Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016
by AVA News Service, September 26, 2016
THE GREAT DEBATE wasn't exactly Lincoln-Douglas. Trump embarrassed himself as Hillary rope-a-doped him and, by the end, had knocked him clear out of the ring. She was ready, he wasn't. He came off like a teenager arguing with his mother over the car keys. All that mugging, all those twitching facial gestures made me think that Trump might be more cuckoo than we thought. Lester Holt was almost as pathetic as the "moderator." He let the two of them talk over each other, permitted Trump's constant interjections. Trump, it seems, thought he could wing it, stroll out unprepared and wrap her up. And Hillary's lucky she doesn't have to debate someone from the left who knows how bad she really is on the issues, her political history. Trump made some good points about the economy in the overall totally wrong context of his allegiance to Reaganomics — cut taxes for the rich and they'll create jobs. O yea. Overall, it was a perfect demonstration of a choice between another four years of rolling catastrophes and catastrophe itself.
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CLINTON, TRUMP BATTLE FIERCELY OVER TAXES, RACE, TERROR
Julie Pace & Jill Colvin
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — In a combative opening debate, Hillary Clinton emphatically denounced Donald Trump Monday night for keeping his personal tax returns and business dealings secret from voters and peddling a “racist lie” about President Barack Obama. Businessman Trump repeatedly cast Clinton as a “typical politician” as he sought to capitalize on Americans’ frustration with Washington.
Locked in an exceedingly close White House race, the presidential rivals tangled for 90-minutes over their vastly different visions for the nation’s future. Clinton called for lowering taxes for the middle class, while Trump focused more on renegotiating trade deals that he said have caused companies to move jobs out of the U.S. The Republican backed the controversial “stop-and-frisk policing” tactic as a way to bring down crime, while the Democrat said the policy was unconstitutional and ineffective.
The debate was confrontational from the start, with Trump frequently trying to interrupt Clinton and speaking over her answers. Clinton was more measured and restrained, but also needled the sometimes-thin-skinned Trump over his business record and wealth.
“There’s something he’s hiding,” she declared, scoffing at his repeated contentions that he won’t release his tax returns because he is being audited. Tax experts have said an audit is no barrier to making his records public.
Clinton said one reason Trump has refused is that he may well have paid nothing in federal taxes. He interrupted to say, “That makes me smart.”
Trump aggressively tried to turn the transparency questions around on Clinton, saying he would release his tax information when she produces more than 30,000 emails that were deleted from the personal internet server she used as secretary of state.
Trump’s criticism of Clinton turned personal in the debate’s closing moments. He said, “She doesn’t have the look, she doesn’t have the stamina” to be president. He’s made similar comments in previous events, sparking outrage from Clinton backers who accused him of levelling a sexist attack on the first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. political party.
Clinton leapt at the opportunity to remind voters of Trump’s numerous controversial comments about women, who will be crucial to the outcome of the November election.
“This is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs,” she said.
The televised face-off was the most anticipated moment in an election campaign that has been both historic and unpredictable. Both sides expected a record-setting audience for the showdown at Hofstra University in suburban New York, reflecting the intense national interest in the race to become America’s 45th president.
The centerpiece of Trump’s case against Clinton was that the former senator and secretary of state is little more than a career politician who has squandered opportunities to address the domestic and international she’s now pledging to tackle as president.
“She’s got experience,” he said, “but it’s bad experience.”
Both candidates portrayed themselves as best-prepared to lead a nation where many are still struggling to benefit from a slow economic recovery and are increasingly fearful of terror threats at home and abroad. When Trump jabbed Clinton for taking time off the campaign trail to study for the debate, she said, “I prepared to be president, and that’s a good thing.”
The candidates sparred over trade, taxes and how to bring good-paying jobs back to the United States.
Clinton said her Republican rival was promoting a “Trumped-up” version of trickle-down economics — a philosophy focused on tax cuts for the wealthy. She called for increasing the federal minimum wage, spending more on infrastructure projects and guaranteeing equal pay for women.
Trump panned policies that he said have led to American jobs being moved overseas, in part because of international trade agreements that Clinton has supported. He pushed her aggressively on her past support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact while she was serving in the Obama administration. She’s since said she opposes the sweeping deal in its final form.
“You called it the gold standard of trade deals,” Trump said. “If you did win, you would approve that.”
Disputing his version of events, Clinton said, “I know you live in your own reality.”
Trump struggled to answer repeated questions about why he only recently acknowledged that Obama was born in the United States. For years, Trump has been the chief promoter of questions falsely suggesting the president was born outside of America.
“He has really started his political activity on this racist lie,” Clinton charged.
Trump also repeatedly insisted that he opposed the Iraq War before the 2003 U.S. invasion, despite evidence to the contrary. Trump was asked in September 2002 whether he supported a potential Iraq invasion in an interview with Howard Stern. He responded: “Yeah, I guess so.”
Presented with the comment during the debate, Trump responded: “I said very lightly, I don’t know, maybe, who knows.”
The Republican also appeared to contradict himself on how he might use nuclear weapons if he’s elected president. He first said he “would not do first strike” but then said he couldn’t “take anything off the table.”
Clinton said Trump was too easily provoked to serve as commander in chief and could be quickly drawn into a war involving nuclear weapons.
“A man who can be provoked by a tweet should not have his fingers anywhere near the nuclear codes,” she said.
Trump replied: “That line’s getting a little bit old.”
Some frequently hot-button issues were barely mentioned during the intense debate. Illegal immigration and Trump’s promises of a border wall were not part of the conversation. And while Clinton took some questions on her private email server, she was not grilled about her family’s foundation, Bill Clinton’s past infidelities or her struggle with trustworthiness.
(The Associated Press)
SAWMILL/GEYSERS FIRE UPDATE
BOONVILLE is surprised at the sudden closing of the popular Buckhorn Saloon. The Horn's owner, the affable and hardworking Tom Towey, has informally cited his frustrations with a range of problems, specifically mentioning employee theft and other staffing problems. "I'm done," Towey told a Boonville friend, "I can't keep doing this." The demise of the Buckhorn comes on the heels of the closure of All That Good Stuff and the rumored November closure of Libby's Restaurant in Philo due to Libby's retirement. The Buckhorn's premises are owned by long-time Anderson Valley residents, Gary and Virginia Island. The Islands also own the Philo Lath Mill and the nearby site of the defunct Philo lumber mill.
WE ARE INFORMED, however, that the Buckhorn will soon be back in business under new management. At least three local parties are interested.
A READER WRITES: "I want to commend the excellent reporting by Bruce McEwen of Jared Soinila's sentencing in your 21SEP16 edition. I have known him for many, many years. He committed an unforgivable crime; however, it's hard for me to think of him as a 'criminal.' I have witnessed how this lives-altering tragedy has resulted in a remarkable change in this man. I found Mr. McEwen's poignant portrayal of Jared's remorse, regret, and commitment to 'pay his debt to society,' balanced with the reality of Juana Juan's debilitating 'life sentence' dealing with her physical and emotional injuries, to be sensitive to all involved, heart-felt and just. Jared is a conscientious person. I believe he will do his time in a productive way, but I know he will live the rest of his days with a stain on his soul for having taken the life of another.'
THE AVA RECOMMENDS HOW TO VOTE. How we plan to vote on the 17 propositions on the November ballot, that is. We've already made several recommendations, and have to go back constantly to see how many we have to go, which is what happens when you don't just plow through them in one shot. But we got distracted by some of the more provocative initiatives, and we remain convinced that a lot of stuff gets put on the ballot by nefarious interests simply because our spine-free legislature doesn't legislate unless, of course, nefarious interests have handed them paper bags of fresh, untraceable hundreds. Anyway…
PROP 57. Parole for non-violent prisoners. A No On 57 guy sent me a stack of baseball card-like pictures of felons who've committed appalling crimes, saying these guys would get out under Prop 57. The DA is also recommending a No vote on Prop 57. Why are cops voting No? Because lots of them secretly believe that everyone is either an active scumbag or a scumbag who hasn't been caught yet. Which, as a general principle, seems irrefutable, but as a practical matter we can't lock up everyone, can we? Me? I think it's clear that generally speaking people get sentences out of all proportion to what they've done. There's got to be an objective process for the orderly release of people who try hard in prison to improve themselves. I've thought for a long time we ought to go back to the future when a committee of inmates and staff evaluated people for release. Who better than the people who see them every day, work with them every day, often know them better than their own families to decide who's a menace, who isn't? More than one former inmate has put the number of true menaces to society at 20 percent. These are guys who should never get out even if they're in for shoplifting. Under the present system, a maniac can do his time and get his release even if all he's done in prison is watch television. We recommend a Yes vote on 57. The whole system desperately needs reform, and this is a good place to start an orderly release system.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Times’ latest endorsement of Hillary Clinton is, as any reasonable person might assume, and to use Hillary’s favorite new word, deplorable. In the interest of discharging the irritation engendered by reading it, I’ll just briefly highlight some of the Gray Lady’s more outrageous assertions.
First, though, I’d like to applaud them for a rather novel, albeit entirely incoherent, bit of duplicity. Acknowledging in their euphemistic way that Hillary Clinton has achieved nothing of any significance while serving in government (“Mrs. Clinton’s work has been defined more by incremental successes than by moments of transformative change”), the editors contend that this ought to be counted as one of her strengths, for “[i]t shows a determined leader intent on creating opportunity for struggling Americans at a time of economic upheaval and on ensuring that the United States remains a force for good in an often brutal world.”
It’s a total non-sequitur, but at least they tried something wild. It’s sort of like what Robert De Niro’s character in Wag the Dog, Conrad Brean, does when he’s confronted by an intelligence official who says there’s no evidence of a war in Albania.
“Our spy satellites show no secret terrorists training camps in the Albanian hinterland, the border patrol, the FBI, the RCMP report no—repeat, no—untoward activity along our picturesque Canadian border,” the official (William H. Macy) says very sternly. “The Albanian government is screaming its defense; the world is listening. There is no war.”
Brean’s response is a masterclass in obfuscation. After being told again that the spy satellites show no war, he says the following:
“Then what good are they if they show no war? … What good are they if they show nothing? What are they, useless? Are they just broke? If there’s no threat then where are you? Let me go you one more: If there’s no threat what good are you?”
He succeeds in confusing the official into submission, making for one of the film’s funniest scenes. But that’s a film. This is real life, and one would need a very black sense of humor indeed to find the Times‘ doublespeak amusing.
A fixed surveillance camera, recording in Cleveland on November 22, 2014, captured a 12-year-old African-American boy, Tamir Rice, pointing a toy gun at imaginary targets. The boy was playing alone in a snowy park pavilion at the Cudell Recreation Center. The video, shot from across the way, is silent, the winter colors so drab that it takes a while to realize that the image is actually in color. We watch the boy, seemingly lost in a reverie, walk out of the fixed frame, then circle around and come back into view. Does he imagine himself at the center of some dangerous exploit? Is he stalking bad guys in hiding? He’s like any other kid playing alone with a toy gun, though his toy was a plastic replica of an actual revolver. The camera watches as police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback pull up in their patrol car. After two seconds, Loehmann begins shooting from the car. Tamir Rice was hit twice and died the next day in hospital.
It turned out that the officers had arrived at the park with limited information. The Cleveland dispatcher who summoned the patrol car failed to pass along key details from the 911 caller, including their opinion that the person in the park was “probably a juvenile” and that the gun was “probably fake.” But could the officers not have seen this themselves? In the video, Tamir Rice looks small — he’s certainly not a full-grown man — and the police in their car were a lot closer to him than we are, in the position of the camera across the street.
Loehmann and Garmback have been absolved of any legal culpability; experts appointed by the prosecutors claimed that their behavior was “reasonable.” Yet what we see offends reason. The officers may have arrived without necessary information, but they were armed with their instincts, and Loehmann’s instincts compelled him to start shooting a 12-year-old boy with barely a hesitation.
The Cleveland video is not the only such instance. In November last year the Chicago police released a dashboard camera video recorded in October 2014. A black teenage boy named Laquan McDonald runs along the central divider of a Chicago street. Seen from the rear, he looks blithe, maybe stoned and happy. He slows and veers to his right as the police arrive in multiple cars. He’s holding a small knife, just barely visible in the video, but as he moves away from the police, one of the officers, Jason Van Dyke, entering the fixed image from the left, shoots him repeatedly — 16 times in 13 seconds. The video is silent, so we don’t know what was said, but we can see that the police did not attempt to disarm McDonald as he walked away from them.
These videos may reveal no more than a fragment of a situation, but the viewer can ask questions and draw conclusions from what can be seen. The Cleveland and Chicago videos break into public view as individual disasters but also as symbolic events in which licensed force obliterates not quite innocence (Tamir Rice was waving a replica gun, Laquan McDonald was holding a knife) but overwhelming vulnerability. The viewer, indulging the fantasies of the impotent, asks: “Why don’t the police take cover, negotiate, intimidate? Why don’t they use pepper spray, shoot bean-bag rounds? Why don’t they make arrests?” In other words, why don’t they treat the young men as citizens? It’s as if there were some elementary reality that eluded our understanding. Meaninglessness offends the demand that violence make sense, that it fall into some morally decipherable pattern. But the decipherable pattern here is that some police officers feel free to shoot black men.
On September 4, 2014 in Columbia, South Carolina, state trooper Sean Groubert stopped Levar Jones, a 35-year-old African American, for not wearing his seatbelt. As Groubert’s dashboard camera reveals, Jones pulls into a convenience store and Groubert pulls in after him, halting perhaps 15 feet away. Groubert tells Jones, who is standing outside his car, to get his license, and Jones quickly reaches in and then springs out of the car — at which point Groubert shoots four rounds, wounding Jones in the hip.
Absurdist black comedy takes over: the two men fall out of the frame and Jones can be heard asking, ‘Why did you shoot me?’
Groubert, who addresses the man he has just shot as “sir,” tells him: “Well, you dove head first back into your car”
“I’m sorry,” Jones says.
“Then you jumped back out.”
Nervously, Groubert reassures Jones that an ambulance is on the way. In Groubert’s version of what happened, recorded a bit later in the video, he tells his supervisor that Jones acted aggressively — which is not what we have just seen. (How many times, without the recording of videos, have such cover stories gone unchallenged?)
Despite the video’s restricted point of view, it reveals quite a bit: an officer losing professional control, abandoning common sense and firing on instinct; and then snapping back, attempting to reassert control and authority, and re-entering a normative ethical world in which you try to help someone who is hurt, even if you hurt him yourself.
The video doesn’t tell us why Groubert lost possession of himself, though we can make some guesses. What we see and hear is that Groubert felt threatened by a black man moving in and out of his car at the wrong speed. Groubert was possibly so frightened of black men that he believed he needed to shoot before he got shot himself.
Many such confrontations are fuelled by racial fear and by mutual suspicion, emotions exacerbated by the American plenitude of guns, which has the effect of dissolving common sense and normal hesitations. Would a police officer in London or Tokyo or Ottawa assume that a man moving quickly was reaching for a gun?
In the videos that run on, we can see what happens after the violence, and what we see tells us a great deal about the moral and emotional condition of urban police work. In one widely seen video, recorded on April 4, 2015 in North Charleston, South Carolina, we seem to have joined in the middle of a movie, but a movie that is savage, senseless, pitiless. The image bucks, the camera pitches down. It is held by a young man, later identified as Feiden Santana, as he blunders along the side of a fence. Once Santana has got a good enough view, he holds the camera steady and we see Walter Scott, a man of about 50, abruptly running away from a policeman, Michael Slager, who then discharges eight rounds from his revolver, five of which hit Scott in the back. Scott falls, and Slager, running up to the immobile body, shouts: “Put your hands behind your back!” Santana keeps his camera on Slager as he returns to where he and Scott had been standing earlier, and we watch as Slager picks up his taser, which is lying on the ground, and returns to Scott, dropping the taser by the body, as if to suggest that the two had struggled over it and that the struggle had produced the shooting.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 26, 2016
Beard, Bruhn, Furr
MICHAEL BEARD, Laytonville. Drunk in public.
SHAWNA BRUHN, Redwood Valley. Domestic battery, DUI.
SHANNON FURR, Willits. DUI.
Gonzalez-Ramirez, Keyes, King, Sales
JULIAN GONZALEZ-RAMIREZ, Ukiah. Under influence, probation revocation.
JOSHUA KEYS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JEFFREY KING, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery.
ROBERT SALES, Willits. DUI.
Schaal, Silk-Hoaglin, Sperry
MAXIMILLION SCHAAL, Willits. Domestic battery.
ERIC SILK-HOAGLIN JR., Hayward/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JONDIE SPERRY, Ukiah. Controlled substance.
Unmoderated growth is the credo of the cancer cell and industrial capitalism. The delusion that limitless growth is possible, even healthy, is behind pretty much any financial scandal. This includes the most recent instance at Wells Fargo. Every one of these events inspires another new plan for preventing another one.
Riley VanDyke, San Francisco
ARE YOU READY FOR DEMOCRACY?
by Ralph Nader
Are the people ready for democracy? This question was leveled by monarchs, despots and authoritarian rulers post-World War II when stirrings for freedom in less developed countries blossomed. We often heard apologists for the western colonial powers—the British, French, Portuguese, etc.—say that the Indians, the Arabs and the Africans were not “ready for democracy.” By that they meant people didn’t have the experience, wherewithal, or desire to do what was necessary to govern themselves.
In our own country, are we ready to revive, repair and reclaim our deteriorating democratic institutions from the 24/7 drumming of corporatism and its corporate state? Not so far!
Congress and state legislatures score very low in approval polls by detached, inactive citizens. Our courts are operating on squeezed budgets and doctrines that obstruct and severely ration justice. Even using the courts is a major burden for most people except for the rich and powerful.
No western country places more obstacles on voters and for third-party challengers. Limited access for third-parties restricts voices and choices at election time. Deep inequalities in income, wealth and power are not improving. We have the second lowest voting turnout among almost three dozen western nations.
It has been said that democracy is not a spectator sport. By definition it must be a participatory duty that we impose on ourselves. Apart from jury duty, too easily avoided, there are no obligatory duties in our constitution. So it is up to us to determine how civically engaged we are going to be to improve our community and country.
Unfortunately, too many people give up on themselves saying that they are “nobodies,” or that “the Big Boys are in control.” Yet these same people know that American history is full of great advances in justice that started with a few ordinary people who made themselves “somebodies.”
Ordinary people doing extraordinary things have improved our society in countless ways. The abolition movement against slavery, the women’s drive to vote, the major protections for workers, farmers, consumers and the environment, advances in civil rights and civil liberties were jumpstarted by those who had a vision of a better society and the energy to want change. Little comes top down without pressure from bottom up.
Curiously, citizen energies rise and fall which is why some scholars have called such declines “justice fatigue.” That is, striving for justice collectively, without backup civic institutions, exhausts people, resulting in long lull periods of inaction between shorter periods of civic activism.
We are gathering at the end of September many civic leaders—giants in their fields for justice—at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC to elevate the scope, intensity and creativity of the civil society which works for all people. (See breakingthroughpower.org.) People are coming to learn, to be inspired, empowered and more connected to initiatives already underway for a better country.
Some people will come to learn how to defend themselves from wrongful injuries and dictatorial, fine print contracts. They will hear about how they can use tort law and courts to achieve justice. Others will come to get their first look at historic leaders who have accomplished greater justice and continue to do so.
They will learn about the Time Dollar currency from legendary professor-advocate, Edgar Cahn. They will hear how community business can be revolutionary, how to organize for safe food, how to influence the Congress and regulatory agencies, and how to form new powerful organizations.
They will discover that one percent or less of the people in Congressional Districts advancing reforms and redirections supported by a majority of the people (see Unstoppable: the Emerging Left/Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State) can overcome corporate lobbyists and foot-dragging legislators who resist citizen initiatives. Taking control of our common assets helps advance the public interests as well. Day Two of the Breaking Through Power mobilization covers the astonishing truth that the greatest wealth in our country is collectively owned by the people. Trillions of dollars of pension, mutual fund monies and savings, coupled with the vast public lands onshore and offshore, and the public airwaves are examples of what “We the People” own but do not control. This day is devoted to reclaiming control over our commonwealth. We should recall that allowing corporations to control what we own has led again and again to disasters. Witness the Wall Street collapse of 2008, the massive soil erosions of our lands, and the fluff, self-censorship and saturation of commercials on our corporate-controlled public airwaves.
The four days of Breaking Through Power will be live streamed by the Real News Network. Go to breakingthroughpower.org, or contact Ticketmaster at 1 (800) 653-8000 to sign up for these memorable events. We can make it happen; you can make it historic.
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!
FORT BRAGG POLICE CHIEF LIZAARAGO — THE BACK STORY
FALL SEED SAVING WORK-SEED CLEANING
On Saturday, October 8th from 10:30am to 12:00pm the Mendocino County Library, Ukiah Branch is hosting Fall Seed Saving Workshop- Seed Cleaning.
Learn how to clean, dry, and store vegetable seeds from your garden. Find out how to save wet-seeded and dry-seeded crops. There will be opportunities to winnow and sift and if you have seeds ready to clean bring them along and we'll do it together.
This event is family friendly, free to the public and sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY II
Re legal pot: Prepare for a massive population surge, including many many opportunists who will make the wine growers look innocent by comparison. I spent the 80’s on the Big Island of Hawaii, living among a population of mostly marijuana growers. With few exceptions, they were a bunch of greedy bastards and the only thing that kept them sort of in check was that it was illegal. Legality opens the doors to gross mass production, and you can be sure the corporate types are wringing their greasy hands in anticipation. It also opens the door doors to potential buyers who have been afraid of breaking the law. They’re coming. Time to expand Rt 128 to four lanes. (Jeff Costello)
FRISCO PRICES OUT THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE IT INTERESTING
The boho-drain: bohemians say goodbye San Francisco, hello LA
DAMN RIGHT WE DO!
COMMUNITY ENRICHMENT GRANTS GUIDELINES AND APPLICATIONS NOW AVAILABLE
The Community Foundation of Mendocino County is pleased to announce that the 2017 Community Enrichment Grant guidelines and online application are now available.
Organizations in Mendocino County are invited to apply by December 7, 2016. This year the Community Foundation is again inviting collaborative proposals from two or more organizations working together on a project.Guidelines and a link to the online application can be found at www.communityfound.org.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of the 2017 Community Enrichment Grant Information Workshops. Workshops will be offered at the following dates and times:
Anderson Valley: October 24, 12:00-1:00 (brown-bag lunches welcome), Anderson Valley Historical Society Museum, 12340 Hwy. 128, Boonville
Ukiah: October 26, 12:00-1:00 (brown-bag lunches welcome), Community Foundation of Mendocino County Community Room, 204 S. Oak St., Ukiah
Fort Bragg: October 31, 12:00-1:00 (brown-bag lunches welcome), Mendocino Coast Clinic, 205 South Street, Fort Bragg
Willits: November 2, 12:00-1:00 (brown-bag lunches welcome), Willits Center for the Arts, 71 East Commercial Street, Willits
Each workshop will be followed by an optional technical assistance workshop, Grant-Seeking 101: Beyond Community Foundation Grants from 1:00-2:30. Both workshops are offered at no cost to participants.
Applicants may contact Michelle Rich (firstname.lastname@example.org, 707-468-9882) if they have remaining questions or would like feedback on their individual proposals after attending one of the grant workshops and/or carefully reading the grant guidelines.
The Community Enrichment Grant program is made possible through the Community Foundation's Community Endowment Fund. Up to $120,000 in total funding is available this year. Individual grant awards range from $500 - $5,000. The Community Foundation once again is welcoming collaborative proposals from two or more organizations working together on a project. The range of collaborative grant awards is $5,000 - $10,000.
The Community Endowment has been built by contributions that vary from a check for twenty-five dollars to an estate gift valued at several hundred thousand dollars. Donors who give to the Community Endowment fund know their gifts will be used here in Mendocino County for long-term benefit of its residents.
For more information about applying to the Community Enrichment Grant program or about how you can make a gift to the Community Endowment Fund, visitwww.communityfound.org.
EYE IN THE SKY
Review by Louis Bedrock
EYE IN THE SKY is manipulative and profoundly dishonest. I'll never again watch a movie that features Helen Mirren.
EYE IN THE SKY is another entry in the depressing and expanding list of propaganda movies and TV programs that attempt to justify the brutality of the American empire. It attempts to whitewash drone warfare in the same way that 24 whitewashes torture or Zero Dark Thirty whitewashes torture and targeted assassinations by elite units of psychopaths like the Navy Seals or the Green Berets.
The mechanism of its deceit involves an adorable child. Not a less than adorable 16 year old child like American citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was murdered by a drone despite having no history of criminal activity, but a super-adorable little Kenyan girl who likes to play with a hula hoop or a soccer ball and who diligently helps out her household by selling the round loaves of bread baked by her mother.
However this adorable little girl is an obstacle to ridding the world of bloodthirsty terrorists donning explosive belts who may kill 100 innocent people--including many adorable little girls. Much of the movie revolves around conscientious military officers, whose mandate is to blow up anyone accused of "terrorist activities", weighing the life of the child against the dozens of imminent victims--the damned ticking time bomb in another guise.
Guess what these officers finally decide to do. (Albeit with profound regret.)
Journalist David Swanson said the following the film's director, Gavin Hood:
—We know of actual cases where the target was not identified, where the target could have been captured, and where the target was not actually about to commit mass murder. In fact the Justice Department has redefined “imminent threat” to be virtually meaningless, and I don’t know of a single case in reality that matches this fictional fantasy. Do you?
Hood conceded that he did not.
That's the key to understanding this genre of movies: their subterfuge. They present situations that have never happened and are not likely to happen and proffer them to the audience as justification for torture or targeted assassination or murder by drone.
Most of those tortured at Guantanamo and other dark sites were just poor fools who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Many were the prey of bounty hunters.
The Navy Seals who killed Osama Bin Laden should have killed Osama Bin Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski was the son of a bitch who armed and trained radical muslim fanatics in order to hand the USSR "its own Vietnam". Bin Laden should have been captured, questioned, and interrogated. But who knows where that might have led.
Drone strikes are directed against "targets"--a euphemism for human beings, who are vaguely identified, vaguely accused of vague crimes, and who could be captured, interrogated, and perhaps tried. But that would take effort and money. And using drones stimulates our economy, which is built around killing and destroying.
I propose a Joseph Goebbels Award for the most deceitful, mendacious pieces of aesthetic detritus produced by house artists of the military industrial complex. It will be offered to those producers of movies and TV series that have given us blatant propaganda disguised as entertainment. Here's a partial list of nominees:
Zero Dark Thirty
24 (TV series)
The Hurt Locker
Eye In The Sky
Actually all of the above movies deserve a "Joey". EYE IN THE SKY is the merely the latest and one of the most sophisticated.
RADIO LOVERS: The Discussion is on the air on KZYX/Z this Thursday night, September 29th at 7pm. Since this will be the Fifth Thursday of the month, they will allow us to discuss OUR radio station with them over the air. Diane Hering, Interim General Manager will be on live, and hopefully, the New Program Director, Alice will also be on with her. You can call the station at 895-2324 and request that Alice be on this program, since it seems many people always want to discuss programming with the staff, and she's The One. The call in number is 895-2448, so please do Tune In and Call In. This is Democracy In Action if we participate.
Peace y'all and Justice.
PS. Voter Registration information for October, 2016:
Saturday, October 1: Pay 'N' Take, Gualala Community Center, 8:30am - 12 noon.
Saturday, October 15: Pay 'N' Take, Gualala Community Center, 8:30am -12 noon.
Sunday, October 2: Garcia Grange Breakfast, Garcia Grange, Manchester 8am-12 noon
Saturday, October 22: Pomo Native American Acorn Festival, 12 noon - until it ends (on The Ridge, not sure exactly where it is. Hopefully, they will send you information about it.) Presented by the Manchester/Pt. Arena Pomo Indians.
Monday, October 24: THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE! New Gualala Post Office, downtown Gualala, 12 noon - 3pm.
Your Voter Registration form MUST be postmarked on or before this date in order to VOTE in November 8.
For more information: www.sos.ca.gov; 884-4703
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There's trouble on the mountain
And the valley's full of smoke
There's crying on the mountain
And again the same heart broke.
The lights are on past midnite
The curtains closed all day
There's trouble on the mountain
The valley people say.
— Johnny Cash
by James Kunstler
(Monday, before the debate) — As the nation awaits the gruesome spectacle of the so-called debate between Trump and Clinton in an election campaign beneath the dignity of a third-world shit-hole, we are once again up to our eyeballs in manufactured racial strife led by the deliberately prevaricating New York Times. Read today’s front-page story: What We Know About the Details of the Police Shooting in Charlotte, insinuating that the police acted recklessly in the incident.
The facts in the Charlotte, NC, shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott are these: he was shot after refusing repeated loud verbal commands to drop a gun. A gun was found on the scene with his fingerprints on it, along with an ankle holster. Video recordings provide a clear audible record of these commands. Yet the Times story says: “Body and dashboard camera footage released on Saturday provided no clear evidence that Mr. Scott had a gun. In the video, Mr. Scott’s arms were at his sides and he was backing away from his vehicle when he was shot.
It happened that the various vehicles parked on the scene interfered with the all the video footage of the critical moment: dashboard cam, officer’s body cam, and the cell phone cam of Mr. Scott’s wife. But the insinuation seems to be that because the video doesn’t show a gun, perhaps there wasn’t one.
The police insist that Mr. Scott was holding a gun. Why is The New York Times bent on ambiguating this story? The officer who shot Mr. Scott was black. The Charlotte police chief is black. Does the Times mean to say that they are incompetent, dishonest, and reckless? Does the Times seek to reinforce a popular notion that police in general, including black police and their supervisors, are determined to oppress black Americans generally? Does the Times wish to sow even more distrust and animosity between black America and the police?
It sure seems that way. And what is The New York Times’s interest in dragging out the supposed ambiguity of the Scott case? I shall tell you why: because yielding to the obvious truth in the matter would not support the election campaign meme that Black America requires the protection of the Democratic Party against genocidal police forces across the nation.
One result so far is several nights of “protest marches” in Charlotte that led to the shooting death of another person, a black man, by another black man in the crowd, for reasons as yet unknown, plus a lot of property damage due to looting and mayhem on the part of the mob.
Why is it so important to political progressives to keep feeding the story that great numbers of black people are being unjustly murdered by police? The facts, of course, suggest that this is not true. Earlier this summer, The Washington Post could not ignore the study published by black Harvard economist Roland Fryer, Jr. How a controversial study found that police are more likely to shoot whites, not blacks. And why in the long-running issue is it such a low priority to ask the truly salient question in all of these fatal confrontations: how are the suspects actually behaving during the incidents in question?
As a blog-writer, I correspond with some interesting people. One of them is a middle-aged black man who has worked for a long time in the Baltimore black ghetto. He is one of those rare Americans these days not susceptible to pre-cooked ideas about what is actually going on in this country. He would prefer to remain anonymous for reasons that ought to be self-evident, but I want you to see his interesting theory about what is going on in the black community vis-à-vis the police shooting meme. The subject line in his email to me was “Trauma programming.”
Its a type of narcissism designed to compensate for [the] fact nobody (of any value) really wants to deal/interact with them; therefore, they gladly adopt this false narrative that “somebody is after us and wants to kill us…”
See how that raises their value by claiming somebody “wants us?”
Its like the ugly fat girls obsessed with getting raped/sexually assaulted.
Truth be told, because so many black people are not useful to each other and/or other people… they end up only a liability. Therefore, most people spend a significant amount of time trying to dodge them. (but the police can’t do this)
This increases their sense of worthlessness, which forces them to cling ever so tighter to this false narrative of “the police are after us and want to kill us…”
(nobody wants you and we wish you would just go away)
it gets worse.
At this point, some black people decide, “try as you might, I’m NOT going to allow you to ignore me, because I’m going to act like a belligerent a-hole until I force you to deal/interact with me…”
NOW you gotta call the police.
And when the police show up, the black person says:
“see, here come the police; they are always after us because they want to kill us…”
But at the end of the day, the key is; the “Long Emergency” is generating increasing numbers of superfluous people; black people are only the most visible, vocal element of this phenomenon.
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