Mendocino County Today: Thursday, March 9, 2017
by AVA News Service, March 9, 2017
SHERIFF ALLMAN WRITES:
"Hello my Facebook Community. I thank you all for the support I receive around the county each day. I appreciate the openness of this venue, so please, allow me to do some minor venting. Apparently, someone out in Mendo land has enough time on their hands to be following my family and I, and writing letters to the Board of Supervisors about me. I swear folks, I'm not making this up. Some person has sent a letter to the BOS documenting my family activities, and making false allegations. They followed us to Ukiah, watched our car for 4 1/2 hours as we were playing cards with three other couples, and then followed us back to Willits. Really?
As your Sheriff, my life is somewhat public… However, I don't take kindly to stalkers. If you have a question for me, my phone number is in the book. I will speak with anyone. If you are lacking the intestinal fortitude to contact me, I will pray for you to grow up and act like an adult. It is really silly to document six hours of my life, make incorrect assumptions, and send an anonymous letter. If we were all in the second grade, I would expect this type of activity. Whoever you are, please find another hobby."
WE'VE RECEIVED several calls from a man who didn't identify himself promising to send us a video of Allman allegedly driving under the influence. The video never appeared, but a lengthy letter purporting to have filmed Allman DUI-ing did arrive.
IT SAYS in prose what the perhaps mythical video allegedly shows on film. The anonymous letter refers to a CHP officer by name who, the letter claims, can verify that Allman was called in to the CHP and the Willits PD for driving recklessly but neither agency acted to corral him.
I TWICE called the CHP officer named in the anonymous letter who didn't return my calls. But one officer did say that the CHP frequently gets calls alleging this or that County official is drunk driving. This officer said he is unaware of any Allman calls.
OF COURSE there's a big difference between calling the CHP or the Willits PD and either of those agencies acting on the allegation, as if they are perpetually on red alert to drive out and catch someone in the act. (Over the years I've called in three people who left my office in no condition to drive. None of them were arrested, and two of them were headed for San Francisco from Boonville. Yes, I asked them to sober up before departing, but short of fighting them for their car keys, what's a snitch to do? There was also a strong disincentive to have them around while they got straight, a stance anyone who has ever had to babysit a drunk can assuredly sympathize with.)
I'M HARDLY a forensics guy, but whoever wrote the Allman letter went to some trouble to make sure it couldn't be traced. It's out of an old printer, signed in illegible initials, postmarked San Francisco. It names names and gives times and dates and cites a total of three alleged episodes. It says the reason it's anonymous is because the writer fears retaliation from the Sheriff. But the Sheriff, so far as I'm aware, is not known to be vindictive. (And we hear everything here at the mighty ava. Everything, I tell you!) Besides, using police authority to retaliate against critics usually backfires when it becomes known.
SHERIFF ALLMAN, by a very long distance, is the best known and most popular County official in recent history. Most County residents are barely aware of their Supervisor, and I'd bet 99 out of a hundred locals could not name any County official except Allman. He's a ubiquitous presence at public events. He even showed up at former Supervisor Norman de Vall's birthday party, and is omni-present at funeral services and community events from Gualala to Covelo. He's about as accessible a public official as I've known in Mendocino County.
OF COURSE Allman has enemies. Name a cop who doesn't. He was not supported for election by most of his deputies, not that any of them went public with their objections to him.
THESE ALLEGATIONS are not confirmed by actual arrests, and so they'll remain only allegations. If the Sheriff is having a few belts at social functions at least he now knows he'll need a designated driver.
AT LEAST BECKSTOFFER WARNS YOU
Readers who want to follow up on the Roundup wines can get more info from this site: http://www.beckstoffervineyards.com
Cool pictures, quotes, and they even tell you which wines are made from their grapes; for instance: http://www.beckstoffervineyards.com/roots/our-vineyards/mendocino/vinifera/wine/
LITTLE DOG SAYS, Every day we get at least an hour of boom box bass played full decibel from next door. The boss says it's the sound of the National Brotherhood of Morons. Unsurprisingly, their pitbulls love it. Mega-boom boxes and pitbulls. Old Boonville was never like this. People were good neighbors back then.
HE PROBABLY HAD IT COMING
On 03-07-2017 at approximately 12:49 P.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were summoned to a reported incident of domestic violence at a residence in the 100 block of Port Road in Point Arena, California. During the investigation, Deputies established that a 29-year old male and Courtney Cox, 28, of Point Arena, were in a dating relationship, residing together, and had a child in common. Deputies learned the male and Cox were engaged in a verbal altercation that escalated when she physically assaulted the male. Cox used her hands to strike and scratch the male repeated times, which caused visible injury. Deputies arrested Cox for domestic violence battery and she was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
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TWEAKER, TWEAKING, TWEAKED
On 03-07-2017 at about 9:12 PM Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a domestic violence disturbance near the intersection of East Road and School Way in Redwood Valley, California. Deputies contacted an adult female and Danny Moore, 45, of Ukiah, at the location.
Deputies conducted an investigation and learned Moore and the adult female were married. Deputies learned the couple had been in a vehicle traveling in the Redwood Valley area when an argument erupted between them. The argument escalated and Moore struck the adult female in the head with a can of food and threw a cigarette lighter in her face causing a visible injury. Deputies also discovered Moore was on formal probation from another county on an unrelated offense. Deputies conducted a search of Moore’s clothing and located a methamphetamine pipe and plastic baggy containing a small amount of methamphetamine. Moore was arrested on charges of Felony Domestic Violence Battery, Possession of Controlled Substance and paraphernalia, Violation of Probation, and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $30,000 bail.
TRAILBLAZING WOMEN OF THE NORTH COAST
by Janet Balicki
In the 19th century, at a time in our history when women were treated like second class citizens, these bold women stood out. The trailblazing women of the North Coast were rule breakers who chose to defy society's rules to own land, start businesses and have careers.
Our list includes pioneers such as Maria Ygnacia Lopez de Carrillo, a widower who was one of only a handful of single women given land by the governor of California in the mid-1800s. Her 8,885-acre Rancho Cabeza de Santa Rosa, incorporates our present-day county seat. Also included is Luda Fulkerson Barham, the first female attorney in Sonoma County, who in 1895 at only 23 began studying law at a time before women had the right to vote.
Click through the Press Democrat’s gallery to see more bold and fascinating women of the North Coast.
KZYX'S COOKED BOOKS
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Mr. Jeffrey Parker, Executive Director and General Manager,
Mendocino County Public Broadcasting (MCPB):
I just finished watching all 2 hours and 25 minutes of the recent MCPB Board meeting in Fort Bragg on Monday, March 6, at Mendocino TV.
At the meeting, when confronted with the questions raised by Scott Peterson's excellent flip chart presentation on MCPB's finances, MCPB Board member and Treasurer, Stuart Campbell, repeatedly insisted he "did not know," or "can't recall". Also, Campbell shifted blame on others. Furthermore, he states he doesn't have, nor has he ever had, the financial documents relevant to the questions being raised by Mr. Peterson.
Summing up Mr. Campbell's position when Mr. Peterson pressed him, Campbell seemed to say, and I'm paraphrasing: "I really don't know much about Board governance and financial matters for non-profit corporations." Campbell insisted that he would personally ensure that necessary corrections would be made to MCPB's financials, especially the station's confusing and misleading IRS Form 990s.
During Monday's Board meeting, Campbell said no one on the Board saw the 990's prior to the presumed filings, including himself, MCPB Board Treasurer. Campbell even suggested that his job as a part-time instructor at a local community college was an excuse for not performing his duties as Treasurer at MCPB. He was visibly embarrassed.
Campbell admitted he doesn't have time for Board officer responsibilities, and he would step down, if asked.
Mr. Parker, the one and only time we spoke on the phone -- during our recent Pledge Drive in February -- you hung up on me. Before you hung up, you declared I was intent on "destroying KZYX" by filing complaints to the FCC and CPB two years ago.
That's simply false, Mr. Parker -- I was actually trying to save the station two years ago by filing my complaints. I'll explain.
While I was a MCPB Board member from 2013-2016, and Board Treasurer in 2014, I was deliberately kept from raising the very same financial questions raised by Mr. Peterson on Monday. During the entire time I was Board Treasurer, I never saw any drafts of any financial documents before they were presumably filed. And I never saw the filings. I never co-signed a check. I never saw our letter of credit agreement with the Mendocino Savings Bank. I never saw our IRS Form 990s. I never met our accountant or auditor. I never helped develop a budget.
In fact, then-GM John Coate never once picked up the phone and called me while I was Board Treasurer in 2014, and he stonewalled me at all other times.
History repeats itself, Mr. Parker. Although you alluded to "big debts" in your GM presentation on Monday, it was never disclosed at Monday's Board meeting how much we owe and to whom.
So I'll ask now.
How much do we owe to NPR for programming and affiliation status? How much do we owe to the California Department of Forestry for rent? How much do we owe to Public Radio International for programming? How much do we owe to Amy Goodman and Pacifica for programming?
What are paying for the empty studio in Ukiah? How long is the lease?
Also, how many fully-paid up members at MCPB do we currently have? How does that compare to membership numbers for each year going back five year, or ten years?
And, what is the budget line item for salaries? (One could infer payroll by looking at payroll taxes, but MCPB's payroll taxes are consolidated into the budget line item called ""office expenses".)
As a footnote to payroll, do we currently pay either John Coate or Mary Aigner any money for any work? For consulting services, perhaps? Have we paid either Coate or Aigner anything since they left their jobs at MCPB as full-time employees?
I ask because MCPB''s new website seems to have purged much of our financials and other reports from the past -- there's no money trail. It would further seem as if Coate has an interest in purging the past. When talking about his time at MCPB, Coate is something of a revisionist of history. But, sadly, revisionism does not relieve legal and financial liabilities incurred in the past.
Finally, why doesn't MCPB commit to best practices for accounting and audits for non-profit corporations? In particular, why don't we commit to multi-year budget line item reviews?
I'll copy some members of the Board (past and present) and Mr. Peterson on this email, and also the CPB.
MCPB would never pass a CPB audit at this time. After consulting with several media attorneys -- please remember that two former FCC commissioners have appeared on my show in the past -- I have concluded that MCPB's infractions are numerous and serious.
Thank you for your response in advance.
MCPB Board of Directors, 2013-2016; Board Treasurer, 2014
Host and producer, "All about Money"
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From: "oigemail" <email@example.com>
To: "John Sakowicz" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 8, 2017 2:22:13 PM
Subject: Acknowledgment from CPB OIG
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We will review your submission and take action as appropriate. If we need additional information or details, and if you have provided your contact information, we will contact you. If you obtain additional information or evidence, please forward it to us.
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JIM HOULE WRITES:
An Unfilmed Turd
We propose to insert hidden cameras and mikes on the underside of all, repeat, all toilets seat within freedom loving America. Note that all older toilets seats contain deadly plastic components and need to be upgraded this year for your own safety. An unfilmed turd, said our President, is a threat to the homeland.
CATCH OF THE DAY, March 8, 2017
Bartel-Binderup, Brown, Butler, Donovan
VANESSA BARTEL-BINDERUP, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
ANITA BROWN, Redwood Valley, Under influence.
MARSHELLIA BUTLER, Covelo. Under influence, probation revocation.
ANNETTE DONOVAN, Point Arena. Domestic assault.
Hammond, Moore, Peck, Sklavos
LISSA HAMMOND, Laytonville. DUI.
DANNY MOORE, Domestic assault, controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.
JOHN PECK, Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.
DAVID SKLAVOS, Santa Rosa/Ukiah Probation revocation.
THE BIG LIE ABOUT HEALTH CARE
by Jeff Sher
So Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell stood up yesterday, in their latest act of unbridled arrogance and complete disregard for the American people, and said they are going to replace Obamacare with a plan that will increase choice for health care “consumers” and at the same time increase affordability. (Trump has promised that he would provide “insurance for everybody”.)
Of course they were lying.
When you’re doing something truly despicable that will inflict needless suffering on countless millions of people, make sure you lie about it – the bigger the lie the better – so you confuse enough under-informed people (your victims) not only about what you are doing but about your true intent.
This strategy (let’s call it the Trump strategy, although he’s not smart enough to have invented it) requires that you remain blind to the actual ramifications of your actions so that 1) you can live with yourself and 2) you can pretend the consequences won’t come back to bite you.
What they actually propose to do will have exactly the opposite result from what they claim: their Obamacare replacement plan will greatly reduce the choices of health plans that actually provide health care, and the choices will be reduced precisely because all the plans that actually cover expenses in any meaningful way will become strikingly more expensive and unaffordable.
They also claimed their plan would increase competition. I guess they meant among the four or five large insurance companies who dominate the health insurance market across the entire nation, several of whom are trying to merge with each other to further reduce the competition (which mergers will no doubt soon be approved by the new Republican non-regulators).
I’m going to make a wild-assed guess and predict that within not too many years this plan will make health care drastically worse for upwards of 150 million people in the USA. How’s that for making America great again?
Hyperbole? Let’s do the math. 70 million people on Medicaid who will quickly feel cuts in their benefits from the proposed changes in the Medicaid funding formula. 20 million on the exchanges – details are still vague, but I assume the exchange plan enrollees somehow will be dumped into the non-exchange individual insurance market - will see their premiums go through the roof and will be forced to drop coverage or settle for catastrophic coverage only, which of course will not include any coverage for preventive care as was mandated in Obamacare. I advise young people to drop their coverage as soon as you can. With your $10 an hour jobs you won’t be able to afford it anyway. You’ll still be able to buy it later if you get really sick, and the proposed 30% premium penalty you have to pay to re-start lapsed coverage will surely be less than the money you save by not paying premiums and far less than the medical bills the insurance companies will have to pay on your behalf. You can use your savings to pay your penalty if you ever need it, which is unlikely for most of you.
Once those 20 million people are thrown off the exchanges and all the young people drop or reduce coverage, the people who are already ill with the handful of chronic diseases that account for most health care costs will be the only ones left on the plans that actually cover anything, and the premiums for them will rise even faster, forcing more people to drop out, pushing up rates still faster. It’s called the Death Spiral in the insurance industry. In fact this plan is going to completely blow up all the individual insurance markets and seriously damage the group/employer markets, especially the markets for small employers who have to buy fully-insured plans because they don’t have enough employees to self-insure and at least partially escape the clutches of the insurance companies. Ryan and all his advisers know this. It was all thoroughly discussed in the process of foisting Obamacare on the American people. They just pretend it’s not going to happen. Or at least they want you to believe it’s not going to happen.
The reduced revenue from the federal subsidies combined with losses on their plans with spiraling premiums will force insurers to raise prices for all their other clients to preserve the profit margins they became accustomed to under the corporate give-away that Obamacare really was (when the only sensible choice was Medicare for everyone). And that in turn will induce employers to cut benefits even further than they already have and shift even more costs to employees.
So how many more tens of millions of people is that? I don’t know for sure. I guess about everyone who’s not on Medicare. So that’s at least 150 million people. I was just being conservative (pardon the expression) in my estimate.
But don’t worry, the Republicans say. You’ll still be able to afford coverage because we’ll give you tax credits instead of subsidies for the already ridiculously overpriced plans. Hahahaha. Tax credits for people who don’t have the money to pay for the insurance in the first place and don’t pay any federal income taxes anyway cause they’re so poor (45% of the population). Hahahahaha. And they actually expect people to believe this gibberish. People know the ridiculous prices they pay for insurance already. And even a rich person, who let’s say is paying $12,000 a year now for an insurance plan (if he or she is lucky), will get a tax credit of up to $4,000 a year. But when that premium quickly jumps to $18,000, and then $24,000, even the rich won’t be so happy with their new Trump-arranged deal.
Of course they also propose to eliminate all the taxes on individuals and industry that helped pay for Obamacare, so at least rich people and a few corporations will get a break. Sound like something you’ve heard from Republicans before. Charge the lower and middle classes more money so you can throw more money at the corporations and the miniscule number of rich people who own almost all of their stock.
This is not a serious attempt to solve the problem. It’s an ideological mishmash of ideas designed (ineptly) to achieve ideological goals that have nothing to do with the actual business of health insurance, and that directly contradict the well-known experience of the insurance industry itself. In fact, it is not possible for Republicans to replace Obamacare with anything that works better, because any of the possible improvements directly contradict the Republican ideology.
Let’s call this Republican replacement plan Abominablecare. Has a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it?
I strongly suggest that all you insurance companies and large employers who don’t want to be torpedoed by Abominablecare immediately contact your favorite bought and sold Republican legislators and tell them to scrap this nonsense post haste.
Tell them it’s only going to get in the way of the bigger agenda, which is giving you more undeserved tax breaks and regulatory relief. A health care plan is a small price to pay, after all, for the freedom to fleece the American public on every other product and service they have to buy from you to survive. Give them some doc visits so you can jack up the rents you charge for housing, phone, TV and internet service, gasoline, heating oil, public transportation (where it still exists), and education. And since you’re already paying them off to allow you to ramp up the pollution of our air, water and food by removing all the regulations that protect us, maybe it will keep your victims quiet if they at least can go to a hospital for treatment when they fall ill at increasingly early ages. O yeah. They’ll die sooner too, by the tens of thousands. Maybe that’s how the Republicans actually plan to bring down the cost of health care.
Jeff Sher is a journalist specializing in the health care industry. He lives in San Francisco.
SPRING CLEANING SALE
Now through Friday, March 10th, from 9:00am to 5:00pm at The Garden Store & Nursery on the Plaza located at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Warm weather means a busy garden — what better time for us to straighten up and prepare for the springtime hustle-and-bustle?
The Gardens Spring Cleaning Sale will have clearance prices on select items from The Garden Store and Nursery on the Plaza! Snag some fresh home decor, fashion accessories, gardening books, Easter decorations, and more from The Garden Store. Stock up on heavily discounted plants from Nursery on the Plaza including large conifers, dahlia tubers, magnolias, native irises, shrubs, and assorted perennials. Be sure to take advantage of the low prices during the sale. Remember, there is never an admission fee to visit the Nursery, Store, or Cafe (re-opening for the season on April 13).
EXCERPT FROM WIKILEAKS PRESS RELEASE 3-07-2017: The increasing sophistication of surveillance techniques has drawn comparisons with George Orwell's 1984, but "Weeping Angel", developed by the CIA's Embedded Devices Branch (EDB) <https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/cms/space_753667.html>, which infests smart TVs, transforming them into covert microphones, is surely its most emblematic realization. The attack against Samsung smart TVs <https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/cms/page_12353643.html> was developed in cooperation with the United Kingdom's MI5/BTSS. After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a 'Fake-Off' mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on. In 'Fake-Off' mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.
RHODODENDRON PROPAGATION FOR THE HOME GARDENER
SATURDAY, MARCH 18, 2017
10:00am to 12:00pm in the Gardens Meeting Room at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens with Dennis McKiver - President of the American Rhododendron Society’s Noyo Chapter
Learn how to grow rhododendrons from seed and cuttings with hands-on demonstrations. Since rhododendrons are relatively difficult to propagate the techniques you learn in class can be applied to the propagation of many other plants. Plus take one or more rhody cuttings to root at home! Workshop instructor Dennis McKiver has been growing and collecting rhododendrons since 2001. His collection has over 1,000 hybrid and species rhododendrons.
Other topics covered:
- Explore ground layering and air layering techniques.
- Learn about the tropical Vireya rhododendrons that can be rooted in a glass of water.
- The history of rhododendron propagation and why we no longer propagate by grafting in the U.S.
Join us this spring for a Rhododendron Walk in the Gardens the second Saturday of each month - March 11, April 8, and May 13 at 1:30pm
Class cost is $20 for members and Master Gardeners; $30 for non-members (includes Gardens admission for the day). Payment is due upon sign-up. Please note, all workshop fees are non-refundable unless the workshop has been canceled or rescheduled by the Gardens. Reserve your space by phoning 707-964-4352 ext. 16 or just stop by The Garden Store at MCBG.
THOSE OF YOU jousting with the anti-vac cretins, the website you want is:
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
The American citizen has been so eviscerated from the real narrative that the words "socialized medicine" have been emblazoned in our brain circuit as something menacing having to do with death panels, lack of choice, and substandard care. What is not discussed is our ranking among the worst WHO outcomes of any industrialized nation, infant mortality, and lack of access to care based on the ability to afford it. It boggles the mind how Americans just cannot seem to grasp the facts.
A VERY HISTORIC PIECE OF HARDWOOD
Good evening sports fans it's Andrew Scully your faithful correspondent reporting from Valley Christian Academy in Roseville California. Mendocino Cardinals versus the Valley Christian Lions tonight fifth round playoff action. The athletic director here told me that this floor was the original Oakland seals floor and the likes of Jerry West and Elgin Baylor played on this floor. Dig it...
INTERVIEW WITH EDWARD SNOWDEN
by Steven Erlanger
Q: There’s a campaign for President Obama to pardon you before he leaves office. For many people, you’re a whistle-blowing hero, and for many other people you’re a traitor who broke your oath and betrayed your country. Having knowingly broken the law and fled the jurisdiction of the American courts, why should you be granted asylum?
Snowden: Whether or not I should be granted a pardon is not for me to answer. By partnering with journalists, I sought to exercise our democratic system of checks and balances in a series of disclosures in 2013. The N.S.A.’s system of global mass surveillance was unlawful. And the courts agreed with me. Congress ultimately changed the law, putting new restrictions on the intelligence community’s powers.
I never published a single document on my own. I partnered with some of the most respected news outlets in the world: The Washington Post and The Guardian. These groups received the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their reporting. This is why we have a free press in a democracy. The government has many great powers, particularly as they relate to the handling of state secrets, but it is the press that is charged with determining what information is truly within the public interest to know.
Daniel Ellsberg, a fellow whistle-blower who released the Pentagon Papers in 1971, put himself forward to the court, understanding that the history of civil disobedience is being willing to accept any punishment for the moral act of standing up against authority. Why would you not return to face a jury in America?
Snowden: Daniel Ellsberg himself has argued that I made the right decision not to present myself to the court. Things have changed since the 1970s, and today the law doesn’t allow you to make a defense against Espionage Act charges in front of the jury. I am legally prohibited from even speaking to the jury about my motivation.
Can there be a fair trial when you can’t put forward a defense? At the sentencing phase you can express to the judge why you did what you did, but that is not democratic. The jury system was created so you can discuss with your peers what you did, why you did it.
You’ve said that concrete improvements have transpired as a direct result of your revelations. Are you concerned that governments are still doing whatever they want to do by other means or that these results are transitory?
Snowden: Do I think things are fixed? No. Do I think that any whistle-blower, any single individual, can change the world? No, but I do believe that we have some oversight over our privacy rights now, and that things are improving in a material way. The United States has made some initial reforms, and European courts struck down the previous safe harbor agreement, where European companies handed over their citizens’ data to U.S. companies without any controls or guarantees of how that would be handled.
The U.S. has right now a two-tiered system of handling surveillance. If you’re a U.S. citizen, the government will go to a court to get a warrant before they spy on you. This is almost always a secret court called the FISA court, which in 33 years was asked roughly 34,000 times to authorize surveillance and only said no 11 times. They’re a rubber stamp. If you’re not a U.S. citizen, no warrant is required at all in most cases. That’s gotten a little bit better because some companies have actually begun resisting these demands. This is uncomfortable for some governments, but there is no question that this is very positive in terms of the protection of rights and the enforcement of due process around the world.
Stewart Baker, former general counsel for the National Security Agency, is against a pardon for you. He believes the benefits of the leaks could have been achieved with only three or four documents and that the flood of documents released harmed United States intelligence and national interests. Do you believe that if you’d leaked less you might have had the same effect?
Snowden: No. What he’s actually arguing here is not against me, it’s against journalism. He’s criticizing the journalists who continue to report on the archive and continue to break stories that are changing law and policy today.
What does it mean when we’re saying to journalists that it’s O.K. if they run the first three stories, but after they run the next three or the next 300, that’s too much? Who makes that decision? I believe that it should be the press. They’re the best placed to make those decisions, and that’s why we have the First Amendment.
I’m certainly with you there. You don’t speak a lot of Russian, and it’s not a place you particularly wanted to be. What do you do all day?
Snowden: I speak at conferences in Athens mostly.
It’s an income.
Snowden: No, but seriously, I’ve always been sort of an indoor cat. My life has been the internet. This is an explanation for why I was so moved by what I witnessed at the N.S.A. What we saw in 2013 wasn’t just about surveillance; it was about rights and democracy.
When many people think about privacy they think about their Facebook settings, but privacy is actually the fountainhead of all our rights. It is the right from which all others are derived and is what makes you an individual. It is the right to an independent mind and life.
Freedom of speech doesn’t have meaning without the protected space to speak freely. The same [goes] for freedom of religion: If you can’t decide for yourself what you want to worship, you’ll simply adopt whatever is popular or whatever the state religion is to avoid the judgment of others.
The less power you wield within society, the stronger your case for your personal privacy. If you’re an individual and you don’t really have any influence over anything, you are the target audience for which privacy was designed. If you’re a public official, if you enjoy an incredible amount of privilege and influence, transparency is intended for you. It’s the only way that we can hold you to the account of our standards and laws and be able to cast our votes in an informed way.
You’ve said that you think of yourself as still working for the United States. Could you explain what you mean by that?
Snowden: Being patriotic doesn’t simply mean agreeing with your government. Being willing to disagree, particularly in a risky manner, is actually what we need more of today. When we have this incredible, often fact-free environment where politicians can make claims and then they’re reported as truth, how do we actually steer democracy? If we have facts, we can help facilitate democracy, and this is my role.
NEW REPORT: CA DEMOCRATS WHO RECEIVED GIFTS FROM BIG OIL GAVE GIFTS TO BIG OIL
by Dan Bacher
State officials and the mainstream media have for many years portrayed California as the nation's "green leader,” but a new analysis exposing a correlation between oil industry gifts and California lawmakers' voting records shows a much different California, one heavily influenced by the oil and gas industry.
This report reveals that California legislators received $253,771.98 in 2016 in free trips, dinners, and hotel stays from groups at least partly funded by or affiliated with companies from the oil and gas sector, according to legislators’ financial disclosure forms released last week and analyzed by the Energy and Policy Institute, a pro-clean energy watchdog organization.
Stop Fooling California, a public education campaign that focuses on the oil industry in California, released the analysis.
As you know, I’ve been exposing how Big Oil and the Western States Petroleum have effectively captured the regulatory apparatus in California under the administrations of Governor Jerry Brown and his predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The connection between so-called "moderate” Democrats and Big Oil gifts is the latest example of how powerful an influence Big Oil exerts over politicians and regulators in a state that some have called the “greenest” one in the nation.
“We've seen the rise of an informal caucus in California known as the ‘mod' Dems - a bloc of democrats that tends to side with the business community and oil interests," said Sarah Golden of Stop Fooling California. “Last week, industry submitted its annual disclosure of gifts given to California lawmakers. The folks over at Energy and Policy Institute examined the forms and found a clear correlation between those that received gifts from the oil and gas industry and those who voted with oil interests.”
The analysis shows a correlation between higher gift values from Big Oil and friendlier votes from so-called “moderate democrats,” i.e. Oily Dems.
“The Oily Dems who voted for Big Oil interests received an average of $3,685 per year in gifts while in office between 2012 and 2016," according to the report. “That value was 2.5 times more than the amount that Democrats who did not vote with Big Oil received in gifts during the same period, which averaged $1,486 per year in office.”
It is revealing that Assembly Member Rudy Salas, the honorary co-chair of the “Women's Empowerment Summit” on May 7 of last year, received the most oil industry gifts, $24,549.33, of any legislator in 2016.
In a salute to California’s status as the third largest oil state in the country and Big Oil’s role as the most powerful corporate lobby in Sacramento, the "Women's Empowerment Summit" co-chaired by Salas honored Catherine Reheis- Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association, with the 2016 "Distinguished Woman and Petroleum Advocate of the Year" award.
The event in Bakersfield, sponsored by the California Latino Leadership Institute, was billed as the “First Annual CLLI Tri County Central Valley Women’s Empowerment Summit." The corporate sponsors for the event included the “headline sponsor,” the California Resources Corporation (formerly Occidental Petroleum), along with Aera Energy, the Chevron Corporation and SEIU 521.
After giving the award to Reheis-Boyd, it is no surprise that the Western States Petroleum Assocation paid $1,600 for Assemblyman Salas to attend its annual conference on October 4, 2016 at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay.
Here is the summary of the report from from Stop Fooling California:
Oil-friendly Democrats received 2.5 more in gifts from oil interests, based on gift disclosures from 2012-2016
California’s legislators received $253,771.98 in 2016 in free trips, dinners, and hotel stays from groups at least partly funded by or affiliated with companies from the oil and gas sector, according to legislators’ financial disclosure forms released last week and analyzed by the Energy and Policy Institute, a pro-clean energy watchdog organization. Stop Fooling California, a public education campaign that focuses on the oil industry in California, released the analysis
From 2012 to 2016, the oil-affiliated groups gave legislators gifts with a value of $1.24 million. The total value of the gifts from oil-affiliated groups doubled from 2012 to 2015, before dropping back to 2013 levels in 2016.
The data for the analysis came from the California Fair Political Practices Commission, which mandates disclosure of gifts to public office holders.
Flights to Maui, dinner in Napa and Newport Beach, and a stay at the Ritz
Examples of gifts that oil-affiliated groups gave to California’s legislators in 2016 included:
The California Independent Petroleum Association (CIPA), a trade association for oil companies, paid for the meals and hotel for 12 legislators at a “symposium” in Newport Beach from December 8th to 9th. The legislators were Thomas Berryhill (R), Kansen Chu (D), James Frazier (D), Cathleen Galgiani (D), Christopher Holden (D), Patrick O’Donnell (D), Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D), and Blanca Rubio (D), Steven Choi (R), Vince Fong (R), Rudy Salas (D), and Thomas Berryhill (R).
The California Issues Forum (CIF) feted eight legislators, all Democrats, with a hotel room, meals, and transportation to Napa, California. CIF’s funders include Chevron and other oil companies, and it focuses on influencing moderate Democrats on behalf of corporations. The legislators were Autumn Burke, Jim Cooper, Jim Frazier, Mike Gipson, Adam Gray, Rudy Salas, Freddie Rodriguez, and Timothy Grayson.
The Western States Petroleum Alliance (WSPA), regarded as the most powerful voice for California’s oil industry, paid $1,600 for Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D) to attend its annual conference on October 4th at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay. Salas was the top recipient of gifts from oil-affiliated groups in 2016.
The Independent Voter Project, which receives funding from oil companies including Chevron, spent an average of about $3,000 per legislator flying, hosting and feeding nine lawmakers at its infamous annual Maui conference, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. The legislators were James Cooper (D), Mike Gipson (D), Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D), Freddie Rodriguez (D), Tom Daly (D), Joes Medina (D), Miguel Santiago (D), Thomas Berryhill (R), Cathleen Galgiani (D) and Franklin Bigelow (R).
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Eschewing discursive thoughts, not acting them
Out to predictable disastrous karmic consequences,
We lucky few forever are the happy instruments of
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Craig Louis Stehr
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