- Mendocino County
- Anderson Valley
by AVA News Service, May 28, 2016
RAOUL IS OUT
WE'RE SORRY to see KZYX’s recently hired program director, Raoul van Hall leave after such a brief time in place. We enjoyed cordial relations with him and found him to be pleasant and smart.
HE EXPLAINS why he left:
Ultimately, there were several factors that made me decide to leave. For the record, it wasn't the volunteers, the staff, the board or the self-appointed 'community radio police' that drove me away. It was internal politics. It was also something else… I basically retired a couple years ago. After the passing of my girlfriend, I decided to leave Portland and work at one last radio station for the final chapter of my career. What I'd hoped for was a gathering of artisans and intellectuals within a group of volunteers and staff working towards common goals. And a radio station that was at the hub of a beautiful and peaceful place. What I found instead at KZYX was a microcosm of what's wrong with society in general: nastiness and a lack of civil discourse. And also a level of cronyism that was going to prevent me from being effective at my job — or being happy. While I certainly met some great people at KZYX and in the community, the growing list of negatives finally made the decision easy. Since I don't really need to work full-time anymore, it wasn't worth it. I'll be quite content working from my home studio again. Thank you for being an open and welcoming person with me while I was there. I wish you great health and success. And happiness.
Raoul van Hall
Audio Arts LLC
On the Air - In the Air - Online
Portland, Oregon USA
* * *
ALLOW US TO SPECULATE a bit on what Mr. van Hall is saying: He tried to make a couple of simple, cautious but obviously needed improvements by proposing the replacement of one or two of the old-line (music) programmers, but the push back was strident and angry because (insert name here) would only give up his/her program if you pried it from his/her cold, dead hands. And if you wonder why the same long over-the-hill on-air people (mostly music programmers, decidedly not “artisans and intellectuals”) have been in place doing the same boring schtick for going on three decades now…
TUESDAY'S UNSEASONABLE downpour pounded down for about ten minutes in Boonville, but not enough to raise the creeks or move the trash. But in the Ukiah-Hopland area it rained hard enough to cause the Russian River to run flood-stage brown, causing me some alarm as I drove south between Hopland and Cloverdale Wednesday afternoon. I couldn't account for it. Feared some kind of calamity. Hadn't known it had rained harder and longer in the Ukiah Valley. The flow data from the gage at Cloverdale shows that there was a slight bump up in flow to just over 200 cfs with a corresponding bump up in depth to almost three feet. The point? All our valleys have different weather.
SWEETING ASSUMED MURDERED; SUSPECT ARRESTED
On Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at approximately 7:08 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were called regarding a possible physical assault that occurred the previous day at a residence located in the 23500 block of Road 337D [Also known as Charlie Hurt Highway] in Covelo, California. Upon arrival, Deputies found evidence of a physical assault and contacted potential witnesses. During this initial investigation, Deputies learned Joshua Richard Ruoff had been witnessed assaulting Timothy William Sweeting with a blunt object on 05-17-2016. Deputies began a missing persons investigation regarding as Sweeting's whereabouts were unknown and he had no recent contacted with family or friends since the alleged physical assault.
Sweeting's vehicle, a white 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe was missing and Ruoff's whereabouts were also unknown. Detectives from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Investigative Services Bureau responded to the residence where the scene was further examined. The scene was processed with the assistance of investigators from the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office and criminalists from the California Department of Justice. During the follow up investigations, Sweeting was not located and was considered to be a missing person under suspicious circumstances.
On 05-19-2016 Sweeting's vehicle was located on Mendocino Pass Road, parked on the side of the roadway about a mile from the residence. As the investigation continued, it was learned Ruoff had rented a U-Haul truck and left the area for the state New Hampshire, where he previously resided. Detectives contacted the New Hampshire State Police Major Crimes Unit and requested their assistance. The investigation continued and evidence was gathered, including witness statements and physical evidence that supported the belief that Ruoff had murdered Sweeting and disposed of his body. Initially a felony arrest warrant was sought and issued for Ruoff for felonious assault with a deadly weapon, and on 05-23-2016 the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office filed charges seeking an arrest warrant for murder against Ruoff.
On 05-23-2016 the New Hampshire State Police Narcotics and Investigations Unit located and arrested Ruoff in Concord, New Hampshire. Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives traveled to New Hampshire on 05-23-2016 and continued investigations for 2 days with the assistance of the New Hampshire State Police. Multiple search warrants were served by the New Hampshire State Police at the request of the Sheriff's Detectives. During the two days in New Hampshire additional evidence was gathered to support the belief Ruoff had murdered Sweeting.
Ruoff was booked into the Merrimack County Jail (Concord, New Hampshire) where he was to be held on a no bail status. Ruoff was challenging extradition to Mendocino County and the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office is working on getting him extradited to Mendocino County. At this time, the remains of Sweeting have not been located and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone who may have information about this case to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Investigative Services Bureau. If anybody, particularly in the Covelo area sees anything suspicious they are encouraged to call the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office at 707-463-4089, or call the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Tip line at 707-234-2100.
Mendocino Detective Sergeant Andrew Porter
MENDOCINO BREWING ABOUT TO CLOSE?
COUPLE SOUGHT IN CONNECTION WITH ASSAULT OUTSIDE UKIAH BAR
The Ukiah Police Department would like to speak to this couple seen on surveillance footage outside The Pub Monday night.
The Ukiah Police Department is searching for a couple who may have information about an assault that occurred outside a Ukiah bar Monday night.
According to the UPD, officers responded to The Pub at 585 N. State St. around 10:30 p.m. May 23 when it was reported that a man was unconscious after being assaulted by another man.
The victim had reportedly fallen to the ground and hit his head because of the assault. He was transported to a hospital out of the area where he continues to receive treatment for a head injury and is reportedly in stable condition.
Officers obtained surveillance footage of the outside of the bar that reportedly shows a man and woman who were “associated with the incident” but left before the officers arrived.
UPD detectives hope to speak to the couple, who are described as a light-skinned Hispanic man, 20 to 30 years of age, 5-5 to 5-8, thin build and with a goatee; and a woman about 25 years old, with a thin build, shoulder length blond hair and at least one tattoo on the side of her face.
Anyone with information about the identity of the couple or the incident in general is asked to call the UPD at 463-6262.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
BURNING MAN, CHICAGO & 17,000 BOOK LOVERS
by Katy M. Tahja
Freely admitting I’m a country bumpkin that doesn’t get to the big city very often, a recent trip to Chicago to attend the American Booksellers Association convention drew me into a megalopolis.
I had to fly, and in doing so I made a humorous discovery. As may readers know I attend the Burning Man festival every year and report on it to this newspaper. As I spent time on the tarmac waiting for my airliner to depart I had this nagging thought that all the activity outside the plane window was reminding me of something…but what?
Then the little mental light bulb flashed on…Burning Man! Why, you might ask? Unlikely human and mechanical activities abound at Burning Man and airport sites. Wheeled vehicles of every color and shape scoot around, from huge plodding trucks moving who knows what to tiny transport for one person zipping around at both places 2,000 miles apart. Every color, size and shape of humanity was swirling around on the tarmac and in the terminals.
The lights of O’Hare airport, at over 7,000 acres, look like Disneyland, or Burning Man at night. Extremely bright blue lights, in patterns, guide aircraft to boarding gates. Other lights outline runways and every aircraft has blinking beacons. I kid you not…it looked like the playa at night at Burning Man.
I know what metered freeway on-ramp stoplights look like, allowing a smooth flow of traffic onto the roadway. Try the same system with jumbo jets, all lined up like cars, often 20 in a row, waiting to advance to the runway. This was reminiscent of Burning Man where thousands of people in vehicles exit the playa on a two lane county road…it takes forever but it sure is colorful.
And in the midst of all this insanity there is one person standing on the ground using an object that technology has yet to figure out how to eliminate. It’s the worker holding a shiny orange stick guiding the jet into a parking space.
Looking at statistics when I got home I saw that two thirds the population of Burning Man could pass through O’Hare airport in a month, about 50,000 people, on their way to 189 departure gates. O’Hare offers 200 food & gift shops. Burning Man beats that as everyone offers food and gifts for free all over the playa. Inside O’Hare the lines of people waiting to get through TSA check points reminded me of Burners waiting in line to buy coffee at Burning Man’s Center Camp. Only Burning Man is more efficient providing enough customer contact points that lines move quickly and efficiently…Airports at night really do remind me of Burning Man.
The convention I went to, called BookExpo, attracts 17,000 publishers, booksellers, librarians and bloggers. It had been 12 years since I last attended one and back then you had a “Press Room” for jounalists. Now you have a “Bloggers Lounge” with plug-in’s for electronic devices. BookExpo is a giant “Show & Tell” for all the industry with professional workshops for independent bookstores, e-publishing, and topics of interest to the trade. Amazon was not in evidence, but thousands of self-published authors were. Every publisher offered stacks of forthcoming books for free on the hopes a bookstore employee would find a title they would love and feature face-out with a review when it arrived.
No matter how intellectual we think we are, would you like to know which publisher had the longest lines to meet the author and get a free autographed book? Harlequin…a woman’s romance novel publisher. An attendee could have the latest autographed “bodice-ripper” romanced tucked into their book bag next to the serious non-fiction university press title already stashed in there. You could skip meals on the convention floor if your body could survive on the candy hand-outs from many booths.
I prided myself on being very selective on what books I gathered to send home but still shipped 17 pounds of books home by Media Mail through the post office. I could have shipped them from the exhibit hall’s package delivery service but I was warned they can and would charge you double normal rates for the convenience.
Book Clubs on the Mendocino Coast and everywhere are always looking for new titles to share so I went to a workshop called “Speed Dating for Book Clubs.” Each table had 10 seats and in front of your chair were 20 books. Each publishers representative had about two minutes to tell the bookseller why each title of theirs in the stack was perfect for your book clubs. These folks talked fast. At the end I took the printed guide and a whopping two books to bring home to Gallery Bookshop.
Unfortunately I find that after 40 years as a librarian and 26 years as a bookseller I am getting REALLY picky about what I will read and recommend to my customers. I’ll read 20 books before I can find a title I can get excited enough about to suggest to others. I’m jaded…I admit it…so what was my show score? I met Louise Penny and got a copy of “A Dead Reckoning” and it’s really good.
My son lives in Chicago and I stayed with him in the Pilsen/Bridgeport district and we had gustatory adventures every evening eating our way through Chicago. As a single malt Scotch lover I suggest Fountainhead, a dining establishment with over 250 Scotch selections. It’s not “Do you have Laphraoig, an Island Malt?” but rather “…which of the 15 vintages of Laphraoig going back 25 years would you like?” It was a Scotch lovers heaven. Their beer list had 200 entries…you could drink your way around the world…and they had 35 ciders to choose from.
Enough excitement for this self-proclaimed country bumpkin. In Chicago I slept to the sound of traffic flowing past on an expressway that reminded me of the sound of rushing water. I came home to Comptche, opened my bedroom window, and slept to the sound of a real stream flowing by. Good to be back.
CLEANING UP A HUGE TRESPASS GRO in HumCo
Led by Local Scientists, Huge Trespass Grow Clean-Up in the Shasta-Trinity This Week
by Hank Sims
Earlier this week, several governmental agencies, nonprofit groups and private companies joined forces Tuesday to clean up several sites associated with a trespass grow operation in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest near Douglas City, south of Weaverville.
The following retrospective of the cleanup was written by Drs. Mourad Gabriel and Greta Wengert of the Integral Ecology Research Center, which participated in the effort, and mailed out by the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday morning:
One of six springs destroyed in order to feed irrigation lines.
Northern California is home to numerous wildlife species which are dependent on the unique critical habitat attributes that public lands within this bioregion provide. Some species of conservation concern that inhabit this region include Northern spotted owls, fishers, and Coho salmon. It is also home to numerous terrestrial big game species including black-tailed deer, American black bear and elk.
Therefore, in addition to non-game wildlife benefits this area offers, game species are reliant on the large tracts of public lands in order to sustain viable populations for both natural resource and recreation use benefits. Specifically, all three Roosevelt Elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti) hunt zones are located within this area. Unfortunately, northern California is also experiencing a sizeable amount of clandestine marijuana cultivation on public lands, much of it entrenched in prime elk habitat.
These illegal cultivation sites on public lands have a long list of deleterious impacts towards natural resources upon which many wildlife species are dependent. They divert large amounts of water, fragment landscapes in order to cultivate marijuana plants, and contaminate native plants, soil and water resources with either legal or illegal pesticides not intended for use in remote forested areas.
Finally, due to the clandestine nature of this activity, armed growers occupy many of these sites for several months who in turn poach and maliciously poison wildlife.
For example, in 2015, Integral Ecology Research Center (IERC) and Law Enforcement agencies discovered several black-tailed deer does and bucks that were illegally harvested or poisoned at grow sites. In addition to deer poaching, IERC research staff documented several black bears and non-game species like gray foxes maliciously poisoned. Occurrences of fawns bedded down in contaminated plots or deer illegally snared were also common and frequently documented. Finally, remote camera systems have detected numerous game species browsing within cultivation plots, raising the question of the potential contamination risks these sites may pose towards human-harvested game.
In 2015, a large multi-year public land trespass marijuana cultivation complex named Deer Lick Grow was discovered on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest managed by the United States Forest Service. Law Enforcement teams eradicated over 9,000 marijuana plants within the 2015 cultivation plots, and several nearby historical plots were also discovered. This site is situated in occupied Roosevelt elk habitat within the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Marble Mountain Elk Hunt Zone. For this zone, CDFW allocated 52 tags in 2015 (either sex, muzzleloader, antlerless and bull) for which 2,061 applicants applied . The success rate for these tags is significantly high with bull, antlerless and either sex having a 50% success rate and muzzleloaders 100% success.
One standalone factor for much of this success is the public land access for hunters using their public lands. However, this emerging clandestine and dangerous activity of marijuana cultivation on public lands poses a novel risk to not only hunters who want to enjoy a safe hunting experience, but to game species like elk that may either be poached or contaminated through the large amounts of toxicants used at these sites.
Wildlife Species at Risk from Deer Lick Complex
This complex is located in USFWS critical habitat for the threatened Northern Spotted Owl, occupied habitat for fishers and is also a refugia for state and federally listed salmon species like coho and steelhead . The complex also overlaps habitat occupied by several big game species such as Roosevelt Elk, black-tailed deer and black bear.
Deer Lick Springs Reclamation Synopsis
Governmental: California Department of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division (CDFWLED), Trinity County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO), California Army National Guard (CANG), U.S. Forest Service, and Hoopa Tribe.
Non-Governmental: Integral Ecology Research Center (IERC), Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), The Watershed Center (TWC), Trinity County Resource Conservation District (TCRCD), Douglas City Volunteer Fire, and Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI)
Support: Logistical and financial support was contributed bythe above-mentioned entities.
Specific funding for the reclamation of this trespass marijuana cultivation complex was provided by The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and a Section 6 grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Integral Ecology Research Center.
Number of trespass sites cleaned: 1 complex with four large satellite sites
Location of sites: Shasta-Trinity National Forest
Watershed impacted: Trinity River
Personnel: 33 total; TCRCD(6), Hoopa (5), RMEF (4), CANG (4), IERC (4), TWC (3), TCSO (3), CDFW-LED (3), SPI (1)
Total water diversion restored to watersheds: 8.1 million gallons (per grow season)
Total amount of fertilizer used at sites: Unknown
Total amount of rodenticide used at sites: 13 pounds
Insecticide used at sites: 256 gallons of usable insecticide
Grow site infrastructure removed: 7,350 lbs (3.67 tons)
Irrigation pipe removed: 27,093 ft (5 .13 miles)
Long-line loads: 21 loads (7 nets and 14 cobiners at an average of 350 pounds each)
THIS WEEK AT BLUE MEADOW FARM
Sugar Snap Peas, Walla Walla Onions, King Richard Leeks & Strawberries (if you’re lucky…. more soon)
BIG EYES is a handsome, brown tabby cat currently living it up in the Colony Room with his Ukiah Shelter feline friends. Big Eyes is a shelter staff favorite; he can be a little shy at first, but he warms up quickly and LOVES head rubs. This cat is neutered, thus ready to exit the premisis ASAP!
PINKY is an absolute doll, owing to her very sweet and fun personality. This wonderful girl became a staff and volunteer favorite very quickly. Despite being young, she seems to have a calm about her, and while she loves, loves, loves play time, she also loves to hang back and "connect". Since she is a pup, she will need guardians dedicated to training and socialization to ensure that she becomes a well mannered dog. She is smart and eager to please, so we think she'll be a quick learner. Pinky loves everyone she meets, dogs or people, and would be a great addition to a family with kids. She has a playful but gentle nature that will make her a great friend. At 5 months old she already weighs almost 35 pounds, so she may be a big girl when full grown.
All the dogs and cats at the Ukiah Shelter can be seen at www.mendoanimalshelter.com.
MEASURE V SPONSORS MISLEAD VOTERS
To the Editor:
The June 2016 Mendocino Voter Pamphlet includes an unauthorized reference to my name and an out-of-context quote in support of Measure V. It is true that my co-authors (including Dr. Morgan Varner, who is also quoted in the voter pamphlet) and I have conducted and published research on the fuel and fire risks associated with disease-killed and herbicide-treated tanoak trees in the Coast Range. However, in our research paper we discuss and highlight the special challenges firefighters face with sudden oak death (SOD)-caused tanoak mortality, and the quotes selected for the voter guide were written in reference to the hazards related to the disease, not herbicides. Mendocino voters are invited to review our research findings and related scientific literature about fire and North Coast tree mortality caused by drought, disease, insects or humans at http://ucanr.edu/treemortality.
Yana Valachovic, Forest Advisor
University of California Cooperative Extension-Humboldt and Del Norte
IT'S REALLY ABOUT DOPE
To the Editor:
No on Measure W
There appears to be a “special interest group” of people in this county that say they have our best interests at heart but in reality have one agenda on their minds. Measure W has nothing to do with better county government. It has nothing to do with the county voters having more say in county governance. The idea of charter government is not new, it has been discussed in the past and was found to be more of a headache than what we have now. A Charter County will not solve our county problems, only citizen participation will do that. There is really very little difference between the two and with a little involvement in county government almost anything can be changed if the voters at large deem the changes to be beneficial. Our current county financial woes are mainly caused by our state politicians who have been stealing county revenue for years to balance the state’s budget. They know that when our citizens can no longer drive on our failing highways, crime becomes unrelenting, mental health costs over burden us and state mandated programs are left unfunded we will raise our own taxes locally and they won’t have to. It’s also by our local politicians that seem to have lost sight of just who pays the bills. Here’s a hint…it’s not the local trimmigrant, dead beat panhandler, local dirt bag looking for a “tiny house” or the so called mental health/druggie, it’s us hard working tax payers that get next to nothing for the taxes we pay.
Measure W is about money, it’s about controlling the marijuana market in Mendocino County and don’t let anyone tell you differently. We are being beset by a “special interest group” that will do anything or say anything to protect their marijuana growing life style. If California voters vote to legalize the consumption of marijuana as other states have done recently, this special interest group is scared to death that R.J. Reynolds or American Tobacco, who happen to be corporations, will set up shop and run them out of business. This Charter County measure is about money and controlling the marijuana industry in Mendocino County and nothing more.
This “special interest group” feels the need for laws to keep corporations from not only moving into Mendocino County but the need to get rid of the corporations that are already here. Here’s a news flash, the majority of businesses in America are corporations. If a charter is written to stop corporations from doing business in Mendocino County, like R. J. Reynolds and American Tabacco or any other corporation they deem unfit, we will all be driving to Lake County or Sonoma County to buy the goods and services we now take for granted.
These same people feel the need to tell farmers, ranchers and anyone trying to make a living in agriculture what they can grow. We can’t have those GMOs in this county, heaven forbid there may come an agriculture crop that we could actually make an honest, legal, living growing in Mendocino County. It absolutely amazes me how gullible people are when they talk about GMO, gluten free and organic foods. They are willing to pay twice as much for food that 30 years ago would have been used to feed livestock. Yet they are willing to consume food from Mexico, South America and other countries such as China where there are no laws prohibiting the use of pesticides, GMOs or have any organic growing restrictions.
These same people have no idea how or where their food is raised, the work involved to produce it, where it comes from or when it’s in season. When asked specifically what gluten, GMOs or organic is, they have absolutely no idea, It’s just the current fade and that’s good enough for them. If you don’t believe me just look at the past 3 years of drought, these same people can’t get their heads around the fact that if water is shut off to agriculture, you know “Big Ag” they end up with nothing to eat. It’s a simple fact of life, no water no potatoes, rice, or organic produce, this is not rocket science.
Clyde Blundell, Potter Valley
NO ON MEASURE V
To the Editor:
I am writing in opposition to Measure V as it will not make Mendocino county more fire safe.
According to the ordinance, trees killed by natural causes such as sudden oak death or drought mortality and left standing would not be considered a nuisance; I don’t see how these trees don’t increase fire danger but those treated intentionally do. Under the ordinance, trees could be cut down and left in place 20’ deep but not be considered a nuisance.
Laws already exist that require defensible space around buildings. Using Google earth to look at rural Mendocino county, it is easy to see that this law is not being followed. A firefighter’s first duty is to protect life and property (buildings) and I think fire fighters would better serve their community by making residents aware of and enforcing existing codes that have been shown to decrease fire damage than trying to pass new, unproven ones.
Who will enforce the ordinance, local fire districts? The County? The State? Proving cause and effect for the liability of resulting damage will be difficult to establish in the courts, particularly if a property owner has not maintained defensible space. Catastrophic fires have recently occurred in California where there were no intentionally treated standing dead trees. Measure V will not make you more fire safe if your home has inadequate defensible space. How will the ordinance be enforced if the county cannot enter residential property to verify compliance? Many parcels zoned Timber Production Zone have residences. How can you tell remotely if trees were killed intentionally or by natural causes.
The ordinance’s broad definition includes virtually all the forest land in the county, regardless of ownership. Though the ordinance’s wording seems to be directed at large industrial landowners, it will eliminate an effective, efficient forest management tool that would disproportionately affect smaller landowners who may not be able to afford more costly ways of reducing hardwoods on their land to favor conifers as required by the forest practice rules.
Citizens of the county can do many things to increase fire safety in their communities through partnerships and individual action. Many laws are already in place to help keep themselves and their property fire safe. Why does the county need a vague and difficult to enforce new ordinance that will not increase fire safety any more than existing measures. Please vote No on measure V.
Paul Ederer, Mt. Shasta
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 27, 2016
ROGER ALCALA JR., Ukiah. DUI.
LISA BIGGS, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.
NICHOLAS CRUZ, San Francisco/Ukiah. Drunk in public.
BRENDA HARDER, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
MICHAEL HOISINGTON, Ukiah. Controlled substance, under influence.
JARED KIDD, Ukiah. Assault on peace officer. (Frequent flyer.)
SCOTT KNIGHT, Ukiah. Ex-felon with firearm, probation revocation.
KEVIN LITZIN, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
STEVEN MUNSON, Willits. Domestic battery, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
SKYLAR NUNES, Coarsegold/Ukiah. Receiving stolen property, no license.
JUSTIN PEACOCK, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
MATTHEW RANTALA, Fort Bragg. First degree robbery of persons in inhabited dwelling, burglary, personal use of deadly weapon.
BENJAMIN SEDENO, Santa Rosa/Redwood Valley. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
JOSHUA SHELLY, Willits. Under influence.
JOSHUA SMITH, Stockton/Ukiah. Drunk in public.
ABEL SOMMER, Albion. DUI-drugs.
ABALONE, KELP, & URCHINS
At the next meeting of the Mendocino County Fish & Game Commission on June 14th at the Fort Bragg Library the Mendocino Fish and Game Commission will have two guest speakers on the issues related to the impacts occurring to abalone, kelp, and urchins on the North Coast. Tallulah Winquist, a scientific aid with California Fish & Wildlife, will be presenting information on the current state of the abalone fishery, kelp, and urchins. Our second guest Joshua Russo of the Sonoma County Abalone Network (SCAN) and Recreational Abalone Advisory Committee (RAAC) nominee will be presenting information on the Abalone Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) and a synopsis of what occurred at the Abalone Fishery Management Plan Discussion – Developing an Indicator-Based Control Rule Framework at UC Santa Cruz on May 2, 2016.
It is highly recommended that abalone divers, sportsman, and conservationist attend this very informative meeting.
The Mendocino County Fish & Game Commission is charged to insure that renewable natural resources including fish, game and wildlife and their habitats are conserved for this and succeeding generations of Mendocino County residents.
What: Mendocino County Fish & Game Commission Meeting
When: Tuesday June 14th, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Where: Fort Bragg Branch of the Mendocino County Library
499 East Laurel Street, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
The full Agenda can be reviewed on the Fish & Game Commission website.
Fish & Game Commission
860 North Bush Street
Ukiah, Calfornia 95482
"IF YOU ARE STILL FOOLED by Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as the Democratic Party, then Diana Johnstone's book will dispel the myth that either they or the party are redeemable. Hillary, like her husband, Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership, are controlled by corporate money and willing accomplices in the crimes of empire.
Her appeal to gender holds no more promise for the poor, the working class or the wretched of the earth we tyrannize around the globe than Obama's appeal to race. The predatory engines of corporate capitalism and the security and surveillance state will run as smoothly under her direction as they did under her predecessor. If you doubt this, read this book."
ERNEST HEMINGWAY: TO HAVE OR HAVE NOT THE PHOTOGRAPH
by Manuel Vicent
He had the genius to be in the right place at the right time provided that there was a photographer nearby, to the extent that it appeared that World War I was fought just so Hemingway could be an ambulance driver on the Italian front, be wounded by a mortar shell, and fall in love with Nurse Agnes H. Von Kurowsk in the hospital of Milan who would serve as the model for the protagonist of A Farewell To Arms.
The Paris of the 1920s would not have been a party if one didn’t imagine the young journalist Hemingway living there above a sawmill; or writing in a small cafe on the Place Saint Michel; or seated in the terrace of La Closerie des Lilas in the company of Scott Fitzgerald; or in the house of Gertrude Stein with Ezra Pound; or in the bookstore of Shakespeare and Company at Odeón 12, crossing paths in the doorway with James Joyce who had also come to borrow books from Sylvia Beach; or in Harry’s Bar, where he had hung his boxing gloves on the wall. By then, he thought of himself as the alpha-male of the tribe, but Zelda Fitzgerald relates the story of the day that her husband came home with Hemingway after a drinking binge and passed out. In his dreams he said, “That’s enough, my little one.” Zelda interpreted this as proof that Scott and Hemingway were having a homosexual relationship.
Los Sanfermines stopped being an unknown local savagery when this writer, in love with the pure violence of the festival, came down to Pamplona for the first time, arriving from Paris with his wife Hadley and a group of North American friends, to run with the bulls and risk his life--like an icon of the cafe Iruña, with a red bandana around his neck, before writing that mediocre novel, The Sun Also Rises--which brought him fame. From that year on, the figure of Hemingway would be associated with the running of the bulls and the bloody summers of Spain, and his literature would be filled with the topics found in back alleys and in courtyards with horses, served up by rogues and flamencos.
At an other opportune moment in history, in 1937, Hemingway would appear in the Hotel Florida in the Plaza of Callao during the siege of Madrid in the Spanish Civil War, moving between the Chicote bar and the front of Jarama just enough to satiate himself with violence--and to write For Whom the Bells Toll, another mediocre novel. Years later he would describe the Normandy landing from the Hotel Savoy in London with a bottle of whisky by his feet; however, his genius for writing news reports would make you believe he was aboard a landing craft underneath a dense hail of German iron near the beach of Omaha.
One time, having had his fill of literary heroism, he arrived in Paris in the company of photographer Robert Capa, following the tanks of Leclerc. During the trip, they were attacked by enemy planes, and Hemingway ran off from the convoy and threw himself into a ditch, his hands covering his head and his backside sticking up in the air. Capa shot a photo of him in this dashing position, which was reason enough for Hemingway to stop speaking with him for the rest of his life. He had a motto: He had not come to this world to look like a coward or a fool.
After arriving in Paris, he left a crate of hand grenades at the door of Picasso’s studio on the Rue des Grands Augustine’s and later went to the Hotel Ritz to drink up the champagne left in the refrigerator by the Nazis.
During one of his return trips from Europe, he had made a stopover in the Havana of 1928. In the thirties, during the Dry Law, Hemingway frequently went down to the island to drink and to fish. He stayed at the Hotel Ambos Mundos near the port and every morning he walked around lively Obispo Street which was filled with blacks with swollen bellies, adventurers, and traffickers; he would walk amid the heavy gait of mulattas, the cries of peddlers, and the sweet odors of the guaraperias--stands that sold sugar cane liquor, until he landed in the Floridita Bar, where he would drink a double daiquiri with no sugar since he already had too much sugar in his blood.
That liquor vender, in time, would become one more destination for pilgrimages, where an enormous cult would pay homage to Hemingway.
At that time, the writer would alternate hunts in Kenya and Tanzania with successive marriages to Pauline Pfeiffer, Martha Gellhorn, Mary Welsh, which spawned children and trophies of dead lions, impalas, and leopards. In December of 1940, he bought a country estate, la Finca Vigía, near the village of San Francisco de Paula, close to Havana. In 1954, he was conceded the Nobel Prize and lived a storybook twilight romance with the young countess Adriana Ivancich.
In 1960, he was photographed with the young, bearded Fidel Castro, another of his great hunting trophies, to situate himself on what appeared at the time to be the good side of history. One year later, on July 2, 1961, realizing that he was very ill, he ended his existence with a shotgun blast in the mouth. If one cannot live as he wishes, it’s better to leave through the trap door.
One day in Havana, I asked a dark-haired mulatto named Mayedo, who angled for wreckfish with a line and hooks in the Gulf Stream, whether Hemingway knew what he was talking about when he wrote The Old Man and The Sea. He said that yes, this book was authentic. According to his point of view, Hemingway’s hunts in Africa were typical of those provided by travel agencies; however, apparently the fishermen of Cojimar taught him not to lie, and the legend that ran through that village about an old man who struggled futilely in his small boat with a huge fish in the middle of the solitude of the sea inspired this masterpiece of contemporary literature.
The most profound part of this short story is created by poetic license. A sword fish, when he feels caught by the gills, surfaces to see what’s happening and immediately begins the struggle. Hemingway decided that the fish would remain underwater for the entire day, including the night, without showing itself at the surface, so that the old fisherman, united with it by a fishing line, might imagine it and internalize it through an intense struggle, and end up incorporating it in his spirit.
Hemingway was going through a bad period when he wrote this story. The critics had cruelly reviled the hollow romanticism of his most recent novel, Across the River and into the Trees. Its characters moved around in a vacuum and lacked a past, opined Faulkner; but this alcoholic of the South, when he read the story of the fisherman, promptly said that Hemingway had found God. “There is the great fish. God made the great fish that must be caught. God made the old man that must catch the great fish. God made the sharks that must eat the great fish, and God loves them all.”
It’s not known if Hemingway truly loved them all since, on at least one occasion, he hunted sharks with an automatic rifle. Without distinguishing fish from lions, he spewed them with generous amounts of lead.
Although the wicked Borges said that Hemingway killed himself the day he finally realized that he was a lousy writer, the tension with which every word advances the action in any of his reports, short stories, or longer pieces is sufficient to redeem him for his obscene passion to be in the center of every photograph taken wherever he passed. He always sought sentences that were simple and authentic: as authentic as the shotgun blast in the mouth that brought the authentic silence that made him immortal.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I believe Trump will win if Hillary is the nominee. His strategy will be to suppress turnout and by the time he gets through exposing her as an empty, corrupt, mendacious, callow, feckless, hypocritical fraud he will have achieved his goal.
She’s a ‘fighter’? We’ll see. I believe she’s dreading what’s to come. Nominating Bubba for economic czar shows how clueless she is, but she’s in her bubble, shielded by sycophants from reality, for decades. Nominating him gives him a reason to be on the campaign trail every step of the way, Big Daddy there to try to take on the meanie.
Best case scenario: HRC selects Bernie for veep and he takes over when she is immediately impeached.
JUST IN FROM GAINSVILLE
Liberating Ourselves from the Postmodern Cultural Death Zone:
Warm spiritual greetings, I am in my last week at Zen Hostel in Gainesville, Florida, and am eager to hook up with others to perform spiritual rituals, going beyond what we have done in terms of recent street protests. I advocate bringing our collective spiritual mojo into play in Washington, D.C. and New York City, with a late June break to attend the Earth First! annual "Round River Rendezvous" which is in Michigan this year (info: RRR2016@riseup.net). And then, push on to the bogus political conventions in late July in Cleveland and Philadelphia. In addition to bringing in our collective spiritual mojo, for the purpose of energizing our collective effort to intervene in history, do you philosophically agree with me that it's timely to get creative again? I mean, do you seriously wish to spend the rest of your life worshipping at postmodernism's altar of mediocrity? This is your formal invitation to do something else. Please contact me at: CraigStehr@inbox.com, with other prisoners in the postmodern cultural death zone.
PRIDE & JOY To Open First Concert Of 2016
25th Anniversary Sundays In The Park Concerts
Sunday June 12th
Ukiah, CA. - On Sunday, June 12th in Todd Grove Park at 6:00pm Fowler Auto & Truck Center, The City of Ukiah, KWNE-FM and MAX 93.5 are proud to present the first concert of the 25th Anniversary Sundays in the Park concert series with the funky R&B and Motown dance music of Pride & Joy. Special guests Casey & India Frey will be performing during intermission outrageous HipHop Dance with Attitude.
Pride & Joy is not just a fabulous dance band, it's an unforgettable, get-up-and-boogie, high-octane happening.
Pride & Joy’s dynamic and exceptionally popular dance band takes its name from Marvin Gaye's hit song and celebrates the excitement of Motown bands that made such a huge musical mark in the '60s and '70s. One of the most potent and polished acts in show business, they recreate the ensemble sounds of the Motown era with all four superb and spirited singers swapping vocal chores with equal passion and electricity. The songs are mostly Motown instant classics like "I Can't Get Next To You", "Shotgun", and "You Can't Hurry Love", along with soul classics like "Respect", "Love Train" and "Take Me To The River".
During over two decades of phenomenal success, Pride & Joy has remained one of the most popular bands on the Northern California music scene. They have achieved this by presenting the most timeless pop/soul music of our time in an electrifying high-style show that pulls the audience directly into the heart of their performance.
"It's always been natural for us to reach out and draw in the audience. We make the people feel they're part of the performance because they are," says Pride and Joy founder and bandleader Coleman Burke. "That's what Pride and Joy has always been about... creating a great feeling in the room. That's as important a part of our show as the work we put into our look, choreography and arrangements."
As evidence of Pride and Joy's across-the-board staying power, the band regularly sells out engagements at San Francisco's premier nightclub Bimbo's 365 Club, The Fox Theatre in Redwood City and The Mystic Theatre in Petaluma. In addition, they have toured extensively across the US to ecstatic responses. Watch Out! Serious Motown and R&B headed our way that will infect Ukiah with a toe-tapping, hand clapping dancing virus!
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Mendocino County Executive Office is accepting applications for anticipated vacancies on the following Board or Commission:
Cemetery District of the Redwoods. (1) Trustee
Child Care Planning Council. (1) ublic Agency Representative
Health and Human Services Agency Advisory Board. (1) Community Representative (Member #5)
Mendocino Transit Authority. (1) County A
Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Council. (9) Member (7 seats available) Alternate (2 seats available)
Russian River Cemetery District. (3) Trustees
Westport-Ten Mile Cemetery District. (2) Trustees
Workforce Development Board. (4) Business (2 seats available); Labor Mandatory
If you are interested in serving on this Board or Commission, contact your District Supervisor, or the Executive Office, at 501 Low Gap Road, Room 1010, Ukiah, CA 95482 (707) 463-4441. LAST DATE FOR FILING: June 1, 2016 or until filled. CARMEL J. ANGELO Clerk of the Board of Supervisors
MENDO IMPRESSES SOME ACCOUNTANTS
Mendocino County Receives Distinguished Budget Presentation Award
On May 5, 2016, Mendocino County received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its Fiscal Year 2015-16 budget from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).
GFOA is a major professional association servicing the needs of more than 18,000 appointed and elected local, state, and provincial-level government officials and other finance practitioners. The GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program is the only national awards program in governmental budgeting.
The award represents a significant achievement by Mendocino County and is the third consecutive year the County has received this prestigious award. It reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the budget award, Mendocino County had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as: a policy document, a financial plan, an operations guide and a communications device. Budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories, and the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive the award.
The Executive Office is proud to receive this award on behalf of the Board of Supervisors and strives to continue producing high quality budgets with a foundation on fiscal stability and financial sustainability.
Carmel J. Angelo
Chief Executive Officer/Water Agency Director
FEEL THE HATE
by Paul Street
Many Bernie Sanders activists and supporters are understandably disgusted by the contemptuous mistreatment they and their candidate have received from the corporate-Clintonite Democratic Party and its numerous media allies. The examples of this disrespect and abuse include:
The discourteous rapid-fire inquisition that the New York Daily News editorial board conducted with Sanders and then released as an interview transcript prior to the New York Democratic presidential primary last April.
Hillary Clinton telling MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough that the Daily News grilling “raise[d] a lot of questions” about Sanders’ qualification for the presidency.
Bill Clinton in New Hampshire calling Sanders and his team “hermetically sealed” purists, hypocrites, and thieves and mocking Sanders as “the champion of all things small and the enemy of all things big.”
Hillary “proving that there is nothing and no one she won’t sacrifice on the altar of her political ambition” (Mark Finkelstein) by sending her daughter Chelsea out to absurdly charge that Sanders’ single-payer health care plan would “strip millions and millions and millions of people of their health insurance.”
Former top John Kerry and Obama communications strategist David Wade using his perch at the widely read online political journal Politico to call Sanders “the zombie candidate” – a “doomed” challenger at risk of “becom[ing] Trump’s best ghost-writer for the general election” and a de facto “Nader” who will destroy his party’s nominee with “friendly fire attacks” (establishment Democrats cling to the self-serving myth Ralph Nader is to be blamed for George W. Bush’s victory over the listless corporate Democrat Al Gore in 2000)
Hillary’s prizefighter Paul Krugman viciously and absurdly likening Sanders’ common-sense and majority-backed health insurance proposal to “a standard Republican tax-cut plan” and accusing Sanders of “deep voodoo economics” and “unicorn politics.” (Krugman likes to call Sanders’ supporters “dead-enders.”)
The fake-progressive feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s curious claim that young women were voting for Sanders because “when you’re [a] young [woman], you’re thinking ‘where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie.”
The repeated suggestion by Hillary and her surrogates, staffers, and allies that Sanders’ moderately progressive domestic policy proposals are “impractical” and excessively idealistic – relevant only to silly young people who need to learn to trust more balanced and down-to-earth elites (people like the dollar-drenched neoliberals Bill and Hillary Clinton) who to use the standard fake-progressive Democratic Party mantra) “know how get things done” (make policy with right-wing Republicans, that is) in Washington.
The ludicrous, power-worshipping Rolling Stone publisher Jan S. Wenner (the man who took childish fake-progressive ObamaLust to frightening new heights in 2008) insultingly and inaccurately describing Sanders as just “a candidate of anger.” (“But it is not enough to be a candidate of anger. Anger is not a plan…”)
The endless stream of establishment “liberal” talking heads and pundits (with Krugman as the leader of the pack) across “mainstream” (corporate) U.S. media who have treated Sanders’ neo-New Deal agenda as a radically outlandish pipedream beyond the pale of serious discussion.
The constantly repeated claim that Sanders’ lacks Hillary’s ability to defeat Trump despite one match up poll after another showing Bernie doing substantially better than Mrs. Clinton against The Donald.
The repeated false charge that Sanders’ supporters at the Nevada state Democratic Party conventions became a raging mob of “chair-throwing” thugs on par with the worst hooligans at Donald Trump’s rallies.
Clintons’ refusal to debate Bernie in California, a clear statement that “Zombie” Sanders no longer merits the time of day as far as she and the party establishment are concerned.
It hasn’t just been about insults, put-downs, and smears. There’s also the Clinton-captive Democratic Party’s systematic and authoritarian distortion and, yes, rigging of the primary nomination process at the local, state, and national levels. There are abundant reasons to believe that Hillary has benefitted from electoral and administrative shenanigans across the (seemingly endless) primary season. The fixing process was evident in Las Vegas recently, when the Nevada Democratic Party chair “shut down debate behind a screen of uniformed police” after the party excluded 58 Sanders delegates with sudden “rules changes” clearly made to block Sanders’ rightful claim to have won Nevada. No wonder a Sanders delegate grabbed a chair and thought about tossing it.
How openly perverse a mockery of democracy is it that a significant portion of Hillary’s convention delegate lead over Sanders – enough to give her the nomination without a contest on the convention floor – derives from the 525 explicitly unelected and so-called superdelegates pledged to her before Sanders even declared his candidacy?
Adding more insult to insult and injury, Hillary plays the timeworn elite Democratic game of fake-progressive and pseudo-populist posing, trying to steal Sanders’ rhetorical thunder on her left while smilingly knifing him in the back.
The Hate Goes Back
Bernie supporters are right to be upset by the malicious and dirty ways that their candidate, and his campaign have been treated by the Clintons and others atop the dismal dollar-drenched and deeply conservative Democratic Party – and by the Clintons’ many friends in the dominant U.S. corporate and commercial media. At the same time, younger Sanders supporters above all need to understand that this is nothing new. It’s all just the latest reflection of the bottomless hatred that deeply conservative establishment and neoliberal Democrats have long had for left-leaning, “very liberal” (the pollsters’ term), and progressive/social-democratic Democrats. The atrocious and explicitly anti-democratic “superdelegates” were created by party elites precisely to prevent someone like Sanders – an actual progressive Democrat – from getting the party’s presidential nomination. It was an authoritarian party response to the left-leaning and antiwar George McGovern presidential campaign of 1972.
Democratic National Committee operatives and funders have long and regularly worked to marginalize progressive and seriously antiwar candidates in the party’s primaries. Doing that was one of Congressman and future Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel’s top jobs in 2006.
Two years earlier, conservative Democratic Party operatives forbade the open expression of anti-Iraq War sentiment on the part of delegates to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, where John “Reporting for Duty” Kerry pledged to conduct the criminal occupation of Mesopotamia more effectively than George W. Bush. Prior to the convention, Kerry gave a nice raised middle figure to progressives in his party by announcing at a New York City fundraiser that “I am not a redistribution Democrat.”
One of Emmanuel’s jobs as Obama’s top assistant was to occasionally attend regular Tuesday night gatherings of Washington’s “progressive [liberal] movement” leaders. Big Brother Rhambo would scream and curse at the labor, environmentalist, human rights, and civil rights chieftains who dared to target conservative Congressional Democrats. “Anyone who went after Democrats,” Emmanuel said, was “fucking stupid.”
Hurting the People Who Voted Them In: Obama and the First Two Clinton Terms
When tens of thousands of progressive Democrats and others swarmed to protest the arch-Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union legislation in late February and early March of 2011, the mainstream Democrat Barack Obama did not deign to issue one word of support for their cause. Wisconsin’s Democratic Party leadership dismantled the protest movement and channeled its energies into a doomed campaign to recall Walker and replace him with a lame business Democrat (the listless Tommy Barret) who Walker had already trounced two years earlier.
Plenty of progressive Democrats joined actual anti-capitalists (like myself) and others in the many hundreds of Occupy Wall Street camps that were shut down with police state force by local Democratic Party-run governments across with the country. The repression was conducted with assistance from Obama’s Department of Homeland of Security, working in tandem with the nation’s leading financial institutions in the fall and early winter of 2011. As Naomi Wolff noted in The Guardian one year later, citing documents discovered by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, “the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves – was coordinated with the big banks themselves.”
Speaking of Obama and the financial elite, Obama held an interesting gathering with some of his rich friends at an event called The Wall Street Journal CEO Council a year after using Occupy’s rhetoric (among other things) to trounce Mitt “Mr. 1%” Romney. “When you go to other countries,” Obama said, “the political divisions are so much more stark and wider. Here in America, the difference between Democrats and Republicans–we’re fighting inside the 40-yard lines…People call me a socialist sometimes. But no, you’ve got to meet real socialists. (Laughter.)…I’m talking about lowering the corporate tax rate. My health care reform is based on the private marketplace.”
That was (among other things) yet another raised corporate Democratic middle finger aimed at progressive Democrats and everyone to their left. Now Obama hopes to cap his fake-progressive presidency and seal his “legacy” by securing post-election lame duck Congressional passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a secretive, richly corporatist 12-nation Pacific “free trade” (investor rights) agreement that promises to badly undermine wages, job security, environmental protections, and popular governance at home and abroad.
Obama’s time in the White House office has been a big wet kiss to the super-rich and powerful (whose wealth has concentrated yet further under his presidency) combined with a raised middle finger pointed in the direction of the party’s progressives and the nation’s working class majority. As the investigative researcher Eric Zuesse noted last summer, “Under Presidents G.W. Bush and Barack Obama, economic inequality in America has been more extreme, for more years, than under any Presidents in all of the previous U.S. history. But, at least, Bush didn’t pretend to care about it. Obama does. He pretended to a concern for justice which he never really had; he was always merely faking liberalism.”
Faking liberalism while serving the wealthy few was also a defining aspect of Bill and Hillary’s first two terms as co-presidents. During their first eight years atop the executive branch, the Clintons advanced the neoliberal agenda beneath faux-progressive cover in ways that no Republican president could have pulled off. Channeling Ronald Reagan by declaring that “the era of big government is over,” Bill Clinton collaborated with the right wing Congress of his time to end poor families’ entitlement to basic minimal family cash assistance. Hillary backed this vicious welfare “reform” (elimination), which has proved disastrous for millions of disadvantaged Americans.
Mr. Clinton earned the gratitude of Wall Street and corporate America by passing the arch-global-corporatist North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act (which had mandated a necessary separation between commercial deposit and investment banking), and by de-regulating the burgeoning super-risky and high-stakes financial derivatives sector. He knew the score from day one of his presidency. As the famed Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward noted in his 1994 book The Agenda, Clinton said the following just weeks after winning the 1992 election: “we’re Eisenhower Republicans here…. We stand for lower deficits, free trade, and the bond market. Isn’t that great?” Clinton added that his post-election policy direction would “help the bond market” and “hurt the people who voted us in.”
The Clintons certainly do know how to get things done.
Hillary took the lead role in the White House’s efforts to pass a corporate-friendly version of “health reform.” Along with the big insurance companies the Clintons deceptively railed against, the “co-presidents” decided from the start to exclude the popular health care alternative – single payer – from the national health care “discussion.” (Obama would do the same thing in 2009.)
“David, tell me something interesting.” That was then First Lady Hillary Clinton’s weary and exasperated response – as head of the White House’s health reform initiative – to Harvard medical professor David Himmelstein in 1993. Himmelstein was head of Physicians for a National Health Program. He had just told her about the remarkable possibilities of a comprehensive, single-payer “Canadian style” health plan, supported by more than two-thirds of the U.S. public. Beyond backing by a citizen super-majority, Himmelstein noted, single-payer would provide comprehensive coverage to the nation’s 40 million uninsured while retaining free choice in doctor selection and being certified by the Congressional Budget Office as “the most cost-effective plan on offer.”
Anti-Progressive Neoliberal Trailblazers
There was no dishonesty in Hillary’s dismissive remark. Consistent with her neoliberal DLC world view, she really was bored and irritated by Himmelstein’s pitch. What the First Lady advanced instead of the Canadian system that bored her was a hopelessly complex and secretly developed system called “managed competition.” (It would be left to Obama to get fake-progressive, corporate- and “market”-friendly health insurance reform done.)
The contempt that Hillary shares with Bill, Rahm, and countless other top corporate Democrats for progressives in “their” party’s ranks should not be underestimated. In 1964, when Mrs. Clinton was 18, she worked for the arch-conservative Republican Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign. Asked about that high school episode on National Public Radio (NPR) in 1996, then First Lady Hillary said “That’s right. And I feel like my political beliefs are rooted in the conservatism that I was raised with. I don’t recognize this new brand of Republicanism that is afoot now, which I consider to be very reactionary, not conservative in many respects. I am very proud that I was a Goldwater girl.”
It was a telling reflection. The First Lady acknowledged that her ideological world view was still rooted in the anti-progressive conservatism of her family of origin. Her problem with the reactionary Republicanism afoot in the U.S. during the middle 1990s was that it was “not conservative in many respects.” This was the language of the Democratic Leadership Conference (DLC) – the right-wing Eisenhower Republican (at leftmost) tendency that worked to push the Democratic Party further to the Big Business-friendly right and away from its progressive base. Bill and Hillary helped trail-blaze that plutocratic “New Democrat” turn in Arkansas during the late 1970s and 1980.
Hillary can pretend to be against the TPP for vote-getting (and progressive Democrat-pleasing) purposes in the primary season. Top corporate lobbyists know that this is just populism-manipulating politics as usual and that she can be counted on to advance the “free trade” agenda once she gets back into the White House. As Secretary of State (2009-2013), Hillary repeatedly voiced strong support of the TPP. In Australia in November of 2012, she said that “TPP sets the gold standard in trade agreements for open free, transparent, [and]fair trade…” She has already suggested that she will put the arch-neoliberal Goldman Sachs Democrat Bill Clinton in charge of White House economic policy once she returns.
Why are the Hillary campaign and its allies in the DNC so arrogantly disrespectful towards Sanders and his followers, even as the Senator from Vermont continues to rack up primary victories and come in with more than 40 percent of the vote? Don’t they worry that their contempt will make it more difficult for them to garner votes from Bernie’s millions of followers in the general election? (By some polling estimates, close to a third of Bernie’s backers won’t vote for her). “Unless Clinton is able to convince a large proportion of Sanders supporters to vote for her,” a progressive Democrat writes in the liberal weekly The Nation, “she’s unlikely to win in November.”
The Clintonites are calculating, I think, that identity politics and Trump’s related high negatives will hold the day. They expect The Donald to be so toxic to female, nonwhite, and immigrant voters as to make his victory impossible. They are banking also on lots of crossover votes and funding from Republicans who can’t stand Trump. They are counting on enough Bernie supporters acting in accord with Sanders’ advance promise to deliver his voters to the party’s eventual nominee (Hillary) in the name of blocking the horrible Republican Party (recently described by Noam Chomsky as possibly “the most dangerous organization in human history”) – a promise they expect Sanders to deliver on soon and during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this summer. And they expect the ugliness they’ve spewed at Sanders and his supporters and the related hostility that many progressive Democrats feel for the Clintons and the DNC to slip down Orwell’s memory hole once the quadrennial extravaganza boils down to either Hillary or Donald (two of the most widely disliked people in the nation and on Earth).
Don’t Forget the Hate – and Return It
But don’t forget the hate – the sheer unmitigated contempt that elite corporate Democrats from the Clintons on down feel for progressives in the ranks of “their” party, and indeed for anyone who challenges their superior wisdom and right to rule. As Ron Fournier noted in The Atlantic last February, “there has always been a [dark] side of the Clintons. They can’t fathom why anybody would challenge their motives, doubt their veracity, or criticize their policies. The Clintons’ self-conceptions are yoked to their sense of public service and joint commitment to making lives better — and they believe their ends justify their means…If you’re not for them, you’re not just an opponent—you’re beneath contempt.”
(Making lives better? As the economist Robert Pollin noted in the progressive Democratic journal The Nation earlier this year: “Clintonomics was a disaster for most Americans…Under Bill Clinton, Wall Street created a ruinous bubble, while workers lost wages and power… Bill Clinton’s presidency accomplished almost nothing to improve conditions for working people and the poor on a sustained basis. Gestures to the poor and working class were slight and back-handed, while wages for the majority remained below their level of a generation prior. Wealth at the top exploded with the Wall Street bubble. But the stratospheric rise in stock prices and the debt-financed consumption and investment booms produced a mortgaged legacy. The financial unraveling began even as Clinton was basking in praise for his economic stewardship.”)
I sensed the hate – and left the Democratic Party – decades ago. I wouldn’t vote for a “right-wing fanatic” (Arun Gupta) like Hillary Clinton – an arch-imperial war-mongering enemy of workers and friend of Wall Street – for less than $ 225,000 (the price of just one of Hillary’s Goldman Sachs speeches in 2013), four-fifths of which I would give away to radical working class and environmentalist activists. Personally, I recommend that young Sanders supporters return the contempt and refuse to act on Sanders’ forthcoming call for them to play the game of Lesser Evils. That toxic, viciously circular, and self-fulfilling game is part of how to we got in current big tangle of a situation wherein the top 1 percent owns more than 90 percent of the nation’s wealth along with most of government and the media while their soulless and cancerous profits system (capitalism) pushes humans and other living things over the edge of economic, military, authoritarian, racist, sexist and (last but not least) ecological catastrophe. “If voting changed anything,” the great American anarchist Emma Goldman once said, “they’d make it illegal.”
That said, there’s nothing wrong with lodging a Left protest vote, without electoral illusion, beyond the Democrats and Republicans, once aptly described by Upton Sinclair as “two wings of the same bird of prey.” Walk into that “coffin of class consciousness” (Alan Dawley) called the American voting booth and vote as if it might give life, not death (it would take a major and overdue Constitutional overhaul for that to happen) if you want. Be my guest. It takes all of two minutes. Then walk back out and turn to the real and more urgent politics of radical grassroots movement-building and revolutionary disruption. That’s every day work. One thing is clear: we will not vote ourselves out of this mess. You can take that to the bank.
(Paul Street’s latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy. Paradigm, 2014. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)