Mendocino County Today: Thursday, June 30, 2016
by AVA News Service, June 30, 2016
OBSTETRICS FORUM IN FORT BRAGG
The Mendocino Coast District Hospital will host a Community Meeting on Tuesday, July 12 from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm at Cotton Auditorium regarding OB services.
The community is encouraged to attend in order to provide their input and receive information regarding OB services.
Contact Gayl Moon at 961-4610 for further information.
THE WORLD’S LARGEST SALMON BBQ
The World Largest Salmon BBQ is held each year on the first Saturday in July. This year it is July 2nd. All proceeds are used to improve salmon populations on the Northern California coast. BBQ Tickets are $30 at the door or $25 in advance at the Harvest Market or Online (up until 5pm the Friday before the BBQ). Kids 12 and under $10. Come and listen to the music and enjoy the afternoon in Noyo Harbor. Buy Your Tickets Now. BBQ Starts at 11am and goes to 6 pm. No dogs allowed in the dining area. See You There!
NAVARRO RIVER HIGH BUT STILL NO BREACH…
The rain last Friday wasn't enough to breach the sandbar at the mouth of the Navarro River. According to the upriver USGS water gauge the river level is a paltry 2.23' - but, of course, it's deeper towards the mouth. This was the view from Highway 1 on Navarro grade Tuesday night at sunset.
FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCIL REPORT
by Rex Gressett
Monday night, June 27, 2016 — I believe that it is more than ok to say it like it is in politics. It is essential to an interesting public dialogue that viewpoints be precise and probing even when precision hurts. People have said things about me that I thought to be rather unkind and therefore probably untrue. But we must all of us speak our minds candidly on those issues that are political and common to the community, even if feathers are occasional ruffled. But it is hard to speak strongly about the departed. To accost a politician that has left the political arena is kicking a deadhorse, unnecessary and generally unuseful, but in the case of Scott Dietz I think that one final (short) observation is in order.
Mr Dietz served his one term of office with considerable distinction but of an unfortunate kind. His tale can be told succinctly. He was usable, they used him and they disposed of him. Fini.
Monday night he announced that he would not be running again. In departing the city council he removes with him the most palpable reminder of the dirty behind-the-scenes deal making that subsequently embroiled city management in a mayoral recall, a ballot initiative and the formation of an organized (slightly, but formally) opposition to what was heretofore an unopposed city hall political machine. True, the machine got its business done anyway in spite of any hasty and bitter opposition. The money was got, and faithfully passed to the right people. Cash got safely to the appointed anointed. Payday came for the people who expected it and in fair consequence did what they do to earn it. It was business as usual but this time, unusually, there was considerable public notice. Deals like this that had been conducted nicely in the dark up to now, somehow were the subject of contentious, indeed packed, indeed super-packed city council meetings. And worse it became apparent to everybody that town hall could be packed, by means of the strange power of that strange giant social media. Worse yet subsequent events demonstrated that a packed city hall could awe and intimidate and stimulate to substantive morality a city council that had previously conducted affairs with swaggering disdain for public opinion. as I write this now after many battles the city of Fort Bragg awaits an election result to see if the city has been solidly and perhaps fatally rebuked. Mr. Dietz was the victim of all of that attention.
Of course, it is not fair. Mr Dietz came to office as a virgin lamb of unexceptional pretensions and has only done as he was directed. He was just a trifle venal when it came to who he felt comfortable working for. Decidedly it turned out not to be the people who elected him. When the still unnamed whistleblower released the secret emails (about how the Coast Hotel deal went down) the public saw for the first time the nature of the participation of councilman Dietz in complex negotiations to secure for a pet agency a sleazy real estate agreement on a property smack in the middle of town. Up to that point he had been, in his avuncular fondness for the powerful, just potentially useful. But in his new position as councilman he saw his duty and joined with vigor in the hustle to put a scheme to a vote through the narrowest possible window of public notice (four days). Then bravely to stop dead any rude public discussion of the project. The goal was to stick to the quicky decision, and push it forward over the top of any public opposition. He helped the city manager in every way to limit discussion, hide even the fact of public opposition and certainly hide its extent and nature and most of all to to get the money to the people who expected it in spite of public comment or opposition. Mr. Dietz worked at all of it quietly but conscientiously. He ignored his constituents, insulted his community, led the charge to a larcenous and obscene misapplication of civic funds conducted in the face of massive public opposition for the convenient enrichment of a faction. Like most factions that get that kind of money they were not too savory but Deitz loyally did not demur. He did his job for those to whom he felt he owed loyalty.
Monday night he got his reward. He would not be running he announced and no one said a damn thing.
CAL FIRE WARNS OF DANGERS AS FIREWORKS GO ON SALE
Thousands of pounds of illegal fireworks already confiscated
Wednesday began the sale of “Safe and Sane” fireworks in nearly 300 communities across California, which has CAL FIRE reminding everyone to do their part to prevent fires caused by fireworks this Fourth of July. Over the past five years, more than 2,500 structure and wildfires have been sparked by fireworks, burning thousands of acres, causing countless injuries and costing millions in property loss.
“Illegal fireworks, or even the unsafe use of 'Sane and Sane' fireworks, are a major problem every year,” said Chief Tonya Hoover, California’s state fire marshal. “We have a zero tolerance towards the possession, sale or use of illegal fireworks and our officers will be patrolling the streets and internet this week.”
Fire and law enforcement officers across the State are working together to confiscate illegal fireworks off the streets. Earlier this month, CAL FIRE joined a multi-agency fireworks seizure operation in San Bernardino County. The operation resulted in the confiscation of 25,406 pounds of illegal fireworks, 51 misdemeanor citations were issued, as well as two felony arrests. In Placer County, a similar multi-agency operation occurred at the agricultural inspection station in Truckee. More than 1,882 pounds of fireworks were confiscated resulting in 20 misdemeanor citations and seven felony arrests.
“Wildfire activity has significantly increased during the last several weeks and California continues to experience explosive fire conditions as a result of five years of drought," said Chief Ken Pimott, CAL FIRE director. "Everyone needs to understand the dangers associated with the use of illegal fireworks or misuse of legal fireworks. Any person who starts a fire from fireworks – even accidentally – can be held liable for the fire-fighting costs as well as property damage costs.”
The State Fire Marshal approved “Safe and Sane” fireworks are allowed for use in many communities; however, they are not approved state-wide. Before purchasing these types of fireworks, be sure to check your local laws and follow the instructions to avoid accidents and injuries.
Here are a few tips to help you be safe this 4th of July:
• If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
• Buy only State Fire Marshal-approved (Safe and Sane) fireworks.
• Have a bucket of water and a hose handy.
• Always read directions and have an adult present.
• Use fireworks outdoors only.
• Parents are liable for any damage or injuries caused by their children using fireworks.
• Use common sense and keep a safe distance.
• Never attempt to re-light or “fix” fireworks.
Visit www.ReadyforWildfire.org for tips on how to prevent a wildfire this Fourth of July.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF HOMELESSNESS
by Stephen Talbot
Once upon a time there were no homeless people in San Francisco. Or California. Or the country, for that matter. Really. At least not in the way we have come to define "the homeless."
I remember when I first saw homeless people on the streets of San Francisco. It was fall of 1982 and I was producing a local documentary for KQED called "To Have and Have Not" about the growing gap between rich and poor in San Francisco.
In the Tenderloin and other run-down corners of the city, my TV crew and I began to notice and speak with people who told us they had nowhere to live. I'd been renting a place in the city for five years. I was accustomed to a few panhandlers downtown, winos and derelicts in the Tenderloin, some runaways in the Haight. But this was different.
Suddenly, St. Anthony's Dining Hall was swamped with people needing a free meal. Emergency shelters were overrun. At night, people huddled in storefronts in the rain.
"We're seeing more and more women and children," Clare Doyle, the director of a Catholic-run soup kitchen in the Mission, told us. "More families. More children who come in here by themselves, sometimes with jars saying, 'Can I have some soup to take home to my mom?' "
This was shocking and it was new. Homeless people in San Francisco. No one was sure how many, but emergency shelters were taking in close to a thousand, while many more eked out a life in the alleys and the parks.
Why was this happening?
For one thing, we were in the middle of a recession. Twelve million people were unemployed across the country, 1.5 million in California, and 150,000 in the Bay Area. Manufacturing plants were shutting down, people were hurting. It was the beginning of what we now know as "the de-industrialization of America."
Newsweek declared it "The Hard-Luck Christmas of '82," saying "with 12 million unemployed and 2 million homeless, private charity cannot make up for federal cutbacks."
And that was the other reason: cutbacks. Under President Ronald Reagan, who was elected in 1980, the government had slashed federal housing subsidies and poverty programs, including food stamps. Low-cost housing was vanishing, especially in cities like San Francisco, where the housing market was already tight and expensive.
There was at least one more cause of this new homeless calamity: the closing of mental health hospitals without creating an adequate safety net of neighborhood clinics and support services. This process had begun in the '70s but deepened every year. "We have a lot more people with emotional problems," Doyle told us at her shelter in the Mission. "A lot of people who have been dumped out of the mental health system literally with a handful of Thorazine and dumped on the streets."
Recession, unemployment, cutbacks in federal support for housing and the poor, and a breakdown in mental health services — all this formed a perfect storm, and the victims were people we began to call "the homeless."
It wasn't as bad as the Great Depression of the 1930s, when a third of the country was unemployed, and sprawling camps of the hungry and desperate – "Hoovervilles" – emerged everywhere from New York's Central Park to downtown L.A.
But in some ways it had a nastier edge. The homeless in San Francisco in the early 1980s lived in the midst of recession-proof wealth. They were surrounded by those with old Pacific Heights money and the new prosperity of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. In Los Gatos, a Ferrari dealer told me he was experiencing record sales. Sometimes customers forked over $80,000 in cash for a new sports car.
In my lifetime, which began in the postwar prosperity of the '50s and '60s, this "tale of two cities" clash was the beginning of the long era of "income inequality" that has so divided our country.
There are scenes in "To Have and Have Not" of homeless people and their advocates starting to organize and march on City Hall to demand and receive emergency shelter. There's also a skirmish in which police drag off some homeless men who refused to leave the temporary sanctuary of a broken-down Muni bus.
In many ways, this is still what's happening, still the way we treat the homeless: provide services, which are ample but never enough, tolerate a certain level of suffering on the streets, and resort to criminal prosecution and even police shootings when someone feels threatened.
Thirty-four years after I first saw and filmed homeless people in the City of St. Francis, I never expected to see this crisis still festering, still unresolved. And I have the same thought I had back then: We are a resilient, democratic, prosperous society, but at what point does a city, a country, become so economically divided that it tears itself apart?
(This article originally appeared on KQED News.)
ME AND THE PITTIE. I keep avian hours. It gets dark, I sleep. It gets light, I get up. My hours, then, are 9-5 and 5-9. The other morning, after the usual two cups and a quick internet cruise of the previous night's catastrophes, I went outside in cool of the dawn to shovel wood chips over a large and unsightly skein of bare dirt that was dusting my castle when the saving afternoon winds come up, blowing straight down the Anderson Valley from the Pacific. Over the hill in Ukiah it's at least ten degrees warmer in the summer time. I have to go there later in the morning to peddle my papers, always a dread prospect. Suddenly, from behind, there's movement. It's a pit bull, a large-ish one. Mother of God! The light brown creature is standing about ten feet away, staring at me. I wave him off. He doesn't move, but he isn't growling or in any other way demonstrating hostility. I again shake my shovel at him to go away. He skitters off a few feet. I realize he's shy, a puppy, not yet one of the twisted beasts trained to attack anyone they don't recognize, animal of choice for love drug farmers. A friend calls pit bulls, 'pitties.' I think it would be a pity if this one separated mainstem Anderson from one of his tributaries. For a pit bull he has an appealingly friendly face. I want to pet him, make friends with him. But he skitters away when I approach. He's got a collar and lives next door. The other people on my property say he gets loose all the time. I'd better make friends with him in that case. I make a note to myself to buy some dog biscuits. I just met him but I like him. As I resume shoveling, he starts jumping around and yipping. He wants to play. "I can't play with you with a shovel," I tell him. He seems to understand, and jogs off down the street. I'll buy him off with some biscuits tomorrow morning, and think of some way to entertain him.
FAMILIARITY BREEDS TRIVIALITY
I Hope I’m Wrong!
As I watched the mob in Cloverdale welcoming Bernie Sanders, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him trying to talk over all these idiots screaming “Bernie Bernie Bernie” to the embarrassing point that he couldn’t even talk.
Since when is a contender for the highest office in the land, addressed by his or god help us, her first name? As far as I can tell, there’s no way a candidate who’s campaign is so taken over by the cutesy slogan morons, could ever make it to a place of relevance and lasting influence. Hope I’m wrong.
It’s just all too much like a twisted Disney production. The biggest impediment to the Sanders run is not all the usual monsters from the blatant greed party. It’s the very folks who rightly see his sanity but are too young and warped by their hand held devices to know revolution if it landed on their dash screens!
This current version of the popular culture is so dumb that they don’t even see the phony momentum generated by the supposed advantage of their “electronic democracy.” Can’t even notice how the medium is controlling them. The hand held prison! The bright dimwittedness! Hope I’m wrong!
You don’t run a campaign on a first name basis. Anymore than you run a ball team on tattoed long haired over paid drug addict narcissist assholes. When society itself becomes an unreal “reality" TV show, who will turn it off, where’s the off switch? Dog have mercy!
All goodness to Bernie Sanders. He’s obviously too real to be in the payola sickened arena that he’s gallantly trying to invade. A voice crying in the wilderness, the waste land really. I cringe every time I see a “Bernie” sign. It’s all wrong. Even though he’s right by a biblical mile!
In this fucked up society, as soon as something or someone is all the rage, oblivion every time. The masses ruin everything they touch with their grubby mitts. It’s the law of herd mentality.
The more popular, the less real or relevant. The revolution will not be televised!
Marvin Blake, Elk
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The Ukiah Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah. Call the Adoption Coordinator for more information--707-467-6453. Don't forget to visit and bookmark the shelter's official website: www.mendoanimalshelter.com.
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THE ONE PARTY SYSTEM
The power elites own the two political parties in the United States. To control the outcome of an election, at the voter level, they deploy two main strategies to motivate the voters. The Republicans promote hatred, the Democrats promote fear. The electoral contest develops as a spectacle, very much like the World Wrestling Federation. Republicans and Democrats display a sort of kabuki theater exploiting the tendencies described above. Trump is a perfect example of this strategy. In his case, it is not only a party that is dangerous, but the individual himself, making the fear more tangible. But underlying this farce is the incredible evidence that both parties are part and parcel of the same exploitative system, where the contenders vie for the opportunity to do the job for their corporate masters.
The allegiance of the true believer, either a Republican or a Democrat, is very similar to that of a fan of a sports team. You are either a Giants fan or a Dodgers fan. You are supposed to pledge allegiance to your team. No matter the record of malfeasance accumulated by the party of your fervor, if you are a true believer, you become blind to the facts and look for the convenient narrative carefully selected for your consumption by corporate media. And if you are a liberal democrat, you tend to feel very smart spouting your media-acquired wisdom, full of factoids, manufactured to make you feel intelligent. You read The New York Times, you watch PBS. Your mind becomes sealed, impermeable to an alternative narrative that puts into question the motives and hidden agendas of your “team” in power.
Obama is a case in point. His true believers see no fault in him, not one, notwithstanding his abysmal record in everything he has touched, from health care to Wall Street, to the most egregious of all his crimes, that of being a tool for the neoconservative agenda of U.S. world domination by military might.
And now it’s Hillary Clinton’s turn to run for the presidency. She is the chosen leader of the team and true believers must support her, if only because her ascendancy will become an historical accomplishment, that of becoming the first woman president of the United States of America — the latest liberal wet dream. No matter her abysmal record as a corporate fiend and a proven warmonger; she is the prefect fit for a neoconservative, neoliberal agenda. With Obama the fiasco was perpetrated under the color of race; with Clinton it is perpetrated under the color of gender. And who cares if all hell breaks lose? One of the most unpopular politicians in recent American history is poised to become the commander in chief of the quintessence of organized crime: the United States of America. That’s where Trump comes in handy. He is the enemy to defeat. He is even more evil than the Republican Party itself, which he has so cleverly dismantled. And you have to be afraid, very afraid of the bogey man. Thus, the inevitability of your vote for Clinton. Isn’t that right? To be reduced to the level of a child, accepting to be manipulated by your handlers, in the exercise of your electoral duty? Doesn’t that make you feel great?
Roberto O. Lozano
NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT
On 06-29-2016 at approximately 0055 hours, Deputies were dispatched to Dick's Place in the 45000 block of Main Street in Mendocino for a report of vandalism. After Deputies arrived, James Herriot, 31, of Mendocino was identified as suspect to the vandalism. Herriot left the location prior to the Deputies arrival. Deputies learned that Herriot had been banished from the establishment by staff as a result of his unwanted behavior. Herriot remained outside the establishment after being told to leave and was contacted again by employee Patrick Harmon. Harmon asked Herriot to leave the location and Herriot made an overt attempt to physically assault Harmon without success. Herriot then produced a ceramic bottle and struck one of the establishment's windows, causing it to break. Herriot then swung and struck Harmon in the upper body with the same bottle, causing minimal injury. Deputies located Herriot a short distance away and arrested him without incident. Herriot was confirmed to be on active felony probation and CDC parole and ultimately transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was held with no bail on charges of Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Felony Vandalism, and probation/parole violations.
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 29, 2016
Alarcon, Chavez-Sanchez, Gouber
MARCO ALARCON, Philo. Suspended license.
ANASTACIO CHAVEZ-SANCHEZ, Santa Rosa/Willits. Pot cultivation, possession for sale, armed with firearm.
JACK GOUBER, Ukiah. Vandalism, probation revocation.
Herriot, Houston, Lawrence
JAMES HERRIOT JR., Albion. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, vandalism, parole violation, probation revocation.
THOMAS HOUSTON, Ukiah. Domestic assault.
DEBORAH LAWRENCE, Ukiah. Drunk in public, controlled substance, probation revocation.
Stanton, Wharton, Wolf
KELLY STANTON, Ukiah. Solication to engage in lewd act in public.
GERI WHARTON, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
NIKOLE WOLF, Willits. DUI-drugs, paraphernalia.
ALL THAT GLITTERS IF FEARSOME: WHATEVER HAPPENS, DON’T BLAME JILL STEIN
by Priti Gulati Cox
If Salvador Dali were around today he might have captured the mood of the nation best in a painting. But, you could simulate one for yourself by piecing together these wildly varying, discordant sentiments in your head:
She is an extremely ambitious liberal interventionist hawk….[and] was the leading figure behind the destruction of Libya…If Hillary Clinton gets into office, it means endless war….[she] surrounds herself with people who don’t really challenge her.
—Julian Assange, June 23, 2016.
Yes. Yes, I think the issue right here is I am going to do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump. I think Trump in so many ways will be a disaster for this country if he were to be elected president.
— Bernie Sanders in his support for Clinton, June 24, 2016.
The problem that poses for people across this country is that the choice between the kind of chaos of Trump’s policy that’s so incredibly dangerous, versus a very clear, very committed militaristic commitment to regime change and U.S. domination in the Hillary Clinton foreign policy is not much of a choice.
—Phyllis Bennis, June 3, 2016.
Stein deserves the strongest possible support from Sandernistas. If a large section of our movement is able to resist the growing pressure to fall into line behind Clinton, and instead put its energies into Stein’s campaign, it will spur the development of a much bigger fightback and lay the groundwork for building a new party of the 99%.
—City council member of Seattle, and member of Socialist Alternative, Kshama Sawant, June 24, 2016.
Don’t repeat the mistakes of 1968 that elected Nixon.
—Democracy Now’s Juan Gonzales to the Bernie or Bust Movement, June 20, 2016.
Hillary Clinton for years has been one of the world’s most stalwart friends of some of the world’s worst despots and war criminals.
—Glenn Greenwald, March 10, 2016.
Do I think that Bernie has a tremendous number of great ideas? Of course, I do, but I’m not Bernie’s political advisor. I’m a journalist, and I think that Bernie should be whacked with criticism for the hypocrisy of going after Hillary Clinton when he also has been a part of that machine.
—Jeremy Scahill, May 6, 2016.
….some people feel that Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in, things will really explode.
—Susan Sarandon, March 29, 2016.
I don’t want Trump in the white house.
—A Hillary Clinton supporter.
Of course, Hillary and Obama are simply manifestations of the power structure of the Democratic Party itself, which is unapologetically hawkish. The same party Sanders belatedly joined….Real political revolutions (as opposed to rhetorical ones) begin after the futility of the ballot box has been proven. Sustainable movements are driven by issues not personalities. And sometimes you have to bust your idols for kindling to get things ignited.
—Jeffrey St. Clair, June 10, 2016.
Give me messy progress over all-purifying revolution.
—Another Hillary supporter in response to Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
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.
—John Pilger, May 27, 2016.
By dismissing a ‘lesser evil’ electoral logic and thereby increasing the potential for Clinton’s defeat the left will undermine what should be at the core of what it claims to be attempting to achieve.
— I hate to tell you this, but that’s John Halle and Noam Chomsky, writing in defense of “lesser evil” voting, June 15, 2016.
“They hate our freedom.” We’ve been hearing that for fifteen years. But this freedom of ours that we sell to the world has been subsidized by endless war, refugees, climate change, regime change, hatred and unfounded fear—of nonwhite people, communists, Muslims, “baby killers,” homosexuals, immigrants, most of the world’s population.
In India, economically free women tend to make up for their lack of social freedom by hiding behind expensive silk saris and gold and diamond jewelry. Are privileged Americans any different? Are we a truly free society (whatever that is) or only masquerading as one?
It’s all out in the open now. And it’s not freedom but feardom that’s glittering in this idiotic electoral carnival sunshine that we’re all marching in. Dragging behind us a “eeuuuuuuge” purple trail of past atrocities, we wrestle among ourselves, releasing fear-dust and blabbering on about stuff like “lesser evils” and the next “spoiler-in-chief.”
Never mind that the last time there was a strong third-party challenge, from Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in 2000, there were many, many other “spoilers” responsible for Gore’s defeat. For example, 12 to 13 percent of registered Democrats voted for Bush, far outstripping the official margin in Florida. Then there was the Democrats’ abject capitulation in the fight—that is, the nonfight—over the Sunshine State’s vote count.
If only we could instead channel this antispoiler outrage into holding our Democratic and Republican politicians accountable for their purple atrocities over the decades. I can’t predict for certain whether a Trump future will be worse than a Clinton one. No one can. But I know this much: I can look back at this feardom trail and safely say that it’s neither red nor blue, but purple. And it ain’t pretty.
And whatever lies ahead can only be….not worse….no, it’ll be an extension of “worse,” the greater of evils. To suggest that we have progressed would be extremely insulting to all the victims of the 1990s and 2000s.
What lies ahead if evil wins—whether it’s the lesser or the greater—will be
….an extension of the loud screams I hear from the more than half a million Iraqi children who drown out Madeline Albright’s infamous comment that the human price of our 1990s sanctions on Iraq were “worth it”….
….an extension of the assassinated innocent children, the elderly, women and men victims of Obama’s unmanned drone program in Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Waziristan….
….an extension of the 2009 Honduran coup that then secretary of state Hillary Clinton made possible, and in which 168 LGBT people were killed between 2009 and 2014. A coup that brave indigenous leader Berta Caceres opposed and for which she was gunned down in March of this year….
….an extension of the hundreds of thousands of dead and displaced Iraqi and Afghan people as a result of our wars….
….an extension of the innocent Guantanamo detainees and their families at home….
….an extension of the creation of ISIS as a result of the U.S. led “War on Terror”….
….an extension of refugees fleeing U.S and Western imperialism and the “War on Terror”….
….an extension of the plight of occupied Palestinians….of the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza called Operation Protective Edge that flattened 19,000 homes and killed 550 children, and of virtually no human rights reports about the devastation…..of the 135-year-old Nakba that is ongoing….
….this is a unique moment now. We’ve never been here in history before. What we are facing, you know, is not just a question of what kind of world we want to be, but whether we will be a world at all.
—Green Party Candidate Jill Stein, June 9, 2016.
I tend to agree with Jeffrey St. Clair (above) when he writes that “sustainable movements are driven by issues not personalities.” But in the heat of this particular electoral circus, whether I like it or not, my feardom glitters too. I am going with Green.
I am going with Jill Stein, among other reasons, because of her 2016 campaign platform that includes issues such as these:
In addition to ending our catastrophic and immoral wars for oil and markets, we must stop aiding and abetting the human rights violations and war crimes of our allies who are also massively defying international law. This includes the Israeli government and the rulers of Saudi Arabia…..With regard to Israel, the United States has encouraged the worst tendencies of the Israeli government as it pursues policies of occupation, apartheid, assassination, illegal settlements, demolitions, blockades, building of nuclear bombs, indefinite detention, collective punishment, and defiance of international law….the Stein campaign supports actions of nonviolent resistance to the policies of the occupation and of the Israeli apartheid regime, including those of the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Furthermore, Stein urges,
— Abolish the death penalty.
— End the failed war on drugs.
— Demilitarize border crossings throughout North America.
— Defend indigenous rights, lands and treaties.
— Terminate unconstitutional surveillance and unwarranted spying.
— End persecution of government, corporate and media whistleblowers.
— Cut military spending by at least 50% and close the 700+ foreign military bases.
— Stop U.S. financial and military support to human rights abusers. Barring substantial changes in their policies, this would include Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt.
— Join 159 other nations in signing the Ottawa treaty banning the use of anti-personnel land mines.
— Ban use of drone aircraft for assassination, bombing, and other offensive purposes.
If worse comes to worst in November, please, let’s not blame Jill or any other non-D, non-R, for it. How about we start with you and me for letting it come to this in the first place.
(Priti Gulati Cox is an interdisciplinary artist, and a local coordinator for the peace and justice organization CODEPINK. She lives in Salina, Kansas, and can be reached at email@example.com. Please click here to see more of her work. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org.)
ONLINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I don’t think the vast sleeping multitudes are waking up yet, but they do seem to be tossing and turning a bit.
I see a growing sense that something isn’t working right, so we need to put someone new in charge, or we need to adjust some of the settings on the system, or re-arrange some of our groupings, and then our system will work again. Maybe even better than ever before.
I see that from both main factions of the American Warfare Corporate Party, though they disagree on which settings need to be adjusted. I’m seeing it from both the Brexit and Bremain groups.
The growing malaise is a good sign, but it’s early yet. Pre-2008, almost nobody could say our system was in trouble without being chased out of polite society. Now, only 8 years later, it’s accepted knowledge that our system has problems; all that’s needed is to agree on what those problems are.
I predict that within the next few years (1? 3? 5? I don’t know; I’ve had terrible timing on this sort of thing throughout), it will begin to dawn on people that we live on a finite planet, so a system that requires infinite inputs of money, energy, resources and markets is going to run into limits. We don’t have to run out of any of those 4 inputs to collapse; we merely have to become aware of its finiteness.
Our system has to have those 4 infinite inputs in order to base our economy on debt at interest. There has to be more money in a year so I can pay off the interest on the debt I take on today. If there isn’t going to be more, or I just don’t think I’ll have more in a year, then I won’t take on the debt today. If I don’t take on more debt at interest today, the entire system will collapse.
We’re getting closer to the point that a critical mass of people lose confidence that there will always be more tomorrow and next year. That’s when the whole thing falls apart. When it starts to fall apart, it will fall apart immediately. A realization starts out subconsciously, then as it becomes more conscious it’s at first denied, then rationalized and minimized, and eventually becomes real with a wet thud.
The Brexiteers are undone by their own hand because the causes of Britain’s problems are not founded in the E.U. Leaving the E.U. will not fix the basic mathematical flaw in corporate finance capitalism. The Brexiteers fixated on a symptom, and got people to go along with their simplistic and entirely inadequate solution. Now people are going to realize the problem is much more through-going than they had thought even last week, and they’re going to be really angry about having been fools, and having been fooled. Most of them will latch on to the next inadequate and simplistic solution available, but a few will tumble to the totality of the problem. The more the better. Slowly, slowly. But eventually a critical mass will realize a thing which can’t keep working eventually won’t work, and at some point no rationalizations or excuses will hide that fact that the thing doesn’t work.
That’s when “Interesting” becomes a grim understatement.
THREE TERRIBLE JOBS: PART III: Running The Resource room at PS 30
There was no way I was qualified to take over the position of Bilingual Resource Room teacher. I had no training in special education. None.
However, I was sick of my incompetent ESL supervisor, Mrs. P., and so when my principal, Mrs. R, had a falling out with the Resource Room teacher, Mrs. A, and offered me the position, I accepted, albeit with many reservations.
I spoke Spanish well, but was unfamiliar with the strategies and materials used for “scaffolding”—elevating students with special needs to grade level competence in math and reading. Fortunately I had an outstanding supervisor, Mr. Ricardo M—who told me to call him Ricardo and insisted I call him at his home in New Rochelle every night—collect, to tell him how I was doing and to ask him any questions I needed to ask.
I always could count on the understanding and support of my principal, who did whatever she could to help with my new job.
I received help and support from the former RR teacher, Mrs. A, who liked me even if she didn’t like the principal; my colleagues who were the classroom teachers of the children I served; and the directors of math and reading programs in our school, Helen and Ruth, who provided me with materials and spent their prep periods (and my own) suggesting strategies for best using these materials.
I was far from being an excellent RR teacher, but thanks to the support I received, I wasn’t useless and may have actually helped the children I served.
Unfortunately I found myself encumbered by an obstacle more formidable, more intimidating than my inexperience: the IEP.
IEPs, Individualized Educational Programs, had to be prepared twice a year for each of the twenty-five students I serviced. In the pre-computer period when I was RR teacher, this was an enormous amount of paper work. Each IEP was between 15 and 20 pages.
Assessment tests had to be administered and corrected. Conferences had to be arranged with parents, guidance counselor, social workers, my supervisor, and classroom teachers all present.
While IEPs were being prepared, all classes were suspended. I only saw my students when I needed to administer tests.
My supervisor continued to be supportive; however, as he had more than a dozen other special education teachers to monitor, I tried to avoid overburdening him with too many questions.
Arranging and attending meetings required an unbelievable amount of time and work. It quickly became apparent that despite legal requirements to the contrary, it would be impossible to bring together all the required attendees in one meeting; therefore, there were often four or five separate meetings for each child: one with the parents; another with the classroom teacher; another with my supervisor; another with the social worker; and still another with the guidance counselor.
Guidance counselors and social workers served several different schools thus making meetings more difficult to arrange. Often our “meetings” were phone calls. When our paths crossed, I would obtain the required signatures for the IEPs.
Many parents worked, so I had to meet with them very early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or during my lunch hour. In reality, I no longer had lunch hours or preps—preparation time. All my time was spent arranging, attending, or reporting on meetings, and doing the incredible amount of paperwork that was legally required by the state.
My warm relationships with my principal and my supervisor, and my affection for my students made my job more stressful, rather than less stressful. I desperately sought to avoid disappointing the people I worked for or neglecting the children I was supposed to be seeing on a regular basis. My waking nightmare was that I’d be relieved of my duties for ineptitude, my principal would be humiliated and would be chastised for giving the job to an incompetent, and my supervisor would be stuck with the task of finishing all the IEPs that I hadn’t completed.
The stacks of IEPs on my desks at home and in school began to remind me of the stacks of cardboard I had piled onto pallets at Budmar. They seemed interminable. I wasn’t getting enough sleep and I developed a persistent cough. I feared I would wind up at the Magic Mountain.
Most maddening was the requirement of drawing up short- term and long-term goals. These goals had to be expressed quantitatively. I remember asking Ricardo what the hell I was I supposed to write up as a short-term reading goal. How could I decide by what percentage a child’s reading comprehension would improve?
Ricardo told me not to worry about it, to just put down any reasonable percentage to satisfy the bureaucrats’ desire for numbers. So I would dutifully write goals like “Douglas’s reading comprehension will improve by 85%” and worry if failure to realize the goal would lead to my incarceration for perjury or fraud.
I managed to get through the IEPs, but wasn’t able to do much teaching for about 6 weeks. I decided that I needed to get better at this job fast if I were to survive and fulfill my obligation to my superiors, my school, and to the children, so I enrolled in the prestigious Bank Street College to take courses in bilingual special education.
The courses were very good, but very demanding in the time and effort they required. I took about 8 courses at Bank Street resulting in debts of over $10,000. For two summers, I gave up my eight weeks of vacation so I could take courses. I became a little better as a teacher and a little quicker at doing IEPs--but still hated the damned things.
For all my effort, I had attained a level of competence slightly above mediocrity. But I was improving.
However, after my first two years as a Resource Room teacher, some geniuses in the Department of Special Education decided that the number of Resource Room students per class should be expanded to eight. That meant 40 IEPs instead of 25.
I requested that I be taken out of the Resource Room and be given a regular class. My request was honored the following semester.
GROUPS EXPOSE THE BIG LIE: ‘THERE'S NO PLAN B TO DELTA TUNNELS’
by Dan Bacher
On June 27, a coalition of conservation, fishing and environmental justice organizations submitted a letter to the Santa Clara Valley Water District exposing the “Big Lie” that there is no Plan B to Governor Jerry Brown’s Delta Tunnels, now renamed the California WaterFix.
In their letter, Restore the Delta, AquAlliance, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, California Water Impact Network, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Environmental Water Caucus, Friends of the River, Planning and Conservation League, and Sierra Club California revealed that there is indeed a Plan B — a comprehensive, well-researched alternative plan to fulfill the dual goals of ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability.
“Our public interest organizations write out of concern that once again, the Big Lie has been repeated that there is no Plan B to the California Water Fix Delta Water Tunnels,” the groups wrote. “In fact, there is an outstanding Plan B, and for that matter, other alternative plans as well to the Water Tunnels. The self-serving refusal of the proponents of the Water Tunnels to listen to or consider alternative plans does not mean there is no Plan B.”
“We presume that in many cases such as at your meeting on June 21, 2016, when Mr. Matt Maltbie of Californians for Water Security said there is no Plan B, the mistake is innocent and is caused by the continuing efforts of proponent government agencies to ignore and conceal alternatives to the Water Tunnels,” they said.
The groups describe Governor Brown's WaterFix as “the most damaging and controversial water project proposal in California history," as well as “the most expensive water project proposal in California history.”
They also pointed out that the 1970’s version of the Water Tunnels, then known as the peripheral canal, was voted down in a statewide referendum in June 1982 by a 2 to 1 margin.
“The Tunnels would divert enormous quantities of water from the Sacramento River upstream from the Delta near Clarksburg," the letter said. “As a result of this massive diversion, the freshwater that presently flows through the Sacramento River and sloughs to and through the Bay-Delta before being diverted for export at the south Delta, would no longer reach the Delta. The benefits of those freshwater flows for Delta water flows and water quality, agriculture, industry, residents, and fish and fish habitat would be lost, with the impacts to humans falling particularly heavily on low-income people of color and California Indian Tribes.”
“We presented A Sustainable Water Plan for California (Environmental Water Caucus, May 2015) as a reasonable alternative to the Water Tunnels over a year ago. The plan is at: ewccalifornia.org/.... A copy of A Sustainable Water Plan for California is also attached hereto," the groups said.
The actions called for by this alternative include:
• reducing exports to no more than 3,000,000 acre-feet in all years in keeping with State Water Board Delta flow criteria (for inflow as well as outflow);
• water efficiency and demand reduction programs including urban and agricultural water conservation, recycling, storm water recapture and reuse;
• reinforced levees above PL 84-99 standards;
• installation of improved fish screens at existing Delta pumps;
• elimination of irrigation water applied on up to 1.3 million acres of drainage-impaired farmlands south of the Bay-Delta;
• return the Kern Water Bank to State control;
• restore Article 18 urban preference;
• restore the original intent of Article 21 surplus water in SWP contracts;
• conduct feasibility study for Tulare Basin water storage;
• provide fish passage above and below Central Valley rim dams for species of concern; and
• retain cold water for fish in reservoirs.
“We also requested that the range of reasonable alternatives include reducing exports both more and less than the 3,000,000 acre feet limit called for by this alternative," the groups wrote. “A Sustainable Water Plan for California is a carefully conceived modern, 21st-century Plan B. It should be Plan A.”
You can read the entire letter here: restorethedelta.org/…
The letter was sent at a time when the Delta Tunnels Plan is a state of chaos, disarray and apparent collapse.
In a major defeat for the California WaterFix, Judge Michael Kenny of the Sacramento Superior Court on June 23 ruled that the Delta Stewardship Council's Delta Plan is "invalid" after a successful legal challenge by multiple Delta parties who argued that the controversial plan doesn't protect water quality or the many fish species that depend on fresh water flows for their survival.
“The decision throws a large monkey wrench into the administration’s ‘California WaterFix,’ a massive water conveyance scheme that would shunt most of the water from the Sacramento River to Southern California via two gigantic subterranean tunnels,” according to a press release from the California Water Impact Network (C-WIN). (www.dailykos.com/...)
Background: Jerry Brown's Terrible Environmental Legacy
The Governor's Delta Tunnels/California WaterFix "legacy project" poses a huge threat to the ecosystems of the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Klamath and Trinity River systems, but it’s not the only environmentally devastating policy promoted by Governor Jerry Brown. Brown is promoting the expansion of fracking and extreme oil extraction methods in California and is overseeing water policies that are driving winter run-Chinook salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other species closer and closer to extinction.
Jerry Brown also oversaw the "completion" of so-called “marine protected areas” under the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, overseen by a Big Oil lobbyist and other corporate interests, in December 2012. These faux “Yosemites of the Sea” fail to protect the ocean from oil drilling, fracking, pollution, corporate aquaculture and all human impacts on the ocean other than sustainable fishing and gathering.
As if those examples of Brown’s tainted environmental legacy weren’t enough, Brown has promoted carbon trading and REDD policies that pose an enormous threat to Indigenous Peoples around the globe; has done nothing to stop clearcutting of forests by Sierra-Pacific and other timber companies; presided over record water exports from the Delta in 2011; and oversaw massive fish kills of Sacramento splittail and other species in 2011.
Brown spouts "green" rhetoric when he flies off to climate conferences and issues proclamations about John Muir Day and Earth Day, but his actions and policies regarding fish, water and the environment are among the worst of any Governor in recent California history.
For more information about the real environmental record of Governor JerryBrown, go to: www.dailykos.com/…
AS THE WORLD TURNS…
I traveled to New York City on the weekend of June 24-27 off to attend my daughter Laura's wedding in the West Village in New York.
Michael Moore, the Academy Award-winning film producer and director, officiated at Laura's wedding. Mike is licensed as a justice-of-the-peace, and he is a family friend.
As fate would have it, my daughter Marithea gave birth to her first daughter on that very same day back home in California, and the following day, June 26, was New York City's Pride Parade. The parade route finished at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in the West Village, only two blocks where Laura got married at the Greenwich Music Academy. President Obama had been in New York earlier during the week to dedicate the Stonewall Inn as a national historic monument.
I marched in the Pride Parade on Sunday. I marched the entire route with "pride" in a group that included many of us who work or retired from Wall Streets banks. In the 1980s, I worked on the NYSE floor for Spear Leeds Kellogg, now a division of Goldman Sachs. I also worked for Merrill Lynch on the floors of the COMEX and the NYMEX, and I worked for Dean Witter.
I walked in memory of all my friends and colleagues who have died of AIDS. We began the parade at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue, and finished at Christopher and Greenwich Streets.
See: See: https://www.nycpride.org/
Here's a very short video of Mike marrying Laura and her new husband, Eddie:
Thanks for letting me share
PS. Here's a photo. My daughter, Arianna, is behind Laura and to her right. Don't they look like sisters!