Mendocino County Today: Sunday, May 29, 2016
by AVA News Service, May 29, 2016
THE OLD KAFKA SHUFFLE. That male Ukiah High School teacher accused of making an "inappropriate comment" to a female student has resigned, choosing not to contest the claim although the DA’s office could find no evidence that he'd said or done anything "inappropriate." Or inappropriate enough to bring perv charges against him.
ENTER MR. KAFKA: The unnamed teacher had been suspended when the unnamed student said he'd tossed an unspecified "sexual innuendo" her way. Neither the alleged lech nor the offended student is named, and goodness knows we, the great inappropriate mass of citizens, can't be told what exactly constituted the "sexual innuendo" that has ruined this man's life.
THE ASSUMPTION by the cringing school authorities (and never has authority been so poorly invested) is that the girl was telling the truth, that she must be protected from inappropriateness because she's too young to defend herself, and he remains unnamed because no action was taken to permanently remove him from his probationary position. It seems the school simply waited him out until he quit after being quizzed by the Ukiah cops who took their findings to the DA. The DA couldn't find anything to prosecute.
THE UNNAMED MUSIC TEACHER'S putative career, of course, is ruined. Any place he applies the Ukiah school officials, cringing ass coverers that they are, will say, "Well, he was investigated for making an inappropriate sexual remark to one of our presumptively virginal students who has managed to reach her teen years in our sex-drenched society without experiencing the vulgarity she was subject to here."
ON THE OTHER HAND, it seems the accused teacher would rather shuffle off into Prevalent Porno Land without defending himself against the accusation. Why? Maybe he did it. Maybe he scared the girl. Maybe he thought better of spending years with keen teens. But maybe the girl was lying, or inflating what the guy said. Maybe she comes from one of the new micro-aggression homes where the simplest, most innocent comment from a man is viewed as the first step towards all-out sexual assault.
DA SPOKESMAN Mike Geniella summed it up this way, “We had not found compelling evidence to substantiate the claim of inappropriate conduct, and since he has resigned, the case seemed moot."
A READER WRITES: "Faulder is obviously the best qualified candidate for judge, but Pekin has been running full time for a year or more. And he has managed to convince several niche groups, like the firefighters and charter county proponents, that he is their guy. Also, don't discount the anti-Ukiah bias that plays well on the coast and north county. That is always worth a few percentage points. And because Pekin does not have a viable law practice he has the time to go door to door in Ukiah and Willits which he has been doing. All things being equal, there is a strong tendency to vote for the candidate that knocked on your door and asked for your vote. People interpret it to mean the candidate cares about them. When, in fact, he cares more about securing a lifetime sinecure for himself.
CANDIDATE PEKIN is the provervbial pig in a poke — no one really knows anything about the guy or where he came from. And there is something fundamentally dishonest about the Pekin campaign. He says he has "tried" hundreds of cases, including homicide and gang cases, implying that he is a tough on hard crime kind of guy. The fact is, he never "tried" a single homicide or gang case — instead, he defended state prison inmates charged with crimes that they committed while already locked up. Like your previous article pointed out, he got those cases by putting himself on a list because he couldn't find enough clients to represent on his own. The fact he would try to fool people into thinking he was a tough on crime prosecutor is proof of bad character. Do we really want this guy sitting in judgment of us?"
RAOUL, WE HARDLY KNEW YE
To Raoul van Hall, KZYX's very promising, very talented, recently hired Program Director who has recently and unexpectedly resigned -- I am so sorry to see you go, brother, especially for the reasons you stated. Cronyism at KZYX? You bet! Politics at KZYX? You bet! Politics at KZYX is like Soviet-era politics. KZYX has its own Nomenklatura -- an insiders club. KZYX's own Nomenklatura has a total monopoly on power, on ideology, on finances, on financial disclosure and audits, and on programming. Piss off the station's Nomenklatura and you are purged.
To the rest of the KZYX community — Watch Werner Erhard-clone, Stuart Campbell, ascend to power once again. With a good man like Raoul van Hall now out of his way, Campbell will set his sights on KZYX GM, Lorraine Dechter.
To Lorraine Dechter — You don't stand a chance against Campbell. He is obsessed with power and control. Total power and control. He is obsessed. He won't quit until he has it all. Until you're out of a job. Until he finally destroys our beloved community radio station, KZYX.
KZYX Board of Directors ((2013-2016), Board Treasurer (2014). KMEC Radio, co-host and producer
Max is an easy-going guy with a mellow disposition. He loves to go for walks and is great on a leash. He and his brother, Luke, were brought in together so we know he is good with other dogs. In his previous home he was kept outdoors, so think time we want him to be allowed inside and made a part of the family. This sweet, handsome boy is smart, loyal and attentive and we think he'll be a wonderful addition to his forever home. If you have other dogs in your household, a meet and greet with Max can be set up by calling the shelter Adoption Coordinator at 707-467-6453. Max is 52 pounds and about 2-1/2 years old. Check out all the dogs and cats at the shelter at www.mendoanimalshelter.com.
OVERTURNING OVERTIME’S FEES
Setting Precedents & Having Fun At The Fort Bragg City Council Meeting
by Rex Gressett
I attended the Fort Bragg city council meeting Monday. This latest city council meeting in Fort Bragg was very important — and fun! It was very funny and richly informative.
The main thing, the big thing, was that Overtime Brewing totally blew up the usurious, ridiculous, contrived and exorbitant business-killing fees which have been one of City Manager Linda Ruffing’s best tools in preventing prosperity on the North Coast.
Overtime and their supporters shook city hall to its foundations. The minority city council of Lindy Peters and Mike Cimolino called all the shots in the shadow of a huge crowd of supporters. And they won. Linda Ruffing with her carefully maintained, utterly trained and obedient majority of Dave Turner, Scott Dietz and Doug Hammerstrom, were left in the dust. Ruffing looked like she did not understand what she was seeing; like it could not be happening. She sat through a stinging, complete and unmitigated defeat like a well-heeled Joan of Arc tied to the stake. In the end she was whimpering. “17 years I have been here,” she lamented, meaning a lot longer than you buffoons who are spanking me.
How the heck did this happen? Our city manager has always been careful to have the majority on the city council. They work explicitly for her and they all know it. She utterly controls the local newspaper, the Advocate News. They have not squeaked a discouraging word for the whole 17 years.
So what happened?
The people did it. They did it on line. They came to the meeting en masse, calm and in significant numbers. They came as they had come to the planning commission meeting to show enthusiasm by their turnout and with their tee shirts and their careful and courteous speakers. Plus they had the logic.
Lindy Peters led the charge, pointing out that $65,000 in trumped up fees was a bit of a disincentive and that Overtime’s $5 million in taxable income and 15 jobs looked somewhat better even to the city. The crowd agreed and the sold out the majority city council folded like a card table as the backpeddling began.
The only possible thing that the incumbency can do after this meeting is to try to forget it as soon as possible. If we let that happen we will miss a real opportunity for changing the city.
To recap. Overtime Brewing is some guys who want to form a local partnership to make craft beers. They obviously understand the craft, the industry and its potential for growth and their place in it. They are obvious winners. The city clobbered them by charging them $65,000 in hook up fees to make beer plus thousands in other fees and then generously agreed to take payments over time. Big of them. The City apparently kept raising the amount. At one point it was $35,000, later it was $65,000 and for good luck they threw in multi-thousand dollar fees with creative avarice as the notions took them.
Overtime objected. The city insisted and Overtime went public via the internet. Between the partners and the workers and the drinkers they have a lot of friends.
Now, a planning commission meeting and a city council meeting later, the city is backpedaling so fast you can’t see their feet move.
That was the big thing, but funny things happened at the meeting too.
Lindy Peters was a smart and capable minority councilman and used the meeting to overturn Linda's controlled majority. Lindy was smart and Cueball Cimolino was brilliant, playing off Peters like a bank shot. And lo the minority prevailed against what is usually, indeed always, a brick wall that is Linda Ruffing’s wholly owed three: Dietz, Turner and Hammerstrom.
But Peters also made exceptional statements about Measure U that taken alone are very damning to his integrity. I guess he thought that being as strong as he had been in that meeting and prevailing as a minority which is rare, he would take the opportunity to distance himself from the people who elected him but who are now engaged in a fight against the mis-use of the Old Coast Hotel.
Of course, the many minions of city management made noise and did funny things. City Attorney Samantha Zutler should get an academy award. Apparently my statements provoked a bit of headache. I took it that my crass views were too disjointed and contradictory for easy assassination by her delicate and highly calibrated brain.
After Heidi Kraus had spoken and was walking down the aisle to her seat, she was told across the city council dais and over the microphone to the dismay of not a few that she (Heidi) had the real shimy shammy! I am quoting. She was well dressed.
This is Heidi Kraus the planning dictator who had led the assault on Overtime in the first place. She first made it hard for them, then impossible. But now behold she hath seen the light and, by her gracious assent, she’s dialed it back to just difficult.
This transfiguration occurred after Ms. Kraus was publicly creamed at the planning commission where the heroic Overtime supporters first socked it to them. I would think and hope that Ms. Kraus has the intelligence to be embarrassed, but I do not think so.
Still this was a big night for her. She sure dressed nice. According to Lindy Peters, she did the ol’ shimmy shammy. She was prepared and evidently thought it would be a good idea to use the city council meeting to get on the good side of this and in the spirit of the campaign season find opportunity in the previous embarrassment. Heidi is a pro, for sure, so before backflipping she humbly made obeisance to universal law, affirming that taking the public’s money by fiat is a right in itself and indeed the obligation of good government. Then having made that important and not to be forgotten observation, in a stunning reversal from her planning commission death demands on Overtime, she demonstrated her fitness for higher office by backpedaling just as fast as everybody else, thank you. She did not say what everyone else in the room knew, which was that she was doing this policy backflip not because she is obedient to the city machine, or because she had shifted her focus and wanted to be venal to somebody else. She was just doing it because she flatly had to. Because the numbers, the logic, the power of law and the force of the people in the hall made it an evening to resist the dictatorship of restrictions and opposition to enterprise that have kept us as a poor city for 17 years. Thank you Linda Ruffing, Ms. Kraus did it because she and her whole team are on the run.
Now, if Measure U passes. Wow!
Anyway Ms. Kraus acquiesced out of necessity which was funny enough and the standing room only Overtime crowd just stared in amazement. (They are not allowed to clap.) It was truly remarkable to watch.
Ms. White and employee Nicole
Next up Ms. Hillary White, the local sexy underwear entrepreneur of “Understuff” and everyone’s favorite, did a Shirley Temple imitation and volunteered out the selflessness of her soul to be the very thing missing: she herself would volunteer to provide good communications between new business (if there should be any) and the tyranny at city hall. Obviously, Ms. White and her keen intelligence is just what was lacking. She told us sweetly that she would volunteer to help any startups who might want to climb Mount Everest (aka City Hall). I guess she thinks that they are going to appoint her. And perhaps her mindless acquiescence to the machine, her deliberate and calculated blindness to common sense and decency in the service of a political machine does indeed qualify her for something, why not that? I admit I find it hard to imagine but certainly we all owe Ms. White our thanks for this generous offer. If we can get her to stop stealing Yes On U yard signs I will support her appointment.
Then the city council went back to Overtime.
Councilman Scott Dietz moved his position around like he was pushing a lawnmower. He started with in his unenthusiastic posture that he expects the wise public to understand that no means no. Then he awakened and jumped like a small frog from dead to alarmed to compliant to stricken, as in one motion after another Lindy Peters and Mike Cimolino made chops and hacks in the fee structure for Overtime. They knocked the $65,000 down to $30,000 and then hit ’em again and took 25% off of that. They dumped a gratuitous $1800 fee entirely and quite suddenly it all became about freeing the new brewery from the fetters of city greed and ignorance in which they had become entangled. Overtime is far from the first to be crushed by the city but they were arguably the first in a long time not to be crushed.
These are my impressions. For this news to be covered properly much information needs to be obtained from the city. Monday night the stink of anti business restrictions and absurd barriers that stand between our city and the decency of local employment that stand between the city and prosperity that we have permitted in this town for 17 years seems finally to have gained critical mass and exploded.
The city did it all to themselves: We all agree on that. But Linda Ruffing and Development Director Marie Jones say they have a side of the story. I would like to know what it is but I don't have time to force them to give it to me. Getting information out of city hall even when they promise it, especially then, is time consuming, difficult and painful. Much like pulling teeth. I can’t do it but I would love to hear from them if they dispute my impressions.
I would also like to say that Fort Bragg’s non-transparency which we have come to count on is conducted in spite of the excellent administration of our new city clerk Joan Lemos. Getting the facts is rough at the higher altitudes of City Hall where in point of fact most real information resides.
But Joan Lemos. Yes another Lemos. Our new city clerk has brought to the encampment of bandits calling themselves city hall a refreshing openness, a vivid competence and an honest and open intention to abide on the solid ground of legal transparency. Ms. Lemos gets it, as most state and municipal workers and government representatives all over the state of Californium generally get it. I believe that although there are many and egregious exceptions, in large part municipal governments in California are conducted in reasonable fear of the Brown Act and the Public Records Act and with the true intention of at least not being secret.
Of course in Fort Bragg, we still have a different system.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 28, 2016
Bennett, Boettcher, Burleson
TIMOTHY BENNETT, Laytonville. Domestic battery.
THOMAS BOETTCHER, Fort Bragg. DUI, suspended license, parole violation.
MARK BURLESON, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
Bush, Davidson, Fiscus
CORY BUSH, Upper Lake/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JOY DAVIDSON, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
CASEY FISCUS, Miami/Ukiah. DUI-drugs & alcohol.
Forman, Green, Hamilton, Litzin
IAN FORMAN, Fort Bragg. Trespassing.
JOHNNY GREEN, Ukiah. Under influence.
BRANDON HAMILTON, Yreka/Willits. Under influence, probation revocation.
KEVIN LITZIN, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
Maldonado, Ostrander, Perez
VALERIA MALDONADO, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
RICHARD OSTRANDER, Redwood Valley. DUI.
NOE PEREZ, Ukiah. Court order violation.
Sanchez-Ku, Tillman, Wilburn
CARLOS SANCHEZ-KU, Fort Bragg. DUI causing injury.
TASHINA TILLMAN, Willits. Under influence, resisting, probation revocation.
ANTHONY WILBURN, Covelo. Drunk in public, probation revocation.
‘WHEN WE WERE YOUNG & UNAFRAID’
Just two performances left!
Don't miss Mendocino Theatre Company's production of Sarah Treem's powerful drama about four women who come together on a remote island off the Washington coast. Featuring Catey Simonton, Frances Jenkes, Nicole Traber, Savannah Green and Dan Mello, this production has received rave reviews from audience members! "I'm so glad I made time to see this show yesterday. What an amazing cast, excellent story that moved me to laughter and tears continuously. The Mendocino coast is lucky, indeed, to have this small company that puts out quality theater. The woman sitting next to me commented that is was Broadway quality acting. I agree!" --Erin S
Tickets are available online http://mendocinotheatre.org/single-tickets/ or at our box office, 707-937-4477. Final performance is Sunday, May 29, at 2pm!
LIFE & DEATH
“VETERAN JOURNALIST DIANA JOHNSTONE captures the imperial worldview of Hillary Clinton in memorable detail. Hillary the Hawk, as US Senator and Secretary of State, never saw a weapons systems she did not support nor a US war practice she did not endorse. This included her hyper-aggressive launch of the war on Libya (against the opposition of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates) and the resulting sprawling chaos, violence and weapons dispersal spilling beyond Libya’s war-torn society to larger regions of central Africa.
Johnstone documents Hillary Clinton as ‘the top salesperson for the ruling oligarchy’ and ‘the favorite candidate of the War Party.’ That is what is at stake in November 2016.”
THE REMOVAL OF THE DEAD
by Manuel Vicent
Translated by Louis Bedrock
Since Hemingway was the most famous press agent in the world for our bloodstained summers, beginning with the fratricide of 1936 and winding up with the running of the bulls in Pamplona, here’s a story of a deed by this distinguished man that reveals his true attitude toward the bullfighting festival that goes beyond the literary claptrap with which he exalted it.
It occurred in 1959 during the last visit Hemingway made to the Sanfermines (1).
At four o’clock in the afternoon, the string of mules that removed the slain bulls from the arena, on its way to the bullring--decked out in collars with small bells, passed by the Casa Marceliano (2), located in the back of City Hall, where Hemingway was engaged in after lunch conversation with a group of sycophants who were as drunk as he was.
Apparently Hemingway was possessed by a paroxysm of inspiration.
Suddenly, he planted himself in the middle of the roadway with a Coca Cola in his hand, ordered the retinue to halt, and forcefully emptied the bottle of Coca Cola down the throat of one of the mules, amidst the clamor of the multitudes that laughed at the joke.
The idea that Hemingway, inebriated on wine, obliged a mule to drink a Coca Cola--a mule that in a little while would be dragging out of the arena to the slaughterhouse a bull that had been tormented and killed, is sufficient reason to think that this bloody festival and that egomaniacal writer, connoisseur of every kind of violence, are both out of fashion.
The decadence of this barbaric ritual of stabbing animals to death in public amidst general revelry is without limits. Happily, bullrings will soon be exhibited by guides to tourists as places where, in ancient times, carnage was celebrated--a carnage that some called “culture”, when it was no more than a mixture of grime, blood, death, privilege, and vulgarity.
It won’t be long before this “fiesta” disappears from the map and the team of mules, which drags the dead bulls from the bullring, will carry off this “festival”, along with Hemingway at the forefront, to the slaughterhouse of history.
* * *
(1) Festival held in Pamplona in July during which bulls are run through the streets of the town
(2) https://vivirdebuenagana.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/casa-marceliano-y-la-legion-de-los-olvidados/ —A tavern in Pamplona where Hemingway liked to drink and eat lunch.
ALEXA'S "CHINA POBLANA" FOR BERNIE
Meet her next Friday (6/3) at the Courthouse 5pm. Perkins and State. (Yes, of course, she'll pose with you for a photo or selfie.) We WILL win California! Then … we are flipping Super Delegates!
A PAIR OF GLASSES were left on the floor at a museum and everyone mistook it for art. Several visitors to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art this week were fooled into thinking a pair of glasses set on the floor by a 17-year-old prankster was a postmodern masterpiece. “Upon first arrival we were quite impressed with the artwork and paintings presented in the huge facility,” TJ Khayatan told BuzzFeed. “However, some of the ‘art’ wasn’t very surprising to some of us.”
GOOD NIGHT RADIO by live remote tonight.
Not from the studio at 325 N. Franklin (next to the Tip Top bar). If you were planning to come by and play music, or whatever, that can be next week. My show always starts at 9pm Friday night and goes till 3 or 4am (and sometimes later -- for instance, tonight I'll end the show with the Firesign Theater record about Porgie Tirebiter and Morse Science High graduation. You know the one. If you're in or near Fort Bragg you can listen to KNYO at 107.7fm. If you're in Ukiah, KMEC (105.1fm) grabs the stream and joins my show in progress at midnight. Listen on the web via
or, if that doesn't work for you, try TuneIn.com and search for KNYO-LP. And if you miss all or part of the show, wait till tomorrow evening and go to
and you can download the recording. That's good because then you have it, and you can skip around in it, and skip past something that just bugs you, to something you might like. I don't use email while I'm doing the show, but email me if you want to comment on something you hear, of if you write something tonight or during the coming week that you want me to read on next week's show. The deadline is about 5 or 6 Friday night.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The average household that has credit card debt owes $16,000. That number is $27,000 for auto loans, $48,000 for student loans, and $169,000 for mortgages.
33 Proven ideas to make your budget work and get your Debt under control:
Re-shop auto, home and life insurance to see if you can bring down your payments.
Downgrade your cable package, or get rid of it entirely.
Disconnect your home phone if you have adequate cell service at your home. Or downgrade to a cheaper package.
Buy and sell clothes at your local consignment or shop at Goodwill.
Have a massive garage sale. (If you’d rather be out of debt than have an item, choose to sell it to help you get you there.)
Advertise higher quality items on Craigslist, Facebook, or your local newspaper to get better prices.
Focus on buying mostly sale items at grocery store or generic brands to reduce your cost.
Use a grocery store awards program to earn money off gas.
Cancel unnecessary expenses like magazine subscriptions, newspapers, manicures, pedicures etc. Anything that could be considered a “want” instead of a “need” should go until you are out of debt or greatly decrease your debt.
Go to the matinee movies instead of paying full price (and skip the concessions).
Or better yet, use the Red Box for at-home movie entertainment.
Get temporary work or seasonal part time work to boost your income.
Read books from the library or take a few trips to Barnes & Noble to complete a book.
Buy your most expensive groceries in bulk at Coscto: meats, breads, cheese, produce, paper products. Establish a monthly grocery budget for the additional needs at regular grocery stores.
When eating out, skip the soft drinks and stick with water. Skip the extras too (dessert, etc.).
When eating out, share a large entrée or have small appetizers instead of the costly meal.
Plan your errands more efficiently to conserve gas.
Find friends that you can trade services with…haircutting, handyman, photography, babysitting, pet-sitting.
Give home-made gifts, baked goods, or service IOU’s rather than expensive presents.
Boxed cereals are expensive; switch to oatmeal, eggs or fruit for more nutritional and financial bang.
Call the utility companies and get on a budget plan to give you more consistency with expenses each month.
Set a spending limit with family at Christmas and/or draw names.
Use exercise videos, walking or hiking instead of paying for the gym.
If your haircut is too expensive, find a less expensive stylist or see if your hairdresser will cut you a break on price temporarily—ours did.
Say “no” to hosting and/or attending in-home parties where you feel pressure to purchase.
Does your family live nearby? Once a week dinners with mom or dad saved us a meal out of our shopping budget. Additionally, it usually led to leftovers and our parents looked forward to our visit each week.
Make your coffee at home instead of buying it each day.
Pack your lunch—not once a week, but regularly.
Make extra dinner servings on purpose to have leftovers for lunch.
Our dentist advised us we could skip the fluoride treatments if we were using a daily dental rinse—which we did… and bought on sale.
Program your thermostat for savings on heating/cooling when you’re not at home.
Tempted by certain retail stores? While digging out of debt, avoid window shopping these places where you’ve failed to control your impulses before.
Give. (Giving reminds us that we can live for a purpose greater than this world and all the temporary treasures it offers. It helps keep everything else in perspective.)
SILENCING AMERICA AS IT PREPARES FOR WAR
by John Pilger
Returning to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence. I have covered four presidential campaigns, starting with 1968; I was with Robert Kennedy when he was shot and I saw his assassin, preparing to kill him. It was a baptism in the American way, along with the salivating violence of the Chicago police at the Democratic Party’s rigged convention. The great counter revolution had begun.
The first to be assassinated that year, Martin Luther King, had dared link the suffering of African-Americans and the people of Vietnam. When Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, she spoke perhaps unconsciously for millions of America’s victims in faraway places.
“We lost 58,000 young soldiers in Vietnam, and they died defending your freedom. Now don’t you forget it.” So said a National Parks Service guide as I filmed last week at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. He was addressing a school party of young teenagers in bright orange T-shirts. As if by rote, he inverted the truth about Vietnam into an unchallenged lie.
The millions of Vietnamese who died and were maimed and poisoned and dispossessed by the American invasion have no historical place in young minds, not to mention the estimated 60,000 veterans who took their own lives. A friend of mine, a marine who became a paraplegic in Vietnam, was often asked, “Which side did you fight on?”
A few years ago, I attended a popular exhibition called “The Price of Freedom” at the venerable Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The lines of ordinary people, mostly children shuffling through a Santa’s grotto of revisionism, were dispensed a variety of lies: the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved “a million lives”; Iraq was “liberated [by] air strikes of unprecedented precision”. The theme was unerringly heroic: only Americans pay the price of freedom.
The 2016 election campaign is remarkable not only for the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders but also for the resilience of an enduring silence about a murderous self-bestowed divinity. A third of the members of the United Nations have felt Washington’s boot, overturning governments, subverting democracy, imposing blockades and boycotts. Most of the presidents responsible have been liberal – Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama.
The breathtaking record of perfidy is so mutated in the public mind, wrote the late Harold Pinter, that it “never happened …Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. It didn’t matter … “. Pinter expressed a mock admiration for what he called “a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”
Take Obama. As he prepares to leave office, the fawning has begun all over again. He is “cool”. One of the more violent presidents, Obama gave full reign to the Pentagon war-making apparatus of his discredited predecessor. He prosecuted more whistleblowers – truth-tellers – than any president. He pronounced Chelsea Manning guilty before she was tried. Today, Obama runs an unprecedented worldwide campaign of terrorism and murder by drone.
In 2009, Obama promised to help “rid the world of nuclear weapons” and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. No American president has built more nuclear warheads than Obama. He is “modernising” America’s doomsday arsenal, including a new “mini” nuclear weapon, whose size and “smart” technology, says a leading general, ensure its use is “no longer unthinkable”.
James Bradley, the best-selling author of Flags of Our Fathers and son of one of the US marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, said, “[One] great myth we’re seeing play out is that of Obama as some kind of peaceful guy who’s trying to get rid of nuclear weapons. He’s the biggest nuclear warrior there is. He’s committed us to a ruinous course of spending a trillion dollars on more nuclear weapons. Somehow, people live in this fantasy that because he gives vague news conferences and speeches and feel-good photo-ops that somehow that’s attached to actual policy. It isn’t.”
On Obama’s watch, a second cold war is under way. The Russian president is a pantomime villain; the Chinese are not yet back to their sinister pig-tailed caricature – when all Chinese were banned from the United States – but the media warriors are working on it.
Neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders has mentioned any of this. There is no risk and no danger for the United States and all of us. For them, the greatest military build-up on the borders of Russia since World War Two has not happened. On May 11, Romania went “live” with a Nato “missile defence” base that aims its first-strike American missiles at the heart of Russia, the world’s second nuclear power. ￼ In Asia, the Pentagon is sending ships, planes and special forces to the Philippines to threaten China. The US already encircles China with hundreds of military bases that curve in an arc up from Australia, to Asia and across to Afghanistan. Obama calls this a “pivot”.
As a direct consequence, China reportedly has changed its nuclear weapons policy from no-first-use to high alert and put to sea submarines with nuclear weapons. The escalator is quickening. It was Hillary Clinton who, as Secretary of State in 2010, elevated the competing territorial claims for rocks and reef in the South China Sea to an international issue; CNN and BBC hysteria followed; China was building airstrips on the disputed islands. In its mammoth war game in 2015, Operation Talisman Sabre, the US practiced “choking” the Straits of Malacca through which pass most of China’s oil and trade. This was not news.
Clinton declared that America had a “national interest” in these Asian waters. The Philippines and Vietnam were encouraged and bribed to pursue their claims and old enmities against China. In America, people are being primed to see any Chinese defensive position as offensive, and so the ground is laid for rapid escalation. A similar strategy of provocation and propaganda is applied to Russia.
Clinton, the “women’s candidate”, leaves a trail of bloody coups: in Honduras, in Libya (plus the murder of the Libyan president) and Ukraine. The latter is now a CIA theme park swarming with Nazis and the frontline of a beckoning war with Russia. It was through Ukraine – literally, borderland — that Hitler’s Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, which lost 27 million people. This epic catastrophe remains a presence in Russia. Clinton’s presidential campaign has received money from all but one of the world’s ten biggest arms companies. No other candidate comes close.
Sanders, the hope of many young Americans, is not very different from Clinton in his proprietorial view of the world beyond the United States. He backed Bill Clinton’s illegal bombing of Serbia. He supports Obama’s terrorism by drone, the provocation of Russia and the return of special forces (death squads) to Iraq. He has nothing to say on the drumbeat of threats to China and the accelerating risk of nuclear war. He agrees that Edward Snowden should stand trial and he calls Hugo Chavez – like him, a social democrat – “a dead communist dictator”. He promises to support Clinton if she is nominated.
The election of Trump or Clinton is the old illusion of choice that is no choice: two sides of the same coin. In scapegoating minorities and promising to “make America great again”, Trump is a far right-wing domestic populist; yet the danger of Clinton may be more lethal for the world.
“Only Donald Trump has said anything meaningful and critical of US foreign policy,” wrote Stephen Cohen, emeritus professor of Russian History at Princeton and NYU, one of the few Russia experts in the United States to speak out about the risk of war.
In a radio broadcast, Cohen referred to critical questions Trump alone had raised. Among them: why is the United States “everywhere on the globe”? What is NATO’s true mission? Why does the US always pursue regime change in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine? Why does Washington treat Russia and Vladimir Putin as an enemy?
The hysteria in the liberal media over Trump serves an illusion of “free and open debate” and “democracy at work”. His views on immigrants and Muslims are grotesque, yet the deporter-in-chief of vulnerable people from America is not Trump but Obama, whose betrayal of people of colour is his legacy: such as the warehousing of a mostly black prison population, now more numerous than Stalin’s gulag.
This presidential campaign may not be about populism but American liberalism, an ideology that sees itself as modern and therefore superior and the one true way. Those on its right wing bear a likeness to 19th century Christian imperialists, with a God-given duty to convert or co-opt or conquer.
In Britain, this is Blairism. The Christian war criminal Tony Blair got away with his secret preparation for the invasion of Iraq largely because the liberal political class and media fell for his “cool Britannia”. In the Guardian, the applause was deafening; he was called “mystical”. A distraction known as identity politics, imported from the United States, rested easily in his care.
History was declared over, class was abolished and gender promoted as feminism; lots of women became New Labour MPs. They voted on the first day of Parliament to cut the benefits of single parents, mostly women, as instructed. A majority voted for an invasion that produced 700,000 Iraqi widows. The equivalent in the US are the politically correct warmongers on the New York Times, the Washington Post and network TV who dominate political debate. I watched a furious debate on CNN about Trump’s infidelities. It was clear, they said, a man like that could not be trusted in the White House. No issues were raised. Nothing on the 80 per cent of Americans whose income has collapsed to 1970s levels. Nothing on the drift to war. The received wisdom seems to be “hold your nose” and vote for Clinton: anyone but Trump. That way, you stop the monster and preserve a system gagging for another war.
(John Pilger can be reached through his website: www.johnpilger.com. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
POETRY IN THE PARK AT ALEX THOMAS PLAZA
featuring MK Chavez
(Open Mic follows)
July 1st 2 pm - 4 pm
Join us to hear MK Chavez read from her latest collection Mothermorphosis. Open mic follows. Teens & adults are invited to share poems in any form or style. MK Chavez is a writer and a champion of public health. She writes about the world as it presents itself to her, broken and achingly luminous. She is the author of Virgin Eyes (Zeitgeist Press). Mothermorphosis will be released in March 2016 followed by her full-length collection Dear Animal, which will be available in the fall. Chavez is co-founder/co-curator of the Berkeley-based monthly reading series Lyrics & Dirges, and the co-director of the Berkeley Poetry Festival. She believes in literary confrontation and its capacity to obliterate all forms of oppression. Recent and upcoming work can be found in Rivet, Aspasiology, and Eleven Eleven. For more information, please contact: Melissa Eleftherion Carr at 707-467-4634 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melissa Eleftherion Carr
Teen & Adult Services Librarian
HOOPA VALLEY TRIBE SLAMS SAN LUIS SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
Says San Luis Settlement Agreement Will 'Condemn Tribe to Poverty'
by Dan Bacher
On May 24, the Hoopa Valley Tribe from Northern California filed its objection to two bills proposed in the House of Representatives to implement the controversial San Luis Settlement Agreement, saying the agreement would “forever condemn the Tribe to poverty.”
The Tribe filed its complaint prior to a hearing on the two bills, H.R. 4366 (Rep. David Valadao) and H.R. 5217 (Rep. Jim Costa, D-CA), held by the U.S. House of Representative Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans. The video is posted now at:http://naturalresources.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=400473
“Our Tribe is an indispensable party to this settlement,” said Chairman Ryan Jackson, in a press release. “We notified Congress and the Bush and Obama Administrations on numerous occasions over the past several years of our concerns. Though we have been mostly ignored, rest assured, this legislation will not advance in absence of protection of our interests.”
The invited witnesses were John Bezdek , Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior; Tom Birmingham, General Manager, Westlands Water District; Jerry Brown, General Manager, Contra Costa Water District; Steve Ellis, Vice-President, Taxpayers for Common Sense; and Dennis Falaschi, General Manager, Panoche Water District.
Notably, the Committee did not invite those most directly impacted by the deal. These include the leaders of the Hoopa Valley, Yurok, Karuk, Winnemem Wintu and other Tribes, commercial and recreational fishermen, family farmers and others whose livelihoods have been imperiled by decades of exports of Trinity, Sacramento and San Joaquin River water to corporate agribusiness interests irrigating drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.
Jackson said the Settlement Agreement contains Central Valley Project (CVP) water supply assurances for 895,000 acre feet of water for the Westlands Water District that originate from the Trinity River, a watershed that the Tribe “has depended for its fishery, economy and culture since time immemorial.”
Michael Orcutt, Hoopa Tribal Fisheries Director, said, “It is a travesty that the pristine waters of the Trinity Alps that have nurtured our people have been diverted from their natural course, sent 400 miles from our homeland and converted into toxic industrial waste by agribusiness in the Central Valley.”
“What makes this worse is that the destruction of our water quality was aided and abetted by our Federal Trustee, the Department of the Interior,” said Self-Governance Coordinated Daniel Jordan.
Instead of ensuring that existing law is enforced for the Tribe’s benefit, the Tribe said the United States government has “focused its energy on escaping federal liability for the generations of mismanagement of the reclamation program.”
The Tribe said it has the first right of use of Trinity River water under the 1955 federal stature that authorized the Trinity River Division of the CVP, but the San Luis Unit settlement and legislation as proposed ignores this priority right held by the Tribe.
“The Secretary of the Interior and Attorney General are blatantly ignoring our rights and the Congressionally mandated responsibility of the Bureau of Reclamation to furnish the water necessary for fish and wildlife and economic development in the Trinity River Basin,” stated Orcutt.
The Tribe’s testimony includes a proposal for settlement of the drainage issue that also provides for long overdue fair treatment of the Hoopa Valley Tribe. “If Congress approves our proposals, the Hupa people would finally get a long overdue measure of justice,” according to the Tribe.
“Our culture and economy have been devastated by the federal government’s mismanagement of the Central Valley Project and the San Luis Unit contractors’ ongoing assaults on our rights to Trinity River water,” said Jackson, “Now is the time to end the fighting and begin the long process of recovery.”
A coalition of fishing groups, conservation organizations, Delta farmers, Tribal leaders and environmental justice advocates is opposing the bills. Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, said U.S. taxpayers, and Californians in particular, should be “alarmed” that H.R. 4366 and H.R. 5217 (Rep. Jim Costa, D-CA) are moving forward.
“The settlement agreement reached in September 2015 between the Obama Administration and these large industrial agricultural, special-interest water districts, will result in a $300 million taxpayer giveaway without addressing or solving the extreme water pollution these irrigation districts discharge into the San Joaquin River, and ultimately, the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. It is exactly these types of taxpayer giveaways to corporations that have incensed voters in both parties this election year,” said Barrigan-Parrilla in a statement. (http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/5/23/1530022/-House-Natural-Resources-Committee-Will-Hold-Hearing-on-Westlands-Settlement)
The objections filed by the Hoopa Valley Tribe on May 24 come just a week after the Tribe filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and NOAA Fisheries for violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to adequately protect salmon on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.
“Failure by these federal agencies to reinitiate consultation on the flawed 2013 Klamath Project Biological Opinion (BiOp) will simply add to the millions of sick and dead juvenile salmon already lost due to the Klamath Irrigation Project. High infection prevalence of the deadly salmon parasite Ceratomyxa nova has been directly linked to the Project and its effect upon natural flows in the river,” according to a statement from the Tribe.
“The juvenile fish kills in 2014 and 2015, while not as noticeable to the naked eye as dead adults on the banks, are as devastating to Hupa people as the 2002 adult fish kill,” said Chairman Ryan Jackson.
Meanwhile, the Brown and Obama administrations are pushing a plan that threatens the San Francisco Bay-Delta and Klamath and Trinity rivers, the California Water Fix to build the Delta Tunnels. The plan would hasten the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River winter run Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and green sturgeon, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.