Mendocino County Today: Monday, May 9, 2016
by AVA News Service, May 8, 2016
NAVARRO RIVER WATCH
PAUL McCARTHY: "In regards to the Navarro River — no mystery — the high tide is throwing water over the sandbar and it is accumulating causing the river to rise. Last December, if you remember, CA-128 was actually closed because of this effect (the sandbar was significantly larger in height)."
MIKE KALANTARIAN: "Re: 'And then the Navarro River water level and flow dropped like a rock.' This big drop (3.02 to 2.85 feet) happened between 2 and 4 pm yesterday (Saturday). High tide was at 1pm. I wonder if the river breached then, thus causing the drop."
WAY TO PRIVATIZE, MENDO!
$46.8 MILLION is the figure the Supes will mull over. It's the amount the County has spent on its privatized mental health services over the past three years.
HELL, call it $47 mil, but also call it an irrefutable argument for Sheriff Allman's proposed central psych center, our very own in-County nuthouse, not to put too fine a point on it. Obviously, for the spectacular amounts of money being spent annually on invisible services for the mentally ill, a County-run facility could be accomplished for much less.
OBSTACLES? The existing top heavy existing mental health apparatus for sure and, perhaps, the Supervisors themselves who will be reluctant to battle the existing, and howlingly ineffective apparatus, that they will now be working under a new Get 'Er Done approach to the mentally ill, which I hope will include habitual drop-fall drunks and the people driven 5150 by crank.
DEPARTMENT OF UNINTENTIONAL HUMOR
The lead story in last week's ICO by my old pal Chris McManus, is called, "Cinco de Mayo sign defaced by vandal with political agenda."
The horror, the horror! Someone has scrawled "Trump" on the poster!
The indignant remarks cited by Ms. McManus are hilarious. "Can't believe it happened in this community!" "Immature." Norma Orozco: "This should be treated as a hate crime and investigated. This is not OK and I am saddened and scared for my community."
Hey, me, too. It's sad and scary that people can be saddened and scared by graffiti.
IF THE MENDOCINO REDWOOD COMPANY has spent the $197,000 they confess to spending to prevent passage of Measure V, where are they spending it? Apart from a few ineffectual ads in local publications (except this one, of course) MRC's anti-V effort is invisible.
MEASURE V is on the June ballot. It will pass easily as voters will agree that it's bad mojo to leave standing hundreds of chemically-killed, non-commercial trees. Enhanced fire hazard, poison runoff, imperiled firefighters and so on make the practice untenable for the neighborhoods surrounding MRC's vast holdings. The irony here is that apart from their commitment to industrial chemicals, MRC's forest practices have been far superior to their predecessors, L-P and G-P.
UKIAH HOTEL STUDY A WASTE
We agree with Ukiah Council Council members Maureen Mulheren and Steve Scalmanini that spending $30,000 on consultants to tell us if we need a high end hotel downtown is a waste of money. First of all, it has been clear since former City Manager Chuck Rough insisted on using the city’s very first redevelopment bond for a downtown conference center, that the thing would be a bust without a downtown hotel somewhere near it. That was 20 years ago, and indeed the conference center has been a complete bust. All the big regional conferences that the citizens were promised would transform the downtown never came. Why? It’s obvious: no hotel. What we believe the city actually should spend money on, is a study of what to do about the old Mendocino County courthouse when the judges move out to new digs on Perkins Street. We have the potential for another huge, empty eyesore in the heart of downtown. Business owners along School Street and its environs are far more concerned about what is going to happen to that huge structure than they are about having a high end hotel downtown. The state will likely be willing to give the building back to the locals in one form or another and may even be convinced to spend some money helping to refurbish it. But we, as the local community, need to be ready to start pushing for what we want to happen. And that will take some study. We need to know who will own it, what the requirements to reuse it will be, where the potential funding for its continued use is, what it can be used for, what it should be used for. Hotel downtown? Sure. If some hotel builders think there is a place and a need, where have they been hiding? But let’s start looking at the next steps for the soon-to-be courthouse white elephant. That’s where the downtown’s future really hangs in the balance.
— K.C. Meadows, Editor, the Ukiah Daily Journal
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
RECOMMENDED VIEWING, kind of, maybe, like, one thumb up: Hologram for the King, based on the novel by Dave Eggers, the movie starring a lethargic Tom Hanks. I liked the novel because I like Eggers' work generally, and I liked the novel for the same reason I kinda liked the movie because you get a travelogue-like look at Saudi Arabia, about which I, like most people, know little-to-nothing. The movie, filmed in the Kingdom of Saud, provides lots of interesting visuals which, of course, do not include the weekly executions for violations of the King's law. (Steal something? There go your hands. Love the wrong person? Both of you get your heads lopped off. Political objections to The Great Satan? Here come the Saudi hijackers and there go the Twin Towers.) The movie is faithful to the novel but goes from one episode to the next without much, or any, explanation of how we got from trying to hustle the Arabs for a big techno-contract to a love affair between Hanks and an improbably beautiful Saudi doctor. (Hey! It's an American movie. Everyone is improbably good looking.) I thought the scenes shot in the Saudi palaces and some of the desert shots were worth the follow-the-bouncing ball of the story line.
I MIGHT BE the last person to know about two excellent documentaries produced by ESPN, 30 for 30 and Fantastic Lies. 30's about the insane heir to the Dupont fortune who murders an Olympic champion wrestler named Dave Schultz. (This documentary film serves as a factual answer to the fanciful Hollywood version called Foxcatcher.) Dupont, a frustrated athlete, created a miniature Olympic Village on his Connecticut family estate for wrestlers and swimmers and, as time passes, gets crazier and crazier, his paranoia apparently exacerbated by cocaine. When Dupont starts carrying guns around the estate and shooting at imaginary menaces he also begins complaining about Schultz, a true friend and obviously nice man who you wish would have gotten the hell outta there when it was clear that Dupont is over the side. Dupont finally wigs out completely and shoots Schultz, a family man with a young wife and two small children. Schultz thought he could handle DuPont's craziness, but… It's a fascinating story of how much more dangerous rich nuts can be than poor nuts, the larger example being our government.
FANTASTIC LIES is another ESPN doc that tells the depressing but emblematic story of the Duke University Lacrosse team falsely accused of rape and racism. A totally unprincipled DA teams up with the usual campus "activists" of the malignant type who are on perpetual red alert to hurt someone, and anyone will do, especially white males. Duke's spineless president and faculty jump on the accused even before charges are filed, and jump harder when a corrupt cop and the lunatic DA finally bring charges based on falsified dna evidence. The three falsely accused Duke lacrosse players are nearly destroyed, and would have been destroyed if they were poor. (Only one lady journalist said Sorry.) The DA was eventually disbarred and sent to jail for a symbolic day. The corrupt cop had the integrity, finally, to kill himself. The sorry chain of lynch mob-like events was set in motion when a deranged black woman claims she was raped by the rich, white, privileged degenerates, youth division, who'd hired her to "perform." The young woman's aunt is on film all along warning anybody who would listen that the young woman is "not right in the head." My only beef with the film is that it didn't question any of the lacrosse jocks about why they thought hiring a black stripper (or a white one) was an acceptable way to amuse themselves. The stripper is in prison for shooting and killing her boyfriend. Duke paid a fortune in damages to the falsely accused.
AS A VETERAN OF HOSPITALITY HOUSE I can tell you it is a program that I am grateful for. But as a transient from another state, I think it’s useful to note that I was the only one at the shelter who had, much less even wanted, a job. And all the others, save one, were locals. One other out-of-state guy was there, and he ended up being hired by Hospitality House, and still works for them. They knew better than to hire any of the locals, it seemed. Very few street people want a hand up. A hand up to what? Some shit job that pays so little you have to struggle, scrape, worry, and scrounge every waking minute of your life just to pay the exorbitant rent and utilities — with absolutely nothing left over? People are smarter than that. The attitude of everyone I knew at Hospitality House was fatalistic but pragmatic: “If I’m never going to get anywhere in this system of rackets and users, then screw it, let’s go sit under the Noyo bridge, crack open a stovepipe and light a joint!” There are no decent jobs in Fort Bragg or anywhere else. They all went to places like Utar Pradesh and Islamabad. And where is this restaurant where you can earn enough to live on? Geesh, you couldn’t rent the basement of an outhouse on what they pay a prep cook or dishwasher. And after you work your way up to line cook after three years (waiting for the guy ahead of you to die, because he can’t afford to retire), you’d have to steal food from the restaurant to eat because rent would take all your pay. It’s all over, the myth of the “productive member of society” has been blown up, and those who continue to struggle and strive are soon to hit the streets as well. Better to have a facility to handle them, and since they will be downtown anyway — where else can they go? — The cops roust them out of every other place — might as well be the old hotel.
(— Bruce McEwen)
INJURED EYELID & NECK = FELONY DOMESTIC BATTERY
On May 6, 2016 at about 12:46 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a domestic violence incident in the 32000 block of North Harbor Drive in Fort Bragg, California. Upon arrival Deputies learned Leanna Rene Jasper, 36, of Fort Bragg, and a 39 year-old male had been in a dating relationship and cohabiting for the past year. The 39 year-old male and Jasper engaged in a verbal argument when it escalated into a physical altercation. The 39 year-old male left the couple's residence and was followed by Jasper in her vehicle. Deputies observed visible injuries to the 39 year-old male's right eyelid and neck which was reportedly sustained during the physical altercation. Jasper was arrested for felony domestic violence battery and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
* * *
PROPERTY DISPUTE ERUPTS IN ATTEMPTED MURDER
On May 1, 2016 at approximately 8:50 PM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a possible assault in the 6000 block of Big John Road in Willits, California. Upon arrival the Deputies learned a 64 year-old male and Brett Raymond Cooper, 57, of Willits, had been in a dispute over property for several years.
On 05-01-2016 at approximately 4:00 PM, Cooper arrived at the 64 year-old male's home armed with a 12-gauge shotgun. Cooper threatened to kill the 64 year-old male and then discharged a round through a window near where the 64 year-old male was sitting. Cooper then held the 64 year-old male at gunpoint and forced him to lay face down on a bed. Copper held the gun to the 64 year-old male's head and threatened to kill him before discharging a round into the bedroom wall. Cooper forced the 64 year-old male to open his gun safe, taking two shotguns and two handguns with him before leaving the home. After Cooper drove away, the 64 year-old male went to a nearby residence and called law enforcement. Cooper was subsequently arrested for kidnapping, reckless discharge of a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threats. Cooper was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $600,000 bail.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 8, 2016
Barajas, Figueroa, Harrison
LUIS BARAJAS, Ukiah. Sexual penetration of minor under 18, lewd-lascivious with child under 14.
CLAYTON FIGUEROA, Redwood Valley. Domestic battery, destruction of cellphone to prevent call for help, probation revocation.
BRANDON HARRISON, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
Hoaglin, McGrath, McWhinney
KEISHA HOAGLIN, Covelo. Evasion, probation revocation.
MICHELLE MCGRATH, Chico. Obtaining vehicle by theft or extortion.
ADRIAN MCWHINNEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation.
Nhuy, Pickering, Smith
SOBIN NHUY, Bakersfield/Fort Bragg. Parole violation.
CASEY PICKERING, Willits. Drunk in public.
TERESA SMITH, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
Stone, Villavicencio, Wilson
PATRICIA STONE, Boonville. Petty theft, receipt of stolen property, possession of injection-smoking device.
GIOVANNI VILLAVICENCIO, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Drunk in public.
SEAN WILSON, Willits. Leaded cane, billy, blackjack, slungshot, sandclub, sap or sandbag, protective order violation.
MCDONALD'S TESTING OUT NEW GARLIC FRIES IN THE BAY AREA
by Dianne de Guzman
Finally. The Bay Area is being tasked with test driving a fast-food menu item — and it actually looks good.
The "made to order" fries are tossed in a "puree mix" of garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, parsley and salt and were officially announced Tuesday.
Looks like the food trend of locally sourced ingredients has made its way to McDonald's. The fast food chain is experimenting with creating menu items with "regional flavors and food" and has been testing the fries locally since April 18. McDonald's is using garlic from Christopher Ranch, based in Gilroy, for the puree mix the fries are tossed in.
Lucky for us, garlic is pretty much a slam dunk for anything it's added to, thus the fries should not be a tough sell with customers.
If all goes well, the fries will be available at nearly 250 McDonald's locations in the Bay Area, as of August, according to the press release.
So far, the customer response to the fries "has been very positive," said Nick Vergis, McDonald's co-op president for the San Francisco Bay Area, in a released statement.
"Being that we're located close to the 'Garlic Capitol of the World,' it was only natural that we'd want to create an offering that showcases this local flavor," Vergis said in an email to SFGATE. "Gilroy Garlic Fries are such an iconic offering to the Bay Area, and we're excited to hear our customers' feedback."
Want to try out the new fries? McDonald's confirmed the four Bay Area locations that has the goods:
- 3509 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara, CA
- 2191 Monterey Rd., San Jose, CA
- 1398 W. San Carlos St., San Jose, CA
- 4838 San Felipe Rd., San Jose, CA
IT COULD HAPPEN HERE:
APOSTATE VEGANS UNDER FIRE
Owners of popular LA vegan eatery Cafe Gratitude receiving death threats after pair reveal they have started eating meat again — and are slaughtering some of their animals
by Chris Spargo
The owners behind one of the the US’s most beloved and famous chains of vegan restaurants have come under attack after making the decision to start eating meat again — and even slaughtering their own animals.
Terces Engelhart wrote in a blog post last March that she and her husband Matthew, the founders and owners of Cafe Gratitude, were reintroducing meat into their diets after decades as either vegetarians or at times vegans.
The two already consumed dairy and eggs from the animals on their farm in northern California at the time, and now they would be eating some meat that on occasion would come from their own cows that had grown old and had to be put down.
The news seemed to go largely unnoticed until recently, and now the two claim they are receiving death threats and there are calls to boycott their restaurants.
“People have taken up the mob mentality,” Matthew said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“It saddens me that the choices we made in the privacy of our home would lead people to feel so betrayed that it's elevated to threats on our lives. I'm very discouraged.”
The Engleharts, before dinner
The two certainly were not trying to hide anything it would seem, with a photo from March 2015 also showing Matthew as he ate his first hamburger in 40 years.
“Here is Matthew’s response to someone’s questioning our adding meat to our diet, a great question,” wrote Terces with the photo.
“Perhaps I’ve failed to explain adequately why I would pursue the path of eating flesh after 40 years of vegetarianism. The answer is non-violence but non-violence to the whole system, all species. Agriculture is the most violent destructive force on the planet. It has caused the extinction of more species then any other activity.”
The issue does seem to be very divisive, with some saying it is ridiculous to be upset with the couple and others accusing them of being traitors to the vegan lifestyle.
Jason Wrobel, a raw food chef who can be seen on the Cooking Channel, wrote an open letter about the situation attacking the couple.
“People feel misled, deliberately lied to and that a business they've so lovingly supported for many years has lost its way. I feel that my hard-earned money has been used for purposes that are unethical, cruel and out-of-alignment with my values,” wrote Wrobel. “And I strongly feel that a more public announcement from the company should have been made about the practices at the farm, not tucked away in some obscure blog post.”
The letter was later taken down from his website.
Michael still seems shocked though by these responses, and the calls to ban the restaurant.
There is even a Facebook page that has been set up where people can write about the establishment and join in the ban.
“I don't think there's any organization on the planet that's done more to promote a plant-based diet than us,” said Matthew. “We've moved it from a dogma to a genre. We serve 28,000 meals a week in all of our enterprises. We've done nothing but a plant-based diet at our restaurants and we're being attacked. It doesn't make sense to me.”
He later added; “Somehow we got made mom and dad of some vegan movement. We never signed up for that. It's crazy. Do [the protestors] check in on the diets of every other vegan restaurant owner? Do they check in on the diets of the owners of Whole Foods? We are baffled. And believe me there are lots of vegan enterprises where the principals are not vegan, or they have other enterprises that are not vegan. I am allowed to change my mind. And by the way, I never even told them what my mind was. All I told them was it's a vegan restaurant. And it still is! And it always will be!”
(Courtesy, the Daily Mail on-line)
BAD WORDS & MENDO PUBLIC RADIO
Re: Safe Harbor at KZYX (http://theava.com/archives/55909#24)
In fact, just about every time I have tuned to KZYX in the last year there have been swears aired, and not just in the Safe Harbor hours. There was a Women's Voices show at 7pm around Xmastime, during Mary Aigner's reign, where a woman in a recorded speech about the New Age and comets and the transformational vibratory power of wymyn ejaculated a few choice swears, for example. I was listening in the car, and when I got to where I can use high-speed I went to the website and saved it, you know, to be able to bring it up later in conversation and back the story up. And there are swears in music on other shows, of course; you're right about swears in popular music played on thousands of radio stations regardless of time of day and how stupid it would be to require a deejay (or a special employee — yes, that's right; they actually have a special employee for this at KZYX now) to listen to every new song (!) and vet it for nursery suitability. (When I had a show on KMFB in the early 1980s, the entire record library there had been vandalized by a station manager from the Matt Huber era who went through the thousands of LPs on the yards and yards of shelves and took a screwdriver and gouged a divot across every track whose content offended him.)
Mary Aigner, when in her terrible power at KZYX, used swears in music and speech solely as an excuse to eject and keep out airpeople she didn't like, not because they were doing bad radio — they weren't — but because they just bugged her by not constantly kowtowing properly to her. Ones she liked could stab a kitten to death and keep their show. That's all there was to it.
Now, Lorraine Dechter probably won't allow Machiavellian retaliation of the Mary Aigner kind. We don't know yet. Lorraine has only been there for a couple of months.
My show hasn't been on the air on KZYX for a quarter of a century. When Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is scheduled on KZYX, you'll have some indication that things have really changed for the better, and that the old days are over. Until then, not.
Talking and writing to the board doesn't do any good; it's like talking to a wall. Keep it up — I will, too — but there's zero indication that the individual boardmembers even get what you write to them by using the form buried in the website. I wrote to them a week ago and none of them replied. I've written to Raoul every week since he moved in; he's never replied, even to say, "Got your email, thanks." Lorraine invited me to talk to her and she gave me an hour and a half, and that was encouraging, but however wonderful and soothing a den mother Lorraine is, the job of managing KZYX is not worth $5,000 a month, especially with an office full of superfluous chair-fillers collectively getting even more than that for doing make-work projects that really the manager should either be doing herself or generating shortcuts for or outright rejecting as nonsense.
If the bosses are being paid for whatever they imagine they're doing, the airpeople should be paid for their best work, encouraging them to do their best work, even — especially — the ones who swear like Volga bargemen (the kid they've got on Saturday night plays a great show). And freedom of speech has to mean freedom of speech, because otherwise no words mean anything at all.
DON DUNCAN died seven years ago. The NY Times ran his obit today:
and when I made it to the midwest.
"…But I always thought I'd see you again."
I knew he'd wound up in Indiana and figured I'd call on him if
— Fred Gardner
AVA, THE NEXT GENERATION!
BITCOIN & THE SILK ROAD
Silk Road was an online drug market, set up by a charming, handsome, 26-year-old Texan named Ross Ulbricht. Ulbricht, who has an undergraduate degree in physics and a master’s in materials science and engineering, was (is) a strange, very 21st century combination of driven and feckless. He was not the first and will not be the last person to be led astray by a dream of the internet start-up route to billions. While doing his second degree, Ulbricht contracted a bad case of Austrian School economics, and become convinced that government and taxation were essentially coercive systems. (This revelation occurred while he was attending Penn State, a publicly funded university.) So — to fast forward slightly — he set up an online exchange where buyers and sellers could meet to trade anything that did not involve doing harm to others: what that meant in practice was no to child pornography, but a big yes to fake IDs, guns and, especially, drugs. The exchange was accessible only via Tor, the highly secure internet browser which hides the location of users so successfully that it is a great favorite of terrorists and pedophiles. (You may be wondering: who could possibly have created such an evil piece of software like Tor? Answer: the US Navy. It invented and indeed maintains Tor as a means of communicating with spies and informants, and a tool for dissidents in totalitarian regimes. The next time you hear a securocrat talking about the need to expand internet surveillance, you may find yourself wondering why our allies invented, distributed and continue to support the single most effective web tool for terrorists, criminals and pedophiles. The answer is that the security classes think the usefulness of Tor outweighs the harm it causes. Except that perspective often seems to escape our leaders when they’re talking about the need to spy on us.)
Tor gives anonymity and geographical unlocatability to all its users; bitcoin gave an anonymous, non-locatable way of transferring payment. The result for Silk Road, which combined the two, was explosive growth. Within two years, Silk Road was one of the most successful internet enterprises in the world, and had attracted a buyer willing to offer $1 billion. The man running it went by the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, an attempt by Ulbricht to imply that the person behind the site had changed over time, since in The Princess Bride the identity of the DPR is handed down from one incumbent to the next. In 2013 Dread Pirate Roberts told a reporter in an encrypted internet chat that he now thought the site was worth ten or eleven figures. If his business had been legal, that estimate probably would have been accurate.
Ulbricht had, however, made a mistake. Once, and only once, in the early days of Silk Road, he had used his real email address in a forum discussion which clearly showed his involvement in running the site. He realized it and quickly deleted the post, but it had already been archived, and so when the Feds came looking, they found the email address, giving them a prime suspect for DPR.
By now Silk Road was a flagrant, brazen taunting of the US legal system. “Every single transaction is a victory,” DPR announced, over the “thieving murderous” state.
DPR had a book club. It featured lots of Austrian School economics. He was in favor of a world in which “the human spirit flourishes, unbridled, wild and free!” “Once you’ve seen what’s possible, how can you do otherwise? How can you plug yourself into the tax eating, life sucking, violent, sadistic, war mongering, oppressive machine ever again? How can you kneel when you’ve felt the power of your own legs?” Elevated sentiments, but in reality Ulbricht was paranoid, terrified, and had even gone so far as to commission assassinations of potential informers.
One of the would-be murderers was an FBI plant. The other commissioned killing had an unknown outcome, because nobody seems to have been murdered: the most likely explanation is that somebody or bodies pretended to be hitmen in order to con Ulbricht out of money. (Neither case has come to trial.) Dread Pirate Roberts had completely lost his marbles.
That didn’t make him any easier to catch. It’s not that Ulbricht nearly got away with it: he didn’t. He was nonetheless hard to pin down, because, even once the Feds knew who he was and what he was doing, that combination of Tor and bitcoin was still powerful. To convict him they would have to not just catch him at it, but grab the computer out of his hands while he was in the middle of criminal activity. Otherwise there would be no way to link him with the activities on Silk Road. “Put yourself in the shoes of a prosecutor trying to build a case against you,” DPR said in an online chat. “Realistically the only way for them to prove anything would be for them to watch you log in and do your work.”
Ulbricht had set up a system whereby simply closing his computer would permanently encrypt his hard drive. He could do the same just by hitting a couple of keys. They would have literally to snatch the machine out of his hands before he could so much as touch the keyboard. The Feds would have one chance and one chance only to catch him, and they would have to grab him at his computer while he was logged in as DPR and running Silk Road.
So that’s what they did.
On October 1, 2013 Ulbricht was sitting in a public library in San Francisco, logged into Silk Road via the library’s wifi. He was in an online chat with an FBI agent whose job was to make sure Ulbricht was still online when his colleagues swooped. Ulbricht was at a desk across from a slight young Asian woman when a couple of typical San Francisco street people began arguing loudly just behind him. He turned to look, and the young woman grabbed his laptop: she was an FBI agent. So were the street people. Nice one, the Feds. Ulbricht was logged into Silk Road under the account “/Mastermind.” Game over for Dread Pirate Roberts. Ulbricht went on trial in 2015, was convicted, and is serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole.
There are several morals to this crazy, sad, fascinating story, brilliantly told in two long pieces of Wired reportage by Joshuah Bearman, and also in Digital Gold.
From the bitcoin point of view, Silk Road was evidence for the largely but not entirely true maxim that there is no such thing as bad publicity. The first thing many outsiders heard of bitcoin was the collapse of Silk Road. You might have thought that the connection between the new kind of money and the new kind of criminal enterprise was off-putting, but it didn’t work like that, mainly, I think, because the scandal/disaster of Silk Road contained a nugget of public relations magic for bitcoin: it showed that the currency has value. You could use bitcoin to buy and sell actual real world things that people want, stuff like cocaine and handguns and fake driver’s licenses. If the money was good to buy those things, it would be good for other stuff too.
This speaks to the first and loudest and most persistent doubt most civilians have about bitcoin: why on earth it has any value at all. The truthful answer — which concerns the arbitrary basis of all monetary value — tends not to reassure skeptics. What Silk Road provided was a proof which went beyond argument: it showed that it just does, OK?
This point was all too convincing for some of the officials involved. In a twist which would seem too rich in a work of fiction, two of the agents who hunted DPR, Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges and DEA man Carl Force (!) turned out to have stolen bitcoin from DPR. They pleaded guilty to charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice. Force got 78 months and Bridges 71. Even federal agents fell victim to the siren call of the anonymous currency.
In the process of arresting Ulbricht and shutting down Silk Road, the FBI became one of the world’s larger owners of bitcoin, because it seized the site’s considerable assets: 144,000 bitcoin, worth $63.5 million at today’s prices. It was a point of interest what it would do with them, and a point of danger, too, since it seemed possible that once the new currency had the attention of the authorities, they might conclude that this extra-governmental, anonymous, untraceable money was, in and of its own nature, illegal. Instead, what the FBI did, after thinking for a bit, was what it does to other confiscated assets: auction them off. The implicit point was not missed: the Feds say bitcoin is legal. It follows that bitcoin has legitimate uses. That was a strong message. Bitcoin emerged from Silk Road in better shape than ever.
— John Lanchester (Courtesy, the London Review of Books)
Now, I don't know, I don't know where I'm a gonna go
when the volcano blow.
Let me say it now,
I don't know, I don't know where I'm a gonna go
when the volcano blow.
Ground, she movin' under me.
Tidal waves out on the sea.
Sulphur smoke up in the sky.
Pretty soon we learn to fly
Let me hear you, now
I don't know, I don't know where I'm a gonna go
when the volcano blow.
Let me hear you now.
I don't know, I don't know where I'm a gonna go
when the volcano blow.
My girl quickly say to me,
"Mon you better watch your feet."
Lava come down soft and hot.
"You better lava me now or lava me not.
No time to count what I'm worth,
cause I just left the planet Earth.
Where I go I hope there's rum.
Not to worry mon soon come.
But I don't want to land in New York City,
I don't want to land in Mexico.
I don't want to land on no Three Mile Island;
I don't want to see my skin a-glow.
Don't want to land in Comanche Sky Park,
or in Nashville, Tennessee.
I don't want to land in no San Juan airport or
the Yukon Territory.
Don't want to land no San Diego.
Don't want to land in no Buzzards Bay.
I don't want to land on no Ayatolla.
I got nothin' more to say.
JOHN SAKOWICZ WRITES:
Pictured below: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and myself, with Keith Conova, cousin of Tim Conova, at a Bernie Sanders rally at the Ukiah Conference Center on Saturday, 8 May 2016.
Elected in 2012, Tulsi Gabbard is the first American Samoan and the first Hindu member of the United States Congress, and, along with Tammy Duckworth, one of its first female combat veterans. She has been the United States Representative for Hawaii's 2nd congressional district since 2013. She was also a vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee until 28 February 2016, when she resigned in order to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
Keith Conova is the cousin of Tim Conova.
Tim Conova is the law professor, and banking and finance expert, who is running against Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the U.S. Representative for Florida's 23rd congressional district, and the unabashedly pro-Clinton Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Canova is an American political newcomer, As noted, he is challenging the incumbent, strongly entrenched, and well-financed, Democratic National Committee chair, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. He has refused corporate and "Super PAC" financing of his campaign.
Tim Canova has been a repeat guest on my show at KMEC Radio and KZYX.
Bernie Sanders has criticized Wasserman Schultz's decision to schedule only six debates in the 2016 Presidential Primary, far fewer than in previous election cycles. Sanders has also criticized the timing of these debates, saying that the debates are intentionally scheduled to get few viewers, such as the 19 December 2016 debate that was held at the same time as an NFL football game, in order to protect Hillary Clinton's lead as the front runner. Critics of the placing of the debates at times with few viewers have included supporters of Clinton who are concerned that this gives the Republicans a lot of free airtime at key points in the race. Sanders campaign claimed on 18 December 2015 that the Democratic National Committee — chaired by Schultz — was "actively attempting to undermine" his campaign, when the DNC denied the Sanders campaign future access to the party's 50-state voter file.
Furthermore, Wasserman Schultz has been criticized for her handling of a data breach of the NGP Van system, a Democratic voter database, for shutting down access by Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. "the national committee and the Sanders campaign said they had come to an agreement to restore the campaign’s access to the voter file. which resulted in access to the VAN system being restored the next day.
Bill Moyers, former press secretary to President Kennedy who was host of the Public Broadcasting System's Moyers and Company, has cited such conflicts in calling for Wasserman Schultz to step down from her post as DNC Chair.
Such conflicts caused Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard to resign as Vice Chair of Democratic National Committee.
I was honored to have met Tulsi Gabbard on Saturday with Tim Conova's cousin, Keith, who lives in Ukiah.