Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, July 6, 2016
by AVA News Service, July 6, 2016
ELECTIONS OFFICE HAS PROBLEMS
The question on lots of lips in this County for the past three weeks has been: “Why does it take so darn long for our election results to come out? To still have no results after a June 7 is really ridiculous.”
County Clerk Sue Ranochak released the final results of the June 7 election late Thursday, July 1. We talked to Ranochak last week about why it takes so long, but before we get to that, we want to say that we are very concerned to hear from citizen observers of the elections process that Ranochak’s office was borderline hostile to them and certainly not inclusive.
According to the California Secretary of State’s office, election observers have the right to: “View the canvass of the vote activities following the election” and, “View vote-by-mail and provisional ballot processing.” We have been told that local observers were kept out of the room where counting was being done and were sometimes kept behind obstructed windows. While Ranochak has lots of leeway on how she allows observers to view the process, the Secretary of State’s guidelines assume that the observers are at least allowed in the room. For instance, the guidelines say elections officials can: “Use discretion in determining a sufficiently close distance for observers to stand from the process they want to observe” and, “Restrict the number of observers permitted in a room to prevent interference with the observed process.” It does not say, elections officials can make observers stand outside the room and try to see in where they can. Ranochak better think carefully about the impression she is giving of a lack of transparency if she doesn’t want a grand jury on her case soon.
As for the time it has taken to get this June’s election’s ballots counted, Ranochak says that there are two things that happen that hold up the process: the counting of the mail-in ballots that are either mailed at the last moment or brought to polls (about 15,000 this election), and the provisional ballots, which is where someone walks into a polling place and says “I want to vote” but it is not their polling place and they just fill out a ballot on the spot (about 900) this election.
Ranochak says her teams got all the mail-in ballots canvassed (meaning they were checked for authenticity, signatures, etc) by the Thursday after the election, June 9. Then the ballots are opened and counted, which takes another week, in this case, until June 16. During that time they also do a 1% physical count of the voting machine ballots to make sure the election night count is not wildly off.
Ranochak says she personally, with her highest ranking assistant, canvasses the provisional ballots, checking the name against voters rolls and precincts making sure someone isn’t voting twice (which was the case in three instances this election). After that, those ballots need also to be opened and counted. All of that took until Wednesday, June 29.
We asked Ranochak if she had more people, would the process move faster. She says no, since she likes to be able to supervise closely and the county offices don’t have the space to spread out.
We asked if opening more polling places and letting people vote there instead of dropping off mail ballots at polls would help. Ranochak said no, that polling places were the main problem since that’s where all the labor intensive provisional votes come from.
Here’s what we think:
() Forcing people into mail-in voting has simply elongated the process since people like to wait until the last minute to make up their minds and they like to go to polls. If polls were open all over the county, people wouldn’t be dropping off ballots there, they’d be voting there and the results would come in within 24 hours if not sooner.
() Even if 900 people go to the wrong precincts to vote and create provisional ballots, if you have the other 27,000 votes in the machines, it doesn’t matter if it takes two weeks to count the 900. Also if only people who were going to be out of town, or are unable to get to the polls, vote by mail, again, the majority of votes would still be counted on election night.
We know that clerks all over the state are trying to force everyone into mail-in voting. Why? Because it’s convenient for them. But you know what that means in the long run? Continued long delays while all the ballots mailed on election night are counted. Let’s reopen the polls in every town in Mendocino County! We have answers for the inevitable complaints: “You can’t get poll workers,” “There aren’t enough potential poll locations,” “We don’t have the staff,” blah blah blah.
We bet our readers do too. Just ask us.
(K.C. Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal)
NEW STATE LAW PROVIDES $2 BILLION FOR HOMELESS SERVICES
by Justine Frederiksen,
A bond initiative aimed at providing $2 billion worth of housing and other services for homeless California residents was signed into law this week by Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) announced Friday.
“This investment is the largest in a generation and it will give communities up and down the North Coast the ability to create and fund local housing programs that meet their unique needs,” said McGuire, who helped draft and bring forward the initiative that will help communities of all sizes offer permanent, supportive housing as well as mental health and drug and alcohol treatment services.
McGuire not only worked to get the initiative passed, but also to make sure it “would benefit the unique needs of Northern California communities” which he said have been underserved.
“In the past two years, we haven’t got a dime of the (Emergency Solutions Grant) funding north of Marin County,” said McGuire, referring to $20 million that is set aside for agencies serving the state’s estimated 144,000 homeless residents by California’s department of Housing and Community Development.
“Mendocino County has the second-highest population of homeless in the nation per capita,” said McGuire, who represents all of the North Coast counties, including Mendocino, Humboldt, Lake and Sonoma, to explain why it’s particularly important that his district receive some of the ESG funding.
Earlier this year, McGuire hosted a Homeless Services Roundtable in Ukiah with leaders from throughout the North Bay and North Coast, as well as representatives from the state to discuss their challenges, ideas and programs to tackle homelessness.
Later this fall, McGuire is planning to host a Town Hall focused on the No Place Like Home initiative in Mendocino County, inviting all community members, elected officials, nonprofit and local government leaders from throughout the district to participate.
Additional background on the legislation can be found at http://focus.senate.ca.gov/homelessness.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
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THE ABOVE STORY (by Justine Frederiksen of the Ukiah Daily Journal) describes the enthusiasm felt by that scrappy little second baseman from Healdsburg, State Senator Mike 'Mikey' McGuire, for Governor Brown's More-of-the-Same Program For The Homeless.
FIRST, SOME IRRELEVANT background. Like most of you reading this, I often confuse Mikey with The Dentist, the other guy from Healdsburg, Jim Wood, who is apparently our Assemblyman. All these professional Democrats are interchangeable — Mike Thompson-Jared Huffman-Doug Bosco-Dan Hauser, Wes Chesbro, Governor Brown — though the last is a lot smarter than the former.
ONCE A WEEK, trying to remember what my purpose is, I stride purposefully past the offices of Mikey and Molar and on through the blank halls of the mostly vacant and mildly creepy Ukiah Visitor's Center. I'm there solely to use the men's facilities, perhaps the only guy all day to avail himself of them. (Enough urinals to accommodate the SF Opera.) There's usually some earnest-looking person sitting at a desk in Mike and Molar's cubicles doing the public's business. Or trying to look plausibly busy. I asked five random citizens around Boonville if they'd ever called on either Mike or Molar for anything. The answers ranged from, "Who?" to "Why would I?"
IF MEMORY SERVES, Mendolib, Inland Branch, diverted a whole lot of public money to build the Visitor's Center on the fatal but touching assumption that groups of people would come to Ukiah on purpose. Never happened, of course, and there it sits complete with no smoking signs and handicapped parking spaces, like a birthday party where nobody showed up. (Boonville, I believe, boasts the largest number of handicapped parking spaces on the Northcoast; we've got 19 at the Boonville Fairgrounds. Not far away, on Anderson Valley Way, at a beautifully re-done old building converted to a roadside fruit and vegetable stand, a six-foot handicapped parking sign disfigures the entire visual for a quarter mile around. I'm not saying that the handicapped, mostly fat people too portly to walk, should crawl up to the counters of retail businesses, but these signs are outta hand. Do we really need five million handicapped signs for a thousand cripples?)
THE HEADLINE REFERENCE to the homeless drew me to Justine's story. I have definite opinions on the subject, which I too often lay on you, suffering readers, but it's a deadly serious subject that should not be trivialized by jive-o public officeholders like McGuire.
I WENT to Senator McGuire's website to check his press release against Comrade Frederiksen's story. Instantly sunk in Major Insincerity at McGuire's greeting, I soldiered on through his entire toxically repellant press release. What kind of abject moron reads this stuff, let alone believes it?:
"Welcome to my legislative website. It is continuously updated so that you can stay informed about my activities as the Senator for the 2nd Senate District - North Coast / North Bay.
“It is an honor to have this opportunity to serve my community. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any comments, questions or concerns that you may have with the district—or with your state government.
“I hope that you find this website informative and that you return regularly to see what is happening in our community. — Mike McGuire
Representing the 2nd Senate District - North Coast / North Bay”
FRANKLY, MIKE, I found it total bullshit front to back, but appropriately insincere for what I knew was more bullshit about the homeless to come. You're a very sick puppy, dude, if you put this kind of blandly fascisti prose out there expecting people to believe it.
"Friday, July 1, 2016 — Sacramento, CA – Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the No Place Like Home Initiative – a landmark bipartisan legislative initiative to provide $2 billion for housing and services for homeless Californians. Senator McGuire was part of the State Senate team who brought forward and drafted the initiative that will provide communities – big and small – resources for desperately needed permanent supportive housing and mental health and drug and alcohol treatment services.
“Homelessness, especially the lack of resources for housing and services, is a growing crisis across California. Whether it’s downtown LA on Skid Row, San Rafael or Eureka, cities and counties lack the funding to implement the programs thousands of Californians desperately need,” Senator McGuire said. “This investment is the largest in a generation and it will give communities up and down the North Coast the ability to create and fund local housing programs that meet their unique needs.”
The No Place Like Home initiative has been a top priority of Senator McGuire’s this year and since day one he has worked to ensure the legislation would benefit the unique needs of Northern California communities. Earlier this year, Senator McGuire hosted a first-of-its-kind Homeless Services Roundtable with leaders from throughout the North Bay and North Coast, as well as representatives from the State to discuss their unique challenges, ideas and programs to tackle homelessness.
“Senator McGuire will also host a Town Hall focused on the No Place Like Home initiative in Mendocino County later this fall, inviting all community members, elected officials, nonprofit and local government leaders from throughout the District to participate."
THESE TOWN HALL sessions have become quite popular with our Potemkin representatives because they create the illusion of action without action. Who attends them? People who expect to profit directly. In this county that would be all the helping professionals nicely paid to do good for the homeless while ensuring that they remain homeless.
HOMELESSNESS, to get right to the point, cannot be solved by funneling millions more public dollars into existing bureaucracies, and bumbling apparatuses like the public or private non-profits we find in Ukiah and at Hospitality House in Fort Bragg and Plowshares in Ukiah. These programs have become THE problem.
BE REAL HERE. If you help a person addicted to alcohol and/or drugs by giving him a free meal every day and just enough tangible help to enable him or her to continue to drink and drug, YOU are the problem. And that's what we do now, and that's what "liberals" like McGuire want to do more of.
NEITHER of the political parties have addressed homelessness. The Hillarys and the McGuires can be depended on to shovel endless money into existing programs because the people who run and work in these programs are all Hillary and McGuire voters. They comprise a big part of the national Democratic Party. Trump, who is unaffiliated with the helping pros, and is much more pragmatic on lots of issues because he's not beholden to much of anyone, might actually do some good re the homeless. Of course, on the way he might also blow up the remaining parts of the world overlooked by Bush, Obama and Hillary.
TO GET THE MISERABLE BASTARDS off the streets and outta the bushes, we should begin with the assumption that any person unwilling or unable to care for himself or herself simply cannot be permitted to do whatever they want; cannot be permitted to destroy public places. They've got to be compelled indoors, and there's got to be an indoors to compel them to.
SO, WHERE do they all go? A revived state-by-state hospital system for openers and, for the many thousands who are still trying but have been pushed out of doors by the extortionate price of shelter, the federal government must immediately build and subsidize genuinely low-cost housing.
THE ENTRENCHED LEADERSHIP — the Northcoast has been gerrymandered to keep the McGuire-Huffman feeb-o-rino types in office forever — isn't even talking about realistic solutions to homelessness — er, check that: Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate, in San Francisco the other day, suggested that The City re-route the annual millions it's presently spending on obviously failed homeless strategies, to immediately build 50,000 units on freed-up city-owned land. The gasps were audible.
BUT YUP. There you go. A plain, doable solution that won't get done in "liberal" San Francisco (or anywhere else) because the Hillary brigades that dominate Frisco would never allow it, not to mention the small army of people getting paid to "help" the homeless, every one of them a Hillary Democrat.
‘WELL MEANING EFFORTS’
Homelessness is society's fault. We are to blame. It is our "bad choices" over the last 40 years that have institutionalized homelessness and made it into a lifestyle.
We give the homeless cash and vouchers which are easily converted to drugs and alcohol. We allow them to camp on public and private property. We shower them with free clothing, tents and sleeping bags, which they discard in our parks and along our roadsides. This is just as much enabling as allowing your 40-year-old son to live in your basement, smoke dope and play video games all day.
In four decades this has never worked and is not working now but we keep doing it, expecting a different outcome. Our co-dependent behavior makes us feel good about ourselves. We get a warm feeling inside judging ourselves as "compassionate" and "giving." We feel even better condemning "government" and "others" for "not doing enough." Unfortunately our well-meaning efforts to help the homeless have, in fact, harmed them.
We have created a permanent underclass of people who will never know the dignity of work or the satisfaction of living an organized life. No amount of "affordable housing" is going to fix this. And are the homeless grateful for our public and private policies toward them? It does not appear so.
ODD TO SEE a garish No Trespassing sign affixed to the AVA's old home. Choking back a sob, The Editor commented, "For many years we welcomed everyone and anyone through our purely decorative gates, including a small number of people we wish we'd headed off on Anderson Valley Way, short of our driveway. Now this. Truth to tell, I tried to buy the place back when it came up for sale last year but got out-bid by the present owners, whoever they are. It's a problem parcel, for a fact, but as the creator of the problems I was not intimidated by them, adjusted to them over the years, lived with them. Well, heck, the city people who bought it are welcome to call on me, but I sure wish they'd take down that nutty sign."
MCN TALKS FOOD
Alan Haack wrote: The only food in the average store is in the outer aisle, the produce and dairy section. All the rest is boxed, canned and factory processed non-food. Except for olive oil, vinegar and wine, what reason is there to go into the center of most grocery stores?
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Well, let's see: frozen pizzas, frozen vegetables, frozen meatballs, half-and-half, eggs, forty different kinds of pasta, forty different kinds of pasta sauce, canned beans, sardines, 200 different kinds of crackers and cookies, toothbrushes and real toothpaste, ice cream, filleted meat and fish, a hundred kinds of soda pop (including sugarless), wonderful chicken corndogs (three together microwave in in two minutes) (and mustard, of course), granulated spices...
I find that the Safeway Signature brand is economical and generally the best tasting, throughout Safeway, at least. The SS rising-crust frozen pizzas are pretty good, and they're as cheap by the pound as plain bread. Half a medium fits nicely in the toaster oven.
Wine? Bleagh! There's more poison in a glass of wine than in normal amounts all of those other things put together. Alcohol harms (and kills) more people every year than car accidents do, and that's just from its health effects; add to it that it's implicated in most car and gun deaths too, and isn't it weird that alcohol and tobacco are perfectly legal and they're still locking people in jail for weed?
Speaking of alcohol and gun deaths, it occurs to me to ask John Redding if he thinks it should be legal for a person who drinks alcohol to have a gun? The founding fathers obviously thought so, they were constantly drunk. But it took a couple of minutes to get a gun ready to shoot, then. You had to be able to see straight to pour in the powder, pack in the ball, clamp the flint properly, and so on, and that gave you a little time to cool down after feeling hotly insulted or having your manhood impugned. You couldn't drive by with one hand and shoot everyone on the sidewalk with the other one. Times change. That's why we have the amendment process that gave yez the second amendment in the first place. It's an amendment.
— Marco McClean
THE MENDOCINO REDWOOD COMPANY, A BRIEF Q&A:
Q: Haven't they already hacked and squirted the largest tracts?
A: In sixteen years they've done a lot, but that was still only about a third of their total holdings. (One of the core problems here is they own too damn much, which induces them to think in terms industrial.) MRC recently told their greenwashing outfit (Forest Stewardship Council-FSC) that they wanted to continue doing hack & squirt for another 20-30 years.
Q: Will it be worth it in public relations to use hack and squirt permanently?
A: This is part of what makes MRC's upcoming decision so interesting. Hack & squirt has become an obvious PR nightmare for them, and they could gain a lot of good will by scaling it back now. (This latest Mendocino referendum, btw, was a public repudiation of last year's cowardly Board of Supervisors votes from the three nays: McCowen, Brown, and Woodhouse.) After cutting tanoak and observing the effects for years now, my guess is MRC will: look for ways to get rid of the tanoak trunk wood (firewood being one obvious example); lop and scatter the smaller material (branches and leaves); and continue poisoning the largest and most troublesome stumps. The gyppos would like this because it would provide more work for them (that is, cutting and extracting tanoak, as they already do with conifers).
TREE MORTALITY, ONGOING DROUGHT
BEATING UP MOM. WHAT A GUY.
On the Fourth of July, 2016, at about 3:00 PM a neighbor called the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office to report that there was a disturbance, possibly an assault, at a residence in the 31000 block of Highway 20, Fort Bragg. Upon their arrival Deputies contacted the resident, Kristy Cox, 51, of Fort Bragg, outside of the residence. Cox was very upset and holding an ice pack to the swollen side of her face and stated that she was assaulted in her residence by her adult son, Daynes Pabo, 23, of Fort Bragg. Deputies further interviewed Cox and a witness and learned that in addition to striking and choking Cox, Pabo had also slammed her head against a solid object several times. Pabo was still in the residence and initially refused to allow Deputies to enter. Eventually Deputies convinced Pabo to exit the residence and he was arrested without incident for Assault With a Deadly Weapon and Violation of Probation. Cox was treated and released by ambulance staff at the scene, while Pabo was transported to the county jail where he was lodged, with bail set at $35,000.
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ANOTHER ONE FROM FORT BRAGG
On 07-04-16, at about 12:55 PM, a female adult called the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office reporting that she had been assaulted by her husband, was injured, and that she was hiding near Hare Creek, Fort Bragg, until Deputies arrived. An ambulance was also dispatched and arrived at the scene before the deputies and began treating the victim for being struck in the face by the suspect. When Deputies arrived they interviewed the victim, and subsequently located the suspect, Cullen Graham, 49, of Fort Bragg, nearby. The Deputies determined that Graham was the primary aggressor and he was subsequently arrested without incident for Felony Domestic Violence. Graham was served with an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) and transported to the Mendocino County Jail where he was lodged with bail set at $25,000. The victim was transported to Mendocino Coast District Hospital by ambulance with what appeared to be minor/moderate injuries.
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YO, PONTS! IF YOU'RE TRYING TO DIG TO CHINA AT 9AM IT'S TIME FOR REHAB
On July 5, 2016, at about 7:30 AM, Levi Barnett, an employee of Fort Bragg Rent All observed a subject (later identified as Ricky Ponts, 55, of Fort Bragg) digging in the ground on the property and talking to himself. Barnett and another employee approached Ponts and asked him to leave and he forcefully threatened to cause them serious physical harm. An employee of the neighboring business, Sub Surface Progression, arrived at about 9:00 AM and also asked Ponts to leave. Ponts also threatened this person. Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies were called and contacted Ponts. Ponts was acting very aggravated and belligerent when he quickly and aggressively walked up to the first Deputy to arrive, talking loudly about holographs of persons and firearms. This Deputy attempted to speak with Ponts, who suddenly turned and raised his arm as if to hit the Deputy. The Deputy placed Ponts into a control hold to restrain him and, with the assistance of another Deputy, Ponts was placed in handcuffs without further incident. Further investigation revealed that Ponts was under the influence of a controlled substance, and found to be in violation of his probation terms. Ponts was arrested for Criminal Threats, Resisting Arrest, Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance, Violation of Probation, and Interfering With a Business and was lodged at the Mendocino County Jail with bail set at $20,000.
COME TO MY HOUSE INSTEAD
Subject: Bad News: Cannabis Country Fair Cancelled
Chad couldn't get enough backing.
Dear Cannabis Community
I found out late last night that due to a lack of ticket sales and substantial sponsorship our producer Chad Rea is cancelling the Cannabis Country Fair. We apologize for the late notice, but he continued the effort until the last possible moment only to reach an impasse.
You all know how much energy, devotion and commitment Chad has dedicated to this event and it has been my job to assist him in organizing the panels/workshops and speakers. It is heartbreaking for me and I know Chad invested his whole life in making this dream become a reality. Unfortunately it was just a pipe dream. Some doubted the success from the beginning, but one thing I can tell you, He tried. He had the Black oak Ranch, The bands, the vendors, the volunteers, the speakers, the blessing of the Sheriff. He just couldn't raise enough money or get enough advance tickets sold.
Personally, I was extremely excited about all of the panels, workshops and speakers because we are at a pivotal moment in this movement and we have so much to share, learn through our history/herstory expertise and knowledge.
So I am inviting anyone who would like to still get together this weekend Sat/Sun for a unique camping/fire circle - conference experience on my 5 acre property in Albion. CA
I think it would be epic to get together. I’m happy to do my comedy and I can set up a nice bud tasting experience. I’ve got a huge kitchen and outdoor space for workshops, panels, music, and hopefully some good company.
Anyway, Let me know if you want to get together next Fri/Sat or both and you are welcome here. Otherwise...see you round the triangle....
Sherry Glaser <email@example.com>
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 5, 2016
Alejandres-Bravo, Anton, Becerra-Camarillo
JOSE ALEJANDRES-BRAVO, Willits. Drunk in public.
ERIC ANTON JR., Redwood City/Ukiah. DUI, fugitive from justice.
GUMERCINDO BECERRA-CAMARILLO, Philo. DUI.
Graham, Gray, Lualupian
CULLEN GRAHAM, Fort Bragg. Domestic assault.
BRETT GRAY, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
SAUL LUALUPIAN, Ukiah. DUI.
Newberry, Pabo, Ponts
BRYAN NEWBERRY, Willits. Under influence.
DAYNES PABO, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, probation revocation.
RICKY PONTS, Fort Bragg. Under influence, interference with business, criminal threats, resisting, probation revocation.
Roberts, Viale, Wilburn
ERIC ROBERTS, Ukiah. County parole violation.
ROBERT VIALE, Fort Bragg. Meth possession for sale, nitrous oxide, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
ANTHONY WILBURN, Covelo. County parole violation.
KEVIN DURANT & THE DISCOMFORT WITH PLAYER POWER
by Dave Zirin
Kevin Durant has made the decision to create a superteam by joining the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. Going to the best possible workplace to achieve the greatest success would be a no-brainer in any other profession. But Durant is being pierced by the same arrows — slung by many of the same people — that LeBron James suffered six years ago when he made “The Decision” to join All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat. This was expressed succinctly in one tweet by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith who said, “Don’t give a damn what anyone says: weak move by KD. You go to GSW, the team who beat you, when you’re already on a title contender? Please!”
The view that joining other stars is “weak” because Durant is not choosing to be “the man” and drag his team to a title, has been echoed across social and sports media. But this perspective constitutes a grotesque rewriting of NBA history. This history has been etched by dynasties stocked with Hall of Fame talent.
What makes Durant so different? It is impossible to ignore that what seems to upset people is not so much the creation of these dynasties but who gets to do the creating. Bill Russell doesn’t earn 11 titles in 13 years with the Celtics if he is not playing alongside Hall of Famers Bob Cousy, Sam Jones, John Havlicek, or Tommy Heinsohn. The team was assembled by Red Auerbach. The Showtime Lakers, built around Hall of Famers Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy, were put together by another Hall of Fame team architect, Jerry West. We never had a problem with those superteams because they were put together by old white guys in suits.
Today, the levers are being pulled by young black men in high-tops. Durant going to Golden State is no different than Red Auerbach fleecing the Warriors 35 years ago for the rights to Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale and teaming them with Larry Bird to win three titles. Even Michael Jordan, who has been mythologized beyond all possible recognition as someone who won six rings with the Bulls because he was the ultimate alpha-male “killer” player who put a team on his back, had Hall of Fame help. Ask Jordan if he wins anything without Hall of Famers Scottie Pippen or Dennis Rodman who came to the team as a free agent for the Bulls’s last three championships. Titles aren’t won by heroes, surrounded by a “supporting cast,” but collections of genius that did not form by some accident of history. The only thing that has changed in 2016 is who is doing the collecting.
One of the most dispiriting responses to Kevin Durant leaving the OKC Thunder for the Warriors was from 38-year-old Paul Pierce. The future Hall of Famer only punched his ticket to Springfield when his Celtics created their own superteam in 2007, adding Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Yet after Durant announced his move, Pierce tweeted derisively, “If u can’t beat um join um.” The only difference, though, between Pierce and Durant is that KD took his future into his own hands, becoming the subject of his own destiny. Pierce was content to be an object in the machinations of his general manager Danny Ainge. That worked out for him because Ainge leveraged his friendship with Timberwolves GM McHale to land Garnett. It’s a great story. It is also a template utterly impossible to replicate.
Yes, there are certainly people — and I am one of them — who are a little bit salty about Durant’s move because we saw the Thunder gel in the playoffs and now we won’t get the storyline to see if they will be able to put it all together for one more run. There are others who just recoil anytime the “rich get richer” in sports, and a team that went 73-9 adding a star like Durant certainly qualifies.
But it would be impossible to ignore, just like when some in Cleveland burned LeBron’s jersey in 2010, that many are just resentful of what they see as a world turned upside down. They want players to be seen and not heard: chess pieces in a game of live-action fantasy sports, moved by powerful men in board rooms who are armed only with their superior intellect and self-serving blather about “the process.” They can’t stand that maybe the best general managers are now the young black stars taking full ownership of their own legacies. They can’t stand that this is a player’s league and any player who doesn’t act as their own general manager, is just playing themselves.
GOVERNOR BROWN LAUNCHES ATTACK ON CA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT, COASTAL ACT
by Dan Bacher
Jerry Brown, falsely portrayed as a “green governor” and “climate leader” by the mainstream media, has launched yet another attack on the state’s environmental laws and openness and transparency in government.
That’s right — the governor is aiming to eviscerate landmark laws that protect the public's right to know about the environmental and public health impacts of large development projects in this legislative land grab by developers.
Brown’s latest gambit, expressed in Trailer Bill 707, would allow housing developments “by right.”
“That means the projects could occur without disclosing environmental impacts about the development, and without going through certain local permitting,” said Kyle Jones of the Sierra Club.
“Transparency and full disclosure before projects are approved are among the few tools everyday Californians have to make sure air and water pollution created by new projects is minimized and mitigated. Responsible developers report that allowing the public to know what's going on in advance helps improve projects,” Jones stated.
Jones said “Irresponsible developers” have spent years trying to dismantle the disclosure and permitting process.
Besides being opposed by environmental groups, Trailer Bill 707 is also strongly opposed by Tenants Together and other tenant rights organizations in California. They say the current proposal would have “huge negative impacts on low-income tenants, workers, and the environment.”
Tenants Together and member organizations have identified several ways the Governor's By-Right Development proposal could harm renters. According to Tenants Together, the Governor's proposal would:
- Increase development of market-rate housing without additional tenant protections against displacement;
- Bypass community benefits agreements process where community groups are able to get developers to build more affordable housing;
- Lead to potential demolition of rent-controlled homes because projects would bypass the public approval process.
In June, the California Budget Conference Committee postponed hearing Trailer Bill 707--"By-Right Development," so we still have time to stop this developer land grab. We can’t let Governor Brown ignore the value of the public's right to be a part of the process of environmental review.
Take action to oppose the proposal as it stands by signing on to this petition.
Brown’s latest attack on CEQA and the Coastal Act must be seen in light of Brown’s overall poor environmental record. Even his grandstanding on “climate change” and “green energy” that he gets so much undeserved credit for is based on environmentally unjust carbon trading and REDD policies.
Background: Brown’s real environmental “legacy exposed
Jerry Brown’s record on fish, wildlife, water and the environment has been deplorable since he started his third term in January 2011, but you wouldn’t know it, judging by the often fawning coverage Brown receives from mainstream media and much of the “alternative” media.
The Governor’s “legacy project,” the Delta Tunnels/California Water Fix, 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.
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.
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.
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/...
JUST IN FROM THE BERN
DNC party platform update from Bernie
Party Platform Still Needs Work
by Bernie Sanders
The Democratic Party platform drafted in St. Louis is an excellent start in bringing forth policies that will help end the 40-year decline of the American middle class. These initiatives, if implemented, will create millions of good-paying jobs, significantly improve health care, and reverse the dangerous trend in this country toward an oligarchic form of society. But, let us be clear, this is a document that needs to be significantly improved by the full Platform Committee meeting in Orlando on July 8 and 9.
Here are some very positive provisions in the platform as it stands today:
At a time when huge Wall Street financial institutions are bigger now than they were before the taxpayers of this country bailed them out, the platform calls for enacting a 21st-century Glass-Steagall Act and for breaking up too-big-to-fail banks.
The platform calls for a historic expansion of Social Security, closes loopholes that allow corporations to avoid paying taxes, creates millions of jobs rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, makes it easier for workers to join unions, takes on the greed of the pharmaceutical companies, ends disastrous deportation raids, bans private prisons and detention centers, abolishes the death penalty, moves to automatic voter registration and the public financing of elections, eliminates super PACs, and urges passage of a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, among many other initiatives.
These are all major accomplishments that will begin to move this country in the right direction. I congratulate Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.), chairman of the Platform Drafting Committee, and all 15 members of the panel for their hard work.
But, unfortunately, there were a number of vitally important proposals brought forth by the delegates from our campaign that were not adopted. My hope is that a grassroots movement of working people, environmentalists, and human-rights advocates will work with us to demand that the Democratic Party include these initiatives in the platform to be adopted by the full committee in Orlando.
We need to have very clear language that raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour, ensures that the promised pensions of millions of Americans will not be cut, establishes a tax on carbon, and creates a ban on fracking. These and other amendments will be offered in Florida.
Further, one of the most important amendments that we will offer is to make it clear that the Democratic Party is strongly opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
In my view, the Democratic Party must go on record in opposition to holding a vote on this disastrous, unfettered free-trade agreement during the lame-duck session of Congress and beyond.
Frankly, I do not understand why the amendment our delegates offered on this issue in St. Louis was defeated with all of Hillary Clinton's committee members voting against it. I don't understand that because Clinton, during the campaign, made it very clear that she did not want to see the TPP appear on the floor during the lame-duck session.
If both Clinton and I agree that the TPP should not get to the floor of Congress this year, it's hard to understand why an amendment saying so would not be overwhelmingly passed.
Let's be clear: The trade agreement is opposed by virtually the entire grassroots base of the Democratic Party.
Every trade union in this country is strongly opposed to the pact. They understand that this agreement will make it easier for corporations to throw American workers out on the street and move factories to Vietnam, where workers are paid 65 cents an hour.
Virtually every major environmental group is opposed to the TPP because they understand that it will make it easier for the biggest polluters in the world to continue despoiling our planet.
Major religious groups are opposed because they understand that it will reward some of the biggest human-rights violators in the world.
Doctors Without Borders is strongly opposed to this agreement because its members understand that it would increase prescription-drug prices for some of the most desperate people in the world by making it harder to access generic drugs.
This agreement also threatens our democracy. We cannot give multinational corporations the ability to challenge our nation's labor and environmental laws simply because they might reduce expected future profits through the very flawed Investor State Dispute Settlement system. That would undermine the democratic values that our country was founded on.
During the coming days and weeks our campaign will be reaching out to grassroots America to do all that we can to oppose the TPP and make sure that it doesn't get passed.
GARRISON KEILLOR’S PROPHECY & APOSTASY
by Sam Husseini
On what was billed as his last show, Garrison Keillor, host of “A Prairie Home Companion” got a call from President Barack Obama and they traded extensive compliments, with Keillor telling Obama he was “the coolest president.”
Keillor’s signing off on July 4 weekend was likely calculated to extenuate his presumed ties to all things Americana, but for me it actually highlighted his hypocrisies and contradictions.
For one, my favorite story of his was set on the Fourth. I’d long thought that any reasonable person who hears that story would concur it was his greatest. Unfortunately when I asked him about it last year, Keillor himself clearly wouldn’t fit into that category.
The story — which he told shortly after the 1991 bombing of Iraq — was simply titled “Prophet.” When I heard it at the time, it gave me a sense that there was a silver of hope in turning the U.S. public around regarding the country’s place in the world. My girlfriend back then gave me the cassette tape collection that included the story as a birthday present.
Until lawyers expunge it from the internet, you can listen to that story on here. I’ve excerpted the heart of it below.
I tolerated Keillor’s unevenness for years after that, listening on and off. I had an unsatisfying run in with him in 1999, but I’d overlooked that and his various annoying proclivities, especially his seeming incessant avoidance of the moral sins that created the U.S. — because he told the “Prophet” story. But you never really know someone until you have a chance to ask them a couple of questions, as I did when he spoke at the National Press Club last year.
He began his talk at the Press Club by bemoaning that people rarely addressed particular things he’d written. They’d just say “good job” — as you “would say to a child who had had a bowel movement. … As I look back on my career in broadcasting, nobody had ever complemented me on a specific thing. Nobody had ever quoted back to me some brilliant thing I had ever said. It was always general. ‘We like your show.’ ‘It really relaxes our children.’ ‘We listen to it late at night.’ And it occurred to me that perhaps I had spent 40 years in radio as a sort of comforting baritone presence and that nobody heard anything in particular that I had said.”
I felt so good, because I had submitted a question about the “Prophet” story which he told decades earlier. Surely he’d be floored that someone remembers that story. Perhaps seeing that that’s what resonated with people he would be compelled to use his pulpit to do more of that caliber of commentary.
The moderator of the event, then Press Club President John Hughes did ask that question: “One of your greatest stories on ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ was the ‘Prophet’ which you told during the 1991 Gulf War. What would a prophet tell us now?”
But Keillor basically renounced the story: “I am not in the prophecy business and sort of regret that monologue. I’ve been trying to forget it for years and years. It was one of my ill-advised ventures into political commentary. I had almost erased it from my mind, John. You brought back a little tiny bit of it. That’s p-r-o-p-h-e-t? I have no idea — I have been around and seen a lot of young people in the last month …”
He yada-yada-ed for a bit about passing the mantel, but the point was made. [See video.]
Here’s the most substantial chunks of the “Prophet” story:
I recall when I was a little boy, going to the volunteer fire department Fourth of July picnic. My family doesn’t remember this at all, but they have very poor memories. … I got the beans on my plate and I had the bun and I had just put the wiener in the bun and I was just squeezing the ketchup and the air turned white and it was snowing. Snow was falling and everybody was amazed and then somebody said, “oh no”, they said, “It’s fluff from the cottonwood trees, it’s just seeds coming down from the cottonwood trees”, and so, that was that, but then I looked down at my plate and there was nothing there. Now cottonwood fluff does not melt. Seeds don’t just disappear. It was snow on the Fourth of July. A snow flurry hit Lake Wobegon on the Fourth of July when I was a boy, but if you talk to anybody, including my family who was at the Volunteer Fire Department Bean Feed that day in 1951 on the Fourth of July, they will tell you that was fluff from the cottonwood trees that came down. I was the only one who knew the truth. A terrible responsibility for a child and one more reason to leave town, you know. There were too many things that I was the only one that knew them…
Stunning thought, but when God sends snow down on the Fourth of July, that indicates to me that he is talking to us in a loud voice and apparently I was the only one who saw this and therefore, the only one who might have a hunch what God was trying to tell us, but I turned down the privilege, thank you very much, no thank you. To be a prophet was too much for me then and it’s too much for me now. To be a prophet is hard work anytime and anyplace, but you never want to do it in a town of less than 2,000 population. If you live there and if you come from there. To stand and to tell people the truth that they have been successfully avoiding is not a pleasant business in a small town.
Back in 1918 in my town, back when the streets were lined with flags and when school children sat for hours of deadly nonsense about glory and honor and this war was a war to end all wars, this war would usher in a New World Order. Sat and listened to this there was a man on a bench outside a grocery store and turned to the man next to him and said, “I wish they’d take the flags down, I don’t think there’s any glory in this war, it’s just a bunch of politicians.” And the word got around town of this man’s remarks, this slur on our country … and people would not speak to him again for a long time…
You have become a scourge. You have become a prophet and it’s time to time to hit the road Jack. You gotta get out of this town. Well, that never happened to me and I’m not ever going to have it happen to me. That’s what God was offering me when he had the snow fall on the Fourth of July and I saw it. He was saying, “Witness to people about this. Reveal the truth of this and be a prophet.” I said, “No thank you, I don’t want it.” He said, “This will be a great service to people whom you love, to tell them the truth”. I said, “Well they’re not going to thank me for it. I know that for sure. People hurt prophets. They throw sharp things at them. They rip the clothes off them and they make them sit for long periods of time in uncomfortable positions on top of sharp objects that are extremely flammable. That’s what they do to prophets. I don’t want that. I don’t want any pain whatsoever. I don’t ever want to experience any pain. Minor dentistry is more than enough for me. So, no thank you. I don’t want to be a prophet and tell the truth. What can I do that’s the opposite of that?” And so, I got into this line of work. Telling lies and I’ve never regretted it, which is a terrible thing to say in front of children. To say that you’ve spent your life telling lies, but I have and I’ve had a wonderful time, and I have been very well rewarded for this, and I have been congratulated by all sorts of people including members of the clergy, whereas if I had been prophet and told the truth, I would be broke and I would be unhappy myself and I would be despised and I would be condemned from most pulpits in the country. No thanks, I don’t really care for that. …
No, it’s not that I don’t know what a prophet would say, you see. I do. It’s not for lack of a message. I’m not interested in saying it. If there were a prophet, of course, a prophet would tell us that America is a country that God has blessed so much, we have not suffered as other people have. We don’t know what suffering is like. We have not known war in our country since 1865. That experience of war in 1865 was so horrible in this country, the Civil War, that we did not lift our hand against anybody for years and years after that. [note even here, Keillor ignores wars against the native population.]
But over the years we’ve become so prosperous and we have developed technology that allows us to deliver war to other people, and it never falls on us. We have no idea what war is like in this country. Our soldiers know, but when they come back to tell us, we don’t know what they’re talking about. We don’t know what war is like in this country and so it behooves us to be careful. And to rain down death on people and then to gloat over it is not becoming in God’s eyes. This is not good. To rain down destruction from this country, which knows so little suffering that our own navels become the source of our suffering is not pleasant or good in God’s eyes. We should be very careful, very careful. This is what a prophet would say, I think.
But who wants to say it, because prophets have an approval rating of five percent, only in some places. No, I’d rather be in my line of work. … God was disappointed in me at first, but He’s come around to seeing this more and more from my point of view. … God made mistakes…you spread the truth around and it becomes common and people ignore it. … Whereas, with someone like me, if I ever do tell the truth, people remember it. … I remember every time I told the truth. Like a snowfall in July — you remember every time. [Partial transcripts via “Lying Through Their Teeth” by Danny C. Campbell [PDF]. “The Favored of God” by Rev. Dr. Timothy Ives [doc].]
To me, Keillor’s writings are a self-refutation. There’s almost no need for meaningful commentary. It’s disguised in jest, but the obvious truth is that Keillor is explicitly saying that he doesn’t want to be honest because our society punishes people who are forthright about such truths. If looked at clearly, the indictments to the society and himself could hardly be harsher.
Beyond that, his calling Obama “the coolest president” almost dovetails with his critique of the Bush I bombing of Iraq. Keillor finds it reprehensible that the U.S. would “rain down death on people and then to gloat over” — as much of the country did in 1991. And hearing his revulsion was a welcomed thing for me at the time. But it would seem Keillor mostly doesn’t like the gloating.
Indeed, just around the time that Keillor was taping his final show on Friday, the Obama administration finally released preposterously low-balled estimates of the number of civilians killed in its drone terror program. These were presumably for Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya. The numbers excluded “areas of active hostilities” which the administration states “currently include Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.” The timing of the release of the numbers was particularly noteworthy — a Friday afternoon of a July 4 weekend — a transparent attempt to minimize coverage of the story. In a minimally ethical world, the timing of the release would itself be part of the indictment. The episode epitomizes patriotism as the last refuge of scoundrels.
But this works with Keillor admiration of “cool.” You want understated bombings and geopolitical machinations. Soft power. Subtle threats, not craven chest-beating. A massive global terror campaign with a pacifistic veneer. You get the blown up limbs and collapsed states that posed an obstacle to U.S. government elite designs without the handwringing. This is far preferable to what gloating or goading people might have engaged in in 1991 or years since.
Along similar lines, another question of mine did get asked when Keillor spoke at the Press Club last year — or rather a neutered piece of it. I asked: “Do you see contradictions of liberalism — from LBJ to today — proclaiming progress but backing wars, bombings, and increasingly presiding over more economic inequality?”
This was notably truncated by the Press Club management (either John Hughes or someone else who passed him my questions) to exclude the reference to wars and bombings: “What is your opinion on liberalism? Do you see contradictions from LBJ to today, proclaiming progress But also increasingly presiding over more economic inequality?” This prompted English major Keillor’s reply: “That is a powerful, complicated sentence. I am not sure I could diagram that sentence. Yes of course there have been changes Since then and defeats. But we don’t have people running for public office against Social Security and Medicare. So that says a lot right there. You can always run against Washington. Welcome to the club. But they don’t get very specific about their plans for entitlement programs. They talk about them sort of vaguely. The things that LBJ and his cohorts have set up seemed fairly durable to me.”
It’s actually the same theme all round. Keillor on his show ignores bombings of several nations by a Democratic president. And the Press Club in their choice of questioning excluded acknowledgement of same.
Keillor did make some reasonable remarks at the Press Club in my view: “We need to take a deep breath and back away from the Middle East. … You can call this isolationism, you can call it ice tea. Whatever.” His reasoning was convoluted, but he got there in ways I won’t pick apart here, but he got there. The funny part is that on the rare occasion I’ve tuned into his show, he’s more likely to be talking about World War I than any of the wars the U.S. government is waging now.
But perhaps the most bizarre answer from Keillor at the Press Club was in response to a question submitted by someone else. They asked if Somali immigrants were not changing the demographics of Lake Wobegon.
Keillor responded: “I don’t know if I should introduce a Somali character and what he or she would do in Lake Wobegon. I could have a Somali woman who could come as an intern to the Lutheran church. That would be interesting. A conversion and a young woman in training to become a pastor. That’s a possibility.”
This was before liberals were aghast at Trump’s remarks about Muslims. But Keillor almost sounded Trumpish in his statements: “We have many listeners among the Somalis to our shows. … We have all these listeners because they can learn English by listening to ‘A Prairie Home Companion.’ We don’t make references to politics on the show.”
See the depraved thought patterns here from a “liberal”: Keillor can seemingly only figure out a way to work a Muslim character into his stories if they decide not to be a Muslim any more. Of course he does politics on his show, he mocks Trump — and in a sense, his very remarks about only having Muslims on if they convert is quite political in the worst way.
A final irony: One of the best analysts on Somalia, Abdi Ismail Samatar, is at the University of Minnesota, where Keillor hails from. Right around the time Keillor was speaking at the Press Club last year, Secretary of State John Kerry was in Somalia and Samatar told me: “The U.S. should face up to its role in bringing Somalia to its current state. It actually backed the warlords against the Union of the Islamic Courts (UIC), which was trying to bring some stability to the country. In 2005, the UIC defeated the warlords and created peace in Mogadishu for the first time in years and without any help from the international community. Rather than engaging with the UIC, the U.S. and its African clients considered them as terrorists and Ethiopia was given the green light to invade and dismantle it. Ethiopian forces took over Mogadishu on December 25, 2006, and the prospect of a peaceful resurrection of Somalia perished.”
But Keillor didn’t need to get into the analysis if he doesn’t want to. The line of thought in the “Prophet” — the missiles “never falls on us” was the heart of it. Connections could and should be drawn between different sorts of tribal tendencies, whether in St. Paul or Damascus. Or just plain among people. It’s tragic that even if we awake to our current state, it may be because of a realization of the vulnerability of people in the U.S. now as well. It’s wildly disproportionate, but the reaper of political violence does now visit upon the U.S. public on occasion. But even with such circumstances, we’re not facing the realities.
Instead, we see a proliferation of brazen hypocrisies and defacto apologetics for political violence. Do we really need a prophet to see what’s right in front of us?
(Sam Husseini is founder of the website VotePact.org.)
BREXIT AND THE $1 QUADRILLION SWAPS AND DERIVATIVES TIME BOMB
UNITED STATES OF BANANAS
To the Editor:
The system is rigged. First, Crooked Hillary Clinton rigs the system against Bernie Sanders. And now, Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. But the FBI recommends no criminal charges be filed against her. Wow!
In the case of former CIA Director David Petraeus, FBI investigators recommended felony charges against the former general for allegedly providing classified information to his biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell -- a far lesser crime than Crooked Hillary. Petraeus eventually pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information. The allegations against Crooked Hillary were far more serious. Even while announcing no charges would be recommended, FBI Director James Comey did, indeed, appear extremely concerned that Clinton had exposed state secrets to hackers, including those working for foreign governments.
Comey said, “The FBI does assess that hostile actors did, in fact, gain access to the private commercial email accounts of people with whom secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account.”
Comey announced Tuesday morning that although there was evidence the former secretary of state potentially violated the laws regarding the handling of classified information, the bureau was not recommending the Justice Department file charges because there was “no clear evidence” Clinton or her colleagues intended to break the law.
No clear evidence that Crooked Hillary or her colleagues intended to break the law? Really?
Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy accused Comey of essentially rewriting the law to clear Clinton because the statute does not mention intent. “The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence,” wrote the legal scholar.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, echoed McCarthy’s assessment, in a statement issued late Tuesday afternoon, charging that “Director Comey has rewritten a clearly worded federal criminal statute.”
“In so doing,” Cruz warned, “Director Comey has come dangerously close to saying that grossly negligent handling of classified information should not result in serious consequences for high-level officials. In a nation where the rule of law is supposed to matter, this is troubling.”
McCarthy also took issue with Comey’s assertion that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case based on the evidence uncovered by the FBI because the director himself had conceded Clinton committed gross negligence.
Bottom line? Crooked Hillary had emails marked Special Access Program (beyond Top Secret). Hostile foreign agents hacked her private email server. She put national security at risk. Quite simply, Crooked Hillary is unfit to be President.
And just as clearly, as Wall Street Journal editor James Taranto tweeted, “Laws are for little people. Comey delivers an indictment but won’t seek one."
Laws are for little people. The system is rigged by the power elites. Everything is a rich man's trick. Crooked Hillary's email exoneration, and the FBI and James Comey, have turned America into a Banana Republic.