Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017
by AVA News Service, November 4, 2017
ABOUT TWO TENTHS of an inch or rain in Boonville Friday. County numbers varied from a trace to almost half an inch in Laytonville.
MARSHALL NEWMAN WONDERS:
By 1:50 p.m. Friday, November 3, the National Weather Service’s Boonville station showed no measured rainfall, while Weather Underground stations in Anderson Valley showed upwards of 0.21 inches thus far. True, the Weather Underground station showed only 0.03 inches for Boonville, but even that differential is puzzling (0.03 inches isn’t mist). Is the National Weather Service’s Boonville station under the eaves of a house? Maybe on a covered porch? Perhaps on vacation? A mystery, for certain.
REMINDER: Clocks get set back an hour at 2am Sunday morning (overnight between Saturday and Sunday).
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Ahhhhh, I love that first rain. It sweetens the air, damps down the dust, reminds me to get the tulips in.”
by James Kunstler
What America might want to know right now is: how come Hillary Clinton doesn’t have any legal problems? Why aren’t DOJ investigators examining the financial records of the Clinton Foundation? You would think somebody would want to find out how over $120 million of Russian “charitable donations” ended up on its ledgers around the time that Secretary of State HRC approved the Uranium One deal — compared to which, Bill Clinton’s $500,000 payment from a Russian bank for giving a speech around the same time just looks like walking-around money.
This is not to mention (well, I will) the flow of donations from Saudi Arabia pending approval of a major arms deal by HRC. Or of myriad other donations from foreign nationals tendered simply for face-time with the Secretary. Has any other cabinet officer in US history run a money-gathering org while serving? I don’t think so. Maybe the arrant selling of influence right out-front strains the credulity of government auditors. And while we’re at this, I would like to know how then-FBI director Robert Mueller and President Obama might have been informed about these activities. Or not?
Mr. Mueller also needs to answer about his relationship with former FBI director James Comey — he was apparently Mr. Comey’s mentor — while Mr. Comey needs to answer for his peculiar and probably lawless behavior in dismissing the investigation around HRC’s private email server — that was not his decision to make — and the notorious meeting at the Phoenix airport of former president Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch around the same time the email investigation under Mr. Comey came to a head.
Now comes the news from Donna Brazille, on-again-off-again Democrat Party chair, that the primary elections were elaborately rigged by HRC functionaries to buy control of her nomination. Let’s not even go into the bidding for the Christopher Steele “dossier” alleging kinky sexual romps in Moscow by Donald Trump, or the activities in Ukraine of Tony Podesta’s DC lobbying company — that’s Tony, brother of John Podesta, Clinton campaign chief, whose emails remain a truffle cache for the rooting dogs of the DOJ, if they were actually on-the-task.
I write this as a still-registered Democrat myself — though I consider myself their enemy now, yet hardly a Trump partisan. Are there any like me out there who would like to see both parties tossed onto the garbage barge of history? Of course, to say that also means throwing out a cargo of terrible ideas and beliefs, not just two clown cars of personalities. Identity politics, zero interest rate policy, American Exceptionalism, endless debt, nation-building in foreign lands, FASB-157, sanctuary cities, Title IX coercion, racketeering in health care and higher ed, market interventions, ambiguous borders… is just some of the cargo that needs to be dumped overboard with both parties.
Watergate begins to look as quaint and simple as a game of Chutes and Ladders compared to RussiaGate. Not only are both parties implicated one way or another in multiple nefarious schemes, plots, and intrigues, but the Department of Justice and its subsidiary, the FBI, look culpable in a range of cover-ups and mis-directions. If the DOJ becomes disabled, how does any of this get resolved?
The whole extravaganza is heading toward a constitutional crisis that might clean out the system like a Death Wish coffee enema. Sentiment may arise for Mr. Mueller to step aside, if President Trump doesn’t make the rash decision to simply fire him. The latter would certainly foment a constitutional crisis that could include an effort to run Trump over with the 25th amendment. In the event, we’ll be in a new kind of civil war.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/JamesHowardKunstler)
AT LAST UKIAH GETS THE RECOGNITION IT DESERVES NAMED ONE OF THE TOP HIPPIE TOWNS IN NORCAL
Ukiah is near the start of the “Emerald Triangle,” the three Northern California counties long known as the world’s best marijuana-growing region. Ukiah is the largest city in Mendocino County and is home to a few popular hot springs and the City of 10,000 Buddhas, an international Buddhist community and monastery which is open to visitors and includes a vegetarian cafe. The allure of weed, and the recent successful legalization efforts, have fueled a land rush in most areas of the Emerald Triangle, starting in Ukiah.
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THE BEST 'HIPPIE TOWNS' IN THE BAY AREA AND NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
by Jessica Mullins
Everybody knows about San Francisco's "flowers in her hair" hippie past.
But with today's SF streets full of tech shuttles, adults on hover boards and restaurants serving outrageously priced food, it doesn't feel like much of the Summer of Love is left in the Bay Area's soul.
The greater Bay Area and Northern California, however, still have many groovy and funky bohemian towns that remind us of our hippie heyday. We asked our colleagues in the SFGATE and San Francisco Chronicle newsroom to tell us which towns they still deem as the "hippiest."
What we quickly learned is that determining criteria for a "hippie town" is open to interpretation. This even became a topic of passionate debate in the newsroom: some weighed a town's hippie past (such as Mill Valley) as more significant than the current hippie-to-yuppie ratio.
Our compilation of favorite hippie towns ranges from places where loggers and marijuana-lovers peacefully exist to the scenic spot that frequently used "nude encounter group therapy sessions" in the 1960s. We included details about what gives some of these towns especially good vibes and organized them by county.
And now that voters have approved the legalization of marijuana in California, perhaps we will begin to see a resurgence of these kinds of values.
JOHN ROBERT PITTS
Our dear friend, John Robert Pitts, died on Oct. 4, 2017, at home in the care of beloved friends. Born Oct. 10, 1948, in Oklahoma, he grew up in California, moving to Comptche 47 years ago.
Although known for his good work as a tradesman, John's life was devoted to his art. A gifted musician, whenever called on to perform, John was glad to be there with his guitar at venues, parties, fundraisers, or even for the children at the Comptche School.
A true original with a quirky sense of humor, John was devoted to his many friends, to the San Francisco Giants and above all to his muse. He created his own studio and spent many hours recording and sharing his songs. His large musical family appreciated his huge talent as a player and performer.
When John was diagnosed with cancer, he faced his illness with such courage that few realized how great were the challenges he faced. He was able to remain at home in Comptche with his extended family on the land that he loved and had helped care for since the mid-seventies.
John is survived by his brothers, Stephan (Cindy) and David; niece and nephew, Heather and Kevin; and great nieces, Abby and Elly; as well as the Garratt and Bush families and the many dear friends he leaves in his community, the Mendocino Coast, and far beyond.
A Life Celebration will be held on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, at the Comptche Community Hall, 30672 Comptche-Ukiah Road, from 2 to 6 p.m. We will sing, laugh and of course there will be wonderful music. John will be with us in spirit always because he brought us all together.
We can say for John: "A life well-lived, a song well-played, humor well-placed. Well done, my friend."
THE EFFECT OF FIRE RETARDANT DROPS
George Matousek, an ICL chemist who helped formulate the retardant, said the precise recipe is a trade secret but all products in Phos-Chek are food-grade or better.
After the wine country fires
AT BOOK PASSAGE in Corte Madera, I asked the lady clerk in the new book section who the guest speaker was that the store was advertising to appear that very day. She said, "He's very big on YouTube." So are cat videos, I didn't say, but YouTube has become a book store standard? No, I had no idea who the alleged author was. I was trying to think of an author I'd make an effort to see in person, but couldn't think of one. The last was V.S. Naipul at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco. He read from one of his Biswah novels for 45 minutes then took one question from a full house: "How do you like America, Mr. Nipple?" Naipul replied, "I like it," and walked off the stage. I could hardly blame him, but the three or four other writers I've seen at the Herbst did the the same thing, read from their latest book, took a few questions that required rote answers, and walked off with a big check and a pocketful of cash from book sales.
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DAVE SMITH recommends "How to live in your car on $800 a month." I do, too. The ingenious older woman who manages a comfortable life out of her car is probably a lot more together than most of the homeless has delivered a how-to that shows how to make a virtue of the necessity facing thousands of people. Of course her life isn't pegged to drink and drugs, but for anyone with their wits about them she shows how you can liberate yourself from the landlord class.
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ADMIT IT, YOU LAUGHED
“If he wants to live his life as an old lady, fine” — OJ Simpson takes vicious swipe at former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner after she claimed she knew the football star was guilty of murdering his ex-wife
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DOOMSDAY thinking is now fairly widespread, and small wonder given the daily deluge of bad news. A reader passes along this paragraph from, I think, the Daily Beast.
"The apocalypse is on so many people's minds that an article in the New York Times Style section cheekily detailed survivalist must-haves for the "swelling class of weekend paranoiacs." Could that be you? Just remember, if you've got apocalypse on the brain, you're not alone. For company, just head over to Reddit and check into dozens of "prepper" threads. Getting ready for total social meltdown and the ensuing chaos depends, of course, on where we live and what we can afford. For the real preppers, stocking up on canned goods is only the beginning. You need to be seriously ready when the government fails and total anarchy ensues. Do you know how you will take care of yourself?"
NO. Probably because I lack imagination, but whatever the nature of the apocalypse, short of nuclear, in which case there is no viable prep, things probably won't break all the way down. Boonville, and small towns everywhere, are good places to be because you're among people you know, only a few of whom you'd have to shoot on sight as a precautionary survival measure. I would hope to be in Boonville rather than Marin, though. From the look of the people behind the wheels of these mammoth vehicles they'll go feral real fast.
POLLYANNAS A MINORITY
A new poll finds that a majority of Americans believe that this is the lowest point in the history of the United States that they can remember.
The survey Wednesday by American Psychological Association found that 59 percent held that opinion, even though some have lived through some of the most traumatic events of the last century.
Here's are the percentages broken down by age:
Older adults, ages 72 and above (lived through Depression, Pearl Harbor, World War II, McCarthyism): 56 percent say the lowest point is now;
Baby Boomers, ages 53-71 (lived through Vietnam War, civil rights unrest, JFK and MLK assassinations): 57 percent say the lowest point is now;
GenXers ages 39-52 (lived through Gulf War, Oklahoma City bombing): 61 percent say the lowest point is now;
Millennials ages 18-38 (lived through September 11, high-profile mass shootings): 59 percent say the lowest point is now.
By party affiliation Democrats are the most stressed.
118 PAGES OF MENTAL HEALTH GIBBERISH, and not one word about their "clients," what kinds of conditions they suffer from, what "treatments" they receive, how many people are in various categories, no reports of people served or denied, nothing about inpatient days, outpatient release plans completed, no plans to manage or track any of the programs described at excruiating length to see if they do any good… Instead, this meaningless paperwork is typical of what the County pays more than $26 million for every year:
MHSA 3 Yr Plan FY 17-18 through 19-20
MENDOCINO COUNTY COMMUNITY WORKSHOP: “ALL ABOUT INSURANCE”
On November 8, 2017 the County of Mendocino, First District Supervisor Carrie Brown and the California Department of Insurance will be hosting an insurance workshop to answer frequently asked questions and assist fire victims with navigating their homeowners’ insurance policies. The meeting will be held at the Eagle Peak Middle School Cafeteria located at 8601 West Road in Redwood Valley.
The meeting will have subject matter experts from the California Department of Insurance and various State and Local insurance brokers, agents and adjusters. Attendees are encouraged to bring copies of their policies for one-on-one assistance following the presentation. Insurance related questions that were not answered at the Debris Removal Workshop on November 1, 2017, will be included in the questions and answers portion of the workshop.
When: Wednesday, November 8, 2017 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: Eagle Peak Middle School Cafeteria, 8601 West Rd, Redwood Valley CA 95470
- Mendocino County Fire Recovery Team
- California Department of Insurance
- United Policyholders
- Local and State Insurance Brokers, Adjusters and Agents
- State Farm of Ukiah
- Nationwide of Ukiah
- Mendocino County Planning and Building
- Mendocino County Environmental Health
Live Online: This media briefing will be streamed live on the Mendocino County Facebook page and YouTube Channel.
Residents may submit questions in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441.
BENEFIELD: FOOTBALL PLAYER INJURED IN CARDINAL NEWMAN GAME MAKING SMALL GAINS
As he recovers from collapsing on the sideline of an August football game, Fortuna's Bailey Foley is relearning simple motor skills in hours of therapy each day.
DOLAN APPOINTED TO MENDOCINO BENCH
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Thursday announced the appointment of 34 California superior court judges, which include: One in Alameda County; one in Fresno County; 10 in Los Angeles County; one in Marin County; one in Mendocino County; one in Merced County; three in Orange County; two in Riverside County; two in San Bernardino County; two in San Diego County; two in San Francisco County; two in San Luis Obispo County; one in San Mateo County; one in Santa Clara County; one in Sonoma County; one in Stanislaus County; one in Tulare County; and one in Ventura County: ...
"Carly B. Dolan, 44, of Ukiah, has been appointed to a judgeship in the Mendocino County Superior Court. She has served as assistant public defender at the Mendocino County Public Defender's Office since 2013, where she was a deputy public defender from 2001 to 2013. Dolan earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oregon. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Richard J. Henderson. Dolan is a Democrat."
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THE APPOINTMENT of Carly Dolan to the Mendo Superior Court bench, an inside-the-Courthouse assessment: "She’s smart, hard working, single mother of two. Her husband Jason Dolan, son of the Paul Dolan, died a few years ago of a rare lung disease. I’d describe her as quiet but personable, diligent and easy to deal with. Less clear about her lawyerly skills. I mean she’s been working under Ms. Thompson in the Public Defender's Office. Law enforcement probably favored the other contender, former Deputy DA Shannon Cox who is now in the County Counsel’s Office."
UKIAH, Thurs., Nov. 2. - A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations yesterday afternoon to acquit defendant Kenneth Bruno Moroni, age 65, of Talmage, of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of morphine.
The prosecutor who presented the People's evidence was Deputy District Attorney Jamie Pearl.
The investigating law enforcement agencies were the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Justice crime laboratory.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Jeanine B. Nadel presided over the three-day trial.
FRESH CALTRANS PROJECTS
Route 1 (60.2) – Bridge work at the Noyo River Bridge will begin on Monday, November 6. Lane restrictions will be in effect from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays.
Route 101 (47-49) – PG&E has been granted a Caltrans Encroachment Permit for tree work at Commercial Street through the North Willits Railroad Crossing. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, November 6 and 7. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays.
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 3, 2017
Caldwell, Carter, Cervantes
TIMOTHY CALDWELL, Ukiah. DUI.
CHRISTOPHER CARTER, Willits. Domestic battery.
ELISA CERVANTES, Boonville. More than an ounce of pot, failure to appear, probation revocation.
Delgado, Furline, Hawkins
JOHNY DELGADO, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
CODY FURLINE, Fort Bragg. Parole violation.
CANDICE HAWKINS, Covelo. Probation revocation.
Lucido, Marcum, McCarty
BRADLEY LUCIDO, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
MICHAEL MARCUM, Hopland. Trespassing.
HARVEY MCCARTY, Ukiah. Burglary, vandalism, failure to appear.
Novoa-Robles, Sanchez, Stewart, Valentine
FELICIANO NOVOA-ROBLES, Boonville. Controlled substance for sale, sale of organic drug, possession/purchase narcotic for sale.
SAMUEL SANCHEZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
JERRY STEWART JR., Willits. Failure to appear.
RONALD VALENTINE, Ukiah. Trespassing, disorderly conduct/loitering. (Frequent flyer.)
THEIR BOREDOM becomes more and more terrible. They realize that they’ve been tricked and burn with resentment. Every day of their lives they read the newspapers and went to the movies. Both fed them on lynchings, murder, sex crimes, explosions, wrecks, love nests, fires, miracles, revolutions, war. This daily diet made sophisticates of them. The sun is a joke. Oranges can’t titillate their jaded palates. Nothing can ever be violent enough to make taut their slack minds and bodies. They have been cheated and betrayed. They have slaved and saved for nothing.
— Nathanial West, Day of the Locust
THE LAMENESS OF OFFICIAL RESPONSES
There's something almost as distressing as the terrorism itself about the stupidity of the responses by government officials.
New York's mayor:
Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference, “Based on information we have at this moment, this was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.”
Accusing Muslim terrorists of being "cowardly" is irrelevant, since they act on the assumption that their psychopathic god will approve of the murder of random unbelievers. And in some alternate universe do guilty "civilians" exist who deserve to be murdered? And what, for that matter, does the term "civilian" mean in this context? We aren't dealing with anyone in uniform.
The Governor of New York does no better:
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo cautioned at a news conference, “There’s no evidence that suggests a wider plot or a wider scheme.” In the aftermath, city and state law enforcement agencies increased security at high-profile locations.
That there was no "wider plot" is not exactly comforting, since that only emphasizes the reality that these "individual jihad" attacks are impossible to prevent. The individual fanatic no longer sees the need to conspire with others and increase the risk of discovery—or get an automatic weapon or explosives; all he needs is a motor vehicle and a busy city street to inflict a lot of damage on us unbelievers:
The attack added New York to the growing ranks of cities around the world where terrorists have struck crowds with vehicles, a blunt and simple form of violence recommended on militant sites. Eighty-four people died in an attack in Nice last year. An attack on a bridge in London killed eight. Another in a Stockholm shopping district, four. Most recently, in August, attackers in a van killed 13 people in Barcelona.
And surely everyone now understands that "increased security at high-profile locations" after one of these attacks is futile and strictly cosmetic.
“We’re not safe anywhere,” said Cecilia Lovecchio, a tourist from Argentina, the home of a group of visitors who lost five of their number in the attack. “It can be a bomb or a truck. A truck could very well come at us right now as we speak. What can you do?” Those words were seemingly unpacked and thought through across the city Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Trump can thump his chest and demagogue the issue, but there's really nothing much the authorities can do to stop these attacks, as the late Christopher Hitchens warned years ago:
We had better get used to being the civilians who are under a relentless and planned assault from the pledged supporters of a wicked theocratic ideology. These people will kill themselves to attack hotels, weddings, buses, subways, cinemas, and trains.
They consider Jews, Christians, Hindus, women, homosexuals, and dissident Muslims (to give only the main instances) to be divinely mandated slaughter victims… The future murderers will generally not be from refugee camps or slums (though they are being indoctrinated every day in our prisons); they will frequently be from educated backgrounds, and they will often not be from overseas at all. They are already in our suburbs and even in our military. We can expect to take casualties.
The battle will go on for the rest of our lives. Those who plan our destruction know what they want, and they are prepared to kill and die for it. Those who don't get the point prefer to whine about "endless war"… (emphasis added)
(Rob Anderson, District5Diary)
MEMO OF THE AIR: GOOD NIGHT RADIO TONIGHT!
If you want to talk about your project on KNYO in person --or bring your instrument(s) and fellow instrumentalists and play a song or a short set-- you can drop by 325 N. Franklin, Fort Bragg after 9pm tonight (Friday) and just walk in. Head for the lighted room at the back and get my attention. You're never interrupting me; I'm happy to see you. I have plenty of material to read to fill up the time whether you come or not, so there's no pressure. The pickles went over well the last time I brought pickles, so I'll try to remember to get pickles on the way. The good kind. I don't know why they even make any other kind of pickles than regular kosher dill. It just boggles the mind. What can be the matter with them? Stop the madness, as they used to say in the quaint old days of the Old Country of the past, days that will never come again, which is good, because no one could stand it, knowing that we'd just perpetually end up here, like in Groundhog Day, or any time-loop episode of Star Trek or Stargate or Star Whatever, but with Donald Trump president and everything dangling horribly from that, not to mention $250 million a day for the last sixteen years of the so-called War on Terror. Oh. Right. Breathe. Sorry. I'll stop now.
…And start again at 9pm tonight, just like the last 1000+ times. But different this time.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio: Every Friday, 9pm to about 4am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg, including midnight to 3am 105.1fm KMEC-LP Ukiah. And also there and anywhere else via http://knyo.org or http://TuneIn.com
And/or you can have your own show on KNYO. Contact Bob Young: email@example.com and express your radiophilic desires, and you'll be on the air before you know it. It's easy and fun.
HELP FOR DR. COURTNEY
Dr. Courtney & Family in need of hurricane relief
To all the patients of Dr. Courtney,
The damage done to the island of Dominica from Hurricane Maria was massive. Dr. Courtney and his family survived the storm intact, but their business and home were devastated. They are in desperate need of supplies and food.
We have set up a donation link on his website: drwilliamcourtney.com. If you can spare a few dollars, you can donate at that link using PayPal or your credit card. Any amount would be appreciated. All of us who have worked with Doc appreciate your donations. Thank you all so very much.
by Manuel Vicent
Translated by Louis S. Bedrock
An eternal spring can become a form of terror. If one consults the internet about the temperature in the Valley of Josaphat, where the Final judgement will take place, it turns out that a radiant sun is always shining, the temperature is at 27ºC (80.6ºF), with a light breeze and starry nights—an ideal climate for welcoming the huge mass of guilty humanity.
Those happy people, who at his point of the year are already looking forward to Christmas, who are filling the beaches of the Mediterranean and splashing around in the water with complete innocence, do not realize, that in a way, they are participating in a rehearsal for the Apocalypse.
Up to now, we have been led to believe that the end of the world will be brought about by fiery rain accompanied by the sound of trumpets played by fierce angels to awake the dead. But it’s also possible that this eschatological spectacle in the darkness might be replaced by perennial blue skies, the product of an anticyclone firmly embedded in the Azores, so that the sweet caresses of the sun could become an unbearable pleasure. The eternal spring will provoke madness in the seeds and people will know that the end of the world was nigh when it is necessary to mow the wheat in January and all the flowers of May become carnivorous.
The constant good weather will be a curse that ends up causing panic but far from scourging themselves like the penitents of Medieval processions, people will continue splashing around in the waters of the Mediterranean; and upon this convulsed canal mass, spread over the beaches, the Seventh Seal will open and the fatal verdict of history will be issued.
The sinister function of the prophets of antiquity, who relished the heralding of every kind of calamity in the final stages, will now be the work of the weathermen whose forecasts of a springtime sun, dazzling and interminable, will be our condemnation.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE SUPPORT GROUP
Anderson Valley Health Center
This group will serve as a space for participants to address substance use issues and examine core issues that drive substance abuse. The group will utilize a client-centered, collaborative approach and participants will be encouraged to identify individual goals. For example, one participant may have a goal to reduce use of one substance, while another participant may have a goal to maintain a longstanding abstinence from multiple substances. Additionally, the group welcomes those entering into or maintaining a medication assisted treatment (MAT) for substance abuse. In the group format, participants will have the opportunity to experience a sense of community, develop their communication skills, and give and receive feedback from others. Participants will receive support and a safe space to explore their relationship to substances and will be taught skills to assist in reducing and managing substance use while working toward their individual goals.
Wednesdays from 5:30 - 6:45 PM, beginning November 29th
The group will be limited in size and we ask all participants to make a commitment to attending the group weekly for a three month module
To join the group or for more information, please contact Stephanie Shreve at 707-895-3477 ext. 240 or firstname.lastname@example.org
THE SERIOUS PRICE OF THE HYPERCONVENIENT ECONOMY
by Ralph Nader
Apart from sensual appeals, the chief marketing wave in our country is selling convenience. It has reached a level of frenzy with companies like Amazon and Walmart racing your order to your doorstep (with Amazon now wanting the electronic key to your house).
Ever since the industrial revolution, when the division of labor between consumers and producers widened and deepened, the convenience of not having to grow your own food, weave your own clothes and build your own shelter have become a given of economic progress. Expert specialization has tended to make products better and more standardized as well.
But, in recent decades, adding tiers of conveniences touted by the vendors’ television/radio/print advertisements has rarely mentioned the downsides.
For example, consider the fast food industry. Fast food was sold to the American consumer as convenient, tasty and always available. For these shallow advantages, many consumers chose to give up home-made and nutritious meals for those with heavy doses of fat, sugar and salt—all deadly when taken in such excessive amounts by tens of millions of children and adults. Food that “melts in your mouth,” and “tastes great” usually comes with additives that turn your tongues against your brain and bodily health.
There is the convenience of credit and debit cards. It started in the nineteen fifties when a businessman found it inconvenient in restaurants to have to make sure he had enough cash. Why not sign up restaurants to take the Diner’s Card? Before long the question became, why not take it all the way to enable massive impulse buying, massive invasion of privacy, revolving debt traps, bankruptcies, and the iron collar of unilaterally determined credit scores ratings? Why not deliberately overextend credit and turn consumers into hooked supplicants who won’t complain to their car dealers, insurance agencies or landlords for fear of a complaint lowering scores and ratings?
What could be more convenient than signing on the dotted line of fine print contracts or click-on agreements? You don’t have to read, understand, bargain or reject. It’s easy, if you don’t mind having your rights taken away on page after page as fees, penalties and other overcharges plus closed courtroom doors plunge you into contract servitude or peonage.
Like any steps of “progress,” convenience taken too far induces dependency, ignorance of the product and service and more loss of voice, self-determination and self-reliance. Today, rampant advertising and telemarketers tell you to sign up to have your groceries be home-delivered. For some people with disabilities, this can be a plus, if you get what you ordered. For most people, the price is a loss of sociability, of going to markets where real people have meaningful interactions with learn from one another.
The promotion of touted quick-fix drugs, when successful, less invasive treatments are available with fewer deadly side-effects (note the pain-killer epidemic that will take 60,000 American lives this year) is accelerating beyond tranquilizers and sleeping pills. The advance of biologics could make Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) an understatement of silent manipulation and mind control.
How about the convenience of online gambling, pay-day loan rackets and cosmetic surgery—all loaded with their unpublicized and underreported costs or r the “convenience” of outsourcing your judgement and self-control by omnipresent apps?
But surely the “free” Facebook and Google do not come with such costs, do they? In return for this “free” service, you surrender your most personal information, which they turn into massive profits without giving you a share. Then they data-mine your buying profile for in-house use or outside sale; they select the news you get and expose you to anonymous, and often fraudulent, solicitations and propaganda. If these violations are invasive and omnipresent for you, just consider how it will affect your children and grandchildren?
Technology driven by narrow commercial interests needs to provoke us into asking, “What’s all this convenience doing over the long run? What kind of community and society is coming out of this unassessed marketing?” For a better future, we must mobilize, community by community, for some inconvenient thoughts and organization. Unless, that is, the corporate future doesn’t need us.
To get started, encourage your friends and neighbors to sign up for Jim Hightower’s Hightower Lowdown newsletter.
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
WSPA AND CHEVRON SPENT $3.4 MILLION TO PROMOTE BIG OIL AGENDA IN 2017'S THIRD QUARTER
by Dan Bacher
The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the most powerful corporate lobbying group in Sacramento, spent $2,290,408.89 in the third quarter of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session to promote Big Oil’s agenda in California, topping all over organizations in lobbying expenses.
Chevron dished out the second largest amount of any organization, with $1.1 million spent last quarter.
The third biggest spender during the quarter was the California State Council of Service Employees with $870,675 spent, while the fourth largest was the California Chamber of Commerce with $769,919 in lobbying expenses.
Trade associations like WSPA, corporations, unions and other organizations spent a total of $86.2 million lobbying state officials from July l through September 30.
You can find the lobbying expenses on the Secretary of State’s website: cal-access.sos.ca.gov/… and a summary in this LA Times article: www.latimes.com/...
WSPA and Chevron used their millions to push through Governor Jerry Brown’s cap and trade legislation, AB 398, a bill that was based on a WSPA and Chevron “wish list,” according to environmental justice and conservation groups that opposed the legislation.
While Governor Brown and legislators touted the bill’s passage as a “historic climate victory,” over 65 environmental justice, conservation and public interest organizations slammed the bill because of the devastating impact they said it will have on front line communities, the people of California and our air and water.
Adam Scow, California Director of Food & Water Watch, revealed why the oil industry was so intent on getting AB 398 passed; it gives loopholes and tax breaks to corporate polluters that could actually result in more, not less, emissions.
“The bill, heavily influenced by the oil and gas industry, makes California’s flawed cap-and-trade system worse by allowing excessive allowances to pollute and preventing local regulation of greenhouse gases,” said Scow. “The climate crisis demands that the State regulate and reduce pollution quickly, but this bill gives polluters loopholes and tax breaks that could result in increased emissions. California’s cap-and-trade system cannot be considered a model for any state or nation that takes the climate crisis seriously.”
WSPA and Chevron also used the money to defeat Senate Bill 188, a bill authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) to prohibit new pipelines or other infrastructure needed to support new federal oil and gas development.
Senate Bill 188, jointly authored by Senate Leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), would protect the California coast by “prohibiting the State Lands Commission from approving any new leases for pipelines, piers, wharves, or other infrastructure needed to support new federal oil and gas development in the three mile area off the coast that is controlled by the state.”
Senator Jackson introduced SB 188 in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order opening the door to expanded offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters off the California coast.
The defeat of that bill is a big victory for the oil industry and the Trump administration. The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), the California Independent Petroleum Association, the California Chamber of Commerce and California Manufacturers & Technology Association spent big money lobbying to defeat the legislation.
In spite of California’s reputation as the nation’s “green leader,” Big Oil is the most powerful lobby in Sacramento and the Western States Petroleum Association is the most powerful lobbying organization. Every bill except one opposed by the oil industry failed to make it out of the legislature in the 2015-2006 session and the 2017-2018 session so far.
Big Oil spent over $10.8 million in lobbying in the second quarter of 2017 to pass AB 398 through the legislature, as well as to lobby against SB 188.
The San Ramon-based Chevron and subsidiaries topped all other lobbyists in the state in the second quarter with $6,153,952 spent, followed by WSPA with $2,528,751 and the San Antonio-based Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co. LLC with $2,193.489.
In the first quarter of 2017, WSPA spent $1,387,601.97 to lobby legislators and state officials, according to the California Secretary of State’s Office.
WSPA is led by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the WSPA President and the former chair of the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create faux “marine protected areas” in Southern California. Not surprisingly, Reheis-Boyd has opposed every effort to protect the coast from offshore drilling and make California’s fake “marine protected areas” into real ones.
Yet corporate environmental NGO representatives and state officials to this day still characterize the controversial process that Reheis-Boyd led as “open, transparent and inclusive” and greenwash the so-called “marine protected areas” that she oversaw the creation of.
Background: Big Oil spent $36.1 million lobbying in 2015-16 session
The California Oil Lobby was the biggest spender in the 2015-16 legislative session, spending an amazing $36.1 million on lobbying over the two-year period. Based on the oil industry lobbying over the past two quarters, it looks like the industry may set a new spending record this session.
Big Oil spending last session amounted to $1.5 million per month — nearly $50,000 per day. The $36.1 million surpassed the $34 million spent in the prior session, according to an American Lung Association report. To read the complete report, go to: www.lung.org/…
WSPA was the top overall oil industry spender during the 2015-16 session, spending $18.7 million. As is normally the case, WSPA ranked #1 among all lobbying spenders last session. In the seventh quarter alone, WSPA dumped $2.6 million into lobbying legislators and state officials.
Chevron, the second overall oil industry spender, spent $7 million in the 2015-16 session. It spent $3 million in 2016 alone, sixth among all lobbyists in the session.
The only bill opposed by the oil industry that made it out of the legislature to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown was Senate Bill 32, legislation that reduces greenhouse gas level to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The reason for the bill’s passage was because billionaire Tom Steyer’s Next Generation Climate Action spent $7.3 million lobbying for the bill in the seventh quarter of the session.
Since the 2007-08 Session, the oil industry has spent over $146 million in lobbying in California when you include the figures for the first two quarters of 2017.
WSPA and Big Oil use their money and power in 5 ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) creating Astroturf groups: 4) working in collaboration with media; and (5) getting appointed to positions on and influencing regulatory panels.
For more information, go to www.dailykos.com/…
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