Mendocino County Today, Saturday, April 22, 2017
by AVA News Service, April 21, 2017
IT’S GOOD that Mendo’s Planning & Building Department is posting monthly statistics — the only department to do anything like it in all of Mendocino County. The trouble is they don’t accompany their stats with applicable budget or staffing info, nor do they provide any highlights or context. Also, conspicuously missing from their stats is anything with the word “cannabis” in it, even though that activity is taking up most of their time these days. (MS)
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"HUH?" That's the reaction of DA Dave Eyster. I share in the sentiment. The DA's Office since 2011 has posted detailed statistics, reports etc. on its web site, and on Facebook. No other department provides the level of information to the public that the DA's Office does. Period. (BA)
BOB AYRES & THE SWINGIN' BOONVILLE BIG BAND perform tonight at 7pm. Mendocino Hotel Garden Room, 45080 Main St Mendocino.
Dance floor details [from the MCN Announce list]:
"Dance floor will be smallish, we'll do the best we can. Also, floor is large tile with large alleys. Tile are about a foot square and the alleys are a good 1.5 inches. I looked at it and thought about dancing safety. Choose shoes accordingly. You might even have a couple pairs on hand to decide after checking out the floor. Long ago we set up on the left wall of the upper level, which left some room there. Now there is a bar there. There will only be traffic lanes inadequate for dancing on the upper level."
On April 16, 2017 at approximately 1:13 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a domestic related disturbance at a residence located in the 16800 block of South Highway 1 in Manchester, California. During their response, Deputies received updated information that a 29-year old female had been assaulted by Jeremiah Susan, who left the location by vehicle following the assault. After Deputies arrived they determined the female and Susan were married and shared a child in common. Deputies learned the female and Susan were engaged in a verbal argument that escalated when he learned the female had called law enforcement. Susan physically assaulted the female, who sustained visible injury as a result of the assault. Susan also made an attempt to keep the female from calling 9-1-1 during the incident. At approximately 3:00 PM, Deputies located Susan driving his vehicle in the 19000 block of South Highway 1. Deputies contacted Susan and ultimately arrested him on charges relating to inflicting corporal injury on a spouse and preventing another from summoning law enforcement assistance. Susan was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
IT TOOK FOUR YEARS BUT…Original Press Release:
On October 17, 2013 at 1435 hours Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the 31000 block of Highway 20, Fort Bragg, for a report of a suspicious vehicle parked in the area. Upon their arrival, Sheriff’s Deputies located a mini-van parked near the area of the “bark dump.” The van was parked in a manner which prevented it from being seen from Highway 20. Deputies checked the interior of the van and discovered a deceased female in the front driver seat and a deceased male in the front passenger seat. Both victims appeared to have suffered wounds to the head. The exact cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy. Preliminary investigation indicates the victims may not be Mendocino County residents. The female victim has been identified, but Sheriff’s Detectives are still attempting to locate her next of kin. The male victim has yet to be positively identified. Anyone with information pertaining to this investigation is asked to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office “tip line” at (707) 234-2100 (tel:7072342100) .
Updated Press Release:
On 10-17-2013 at approximately 2:35 PM, Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies in the Fort Bragg area were summoned to the 31000 block of Highway 20, an area known as the "Bark Dumps" for a reported suspicious vehicle. Upon arrival Deputies located the vehicle, a Toyota mini-van, with a deceased female in the driver seat and a deceased male in the front passenger seat. Both subjects appeared to be deceased by apparent wounds to the head that were later confirmed to be gunshot wounds. Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives, along with Investigators from the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office were summoned to the scene. Criminalists from the California Department of Justice also responded to the scene to assist in the investigation. The driver was identified as Cindy Bao Feng Chen, (38 year-old female from San Francisco, California) and the male was identified as Jim Tat Kong (51 year-old male from San Pablo, California). Forensic autopsies were completed on both victims and they were confirmed to have each been killed by a single gunshot wound to the head. As both victims were from the San Francisco Bay Area, Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives reached out to the San Francisco Police Department and subsequently the San Francisco Division of the FBI. Detectives worked on this investigation with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, San Francisco Police Department and the Oakland Police Department. During the course of this investigation Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives worked largely in partnership with FBI Agents. Wing Wo Ma, (50-year-old male from Oakland California), was identified early in the investigation as a potential suspect. Ma was arrested by Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives and FBI agents outside his home on 10-22-2015 on a federal arrest warrant for manufacture and distribution of a controlled substance, enhancement for previous section with more than 100 marijuana plants, and conspiracy to commit above charges. Ma has been held without bail in Federal Custody and he was indicted on 04-06-2017 on two counts of “A person who, in the course of a violation [such a law], causes the death of a person through the use of a firearm, shall if the killing is a murder be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life.” The United States Attorney's Office in San Francisco will be prosecuting Ma for the homicides of Chen and Kong in Mendocino County. Any media inquiries regarding Ma’s indictment are being referred to the United States Attorney’s Office special attention Abraham Simmons (415-436-7264 or Abraham.Simmons@usdoj.gov).
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AVA prior coverage: http://theava.com/archives/48505
BEAR ON ALBION RIDGE ROAD
Erif (Coast Listserve):
There's been a bear on Albion Ridge Road, mauling a refrigerator and, of course, disposing of its contents. Any one have any good bear deterrents?
Erif, a squirt gun from the dollar store filled with relatively fresh urine will drive away anyone. Bears hate it. It doesn't matter what kind of urine you use -- your own, a horse's, whatever. Just what's available. You can keep it in the refrigerator to have one ready when they come to the door with their pamphlets and their bow ties, but put it on a saucer because they drip a little; they're only a dollar for a bag of three, after all. And I'll bet it doesn't just work only on bears. Experiment. And if you keep it in the outdoor fridge and the bears or tweakers or teenage vandals come back and open it and see that, they'll scatter and they won't come back, and they'll tell all their friends your house is crazy and that's even better.
In other news, for general consumption: I’ll be in Fort Bragg for the show tonight, at 325 N. Franklin, next to the Tip Top bar, in case you want to do a live show-and-tell, or play your musical instrument(s), or talk about your event or project or whatever. Just walk in any time after 9pm --after midnight if you want to be heard in Ukiah as well as Fort Bragg-- and head for the lighted back room and get my attention and I’ll stop what I’m doing and switch on a microphone for you. You don’t have to call first.
And you can arrange to have your own show on KNYO at a maybe more convenient time and day for you by contacting Bob Young: firstname.lastname@example.org There are still some good slots open in the schedule. Bob will show you how to use the stuff and there you go. It's easy and fun.
RANDOM fallout from a failing mind: Out the door early this Friday morning for an hour walk up and down hills, an architectural maze of dentist complex-like homes characteristic of upper San Anselmo.
Down on the flats, there's the modest hodgepodge of little houses you find in Boonville or Ukiah but appraised at big money. It occurs to me that lots of the hill homes look like medical complexes because they are occupied by medical professionals. I wonder what the suicide rate is in these neighborhoods, the incidence of mental illness? The absolute order, the tidiness, the unremitting silence fairly screams insanity. I pass an occasional old woman walking an effete little dog, a warm-up act for the old men who walk effete little dogs in the afternoon hours, I pass a male-type geezer standing in the middle of the street windmilling his arms. "Cleared for take-off, Captain," I comment, striding on by. "Who asked you?" the old boy snarls.
THE BIG POLITICAL ISSUE in this part of Marin is a charter school breakaway that siphons money and students from the public system. The charter parents are largely Crackpots, The Next Generation — neo-hippies, diet cranks, anti-vaccers, people who name their children River and Stream. But there are enough of them to cause the public school parents great anxiety because the charter people cost the public schools a lot of money. Yard signs reading "Go Public, Not Charter" festoon the streets of San Anselmo, meaning a charter parent and child negotiates a daily gauntlet of hostile messaging aimed directly at them. School board meetings are quite exciting as the mellow in Marin is put on hold for monthly interludes of strident acrimony.
THE FAMOUS TENNESSEE runaways finally run to ground in Siskiyou County after passing through the legendary Black Bear Commune, got me a-thinkin' about the communes of Mendocino County that flourished in the early 1970s. If the Tennessee Volunteers had landed here in, say, 1972, they would have been welcomed as exemplars of Do Your Own Thing-ism, but in 2017 the male is merely a chomo, the girl a kidnap victim. Isn't it at least conceivable there was great mutual affection? Yeah, yeah. Of course a teacher blah blah blah and cut to standard statements of righteous indignation.
FROM DAILYMAIL.COM: "The Tennessee teacher accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old student spent ten days hiding with her at a remote hippy commune in the California wilderness where they posed as a married couple, planned to stay 'forever' and were seen 'making out' like lovers by a camp fire. Tad Cummins (pictured bottom-right), 50, and missing teen Elizabeth Thomas (bottom-left) arrived at Black Bear Ranch near Cecilville, California, two weeks ago hoping to start a new life after almost six weeks on the run, DailyMail.com can reveal. The isolated 'clothing optional' mountain community has no phone signal, no internet connection and can only be accessed via a treacherous dirt road 15 miles long. The pair claimed to be 44 and 24, and spent much of their time in their bedroom (top), having sex, and not enough time helping feed livestock or doing chores, other residents said."
NOT EXACTLY a case in point, but given the electronic porn swamp we all wade in these days, a teenage girl of 2017 is not the teenage girl of 1955, and the babes of yesteryear, in my faded memory, wouldn't be confused with vestal virgins either.
TAKE CHRIS ANDERSEN, the famous basketball player. Because the vocabulary of a whole generation of young people has devolved into a kind of grunting shorthand and symbols, a Canadian shut-in woman created an entire on-line romance between the millionaire athlete and a 17-year-old Kim Kardashian look-alike named Paris Dunn.
The shut-in, a very odd Native American 30-something female from a Canadian rez deep in the middle of literal nowhere, arranged a weekend boff-a-thon between Mr. Slam Dunk and Young Kim who think they're talking to each other before and after their weekend boff-in. Young Kim, with full permission of her mother (!) flies out from LA to Denver to, as the young people say, "hook-up" with Slam Dunk. The Canadian shut-in then posts shots of the boff-a-thon for the world to see. Slam Dunk is globally denounced as a cho-mo and all-round degenerate before he realizes he and Kim had been had by the Canadian e-puppeteer. It's an astounding story but an example of the new way millions of young people communicate in a way that's so primitive they are literally so interchangeable that a Canadian weirdo can create their entire relationship by remote control.
THE NAME 'HEROIN' is well suited to a drug that banishes fear. The name itself was originally trademarked by the Bayer pharmaceutical company, as they considered it hero-ish that they had transformed addictive morphine into 'non-addictive' heroin by boiling it in water for a few hours. They marketed Heroin successfully for childhood bronchitis and for coughs between 1898 and 1913, before its effects were fully understood and even doctors were constrained from prescribing it.
— Craig Sams
THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE SPOKEN BY SO FEW PEOPLE YOU'VE LIKELY NEVER HEARD OF IT:
Boontling, used by men in a remote California logging town, is being kept alive by just 12 speakers - 140 years after it was first devised
by Matthew Wright
In the 1980s, Wes Smoot and his friends would regularly gather outside the Redwood Drive-In in the center of their remote logging town in northern California for a beer and to put the world in its place.
As their talk of families and news turned to hooting and hollering, they rarely worried that they’d be overheard or chastised by passers-by for the occasional vulgar comment or joke.
For Wes and his friends were among the few people in America who speak Boontling.
Now spoken by just 12 people, the language is specific to Boonville, California and was first said to have been spoken in the 1870s – roughly 20 years after the town and Anderson County was first settled in 1851. It reflects not just the remoteness of the town at that point, but also the rural lifestyles on which the town was settled: logging and livestock herding.
‘A group of the old heads got together and created the Boontling club and they would meet up and tell stories,' says Wes, who describes himself as an ‘almost 85-year-old.’
‘Well, I wanted to get into the group because I was afraid that they were talking about me - so I learned as a means of self-defense when I was in my 30s or 40s.’
Boontling is a homegrown language believed to have first come into use in the 1870s and 1880s – roughly 20 years after the town and Anderson County were settled in 1851 by three brothers who wanted to establish a viable logging community. 'Boont' stands for the town Boonville, while 'ling' comes from the word lingo.
It is a fusion of more familiar languages with components of Irish, English, Scottish Gaelic, Spanish and even Pomoan – from the native Pomo people of northern California who lived in the valley prior to the settlers.
Bootling’s origins are unclear, but Wes offers a few possible theories.
‘It was said that Boontling started because the old folks wanted to be able to talk without the children knowing,’ says Wes, whose nickname, Deacon, comes from when he was a child and would stand silently in the corner.
‘But kids pick up things quickly and so soon that they were speaking it too.’
Perhaps his favorite folk legend, however, tells of a San Francisco woman who got pregnant out of wedlock and whose wealthy parents shipped her north so she could have her child.
He says: ‘She worked out in the hop fields and the women there didn’t want to refer to her by name so they would make up words to talk to their husbands with.’
The language was passed on orally, with roughly 1600 words coming from everyday situations, based on what a person hears, sees, smells or experiences.
Take the word for 'good,' for example, which is 'bahl' in Boontling. Wes explains that bahl was a popular shoe brand that was widely accepted as the best in the area. So naturally the word for good had to come from the association with those shoes.
For thunder and lightning – 'herc' for Hercules, who threw lightning, and 'barlon,' which is the sound a gunshot makes, for thunder – help create 'Jeffer,' or fire.
'Burlapping' means having sex but it doesn’t mean f****** and when people are visiting the town, they are called 'bright lighters'.'
Wes even calls himself a 'downstreamer' – a direct reference to when salmon go back down stream to die after they’ve mated up north – to acknowledge his age.
Anyone can pitch a new word, but it has to go through a rigorous vetting process, says Wes, who has created four of his own words.
He says: ‘We would talk and you would drop a word and not explain it and people were too proud to ask what the word meant.
‘So then they would go home and think about it and come back the next day and give their thoughts.
'That’s how a word gets accepted by the group. Now about a dozen of us meet up but I don’t go that often.’
With a population just barely breaking 1,000 residents, a huge portion of the town already doesn’t use Boontling in their everyday speak.
‘Very few women speak it, but we know that they know what’s being said,’ says Wes.
‘Boontling is a taboo language and when the guys get together we talk dirty.
‘They may not speak it but we know when they start giggling or snickering that they understand what’s being said and we will change the topic.’
Today, Wes no longer sits outside the Drive-In and only a handful of people speak the language fluently.
Most of his friends have passed away and the younger generations aren’t too enthusiastic about learning the language, leaving Wes with hardly anyone to converse with in Boontling.
However, some companies do use the language to advertise to potential tourists. The Anderson Valley Brewing Company, for example, has a word of the week posted inside its building, as well as 'Bahl Hornin’ - or 'Good Drinkin’ – on its beer cans and merchandise.
Wes was born and raised in Boontling and spent a majority of his years in the small town before he picked up the language in the late 1960s and early 70s.
He had served in the Korean War and spent some time working for the California Department of Transportation before returning to a home he hardly knew anymore.
Learning Boontling, he quickly became a pillar in the community, acting as something of a historian and teaching those willing to learn the daunting language.
One of the people he has helped mentor is Rod ‘Tubbs’ Dewitt, a Director of Plant Engineering & Process Control at Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
Originally from a town 30 miles away, Rod was smitten with Boontling as a child before he moved to Anderson Valley in his 20s after buying property there.
‘We would be out at camp somewhere and there was a Boontling corner and I was familiar with it, but I wanted to know what they were talking about,’ says Rod, whose nickname, Tubbs, comes from his drum hobby.
‘That way I could say something back.’
For more than 30 years, Rod has been doing what he could to learn the ever-changing language. He’s managed to learn 1,000 of the words and has even created a few of his own - but he adds a note of caution for those who do try to come up with new lingo.
He says: ‘They should vet it really well. You can’t just take something out the dictionary and out of context.
‘It is hard to turn idioms into Boontling and there isn’t a Boontling word for everything.
‘It was a very agrarian lifestyle with fishing, farming and cutting down trees. They did a few fun things in life like drink and have sex, go to church and go on picnics, so it was a pretty simple time.’
Rod referred to Wes as a Senior Statesman, stating that most of the ‘ole timers’ are gone - and with them the oral history and context of the language - but he thinks creating a dictionary of Boontling will be important in preserving its legacy.
‘We are in the process of making it official,' he says.
‘A lot of things that I can vet, cross check and get anecdotes and history.
‘We hope once we publish that any proceeds from the book that we sell will go back to the schools and the Anderson Valley historical society because I don’t think any one person should benefit.’
The 59-year-old doesn’t see many young people taking up the language but is happy his 16-year-old granddaughter is taking on Boontling for a school project.
‘I’m glad I get to share with her the history of Boontling and Boonville,’ says Rod.
‘You don’t want to remember the pain, you want to remember the good times. You don’t want to see something that is that clever or fun fade away.’
In 1851 brothers Henry Beeson, Isaac Beeson and step brother William Anderson settled in what would become Anderson Valley just two and a half hours north of San Francisco and roughly 30 minutes from the Pacific coastline.
These Scot and Irish American travelers mingled with the Pomo Indians who helped the settlers maintain their lives.
Isolated and nestled in mountains, the valley – which resides in Mendocino County - soon become a haven for peaceful farming and livestock ranching but truly excelled as a redwood logging community.
Boonville quickly became the epicenter of the area with other smaller towns Yorkville, Philo and Navarro surrounding and supporting the bustling community.
Rod says: ‘This place is like England or Ireland with just wave after wave.
‘First were the Pomo, then the Scot and Irish Americans created Boonville. The Italians came in and mixed really well and so did the Scandinavians.
In more recent times, Anderson Valley has become known as a crucial vineyard area with more than 30 tasting rooms and most notably hosts the Boonville Beer Festival.
Rod notes that beginning as early as the 1970s, hippies began moving into the area and mingled with the families already there,
During the 1960s, a researcher named Charles C. Adams went to Boonville and studied the language before writing a dissertation on what he had discovered.
The former Chico State University English professor published Boontling: An American Lingo in 1971, producing an at-the-time current dictionary with explanations of each word’s origin.
Boontling gained a small bubble of fame following the release of the book with Wes, along with a few other residents of Boonville, tapped to appear on television, magazines and radio shows.
In the mid-1970s, fluent Boontling speaker Bobby (Chipmunk) was a series regular guest on the show The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Boontling historian Jack (Wee Fuzz) June appeared on the show To Tell the Truth.
With the words of Boontling living on in popular culture, Wes isn’t too concerned with the language sticking around but is more worried about Anderson Valley.
Wes says: ‘It is fighting the elements now because not enough people want to learn it anymore.
‘Luckily there is enough literature out there that the language will never die but my main concern is that the history of the valley stay intact because that is what’s important.'
Wes has seen a growing number of tourists visiting to experience firsthand the language for themselves. The geography has changed drastically since he was younger, with more travel accommodations created to meet their growing demand.
The tourists all want one thing – to hear someone speak a nearly-forgotten language.
‘Tourists mostly just grin and nod because they can’t understand what I am saying,’ he says.
‘If they knew what we were saying things would go awfully.’
(Pictures and video at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4410130/The-endangered-Californian-language-spoken-12-people.html
LEGGETT SLIDE WORK: SLOW SLOG
From Caltrans District One:
Work is progressing at both ends of the slide north of Leggett in Mendocino County this morning. We’re evaluating whether the north end of the slide is stable enough to safely begin night work, which will allow our contractor to work around the clock to reopen the highway.
Additional specialized equipment will be airlifted in next week to assist in removing debris from the roadway.
At this time, our best estimates point to a reopening of U.S. Highway 101 to one-way traffic control sometime mid-to-late next week.
The highway will not be reopened this weekend, and there are no local detours available. Travel plans should include detouring over onto Interstate 5 via Routes 20, 36, or 299 to loop back towards U.S. 101 on the other side of the closure. Motorists should anticipate these detours to take upwards of 7 hours.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “I earn my keep around here by doing gopher control. The cats in the neighborhood don't do anything but beg for handouts and yowl at night. And the pits next door do even less. Predator control is up to me!”
LIKE WHAT KINDA TAX, MENDO?
Challenge to Passage of Cannabis Tax Act (AI) at 2016 Ballot. Citizen Lawsuit Challenges Passage of Mendocino's Cannabis Tax Act (AI). Court Being Asked to Resolve Controversy: Is it a General or a Special Tax? April 21 Friday Ukiah Superior Court Dept E 9:30am Judge Jeanine Nadel.
A citizens' lawsuit, Johnson v Mendocino County, was filed by seven taxpayer-plaintiffs to determine whether or not AI actually passed, as the County claims, considering it only got 63.6% of the vote, falling short of the 66 2/3 super majority required for a Special Tax. Plaintiffs ask the Court to resolve the controversy. Did Measure AI pass or did it not hinges on whether it is a Special Tax which requires a super-majority of voters, or a General Tax which requires only a bare majority.
Back in 1996 through Prop 218, definitions of Special and General Taxes were added to the California Constitution Article XIIIC to apply to all local tax measures:
"General tax" means any tax imposed for general governmental purposes.
"Special tax" means any tax imposed for specific funding purposes, including a tax imposed for specific purposes which is placed into the general fund.
Plaintiffs say the 'Marijuana Tax' meets the definition of a Special Tax with multiple specific unrelated purposes to be funded, as laid out in Sup John McCowen's official statement, as primary author, in the Voter Handbook:
"A Yes vote on AJ will tell the BOS you want a majority of proceeds of the 'Marijuana Tax' to be spent for marijuana enforcement, mental health services, county road repair, fire and emergency medical services." Sup John McGowen
It is clear in the ballot arguments that AI and AJ are paired by design with intent to use AJ as the funding mechanism for AI, incorporating the specifics listed. It is the specifics that make it a special tax. Four Supervisors who submitted separate ballot arguments coupled the two measures, showing their intent.
Complaint for Declaratory Relief asks the Court for a Declaration of Applicable Definitions. The Motion for Injunctive Relief asks the Court to restrain and prevent the County from taking any actions to enforce Chapter 6.32 of the Mendocino County Code or other aspects of AI and AJ or any related tax collections.
Plaintiffs are not against cannabis businesses being taxed, only against the County claiming the Tax Act passed when it actually failed. We believe an injunction should issue preventing the county from collecting a Special Tax that lacks voter approval.
Attorney for Plaintiffs: Lawrence Rosen, 707-478-8932, email@example.com
Defendant: Mendocino County
Plaintiffs: Michael Johnson, Pebbles Trippet, Terry Johnson, Noel Manners, Paula Deeter, Ron Edwards, Ralf Laguna
(photo by Annie Kalantarian)
2017 MILE RUN AVES
It’s the annual Anderson Valley Elementary school MILE RUN!
Girls will run on Wed, April 26th; boys will run on Thurs, April 27th.
Please come and cheer students on down at the lower field/Elem school student train all year for this event. The Goal is: Do your Best!
- 4th 8:30
- 2nd 9:00
- 1st 9:30
- 3rd 10:00
- 5th 10:30
- K 11:30
- 6th 11:30
For more info call the Elem school 895-3010
CATCH OF THE DAY, April 21, 2017
Arrellano, Craft, Guevara
JOSE ARRELLANO, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license.
JESSICA CRAFT, Fort Bragg. Meth possession for sale, failure to appear.
MIGUEL GUEVARA, Ukiah. Mandatory supervision sentencing.
Lawrence, Malotte, Mansfield
DEBORAH LAWRENCE, Ukiah. Under influence, probation revocation.
SUZANNE MALOTTE, Fort Bragg. Meth possession, false compartment.
GEORGE MANSFIELD, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
Rodriguez, Ruiz, Swearinger, Whipple
ELYSE MOULTON, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, and “competency” status. (A photo of the 73-year old Willits woman is not available, probably due to whatever “competency status” means.)
SALVADOR RODRIGUEZ-MEZA, Ukiah. DUI.
BARAQUEL RUIZ, County parole violation.
DUANE SWEARINGER JR., Covelo. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
LEONARD WHIPPLE, Covelo. Battery with serious injury.
NEWLY DISCOVERED AMAZON REEF IN DANGER
Greenpeace in its Greenlegacy spring letter reported researchers last year located a massive reef over 600 miles long under the plume of the Amazon river. In January with a team of Brazilian scientists the Greenpeace ship Esperanza sailed out of the mouth of the Amazon to explore the reef. There was urgency in this exploration inasmuch as two oil companies planned on drilling in the area. To assist the exploration they has a two-person submarine called DeepWorker that can gather images of the reef hundreds of feet below the surface.
One of the pilots was Dr. Ronaldo Francini-Filho, a coral reef ecologist from Sao Paulo. The submarine went to the bottom at 675 feet and then begin its ascent to the surface. At 472 feet they begin to see sponges and at 260 feet thousands and thousands of soft corals. They continued their exploration of the reef for two more weeks.
They confirmed what scientists had predicted - that it was not a true coral reef, but a rhodolith reef that has corals living on it. There were huge plains of tennis ball-sized "stones" which are full of tiny invertebrates, algae, bacteria and larval organisms. They are in such numbers they form massive reefs and over thousands of years they can form huge structures like the Amazon reef. Also, they may play an important role in the earth's carbon cycle.
The oil companies are reportedly conceding that will need to remove several sites from consideration, and move their drilling plans back until next year. Needless to say there is concern that future drilling plans may not be sufficient to fully protect the reef.
In peace and love,
LAST CHANCE, RHODO PEOPLE
Last chance to enter the Rhody Show!
From: "Roxanne Perkins (Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens)"
Are your rhododendrons in bloom? Why not enter a truss or several in the largest Rhody Show on the West Coast? It is very easy and costs nothing to enter! The 40th Annual John Druecker Memorial Rhododendron Show takes place this weekend (April 22 and 23) at the Botanical Gardens. All rhody growers are welcome to enter their best trusses for judging! Those wishing to participate should bring their entries to the big white tent on the south end of the main parking lot at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens TODAY, April 21 from 9:00am to 1:00pm. You will be greeted by members from the Noyo Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society who can assist in identifying your rhododendrons and filling out entry forms. Judges will award ribbons and trophies to top entries in a wide range of categories!
Photos from last year’s Rhody Show: http://www.gardenbythesea.org/visit/photo-gallery/annual-rhododendron-show/
PARTY TIME, USA!
To deflect gun rights criticism, Montana Democrat shoots a TVA rifle-toting Montana Democrat fires back at a Republican ad portraying him as a gun grabber.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
“I just, y’know it was just time to part ways and, and, y’know, get out there, in a, I guess, a more diverse arena to express views and to speak for the public, and that’s what I’ve been to do now.” — Sarah Palin
A MATTER OF MERCY
by James Kunstler
Paging Doctor Oz! A patient calling itself The United States wandered into the emergency room disoriented, wearing a filthy warm-up suit, claiming it was “the greatest” this and that… but was unable to complete the nine-page admission protocol or present valid insurance ID. Patient is growing increasingly violent, threatening staff and other patients….
Nations do develop something like Alzheimers. Perhaps you haven’t noticed that for some time now nothing sticks in the national brain-pan — if that’s what we can call the news media and its analogs on the Web waves. For months, an obsession about “Russian interference in the election” raged through the left lobe of the national consciousness. Then, about a week ago, it vanished utterly. Grandpa suffered similar delusions about the Russians meddling with “our precious bodily fluids.” (Paging Doctor Strangelove.)
Not so far back as last summer, a candidate named Trump un-ironically called for “an end to endless war in the Middle East.” The oft-applied policy of “regime change,” he said, was not working out in the various US-engineered failed states such as Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Ukraine. About two weeks ago, I seem to recall, the State Department even declared explicitly that we had no brief for regime change in the case of one Bashar al-Assad over in Syria.
Then there was something in the wifi waves about a poison gas attack. The evidence as to exactly who perpetrated it looked, how-you-say, not altogether convincing. This evidence amounted to the US Intel services, in their aggregate omniscience, asserting that, “yes, it was so that this weasel Assad bombed his people with Sarin.” Wolf Blitzer and Rachel Maddow ran so hard with the story that they vanished over the horizon.
The patient had a dream after that: a dream of cruise missiles reigning down hellfire judgment upon a Syrian air base. Quite a few of them went astray and blew up some prickly pears in the desert and a pod of migrating sea turtles out in the Mediterranean. (Thank you Microsoft Windows.) Then the Secretary of State, Mr. Tillerson declared that “Assad must go.” The patient now was completely confused about who was coming or going. Then the patient forgot about the dream and we’ve heard no more about this fairytale land of Syria since then. Oh well….
It seemed like only yesterday that head honcho over North Korea — a character straight out of the James Bond fantasies with the weirdest haircut in recorded history — was threatening to blow up the United States. A US aircraft carrier fleet was soon steaming around his half of the Korean peninsula. A rocket lifted off somewhere… and promptly blew up. Well, at least something blew up. I forgot what, exactly….
And now I see on the morning wire that ISIS has gone and pulled off another terror incident in Paris — one cop dead, one injured in a street shooting. Weren’t there other incidents before this one, possibly even worse ones? I forget. Anyway, in this case, it was easy to figure out the man’s identity (one Karim Cheurfi) because the fucker had spent 15 years in prison after being convicted of three attempted murders, two against police officers, and was released on parole in 2015. There was some additional chatter in the wire story about the incident having an effect on an upcoming French election. But I forget who’s running. And when the darn thing is over, I’ll probably forget who won, and why.
That’s how we roll in the national Alzheimers ward. Shit happens and then is promptly forgotten. Sometimes the shit that happens is forgotten so completely that it’s like living in universe where nothing happens. The auditors who once reported to work in your brain have left their stations — with no duties left after the smart-phone came on the scene. They are among the millions “no longer looking for work” in those BLS reports.
Maybe this is a manifestation of what used to be called “God’s mercy.” Now that we’ve almost succeeded in making the planet uninhabitable, we don’t have to remember how it got that way, or what will happen to us in the meantime, while we’re still here.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)
100 YEARS OF BROADWAY CONTINUES TONIGHT!
Celebrate the history of Broadway and our great heritage of musical theater in this marvelous showcase of over 100 years of Broadway. Music direction by Kevin Green and choreography by Denice Breaux. This is a limited engagement that you won’t want to miss. Performances run at Eagles Hall in Fort Bragg from April 21 - 30 on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 and Sunday matinees at 3:00. Admission is $22 for the general public, $20 for Seniors and $12 for youth (17 and under). Tickets may be purchased online at gloriana.org, at Harvest Market in Fort Bragg or at the door of Eagles Hall Theatre prior to each performance. Special Gala Performance is Sunday, April 23 at 3:00. Stay after for delicious food, drink and fun! Admission is $25 for the general public, $23 for Seniors and $15 for youth (17 and under). Admission includes food after the performance. For more information visit Gloriana.org
DOGS ARMOR UP
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office K9’s Cam, Ruddick, & Doc Holiday have received body armor
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office K9’s Cam, Ruddick, & Doc Holiday have received a bullet and stab protective vests thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. K9 Cam’s vest is sponsored by The Hausman Family Foundation and embroidered with the sentiment “This gift of protection provided by the Hausman Family Foundation”. K9 Ruddick’s vest is sponsored by Bruce Crist of Monterey, CA and embroidered with the sentiment “Justice delayed is justice denied”. K9 Doc Holiday’s vest is sponsored by Robin Doerr Russell of Sonoma, CA and embroidered with the sentiment “With love from K9 Lucie, Sonoma, CA”. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. is a 501c (3) charity located in East Taunton, MA whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests and other assistance to dogs of law enforcement and related agencies throughout the United States. The non-profit was established in 2009 to assist law enforcement agencies with this potentially lifesaving body armor for their four-legged K9 officers. Since its inception, Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provided over 2,400 protective vests, in 50 states, through private and corporate donations, at a cost of over 1.9 million dollars. All vests are custom made in the USA by Armor Express in Central Lake, MI. The program is open to dogs actively employed in the U.S. with law enforcement or related agencies who are certified and at least 20 months of age. New K9 graduates, as well as K9s with expired vests, are eligible to participate. The donation to provide one protective vest for a law enforcement K9 is $1,050. Each vest has a value between $1,795 — $2,234 and a five-year warranty, and an average weight of 4-5 lbs. There is an estimated 30,000 law enforcement K9s throughout the United States. For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, please call 508-824-6978. Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides information, lists events, and accepts tax-deductible donations of any denomination at www.vik9s.org (http://www.vik9s.org/) or mailed to P.O. Box 9 East Taunton, MA 02718. News of the donations prompted Mendocino County Sheriff's Office K9 Unit Sergeant Joey DeMarco to proclaim, "This is great! We go into some dangerous situations, like illegal marijuana grows, work with the SWAT team, track fleeing felons and conduct parole and probation searches. It's nice to know that my K9 partner "RUDDICK" also now has the same protection as me when tracking or going into a situation where there is a known armed suspect." Mendocino County Sheriff's Office K9 handler Deputy Jonathan Martin added, "Thanks to the ballistic vest from Vested Interest in K9s, my K9 partner will be safe when he is apprehending criminals and protecting Mendocino County." Mendocino County Sheriff's Office K9 handler Deputy Jeffrey Andrade exclaimed, "News of the donation was very heartwarming and knowing "DOC HOLIDAY" will be protected in the same way I am will help bring peace of mind when we are faced with dangerous situations." Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Lieutenant Kirk Mason who oversees the Sheriff's Office K9 Unit stated, "The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office program has been in existence for over 20 years. During this time our canine partners have evolved from being strictly protection partners to person trackers, evidence seekers and tactical partners. As a result we have seen a marked increase in deployments and an increased awareness of our canine partners capabilities by both sworn personnel and community members. The donation of these vests will allow our canine partners to safely work side by side, with their handler, in day to day situations which tend to increase in both numbers and complexity. Our handlers will now have the peace of mind in knowing that their canine partner will be deployed in all situations, knowing that their canine partner has the highest level of affordable protection currently being offered." Attached are photographs of K9's Cam, Ruddick & Doc Holiday wearing their body armor from Vested Interest in K9s.
WHAT IS REAL NEWS? (Like they'd know?)
Talk with Press Democrat editors about the local newsgathering landscape in era of "alternative facts". April 23. 2pm. Free. Sebastopol, Copperfield's Books, 138 N. Main St. 823 2618
GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN PICKS NEW DWR ASSISTANT CHIEF DEPUTY DIRECTOR AS OROVILLE DAM SCANDAL CONTINUES
by Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown on April 20 appointed Michelle Banonis, 40, of Sacramento as the assistant chief deputy director at the embattled California Department of Water Resources (DWR).
Banonis will serve under William Croyle, Director of the Department of Water Resources, and Cindy Messer, the Chief Deputy Director.
Banonis has been area manager for the Bay Delta Office at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation since 2016S. She has served in several Reclamation positions since 2009 including, special assistant to the regional director, California WaterFix program manager, restoration goal supervisor for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program and natural resources specialist, according to the Governor’s Office.
Before working at Reclamation, Banonis served in several positions at the Pierce County, Washington State, Department of Public Works and Utilities from 2000 to 2009, including environmental permitting supervisor, environmental biologist and engineering technician.
She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Humphreys College Laurence Drivon School of Law.
This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $139,656. Banonis is a registered without party preference.
Banonis’ appointment comes at a tumultuous time for the Department of Water Resources. The Oroville Dam spillway crisis, including the chaotic evacuation of nearly 200,000 people from Butte, Yuba and Sutter Counties on an hour’s notice on February 12, has focused unprecedented national and international media attention on the state agency.
Most recently, an Associated Press examination of state and federal documents, emails obtained under public records requests and numerous interviews “reveal a sequence of questionable decisions and missteps, some of them made years ago, some of them in the middle of the crisis.”
“Among other things, the dam's federal and state overseers overestimated the durability of the two spillways. And in public statements during the emergency, they failed to acknowledge — or perhaps recognize — that while they were busy dealing with one crisis, they were creating a possible new one," the AP investigative piece by Ellen Knickmeyer and Michael R. Blood stated.
"During the darkest hours of the emergency, the fear was that if the hillside collapsed, ‘it was not whether people would die, but how many would die,’ Sheriff Honea recalled,” according to AP.
In addition to the spillway crisis, the agency and its federal partner, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, have been faced with growing criticism by scientists, economists and public trust advocates over its California WaterFix project to build two 35-mile long tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has released a draft biological opinion documenting the harm the tunnels would cause to salmon, steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, other fish and wildlife species, and water quality. An independent peer review panel found the NMFS findings are backed by comprehensive analyses, new data, and modeling.
The draft biological opinion is available at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/central_valley/WaterFix/WaterFixPeerReview2BMaterials.html
The agencies’ questionable handling of the Oroville Dam crisis has spurred further mistrust by Delta advocates about their ability to construct and operate the tunnels project.
“Why would we trust these same agencies to build and operate the Delta Tunnels? asked Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta (RTD). “Did you know the California WaterFix application shows only 10% of the tunnels design completed?"
“Plus, they will figure out via ‘adaptive management’ how much water to take as they go along? If Jerry Brown wants to protect California's water supply, maybe he should clean house at DWR and the State Water Contractors,” Barrigan-Parrilla emphasized.
The Big Picture: In all of the intense media coverage of Oroville Dam spillway crisis over the past couple of months, the mainstream media haven’t yet discussed the real issue behind the disaster: corporate control of California water politics. For more information, go to: www.dailykos.com/...
ROAMING CHARGES: DUDE, WHERE’S MY WAR?
by Jeffrey St. Clair
Based on the evidence of the last few weeks, when it comes to his role as Commander Supremo of “his” military, Donald J. Trump seems to suffer from a kind of attention deficit disorder. Each week there’s a new threat emanating from the West Wing, louder than the last one and aimed at a new target. The decibel level of Trump’s war shrieks is escalating in rough relation to the downward curve of his poll numbers.
First, Trump ordered the launch of 60 cruise missiles (one took a dive into the Mediterranean) to a largely evacuated Syrian airbase outside Homs. Was this the opening shot in a regime change war to oust Assad from power? Who knows? Trump was already too busy bragging about dropping the hugest non-nuclear bomb in the US arsenal on some cave-dwelling ISIS tunnel rats. Why now? Why here? A signal to the Mullahs of Tehran or, perhaps, Paul Ryan?
Uncharacteristically, Trump didn’t even pause for a selfie beside the smoldering crater left by his MOAB bomb in Afghanistan, before he was rattling his sabre at North Korea, boasting about how his giant Armada was steaming toward the Korean peninsula. A few days later this robust pronouncement was obsolete, when it turned out that the mighty fleet was instead retreating 3,000 miles in the opposite direction, south to the coast of Australia. Call it the wrong-way Armada. Meanwhile, Trump had already fast-forwarded to furious denunciations of Iran.
Trump’s martial pronouncements are generally too truncated and disarticulated to ever embody something so substantial as a trope or a theme. Indeed, many of these public utterances are so garbled that they defy translation by even the most gifted linguists. They are more like the petulant bleats of an overgrown adolescent testing out a rack of video games, blasting away at one zombie invasion after another until he tires of it and seizes on another scenario. It might be said that he practices the Man-Child theory of foreign relations: belligerent, shallow, easily bored.
Naturally, Trump’s arm-chair Janissaries are all fired-up by these weekly flirtations with global catastrophe, but they also must be a little confused. Syria, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea, Mexico, Iran, Canadian dairy farmers? Which of these are the real foe? Where will the next war start? Will it be the big one they’ve been waiting for?
Of course, what we are really witnessing in Trump’s bombastic, if inchoate, perorations is trace evidence for the diminution of American power. Previously, the leader of the Empire never had to publicly threaten punitive action against such minor global players. The severe consequences for imperial disobedience were simply understood. Ironically, Trump’s chest-beating is precisely the kind of bellicose over-reaction that Kim Jong-Un was hoping for, since it elevates his status among his own government and immiserated population.
Both Iran and North Korea have digested the core lesson of Libya, which is once you relinquish your most powerful weapons you’re dead. Qaddafi submitted to the demands of the West, turned over his aging stockpile of WMDs and promptly lost his country and then his head. Now Libya is the hottest marketplace in the world for the slave tradeand Kim Jong-un is racing to install nuclear bombs on ICBMs. Heckuva job, Hillary.
“Strategic patience” has become the new trigger phrase for generating neocon outrage. Trump’s inner circle of warmongers utter the phrase with the same acidic contempt that they once reserved for “nuance,” as if having the patience to develop a strategy to avoid nuclear annihilation is somehow an indicator of political spinelessness.
This kind of uber-male strutting was on full-display this week when Mike Pence went to the DMZ to stare down the North Koreans checking out the vice president a few dozen yards away. In his stentorian drone, Pence said they’d tried everything to deal with the intransigent North Koreans and were running out of non-military options—everything, it seems, but talking to them.
“The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready,” fumed Pence, using empurpled language he seems to have cribbed from the awful remake of Ben-Hur. The tougher Pence talks, the more ridiculous he sounds.
Pence’s trip to South Korea also gave rise to speculation over why the vice president took his wife to what has been called the most dangerous strip of land in the world, the DMZ. Was he using Karen as a human shield or did he need to be in her presence in order to have a private consultation with the country’s recently ousted president Park Geun-hye?
Trump’s historical ignorance leads the president to deploy words like “Armada” with a kind of depraved innocence of their meaning. Recall that the original Spanish Armada, the most fearsome Navy on Earth, was routed at the strait of Dover in 1588 by the rakish pirate-explorer Francis Drake, as Queen Elizabeth anxiously watched the battle from her royal perch on the White Cliffs. Will the past, once again, be prologue to the future?
Everything Trump knows about North Korea he seems to have learned in a 10-minute mini-briefing from the Chinese President over canapés at Mar-a-Lago. If Bannon still had Trump’s ear, he might have told the President that the rise of South Korea was fueled by globalization and the offshoring of US factories, while North Korea — isolated, austere, homogenous, intensely nationalistic – serves as a kind of small-scale model for the kind of retro-America that Trump sketched out as his dream state on the campaign trail.
It must be said that Trump is far from being the worst of his kind for the simple reason that most of the time he is unaware of the implications and potential fallout from his vapid blatherings. Usually, he is just improvising, playing it by feral instinct. The practice of realpolitik is not his thing. Not so for the likes of John McCain and his witless sidekick Lindsay Graham. These two uber-hawks have seized on Trump’s war talk with a sordid fervor. McCain is so aroused that he seems eager to fly the first bombing runs over Damascus, while Graham is just itching to press the launch button on cruise missiles targeting Pyongyang.
This, of course, is the problem with playing at war. Some people will take you seriously. Usually the wrong kind of people, the killing kind.
+ What Generals Talk About When They Talk About Bombs on TV. Lt Col. Rick Francona: “The goal of the bomb was to destroy the tunnels. The people killed were an ancillary benefit.”
+ In a breathless story, Reuters claimed to have discovered documents from a Russian think tank outlining a plan to swing the election to Trump. If true, this would be the first time in decades that a white paper from a think tank had the slightest impact on anything, except the recycling markets. Put that team to work on climate change!
+ From Pocatello to Piscataway, Trump raged against the nuclear agreement with Iran, denouncing it as the “worst deal ever” and vowing it “rip it up” on day one. This week his administration quietly certified that Iran was abiding by the pact.
+ Remember Romney’s “binders full of women?” They weighed 15.6 pounds, were bound in black and are back in play now that Mitt’s contemplating a run for senate in Utah. I wonder how many names were submitted by Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly?
+ Even with Bernie Sanders (now the country’s most popular politician) out on the trail hyping the party, the Democrats’ favorability continues to plummet, especially among liberal/left independents. They are going the way of the Blairite/Labour Party in the UK, and, defying the laws of gravity, may actually hit bottom even sooner…
+ Sanders insisted this week that he is an independent “not a Democrat,” even though he talks, acts, votes and recruits just like a Democrat.
+ Democrats are in a state of collective ecstasy over the prospects for taking Georgia’s 6th congressional district, Newt’s old seat, with a candidate named Jon Ossoff who doesn’t live in the district and whose two campaign planks are: 1. cutting federal spending and 2. being tough on National Security. Ossoff’s Republican opponent baiting the naive interloper into announcing he supported Trump’s cruise missile strike on Syria and his MOAB bombing of Afghan peasants. In the end, the candidate who is a male version of Hillary got about the same share of votes as Hillary did in the same district in 2016. Who needs Republicans when you’ve got Democrats like this?
+ Here’s a vivid example of the Sanders two-step in action. On Friday, Sanders endorsed Ossoff, the hawkish Clintonian Democrat, but washed his hands by refusing to call him a “progressive.”
+ Any politician who loudly proclaims over and over again how independent they are is almost certainly trying to conceal a deep complicity with the established order…
+ Why She Lost, Reason 37, Loyalty Scores. From the new book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes:
“Though she was speaking with a small group made up mostly of intimates, she sounded like she was addressing a roomful of supporters – inhibited by the concern that whatever she said might be leaked to the press.”
This traced back to 2008, a failed run that the Clintons had concluded was due to the disloyalty and treachery of staff and other Democrats. After that race, Hillary had aides create “loyalty scores” (from one for most loyal, to seven for most treacherous) for members of Congress. Bill Clinton since 2008 had “campaigned against some of the sevens” to “help knock them out of office,” apparently to purify the Dem ranks heading into 2016.
+ Being smeared as a “right winger” is the feeble kind of baiting that the anti-war Left has had to put up with from the They-Deserved-to-Die-As-Long-As-Our-Side-Killed-Them Left since the Wilson Administration…
+ More proof that the NSA functions like the new Panopticon: the FBI is sweeping up NSA data on phone calls, travel itinerary, and web-activity like it was “googling you.”
+ So apparently the person Sean Spicer chose to apologize to for his “Holocaust Centers” performance art piece was … Sheldon Adelson, who, I presume, will now spread the word to the rest of the Jewish world, or at least to those staying at one of his mighty-fine casinos in Vegas and Macao. Adelson, it was revealed this week, donated $5 million for Trump’s inauguration soiree.
+ More than 6-in-10 Texans oppose the construction of a border wall. Of course, that didn’t stop them from voting by a 6-in-10 margin for a man whose main pitch was to build a border wall. That’s Texas for you, where you leave consistency of mind and moral purpose at the state line.
+ Gen. John Kelly fumed that congressional critics of his draconian border control policies should either change the law or “shut up.” Kelly, of course, has been painted by Democrats as one of the rational members of the Trump Inner Circle. How do you like your blue-eyed general now, boys and girls?
+ A recent survey by The Economist shows, what we all know from talking to people in the checkout line at Safeway, that there’s broad support across the political spectrum for a Single-Payer health care system, despite the fact that it is perennially dismissed as “unrealistic” by the mainstream media.
+ Fox News’ payout to settle sexual harassment claims: $85 million. Payments to male perpetrators: $65 million; payments to female victims: $20 million.
+ Betsy DeVos picked Candice Jackson to run the Civil Rights Office at the Department of Education, where her assignment is to vigorously investigate allegations of discrimination against minorities, women, gays and transsexuals in the nation’s schools. While a student at Stanford, Jackson filed her own civil rights complaint, charging that she had been discriminated against because she is white. Historians of the future will note that the transition from the Age of Post-Truth to the Age of Post-Parody only took a few weeks…
+ Last month, Trump abruptly fired all 46 US attorneys. Thirty days later none of those seats have been filled. Trump should follow up this excellent move by immediately firing all federal prosecutors as well.
+ Trump’s lawyers are making the novel claim that Inauguration Day protesters, many of whom were gassed, arrested roughed up by DC police, interfered with the President’s free speech rights. We’ve entered a political dimension where what is said is the opposite of what is meant…
+ Alex Cockburn and I spent years warning the Left (and anyone else who’d listen) about the constitutional dangers of “Hate Crime” laws and how they would inevitably come back to bite them. Now Maryland prosecutors are charging two women who burned Trump lawn signs with a “hate crime” against Trump supporters, who are now viewed as a “protected class.”
+ Here’s an excerpt from the best novel ever written about American politics, Joseph Heller’s Good as Gold, which should be required reading for adolescent, of whatever age, thinking of majoring in political “science” or political journalism. In this scene, Gold is being interviewed for a post in the new presidential Administration…
“What would I have to do?”
“Anything you want, as long as it’s everything we tell you to say and do in support of our policies, whether you agree with them or not. You’ll have complete freedom.”
Gold was confused. He said delicately, “I can’t be bought, Ralph.”
“We wouldn’t want you if you could be, Bruce,” Ralph responded. “This President doesn’t want yes-men. What we want are independent men of integrity who will agree with all our decisions after we make them.”
“Wouldn’t I have to know anything?”
“Absolutely not,” Ralph answered, and appeared astounded that Gold even should ask. “In government, Bruce, experience doesn’t count and knowledge isn’t important. If there’s one lesson of value to be learned from the past, Bruce, it’s to grab what you want when the chance comes to get it.”
Gold asked with distress, “Is that good for the world?”
“Nothing’s good for the world, Bruce. I thought you knew that.”
+ Newly unearthed documents at the UN disclose that the Allies knew for at least two years prior to the D-Day Invasion about the Nazi’s extermination program, including the location of many of the death camps and the scope of the genocide taking place. They went to extraordinary lengths to keep these escalating atrocities a tightly held secret. So much for the “Good” War…
+ Easter Day tweet from Paul Ryan, who wants to kick 24 million off of their minimal health care and end all social welfare programs for the poor: “Diverse though we may be, Christians around the world are united in our shared belief that Jesus rose from the dead.” But Paul, what if Jesus didn’t so much “rise from the dead,” as have his bones excavated to make room for another Israeli settlement?
+ Exxon is seeking a special waiver from the Trump administration allowing it to skirt the Russian sanctions so that the company can drill for oil in the Black Sea. I’m surprised they even felt the need to ask.
+ The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere just breached the 410 parts per million barrier for the first time in 3 million years. Perhaps it will hit 420 next year and we can all smoke a bowl of Alaskan Thunder Fuck to celebrate…
+ The home insurance market is breaking down because of coastal flooding from climate change. These are largely rich people’s homes, who enjoy plump portfolios fattened by fossil fuel stocks. So there is some karma here as their beachfront dreams submerge…
+ The Arctic Ocean is literally turning upside down and the glacial rivers of the far north are now reversing course and draining into the Pacific. Meanwhile, drill, baby, drill….
+ An estimated 4,000 snow geese died during their winter migration after stopping in the inviting, though highly toxic waters of the Berkeley Pit, one of the world’s largest open pit mines in Butte, Montana.
About 20 years ago, those same lethal waters killed hundreds of Tundra Swans, memorialized in a powerful painting by my friend the eco-artist Steve Kelly that was printed on a billboard along the interstate outside of Butte. The white tower on the crest of the mountains is the so-called Madonna of the Rockies, reflected by the dead swans forming a cross in the lethal wastewater. Under Trump, Zinke and Pruitt, the entire Interior West may soon resemble the fatal abyss of the Berkeley Pit…
+ Memo to Uday and Qusay Trump: A recent study of biodiversity in the forests of Amazonia shows that hunting exacts a severe toll on the ecosystem, forcing declines in populations of species that aren’t targeted for slaughter. The study estimates that only 17 percent of the original mammal abundance and 42 percent of the birds remain in hunted areas.
+ Benedictine College, a small outpost of learning on the Kansas prairie, banned the practice of yoga on campus citing the breathing routines and body-posturing as a form of “Hindu mysticism.” If they really wanted to do some good the Benedictines (who make the best beer of any of the monastic orders) should ban yoga (which in the US has nothing to do with Hinduism) as a statement against New Age Capitalism run amok…Of course, the ban will only make the noisome practice morally alluring.
+ In previews now: “Six Characters in Search of a Conspiracy…” starring Alex Jones.
+ John Schmidt III is a decorated member of a Navy SEAL team, which means he’s probably killed and tortured people in distant lands while dressed in tight-fitting Ninja gear. The highly-decorated Schmidt is now under investigation for appearing in 29 porn films–including the instant classic “Strippers Come Home Horny from the Club”– under the sobriquet of “Jay Voom.” The Navy is trying to determine whether Schmidt received proper clearance for “outside work.” The whole affair gives new meaning to “insertion team.”
+ Silver lining Dept. The best rock ‘n roll has always been made during times of political lunacy.
+ Where’s the great literature of the 21st century? someone asked. Oh, it’s out there, but you’ll have to file a FOIA with the NSA to find it and hire Susan Rice to unmask the names of the writer and characters…
+ So I got an angry complaint about my “Love at First Strike” column last week that was different from the usual complaints: 1. it’s bullshit; 2. it’s too long; 3. it’s unreadable, et al. This person said that it was incumbent upon me to “link to the definitions of words that they were unfamiliar with,” starting with “Electra,” as in my description of Ivanka being “our Park Avenue Electra,” which this complainant believed to be a kind of car and not a slasher-princess with a daddy complex in the greatest cycle of plays ever written.
+ The Deep Etymology of “Cucks”: My exploration of the meaning of the word “cuck” last week generated quite a bit of commentary, most rejecting the Urban Dictionary’s theory that “cuck” is “a word used by White Supremacists to solicit sex.” Here’s an informed note from long-time CounterPuncher Michael Fiorillo:
I’m a longtime Counterpunch reader and supporter, and go back to Alex’s “Press Clips” days at the Voice in my genealogy as a reader and admirer. I’m also a big fan of “Roaming Charges,” which, aside from its informativeness and high protein content, is funny and wise…
Anyway, after all these years as a reader, it’s more than funny that I should be contacting you on the issue of cucks, off all things, but such are the times…
So, fwiw, I found the Urban Dictionary definition unsatisfactory, since it made no mention of what (by my admittedly anecdotal, internet-addled sense) is the most interesting/revealing aspect of the term, which is it’s being a marker for a virulent re-emergence of white male sexual fear and panic. Again, it’s all just my sense of things, but I understand (for example, God forgive me, in the comments section of a site like Zero Hedge, or other sites where the term is thrown around) “Cuck” to mean a white man who let’s/enjoys having his wife be fuckled by Black men, with all the presumed dishonor and disrespect that follows.
To me, that’s the significance and interest in the term’s current use: cuckolds, in the traditional sense, have always been subjects of scorn, but the current conflation of it with social/labor redundancy, intensifying class and racial conflict, identitarian politics, etc. is fascinating (and disheartening)…
Well, there’s my two cents, which was as much as anything a perverse personal introduction and way of saying thanks for all your work.
In these fraught matters, it’s always fruitful to consult Jonathan Green’s Dictionary of Slang, whose entry on “cuck” reads as follows:
Cuck n. [abbr.] a cuckold; thus cuckquean, a female cuckhold.
1546 J. HEYWOOD Proverbs II Ch. Vi.: You make her a cuckquean and consume her good. C. 1629 R BROME City Wit II i: Merry to bee made a cuckqueane by such a Coxcombe. 1680 Merry Maid of Islington 17: Fear not that, good Cuckquean. 1705-07 N. Ward Hudibras RedividusI:10 12: Not the Horn-Plague, but something worse, / Had drove from thence.
What I’m reading this week…
The Dilemmas of Lenin by Tariq Ali
Rain: a Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett
Green: a Field Guide to Marijuana by Dan Michaels
What I’m listening to this week…
Damn by Kendrick Lamar
Freedom is Free by Chicano Batman
American Teen by Khalid
Silver / Lead by Wire
Tropicoso by Jungle Fire
A Dimly Perceived, Uncomprehended Fabric
Edward Said: “We live in one global environment with a huge number of ecological, economic, social, and political pressures tearing at its only dimly perceived, basically uninterpreted and uncomprehended fabric. Anyone with even a vague consciousness of this whole is alarmed at how such remorselessly selfish and narrow interests – patriotism, chauvinism, ethnic, religious, and racial hatreds – can in fact lead to mass destructiveness. The world simply cannot afford this many more times.”
(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: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JSCCounterPunch. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)