- Mendocino County
- Anderson Valley
by AVA News Service, June 17, 2016
UKIAH POLICE NEED HELP IN "ATTEMPTED KIDNAPPING" INVESTIGATION
The Ukiah Police Department is investigating an attempted kidnapping which occurred on June 3, 2016. A forensic sketch artist assisted with the investigation and completed the below drawing of the suspect. The suspect is a dark skinned Hispanic male, approximately 25-35 years old, approximately 5’7” tall and being of stocky build. He is associated with a reddish colored, older model Jeep Cherokee vehicle. UPD requests anyone who has information regarding the case or the identity of the suspect to contact the UPD at 707/463-6262. (Detective Phillips)
MENDOCINO COUNTY POLICY 22: WHO HAS ACCESS TO COUNTY EMAILS?
The County’s current Information Technology (IT) policy 22 regarding the use of technology and management access to employee email is outdated and should be updated to provide better controls over how and when that access is granted. The current County email software provides such access only in an unrestricted fashion — a County manager who is granted access receives the ability to access ALL County email accounts, including those containing confidential and/or privileged communications. The obsolete policy 22 and the current email system places the County at risk of inappropriate access to those communications, and may lend itself to abuse, and possible legal consequences.
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FACTS AND DISCUSSION
Mendocino County has one email system, Unlimited Mailbox, purchased in 2010 from the County Counsel’s budget that is owned, controlled, and maintained by the County. The Manager of IT administers this system and has ‘super user’ access to the Mail Auditor function in the software. No employee can access the email of another employee without such super-user permissions or the employee’s password. Prior to departmental consolidations in April 2015 when the CEO’s office assumed management of the IT department, the IT department operated under the General Services Division. In the past, department heads and other management staff requested, and were given access by IT staff as a super-user, to the email accounts of their employees for the purposes of monitoring or investigating their department employees’ proper company use of the system.
Some legitimate reasons for monitoring an employee’s account include: job-seeking, shopping, harassment of any kind, gambling, pornography, other illegal activities, and the selling of products over the Internet. Such monitoring is legal and common, and the County regularly informs employees that it may occur. Mendocino County Policy 22 addresses the County administration and IT use. Policy 22 states that: The County owns or has an unlimited right to access any and all information and data stored on County-owned, -leased, or -controlled computers, equipment, or networks. County management reserves the right to access any information or data, including electronic mail, stored on County-owned, -leased, or -controlled computers. Policy 22 further states: “All County-employee access to the Internet using County-owned, -leased, or - controlled computers, use of County-owned, -leased, or -controlled computer and networked equipment, including centralized systems, servers, personal computers, local area networks, and wide area network equipment shall be for County business purposes only. However, employees may engage in reasonable incidental personal use, to the extent permitted by the employee’s department head, as long as such use does not detract from an employee’s productivity, duties, service to the public or to the County, violate any law, or any County policy, procedure, or regulation.
Because of the inability of the County email software to segregate super-user access to specific accounts, access by management to employee email is unrestricted. Super-user email access is all or nothing. While in place, any County manager who is granted access, has complete and total access to all email accounts in the County system. This leaves the County exposed to legal risks and potentially creates the opportunity for a ‘dirty admin’ to abuse the email system. As a super-user with access to the mail auditor function, any County manager may obtain unrestricted access to highly sensitive and confidential messages within the Offices of the County Counsel, the District Attorney, Human Resources, the Sheriff, and the Board of Supervisors and Grand Jury, to name some examples.
The Grand Jury received allegations that this system of unrestricted access has led to abuses. County IT staff reported that the Unlimited Mailbox software used by the County provides no tool for proving or disproving those allegations via computer logs or other devices. However, the Unlimited Mailbox software engineer testified that there is a binary log feature that can’t be altered or deleted, that would capture any such access. Further, the software allows for complete re-creation of an employee’s email box on a specific date that would allow further investigation of such allegations. It is common that such uses of the email software occur for Public Records Act Requests for information.
County Policy 22 was adopted in 2003 and is now thirteen years old. In 2010, IT management stated that a revised Policy 22 was drafted and presented to the CEO. The Grand Jury could find no evidence that the CEO presented this to the BOS for adoption. Neither the 2003 version of the policy nor the proposed 2010 draft establish any protocols or procedures regarding County management access to employee email accounts. In 2016, the CEO informally established a procedure for such access, but the updated policy has not been formally presented to, nor adopted by the Board of Supervisors. This informal policy requires department heads and other managers who wish access to employee emails to obtain prior approval from the CEO or designee. When requested, the Grand Jury discovered that no log of email access requests or granted permissions currently exists or is maintained either by IT or the CEO’s office.
The Grand Jury learned that the current bargaining ground rules for negotiating successor labor contracts contains language contrary to Policy 22. Specifically, the ground rules currently allow union members to use the county’s email system for union communications.
F1. Policy 22 is obsolete and requires updating and formal adoption by the BOS.
F2. The current Unlimited Mailbox software does not adequately allow for super-user segregation of certain sensitive email accounts, e.g. Sheriff, DA, County Counsel, Board of Supervisors, Grand Jury.
F3. The limitations of the County email software that allows unrestricted super-user access to employee email by County management puts the County at risk for violating the protected nature of some communications, lends itself to abuse by County management, and exposes the County to unnecessary liability. F4. The current bargaining ground rule that allows employee access to the County’s email system for the purposes of bargaining is in direct conflict with provisions of Policy 22, which does not permit email use for non-county business.
RECOMMENDATIONS The Grand Jury recommends that: R1. Policy 22 be updated by the IT department in cooperation with County Administration and adopted by the BOS as soon as possible. This policy update should define the circumstances by which email access is requested and granted, and must require maintenance of a log of all such transactions. (F1 – F3).
R2. The County acquire email software that adequately allows for super-user segregation of certain sensitive email accounts and provides management access to employee email only under circumstances as defined by County policy. (F1- F3).
R3. The County adopt in its revised Policy 22, a best business practice to restrict the Mail Auditor function to one vetted employee. (F1-F3).
R4. The County’s bargaining agent and the union consider modifying the mutually agreed-upon ground rules to prevent unlimited employee use of the County’s email system for the purpose of bargaining, at the earliest opportunity. (F4).
HEARING HELD IN APPEAL DELAYING UKIAH COSTCO
by Justine Frederiksen
Nearly a year after it was filed, arguments for and against an appeal to uphold a lawsuit delaying the construction of a proposed Costco warehouse in Ukiah were held Wednesday in the First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco. City Attorney David Rapport attended the hearing and said afterward that the court had “90 days to file a decision,” and he could not guess how much of that time it would take to render a decision. The lawsuit alleges that the environmental impact report for the project should not have been certified, and was originally filed in early 2014 by Davis attorney William Kopper on behalf of a group of four people calling themselves “Ukiah Citizens for Safety First.” The plaintiffs at the time included two employees of Lucky and two employees of FoodMaxx, but all have since removed their names. The only name still attached to both the group “Ukiah Citizens for Safety First” and the appeal is Kopper’s, as he has refused all requests to reveal any other names. In May of 2015, a Mendocino County Superior Court dismissed the lawsuit, but two months later Kopper appealed that decision, which so far has delayed the project another year. Without the lawsuit, the warehouse store could have been built in the fall of 2014.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
CASS FERRINGTON OF THE SEA GLASS MUSEUM REPORTS:
Sea Glass Museum Update
Three weeks ago a local woman came into the museum and she told me a “person in the know” in city government said they decided to stop the ticketing for taking the sea glass.
Since then I have had no reports of ticketing and I believe there are just too many people on the beaches for the police to ticket without starting a riot.
I am still encouraging everyone to call the Santa Rosa office of the FBI at (707) 566-6140 to add their names to the list of complainants, as the city municipal code remains in place and when the crowds thin they might begin ticketing again.
In effect, the city has seized public domain land through the use of armed force (the police department). This is a fascist act of war. They are illegally seizing territory and treasure through the use of an armed force so they can tell people what they can and cannot do. This is the same as the Nazi’s and ISIS.
This is to let you know that If you are a collector or artist and canceled plans to come here this year, it is most probably safe come. I am not making any guarantees, but the lack of reports and shear volume of people indicate the city has given up on ticketing for at least the summer season. Everyone is collecting.
Please share this on social media as we need to reinvigorate the summer tourist season, which has been badly damaged due to the city’s illegal actions.
There will be a phone-in forum streamed live on mendocinotv.com on 6/30 dealing with these beach freedom and access issues and the illegal actions of the city. Details will follow when it is finalized.
PLEASE call the FBI!
CUB CLAWS COUGER
On 06-16-2016 at approximately 6:20 PM Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to investigate a domestic violence dispute. Deputies contacted a 41 year-old female in the 33000 block of Beal Lane in Fort Bragg, California. The 41 year-old female stated on 06-16-2016 at approximately 6:00 PM she was physically assaulted by her 26 year-old male boyfriend, Derek Frank Brannon. During the altercation Brannon had taken the 41 year-old female's keys and cellular telephone and had gotten into his vehicle to leave the location with those items. The 41 year-old female grabbed onto the steering wheel of Brannon's vehicle to try to retrieve her items. Once the 41 year-old female grabbed onto the steering wheel Brannon grabbed a hold of her fingers and peeled her fingers off of the steering wheel causing injury to her left hand. The 41 year-old female had an injury consistent with what had been stated on her left hand. During the investigation Deputies located Brannon and placed him under arrest for Felony Domestic Violence Battery. Brannon was transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
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On 06-12-2016 at approximately 12:20 AM Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office completed a traffic stop, due to a vehicle traveling at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour, in a 65 mile per hour zone. The vehicle was stopped at Highway 101 and Lake Mendocino Drive Ukiah, California. When Deputies contacted the driver, Carlos Larios, 26, of Hyatt, Maryland, and front passenger, David Monroy, 24, also of Hyatt, Maryland, in the vehicle they could smell the strong odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. During a search of the vehicle a small amount of marijuana was located along with $26,800 in US currency. After the investigation was completed both Larios and Monroy were placed under arrest for Possession for Sale-Marijuana and Proceeds over $25,000 Acquired for Drug Transactions. Larios and Monroy were transported to the Mendocino County Jail where they were to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
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DEPRESSING MARITAL EVENT NO. 5,675,876
On 06-10-2016 at approximately 10:22 PM Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to investigate a domestic violence dispute. Deputies contacted a 30 year-old female in the 1300 block of North State Street Ukiah. The 30 year-old female stated on 06-10-2016 at approximately 10:20 PM she was physically assaulted by her husband, Hugo Barajas, 35, of Ukiah. During the altercation Barajas grabbed the 30 year-old female by the face and then by the right forearm and wrist causing pain and injury. The 30 year-old female had visible injuries to her face and right wrist. During the investigation Deputies located Barajas and placed him under arrest for Felony Domestic Violence Battery. Barajas was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 17, 2016
DEREK BRANNON, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault.
JOHNNY CASTANEDA, Redwood Valley. Meth possession.
SAULO MARQUEZIN, Chicago/Ukiah. Vandalism, failure to appear.
FRANCISCO MENDOZA, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
MICHAEL MUNOZ, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
DOMIANO MUSSAU, Coalinga/Ukiah. DUI.
JACOB PARKER, Ukiah. Domestic battery, controlled substance, paraphernalia.
ZAHIR PECHCERON, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, failure to appear.
PEDRO REYNAGA, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
ERIN SHIM, Willits. Domestic battery, controlled substance.
JAMES SMITH, Indianapolis/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
KELLY STANTON, Ukiah. Battery, probation revocation.
GERI WHARTON, Ukiah. Camping in Ukiah, probation revocation.
JUDY SAKAKI: SSU’S NEW JAPANESE-AMERICAN PRESIDENT
by Jonah Raskin
He’s the toughest of acts to follow. Moreover, no one will ever be as controversial as he has been. Indeed, during his decades-long tenure at Sonoma State University, President Ruben Armiñana, altered the face of the campus with the construction of new buildings, especially the Green Music Center, a venue for internationally renowned performers like Yo-Yo Ma. Now that he’s gone, the place won’t ever be the same as it was when he first arrived as a largely untested Cuban-born administrator with a vision for the future of a curious institution of higher learning that had mostly stood outside the cross-currents of intellectual life in America.
I taught at SSU for 30 years. I loved the library, the swimming pool and the students. The faculty, with a few exceptions, got all tangled up in disputes with Armiñana that did no one any good at all. Now SSU has a new, notable President, Dr. Judy Sakaki, who started near the bottom of the academic ladder, or very close to it, and worked her way to the top. And she did it her own way, doggedly, persistently. Moreover, she’s living proof that the Golden State is a meritocracy, and that members of minorities can and do succeed in a highly competitive environment.
What follows here are some highlights from Sakaki’s life that went against the grain and that defied the odds against her as a Japanese American woman whose parents and grandparents were placed in internment camps during World War II.
In her senior year at Skyline High School in the city of Oakland, where she was born and raised, a guidance counselor urged her to pursue a career in sales. She fit the profile or so he thought. Dutifully, she went to work at Newberry’s, the five-and-dime store, and promptly noticed that most of the employees were women of color in their fifties and sixties. It didn’t take her long to decide she didn’t want to sell stuff all her life. She walked away from the job and never turned back.
For inspiration, Sakaki looked to her Japanese grandmother — a “picture bride” — who came to America not knowing a word of English or the man who would become her husband, but who married, raised a family and inspired her children and grandchildren.
No one in the Sakaki family had attended college, much less graduated. Judy was the very first to do so and in that way she’s like thousands of students in California who venture into uncharted territories, go to college, get an education and achieve excellence. In 1975, Sakaki earned a B.A. from Hayward State, now known as California State University, East Bay. A year later, she had an M.S. in clinical counseling. Then, not surprisingly, she wanted a doctorate, though a faculty member she admired discouraged her from pursuing one.
Undaunted, she received a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1991. Every since then, she’s been a kind of wonder woman who has worked as an administrator and made her mark as a fierce advocate for equal opportunities for all. There’s practically nothing she won’t do to bring people together, persuade them to share their experiences and pool their stories and dreams.
How’s this for an item on an extensive and impressive curriculum vita?
In 2005, as the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UC Davis, she took first price in the annual cow-milking contest, though as a “city girl,” she’d never milked a single cow or spent time in a pasture or a barn. Judy Sasaki isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and get to work.
Moreover, she doesn’t worry about a little spilt milk.
At UC Davis, she was legendary for her “Walk ‘n’ Talk Sessions.” Instead of sitting in her office for meetings, she would go outside, stroll across campus and discuss matters of vital concern with teachers, students, staff, faculty members and representatives of the community.
Over the years, there hasn’t been an aspect of academic life that’s eluded her, whether its college sports, student mental health, recruiting Native American high school students, and as she puts it, “educating undergraduates to become citizens of the world and make the world a better place.” She really is an idealist. Moreover, at her most recent position, as Vice President for student affairs in the office of the President for the entire University of California, she managed a $58 million budget. She has a head for figures as well as a big heart.
On July 1, 2016 she officially takes the reins as SSU’s eighth President and only the second woman, after Marjorie Wagner. Her long, illustrious career in academia looks like the best of preparations for her new position.
“I hope people enjoy what they do here at SSU,” Sakaki said. “I hope everyone finds joy and fulfillment.” With an attitude like that, she’s sure to make friends and create a new, hospitable environment on the campus of the school that has gone from Granola State and Frisbee U. to an institution of higher learning that draws students from all across California.
“The glass is always half-full, not half-empty,” Sakaki explained. “We’re all in the process of getting better together.”
She’s unlikely to raise the millions that Armiñana raised, or to oversee the furious construction of buildings that took place under his administration, but she’s likely to make SSU better known nationally and to shake-up and animate a rather staid campus.
Welcome Judy Sakaki.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
What we all need to remember here is exactly who the real and most dangerous enemy is and that would be a population of armed motivated white people who realize that they have been duped, doped and drained by the wealthy mega-masters that rule over them. In the Great Depression in 1929, Americans were far simpler, much more pliable and a heck of a lot less well armed. When they were robbed blind during that Depression they begged, borrowed and subsisted on little to nothing yet remained quiet and manageable as far as the government was concerned.
Anyone who has studied economics in any post high school capacity not only understands that things like Booms and Depressions are cyclical and can even see exactly where this nation is headed and that is an even Greater Depression. They also know that we are all being played, robbed and abused by our wealthy mega masters without mercy. What Warren Buffet, Bill Gates or any career politician does not awaken in the middle of the night after nightmares of armed hungry white people storming the gates of his palatial estate in search of not only a meal but some kick ass payback? The mega wealthy know what is coming and disarming white people (except of course for their paid thugs) is a must if they hope to survive and spawn future generations of truly useless eaters themselves. By paying off the political whores that they surely own to go overseas and stir up a hornets nest of stone age primitives and them import them in masse and without discretion and then blaming firearms and the white people that own them is a sound plan. Disarmament will go a long way towards minimizing the threats from a disgruntled mass of hungry, used-to-be affluents, especially once they are fully aware that they have no voice, no choice and no chance.
You have to hand it to the scum at the top. They may not be able to fool all of the people all of the time, but damned if they cannot fool most of the people almost all of the time. Never give a sucker an even break, right?
OPEN LETTER TO SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN:
Shame on you for endorsing Hillary Clinton. Bill and Hillary Clinton are career criminals.
You should have supported Bernie Sanders right up to, and through, the Democratic Party Convention in Philadelphia this July 25-28.
Democrats have become an Establishment Party, along with Republicans. As Democrats, we need to become the People's Party, again — the Party of the 99%, not the 1%, the Party of Main Street, not Wall Street. We need to embrace the US Constitution and Bill of Rights once again for what those documents truly are -- divinely inspired, just like the Bible.
As Democrats, we need to return to our values -- pro-grassroots democracy, pro-labor, pro-middle class, pro-working families, pro-dignity of work and production, pro-limited big business, pro-limited big government, pro-decentralization, pro-community based economics, pro-tax reform, pro-political finance reform, pro-environment, pro-ecological wisdom, pro-peace, pro-individualism, pro-individual rights, pro-feminism, pro-respect for diversity, pro-rule of law, pro-equality under the law, pro-spontaneous order, pro-natural harmony of interests, pro-personal and global responsibility, and pro-future focus and sustainability.
These are our values.
If the Democratic Party's leadership doesn't agree with these values at the convention in July, then we need a new Independent Party.
BERNIE’S TRAGIC FLAW: TOO SOFT ON CLINTON
by Andrew Levine
From Day One, Bernie Sanders said that he would support the eventual Democratic nominee — Hillary Clinton. It looks like he will make good on his word.
The near certainty that he would jump on the Hillary bandwagon eventually has always been one of the best arguments for being wary of his campaign.
But while there was still a hope and a prayer that maybe, just maybe, Bernie would defeat the Clinton juggernaut, it didn’t seem to matter. That was always wishful thinking, however; Bernie never had a chance. The Democratic Party was against him; corporate media were against him too; and the system was rigged.
And so, Hillary is now the Democrats’ “presumptive nominee,” their Donald Trump. It was bound to happen; deep down, everybody always knew it would. Even so, in the immortal words of Chester A. Riley: “what a revolting development this turned out to be!”
If Sanders now does what he has all along said he would, it will diminish all that he has accomplished.
But at least he won’t be a “spoiler” in the eyes of liberal pundits — like, horror of horrors, Ralph Nader. The idea that Nader was a spoiler is nonsense, of course; Al Gore was a piss poor candidate who ran a piss poor campaign and an even worse post-election recount battle in Florida. Even so, sixteen years later, Democrats still won’t let it go.
Conjuring up Bush v. Gore memories is the least of it; liberal scribblers and talking heads are pulling out all the stops trying to get Sanders to go away. If he doesn’t, they caution, he will have hell to pay; if he does, he can count on them regaling him, Hillary-style, with condescending praise for getting young people involved in the electoral process. Yippee!
He has other options, though; thanks to all the supporters he has. Were he to lead some large portion of them out of the rotting hulk that the Democratic Party has become, joining forces with the Greens or starting a new, genuinely progressive party from the ground up, he could become one of the great heroes of American history. That is more than can be said of any American President in living memory.
Chances are that he will succumb instead.
Whatever he does, it will take a protracted struggle and a mass movement to rid the body politic of “Clintonism,” that distinctive constellation of economic, foreign and military policies that has afflicted the United States and the world for the past quarter century,
Clintonism exacerbates inequality, encourages murder and mayhem abroad and terrorism at home, and renders the country dependent on a perpetual war regime that undermines First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections along with other traditional rights and liberties.
The Clintons didn’t think it all up themselves; they aren’t clever enough. But through happenstance and design, they did help put those policies in place, and they have been working assiduously to sustain them throughout their too many years in public life. For these reasons, and because they have been in the public eye for so long, the name is appropriate, notwithstanding the fact that it gives the two of them more credit than they deserve.
It is unfortunate that Clintonism is, by now, too deeply entrenched to be easily expunged — because it constitutes a clear and present danger to world peace, and because it undermines environmental sanity and the material well being of ninety-nine percent of the population. The general problem is made worse by the fact that, compared to other Clintonites, Hillary’s neoconservative leanings and bellicose inclinations are extreme, and because she is Wall Street’s Girl Friday.
The pundits who go on about the harm Bernie could do as a “spoiler” don’t talk about that. Instead, they stir up fear of an imminent fascist takeover by Donald Trump. Their confabulations serve Hillary well.
Trump is as awful as they say he is, maybe worse. But the Trump menace is a red herring that diverts attention away from the plain fact that the struggle against Clintonism is the paramount struggle of our time.
Hillary’s defeat at Bernie’s hands would have handed the Clintonites a defeat; if only for that reason, it would have done a world of good. But awareness of this simple truth seldom registers. Hillary’s flacks have done an outstanding job keeping the dangers of Clintonism generally, and of Hillary in particular, out of the public mind.
Instead, the conventional wisdom has it that the Madam Secretary is a progressive, like Bernie, who, unlike him, knows how to get things done. The term of art her defenders use is “progressive pragmatist.”
It hardly matters that in all the many months that they have been promoting this mythology, no one has come up with a single example of anything worthwhile, much less progressive, that Hillary has actually accomplished.
Meanwhile, the landscape is littered with her failures: from Hillarycare to the dismemberment of Yugoslavia and the destruction of Iraq, and then to everything she touched in her tenure as Secretary of State. Libya and Syria are the most conspicuous examples, but there are many others.
Now that Hillary no longer needs to worry about those huge rallies full of people “feeling the Bern,” she and her handlers are letting the “progressive pragmatist” jibber jabber of recent months lapse. It is easier for them to make the nefarious Donald the one and only issue.
There is an abundance of polling data suggesting that Bernie would do a lot better than Hillary running against Trump. Even so, Team Hillary managed, not without success, to use anti-Trump hysteria against Sanders’ candidacy.
Now, that Clinton is the presumptive nominee, they are repurposing their fear mongering — directing it, more plausibly, against Trump himself. From their point of view, this is a no-brainer. Trump really is one scary son of a bitch, and Hillary could hardly campaign on her merits or on the merits of her ideas.
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With or without Bernie on board, the insurgency his campaign got going is, for the time being, leading the fight against the Clintonite menace.
To that end, Bernie could be a big help in the short run, were he to resist demands for his surrender. In the long run, what he does in the coming weeks and months will hardly matter, but, for the time being, his acquiescence would dishearten his many supporters, causing some of them to retreat back into their private lives.
It would also diminish Sanders’ legacy. For what? Not to be called a “spoiler” the way that Nader still is? For helping to elect a corporate Democrat whose neoconservative inclinations and bellicose disposition all but guarantee that, before long, she will become the most detested President in the history of the United States?
These questions answer themselves. Even so, the likelihood is that Sanders will indeed acquiesce — perhaps not overtly, and perhaps not before Philadelphia — but nevertheless. To save face, he’ll probably take the bait — declaring that his first duty is to do all that he can to keep the Donald at bay.
Tragically, then, he will have fallen victim to the occupational hazard that politicians who try to repair the Clintonite rot from within the Democratic Party face: the rot overpowers them or gets into their heads, or both.
Witness the case of Elizabeth Warren, another rare opponent of the Democratic Party’s neoliberal turn. She has acquiesced already.
Perhaps she is more cowardly than Sanders or more self-serving. More likely, she is just a little ahead of him in demonstrating what a politician has to do, if she or he wants “to stay viable within the system,” as Hillary’s better half once put it.
Team Hillary has enlisted her to take the lead in making Trump the issue. She is good at it; she knows how to get under his skin. And so, for now, Warren’s signature issues, protecting consumers from banksters and regulating corporate predators, are on the back burner; chez Elizabeth, it’s all Trump all the time.
Talk about being used! Clinton’s flacks are even letting rumors fly about Warren and the Vice Presidency. Everybody knows this isn’t going to happen, but the thought that it might is enough to get more than a few Sanders supporters intrigued.
Were Hillary to pick Warren, she would be defying more than two hundred years of accumulated wisdom about the advantages of “balancing” presidential tickets — unless pairing a Wall Street flunky with someone whom Wall Street detests counts as balancing.
And if Clinton and her crew really do think that Trump has a chance, why would they waste the Vice Presidential slot on someone from a state that Hillary already has sewn up?
Naïve liberals should therefore forget about the Senator from Massachusetts becoming Hillary’s running mate. The rumor is a public relations ploy, good only for keeping gullible progressives from grasping the implications of Bernie’s defeat.
Public relations ploys that promote the idea that Hillary is a progressive at heart have lately become useful for Clinton — because anti-Trump hysteria may not be enough to turn most Sanders supporters into grudging lesser evil Clinton voters. She is therefore holding out a straw for those Sanders supporters to grasp. If enough do and therefore stay on board a while longer, it will damage the chances of getting a real alternative to Clinton and Clintonism going in time to do any good.
Thanks to Bernie, Hillary has been faking left for some time now. But, of course, it is all a charade, portending nothing whatsoever about any real change of heart. Once the election is over, she and Bill will revert back to their old neoliberal ways in less time than it will take their entourage to pack up their personal effects for the move back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
By then too, Warren will be yesterday’s lunch. If she wants to let herself be used now to make Trump, not Hillary, the issue, she can go to hell. If there isn’t already “a special place” there for Hillary-boosters like her, there ought to be.
Clintonites take progressive constituencies for granted, confident that workers and people of color have nowhere else to go. To be on the safe side, though, they sometimes do pander to labor leaders and to black and brown notables.
No doubt, they would prefer to hobnob with Wall Street predators and Hollywood celebrities, but they can hardly ignore the major poobahs of their most loyal voters — not when they get so much bang for the buck by throwing a little attention their way.
The beneficiaries of their efforts are so grateful to be acknowledged at all that coopting them is child’s play. On the other hand, rank-and-file workers and politically unconnected persons of color are on their own as far as the Clintons are concerned — except, of course, when they find it expedient to feel their pain.
In their hearts, the Clintons regard everyone to their left — that is to say, nearly everyone with any significant chance of voting Democratic — with contempt. If they pretend otherwise, as they are doing now in order to entice Sanders supporters into the Clintonite fold, it is because they feel that they have no choice; and because they believe that, before long, the need will pass and normalcy will return.
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If Bernie ends up following Warren down the path of acquiescence, he will be doing those constituencies, along with the rest of the ninety-nine percent, no good at all. Must we therefore conclude that there is a special place in hell for him too?
I would say emphatically No. A just God, if one existed, would realize that he deserves better than that.
Not only did he get an insurgency going: he also brought talk of “socialism” back into the mainstream, defied the Israel lobby (barely, but enough to shatter a longstanding taboo), proved that presidential campaigns don’t need to sell out to money interests, and reinforced the idea that another world is possible.
He also demonstrated — inadvertently, but undeniably — that another Democratic Party is not possible; that the idea that Democrats could become good for anything more than keeping Republicans at bay is a pipedream at best.
When the dust settles, these achievements will stand out, even if Sanders ends up doing the wrong thing. He used his time in the spotlight to make history in ways that put his country and the world in his debt. If that doesn’t merit a “get out of hell free” card, nothing does.
Going forward now without his support will be difficult for those who were drawn to the Sanders campaign by the force of his “democratic socialist” ideas — his twenty-first century version of New Deal-Great Society liberalism or, what comes to the same thing for him, his take on Scandinavian-style social democracy, modified for American conditions.
There is nothing especially innovative in Sanders’ politics: nearly everything he has proposed has been commonplace throughout the “developed” world for more than half a century. Aspiring democratic socialists should therefore be able to find their way without his guidance. Their path would be easier right now, however, if he would take the lead.
Clintonites have tried, with great success, to avoid talking about Sanders’ politics, and “conservatives” have been too busy hating Hillary — for all the wrong reasons — to pick up the slack. Sanders’ critics have therefore mostly come from his left. From that quarter, he has been faulted mainly, but not only, for his positions on foreign and military affairs.
Those criticisms are generally spot on. But Sanders’ view even on issues where he ought to be reproached, are, for the most part, slightly better than the average Democrat’s, and a lot better than Hillary’s. His views on domestic politics, trade, the environment, and civil liberties are better by many orders of magnitude.
This is why those who accentuate the negative about Bernie can seem doctrinaire in ways that corroborate the old saw about the best being the enemy of the good. The sectarian spirit lives on in the views of some of Bernie’s leftwing critics.
This is also why voting for Sanders in the primaries was not a vote for a lesser evil in the way that voting for Clinton over Trump in November will be for many liberals.
It was an honorable way to express disdain for Clinton and Clintonism. It was also a way to signal support for a different, more progressive kind of politics, attuned to conditions in our time and place.
There is still a (small) chance that Sanders will decide that it is more important to make history than to make nice with Democrats and their pundits. But whether he does or not, the task for the rest of us is to keep the spirit of his campaign alive, and to carry its achievements forward.
To that end, the time is past due to break, clearly and decisively, with Clinton and Clintonism.
With Trump for a “presumptive” counterpart to Hillary, this ought to be easy. Trump’s candidacy is a non-starter because, barring an act of God or an eruption of mass insanity, Hillary will be the next President of the United States.
In fact, though, it will be hard to get left-leaning voters to mobilize against Hillary — in part because corporate media are united in supporting her case and in promoting anti-Trump hysteria, and in part because the Clintons are adept at the arts of deception. If they can get otherwise reasonable people to believe that Hillary is a progressive pragmatist who is, as Barack Obama claims, more qualified than anyone in American history to assume the role of President and Commander-in-Chief, they can get people to believe anything.
In the fullness of time, the truth about Hillary will prevail; the truth usually does. She will make every other President and Commander-in-Chief in American history, even George W. Bush, look good in comparison; and there will be no way to put a happy face on that.
It will also seem obvious in retrospect that there never was any need to worry about Trump — because he was bound to undermine himself, and because there were limits to how low even the American electorate of 2016 could sink.
But these understandings are unlikely to emerge in time for the coming election; and, even if they did, it would make no difference. There is no way that the Greens or some yet to be established “third” party would be able to elect a President this November.
But what is impossible now, can become eminently feasible in the not too distant future, as our future President’s ineptitude and war mongering cause awareness of her shortcomings and of the evils of Clintonism to deepen and expand.
The movement that the Sanders campaign set in motion can help with that; Bernie can help too, if he chooses.
So far, though, Trump is the hero of the day. By breaking the GOP, he has already done more than anyone else to undermine the status quo. How ironic that it should fall to a billionaire buffoon, with a gift for drawing out the inner fascist in the basest among us, to mortally wound a pillar of modern America’s ancien régime.
Our duopolistic political culture has become a major impediment in the way of real democracy and justice. Now, thanks to Trump, one of our two semi-established political parties is on the ropes. The chances that it will ever recover are slight.
However, breaking free from the duopoly’s grip is too important a task to leave to a non-electable Caudillo wannabe, a narcissist with bad judgment, poor impulse control, and a taste for over-the-top displays of his own power and wealth.
Now is therefore the time for the “good guys” to do their part too. For that, the indispensible first step is breaking free from any and all Clintonite illusions. If this doesn’t happen soon, the “political revolution” Sanders claimed to be fomenting will end stillborn.
Sanders wasn’t just blowing air. But, by being soft on Clinton and therefore on Clintonism, his political revolution was bound to founder. The time for him to have realized this, and to have reacted accordingly, was weeks or months ago. But it is never too late — not for Sanders’ supporters anyway, and, for at least a few weeks more, not even for Sanders himself.
(Andrew Levine is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of The American Ideology (Routledge) and Political Key Words (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People. He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
50TH ANNUAL RUSSIAN RIVER RODEO
Celebrate the 50th Annual Russian River Rodeo June 25th & 26th at “Bill Parmeter Field” in historic Duncans Mills, CA. Duncans Mills has been host to the Russian River Rodeo since the 1990s. The small town of Duncans Mills, population 95, swells to over a thousand visitors each day when the rodeo is in town.
The Russian River Rodeo Association, sponsors of the weekend festivities, is proud of its small town western heritage and invites the public to join them for a fun-filled weekend for the entire family. Kick off each day with a continental Cowboy Breakfast and after taking in top notch rodeo entertainment, plan to enjoy some of the “Best in the County” rodeo BBQ.
This California Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association sanctioned event begins with its Grand Entry Opening Ceremonies at 1:00 p.m. followed by a day of thrill-packed events including: bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, bull riding and be on hand when the Daredevil Sweethearts perform daring stunts on horseback. Come early and wander through the vendors selling cowboy hats, horseshoe art and other trinkets. Let the kids play in the ever popular “corn sandbox”
Russian River Rodeo Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Proceeds from the annual Rodeo are used to sponsor summer activities for kids, youth scholarships, trail rides, and allows the nonprofit to continue a level of support of many local organizations and activities that benefit the community.
For Tickets, further information and the full weekend Schedule of Events, call 707-865-9854 or visit their website at www.RussianRiverRodeo.org. Find them on Facebook.
MARCO ON BIG CONDOM
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