Mendocino County Today: Saturday, April 15, 2017
by AVA News Service, April 14, 2017
CHIPMUNK ART GALLERY UNHAPPY WITH REVIEW
(Reprinted from yesterday for purposes of reply from Mr. Yearsley)
Thursday, April 13, 2017. 11:30 AM. Phone Message:
“Hi, my name is Kellee Bradley. I'm the public relations manager for John L. Scott real estate in Seattle, Washington. I'm just a little bit flummoxed (laughs) — an article came up in my Google Alerts today from your paper in California of all places. It talks about art. And how we sponsor a room at the Seattle Art Museum. And then it accuses us of, of basically plundering art. And this article is by a man named David Yearsley. And it's called Artists of Empire. I don't know why he singled us out. We do have a couple of galleries at the art museum. His quote, ‘John L. Scott is a real estate giant which has devastated much of the Puget Sound and continues to play a leading role in suburbanizing what little is left of it.’ It's kind of defaming and there is no reality in what he is saying. I'm wondering if — I just want to get some clarification from you guys to make sure that you really understand what it's saying. I just want to be clear that you do understand that he is throwing darts at us and he has no basis. We are a small regional real estate company in the Puget Sound area. But our founder was a patron of the arts and he sponsored a couple of galleries and art museums. Anyway, if you could call me back. My name is Kellee Bradley. My phone number is 425 210 7677. And before I send this off to our legal department I just wanted to make sure you guys were aware of and give you the benefit of the doubt and perhaps ask you not to defame us. Thank you.”
DAVID YEARSLEY REPLIES:
Almost twenty years on and the ‘Artists of Empire’ reappears in America’s Last Newspaper in the Age of Google Alerts. What a world!
Meanwhile, the Puget Sound looks more and more like the LA Basin: ghastly burbs, malls, high tech campuses, homeports for aircraft carriers and Trident subs. Did John L. Scott’s gang play a role in the transformation of one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world into what it is now? Only the most myopic and delusional would argue otherwise. Do those who profit from the destruction of the natural world often fund worthy projects with their takings — from art museums to universities to opera houses to animal shelters? Yes. Do these charitable deeds let the benefactors off the moral hook when the final reckoning comes due, and not only the mortgage but also the whole subdivision is underwater? Hardly.
As for Google: I typed in some relevant words just now: “urban sprawl / John L. Scott” etc. — and got this from the New York Times:
In that 1993 piece from the Real Estate section of the Gray Lady a representative of John L. Scott urges more building, forests and fields be damned.
Then there’s today’s featured listing on the John L. Scott website. It’s a condo (the AVA staff will laugh — bitterly perhaps — at the name of the complex: “Sonoma Villero”). The “municpality” is Bothel: the name itself is incriminating enough, conjuring as it does the worst nightmare of suburbanization. There in front of the “property” is the John L. Scott sign staked to the heart of the once pristine place. Amazing what developers, the automobile, and the real estate machine can ruin in a few short years.
Whoever buys this condo will have to do a title search. A thorough, historical investigation that went beyond the Manifest Destiny-version all homebuyers are required to undertake would discover blood on those lands, and on many subsequent hands since it was expropriated, clear cut, and then sprawled over with the help of, white courtesy telephone (or even an occasional Google alert), the John L. Scott Co.
WHEN NAME-CALLING IS NECESSARY
The election seems to have unhinged some of your contributors. Bruce Patterson’s normally interesting prose has become paragraph after paragraph of emotional name-calling. But perhaps I misjudged him and it’s really just a clever parody of NPR.
PS. I was not a Trump voter!
BRUCE PATTERSON REPLIES:
Dear Mr. Williams:
Even if Trump wasn't a usurper, tyrant, thief and a dangerous chickenhawk warmonger, he'd still be one extremely despicable human being quite literally without redeeming social value. Ridicule is an effective weapon to use against such powerful and despicable creatures (check out Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator"), and satire with teeth is not just subversive but proudly subversive and so one of the storyteller's greatest gifts to humanity. When Johnathon Swift suggested that, in order to save time and money, the English should cook and eat starving Irish babies, the English were scandalized and the Irish nodded in agreement.
Regarding "emotion." If you love your people, it's very difficult to sympathize with their adversaries. Worth doing, surely, but difficult.
Bruce Patterson, Prineville, Oregon
ANDERSON VALLEY WILDFLOWER SHOW
April 22 & 23
The Anderson Valley Wildflower show Saturday April 22 and Sunday April 23 at the Fairgrounds in Boonville brings together specimens of over 300 mostly native flowers, grasses and trees collected along the spring meadows, forests and roadways leading through Anderson Valley. Specimens are displayed in family groups and are identified. Plant experts are available to help identify plants that visitors bring in.
Anderson Valley High School students submit artwork and photos with nature themes which are displayed along one wall. Three winners receive $50. Many club propagated locally grown plants are for sale and Larner Seeds will sell Native wildflower seeds. Members of the California Native Plant Society will sell plant books and posters. Plant talks will be given on a variety of topics, such as native bees, oak woodlands and restoring native plants. A raffle helps fund scholarships for an Anderson Valley HS graduate planning a career working with nature. Lunch and snacks are available at our tearoom.
Wildflower Show Nature Talks Schedule
- 11am: Mary Pat Palmer: Wild Medicinal Plants
- noon: Jade Paget-Seekins: Native Bees/Pollination
- 1pm: Kate Marianchild: Oak Woodlands
- 2pm: TBD
- 11am: Jade Paget-Seekins: Plant Identification; 8 Common Families
- Noon: TBD
- 1pm: Linda MacElwee: Invasive Plant Removal/Native Restoration
- 2pm: TBD
Plus still to be scheduled: Lee Serrie: Butterflies/Butterfly Food Plants
Unity Club - Garden Section
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “O yeah. Of all the Boonville events every year my favorite is the Wildflower Show at the Fairgrounds. There are wildflowers springing up everywhere this year with the return of the rains like they used to be. My so-called 'owners’ — and if that isn't an insult, name one worse — walk past me and say stuff like, ‘You should see the Dogwood in Ukiah this year, Little Dog. Full bloom right now, a real beaut on Wabash.’ Like I have some way of getting over there to see it, and as if me as a dog wants necessarily to see Dogwood. I put up with this kind of deliberate misunderstanding everyday. It's My Life As A Dog!"
MENDOCINO COUNTY is famous for its laissez faire attitude toward anything to do with agriculture, which is about 90% grapes. Roederer’s former manager in Anderson Valley, Michel Salgues, told us frankly that they plopped their mega-colonizing high-end booze factory in Mendo because Mendo has no effective regulation, and lack of enforcement for what little there is. Mendo was the last County to prepare a General Plan and then only after the County was sued for not having one. Mendo is still the only rural county in the state without a grading ordinance, much less a riparian ordinance. Noise and other giant nuisances? Not only does the “right to farm” law exempt Mendo ag from nuisances, but when The Major filed his suit to try to curb the frost fan noise, the County (not the growers) demanded that The Major put up a $1 million bond to even be allowed to file his suit. Water regs? The County has never — repeat never — said word one about water use or rules for legal crops — even in severe droughts. Labor laws? Pesticide restrictions? Rangeland conversions to grapes? Giant traffic snarling wine events on rural roads? Waste emissions from wineries? You name it, Mendo not only allows it, but encourages it. Basically, if you wanna grow grapes and make wine, Mendocino County does not care how or where you do it. (Oh, there are a few state rules that apply, but they’re primarily a bunch of expensive paperwork requirements that have nothing to do with the growing of grapes or the making of wine other than making sure that only those with lots of money to begin with can join the Great Grape Rush.)
NOW MENDO WANTS TO impose and enforce complicated and expensive to comply with rules on newly legalized pot growers, many of them the same people who have operated without rules for decades? (Did we mention that the rules are basically voluntary? You have to register to be legal — minimum registration fee around $100k — after which you fall under the supposedly protective legal umbrella of Mendo’s famously loose non-cop enforcement mechanism, whatever that becomes.)
DOES THIS SOUND LIKE A FORMULA for success to you? Or does it sound more like a formula for a weird black-to-gray market where you either remain outside the law (and its costs and rules) entirely, or you sign up — then flaunt the rules to make more money or reduce costs?
AGENDA ITEM 5c on next Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors agenda:
“Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Presentation on the Development of a Cannabis Compliance Unit within Planning & Building Services.”
Ignoring the ridiculous wording of the item — “action regarding presentation”? — the idea of enforcing “compliance” with the County’s complicated pot cultivation rules borders on oxymoronic.
“On May 4, 2017 the County’s Cannabis Cultivation Program, authorized through Chapters 10A.17 and 20.242 of Mendocino County Code, will become operational. In preparation, the County continues to invest significant time and effort into development of a permitting program, led by the Agriculture Department, which is expected to experience heavy demand for service. The permitting program is being developed in conjunction with a working group that includes various representatives from the Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Planning and Building Services, Executive Office, Treasurer - Tax Collector, County Counsel, Air Quality Management District and the Division of Environmental Health. Unpermitted cultivation is expected to include two primary groupings, with different paths toward resolution for each. Trespass and large-scale cultivation will continue to be handled as a criminal matter by the Sheriff’s Office. Smaller scale cultivation which is prohibited by the County’s Cannabis Cultivation Program will be addressed by code enforcement staff within Planning & Building Services (PBS) using administrative citations, abatement processes, and/or civil court…” (our emphasis)
HOLD IT RIGHT THERE.
First, this black and white compliance breakdown fails to even mention enforcing the rules for permitted growers who try to push or expand their practices beyond what is permitted.
Second, “abatement” (i.e., pulling up pot plants) only applies to grows in areas where they are not permitted. Say someone is permitted to have a 4,000 square foot grow but they have 6,000 square feet of garden, spread out over who knows what kind of configuration. A neighbor complains (and only in the worst cases would a neighbor complain because very few Mendo neighbors will complain when this unwieldy mess gets going) which is the only conceivable way a violation will be noticed. So the neighbor complaint comes in and the finger pointing among “various representatives from the Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Planning and Building Services, Executive Office, Treasurer-Tax Collector, County Counsel, Air Quality Management District and the Division of Environmental Health” would begin. Who’s supposed to enforce what?
Third, “civil court”? Oh please. A neighbor is going to take his pot growing neighbor to court because the pot grower is violating some aspect of his permit?
“In collaboration with County Counsel and your Board [ah yes, always good to throw in a bit of ass-kissing for the Supervisors], PBS [Planning & Building Services] staff have prepared for this role over the last 16 months. Preparation included contracting with a local expert in code enforcement who has been reviewing and developing internal procedures, hiring a new supervisor for the code enforcement unit, and developing new tools, including administrative citations, administrative penalties, and expedited abatement processes. The final step to prepare for operation of the Cannabis Compliance Unit will be to hire two new code enforcement officers, for a total of seven full-time code enforcement officers (which includes Trent Taylor [retired Ukiah Police Captain] as a contract manager currently). Human Resources is expected to provide the department with an initial list of candidates the week of April 17; a related and still open recruitment for candidates will close on April 20. This unit will have resource assistance as necessary from the Executive Office and work in partnership with law enforcement and the Agriculture Department. Additional detail, including a flow chart and an organizational chart can be found in the attached memo.”
THIS FLOW CHART doesn’t even have an arrow for “out of compliance with permit terms.” It simply deals with whether or not you have a permit: So “enforcement” would be nothing more than a simple threat: get a (expensive, bureaucratic) permit or your pot plants will be pulled up (“abated”).
DON’T LIKE how your neighbors are growing their pot? Don’t think they’re complying with the permit terms? You don’t even rate an arrow on the “compliance unit complaint” flowchart.
AVALON HOUSE FOR SALE
Historic homes that have been well restored and come with a good story usually come with an equally impressive price tag, so when this house was first brought to my attention I let it sit on the desk for a bit because I see million-dollar homes all the time; and I believe half of them would be priced far less were the market different. When I got around to it – I felt like I almost missed a gem. That, and I love a good story. This home has a few…
This completely restored Craftsman built in 1905 by Horace Weller, a businessman who moved to Fort Bragg in the 1880’s to manage the Company Store. He built this three-story residence as a wedding present for his son Charlie and bride Adelia. In 1955, the Wellers celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in the house, but in the 60’s the house was inherited by the Flager Family, and soon after became vacant and fell into disrepair.
In the 1980’s, Anne Sorrells purchased the home with the intent of converting it to a bed and breakfast called The Avalon House. This B&B was popular with tourists for many years.
In 2004, The Avalon House was sold to the Neeses. They did further upgrades and improvements, but unfortunately, they never were able to open as a B&B.
In 2006, Dr. William Rohr, a local orthopedic surgeon, and his wife Linda, purchased this beautiful antique as a private residence, and redid the interior (once again).
It’s difficult to find an old home with such a complete – and storied – pedigree. Whether you’d like this home as a potential B&B again, or perhaps as a private residence of your own, the 1M price tag for what you’d get seems like a deal for what’s included compared to many of the homes I’ve seen recently.
WILL PARRISH, our ace investigative reporter, has relocated to Santa Cruz. Will has begun to catch on with larger circulation magazines, including The Nation, and a larger venue closer to the Bay Area is a handier locale to write from. He promises to re-appear in our pages from time-to-time.
PURE SPECULATION on my part, but any young writer specializing in environmental matters, who also lives in Mendocino County, will inevitably find him or herself pulled into a dreary circle of aged "activists" who are, to put it mildly, dispiriting. They fasten on the young and idealistic like serial flights of vampire bats, and Will was constantly besieged by them. To save himself, Will did the smart thing — he got clear outtahere, as many smart, ambitious young people before him have done
ANOTHER BOOK ON JIM JONES? Yes, and a good one, too, although I'm only a hundred pages in. "The Road to Jonestown — Jim Jones and Peoples Temple" by Jeff Guinn, who is also the author of an excellent bio of another Mendo Old Boy, Charles Manson.
AS HE DID with his Manson bio, Guinn digs deep into the early life of Jones where the author finds a wacky mom, a disabled vet of a father, an impoverished family struggling through the late stages of the Depression in a small, rural social milieu of puritanical fundamentalists. But it was a stable Indiana community that tolerated mom — she smoked and swore in public, and took on a lover into the bargain, shocking her easily shocked neighbors. The townspeople, many of them related to her by her marriage to the veteran, felt sorry for husband and child.
APOLOGIES for this maudlin term, but the town nurtured the budding psycho in the best sense of that awful word, taking him into their homes while mom was at work and his disabled dad spent his days playing cards at the pool hall.
AS A SMALL BOY, Jones, unlike his peers, was an eager churchgoer and would practice sermonizing by the time he was ten. Precociously intelligent and skillfully manipulative of adults, Jones, despite his home life, grew up in rather idyllic circumstances.
THE AUTHOR has tracked down a number of people who remember Jones as a child and as a young man, learning that not only his mother but neighboring women of the pious sort combined to instill in Jones his "specialness" as he grew into the amphetamine-fueled monster he became.
JONES REALLY GOT ROLLING in Mendocino County, deftly parlaying his sociopathic gifts into outback political power by appearing to be all things to all people. He was a socially conservative church man to inland Republicans, a "socialist" progressive to Mendolib, as then constituted in pioneer hippies and the minority of liberals already in place in the county.
JONES'S RISE in Mendocino County coincided with LBJ's Great Society programs. Suddenly there was lots of loosely monitored federal money for the care and rehabilitation of dependent people. Jones parlayed care homes into a small fortune in real estate and ready cash, accomplishing it by installing white parishioners in Mendocino County's nascent social services bureaucracy. The Jones-ites in the Welfare Department signed up Jones's imported black parishioners for the available array of benefits whether or not they qualified for them. The impoverished black funding units Jones' gulled into relocating to Redwood Valley became both Jones's warchest and an advertisement for the People’s Temple as a pioneer multi-ethnic church and force for social good.
THE MESSIAH, as he privately implied himself, soon outgrew Mendocino County and re-established himself in San Francisco where he was quickly embraced by The City's liberal shoguns, and the rest, as they say, is history.
FROM SHERIFF ALLMAN:
April 14. A day that I really dread. On April 14, 1995, Round Valley turned deadly. Deputy Sheriff Bob Davis was killed while investigating a homicide which had occurred at the high school. This is an emotional day for Round Valley also, as two Tribal Members also lost their lives. Tonight, at 7pm, there will be a short ceremony remembering the life of Deputy Davis, in front of the Willits Justice Center. 22 years ago. In some ways, it seems like a year ago and in others, it seems like 50 years ago. RIP my Friend.
APRIL THE 14TH (PART 1)
When the iceberg hit
Oh they must have known
God moves on the water
Like Casey Jones
So I walked downtown
On my telephone
Took a lazy turn
Through the redeye zone
Was a five-band bill
Saw the van out in front
And the girl passed out
In the backseat trash
There were no way they'd make
Even half a tank of gas
They looked sick and stoned
And strangely dressed
No one showed
From the local press
But I watched 'em walk
Through the bottom land
And I wished I played
In a rock 'n' roll band
It was the fourteenth day
Then they closed it down
With the sails in rags
And they swept up the fags
And the local rags
Threw the plastic cups
In the plastic bags
And the cooks cleaned the kitchen
With the staggers and the jags
And the sky was red
I went back to work
And back to bed
And the iceberg broke
And the Okies fled
And the Great Emancipator
Took a bullet in the back of the head
— Gillian Welch
CITY OF UKIAH BORROWING $4 MILLION FOR PRE-COSTCO IMPROVEMENTS
by Justine Frederiksen
The city of Ukiah recently took the final steps needed to borrow $4 million to pay for the road improvements that need to be completed before a proposed Costco warehouse could open.
“This is approving the final step of the city’s application for an iBank loan,” Senior Management Analyst Shannon Riley told the Ukiah City Council at its last meeting April 5, explaining that the money is needed for infrastructure improvements such as the re-configuring of the Talmage Road intersection with Highway 101, as well as changes to Airport Park Boulevard and other surrounding streets.
“We are 90-percent of the way there,” Riley said of applying for the loan, which will have “City Hall as the collateral for the loan. We did investigate some other options, but we determined that this is the best deal for the city.”
Before voting on the resolution approving the application, Council member Steve Scalmanini asked if the city’s ability to pay back the loan would be affected if “Walmart closes inside the city of Ukiah, and moves outside of the city and onto North State Street?”
Riley said while having that business move outside of the city limits, “would, it is highly likely that the Walmart space could be filled by another tax-paying tenant, so the impact would likely be short-lived.”
City Manager Sage Sangiacomo quickly added that the notion of Walmart moving from its current location on Airport Park Boulevard was “absolutely a hypothetical, and there has been absolutely no discussion of that occurring whatsoever. City staff has no information that such a move is in process.”
Sangiacomo indicated that the property being discussed was the former Masonite property, and the current owner of that property confirmed he has had no discussions with Walmart regarding relocating its business there.
The city needs the $4 million to do traffic mitigations because a proposed Costco warehouse, the building of which has been significantly delayed by a lawsuit requiring another environmental impact report to be approved, cannot open its doors until the roadwork is completed.
According to the city engineer, the city will need $2.1 million for work on the highway interchange and installation of a traffic signal, and another $1.8 million for improvements to the intersection of Airport Park Boulevard and both Talmage and Commerce roads, plus the widening of Hastings Avenue near State Street.
Money to pay for these improvements was previously borrowed by the city’s redevelopment agency in 2011, but after the state’s redevelopment agencies were dissolved, state officials blocked the use of that money.
And while the city is in “a dispute with the state Department of Finance” regarding the use of those bond proceeds, Riley said the iBank loan is “one of the most feasible ways to finance this project.”
Another part of the improvements being considered for Airport Park Boulevard includes $1.8 million for reconstruction of the arterial, but that won’t be paid for from the loan.
Instead, Sangiacomo said funds from Measure Y, which are on hold due to a lawsuit, might be used to pay for the reconstruction at some point.
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 14, 2017
Arenas, Elliott, Jurrens
RICARDO ARENAS, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.
ALICIA ELLIOTT, Covelo. Arson, protective order violation.
NICOLE JURRENS, Ukiah. Petty theft, controlled substance.
Martin, Martinez, Sandhu
GARY MARTIN JR., Pittsburg (CA)/Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
ISMAEL MARTINEZ, Fort Bragg. Drugs while armed, ex-felon with firearm, armed with assault rifle, ammo possession by prohibited person, meth for sale, sale of meth, paraphernalia, suspended license.
AMANDEEP SANDHU (The booking photo was corrected, so reposted here), Hopland. DUI, driver with concealed weapon.
Schmidt, St.Charles, Sturges
KEVIN SCHMIDT, Fremont/Mendocino. Drunk in public, vandalism, battery on peace officer, escape.
GINA ST. CHARLES, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
MATTHEW STURGES, Willits. Probation revocation.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
BLUNDER LAND — Some may view the Hillary team’s electoral college miscalculation as the mother of all blunders. After all, it gave Mr. Blunderbuss himself the presidency, and so the nation was doomed, or so they thought. The blundering health care bill has been buried, just as we may be sooner than we think by baleful toxins. And of course the major issues of the day like limited resources, growing populations, and climate change are buried also, with a dangerous insouciance.
But wait. Here come the brass hats. They’ve treated Syria to a tumult of Tomahawks, and “the mother of all blunders” has just enabled the dropping of “the mother of all bombs” on Afghanistan, in an effort to make Nangarhar look more like Nebraska. Will the brass hats and the Brobdingnagian Bashibazouk avoid the big, military blunder, like Bush into Iraq? Who knows? Anything can happen in Blunder Land.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
by James Kunstler
“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold,” Yeats wrote.
The funny thing is, we didn’t seem to miss the center all that much after it was gone. America is perfectly satisfied hunkering down at the margins these days. Especially the margins of thinking.
One thing that used to occupy the center was public discussion, debate, and argumentation. Now and again, it featured a coherent exchange of ideas. These days, the main political factions are sunk in hysteria of one kind or another. Their primitive promptings hardly add up to ideas but rather limbic spasms of fear and rage. And then there is the shadow partner of the two parties called the Deep State, led by the quaintly dubbed “Intelligence Community.” These birds, many of them lifers, are dedicated to making the public discussion of anything as incoherent as possible so as to prevent any change in policy that might curtail the growth of the Deep State, a sort of cancer of the body politic.
Case in point, the recent Syrian aerial gas attack in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. Elected officials were all over the cable networks selling the NSA’s story that Syrian president Bashar Assad bombed women and children with Sarin gas three days after State Department declared that it had a new policy of letting Assad remain in power after decades of sedulously scheming to shove him out. That might have led to the end of the six-year-long Syrian civil war, which Assad seemed to be winning, finally — with Russian assistance.
But instead the incident has led to new official calls to shove Assad out… to be replaced by what…? Nobody knows. Because the US Deep State thrives when chaos reigns in foreign lands. So much the better for their looting operations, such as the theft of Libya’s 141 ton gold reserves in 2011. And if not looting hard assets directly, the Deep State benefits when its many black box vendors — the private security armies, materials suppliers, arms sellers — are raking in the accounts receivable.
The fascinating part of the Syrian gas bombing story is how easily the public swallowed it. Those elected congressmen and senators infesting the cable stations told the public that the Intelligence Community “issued a consensus report” that the Syrian air force has dropped Sarin gas bombs on the hapless civilians. Nobody offered any actual evidence that this was so. These days, mere assertions rule.
That’s how we roll now. I’m still waiting to see some evidence that Trump’s campaign “colluded with Russia” to spin the election toward him. Those claims, too, were put out as “a consensus analysis” by the Intelligence Community. And then in March, months after the disputed election, just-retired NSA director James Clapper told NBC’s Meet the Press that his agency had no evidence of “Russian collusion” with the Trump forces. That was only a few weeks ago.
For the moment, it may benefit casual observers to adopt the most cynical attitude possible about the “consensus reports” that emanate from these myriad agencies. What it all finally seems to represent is the snowballing incompetence, venality, mendacity, and impotence of the US government in general, in all its layers and branches.
Hence, the idiotic PR stunt the other day of dropping the so-called “Mother of All Bombs (MOAB)” on some backwater of the once-and-future Mother of All Backwaters, Afghanistan. Did you happen to see a photo of that Mother Bomb? It looked bigger than any airplane that might be assigned to carry it, a cartoon of a bomb, more ridiculous than anything you might see in a Vin Diesel movie. It even had the acronym “MOAB” plastered on its fuselage in case anyone might confuse it with a canister of Round-up. I wonder what it cost. Got to be more than the $1 million-plus for a Tomahawk missile. You could probably run the whole Medicaid system of Alabama on what one MOAB invoice comes in at.
Meanwhile, the Navy’s Aircraft Carrier Strike Force 1 steams off the waters of North Korea and we lately have word that the US might just try to preemptively take out Kim Jong-un’s nuclear bomb assembly site. There’s a tang of excitement in the air (and on the cable channels). America’s back in the game, proving that when all else fails we can be depended on at least to blow some shit up. What could go wrong?
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)
THE COMING DEATH OF THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
Both the Guardian newspaper and the New York Times have reported that due to climate change large sections of the Great Barrier Reef is now dead. Coral reefs are tiny polyps capturing single-celled plants called algae that convert sunlight into food. The coral polyps form colonies and built a limestone scaffolding to live (a reef). However, when the water gets too hot the algae begin producing toxins, and the coral expels them in self-defense, and the polyps turn white. If, and that is a big if, water temperatures drop soon enough the corals can grow new algae and survive. If water temperatures stay moderate the damaged sections may recover in 10 to 15 years. Unfortunately coral bleaching is happening in other parts of the world such as off Kiritimati Island, part the Republic of Kiribari which is several thousand miles from Australia.
There have been numerous studies in recent months attesting to the rising temperatures throughout the world and the resultant increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. I think it is quite clear that coral reefs through out the world will bleach and die. It needs to be noted in poorer countries many millions of people get their protein primarily from reef fish. Rather obviously, you will have these people facing starvation. Unfortunately, when you have fools like President Trump denying climate change and the Paris Accord which as far as I am concerned is a very weak attempt at reigning in the rising effects of climate change we are heading for a world disaster. It is one hell of a world we are leaving for our great grand children.
In peace and love,
Move to Amend Mendocino is presenting a half day workshop on the Timeline of Personhood Rights and Powers with David Cobb, who helped develop the timeline. Saturday, May 20, 9-1 at Willits Center for the Arts, 71 East Commercial St., Willits. The timeline is a graphic presentation of the history of court cases which, over time, have granted corporations increasing "rights," enabling them to grow in power and influence to the point where the voice of We the People is overwhelmed by the voice of giant multinational corporations. Citizens United and more recent cases are the culmination of this continuing history, not the beginning of it! Understanding this history and the timeline shows why a Constitutional Amendment is needed to Legalize Democracy. (See the timeline on the Move to Amend website at https://movetoamend.org/timeline <https://movetoamend.org/sites/all/modules/civicrm/extern/url.php?u=3524&qid=7734163> ) This is a unique opportunity as this in-depth presentation of the timeline is rarely available. Although it is intuitively obvious to many that the outsize power of giant corporations is a huge problem for democracy, seeing the step by step development of corporate power gives a solid historical and factual grounding to that understanding. Corporate power is not just a legal problem, it is an issue fundamental to our basic political structure and the United States Constitution. We hope you can join us for this important presentation! Free, with suggested donation of $20. Co-sponsored by WELL (Willits Economic LocaLization).
Margaret Koster, Mendocino County Move to Amend
EDIBLE SEAWEED WALK AND GRATITUDE OFFERING APRIL 30
An introduction to wildcrafting Mendocino seaweeds is offered by John and Barbara Stephens-Lewallen at the south end of Van Damme Beach on Sunday, April 30, at the deep low tide from 9 A.M. to Noon. John and Barbara celebrate the opening of our thirty-seventh annual season wildcrafting the world's best edible seaweed as the Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company at an elder-friendly, family-friendly, easily-accessible beach. All are invited to learn and join us in gratitude and beauty offerings to seaweed and sea. For more information call (707) 895-2996, or visit www.seaweed.net
John Lewallen, Philo
COURT EXTENDS DEADLINE TO APPLY TO SERVE ON THE NEXT GRAND JURY
(We can probably guess why…)
The Honorable Jeanine B. Nadel, Chair of the Grand Jury Recruitment/Selection Committee has extended the deadline to submit applications to serve on the 2017/2018 Grand Jury to May 5th, 2017. The 2017/2018 Grand Jury will be sworn in at the end of June, 2017 (date to be announced).
Service on the Civil Grand Jury is an excellent opportunity to learn about the inner workings of government, while providing a valuable service to the community. The 19 members of the Grand Jury serve for one year and are empowered to investigate the operations of county, city and district governments; provide civil oversight of local government departments and agencies; and respond to citizen complaints. The Grand Jury sets its own agenda and meeting schedule. Much of the work is performed in small committees allowing for considerable flexibility in the work schedule and meeting locations.
Grand Jurors are compensated $25 per full panel meeting, $10 per committee meeting and committee attendance at public meetings. Mileage is reimbursed at the current County of Mendocino rate. There is free onsite parking. Prior to being nominated, each qualifying applicant is interviewed by a Superior Court judge. Training for Grand Jurors will be provided.
To serve as a Grand Juror, the following requirements must be met:
- At least 18 years of age
- United States citizen
- Resident of Mendocino County for at least one year
- Sufficiently fluent in written and spoken English
- Not currently serving on any other governmental board or commission during the term
- Not presently holding a public office
- Not personally active in any campaign of a candidate for elective office
Applications and related information are available on the Internet at: www.mendocino.courts.ca.gov/general_info/operations/grandjury.asp. The application may also be obtained in person at the Superior Court, 100 North State Street, Rm. 303, Ukiah or by calling the Grand Jury at (707) 463-4320.
For more information contact:
Kim Weston, Administrative Assistant
, Superior Court of California, County of Mendocino, 100 N. State Street, Room 303,
Ukiah, CA 954825
TITANIC NOW BOARDING. LAST CALL!
Boards & Commissions Vacancies
Supervisors, Community Partners, and Interested Parties: The list of vacancies, due to term expirations and resignations, for County boards and commissions has been updated with new vacancies for the month of May. A list of the new and existing vacancies is available on the County website: http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/bos/boardscommmissionshtm. The attached document contains a list of the vacancies that are new. Please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441 if you have any questions regarding this message.
I'LL TAKE A DOZEN.
LAST CHANCE FOR THE MUSEUM ROAD SHOW!
Mendocino County Museum Road Show
Last chance to hear true history!
Friday, April 21 at the Anderson Valley Grange in Philo and Saturday, April 22 at Fort Bragg’s Cotton Auditorium will be the final chances to hear the brand new stories and songs that make up this year’s Museum Road Show, produced by the Mendocino County Museum! Step back in time and experience life in Mendocino County during the 19th century through stories of the Frolic shipwreck and the birth of the lumber industry; schooners and stagecoach lines; Grace Hudson, her paintings, and her love for the Pomo; ghastly ghost tales and more! Accompanying the actors onstage are members of Poonkinney Antique, the new Road Show band, which plays original and traditional folk songs infused with fiery gypsy jazz and sweet bluegrass.
Performances are at 7:30 pm; doors open at 7:00 pm for seating and pre-show music. Advance tickets are $18 Adults; $14 Seniors & Students, and are available at Boont Berry Farm in Boonville and Harvest Market in Fort Bragg or online. For more information visit www.MendocinoMuseum.org ( http://www.mendocinomuseum.org/) or call 459-2736.
ROAMING CHARGES: LOVE AT FIRST STRIKE
by Jeffrey St. Clair
Ivanka, our Park Avenue Electra, did it. She’s the one who softened her daddy’s leathery heart by forcing him to watch those dreadful pictures of dead and dying babies, eyes fixed on the carnage scrolling across the screen like Alex in A Clockwork Orange. The obscene photos made Donald squirm. His eyes even moistened. Then he began to tremble with rage.
“What kind of evil animal could kill innocent babies, Ivanka?”
“A monster, Daddy, a real monster. You must do something! This cannot stand!”
“But do what, Sweetie? I’ll call that guy who works for me, Steve something. He’ll know what to do…”
“No, not Bannon, daddy. He won’t do a damn thing. Call Jared. He’s already talked to the generals. They’re dialing up the targets right now.”
“Ivanka, I’m so glad I picked you to join me in the West Wing. I only worry about the business. Are your brothers really up to it on their own?”
Or at least that’s the story that the press lapped up, from a White House that is springing more leaks than a Texas pipeline. The narrative we are being presented features Ivanka as a civilizing force on Trump’s troglodyte impulses, civilizing in this sense meaning the cavalier use of US military power in one of the most fraught regions of the world in the name of humanitarianism.
Those 59 missiles, launched as Trump dined on chocolate cake with the Chinese president, had an almost aphrodisiacal effect on the liberal press. Ecstatic op-eds gushed forth from papers coast-to-coast, as if they’d been pre-written just waiting for the moment to hit the upload button. An analysis of the top 100 daily papers by Andy Johnson of FAIR showed that 47 papers ran editorials on the bombing of Syria. Thirty-nine of these columns were fervently in favor, seven struck an ambiguous tone and only one, the Houston Chronicle, emphatically opposed the strikes. That’s an 83 percent approval rating from Trump’s former “enemy of the people.” Call it love at first strike.
The war-weary public, however, remained much more skeptical. An ABC/Washington Post poll conducted by Gallup showing that 51% supported the strikes, while 40 percent opposed them. It’s now the role of the press to browbeat the 40 percent into submission.
It was the impetuousness of Trump’s missile strike that sealed the deal for the press. He had, in the chill words of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, finally proved himself presidential material, a tribute rendered before even the initial bomb damage assessments had been made. Zakaria had no idea whether those Tomahawks had hit Syrian fighter-jets, a barracks of Russian pilots or a nearby orphanage. And it didn’t matter. Trump’s willingness to act alone without consultation with allies or congress, without caution or the sense of being bound by legal or moral constraints is what turned them on. Trump’s bombing showed that he acted in the visceral-style of American presidents.
Some might generously call the missile strikes “bold,” but it is their rashness that really arouses the pundit class–the instantaneous decision to kill without the slightest tremor of indecision. For the American media, indecision is the ultimate weakness. It’s one of the reasons they turned on Jerry Ford, Jimmy Carter and George HW Bush, who they deemed wimpish.
To give a kill order and then calmly sit down to eat a feast with the president of China is what the establishment wants from our rulers, even if they don’t quite trust them. Character, for them, is action without contemplation, a killer instinct. Justifications can come later, if at all. Nothing quite excites the press like a president who can break the rules and get away with it, a president who swaggers around like the meanest motherfucker on the planet and act like there’s no one to hold him to account.
Having learned no lessons from their pernicious role in fabricating the basis for the Iraq war, the media continues to glorify presidential thrill kills, especially in this age of mouse-click warfare, where the only American blood likely to be shed will be the suspect characters–doctors, nurses and aid workers–caught in the drone zone.
* * *
The scenario for Trump’s sudden conversion to push-button bomber closely follows the Al Gore script from the 1990s. Gore, whose team largely ran foreign policy during the Clinton administration, was a chief architect of “humanitarian” warfare. Gore wielded his influence both in the assiduous promotion of his own team and in his one-on-one lobbying of Clinton, often a squeamish warrior. Gore’s people–Leon Feurth, James Woolsey, Les Aspin and William Perry–all shared a propensity for what became the keynote policy of Clintontime: liberal interventionism. It was on display in Bosnia, in Somalia, in Haiti, against Iraq and Serbia. And the commander of in chief of these laptop bombers was Gore.
Gore was still fresh from the cheers of the Democratic Party convention in New York when he first began pressing Clinton into calling for military intervention in the Balkans. He cornered Clinton on the campaign trail in St. Louis and lectured him on the evils of Slobodan Milosevic. He urged Clinton to pledge that the next Democratic administration would be far tougher on the Serbs. He also argued for lifting the arms embargo on the region.
Gore kept up his bellicose barrage after the election, but ran into the reservations of the head of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell, whose basic position was the reasonable one: why get involved in a messy European affair? Gore sought allies for his militarism in the liberal press. All the interminable rantings in the New Republic against the UN found their echo in Gore’s fulminations about the spinelessness of the UN presence in the Balkans, the “self-delusional” nature of the Europeans and the need to make NATO the supervising force in the region.
By 1995, Clinton was beginning to wear thin from Gore’s sermons and the clamor of liberal columnists, led by the entirely hysterical Anthony Lewis of the New York Times. George Stephanopoulos reported Clinton fuming to him:
“Lewis had to accept the fact that he’s been against every American intervention for thirty years, and he’s the biggest hawk in the world. What would they have me do? What the fuck would they have me do?”
Just as Clinton was digesting Lewis’s latest broadside in the Times, Gore belabored him with news of how his daughter Karenna had a read a news story about atrocities at Srebrenica and asked why the US wasn’t doing something.
Of course, the butchery of the Serbs at Srebrenica were later mirrored on a much larger scale against the Serbs in the Krajina. There the US position was scarcely one of moral sensitivity, but was instead the consummately cynical one of sponsoring what was demurely described as “population exchange” or, as Secretary of State Warren Christopher called it “simplifying matters.” As it turns out, it was the single biggest ethnic clearance of the war, as hundreds of thousands of Serbs were evicted from their ancestral homes.
Gore’s bombastic outrage at what he termed “genocide” in Bosnia was entirely selective. Himself an ardent laptop bombardier, Bob Woodward, chief palace reporter at the Washington Post, described the following scene on July 18, 1995, when Gore made his case to Clinton:
“The worst solution would be to acquiesce to genocide and allow the rape of another city and more refugees. At the same time we can’t be driven by images because there’s plenty of other places that aren’t being photographed where terrible things are going on. But we can’t ignore the images either.”
Gore then flourished a photograph of a young Bosnia woman who had hanged herself. “My 21-year-old daughter asked about that picture. What am I supposed to tell her? Why is this happening and we’re not doing anything? My daughter is surprised the world is allowing this to happen. I am too…The situation underscores the need for robust air power being authorized. The United States can’t be a punching bag in the world anymore. ”
Thus admonished by his vice-president and his daughter, Clinton cast the die and the bombs began to fall.
* * *
+ I spent an entire year in college doing an independent study on the uses of Freudian theory in historiography with one of my favorite professors, Terry Murphy, who was game for almost anything. I thought I had drilled through most of Freud’s writing, with greater or lesser comprehension. But this week I stumbled across a trenchant essay that I’d never read (or don’t recall having read, the brain cells are dying off day-by-day) titled “The Disillusionment of the War,” published in 1915 about six months after the outbreak of WW I. The writing is clear, direct and, rare for Freud, almost intimate, as in this extraordinary passage:
“People are more or less represented by the states which they form, and these states by the governments which rule them. The individual citizen can with horror convince himself in this war of what would occasionally cross his mind in peace-time – that the state has forbidden to the individual the practice of wrong-doing, not because it desires to abolish it, but because it wants to monopolize it, like salt and tobacco. A belligerent state permits itself every such misdeed, every such act of violence, as would disgrace the individual. It makes use against the enemy not only of the accepted stratagems of war, but of deliberate lying and deception as well – and to a degree which seems to exceed the usage of former wars. The state exacts the utmost degree of obedience and sacrifice from its citizens, but at the same time it treats them like children by maintaining an excess of secrecy and a censorship upon news and expressions of opinion which leaves the spirits of those whose intellects it thus suppresses defenceless against every unfavourable turn of events and every sinister rumour. It absolves itself from the guarantees and treaties by which it was bound to other states, and makes unabashed confession of its own rapacity and lust for power, which the private individual has then to sanction in the name of patriotism.”
+ The main problem with wars of “humanitarian intervention” is that there’s never been one that hasn’t killed more people than it was marketed to save.
+ Leave it to New York Times and Washington Post to describe Trump’s shift from non-interventionism to bomb-first-ask-questions later, as a “moderation” of his policies…
+ Peter Ford, the former UK Ambassador to Syria, in stating the obvious goes off the Imperial script…
+ According to an analysis by 538, only 6 US senators spoke out against Trump’s missile strikes: 5 Dems (Gillibrand, Kaine, Murphy, Schatz, Udall), 1 GOP (Paul). Note the spinelessly opaque positions taken by Lt. Elizabeth Warren and Col. Bernie Sanders…
+ This has got to be Hitler’s best year since 1941 and the demented invasion of the Soviet Union. The paragon of evil was actually being defended on humanitarian grounds by the White House spokesman during Passover!
+ Give Sean Spicer a break. Hitler may not have dropped chemical weapons from planes, as he alleges Assad did, but Spicer shrewdly avoided creating an even bigger media frenzy. He could have cited a precedent much closer at hand. LBJ and Nixon dropped more than 13 million gallons worth of Agent Orange in Vietnam, on “innocent” men, women, and, yes Ivanka, babies, including “our own” troops. Some of the people who ordered that could probably still be rounded up for trial, if not droned.
+ I’ve always recoiled at the moral distinction drawn between rulers who “kill their own people” and those who kill other people. Why are some dead and maimed bodies more valuable on a moral scale than others? “Other people” could, I suppose, be described as neighbors, who Jesus admonished us to treat as we would ourselves. In this case wouldn’t even the North Koreans or Syrians be “our people” by proxy? Does the distinction have to do with geographical rights? If so, are indigenous people “our people”? America’s most revered ruler, Lincoln, killed a lot of his “own people.” Were the bodies laying frozen in the snow at Wounded Knee somehow of less consequence than those strewn across the fields of Antietam or Chickamauga? What about rulers who send “our troops” into illegitimate wars? Aren’t they killing a lot of their “own people”?
+ Seymour Hersh: “We have this wonderful capacity in America to Hitlerize people. We had Hitler, and since Hitler we’ve had about 20 of them. Khrushchev and Mao and of course Stalin, and for a little while Gaddafi was our Hitler.”
+ In his rambling, incoherent interview with the Fox Business channel’s Maria Bartriromo, Trump contradicts himself often in the course of one sentence, as in his pretzel-like answer to her question about the timing of his tax reform legislation:
BARTIROMO: — corporate tax or individual tax, what’s more important, if you had to do one this year?
TRUMP: Both. Both.
TRUMP: Both. I almost think individual from my standpoint, because, you know, the middle class has just been taken advantage of in this country for so many years. But in terms of jobs, I mean I think both, but I think probably corporate. But they kind of both go hand in hand. It’s not going to matter.
+ It’s hard to assess who is dumber Trump or the former “Money Honey” Bartriromo, who asks the president if the cruise missiles launched against Syria were “unmanned”. When he replies, “yes”, she squeals, “Brilliant!!”
Based on that evidence, you might me tempted to award the honor to Maria. But hold on. Are we entirely sure that Trump knew which country he was targeting when he gave the order to launch those missiles?
Trump: So what happens is, I said we’ve just launched 59 missiles heading to Iraq and I wanted you to know this….
Bartriromo: … to Syria?
Trump: Yes. Heading toward Syria.
+ In the interview, Trump reveals that he told the Chinese President about the missile attack over dessert at Mar-a-Lago, prepared in a kitchen that has been repeatedly cited for unsanitary conditions. A drizzle of blood with your Tiramisu, President Eleven?
+ The only way to successfully parody Sean Spicer’s Holocaust Centers press briefing would be to portray him as being as erudite and all-knowing as Chomsky.
+ The Tillerson Doctrine (a lot like the Bush and Clinton doctrines):
The United States will “hold to account” any government* [See below for Restrictions on this offer] that commits atrocities against innocent people, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday. Tillerson spoke at an Italian war memorial before a meeting of foreign ministers from the G7 nations. “We rededicate ourselves to holding to account any*and all* who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world,” Tillerson said in a statement commemorating the 1944 German Nazi massacre in Sant’Anna di Stazzema.
[* Except Great Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Honduras (when the Junta runs the show) and the United States, plus others to be determined at the whim of the Secretary.]
+ From Hillary’s State Department Brief on Syria: “The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capacity is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”
+ The political contributions of Raytheon, maker of the Tomahawk Cruise Missile, during 2016 cycle.
After the Syria “fireworks,” Trump’s haul might even surpass Sanders’s (a dutiful defender of Raytheon pork) in the next cycle.
+ Last week cruise missiles, this week the “biggest, greatest bomb ever!” On Thursday, the US dropped the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in warfare on a remote region of Afghanistan, the so-called MOAB bomb. Cost of MOAB bomb dropped on peasants living in caves in Afghanistan: $16,000,000. The MOAB has a blast zone of about one-square mile. In a region populated by 190,000 people, there must have been many civilian casualties, including children pulverized beyond recognition. I wonder if Ivanka will request photos of the kill site.
The main strategic function of the bomb seemed to be aimed at exciting people like neocon glamboy Lindsay Graham, who for months had functioned as one of Trump’s fiercest critics. The senator could not contain himself after hearing news of the MOAB bombing of Afghanistan. “I hope America’s adversaries are watching & now understand there’s a new sheriff in town .” Cruise missiles and massive bombings are like mega-doses of Viagra for these people.
+ The MOAB bomb reminds me of Saddam’s Super Gun, a made-for-TV weapon meant to intimidate but never be used. Until Trump came along. What’s next in his doomsday arsenal? Will he be dusting off the schematics for the neutron bomb–you know, the one that will kill all of his tenants but keep his buildings standing? One theory advanced by the talking generals, who now proliferate like chittering cicadas across cable TV, is that the MOAB bombing of Afghanistan was meant to intimidate the North Koreans. But next to the frenetic Trump, Kim Jong-Un looks as chill as Cool Hand Luke.
+ Unmasked transcript of NSA recording leaked to Susan Rice this afternoon….
“Hello? Hello, Donald? Is that you, Donald? What is going on, my friend? First you call our friend Bashar evil animal. Next you say Russia plot chemical strike with him. Then you back puny Montenegro entry into NATO club. Today you flip-flop again and say NATO now ‘no longer obsolete.’ I call Bannon for explanation and his line disconnected. They say he sent to dark site. I thought we had deal. Now I see you flirting with Xi, saying he no longer manipulate the currency. Is it over between us? Donald, where is the love?
Mystified in Moscow, Vladimir.”
+ As Trump flips from Russophile to Russophobe, it may be prudent for Putin to hold a press conference announcing that the Russians did in fact help get Trump elected. Either that or release the dirty parts referenced in the Dirty Dossier….
+ Class, today’s assignment is to write a 500-word essay on the topic of “Donald J. Trump as the MLK, Jr. of health care.” Citations please.
+ We have a measure for Gross National Product, but not Gross National Stupidity. Betsy DeVos should get to work on coming up with one. Don’t worry Betsy the Boss will be pleased. The US is sure to rank Number One.
+ Over the last four weeks, US airstrikes in Syria targeted against ISIS have instead struck Syrian troops working with the US coalition. In the latest atrocity, 18 Syrian fighters were killed in an airstrike in Tabqah. Friendly Fire seems to be one of the new Rules of Engagement for Trump’s Middle East wars…
+ Trump’s Deportation Police is gearing up by commissioning 33,000 new prison beds and an expansion of ICE officers. As a cost-cutting measure, applicants for positions in the Deportation Force are encouraged to bring their own uniforms: shirts brown, boots jack…
+ The batty new columnist for the New York Times, Louise Mensch, who sees Russians under every bed but hers (jealous?), now claims that Putin funded the Ferguson protests that broke out after the police murder of the black teenage pedestrian Michael Brown!
Louise MenschVerified account
Louise Mensch Retweeted 0Hour1
That’s because you, Russia, funded riots in Ferguson. See 0 hour I have your connections to Trump archived via Schiller and Scavino
Now if only Putin can be convinced to finance similar uprisings in Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, Compton and Sacramento!
+ The batty “senior reporter” for Mother Jones Shane Bauer in attempting to dismiss comparisons of the Syrian war to the invasion of Iraq made this inane assertion: “Comparing Iraq in 2003, a stable country, to Syria, with 400k dead and 11m displaced, is unbelievably naive” Iraq “a stable country?” By the time of Bush’s invasion 500k-plus Iraqis, many of them children, had died from Clinton’s sanction regime and the country had been bombed every three days since (non)-end of Gulf War.
+ Tulsi Gabbard is being vilified by Democrats for questioning the official story on the chemical weapons event in Syria. Gabbard, who recently visited Syria, wants an independent inquiry. This meager and entirely rational request is being treated as political heresy. Leading Democrats are now calling for a primary challenger against Gabbard in the 2018 race for her congressional seat in Hawai’i. Where’s Bernie Sanders? He didn’t rush to have the back of the woman who resigned her seat on the DNC to help the Sanders campaign in its hour of need.
+ Instead of defending Gabbard, Sanders was busy sprinting from one camera to another to make premature condemnations like this one: “Syria’s Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons against the men, women and children of his country makes him a war criminal.”
In an interview with Jake Tapper, Sanders called for Assad’s head through another international Coalition of the Willing:
Let’s all recognize that, in a world full of disgusting dictators, Bashar Assad maybe ranks at the top. This is a guy, in order to hang on to power, has allowed 400,000 people in his own country to be killed and millions to be displaced. Our goal, long term, has got to work with countries around the world. We cannot do it unilaterally. We’ve got to work with countries around the world for a political solution to get rid of this guy and to finally bring peace and stability to this country, which has been so decimated.
+ Let’s accept the fact that a prerequisite for serving as a head of state is the capacity to become a war criminal when presented the opportunity. If you lack that capacity, your days will be numbered (See the abbreviated tenures of Salvador Allende and Mohammed Mossedegh). In Sanders’s case, even if Congress had authorized the airstrikes against Syria it doesn’t mean those bombs wouldn’t have been war crimes–it would merely have broadened the circle of culpability.
+ Just call them Scumlords. Landlords are now coercing tenants to pay higher rents or be turned over to ICE.
+ In a tweet from the Pentagon, the Air Force brashly brags about carpet-bombing North Korea…with exclamation point:
“Today in 1952 @usairforce, @USNavy & @USMC almost destroyed North Korea! Remembering our #History.“
No wonder the North Koreans want nukes.
+ Chief CIA Mike Pompeo Maximus, portrayed by the press as one of the rational figures in Trumplandia, went off the deep end by declaring Wikileaks a “hostile intelligence service.”
+ So now we know. Or we think we know. Carter Page, that amorphous bit player in RussiaGate©, has been under surveillance by the FBI, authorized by a FISA warrant, since last summer as a probable foreign agent of Russia. This presents Trump with an interesting choice. Does he say, “Aha! I was right. That bad/sick man Obama WAS wire-tapping the calls of my team. Or does he continue to insist that Carter Page wasn’t a part of his team? Knowing Trump, he’ll do both. He has an amazing ability to suspend his own disbelief.
+ Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov sounds more and more like the only adult in the room these days. Reminds me of a Russian Chou En-Lai. Lavrov should watch his back. It’s usually the talented diplomats that they want to knock off. In 1954, the CIA tried to blow up Chou’s plane on his way to the Bandung Conference. Chou remained unruffled and emerged from the conference as a leader of the non-aligned nations. (By the way, I’m under a lifelong injunction from Cockburn never to use the new orthography for Chinese names. For Alex, the birthplace of his father Claud would forever be Peking…)
+ Meanwhile back on Planet Melting Earth, the Arctic Ocean is literally turning upside down, as climate change forces the warmer subsurface waters toward the surface and the colder waters into deeper layers, thus exacerbating the record melting of the polar cap: “In essence, the feedback between a warmer atmosphere, sea ice, and the underlying ocean weaken the isolation of the large heat source in the Atlantic Water from the sea ice cover,” said Peter Schlosser, an oceanographer at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. “If this continues it could accelerate the sea ice decline and also a change of the stratification and general dynamics of the upper water layers in the Arctic Ocean.”
+ Two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef has been killed by warming oceans, the coral bleached into a ghostly white death. The extent of the die-off has been called “unprecedented” and it is…until a new precedent is set next year.
+ I now take it as a given that all pipelines lead to Indian land…even in New Jersey.
+ With a federal crackdown on recreational marijuana looming, the Oregon legislature moved this week to shield the names of pot buyers in the state, who are required to sign in at each retail outlet, from the federal government. This rare step by the state to protect civil liberties instead of shred them is a sure sign that marijuana sales tax revenues are way, way up…
+ Across a wide swath of America, Lincoln is apparently considered “our Hitler.” Consider this slightly inchoate declaration from a politician in North Carolina named Larry Pittman: “And if Hitler had won, should the world just get over it? Lincoln was the same kind of tyrant.” What prompted this outburst from Rep. Pittman? His outrage at the crushing tyranny of gay marriage.
+ I re-watched Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting this week in anticipation of seeing T2 and cracked up all over again at this anti-colonial rant delivered by Rent Boy at the foot of Ben Nevis in the Scottish highlands.
Tommy: But aren’t you proud to be Scottish?
Rent Boy Renton: It’s SHITE being Scottish! We’re the lowest of the low. The scum of the fucking Earth! The most wretched, miserable, servile, pathetic trash that was ever shat into civilization. Some hate the English. I don’t. They’re just wankers. We, on the other hand, are COLONIZED by wankers. Can’t even find a decent culture to be colonized BY. We’re ruled by effete arseholes. It’s a SHITE state of affairs to be in, Tommy, and ALL the fresh air in the world won’t make any fucking difference!
+ On a positive note, the more time and money local police spend protecting Trump while he plays golf and Melania tans at Mar-a-Lago, the less time they’re out on the streets looking for black kids to shoot.
+ After his ouster from the NSC, Bannon blamed Jared “Hindu” Kushner for his exile, calling him a “cuck.” I always assumed that “cuck” was short for “cuckold,” the tart Elizabeth word for someone who is being cheated. The always useful Urban Dictionary offers another perhaps more spirited interpretation:
“CUCK: A word used by White Supremacists to solicit sex. Because they believe people whom they call cucks would want to fuck them. White Supremacists have no preference whether to be fucked by a flesh penis or a plus-sized strap-on, but black leather is mandatory….”
What I’m listening to this week…
Close Ties by Rodney Crowell
Tribute to Ndiouga Dieng by Orchestra Baobab
In Mind by Real Estate
Dance of Time by Eliane Elias
Ruler Rebel by Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
What I’m reading this week…
Ten Myths About Israel by Ilan Pappe
How to Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows by David Macaray
The Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry
Give Me Something Good
Dick Gregory: “I don’t know why America always thinks she has to run all around the world forcing people to take our way of governance at the barrel of a gun. When you’ve got something really good, you don’t have to force it on people. They will steal it!”
(Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is ‘Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes From a Failed Revolution.’ He can be reached at: email@example.com or on Twitter @JSCCounterPunch. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)