Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017
by AVA News Service, November 29, 2017
A long-time resident of Fort Bragg, Jean Anderson, 67, was found dead in her Cypress Street home Wednesday morning. Severely disabled since childhood, Jean was a fiercely independent person who insisted on living apart from her family, finding a congenial community and committed doctors in Fort Bragg. where she lived out her days in as much comfort and security as she could find given her disabilities. She was especially fond of her neighbors in Fort Bragg, and often expressed her gratitude for Fort Bragg's emergency services people and the staff at Coast Hospital. Dr. Peter Glusker's kind attentions over the many years have been especially appreciated by Jean's family. Jean always said Dr. Glusker "is the best doctor I've ever had," and Jean was famous among the many neurologists who studied her intractable affliction. A talented student in her youth with a special gift for mathematics, Jean, despite the heavy medications that sapped her energies, was a great reader of specialized medical literature, partly in a search for an explanation of the epilepsy she suffered, and partly out of her ravenous curiosity about all manner of things. Apart from her books, she was, unaccountably, an avid John Wayne fan. Jean is survived by her sister, Judith Wagner, of San Anselmo, her brother Rob of San Francisco, her brother Bruce of Boonville, numerous cousins, nephews and nieces, and grand-nephews and nieces.
LOCAL FARMERS REVIEW NEW STATE CANNABIS CULTIVATION REGS
“Be smart,” says CGA’s Hezekiah Allen
by Jane Futcher
Hezekiah Allen, Executive Director of the California Growers Association, walked local cannabis farmers through the new state emergency cannabis cultivation regulations Monday night at Harwood Hall in Laytonville.
Allen, Nelson, O'Neill
Casey O’Neill, an CGA board member, and cannabis attorney Hannah Nelson, assisted with the presentation, using a handout from the California Department of Food & Agriculture.
“We’re building the plan as we’re flying it,” Allen said of the fast-moving cannabis legislative process in Sacramento.
Allen’s key points were that:
—The new licenses go into effect Jan,. 1, 2018. They will be temporary, for 120 days, and two 90-day extensions if the temporary licensee has applied for an annual license. The applications are available starting tomorrow on the Ca Dept of Food & AG website at calcannabis.cdfa.ca.gov.
—Farmers will need proof that they have or are waiting for a local Mendocino County permit to be eligible for the state licensing program. The county’s embossed application receipts or a letter, which may be coming soon from the county, can be used in lieu of a permit if farmers are still waiting for theirs.
—The state’s temporary emergency regulations are easier to comply with than the “permanent” annual regulations, but Allen urged farmers to prepare to meet the annual license requirements now, before the July deadline.
—Priority application review will be provided to annual licenses. One eligibility requirement is proof that a business was operating and in good standing with the local jurisdiction by Sept. 1, 2016.
Nelson said priority standing is very important because California Fish and Wildlife could put a halt to new licenses. Priority application status will get applications reviewed more quickly, a good hedge should Fish and Wildlife stop new permits.
—Applicants will have five business days to register for a state-mandated track and trace workshop session after receiving a notice that their application has been received and approved by CDFA. Licensees will have 30 business days to move all inventory into the system after receiving their unique Track and Trace identifiers.
Allen said the state’s goal is to allow local track and trace programs, such as Mendocino County’s SICPA, to interface with the state’s system so farmers won’t have to enter all their data twice.
To support a smooth transition of businesses into the newly regulated market, beginning Jan. 1, 2018 and before July 1, 2018, licenses may:
—conduct business with other licensees regardless of whether they have medicinal or adult-use designations on their licenses;
—transport cannabis and cannabis products that do not meet state labeling requirements if a sticker with stating that is affixed;
— sell cannabis held in inventory that is not in child-resistant packaging if the retailer places them in child resistant packaging at the time of sale.
—sell cannabis products that do not meet the THC limits per package established by the California Dept.of Public Health. Allen said the state regulations require far lower amounts of THC in cannabis products than are being manufactured. This may be an issue for patients, said Allen, who hopes lobbyists will eventually prevail on the state to allow higher amounts of THC in products for patients.
—sell and transport cannabis that has not undergone lab testing if the products are labeled that they have not been tested;
—package and sell dried flower held in inventory by a retailer at the time of licensure.
Allen said cannabis and cannabis products held in inventory by a retailer that do not meet the requirements set by the California Department of Public Heath for ingredients or appearance may be sold by a retailer during the transition period.
The list of documents that must be submitted with state applications is long, including: lease agreements or title; State Water Resources Control Board permits and verification of the water source; CDFW 1602 lake or streambed alteration permit or waiver of permit; surety bond of $5,000; Live Scan finger prints from Dept. of Justice for each owner.
Allen offered a caution.
“Getting across the finish line for the local process does not mean you will get it permanently.” He warned that denial or termination of a licensee would occur if a cultivator sold or did business with a non-licensed business such as a cultivator, retailer or distributor.
“Be smart,” he said. “Document everything.”
For a state cultivation application or to learn more about the regulations, go to calcannabis.cdfa.ca.gov. The CDFA cultivators’ license application workshop in Ukiah Tuesday is full.
(Jane Futcher is host of the Cannabis Hour on KZYX.)
JURY TRIAL FOR THIS?
UKIAH, Tuesday, Nov. 28. - Working through the lunch hour, a Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations early Tuesday afternoon with guilty verdicts against Alan Clair Holliday, age 48, generally of the Ukiah area.
Holliday was convicted by jury of disorderly conduct (public intoxication), unlawful possession of alcohol in a city park (Vinewood), and the unlawful littering of the same park, all misdemeanors.
Deputy District Attorney Melissa Weems was the prosecutor who presented the People's evidence and argued in support of the convictions. A new prosecutor on the District Attorney's team, this was DDA Weems' first jury trial so congratulations are in order. The law enforcement agency that investigated this matter was the Ukiah Police Department. The judge who presided over the two day trial was Mendocino County Superior Court Presiding Judge John Behnke.
TEN MINUTE DELIBERATION
UKIAH, Tuesday, Nov. 28. — Deliberations by a Mendocino County Superior Court jury took just ten minutes at end of the afternoon before the foreperson notified the Court that the jury had reached a verdict in the case of The People of the State of California versus Lewis Michael Riley, age 65, of Calpella/Redwood Valley.
Riley was found guilty of driving a motor vehicle back in June of this year with a blood alcohol of .08 or greater. Evidence presented at the trial disclosed that he defendant was driving with a blood alcohol of .13.
The prosecutor who presented the evidence on behalf of the People was Deputy District Attorney S. Houston Porter. The law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation of this crime were the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, the California Highway Patrol, and the California Department of Justice Crime Laboratory in Eureka. Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the two day trial.
Erica Wilson is WANTED
PC 530.5A USE ID OF ANOTHER PERSON
PC 853.7 FAIL TO APPEAR
Age: 40 years old
Weight: 130 lbs
Heights: 5' 4"
Last known town/city: Ukiah
If you recognize this individual or have information which could lead to their arrest, please contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office at (707) 463-4086
The hoops that firestorm victims requiring bridge access to their properties are being forced to endure is appalling. If Bailey bridges are safe enough for cleanup crews with heavy equipment, then surely they should be safe for homeowners who drive regular vehicles.
Plus it’s probably a whole lot less expensive to leave the Bailey bridges, giving firestorm victims prompt access to their properties in their lifetimes rather than whiling away their days trying to obtain permits from a clueless Permit and Resource Management Department.
Orr Springs Road Bailey Bridge (for temporary access after last year's rains)
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “The people told me, ’We're the first gringos in Boonville to get our Christmas lights up, Little Dog. Whaddya think?’ I think the Mexicans' displays are wayyyyyyy better, and Shorty Adams will blow everyone away when he gears up!”
IF THERE'S A GENTLEMAN ON LAWS AVENUE WILL HE PLEASE STAND UP?
On 11-24-2017 at about 4:18 AM Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a reported domestic violence incident at a residence in the 100 block of Laws Avenue in Ukiah. After Deputies had arrived, they conducted an investigation and identified a 29 year-old female and Robert Garcia, 29, of Ukiah as being involved in the incident.
The Deputies learned the female and Garcia were married. The investigation revealed the female and Garcia had been involved in a domestic argument earlier in the morning that escalated when Garcia attacked the female by shoving her to the ground, choking and punching her several times in the face. The female sustained major visible injuries to her face during the physical assault. The female was transported by ambulance to a local hospital for medical treatment of her injuries. Garcia was contacted at the location and arrested for felony domestic violence battery. Garcia also had two outstanding misdemeanor warrants for his arrest from Sacramento County. Garcia was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for Felony Domestic Violence Battery and was to be held without bail due to a Sacramento County no bail arrest warrant.
SHERIFF'S CORONER, Lt. Shannon Barney, has confirmed that firefighters extinguishing a burning recreational vehicle on Westside Potter Valley Road found a dead man inside. The fire was reported at 4:30am Monday, Barney said. Firefighters were called to the blaze about 4:30 a.m. where they found the vehicle fully engulfed in flames. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and no identification of the man has been released pending notification of his family, Barney said.
ACCORDING to the Fandango website a nighttime movie at the Ukiah Theater is $11.90 for adults and $9.40 for kids and seniors, which seems awfully expensive for Ukiah and even the Bay Area. A friend says she went to a matinee a couple of weeks ago and the senior rate was $7.50, "and three family members went to a matinee during Thanksgiving weekend and it was $10 each."
NO QUIZ THIS WEEK. Quiz Night is the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. See you next time: Thursday, December 14th. — Cheers, Steve Sparks, Quiz Master
LIFE ON THE OLD LLANO SECO
by Jim Luther
(This story is based on events that happened on the Llano Seco Rancho aka the Parrott Grant Ranch in Butte County, sixty summers ago.)
By the time Bruce and I finished getting the grain beds set up on the trucks it was ten to six and we were going to have to hurry to wash up before supper.
As we came around the corner of the truck shed, I saw that most of the men were sitting on the porch benches over at the new bunkhouse, smoking and talking, all washed up and ready to eat. Closer to us, in front of the old bunkhouse, was a black ’46 Dodge, pulled right up on the grass. The door on the driver’s side was open and a few feet away on the lawn a guy in new black overalls was sprawled out on his back.
When we got close I could hear the motor idling and I saw that the guy was still breathing because the buttons on his suspenders were moving a little. Bruce stepped around him and leaned in and shut the motor off, and we walked the rest of the way over to the new bunkhouse. On the way in Shorty Peters, who was sitting on the bench by the screen door, asked us if the guy was dead.
“He’s breathing,” said Bruce. “Who is he? One of the men for the harvest?”
“Yeah,” said Shorty. “He and two others came up from Sacramento today. You should’a seen them other two guys pile outa that car soon as it hit the yard. Like their tails was on fire. One of ’em said they’d been all day driving up. Said the wino kept wantin’ to stop for booze. They got lost a coupla times too. He wouldn’t let either one of ’em drive. They sure was glad to get here. Say, we’d better get over to the dining room, they’re gettin’ ready to ring the bell.”
Bruce and I went in and washed up. When we came out they were ringing the bell, and we ran over to the cook shack and caught the door just as it was closing behind the last man.
During supper the two new men sat across from me. They didn’t say anything except to ask people to pass them things, and I didn’t ask any questions. When I was through eating I went outside and saw that the Dodge was still in front of the old bunkhouse. I walked on over until I could see that the door was still open and the wino was still there on his back, and then I went on into the new bunkhouse and Bruce and I took turns playing cooncan with Hog Slim until about nine. Before going to bed, I went outside again and walked over toward the old bunkhouse just far enough to see that the car door was still open but the wino was gone.
About quarter to six the next morning when I went out to sit on the porch, there were four men over on the porch of the old bunkhouse. One of them was Old Clubfoot, who lived there all the time, even through the winter all by himself when there was plenty of room in the new bunkhouse where there was furnace heating. The others were the wino and the two other new men. The wino was sitting on the porch railing, smoking a cigarette. I couldn’t tell much about him until they got up to walk over to the cook shack, and then I could see he didn’t look too bad off. Then those of us on the porch of the new bunkhouse got up and walked over to the cook shack and when we got there we all had to wait a few minutes before they rang the bell. The wino was leaning up against one of the porch posts, smoking. He looked to be about fifty. What hair he had was all in front, some black and some gray. His eyes were a light blue, and he’d shaved. His cigarette didn’t sputter so it must have been tailor-made. Like I said, his overalls were new.
The bell rang and we went in. The wino sat apart from the other two, at another table. I watched him putting the food away. First, he ate a whole plate of canned grapefruit. Then on the same plate he put a hot cake, on top of that some fried eggs, and then another hot cake on top of that and syrup over the whole thing, and sausage. He drank two cups of coffee with it, and had another plate of grapefruit afterwards. He was the first to finish and took a doughnut with him when he went out.
Bruce and I finished together and went out and had a cigarette on the way back to the bunkhouse. I looked over towards the truck shed and saw the wino moving his car into an empty stall.
I got my water jug out of my room and walked over to the icehouse to fill it. When I came back, most of the men were back on the porch sitting on the benches, smoking, their wet burlapped water jugs sitting by them in puddles on the cement. Over on the porch of the old bunkhouse the four men were smoking. The wino was sitting on the railing, playing with a slouch hat.
At six-thirty on the nose Old Taylor drove up in his gray weapons carrier and most of the men grabbed their water jugs and walked down the short cement ramp onto the gravel over to where Old Taylor pulled up. The three new men came over from the old bunkhouse; Old Clubfoot wasn’t in the harvest so he stayed where he was on his porch. So did a few of the men on the new bunkhouse porch. They were all waiting for Mac, the Little Boss, to drive up in his yellow pickup and take them out to their regular ranch jobs.
Old Taylor shut off his motor and stood up in the open cab while everybody gathered around the weapons carrier. Old Taylor called out names and pointed to people, and those he appointed as catskinners, header tenders, and harvester men pulled themselves up to take seats in the back on both sides of the weapons carrier. All the catskinners and most of the other men knew already what they would be doing, and they climbed up to sit down before Old Taylor got to them. When he was almost done he pointed to the wino and said, “You’re to be a harvester man,” and nodded his head toward the back of the carrier. The wino climbed up and took a seat next to Bruce who was to be a header tender. Finally Old Taylor pointed to me and two of the other younger guys and said we were truck drivers which we already knew, and we walked to the shed to get our trucks.
Mine was a ’47 International, in good shape, and I started her on the first try and was the first one to get to the gas pump. I gassed her up and gave her two quarts of oil, and then drove through the yard and out through the southwest gate onto the main interior ranch road and followed the remains of the dust clouds set up by the weapons carrier. On the way to the first field I thought about the wino making $20 a day as harvester man, and me just making $10. Except for the Harvest Boss, harvester man is the highest paid job in the harvest. There are three men on a harvester. The catskinner drives the caterpillar tractor that pulls the harvester, and gets $12 a day. The header tender sits above the long spinning header that juts out from the side of the harvester and cuts the barley, and he raises and lowers the header as the ground changes; he gets $10, same as a truck driver. The harvester man is boss of the whole rig. He’s supposed to be able to fix it if it breaks down. He spends most of his time sitting on top of the harvester right under the hot corrugated metal roof. Every now and then he gets up and moves around and listens to the spinning gears and the augers and looks into the hopper to see how the grain’s coming in and if it’s getting full, and when it’s full he raises the flag above the harvester to signal the bankout wagon driver to come get a load. It’s hot and dusty and loud as hell up there. Now and then he oils a few chains. He watches the header sometimes and yells over the racket at the header tender to raise it or lower it. Once in a while he pulls on a long string that runs out to a little bell above the catskinner’s head to get him to stop the tractor, and gets down on the ground to check the header and pull weeds out of it. But most of the time he just sits on top of the harvester and swigs water out of his jug and wipes sweat off his face with a big bandanna. He gets $20.
The first field was way down on the south end of the ranch, about five miles from the yard. The catskinners had parked their rigs down there the afternoon before, and when I pulled in I saw that the bankout wagon was already there too, along with the straddle buggy and the diesel wagon. I went over to Bruce and stood and watched him while he fooled around with the pulleys and chains on his header. He got up on the harvester and turned the crank and practiced raising and dropping the header. The wino had a big oilcan with a squirter and was going around the rig squirting oil on chains and things. When they got done we went over to the road and had a smoke while Old Taylor waited for the dew to dry out of the field.
They cranked all the harvesters up about nine and started out around the outside of the field, each one offset, following the harvester in front of it. I got in the cab of my truck and had another cigarette, holding it down below the seat so Old Taylor wouldn’t see me smoking in the field.
By and by the bankout wagon came over with a load of grain and backed up to my truck and delivered it through its auger. Just before the grain was about to spill over the sides of my truck, the bankout driver honked his air horn and I drove the truck forward a few feet and he honked again and I stopped. He finished up and cut his auger off and raced off to a harvester across the field who had his flag up, and I took my load of barley back up the ranch road to the yard, through the yard and out the east gate a few hundred yards to where the grain elevators were. I drove up the ramp onto the iron gratings, got out and pulled the levers along the side of the truck bed and the grain fell out the bottom and there was barley dust billowing up all over everywhere. Old Drummond came out of his little office shack with a cigarette in his mouth bent over and coughing from deep down in his chest like he always did and said By God he wished I’d let him see the grain before I dumped it. He wanted to see what the grain looked like. It didn’t matter because it all got dumped there anyway, but Old Drummond was in charge of the elevators and took himself real seriously. I was the first truck to dump and he wanted to be able to tell the Big Boss at dinner that By God he’d looked real close at the grain when it first came in and that it was good or it was bad or it was green or wet or whatever. I told him there’d be more trucks that morning and he coughed from way down deep and said By God he hoped so, and I drove off the grating around through the yard and out the road back down to the field.
I delivered one more load that morning, just before eleven-thirty, and then parked my truck in the yard. The weapons carrier pulled in soon after with all the men on it, and Bruce and I had a coke in his room before dinner. I asked Bruce about the wino and Bruce said he was pretty good. He said the harvesters were having trouble in a patch of weeds and poison oak, and that Injun Bill’s rig had gotten clogged up with it and had to pull out of the field. Injun Bill was a good harvester man too. Bruce said the wino had stopped their rig a lot of times to pull stuff out of the header, but that they hadn’t clogged up yet and they were almost out of the poison oak. On the way over to the cook shack I asked Bruce if the wino had puked, and Bruce said he didn’t think so.
That afternoon I delivered four more loads to Old Drummond, and he said each time that By God the stuff was green and that there sure must be a lot of weeds out there. Back in the field, in the heat of the cab I fell asleep waiting for the last load. In my sleep I heard a big long blat of noise and woke up to see grain pouring down both sides of my cab. I jerked up and started the motor and moved up about six feet and looked out and saw the bankout driver shaking his head and frowning and then Old Taylor came flying out of the field in his weapons carrier, pulling up in front of my truck and jumping out hopping mad, shouting “The first day! The first goddamned day and you can’t stay awake!” And he went on to tell me he’d never seen the likes of it and so on and so forth, but I knew different. The drivers are always falling asleep waiting for loads in the heat, such a long time between loads and nothing to do but sit and sweat in the hot cabs and try to stay awake. Old Taylor knew that and ordinarily he wouldn’t have made a big deal out of it, but Injun Bill had his rig pulled out of the grain again and Old Taylor knew that the Big Boss would want to know about it at supper. This was only the second time Old Taylor had bossed a harvest, and the talk was that the first time hadn’t been anything he could lean his reputation on.
I didn’t play any cooncan that night because during harvest you work till seven instead of five-thirty, and I was pretty tired. Next morning, while we were waiting on the cookhouse porch for the bell to ring, I heard Old Clubfoot say he’d been hit up by the wino for three singles the night before. He said that the wino and one of the other two new men had gone into town and had come back about eleven o’clock. Somebody asked him how the wino had been when he’d come back from town and Old Club said he’d been quiet and had acted perfectly natural. About then we saw the wino walking over from the old bunkhouse, and Old Club stopped talking before he got close.
That day about two o’clock, the wino’s rig broke down for the first time. He pulled out of the grain just as I was heading back to the elevators with a load. When I got back down to the field he was still there, still broke down. The bankout was filling me up with another load when Old Taylor and the wino came driving over in the weapons carrier. The wino had some kind of a harvester part in his hands.
Old Taylor said for me to drop the wino off at the shop on my way through the yard, and to pick him up on the way back. The wino climbed in on the other side of the cab, and we drove out of the field.
Neither of us said anything for awhile, until the wino finally said that he’d just had a pretty bad scare.
“How do you mean?” I asked him.
He held up two pieces of metal which apparently had been one. “Well, you see this here part? This here part’s from the part of the harvester that picks up the grain and straw from the conveyor coming in off the header. Well, when the harvester froze up—and that’s just what she did, she just froze up tight—I stopped her and got down and looked along the header until I come to the auger that takes everything off the conveyor and pulls it into the harvester and hanging down from out of the auger is the biggest set of snake rattles that you ever saw in all your days. Well, I jumped back pretty quick, I tell you, but then I could see they weren’t moving, but I still wasn’t too sure, so I waited awhile before I did anything more. Then I tried pulling on the main pulley, but nothing moved. I tried pulling on the snake’s tail, but everything was still all jammed up. Finally, with the header man and the catskinner both pulling on the pulley and me pulling on the snake’s tail, we got him out. But he broke this part in two going in.”
I asked him about the snake’s head, but he said he didn’t find anything left above the part of the snake’s tail that had been hanging out of the auger.
I let him out at the shop and picked him up on the way back. He’d gotten a new part from the shop, and said he’d have the harvester up and going in no time, soon as we got back to the field.
I’d noticed that his hands had little white spots on them, and I asked him what they were. Ordinarily you don’t ask questions like that, but I was beginning to figure that the wino wasn’t the kind who would mind.
“These? Oh kid, these is wine sores. Ain’t you ever seen wine sores before?”
I allowed as how I hadn’t.
I dropped him off in the field at his harvester and that was the last I saw of him.
He wasn’t at supper that night and Bruce told me he’d seen him drive out the main ranch road right after Old Taylor brought them all in from the field.
The next morning he wasn’t at breakfast either. Bruce and I sat next to Harlan, the bookkeeper, and Harlan told us that the wino had driven in that morning just after dawn and woke him up pounding on the office door and hollering. When Harlan came out from his room in the back and opened the door, the wino stormed in and demanded his pay:
“Give me my time, goddamn it!”
So Harlan said that he made him out a company check for his two days and the wino drove out of the yard, gravel flying.
(Jim Luther is a retired Mendocino County Superior Court judge who lives in Mendocino.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, November 29, 2017
Alcaraz, Kuntz, Ortega, Passignano
AURELIO ALCARAZ, Ukiah. DUI, pot possession for sale, failure to appear.
STEVEN KUNTZ, Willits. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, disorderly conduct-alcohol.
SALVADOR ORTEGA, Ukiah. Domestic battery, under influence.
MARK PASSIGNANO, Westminster/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
Peters, Reynoso, Ruiz, Vansant
MONIQUE PETERS, Ukiah. Community supervision violation, probation revocation.
NOE REYNOSO, Ukiah. DUI, probation revocation.
MARGARITO RUIZ, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear, probation revocation.
WALTER VANSANT, Ukiah. Criminal threats, probation revocation.
Whipple, Worden, Zapanta
FRANKLIN WHIPPLE, Covelo. Substance possession, prison prior.
CHARLES WORDEN, Fort Bragg. DUI with priors, suspended license, parole violation, failure to appear, probation revocation.
DARIEL ZAPANTA, Ukiah. Under influence.
GARRISON KEILLOR FIRED, SAYS HE PUT HAND ON WOMAN'S BACK
by Jeff Baenen
Garrison Keillor, the former host of "A Prairie Home Companion," said Wednesday he has been fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of what the network called improper behavior.
Keillor told The Associated Press he was fired over "a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard." Keillor didn't detail the allegation to AP, but he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune he had put his hand on a woman's bare back when trying to console her.
"I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness, and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized," Keillor told the newspaper in an email. "I sent her an email of apology later, and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called."
Minnesota Public Radio confirmed it had terminated contracts with Keillor after receiving a single allegation against him last month of "inappropriate behavior." MPR said the allegation stemmed from Keillor's conduct when he was producing and hosting "A Prairie Home Companion."
MPR said it knew of no other allegations but had retained an outside law firm that continues to investigate. Keillor didn't say when the alleged incident occurred.
In his statement, Keillor said it was "poetic irony to be knocked off the air by a story, having told so many of them myself. But I'm 75 and don't have any interest in arguing about this. And I cannot in conscience bring danger to a great organization I've worked hard for since 1969."
Sue Scott, a longtime voice actor on the radio show until Keillor stepped down, told the AP she was stunned. She said she saw no evidence of inappropriate behavior by him when she was on the show.
MPR also said it would end distribution of "The Writer's Almanac," Keillor's daily reading of a poem and telling of literary events, and end rebroadcasts of "The Best of A Prairie Home Companion" hosted by Keillor.
Keillor added that he viewed firing as an 'honor,' and was proud to follow in the footsteps of his 'heroes.'
'Getting fired is a real distinction in broadcasting and I've waited fifty years for the honor. All of my heroes got fired. I only wish it could've been for something more heroic,' he said.
Keillor and his first wife, Mary Guntzel, divorced in 1975 shortly after giving birth to his first child, Jason
The 75-year-old appeared to blame the incident on a self-described socially awkward demeanor, but seemed resigned in the wake of his sudden ouster from MPR.
'Anyone who ever was around my show can tell you that I was the least physically affectionate person in the building. Actors hug, musicians hug, people were embracing every Saturday night left and right, and I stood off in the corner like a stone statue.'
'If I had a dollar for every woman who asked to take a selfie with me and who slipped an arm around me and let it drift down below the beltline, I'd have at least a hundred dollars. So this is poetic irony of a high order. But I'm just fine. I had a good long run and am grateful for it and for everything else,' he added.
Keillor also told The Associated Press of his firing in an email. In a follow-up statement, he said he was fired over 'a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard.'
'It's some sort of poetic irony to be knocked off the air by a story, having told so many of them myself, but I'm 75 and don't have any interest in arguing about this. And I cannot in conscience bring danger to a great organization I've worked hard for since 1969,' Keillor said.
'A person could not hope for more than what I was given,' he said.
Minnesota Public Radio confirmed Keillor had been fired, saying it received a single allegation of 'inappropriate behavior' and doesn't know of any other similar allegations.
'Based on what we currently know, there are no similar allegations involving other staff,' MPR said, noting the alleged incident occurred last month.
'The attorney leading the independent investigation has been conducting interviews and reviewing documents, and the investigation is still ongoing,' MPR added.
Keillor retired as host of his long-running public radio variety show in 2016.
His hand-picked successor, mandolinist Chris Thile, is in his second season as 'Prairie Home' host.
The firing comes just one day after the Washington Post published a new op-ed by Keillor, an avowed Democrat, defending Al Franken, called 'Al Franken should resign? That's absurd.'
Keillor started his Saturday evening show featuring tales of his fictional Minnesota hometown of Lake Wobegon - 'where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average' - in 1974.
The show featured musical acts, folksy humor, parody ads for fake products such as Powdermilk Biscuits and the centerpiece, Keillor delivering a seemingly off-the-cuff monologue, 'The News From Lake Wobegon,' in his rich baritone voice.
Keillor bowed out with a final show at the Hollywood Bowl in July 2016 and turned the show over to Thile, a mandolinist and frequent 'Prairie Home' guest musician.
Keillor was born on August 7, 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota and earned an English degree from the University of Minnesota in 1966.
The former radio personality and author has been married three times, with his son Jason being born in 1969 by his first wife Mary Guntzel. They divorced after 11 years of marriage in 1976.
He later married Ulla Skaerved, a former exchange student from Denmark who attended his high school, from 1985 to 1990.
In 1995, Keilor married violist Jenny Lind Nilsson, with whom he had a daughter, Maia Grace Keillor, two years later.
Keillor went on a 28-city bus tour this summer, vowing it would be his last tour, but he continues on the road with solo shows.
Keillor still produces the radio show, 'The Writer's Almanac,' for syndication, and is finishing a Lake Wobegon screenplay and a memoir about growing up in Minnesota.
NO ANTONIN ARTAUD WITH THE FLAPJACKS, PLEASE
by August Kleinzahler (2005)
(Good Poems, ed. by Garrison Keillor. Viking. $25.95.)
Readers may remember how the US military blared Van Halen and others at the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega when he took refuge in the Vatican Embassy in Panama City during our invasion of Panama years ago. This method of rousting the wicked proved so successful that it was repeated during the recent Afghan experience, when heavy metal chart-busters were unleashed on caves thought to be sheltering Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. The English Guardian newspaper reported last year that we were breaking the wills of captured terrorists, or suspected terrorists, by assaulting them first with heavy metal followed by “happy-smiley children’s songs.” The real spirit cruncher turns out to be the “Barney, I Love You” song played for hours on end. Even the most hardened, sadistic killers buckle under “that kind of hell,” or so asserted a reliable source. But if that fails to work, I suggest a round-the-clock tape of Garrison Keillor reading poems on his daily Writer’s Almanac show.
Now, had Keillor not “strayed off the reservation” and kept to his Prairie Home Companion show with its Norwegian bachelor farmers and Lutheran bake sales (a sort of Spoon River Anthology as presented by the Hallmark Hall of Fame), comfort food for the philistines, a contemporary, bittersweet equivalent to the Lawrence Welk Show of years past, I’d have left him alone. But the indefatigable and determined purveyor of homespun wisdom has wandered into the realm of fire, and for his trespass must be burned.
If it were up to me, I’d suggest we borrow the US military’s tactics and lock Mr. Keillor in a Quonset hut, crank up the speakers, and give him an industrial-strength dose of, say, Albert Ayler saxophone solos until this “much beloved radio personality” forswears reading poems over the airwaves every morning. Ayler’s music is not a particular enthusiasm of mine. The late poet Ted Joans described Ayler’s solos as shocking as hearing someone scream “Fuck!” in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. But Garrison Keillor could do with a little Albert Ayler in his church, and church is what Keillor is all about. Everything that comes out of his mouth in that treacly baritone, which occasionally releases into a high-pitched, breathless tremolo when he wants to convey emotion, is a sermon. The homily runs something like this: we are good, if foolish and weak, and may gain redemption through compassion, laughing at ourselves, and bad poetry badly read.
Albert Ayler could only be a tonic for Keillor—a tonic we will force-feed him as they force-feed a goose in Perigord for foie gras—because Ayler’s art is opposite to Keillor’s shtick. Everything Keillor does is about reassurance, containment, continuity. He makes no demands on his audiences, none whatsoever. To do so would only be bad manners. Gentleness and good manners are the twin pillars of the church of Keillor.
Ayler is all about excess, anger, challenge, exploration, risk. Even when his improvisations fail, they fail bravely. His mission is to explode conventions and expectations. It would never have crossed his mind musically to be ingratiating or reassuring, or polite. Nor should it have done. That is not what music or poetry is for, especially in times like these. There is a passage from a William Carlos Williams poem, “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower,” dear to the hearts of those who would peddle poetry, or the idea of poetry, to the masses. I have heard it read on NPR in that solemn, hushed tone that is a commonplace among poetry salespersons, not least Mr. Keillor:
Of asphodel, that greeny flower,
I come, my sweet,
to sing to you!
My heart rouses
thinking to bring you news
that concerns you
and concerns many men. Look at
what passes for the new.
You will not find it there but in
It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
of what is found there.
A pretty sentiment, to be sure, but simply untrue, as anyone who has been to the supermarket or ballpark recently will concede. Ninety percent of adult Americans can pass through this life tolerably well, if not content, eating, defecating, copulating, shopping, working, catching the latest Disney blockbuster, without having a poem read to them by Garrison Keillor or anyone else. Nor will their lives be diminished by not standing in front of a Cézanne at the art museum or listening to a Beethoven piano sonata. Most people have neither the sensitivity, inclination, or training to look or listen meaningfully, nor has the culture encouraged them to, except with the abstract suggestion that such things are good for you. Multivitamins are good for you. Exercise, fresh air, and sex are good for you. Fruit and vegetables are good for you. Poetry is not.
Especially most of what Garrison Keillor reads on his Writer’s Almanac, which, as a rule, isn’t poetry at all but prose arbitrarily broken into lines masquerading as poetry. The typical Keillor selection tends to be anecdotal, wistful: more often than not a middle-aged creative writing instructor catching a whiff of mortality in the countryside—watching the geese head south, getting lost in the woods, this sort of thing.
John Ash, writing of the brilliant, fellow English poet Roy Fisher, speaks of Fisher’s “rage, his refusal to be politely depressed.” There is a virulent strain of the “politely depressed” in American poetry. There are other, equally obnoxious and resistant strains, but the “politely depressed” is a pertinacious little bugger, and Garrison Keillor is only helping to spread it.
Poetry not only isn’t good for you, bad poetry has been shown to cause lymphomas and, in extreme instances, pancreatic cancer, in laboratory experiments. (I’ll have to dig around in my notes to find exactly what study that was…) I avoid Keillor’s poetry moment at nine a.m. here in San Francisco as I avoid sneezing, choking, rheumy-eyed passengers on the streetcar, lest I catch something. But occasionally, while surfing for the news, I get bit and am nearly always sickened, if not terminally, for several hours.
Keillor means well. Of course he does. That’s his problem. His execrable Almanac begins with a few bars of hymn-style piano. And how could it be otherwise? We are in church. Garrison is ministering culture. A series of four or five capsulized, and trivialized, biographies of writers born on that same day follows: “Emily Dickinson was born on this day in 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. She wasn’t a picture, God knows, and was reclusive in her ways. She wrote small, puzzling poems that no one read until she was dead.” Keillor then proceeds to read a poem, of Ms. Dickinson’s, if we are lucky, or of one of his stand-bys like Billy Collins, if we are not. It doesn’t really matter. Keillor embalms whatever poem he reads within the burnished caul of his delivery, a voice one friend of mine describes as “probably taken out at day’s end and left to stand all night in a glass of bourbon.” Keillor then signs off: “Be well, do good work, keep in touch.” You bet, Garrison, I’m right on it.
I have little doubt that a Keillor staffer picks the poems for the show, a superannuated former MFA from the Iowa Workshop would be my guess, one familiar with Keillor’s appalling taste, sentimentality, and the constraints of format. Keillor will deny this, as will his staff. But there’s no way he’d have the time, either to read poetry or even sift casually through volumes current and old, to choose an appropriate poem. He not only has his weekly radio show, he’s busy producing rotten books on what seems an almost seasonal basis. Also, judging by the introduction to Good Poems, a selection of poems from five years of those read on The Writer’s Almanac, Keillor is infatuated with the idea of poetry but knows and cares little or nothing about the art, what’s good, what’s bad, and how it’s made. But that doesn’t stop him, oh no. Keillor is all appetite, irrepressible, the hardest working “thoughtful person” in show business.
In his introduction to the collection, Keillor warns us:
The goodness of a poem is severely tested by reading it on the radio. The radio audience is not the devout sisterhood you find at poetry readings, leaning forward, lips pursed, hanky in hand [?!]; it’s more like a high school cafeteria. People listen to poems while they’re frying eggs and sausage and reading the paper and reasoning with their offspring, so I find it wise to stay away from stuff that is too airy or that refers off-handedly to the poet Li-Po or relies on your familiarity with butterflies or Spanish or Monet.
“So I’ll be feeding you mostly shit,” is what Garrison could well go on to say. No Antonin Artaud with the flapjacks, please.
Actually, Good Poems isn’t as bad as one might think had one been listening now and then to Keillor’s morning segment over the years. Its principal virtue is that one doesn’t have to endure Keillor’s poetry voice. But the range of the selections suggests more variety than the show customarily offers, and there’s a healthy dollop of Anonymous, Shakespeare, Ms. Dickinson, Burns, Whitman, et al. There are surprising and delightful choices I would never have credited Keillor in making (he probably didn’t) like Anne Porter, an excellent and little-known poet published by the now extinct Zoland Press. And the volume contains enlightened selections of the work of well-known contemporaries; I’m thinking here of a particularly good C. K. Williams poem. Of course, on balance, it’s a rotten collection I wouldn’t recommend to anyone, but it’s not so bad as it might have been.
Keillor is not the first to offer the masses reassurance and diversion through poetry on the radio. Edgar Guest (1881-1957) broadcast a weekly program on NBC radio from 1931 to 1942, and his topical verses were syndicated to over 300 newspapers throughout the U.S. in his daily “Table Chat” column. Known as the “poet of the people,” Guest published more than twenty volumes of poetry and was thought to have written over 11,000 poems, almost all of them fourteen lines long and presenting “a sentimental view of everyday life.” Guest’s Collected Verse appeared in 1934 and went into at least eleven editions. “I take the simple everyday things that happen to me,” Guest wrote, “and I figure it happens to a lot of other people and I make simple rhymes out of them.”
Are we not yet adult enough as a culture to acknowledge that the arts are not for everyone, and that bad art is worse than no art at all; and that good or bad, art’s exclusive function is to entertain, not to improve or nourish or console, simply entertain. And in this, Moby Dick or Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier” are not different than the movie Cat in the Hat or Britney Spears wiggling her behind on stage; the former being more complexly entertaining and satisfying, but only for those who can appreciate the difference, and they are the minority.
Let me quote from a lecture the British poet Basil Bunting gave in Vancouver in 1970:
Poetry is no use whatever. The whole notion of usefulness is irrelevant to what are called the fine arts, as it is to many other things, perhaps to most of the things that really matter. We who call ourselves “The West,” now that we’ve stopped calling ourselves Christians, are so imbued with the zeal for usefulness that was left us by Jeremy Benthem that we find it difficult to escape from utilitarianism into a real world.
In America, usefulness is indissolubly wed to profit, increased capital. Poetry is no exception. It is worth reflecting during National Poetry Month that creative writing, over the past forty years, has subsumed American poetry and become a $250-million industry, a rather seamy industry, and an off-shoot of the rather seamy Human Potential Movement industry. American poetry is now an international joke. And not just internationally: American novelists, non-fiction writers, scholars, the enlightened general reader who a generation ago read poetry as a matter of course, for pleasure, rarely attend to it anymore. Poetry is seldom, if ever, reviewed in mainstream journals like the New York Times, the New Yorker, Harper’s, the Atlantic Monthly, and when it is reviewed at all, it is reviewed in a cursory or inept manner.
Publishers will cheerfully volunteer—at least last time I checked—that poetry has never sold so well. Surely, never have so many written it and sought to publish it. I have every expectation that Keillor’s Good Poems is doing land-office business. It’s that kind of book and has the editor’s broad public appeal behind it. I expect Mr. Keillor’s morning show has legions of faithful listeners as well, who feel nourished and broadened by his daily reading of poetry, as countless Americans once felt about Edgar Guest and his more homely product.
But I, for one, have never in my lifetime seen the situation of poetry in this country more dire or desperate. Nor is the future promising. Cultural and economic forces only suggest further devastation of any sort of vital literary culture, along with the prospects of the very, very few—it is always only a very few—poets who will matter down the road. What little of real originality is out there is drowning in the waste products spewing from graduate writing programs like the hog farm waste that recently overflowed its holding tanks in the wake of Hurricane Isabel, fouling the Carolina countryside and poisoning everything in its path.
Let me put it starkly: the better animals in the jungle aren’t drawn to poetry anymore, and they’re certainly not tuned in to Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. Just as the new genre of the novel drew off most of the brilliant young writers of the nineteenth century, movies, television, MTV, advertising, rock ‘n’ roll, and the internet have taken the best among the recent crop of young talent. Do you suppose for a moment that a spirited youngster with a brilliant, original mind and gifted up the yin-yang is going to sit still for two years of creative writing poetry workshops presided over by a dispirited, compromised mediocrity, all the while critiquing and being critiqued by younger versions of the same?
Boosterism of the sort Garrison Keillor participates in on The Writer’s Almanac will succeed in shifting more than a few books of poetry, not least his Good Poems, and in encouraging countless more people to write. But there exists a surfeit of encouragement of this kind in America at the moment, and there’s very little to show for it. The merchandising of poetry, or at least the slick, sentimental idea of it, is the problem, not the solution.
Allow me to conclude with a poem called “National Poetry Day” by the Scottish poet Gael Turnbull, which is timely and also reminds us that this sort of foolishness, though endemic in the US of A, is not altogether unique to it.
“Transform your life with poetry”
the card said, and briefly I fussed
that this overestimated the effect
until I remembered how it had thrust
several old friends,
plus near and dear,
into distress and penury,
how even I, without the dust
of its magic, might have achieved
peace of mind, even success,
so maybe the advice is just,
not to be ignored, a sort of timely
Health Warning from the Ministry
at the Scottish Book Trust.
“He was a star, now he’s a black hole.”
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Bitcoin is for suckers. P T Barnum proved it with signs in his circus tents that said “This Way to Egress” and our poorly educated mass of rubes of that era thought it was some kind of exotic bird. They followed the signs only to find they had been directed out through the exit and had to pay again to get back in. Buyer beware. IMO Bitcoin is a scam, a nothing burger, and as usual our regulators and SEC are asleep at the wheel, no doubt sitting around reading a bunch of tweets from our King Twit. Barnum would love Bitcoin, Trump, and sucker all those millions of poor souls fleeced and flummoxed by the GOP and evangelical money grubbing mega-preachers.
COAST HOSPITAL & NORTH COAST FAMILY HEALTH CENTER WIN GOLD
Fort Bragg, CA – November 29, 2017 – Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) and North Coast Family Health Center (NCFHC) are proud to announce they have won The Gold Award 2017 for their PRIME Project “Cancer Screening and Follow Up.” They competed with 48 District Hospitals throughout California for this award, winning first place.
Public Hospital Redesign and Incentives in Medi-Cal (PRIME) is a pay-for-performance program in which California’s public health care systems and District and Municipal Hospitals use quality improvement projects to achieve ambitious performance goals and improve health outcomes for patients. Under PRIME, each health care system participates in accepted projects focused on improvements in ambulatory care, behavioral health integration, high-risk populations and efficiency. Target improvement metrics for these projects are largely based on state and national benchmarks. Federal and state funding is contingent on meeting these targets and demonstrating continued improvement.
“We are extremely proud of our staff for their hard work and dedication to this project. This will not only significantly improve the health of our community, it has already resulted in added revenue to our bottom line,” said Bob Edwards, CEO.
The NCFHC project to improve the health of our community through increased cancer screenings saw some dramatic improvements due to their efforts. The breast cancer screening rate increased 44%; cervical cancer screening rates improved by 67% and colorectal cancer screening rates were up by 14%. “We are happy to report some significant improvements in cancer screenings due to our PRIME Project,” commented Ilona Horton, Practice Manager at NCFHC. “Cancer is the leading cause of death in Mendocino County, so this project was an easy choice for us. Our project goal is in concert with our mission, to improve the health of our rural community through increased cancer screenings.”
To achieve their ambitious PRIME goals, staff at NCFHC analyzed, validated and merged massive amounts of data using new population health software, and integrated that into their Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. They created Patient Care Teams and new population health and care coordination workflows using new protocols and standing orders, daily patient visit summaries and daily morning huddles which focus on the whole-person health of each individual patient.
Successful PRIME participants like MCDH and NCFHC are meeting ambitious yearly performance targets, shifting their care delivery models towards strengthening patient-centered care, and providing the right care at the right time in more appropriate and cost-effective settings. PRIME provides incentives to operate under a model that’s based on value, not volume. The ultimate result is a better system with healthier patients.
For more information about MCDH, NCFHC or PRIME, please contact Doug Shald at 707.961.4961 or email@example.com.
OUTSIDE MULLINGAR: Final weekend! Don't miss the chance to see the Mendocino Theatre Company's production of John Patrick Shanley's romantic comedy OUTSIDE MULLINGAR, which audience members are calling "delightful."OUTSIDE MULLINGAR plays this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8pm, with a final performance on Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are available online at mendocinotheatre.org or by calling the box office, 707-937-4477.
DELTA LEGISLATORS TO HOLD TOWN HALL ON FINANCIAL FEASIBILITY OF DELTA TUNNELS PROJECT
by Dan Bacher
Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) will hold a town hall in Walnut Grove on Thursday, November 30 to examine the financial feasibility of Governor Jerry Brown's controversial Delta Tunnels project, also known as the California WaterFix, and discuss related concerns, including recent findings by the State Auditor.
The hearing will be held at the Jean Harvie Community Center, 14273 River Road, Walnut Grove, from 10 am. to noon. Members of the public are invited to attend, according to a press release from Dodd's Office.
“Ensuring a vibrant and sustainable Delta is absolutely essential for our region and our entire state,” said Senator Dodd. “I encourage Delta residents to join us and hear from the State Auditor’s Office regarding their recent findings. The Delta Caucus is working to educate the public and fighting to protect the Delta for our residents, visitors and wildlife.”
State Auditor Elaine M. Howle will present the findings of the recent audit: “Department of Water Resources: The Unexpected Complexity of the California WaterFix Project Has Resulted in Significant Cost Increases and Delays.”
The audit revealed extensive mismanagement by the Department of Water Resources (DWR), including the violation of state contracting laws, spending millions of dollars over anticipated costs, and failure to complete either an economic or financial analysis.
The 97-page report said DWR broke state contracting laws when they replaced the program manager for the California WaterFix, formerly called the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP), a proposal to build two massive 35-mile long tunnels under the Delta to export Sacramento River water to agribusiness interests in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California water agencies.
The audit summary pointed out that although DWR used a “robust selection process” to select its first program manager, the URS Corporation, it later used “other methods” to select a replacement program manager, the Hallmark Group.
“WaterFix is one of the largest, most costly public works project ever proposed in California,” said Frazier, who represents the heart of the Delta region in the Assembly. “There are a number of growing concerns surrounding the project’s financials. The recent state audit cited cost over-runs that are out of control. The audit also found the Department of Water Resources failed to complete a basic cost-benefit analysis and has mismanaged the project.”
Dr. Jeffrey Michael, executive director of the Center for Business & Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, will present the Center’s recent report, “Benefit-Cost Analysis of the proposed California WaterFix.”
Cindy Messer, the Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Water Resources, will report on the finances for the California WaterFix project, including cost-share estimates and debt service projections, and the response to the recent audit.
Members of the public will have an opportunity to provide their comments, limited to 2 minutes per speaker.
Delta Tunnels opponents, including Restore the Delta and North Delta Cares, are encouraging the public to attend and provide public comment.
"Our Delta legislators are hosting a public examination and hearing on the blistering state audit report on the tunnels. We hope to see you there!" said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta (RTD).
More information here.
(Photo by Susie DeCastro)
ANNOUNCING MY NEW WEBSITE AVOIDINGNUCLEARWAR.COM
Warm winter solstice greetings! I'm delighted to announce the launching of <avoidingnuclearwar.com>, devoted to the latest news and analysis focused on avoiding nuclear war in general, and avoiding nuclear attack against the United States in particular. Heartfelt thanks to all who live and work for peace conversion on all levels-we, the human race, have not used a nuclear weapon in war for over 72 years, and this year 122 nations made a treaty banning nuclear weapons!
I believe we need a movement in the U.S. for fundamental changes in U.S. nuclear weapons strategy. The current strategy of escalating first-strike threat against nuclear-armed nations is putting the very survival of our nation in great peril. The good news is that U.S. nuclear weapons policy can be changed quickly, to a sensible strategy of deterrence only.
The mixed news is President Donald Trump, who is forcing all of us to really study what is going on in the world of nuclear confrontation. President Trump could realize he has inherited a suicidal strategy leading ever-closer to the nuclear war which could destroy the United States, and be revered forever as the president who led the world away from nuclear war. Instead, by hurling threats to destroy North Korea, he is putting us all at great peril for no good reason.
Here's my latest post on <avoidingnuclearwar.com>.
Be in delight, savoring each delightful day without nuclear war!
China Draws "Red Lines" to Restrain Both North Korea and the United States November 28, 2017
Alarmed by escalating threats of nuclear attack being exchanged by the United States and North Korea, China used an opinion piece in the state-run Global Times to warn both nations of dire consequences if either should attack the other.
As reported in Asia Times on August 11 this year, the opinion piece in China's Global Times repeated China's long-standing position that the U.S. and South Korea should cease threatening statements and military exercises threatening North Korea, and North Korea should cease missile and nuclear weapons tests.
"China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral," the Global Times editorial said.
"If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean peninsula," added the Chinese editorial, "China will prevent them from doing so."
There you have it: a first-strike U.S. attack to overthrow the North Korean Government by the U.S. would be an attack on China.
Also, if North Korea attacks "US soil" China will stay neutral if the U.S. retaliates.
I hope and believe this will restrain both North Korea and the U.S. from going to war. China has a fully-developed nuclear arsenal, focused on deterring the United States from just the sort of "nuclear blackmail" President Trump is attempting with his threats to destroy North Korea unless it gives up its nuclear weapons program.
The "freeze for freeze" proposal to end the threat of war, with the U.S. stopping threatening statements and military exercises and North Korea suspending tests of nuclear weapons and missiles, is supported by many thoughtful U.S. strategists. I believe we should all demand an end to military threat against North Korea, which is putting the U.S. homeland in increasing danger of actual nuclear attack.