, February 3, 2016
“Let us hope that the inevitable first woman [United States] president is a person distinguished by a profound understanding of the world and genuine human compassion, rather than by relentless personal ambition.” So writes Diana Johnstone in her brilliant new study Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton (CounterPunch Books, 2015) . Last week, two days after Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton fought to a virtual tie in the Iowa Caucus and six days Sanders trounced Hillary in New Hampshire, I sat down in Iowa City to chat by phone with a person who matches Johnstone’s notion of what she’d like to see in a first female U.S. president. I spoke to Dr. Jill Stein, who ran for the White House as the Green Party’s candidate in 2012 and who will in all likelihood do so again in 2016.
“From Clinical Medicine to Political Medicine”
Dr. Stein is a Harvard Medical School graduate who witnessed firsthand the terrible impacts of what she calls “predatory capitalism” on ordinary working and middle class children and families during her years as a physician. Learning that pollution produced by corporate greed was the major “underlying driver” behind many of the expanding illnesses (especially asthma, diabetes, cancer, and learning disabilities) she was confronting on an individual basis, she became a leading environmental and public health policy expert and advocate. “You can help people one at a time,” Stein realized, “while whole populations get thrown over the cliff.” She turned “from clinical medicine to political medicine” after realizing that “the road to health was profoundly obstructed by the hijack of our political system by oligarchy and corporate power.”
Stein was first “tricked into electoral politics” (her recollection) fourteen years ago. That’s when progressives successfully recruited her to run as the Green Party’s candidate in Massachusetts’ 2002 gubernatorial election. During a televised debate between the contenders, Dr. Stein’s comments were totally ignored by the two major-party contestants – the corporate-Republican governor Mitt Romney and corporate-Democrat challenger Shannon O’Brien. Inside the debate studio, her remarks “went over like a lead balloon.” But things were different outside. After the event, reporters told Stein that an online viewer poll registered her as the winner.
Sanders v. Stein: Looking Beneath Bernie’s “Revolution”
“Okay, so what,” I asked Dr. Stein – playing devil’s advocate from Iowa – “about Bernie? Sanders says he’s for single-payer health insurance, big green jobs programs, tackling climate change, a significantly higher federal minimum wage, serious campaign finance reform, and a financial transaction tax along with the other forms of genuine progressive taxation. He even sometimes calls himself a ‘democratic socialist.’ What’s the problem here? Why not just line up behind Bernie?”
Stein praises Sanders for “giving voice and legitimacy” to key majority-progressive policy sentiments but asks a basic and critical question: “how long will a campaign calling for ‘revolution’ be tolerated by a counter-revolutionary party?” She elaborates:
“Whether our campaign is a Plan B for Bernie supporters when the [corporate-Democratic Party] empire strikes back [a process now underway – P.S.] or whether we’re Plan A because we need a real movement that is independent of the corporate interests that dominate the Democratic Party from top to bottom, it’s important to ensure that this revolution lives on in way that is deep and that will grow strong …and you really have to discount the last decades of experience to think that the Democratic Party is going to just roll over and allow this to happen…Many of our supporters are backing both campaigns and that’s just fine, but you don’t want to pledge allegiance to a Democratic Party that is at best, even under Sanders, pushing for a military budget that is bankrupting us financially and morally, a war on terror that is creating more terror, and treating the Saudis like they’re the solution rather than a cause of terrorism.”
Sanders has endorsed Obama’s disastrous, jihad-fueling drone war program and “doesn’t stand up to the [Orwellian national security] deep state,” Stein notes. “Bernie treats Edward Snowden like a criminal rather than a hero.” Sanders backed the F-35 fight jet boondoggle on the grounds that it would create jobs in his state, a striking expression of his commitment to military Keynesianism (employed to undermine social-democratic welfare-state Keynesianism after World War II). And Sanders “supports governments that commit egregious human rights abuses,” including Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, the most reactionary government on Earth. which fuels terrorism across the world. Bernie’s “treatment of the Palestinians” is horrific, Stein notes.
“Does Sanders fail to seriously confront the Pentagon System,” I asked Dr. Stein, “because he is himself a loyal man of U.S. global Empire?”
“Who knows what goes on in his head?” Jill Stein answered. The “reality is that he supports the war on terror,” which has “cost $6 trillion over the past fifteen years. That’s $75,000 per household…That’s why we need a real revolution, a deep revolution against the military industrial complex (MIC).”
Stein’s differences with Sanders go beyond his commitment to global empire, the surveillance state and the MIC. Where Sanders merely wants to audit the Federal Reserve, Stein calls for its nationalization.
Sanders is a longstanding supporter of high-stakes standardized testing in K-12 education, something Stein rejects as part of the corporate class’s anti-teacher, anti-democratic, and anti-intellectual schools-privatization agenda.
Sanders calls for free college tuition but does not fully tackle “the continuing enslavement of a generation to predatory student debt.” Stein calls for the abolition of that debt. “We did it for the bankers whose waste, fraud, and abuse crashed the economy…isn’t it time,” she asks, “to do the same for the victims?”
Stein notes that Sanders “provides cover” for the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA). She flatly rejects Bernie’s claim that “Obamacare” is a noble first and incremental step on the path to actually social-democratic and universal health care. Dr. Stein thinks that the overly complex, corporatist, and failing ACA has to be torn up and replaced with a real, genuinely progressive national health care plan on the fully viable single-payer model.
And she notes – no small matter – that Bernie’s progressive if flawed domestic policy agenda cannot be paid for unless and until the United States drastically slashes its giant “defense” (empire) budget, which accounts for half the world’s military spending and 54% of US federal discretionary spending. That is a step that Sanders has shown no sign of wanting to take.
“They Find a Way to Stop Rebels in Their Ranks”
At first, the Clintons and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) seemed to welcome Sanders’ entrance into the presidential race. The Clintons were relieved that Elizabeth Warren chose not to run. They figured that Bernie would provide a useful foil and voter interest-driving, sheep-dogging helpmate on the populism-manipulating campaign trail. I asked Dr. Stein if the Sanders phenomenon had gone further than the Clintons and the DNC expected. “It certainly looks that way,” she said, adding however that there’s “nothing surprising” about Sanders’ success “considering the outrage out there and how a whole generation of young people is up the creek right now.” The Democrats, Stein also noted, “have a very effective kill switch when it comes to destroying progressive campaigns, whether deeply progressive or moderately progressive. Whether it’s the ‘Dean Scream’ or the smear campaign against Jesse Jackson or redistricting Dennis Kucinich, they find a way to stop rebels in their ranks. If, I should say when that happens with Bernie, our campaign is here.”
“Lesser Evilism Has a Track Record”
Let’s assume that the smart money is right and Sanders falls under the wheels of the Clinton and DNC machines after his early victories with liberal and progressive white Democrats in the small and very disproportionately Caucasian states of Iowa and New Hampshire. What, I asked Stein, about the longstanding and current quadrennial argument that many liberal, progressives, and even many radicals (e.g. Jill Stein’s fellow Lexington, Massachusetts resident Noam Chomsky) make about the “duty” of “responsible” citizens and voters to back Democratic presidential candidates as the “Lesser Evil” compared to the monstrous Republican candidate?
“The Lesser Evil argument has failed,” Stein notes. “It has a track record. And what have we gotten from it? The politics of fear” has under Obama “delivered everything we’re afraid of”: Wall Street bailouts, endless war, further climate meltdown, escalated attacks on civil liberties, persistent rampant institutional racism within and beyond the criminal justice system. The once supposedly antiwar Obama has intensified America’s disastrous imperial presence in the Middle East and overseen drastically escalated U.S. military incursions across Africa. He is dangerously provoking China with his (and Hillary’s) “pivot to Asia.” Now “he wants to quadruple the US military budget in Europe to intimidate Russia,” a nuclear power with real reasons to fear U.S-led NATO expansion in Eastern Europe.
Lesser Evilism’s abject failure is unsurprising, Stein argues. “Lesser Evil strategy,” she explains, echoing Ralph Nader, “requires you to be silent, to turn your voice over to a corporate-sponsored politics, to a corporate-sponsored party. The politics of fear delivers everything we are afraid of by entrusting the fox to guard the chick coup. Silence is not an effective political strategy. And besides, the Lesser Evil invariably paves the way for the Greater Evil.”
Here Stein cites the right-wing Congressional election victories of 2010, which reflected mass popular anger and disgust with neoliberal Obama’s failure to pursue a remotely progressive agenda when he enjoyed Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress and an angry citizenry ready to punish the plutocracy. Obama responded by protecting the bankers who crashed the economy and by “throwing [ordinary middle and working class] people over the cliff.” By 2014, Stein notes, just a third of electorate came out to vote since “Lesser Evilism gives you nothing to vote for. “Eighty percent of young people stayed home. Labor stayed home. A lot of women stayed away.”
“People don’t come to vote on what they fear,” Stein observes. “They vote on what they’re for.”
With the Teapublican right wing victories of 2010 and 2014, the corporate Democrats under Obama helped create their own excuse for failing to advance a progressive agenda: newly empowered Republican “obstruction” in Congress.
Beyond Simple Identity Politics
What, I asked Jill Stein, about the identity politics and gender-representation argument for Hillary Clinton – the notion that a first female president is long overdue and that that is in and of itself a good enough reason for getting behind Hillary Clinton next fall? Dr. Stein didn’t miss a beat. “Why not have a woman president who actually supports a grassroots agenda for women instead of a corporate agenda? That would be a novel thing. Is it just something,” Stein asks, “about having two X chromosomes in the White House? That’s NOT gonna do it anymore than having an African American president who has not been good for the African American community.” Black net worth has declined precipitously under Obama, from 10 to 5 cents on the white wealth dollar.
“Hillary’s all talk, not walk, on women’s issues,” Stein noted. She references Mrs. Clinton’s long tenure on the board of the giant, egregiously sex-discriminatory Wal-Mart corporation and Hillary’s support for the vicious 1996 “welfare reform” that tossed millions of poor women and children off public assistance and into the miserable low-wage labor market. Welfare caseloads and payments have fallen precipitously even as the need for assistance has increased.
“State of Emergency”
“Democracy,” Jill Stein told me, “needs a moral compass,” something that is lacking when “progressives” get behind a president who has consistently served Wall Street and advanced a reckless imperial militarism just because he happens to be Black or because he is a Democrat – or when they back a presidential candidate who promises to do even worse in the same ways just because she happens to be a woman or because she is a Democrat.
“And furthermore,” Stein adds, “we’re running out of time…we have to block the corporate stranglehold” on U.S. politics “because the clock is ticking.” Stein mentions three core crises. The first is the “the next crash,” which will result from a “financial situation” that is “more ominous than 2008” since “the banks are much bigger, more leveraged, more corrupt, and more concentrated” than even before. Forget the bailout. Now the nation’s leading financial institutions are “ready to do the BAIL-IN,” that is, to “seize whatever little security the average family has left.”
The second is anthropogenic climate change, brought to us courtesy of the predatory-capitalist carbon-industrial complex. “We don’t have very long, maybe a couple of decades before we are looking at the breakup of the ice sheets,” Stein told me, citing the latest Earth science and adding that we could well see a 20-30-foot rise in sea levels by 2050. “This is a not a hit we can survive. We are well into the sixth great extinction, which we also will not survive.”
“We are in a state of emergency and it requires a new way of thinking and political independence to stand up not just for what we can get but what must have if we are to survive as a human species, as a biosphere. …It’s now or never. This is our Hail-Mary moment.” We are approaching an existential chasm: we either take the deeply-revolutionary leap or its game over. The need to address climate change is humanity’s pass-fail moment.
Third, “there’s the war, which only gets bigger and more devastating by the day” under Obama, whose drone war and global special forces expansion has done more to spread the geographic scope of jihad than George W. Bush’s terrible foreign policies. Hillary – who truly puts the evil in “lesser evil” (see the books cited in my first endnote if you have any doubt about that) –promises to magnify and expand the global military chaos, the permanent war on and of terror.
The “Catastrophism” Charge: “Just Dumb”
What, I asked Dr. Stein, about the argument some “Marxists” have made that such fears about climate change are an exercise in neurotic, politically self-defeating, and paralysis-inducing “catastrophism”? She reached back to her clinical past to give what I think is the perfect, bulls-eye response. “Patients,” Stein reflected, “have a right to know what they’re facing. As a doctor you wouldn’t just throw a diagnosis at people without a treatment plan. The ‘catastrophism’ charge is just dumb. You cannot fight life-threatening illnesses or life-threatening environmental problems or militarism or the rest unless you’re clear about both the extent of the problem and how to fix it.”
A key thing “left” critics of “catastrophism” fail to appreciate, Stein added, is that climate change is “eminently fixable.” Affordable technologies and methods for a sustainable, zero-carbon renewable economy are now in place. The real problem is political – the “corporate stranglehold” and “oligarchy” that we can break by going beyond the self-fulfilling “politics of fear” to form a great independent social and political movement for transformative social, political, economic, and environmental justice.
The Working Class and the Green Agenda
I asked Dr. Stein about the skittishness that many in the labor movement and working class feel about environmentalism thanks to decades of business propaganda claiming that policies favorable to livable ecology will destroy jobs. “No problem,” Stein replied, noting that the Green Party’s centerpiece policy agenda, the Green New Deal, includes “full employment with good wages in lines of work that are actually good for you and good for the community and the planet.”
Stein recently went to Texas to support striking oil workers. She found “fossil fuel workers” very enthusiastic about the notion “of a good job that isn’t going to kill them.” Workers in oil and gas drilling and fracking face significantly increased mortality risks due to the carcinogenic nature of their tasks. “We put their health up front.”
Moreover, the conversion from a rapaciously extractivist carbon-burning economy to one based on wind, water, and solar power and sustainable practices will be a big job-creator. That’s something that Van Jones has gotten right even if he has foolishly subordinated his politics to the Lesser Evilism of the Democrats. “A dollar spent on renewable energy and conservation creates three jobs compared to one job created for every dollar spent on fossil fuels,” Stein notes.
The Green New Deal is a “three-fer,” attacking the intimately interrelated economic and ecological crises at one and the same time while rolling back the military and security state that feeds perpetual war and economic inequality.
Immigration: “We’re Going to Stop Causing It”
What about white American workers and their fears of immigrants and immigration, evident in the support many working class whites have been giving to the nauseating likes of the ugly, proto-fascistic, and misogynist Donald Trump? Stein agreed with me that the white working class has real reason to fear the impact of immigrants on wages and employment prospects and that the immigration problem Trump and other right-wing politicians exploit is rooted largely in U.S. foreign and economic policies that make life dangerous and miserable for millions of vulnerable people abroad. “People ask me ‘what are you going to do about immigration?’ I say we’re going to stop causing it…though wars and NAFTA, the war on drugs, coups, and military interventions…We need to connect the dots” on U.S. policy, “free trade,” global poverty, and migration, Stein says, adding that “people are not stupid. They can and will get it when you make the connections.”
Reasons for Hope: “The Floodgates Are Going to Open”
Despite her bracing diagnoses of the current “emergency” state of America and the world and notwithstanding the Green Party’s relative invisibility in the dominant U.S. political culture right now, Jill Stein radiates remarkable can-do optimism. She thinks there’s real and exciting potential for a popular social and environmental revolution over and against the predatory and frankly eco-cidal capitalist “oligarchy.”
“If you allowed young people to know that there’s actually a campaign to cancel their debt and that the president has the power to do that without Congress, that would be 40 million votes right there for the Green Party,” Stein told me.
Stein cites a recent Wall Street Journal poll showing that half the U.S. population “has divorced the major parties” (21% call themselves Republicans, 29% identify as Democrats…the rest are neither). “It’s staggering!” The WSJ “buried the finding because it was so embarrassing…When they limit a debate to just a Democrat and a Republican, they’re actually locking out the largest constituency of all.”
Most Americans, Stein notes, have long told pollsters that two parties are not enough to represent the true spectrum of opinion in the country. And “when Bernie begins to be marginalized by the Democrats and people begin to see the true colors of the Democratic Party,” Stein says, “the floodgates are going to open” for independent and progressive political activity outside the reigning Business and War parties.
Recently the Green Party put up a meme on Facebook: “How Long Will a Counter-Revolutionary Party Support a Revolutionary Campaign?” Stein was initially unenthusiastic about running the slogan. But she was pleasantly surprised: “It went viral.”
Hillary Clinton, Stein agrees with me, has considerably less capacity to deceive and bamboozle progressive and young voters than Barack Obama enjoyed in 2007-08. “Obama,” Stein notes was fairly new on the scene. Hillary,” by contrast, “has been a warmonger who never found a war she didn’t love forever!”
A lot of young adults may be “wild about Bernie” right now, Stein says, but the passion will fade as they “go through the ringer” for the first time. They face a useful lesson when the nominal democratic socialist Sanders tells (as promised) his followers to vote for the dismal, demobilizing dollar Democrats.
After Pearl Harbor, Dr. Stein notes, the U.S. took just six months to convert to a full-blown war economy to help defeat the leading global threat of fascism. The current ecological crisis, Stein argues, “makes Pearl Harbor look like small potatoes.” And once again, to update Rosie the Riveter for the 21st century, “we can do it”: transform our economy to address what is now the world’s leading threat – environmental collapse rooted in predatory capitalism . Getting to a 100% renewables-based economy is entirely achieve-able by 2030, Stein notes, provided that we have the courage and decency to reject the viciously circular and self-fulfilling politics of fear and to make the real revolution required.
Stein agrees with the present writer that rank and file social movements are “the real engines” of progressive social change, consistent with radical American historian Howard Zinn’s oft-quoted maxim that (to paraphrase) “the really critical thing isn’t who’s sitting in the White House but who’s sitting in the streets.” But, Dr. Stein ads, “social movements need and deserve an independent political voice.” I have tended to quietly concur beneath all my recurrent social movement emphasis and critiques of electoral politics. That’s why I always take the admittedly brief amount of time needed to vote for left third party presidential candidates rather than just completely sit the “quadrennial electoral extravaganzas” (Chomsky’s term).
Want to help the Greens this year? The first thing is to make sure that the Green Party is on the ballot in your state. Another thing is to begin working now to help organize walkouts from the Democratic Party and Team Bernie if and, in all probability, when Sanders tells his supporters – as promised from day one of his campaign – to line up behind the eco-cidal corporatist and war-monger Hillary Clinton. It could get interesting, indeed, when Plan A meets Plan B.
The Green New Deal is the transitional revolutionary demand for our times (see note 2). It is also a basic material and social necessity an existential leap we must take. It’s about “what we can get” and “what we must have” at one and the same time.
1 Anyone naïve enough to think that Hillary fits that description should read Johnstone’s book and Doug Henwood’s Her Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency (OR Books, 2015). Together, these two slim volumes artfully dissect and expose Hillary as a maniacally driven, hypocritical, mendacious, mean-spirited, and arch-militarist servant of U.S. global capitalism and its evil twin the American Empire.
2 Capitalism is inherently predatory, barbarian, imperial, and eco-cidal in my estimation, shared by many others with Marxist and/or left-anarchist backgrounds. I confess that I did not ask Dr. Stein if she shared that conclusion. Personally, I do not think it matters. The Green New Deal strikes me as a transitional revolutionary program that takes us by its very nature beyond the parameters of what is possible under a capitalist system that is on its last historical legs because it has reached geographic and geological, world-systemic limits in terms of its ability to recurrently replenish profit rates with abundant, newly incorporated and appropriation-ready frontiers of what the brilliant eco-Marxian world-systems thinker Jason Moore calls “cheap Nature.” See Jason W. Moore, Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital (London: Verso Books. 2015).
(Paul Street’s latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
RETIREMENT BOARD AGENDA
2016 02 17 Meeting Agenda
DINE OUT FOR MONTESSORI SCHOOL
The community is invited to enjoy dinner at the MacCallum House on Wednesday, March 2nd. All profits from the restaurant, café and bar will benefit Montessori del Mar Learning Center. The bar opens at 5pm and dinner is served 5:30-8:00pm. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 937- 0289 or visit www.maccallumhouse.com.
COMBATTING SYPHILIS should have been made to appear as the task of the nation. Not just one more task. Everything — future or ruin — depended upon the solution to this question.
— Adolph Hitler
IN DEFENSE OF BEYONCÉ’S BLACK PANTHER TRIBUTE AT THE SUPER BOWL
by Dave Zirin
I am writing this from the Bay Area, where tent cities are now slowly re-forming under bridges, and where there is still a palpable buzz about Beyoncé’s performance in the Super Bowl halftime show (sorry, Coldplay). In fact, it’s a topic with far more currency here than the actual dud of a game, and for good reason.
This is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in the Bay Area. Given that the Panthers were founded initially to combat police violence and provide a grassroots social safety net for the poorest and blackest parts of Oakland, they are looked upon not only with pride but as having a great deal of relevance. The fact that Beyoncé and her dancers paid tribute to the Panthers, complete with black berets and assembling in an X formation, amid the glitz, schmaltz, and hyper-nationalism of the Super Bowl has sparked an immediate and bracing wave of discussion.
While here in the Bay Area I’ve been eavesdropping on debates about whether Beyoncé’s performance paid tribute or crossed the line into appropriation, the national conversation has been different. A whole hell of a lot of people on Fox News and in the right-wing sewers of the Internet have lost their damn minds. I am not going to link to the statements, ranging from the historically ignorant to the unabashedly racist, because that’s their game. But I will say that if you are comparing the Black Panthers to the KKK, like one police sergeant did on Facebook, you are only proving that the extent of your historical knowledge is what some asshole said on Twitter. It’s like “comparing Adolf Hitler to Richard Pryor because they both had mustaches.”
Yet despite the right-wing noise, Beyoncé’s performance has created space for a real conversation about the Black Panthers, beyond the caricature. It is a chance to get people to see the recent Stanley Nelson PBS documentary Vanguard of the Revolution or read The Black Panthers Speak or Seize The Time or any number of books. Just to give one example, the most illustrative, politically textured Panther memoir in my humble opinion is My People Are Rising by Seattle Black Panther Party founder Aaron Dixon. When Dixon’s book was released in 2012, I pushed people to read it on social media and among friends and was met with a tepid response. After Beyoncé’s performance, I went back and recommended it again. The reaction was off the chain.
Being in the Bay Area this week has also opened my eyes to another part of what made Beyoncé’s halftime performance matter. There are people here who have dedicated their lives to fighting police brutality — most recently in the form of the killing of Mario Woods — and for the rights of the homeless to not be treated like collateral damage of gentrification. They wanted the Super Bowl to be an opportunity to spotlight these issues for the country. Instead, they were met with a smothering police presence, indifferent media, and an NFL occupation that made swaths of their city resemble the Green Zone in Iraq.
And then came halftime. As activist Ragina Johnson said to me, “We were pushed to the margins. And then to have our movement, our struggle, our history, reflected at the Super Bowl? It turned one of the most disempowering weeks imaginable into all of us standing up and shouting, ‘Yes!’ It showed that they couldn’t silence us despite their best efforts.”
It really doesn’t matter if you think Beyoncé is a revolutionary or a canny marketer or a capitalist in Panther clothing. What matters is that a cry of resistance rose up inside the castle, even after they raised the drawbridge and put sharks with friggin’ lasers on their heads in the moat. That opens up spaces that did not exist before.
Beyoncé was extremely brave to do it — she “took the weight.” But her bravery is the product of courage being shown on a street-level throughout the country. She acted because so many people have put themselves on the line to make #blacklivesmatter not just a hashtag but a new moral reality. This is what hope and change actually looks like: It comes in black berets amid Budweiser and toe-fungus ads, telling 100 million people to remember the Black Panthers and to remember Mario Woods.
THE GLOBAL RECESSION IMPACT...
The recession has hit everybody really hard.
I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.
CEO's are now playing miniature golf.
Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.
A stripper was killed when her audience showered her with rolls of pennies while she danced.
I saw a Mormon with only one wife.
If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you call them and ask if they meant you or them.
McDonald's is selling the quarter-ouncer.
Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.
Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.
My cousin had an exorcism but couldn't afford to pay for it, and they re-possessed her!
A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.
A picture is now only worth 200 words.
When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.
The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.
I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call center in Pakistan, and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.
VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINE MAY 23, 2016 TO VOTE IN THE JUNE 7, 2016 PRIMARY ELECTION
Are you registered to vote? In order to vote in the June 7, 2016 Primary Election, you must register to vote by MONDAY, MAY 23, 2016 and your Voter Registration Form must be POSTMARKED by that date. Any Voter Registration Form postmarked after 5/23/16 will not be accepted by the Registrar of Voters, and you will not be able to vote in the June 7th Primary. Be sure your form is HAND STAMPED by your post office if you mail it at the last minute! You can register to vote at www.votolatino.org, www.rockthevote.com/register-to-vote/, and many other websites. You can find Voter Registration forms in your local post offices, libraries and at the DMV. As the struggle for Voting Rights continues, Protect and Respect your Precious Right To Vote!
REGISTER TODAY! Information at: www.sos.ca.gov or 707-884-4703
Educational Programs at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
February 20 Or March 19: Rhododendron Basic Care and Identification Learn to identify and care for Rhododendrons growing in your yard. Our cool coastal climate, acidic soils, and mild winters allow many beautiful cultivars and species to thrive. Dennis McKiver - president of the American Rhododendron Society’s local chapter - will teach proper planting and plant medium, fertilizing, pruning, as well as disease and pest control. Expand your collection by learning to choose the right hybrids and species for your area while touring the Rhododendron Collection at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Dennis McKiver has been growing and collecting Rhododendrons since 2001. His collection has over 1,000 hybrid and species Rhododendrons.
February 27: Seed Sowing and Saving Seed, soil, sunshine, water— The future of a plant species is dependent on its seed. We are dependent on our plants. We are dependent on plant seeds. Man has been saving seed throughout time. Learn to elevate your gardening experience to a sustainable level. MCBG Lead Gardener, Margaret Koski-Kent will teach basic seed saving and seed sowing techniques and procedures. Annual flowers, vegetables, and some perennials will be discussed.
March 5: How to Design Bee-Friendly Flower Gardens Flower-filled gardens make us happy and can support many species of bees and much other biodiversity beneficial to our gardens. We all desire our gardens to be full of color and interest for many months of the year, yet what flowers appeal to which bees and why? How can we put them together in compositions that work well with the parameters of our site and in color combinations that suit us, and cater to bee’s needs for many months of the year? This class offers many colorful examples of flower filled gardens that support bees. Kate Frey is a noted garden designer and consultant. She specializes in the creation of sustainable, organic, habitat gardens that reflect the climate conditions, soil and biodiversity of their locations and provide abundant habitat for pollinators through all four seasons of the year. Her recently published book on the subjectâ€”The Bee-Friendly Gardenâ€”will be available to purchase after the class.
All MCBG workshops meet in the Gardens Meeting Room from 10:00am to 12:00pm. $10 for members and Master Gardeners $20 for non-membersâ€”Includes Gardens admission for the day!
Class sizes are limited; sign up by phoning in your payment at 707-964-4352 ext. 16, or reserve your spot in person at The Garden Store: 18220 N Hwy 1, Fort Bragg.
TOWN HALL MEETING IN ELK
The June 7th election will have a question on the ballot, "Shall a Charter Commission be elected to propose a Mendocino County Charter?"
What is a charter, anyway?
The Charter project of Mendocino County will be starting the first of 10 Town Hall Meetings in Elk on February 28th at the Greenwood Community Center, 6121 Hwy One, Elk, CA, at 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.
Learn what is a county charter and how it provides limited home rule. Evaluate various possible provisions for the charter.
Keynote Speaker: Walt McRee, Chair of the Public Banking Institute, to address the benefits of a county public bank.
Also speaking will be 2 Charter Commission candidates as to why they are running: Norman de Vall and Doug McKenty.
Charter Commission candidate, Norman de Vall has been living in Elk for over 5 decades. He was the only Mendocino County Supervisor that was elected and re-elected 4 times. Norman is also a proponent of the Charter Project.
Charter Commission Candidate, Doug McKenty is a well known local broadcaster and radio host of "The Shift with Doug McKenty." Doug studied philosophy at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. Doug is also a long-time activist on issues of social, economic and environmental issues, and is a friend to local small farmers."
The event is free, featuring a refreshment fundraiser and a raffle fundraiser. All donations to support the Charter Project Town Hall meetings will be appreciated.
Submitted by Agnes Woolsey P.O. Box 163, Mendocino
The Charter Project of Mendocino County will be hosting a series of 10 Town Hall meetings around the county to introduce people to Charter Commission candidates for the June 7th election, and also to canvass the public about what they would like to see in a county charter.
What is a charter, anyway? What does home rule mean to Mendocino County? Get the answers at one of these Town Hall meetings.
The first Town Hall meeting will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016 at the Greenwood Community Center, 6129 S. Highway One in Elk from 10am to 12 noon.
We expect the June election will have a question on the ballot, "Shall a Charter Commission be elected to propose a Mendocino County Charter?" As yet, we still haven’t heard from the Registrar of Voters if we have enough valid signatures to get the question on the ballot, but we expect an affirmative answer.
If the question appears on the June ballot, there will also be candidates running for the post of Charter Commissioner. You will be able to vote for 15 of them in June.
Meet 2 Charter Commission candidates: Norman de Vall has been living in Elk for over 5 decades. He was one of the few Mendocino County Supervisors that were elected and re-elected 4 times. Norman is also a strong proponent of the Charter Project. Doug McKenty is the well-known local broadcaster and radio host of The Shift with Doug McKenty. Doug studied philosophy at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. Doug is also a long-time activist on issues of social, economic and environmental issues, and is a friend to local small farmers.
We are delighted to feature guest speaker Walt McRee, Chair of the Public Banking Institute, to address the benefits of a county public bank.
Free admission. Refreshments by donation. Raffle fundraiser. Help us pay for these 10 Town Hall meetings with your financial support.
All registered voters are welcome!
More information is available on our website: http://mendocinocountycharter.org. You can also take the opportunity to donate online there.
Unless and until we return to the concept of one person-one vote we will continue to be corrupted by the 1% .
Who are the 1%? Not just the billionaires, not just the global corporations, but also the congressmen and congresswomen who have been bought by them.
Unless and until the next President says publically that he or she will not appoint anyone to the U.S. Supreme Court who will not vote to overturn Citizens United; unless and until every person running for US Senator and US Congressperson will say publicly that he or she will vote for a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United; then and only then will democracy return to America.
Bernie has said this, but simply getting millions of people involved in the political process that are not now involved is not enough. The issue above must be relentlessly pounded, to make sure that their involvement is to revoke Citizens United. Otherwise there just be more of the same in different disguises.
Still in Virginia
AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME
Have you ever seen NASCAR drivers decked out in the logos of their sponsors? Everyone knows which corporations write their checks, pay their bills, and has their support. In California, a group is leading a legislative initiative with a similar idea — but for politicians. It’s called the *California Is Not For Sale ballot initiative*. This initiative will make California’s politicians wear the logos of their top campaign donors when they are on the floor of the Assembly and the Senate. But to successfully get it on the 2016 ballot, they need your help in collecting signatures.
Download and sign the petition today and get your friends and family to sign up too!
To help circulate the petition and coordinate volunteers, please visit this page.
This is a creative way to bring to light political corruption in California politics and send a message to the rest of the country about the absurd level in which big money influences Washington. Help make it happen by joining this momentous legislative push.
— The Stamp Stampede Team
LET'S HEAR IT FOR GUAN YIN!
Warmest spiritual greetings,
Water-Moon Goddess Guan Yin's birthday is celebrated this year on March 27th. This day is ultra-auspicious, and is a rare opportunity to express your love for the reflection of the spiritual Absolute, who gazes at the reflection of the moon in water (which symbolizes the inherent emptiness of all phenomena). Her smile imparts confidence, for all activities in the defense of Mother Earth.
Her mantram is: Namo Guan Shi Yin Pusa
- Lotus Sutra, Chapter 25, the Universal Door Chapter (part 1)
- Lotus Sutra, Chapter 25, the Universal Door Chapter (part 2)
Historical information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanyin
PLEASE SHARE THIS DIRECT ACTION CALLOUT
THINGS ARE LOOKING UP. Friday 9pm 107.7fm KNYO-LP
Fort Bragg and midnight to 3am 105.1 KMEC Ukiah.
I've got a really big shoe shaping up for tonight. Mitch Clogg says he'll call and read from his new book. And there's lots of scientific and sociological information, whimsical tear-jerking melodrama, and a judicious pinch of hoopla, for the bubala in all of us.
Which reminds me -- I'm doing the show by live remote from Juanita's house, so not at the studio on Franklin in Fort Bragg, but I'll be back in Fort Bragg for the Feb. 19 show, so if you want to come by then and show off your musical chops or talk on the air about your project, or whatever, do that. When you can't be here now, be there then. And, as always, if you'd like your own radio show time to do with as you please, that's your right, and it's quickly arranged.
Go to http://knyo.org and email Bob and he'll get back to you and tell you everything you need to know. It's easy and fun.