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MCT: Tuesday, December 3, 2019

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LIGHT SHOWERS will linger across the region through tonight, followed by drier weather on Wednesday. Another storm system will yield periods of heavy rain and strong winds Thursday night through Saturday. (National Weather Service)

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GINA BEAN, the principle suspect in the hit and run death of Calum Hunnicutt in Mendocino last July, was arrested and charged with ‘Hit & Run resulting in death or injury’ Monday afternoon.

Ms. Bean turned herself in.


The following press release was issued by the Ukiah CHP Monday @ 9:42 pm. As with all law enforcement releases, those named therein should be presumed innocent unless/until found guilty in a court of law:

"After a vigorous and thorough investigation by the California Highway Patrol, a case was submitted to the Menodinco County District Attorney's Office regarding a hit and run collision on SR-1 at Little Lake Road resulting in the death of Calum Pulido.

The case filed by the California Highway Patrol resulted in two warrants. One warrant was for Gina Bean, the suspected driver in the collision, and the other was for Ricky Santos, who was identified to be a co-conspirator in the concealment and destruction of evidence.

On Wednesday, November 27, at approximately 3:24 pm, Santos was arrested by the California Highway Patrol.

On Monday, December 2nd, at approximately 4:08 pm, Gina Bean turned herself in to the Mendocino County Jail."

(MSP NOTE-- According to the information from the Mendocino County Jail log, the suspect bailed out of the Mendocino County Jail after a little more than five hours (5:08) in custody charged with ONE felony: "HIT & RUN RESULTING IN DEATH OR INJURY." Her bail was $50,000.)

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HOOPS GALORE! The 62nd annual Redwood Classic Basketball Tournament kicks off Wednesday afternoon at 4pm in the Boonville gym with Cloverdale vs. Point Arena. Cloverdale's always good, PA is sometimes good. Then there's Covelo vs. Valley Christian, and then Fort Bragg dares confront the Anderson Valley Panthers around 7pm, with the final game of the evening featuring the always strong Hoopa quintet against yet another Christian five, this one from Forest Lake. More games on Thursday and Friday and Saturday, culminating in the trophy game between two of the best teams in the state. Drop in at the Boonville gym any time Wednesday through Saturday night for some highly entertaining high school basketball.

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Yes, There May Be Hwy 128 Flooding If Sandbar Doesn't Breach

It's common knowledge the "flood stage" of the Navarro River is 23.0' - but less known is the fact that Highway 128 could be closed for DAYS when the river gauge reads 4.5' AND the sandbar at the mouth of the river hasn't breached.

It happened last year, the year before and the year before that.

At the latest reading of the gauge (Monday afternoon @ 2:5 pm), the river level was 2.7' - and "discharge" (the amount of water flowing towards the mouth) was 611 gallons per second. It doesn't take a math major to figure out there will be trouble - and a Hwy 128 closure - if the sandbar doesn't breach.

MSP will be paying a visit to the river later this afternoon to show you the current conditions.

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

AS DAVE SEVERN points out, “You need a lot of rain to make the river go way up. We haven’t had it yet.” The river referred to is our only river, the Navarro, which Severn, who visits it daily, tells us, “As of just now, Sunday morning, the gauge is at about 30 cubic feet per second. Wednesday it made it up to 40 cfs. The median point for this date is 91 cfs and the average for this date is 700 cfs. I guess you could say it is “way up” from the 2014 minimum of 6.40 cfs.”

AS OF MONDAY MORNING, the Anderson Valley's rain total (since October 1) was at 3.47 inches.

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THE BOONVILLE HOTEL’S annual tree lighting will be Thursday, December 5th at 5:30pm. The popular annual event will be accompanied by hearty soups and baked goods provided by Hotel staff with live music by the Real Sarahs. $10 suggested donation. Funds raised will support the Anderson Valley Food Bank’s holiday food drive. (BTW, kudos to Wayne Hiatt for getting the lights up on the tree.)

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MENDOCINO SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY or, to the bureaucratic cognoscenti, "Mmmmmmswaaaa." I bring it up because, for some reason, I thought they might be responsible for hauling off that junked car up on the Ukiah Road. Nope. Not Mmmmmmswaaaaa's responsibility. Put a call into the County's Planning and Building Department's code enforcement office — they are apparently responsible for “Abandoned Vehicle Abatement.” The late night drunks have apparently exhausted themselves vandalizing that vehicle, but it's been there going on two months, a bold white inscription proclaiming “Bob” on what’s left of it. Give it a year and the drunks may have pounded it into invisibility. The jarring presence of the wreckage is kinda symbolic of government these days, but still…

JOHN BURKS, who runs Mendocino County’s Abandoned Vehicle Abatement program out of the Code enforcement section of the Planning Department called back on Wednesday to report that their contract with Ukiah Auto Dismantlers had expired, and due to budget problems, the County has been slow to get a new contract in place. Apparently, the lower salvage value of wrecked cars these days translated to higher cost program bids from the few salvage yards in the County, which then created a demand from the wreckers for more money to haul the wrecks away and outtasight. Burks and Co. are working on arranging a new contract, but Burks wouldn’t speculate on how long it’ll take. He did say that when the new contract(s) is/are in place, there’ll be a sizable backlog of abandoned cars to deal with. Burks also said that the Abandoned Camaro on Highway 253 — colloquially known as “Bob” — has been on their list of cars to be picked up for several weeks now.

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FREE WORKSHOP on Improving Rural Roads for Watershed Health Mendocino County Resource Conservation District and Pacific Watershed Associates will be hosting a free Road Improvement Workshop on Thursday, December 12, 9:00 to 4:00, beginning at the Lyme Redwoods Conference Room in Fort Bragg. Attendees will receive a copy of the Handbook for Rural, Ranch, and Forest Roads (2015) and The Watershed Guide to Best Management Practices for Cannabis and Other Rural Gardeners (2018). Participants will learn about progressive road design and maintenance strategies to reduce road-related erosion-while protecting habitat for fish and wildlife. The goal of road sediment reduction is decrease runoff to streams within our coastal watersheds, with the added benefit of lower annual maintenance costs! The full day workshop will include a visit to recently completed road work in the Usal Forest near Rockport. The class and field tour will be led by Colin Hughes, Engineering Geologist at Pacific Watershed Associates. For further information, please call: Patty Madigan at 462-3664 ext. 102. Patty Madigan, Sr. Conservation Programs Manager Mendocino County Resource Conservation District

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CORRECTION: Glenn McGourty does not live in Potter Valley. No sir, Glenn in fact lays his fraught noggin each night on his crocheted Farm Bureau pillow — the one with the lambies gamboling beneath the Potter Valley Diversion — on Old River Road between Ukiah and Hopland.

FROM the Mendocino County Historical Journal of December 2019: "Ethel and William [Held] moved into the Perkins Street home in July, 1903. The new dwelling now under construction for Attorney W.D. Held on the corner just west of the Presbyterian Church is to be up-to-date in architectural style and will be an ornament to that part of the city."

IMAGINE THAT. In 1903 what buildings looked like mattered to Ukiah. I'd say it mattered right up until World War Two when it seems Americans were struck blind, that we'd forgotten how central it is to public morale that our structures and communities look good.

Ethel Poage-Held, William Held

ATTORNEY HELD went on to become the County's sole Superior Court judge and served three terms as a State Assemblyman who initiated four lasting progressive laws:

  1. Capping the legal interest rate 10%;
  2. Provided indigents with free legal defenses;
  3. Established direct party primaries instead of the party boss system;
  4. Gave counties and municipalities the right of initiative, referendum and recall.

POOR OLD CHARLES HENSLEY is dead. That's what a reader posted this morning, and why would anybody report him dead if he wasn't? We followed the guy through the Catch of the Day for a number of years, ghoulishly wondering how long he could last before his liver gave out completely. Ms. Davin, who checks in below, knew him best, at least among ava people including Bruce McEwen and James Marmon, who also write feelingly of the late Mr. Hensley. We've complained over the years that the Hensleys of Mendocino County are avoided by the helping professionals, at least partly because he, and they, are not "reimburseable." The helping pros don't get paid to help the Hensleys, so… To be fair, the Hensleys are beyond help short of time outs in county jails. The photo accompanying these comments was taken at the County Jail by Ms. Davin, and you can see from it how good he looked sober, and Ms. Davin's interview with him was surprising in that Hensley thought he was doing well and how optimistic he seemed sober for the first time in months. Used to be the Hensleys got longer time to dry out in state hospital programs, long enough to maybe even reconsider the drop-fall drinking life. Anymore, though, they die alone in the cold and rain in the parking lot at Home Depot.

MARILYN DAVIN: If Charlie’s death came up at a public county-government forum, I doubt it would take longer than a minute or two for the blame game to kick off. Law enforcement should have rehabilitated him, social services should have done more when he was an eight-year-old boy, all alone, caring for his dying mother, mental health should have found somewhere for him to live, on and on. This is not that discussion. I only know two things for sure: one of Ukiah’s native sons should not have died in a big-box parking lot on a sub-freezing night over the Thanksgiving weekend while most of the rest of us were chowing down in our warm homes; and every one of us must shoulder some of the blame. We are responsible for one another. Though I don’t know the specifics I suspect that Charlie died alone in that cold parking lot, just as he struggled alone as his dying mother’s caregiver when he was just eight years old.

BRUCE MCEWEN: I hope he’s in a better place — in fact, since it’s hard to imagine anything worse than a Home Depot parking lot, I’m pretty sure he is; at least his temporal problems are over, and they must have been as onerous as his punishment was egregious, the Universe being so fond of balance. I took him a hot meal one wet night when I found him camping in the alcove of the long-abandoned building next to the Forest Club.

JAMES MARMON: Charles Hensley, a true hobo (aka Homeward Bound)

If God had a name what would it be?

And would you call it to his face?

If you were faced with Him in all His glory

What would you ask if you had just one question?

And yeah, yeah, God is great

Yeah, yeah, God is good

And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah

What if God was one of us?

Just a slob like one of us

Just a stranger on the bus

Tryin’ to make his way home?

If God had a face what would it look like?

And would you want to see if, seeing meant

That you would have to believe in things like heaven

And in Jesus and the saints, and all the prophets?

And yeah, yeah, God is great

Yeah, yeah, God is good

And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah

What if God was one of us?

Just a slob like one of us

Just a stranger on the bus

Tryin’ to make his way home?

Just tryin’…


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The salmon, searching for their spawning grounds, have pushed their way up the Eel River and into Southern Humboldt, reports wildlife photographer, Ann Constantino who took these photos yesterday.

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Dine-out at the Macullum House to Benefit the Community Center of Mendocino Wednesday, December 4.

The MacCallum House has offered to sponsor a Dine-Out and Silent Auction on Wednesday, December 4 from 5:30 pm- 8:00 pm to benefit the Community Center of Mendocino! Please come, enjoy an exquisite meal, maybe a cocktail, etc. Several amazing, generous donations have been made for our silent auction.

Reservations would be nice, please but not mandatory, The bar opens at 5:00. MacCallum House address is 45020 Albion St. in Mendocino.

Hope to see you there!! Thank you for your support and encouragement for our After School Enrichment Program!!

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"The annual tree lighting ceremony and the Holiday Lights Parade will take place Saturday, December 7th. The schedule of events is as follows:

5:00 pm Guest House Museum "Open House" featuring Santa Claus (until 7:00 pm)

6:00 pm Mayor Will Lee will say a few words and light this year’s tree.

7:00 pm Lighted Truck Parade begins

We are grateful to all of the participants in the evening’s events as well as the Nor Coast Rodders for coordinating the parade, the Lyme Timber Company for donating this year’s tree and to PG&E for helping us with the placement of the tree."

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New book offers a variety of ways to explore the city of Oakland this holiday season.

OAKLAND, CA—With the holidays just around the corner, Jessie Fetterling, author of 100 Things to Do in Oakland Before You Die, has put together the definitive Oakland bucket list, and it’s full of fun things to do during the holidays. Below are some suggested activities straight from the book itself:

Did you know that Oakland has an ale trail? Follow its map to try out some seasonal brews at local favorites like Drake's Dealership or The Trappist.

The holidays bring several music acts to Oakland. The best spots to get your groove on include the Fox Oakland, Yoshi's Jazz Club and the Paramount, to name a few.

Children's Fairyland is a great place to spend the holidays with your little ones. This 50-plus-year family hotspot brings storybooks to life and has one of the longest-operating puppet theaters in the country.

As we gear up for holiday season, the best place to do some shopping is Oakland First Fridays. This monthly block party touts some of the best artisans in town, while also bringing DJs and food trucks into the mix.

Jessie Fetterling became a travel junkie early in life when she and her family went on an annual cross-country trips—one of which brought her to the San Francisco Bay Area. Falling in love with the destination, she moved her six months later and has called it home ever since. It is here that she began her career as a travel writer, which has taken her everywhere from South Africa to Singapore. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and currently lives in downtown Oakland.

‘100 Things to Do in Oakland Before You Die’—part of the 100 Things series; ISBN: 9781681060972; Softcover, 5.5 x 8.5; 160 pages. $16.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 2, 2019

Bean, Calvo, Carlson, Dille

GINA BEAN, Fort Bragg. Hit & Run resulting in death or injury.

DAVID CALVO, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

MICHAEL CARLSON, Covelo. Domestic abuse, disorderly conduct-alcohol.

ELLIOTT DILLE, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

Hois, Kemp, Nunez-Davila, Ousey

EMILY HOIS, Albion. Domestic abuse.

MICHAEL KEMP, Portland/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JUAN NUNEZ-DAVILA, Covelo. Protective order violation, illegal entry.

KRISTO OUSEY, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

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OUR TIMES December 2, 2019

by Fred Gardner

Edward Snowden's Permanent Record

Snowden's autobiography is unputdownable. I had no idea until page 198 that he has epilepsy. At the age of 28 —as he is starting to comprehend the extent of the US government's mass surveillance program— he starts experiencing space-outs that he doesn't recognize as petit mal seizures. Then he has a grand-mal collapse.

His friend Lindsay (“my stalwart angel”) did research online. "She Googled both allopathic and homeopathic treatments so intensely that basically all her Gmail ads were for epilepsy pharmaceuticals… The latter half of 2011 passed in a succession of seizures, and in countless doctors' offices and hospitals. I was imaged, tested, and prescribed medications that stabilized my body but clouded my mind, turning me depressed, lethargic, and unable to focus." Snowden is fortunate in that he senses an aura when a seizure is coming on and can protect himself somewhat. (One in four epilepsy patients, including a loved one of mine, have no such forewarnings.)

As the top technologist for Dell's CIA account, Snowden could work from home; but he couldn't drive to meetings, so he took a disability leave. Homebound and watching TV, he followed news of the Arab Spring and calculated what the US had wrought since September 2001. "The previous 10 years had been a cavalcade of American-made tragedy: the forever war in Afghanistan, catastrophic regime change in Iraq, indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary renditions, torture, targeted killings of civilians —even of American civilians via drone strikes. Domestically there was the Homeland Securitization of everything… and from the Patriot Act on, the steady erosion of civil liberties, the very liberties we were allegedly fighting to protect." He was still not thinking about blowing the whistle.

Ed Snowden looks like who he is — clear-eyed, totally straight, a man in love with a woman, who never used illicit drugs, who tells the truth without deviation. Back when Stephen Colbert was funny he said, as the screen showed a close-up of Snowden, "The face of eeevilll!"

PG&E Flacks Create 'The PSPS Event'

Page 3 of the Sunday 11/24 San Francisco Chronicle was a full-page mea culpa ad from PG&E. But the power company's arrogant leaders are not really capable of taking responsibility —let alone apologizing— for the tragedies caused by their improperly maintained infrastructure. So the ad attempted to justify the company's outrageous response to the dry Autumn of 2019: power shut-offs in rural and some suburban areas. PG&E has dubbed these costly disruptions of customers' lives and businesses "public safety power shutoffs" (which makes them seem justified). Bay Area TV and radio announcers immediately started using the extra words. PG&E is a major advertiser, and at every media outlet in Northern California there were people on the business side telling people on the news side variations of "For God's sake, make them happy, call it a public safety power shutoff." No need to be succinct when PG&E is buying more air time to remind everybody to have emergency kits on hand.

No sooner had the news readers begun saying "public safety power shutoff" than PG&E flacks introduced a breezy nickname that neutralizes and normalizes the abrupt termination of customers' electricity : "PSPS event." Get used to it. PG&E says in the Chronicle ad that their goal is "to limit the impact of future PSPS events to make them smarter, smaller, and shorter." By renaming the power shutoff, PG&E achieves its PR purpose. The company and its policies become, by definition, dedicated to safety, not profits.

The federal War Department became the "Defense Department" in 1947… Government spokespersons and the corporate media, when referring to the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, always say "nine eleven" or write it as "9/11" —never "nine one one" or "911." God forbid any American should mistake the suicidal act of those young men for some kind of emergency call.

In "Permanent Record" Edward Snowden writes, "The term 'mass surveillance' is more clear to me, and I think to most people, than the government's preferred ' bulk collection,' which to my mind threatens to give a falsely fuzzy impression of the agency's work. 'Bulk collection' makes it sound like a particularly busy post office or sanitation department, as opposed to a historic effort to achieve total access to —and clandestinely take possession of— the records of all digital communications in existence."

Life Expectancy Declining for US Americans

Life expectancy is the basic index of how a society is faring. Ours has been going down since 2014, according to a study in JAMA November 26. The JAMA paper was front-page news in the New York Times November 27. Excerpts from the story by Gina Kolata and Sabrina Tavernise follow:

"'The whole country is at a health disadvantage compared to other wealthy nations,'” the study’s lead author, Dr. Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University, said. “'We are losing people in the most productive period of their lives. Children are losing parents. Employers have a sicker work force.'

"A new analysis of more than a half-century of federal mortality data, published on Tuesday in JAMA, found that the increased death rates among people in midlife extended to all racial and ethnic groups, and to suburbs and cities.

"Death rates are actually improving among children and older Americans, Dr. Woolf noted, perhaps because they may have more reliable health care — Medicaid for many children and Medicare for older people.

"According to the new study, the death rate from 2010 to 2017 for all causes among people ages 25 to 64 increased from 328.5 deaths per 100,000 people to 348.2 deaths per 100,000. It was clear statistically by 2014 that it was not just whites who were affected, but all racial and ethnic groups and that the main causes were drug overdoses, alcohol and suicides.

"The states with the greatest relative increases in death rates among young and middle-aged adults were New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, West Virginia and Ohio.

"Dr. Woolf said one of the findings showed that the excess deaths were highly concentrated geographically, with fully a third of them in just four states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Indiana.

"'What’s not lost on us is what is going on in those states,' he said. 'The history of when this health trend started happens to coincide with when these economic shifts began — the loss of manufacturing jobs and closure of steel mills and auto plants'.”

Ending Patent Monopolies on Drugs

Economist Dean Baker's first impression of Elizabeth Warren's transition plan for Medicare-for-All was favorable. He followed by a citing a NY Times piece by Margaret Sanger-Katz pointing out that the federal government can achieve huge savings —legally and simply— by ending patent monopolies on drugs it paid to develop. Baker wrote Nov. 17:

This is a really huge deal since the vast majority of drugs do include a government research component. Ending a patent monopoly will typically reduce the price of a drug by 90 percent or more. Drugs are almost invariably cheap to manufacture and distribute. Without government-granted patent monopolies, paying for prescription drugs would no longer be a major problem.

If the government were to go this route on a large scale, it would undoubtedly lead to a drop in research funded by the industry. Warren has proposed some additional public funding to make up a shortfall, although we are likely to need more than she has suggested.

However, a great advantage of publicly funded research is that it could all be fully open so that other researchers and clinicians would be able to benefit from it. Also, we would end the incentive to misrepresent the safety and effectiveness of drugs, substantially reducing the risk of another opioid-type crisis.

Baker's readers on the Center for Economic Policy Research website added three more benefits that would follow from ending the corporate patent monopolies:

Dwight Cramer: In addition to the benefits that you enumerate, the focus of the funded research could be directed at the issues and problems that are most pressing in terms of human welfare, rather than most likely to offer a superior financial return to Big Pharma. The idea that the Invisible Hand of the market place does any kind of an effective job in allocating resources in medical research is laughable and obscene.

Joe: Some portion of industry research dollars are spent developing tweaks on existing drugs in order to extend patent protection. Losing funding for that research is not a problem.

Bill H: Government participation could assure more open and valid testing of new products. There's no real assurance that it would, but it could.

Thanksgiving 2019

The President says there is a "War on Thanksgiving," and he's right. Although most people appreciate the occasion to see friends and family, and everybody enjoys a good dinner, and we might have things to be thankful for as individuals, there has definitely been a rethinking of America's founding mythology, a recognition that the European settlers committed genocide. Native Americans consider it a National Day of Mourning. The New York Times ran an op-ed by historian Daniel Silverman November 23 setting the record straight:

"The Pilgrims did not enter an empty wilderness ripe for the taking. Human civilization in the Americas was every bit as ancient and rich as in Europe. That is why Wampanoag country was full of villages, roads, cornfields, monuments, cemeteries and forests cleared of underbrush. Generations of Native people had made it that way with the expectation of passing along their land to their descendants.

"Contrary to the Thanksgiving myth, the Pilgrim-Wampanoag encounter was no first-contact meeting. Rather, it followed a string of bloody episodes since 1524 in which European explorers seized coastal Wampanoags to be sold into overseas slavery or to be trained as interpreters and guides. The Wampanoags reached out to the Pilgrims not only despite this violent history, but also partly because of it.

"In 1616, a European ship conveyed an epidemic disease to the Wampanoags that over the next three years took a staggering toll on their population. Afterward, the Narragansett tribe to the west began raiding the Wampanoags. To answer this threat, Ousamequin wanted the English to serve the Wampanoags both as military allies and as a source of European weaponry. His use of Squanto (or Tisquantum) as a go-between with the Plymouth settlers also stemmed from the Wampanoags’ history of being raided by Europeans. Squanto knew English because he had spent years in captivity in Spain and England before orchestrating an unlikely return home shortly before the Mayflower’s arrival. Such dark themes are hardly the stuff of Americans’ grade school Thanksgiving pageants.

"The Thanksgiving myth also sanitizes the power politics of the Pilgrim-Wampanoag alliance. For years afterward, Ousmequin threatened rivals in and outside the Wampanoag tribe with violence from his English allies. Such intimidation played a far more important role in the Wampanoags’ alliance with Plymouth than the first Thanksgiving."

Ron Cobb's cartoon said it all more than 50 years ago.

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by Norman Solomon

The mainline media are generally quite warm toward so-called "moderates," without bothering to question what's so moderate about such positions as bowing to corporate plunder, backing rampant militarism and refusing to seriously confront the climate emergency.

Anyone who’s been paying attention should get the picture by now. Overall, in subtle and sledgehammer ways, the mass media of the United States—owned and sponsored by corporate giants—are in the midst of a siege against the two progressive Democratic candidates who have a real chance to be elected president in 2020.

Some of the prevalent media bias has taken the form of protracted swoons for numerous "center lane" opponents of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The recent entry of Michael Bloomberg has further jammed that lane, adding a plutocrat "worth" upwards of $50 billion to a bevy of corporate politicians.

The mainline media are generally quite warm toward so-called "moderates," without bothering to question what's so moderate about such positions as bowing to corporate plunder, backing rampant militarism and refusing to seriously confront the climate emergency.

Critical reporting on debate performances and campaign operations has certainly been common. But the core of the "moderate" agenda routinely gets affirmation from elite journalists who told us in no uncertain terms four years ago that Hillary Clinton was obviously the nominee who could defeat Donald Trump.

This year, Sanders has taken most of the flak from reporters and pundits (often virtually indistinguishable), serving as a kind of "heat shield" for Warren. But as Warren gained ground in polling this fall, the attacks on her escalated—to the point that she now has a corporate media bullseye on her political back.

The disconnect between voters and corporate media is often huge. Meanwhile, with fly-on-the-wall pretenses, media outlets that have powerfully distorted proposals like Medicare for All are now reporting (with thinly veiled satisfaction) that voters are cool to those proposals.

The Washington Post, owned by one of the world's richest people Jeff Bezos, has routinely spun Medicare for All as some sort of government takeover. In a prominent Nov. 30 news story that largely attributed Warren's recent dip in polls to her positioning on healthcare, the Post matter-of-factly—and falsely—referred to Medicare for All as "government-run healthcare" and "a government-run health plan."

Such pervasive mass-media reporting smoothed the way for deceptions that have elevated Pete Buttigieg in polls during recent weeks with his deceptive "Medicare for All Who Want It" slogan. That rhetoric springboards from the false premises that Medicare for All would deprive people of meaningful choice and would somehow reduce coverage.

In late September, with scant media scrutiny, Buttigieg launched an ad campaign against Medicare for All that has continued. Using insurance-industry talking points, he is deliberately confusing the current "choice" of predatory for-profit insurance plans with the genuine full choice of healthcare providers that top-quality Medicare for everyone would offer.

Mainstream media outlets are ill-positioned to refute such distortions since they're routinely purveying such distortions themselves. Warren's backtracking step on Medicare for All in mid-November was a tribute to media pressure in tandem with attacks from centrist opponents.

The idea of implementing some form of a substantial "wealth tax" has also been denigrated by many corporate-employed journalists. Countless pundits and political beat reporters have warned that proposals like a wealth tax, from Warren and Sanders, risk dragging Democrats down with voters. The truth is that such proposals are unpopular with the punditocracy and the extremely wealthy—while it’s a very different matter for most voters, who strongly favor a wealth tax.

On the same day this fall, the New York Times and the Washington Post published stories on Democratic elites' "anxiety" about the presidential election. The Post wrotethat Democrats "fret" Warren and Sanders "are too liberal to win a general election." (With disdain, the article made a matter-of-fact reference to "the push for liberal purity.") The Times similarly wrote of "persistent questions about Senator Elizabeth Warren's viability in the general election." Contrary voices were absent in both news stories.

Assessing those articles, media analyst Julie Hollar pointed out: "The pieces interviewed a number of big donors and centrist party leaders, who fretted about their preferred candidate's struggles and expressed hope for someone more corporate-friendly than Warren to enter the race and challenge her rise."

Hollar added: "The thinking of powerful people in the Democratic Party is worth writing about. But it's crucial not to just take their claims at face value. . . . What establishment Democrats are really worried about, of course, is their own power in the party, which is threatened by a surging left wing. Don't look to their establishment media counterparts to report on that transparently."

Part of the problem is the TV network that many Democrats (mistakenly) trust. MSNBC is becoming notorious for its hostility to Bernie Sanders, often expressed through egregious omission or mathematical fib if not direct antipathy.

Ongoing media analysis is crucial, but even more important is activist pushback against the 24/7 onslaught of corporate-minded propaganda, often couched as common sense and incontrovertible reality. Among the needed counterpunches are these:

(o) Support progressive media outlets as they provide independent coverage of the presidential campaign

(o) Widely share, via email forwarding and social media, online pieces that you like. (Hopefully including this one.)

(o) Recognize, challenge, and organize against the corporate-media echo chamber that affects so many voters

You shouldn't have to be an active supporter of Bernie Sanders (as I am) or of Elizabeth Warren to voice outrage about corporate media biases. What's at stake includes democracy—the informed consent of the governed—and so much more.

History is unfolding in real time. It's not a product on the media shelf, to be passively bought and consumed. As Bernie 2020 campaign co-chair Nina Turner says, "All that we love is on the line."

(Norman Solomon is co-founder and national coordinator of His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State." He is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.)

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ONLY NINE MEMBERS voted against Palestine: United States, Israel, Canada, Czech Republic, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama. While 138 members voted for their recognition! Free Palestine! The international community is with you!

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Every four years since 1972, Iowa and New Hampshire in tandem have repeatedly been the first two states to vote in the American presidential primary process. Isn’t it time for the other 48 states to take their turns at being one of the first two states to vote?

We should reform the presidential primary process in time for 2024 by instituting a rotational centurial schedule whereby every state will finally have the opportunity to be one of the first two states to vote.

Rotating the states would bring a much needed, overdue element of fairness to our primary system by giving each state (no matter how sparsely populated) a period of political relevance. Also, moving Iowa and New Hampshire out of their unwarranted privileged political positions at the front of the line would help make the process more demographically representative of the nation at large.

Here’s an idea of what the first two states’ rotational schedule could look like over the course of the next century.

2024 - Kansas, California.

2028 - Vermont, Texas.

2032 - Montana, New York.

2036 - North Dakota, Florida.

2040 - Idaho, Illinois.

2044 - Oregon, Ohio.

2048 - Arkansas, Pennsylvania.

2052 - New Mexico, North Carolina.

2056 - Kentucky, Michigan.

2060 - Alabama, Arizona.

2064 - Oklahoma, Massachusetts.

2068 - Wyoming, Missouri.

2072 - Connecticut, Wisconsin.

2076 - Utah, Georgia.

2080 - Hawaii, Washington.

2084 - West Virginia, Colorado.

2088 - Nebraska, Virginia.

2092 - Indiana, New Jersey.

2096 - Maine, Tennessee.

2100 - Mississippi, Minnesota.

2104 - Delaware, Louisiana.

2108 - South Dakota, Maryland.

2112 - Alaska, Nevada.

2116 - Rhode Island, South Carolina.

2120 - Iowa, New Hampshire.


Jake Pickering


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by James Kunstler

The early winter holidays are notorious for giving people the blues, but as the last Thanksgiving leftovers slide into the stockpot, the Democratic Party was put on suicide watch. Is the ghost of Jeffrey Epstein in charge? It’s a little late to call an exorcist. The gun pointed at the Democrats’ head now is a stubby little low-caliber weapon in the person of Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who has only grazed the party’s skull in two previous misfirings. The third time, the old saying goes, may be the charm.

When Mr. Nadler entertained Special Counsel Robert Mueller in July, he succeeded spectacularly in discrediting Mr. Mueller, and the inquisition he rode in on. It was the worst public demonstration of aphasia since William Jennings Bryan had a stroke at the Scopes Trial in 1925. Mr. Mueller’s pitiful performance detached the last sticky tendril of hope that his tortured report might avail to cast out the arch-demon in the White House. Even the Republicans on the dais seemed to feel sorry for him. True to his character as a schoolyard sap wearing a “kick me” sign on his back, Mr. Nadler just waddled away in a fog of bamboozlement, hitching his pants up to his sternum, to plot his next foolish move.

Which was to haul former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski into the committee in September. Mr. Lewandowski’s performance was the equivalent of watching poor Mr. Nadler get hitched to the rear bumper of a Lincoln Navigator and dragged over several miles of broken Coke bottles. And yet, ever-sturdy, like one of those plastic punching dummies with all its weight on the bottom, Mr. Nadler just popped back up, adjusted his “kick me” sign, and moved on to his next folly: the current comedy of errors around impeachment.

Really, the only question now is what new way will Mr. Nadler find to humiliate himself and mortify his party? Opening testimony this week will be supplied by a panel of Woke constitutional law professors who will attempt to tease out some hermeneutic legal basis for an impeachment other than actual misdeeds. They’ll surely settle on thought-crime, since there is nothing else. Whose idea was it to hit the snooze button just as the curtain goes up on the show?

Next will come a mighty hassle over whether the minority can call witnesses of its own choosing. Ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA) has already asked for an appearance by Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intel Committee, whose procedural shenanigans last month embarrassed anyone with a vestigial memory of Anglo-American due process. Some folks think that Mr. Schiff has got some ‘splainin’ to do about the predicating circumstances of his star chamber spectacle. He is, in fact, a fact-witness to all that, on top of being the issuer today of his own committee’s report on all that, and therefore susceptible to public examination — especially in a train of proceedings as grave as impeachment. If Mr. Nadler enables Mr. Schiff to slither out of testifying, there will be hell to pay, and in the not-so-likely prospect of an actual impeachment trial in the senate, it would be paid there as an unleashed defense goes for Mr. Schiff with pithing needles and thumbscrews of genuine interrogation.

Then there is the “Whistleblower,” this would-be pimpernel of perfidy hiding behind Adam Schiff’s apron under the false assertion that he is entitled to everlasting anonymity. What an idea under our system of jurisprudence! In fact, contrary to Mr. Schiff’s public pronouncements, there is no law that states what he claims — one of several things Mr. Schiff can be called to account for. And that is even if you accept the dishonest proposition that the fugitive who started this fiasco even was a whistleblower, rather than a rogue CIA officer acting on explicitly illegal political motives to interfere in the 2020 election. The CIA, you must know, is forbidden by charter and statute from operating against American citizens in-country, including the president of the United States. Under the circumstances, the so-called “Whistleblower” might fairly be accused of treason.

Has anyone failed to notice that one of the “Whistleblower’s” attorneys, Mark Zaid, tweeted notoriously on January 30, 2017 that “Coup has started. First of many steps. #rebellion. #impeachment will follow ultimately. #lawyers.” Mr. Zaid later explained, “I was referring to a completely lawful process.” Yeah, sure. I think he meant a completely Lawfare process. Of course, the engineered “Whistleblower” escapade was only the latest (perhaps the last) chapter in the annals of nefarious events and actions carried out far-and-wide by several government agencies for three years, and by many officials working within them, and not a few freelance rogues in their service. There is no more accurate way to describe all that except as a coup. The authorities looking into all that have not been heard from yet. The portentous silence is making a lot of people in Washington edgy.

If the various House committees have put the Democratic Party on suicide watch, then something even more deadly is lurking just offstage. Hillary Clinton is making noises about jumping into the 2020 election. She senses opportunity as Joe Biden goes pitifully through the motions of running for office to avoid prosecution for his international grifting operations as Veep. Think of Hillary as the cyanide capsule that the party might actually choose to bite down on as the year ominously turns.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

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My theory: People who were born prior to 1961 are a lot more likely to believe without questioning or criticism those whom they think of as authorities on any given matter. You will notice that most people who need to have their worldview spoon-fed to them by Faux News or BSNBC and parrot these sources in a positively Orwellian fashion, tend to be over 60.

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California is now considered a Third World state because of its filth, corruptness, idiotic laws, sanctuary state, open borders and on and on. The idiots running this state are doing this. The mayor of Los Angeles is getting recalled and the governor is getting recalled. They have the signatures. We will put it to a vote. At least 70% of Californians do not like what's going on. California will become a better state when we get rid of these people running things now.

God bless Donald Trump.

Jerry Philbrick


PS. Do you realize how much in taxes we pay in California? All the car sales every day? And all the other taxes on clothes and food and everything? Plus fines and penalties. Yet we have homeless and starving people flooding our towns. Where is all that tax money going? It’s not helping the people or the infrastructure. Wait till the lid blows off here. It won't be long. It's pathetic. Billions and billions of misdirected dollars.

PPS. The California Air Resource Board, CARB, is one of the biggest scams in the history of the United States or the world. They are collecting taxes and forcing people to buy new trucks just to stay in business, hundreds of millions of dollars. They won't let us use trucks below 2012. They say it's ruining the atmosphere. But there is no pollution in Northern California. The big storms we are having now blows pollution away. The people who believe in climate change are idiots! IDIOTS! Every time there is a storm mother nature cleans the atmosphere. CARB is ruining people's lives. That rotten communist Mary Nichols is in charge of CARB. According to CARB, if you don't have a truck that's 2012 or newer you have to junk it. That means Wayne Hiatt, Mancher Pardini, myself, and hundreds of other guys around the country who own trucks not 2012 or newer have to junk ‘em or take ‘em out of the state and sell them. They are perfectly good in Oregon or Nevada or whatever. Just because we have a governor who is a cull and a Communist woman who is allowed to carry out this CARB thing who hates truckers and is trying to get all the trucks off the highway costing companies the businesses they saved all their lives for. Why do California people allow this to happen? Because you closed your eyes and didn't vote.

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AMERICA is not the land of the free but one of monopolies so predatory they imperil the nation

The US economy is becoming increasingly harmed by ever less competition, with fewer and fewer companies dominating sector after sector – from airlines to mobile phones. Market power is the most important concept in economics. When firms dominate a sector, they invest and innovate less, they peg or raise prices, and they make super-normal profits by just existing (what economists call “economic rent”). So it is that mobile phone bills in the US are on average $100 a month, twice that of France and Germany, with the same story in broadband. Profits per passenger airline mile in the US are twice those in Europe. US healthcare is impossibly expensive, with drug companies fixing prices twice as high or even higher than those in Europe; health spending is 18% of GDP. Google, Amazon and Facebook have been allowed to become supermonopolies, buying up smaller challengers with no obstruction. This monopolising process gums up everything. Investment in the US has been falling for 20 years. Because prices stay high, wages buy less, so workers’ lifestyles, unless they borrow, get squeezed in real terms while those at the top get paid ever more with impunity. Inequality escalates to unsupportable levels. Even life expectancy is now falling across the US.

* * *

* * *


Of all the proxy power fights that humans do, using ancestors to stake a claim to ownersip is the most common. An ultimate “I was here first, my feelings are more important” argument. Are anyone’s dead really that meaningful to anyone who did not know them? Or are they just a way of co-opting the real emotional ties of those who cared enough to ceremonialize the burials of people they knew to attach to personal agendas of the living? I wouldn’t know for sure because virtually all of my grand and great grandparent’s graves but one were unceremoniously shifted to make room for housing or commercial buildings. I have no idea where their graves in plots “purchased for perpetual maintenance” are or if they are all just compost. STGM of my miniscule claims to being here first.

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I am increasingly impressed by the potential of land-based methods of carbon drawdown to mitigate climate change. Many of these practices could be applied on farms large or small, conventional or organic. Interspersing trees with food crops or livestock adds diversity of nutrients to the soil.

Cover crops like clover, hairy vetch and rye carry nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil. Rotational grazing (allowing cows or other ruminant animals to intensively graze a pasture, then moving them to adjacent fresh pasture to allow the first one to regrow) adds significant fertility to soil; planting trees in pastures increases soil carbon even more.

No-till farming and permaculture (working with nature’s systems to create multi-layered, compact food gardens with minimal machinery or other disturbance) are among many ecological agriculture practices that partner with Earth and soak up atmospheric carbon.

Plants are carbon storehouses. While living, they turn carbon dioxide into sugar and energy; when they die, their decomposed bodies permanently store carbon in the soil (as long as no tillage occurs).

I ask our state lawmakers to allocate significant funding to agricultural carbon sequestration projects. Our state’s farmers deserve to be financially rewarded for implementing carbon drawdown solutions.

Rebecca Canright


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DIY Wreath Workshop

THIS SAT, December 7 in the Gardens Meeting Room at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Pick a time - 10AM to 12PM or 1PM to 3PM

Friends of the Gardens (FOG) invites you to learn the art of wreath making. Learn to create a unique wreath incorporating beautiful, natural elements. This make and take workshop is a great way to add some holiday cheer to your home.

The workshop registration fee is $45 per participant (price includes fresh greenery, ribbon, and tools for you to create a wreath to take home). Payment is due upon sign-up. Please note, all workshop fees are non-refundable unless the workshop has been canceled or rescheduled by the Gardens. Class size is limited*. Sign up by phoning 707-964-4352 ext. 16 or stop by The Garden Store at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Each workshop is limited to 8 participants. A waiting list will be kept in the event of a cancellation.

This workshop is sponsored by the Friends of the Gardens and hosted by Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

* * *

“There was this interesting piece in The Times a couple weeks ago about people in solitary confinement. And one of the guys said the worst thing is having all that time to think. And that’s my problem too. When I’m alone in my apartment, I just start ruminating. About my finances. About my medical conditions. About not taking good enough care of my mom. But as long as I can find my bar, I’m fine. It’s just a couple blocks from my house. And when I open the door, and look in, I see the place is full of people like me: people with health problems, retirees with nothing to do, a lot of us are unkempt, unshaven. And everyone has a weakness for alcohol. I get a warm welcome every time I walk in. It’s the only place I don’t berate myself for being a dirt bag.”

(Humans of New York)

* * *


[1] My 93 year old father can’t work a DVD player, much less a computer. He gets his news from network TV and falls for most of their bullshit. Fortunately, he forgets it all 10 minutes later.

[2] I can’t seem to shake an overwhelming dread that the people of the USA or perhaps, all humans are obsessed with theatre, accepting fantasies, fairy tales, and illusions at face value as some form of perverse reality. I see everywhere an obsession with the fantasies of politics, television, God, Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny with an extra dose of extra-terrestrial aliens, Sasquatch, Nessie, and the Bermuda Triangle; lies and illusions lapped up like mothers’ milk.

Is there anybody out there that would like to venture a guess as to the amount of Internet postings that are generated by computer algorithms? I’m going with 25% minimum.

If these two subject areas seem disparate, then you are probably dreaming about impeachment with visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.

[3] Nobody wants to talk about declining resources and adjusting our way of life. To do so people would have to admit there are problems to be solved and dangers on our horizon. That is not going to happen.

Denial rules. Monuments of stone in the public square are carved to worship denial and the political system in America is constructed to facilitate the earning of great riches, and not the solution of social ills or a rational system that could endure.

Yet a bigger bigger problem than denial prevents Americans from stepping up to reality.

America is built on exploitation and the worship of inequality. Consequently America is a land without SOLIDARITY which leaves everyone isolated. Justice and a fair shake become impossible in a land of isolation and now with digital enforcement impossible becomes hopeless. Everybody gets picked off one smart phone screen at a time now. Our rulers know their Sun Tzu very well. The American dream is to ‘make it’ and leave everyone else behind. It is a dream without SOLIDARITY which makes all vulnerable.

Any philosophy which expresses a social consciousness is suppressed, and if need be by the deep state violence in America. Socialism in America has the social cache as being publicly outed as a pervert or pedophile.

This will not end well.

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The "Spiritual Flow" and Remaining Afloat

A very long time ago in the early 1970's, Berkeley Vedanta Society's Swami-in-Charge Swananda explained to me "the Vedantic view of life". He said that we are all in our individual small boats going down a slow moving river, and what is happening in this world is actually takes place on the river's banks. Although what is happening might appear to be very close to us, in fact there is always distance between ourselves in our boats and what is happening on the river banks. On Thursday December 5th I leave for Honolulu, Hawaii, returning to where I was living prior to venturing to the mainland to be active for the 15th time with peace & justice & radical environmental activism in Washington, D.C. Have been in California since the spring equinox on March 20th, associating with with Earth First!ers active with climate justice campaigns, and later was at The Magic Ranch north of Ukiah, CA attempting to creatively write about all of it. Living on social security benefits, this is going to be tight money-wise, but seriously what else ought I do now? Ever the willing instrument and realizing that the Divine Absolute will have to provide all necessaries, I wish everyone well, and if you care to, remain associated with me. To those who do not value the association ongoing, thanks so much for your comraderie. 40 years of frontline peace & justice & radical environmentalism on planet earth has blessed us all with being able to do the most amazing things with the most incredible people. Peaceout.

Craig Louis Stehr


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FOUND OBJECTS [you provide the caption]


  1. George Dorner December 3, 2019

    This one’s too easy…separated at birth.

  2. Randy Burke December 3, 2019

    FOUND OBJECT: One of them sings, the other should be in Sing Sing

  3. Lazarus December 3, 2019


    Just another John in a Bar…? I mean Barr.

    As always,

  4. chuck dunbar December 3, 2019


    1. It’s Getting Dark In Here (E. John-B.Taupin 2004)

    2. Madness (E. John-G. Johnson 1978)

    3. Slave (E. John-B. Taupin 1972)

    4. Walk of Shame (E. John 1999)

  5. Cotdbigun December 3, 2019

    Online comment one. A short time after turning 58 my ability to think for myself, analyzing facts and drawing my own conclusions disappeared! 70 years of experience, puff gone! Reality has to be spoonfed (a straw actually), I was not cognizant of this until today, so thanks for the heads-up.
    However all is not lost since I now slurp up my wisdom from 28 year old bartenders and 16 year old high school kids. If Adam Schiff has a great granddaughter that blogs, I’d surely appreciate the link.

  6. michael turner December 3, 2019

    A lucky day! A Kunstler / Philbrick doubleheader! Even though he writes in block letters, Philbrick is by far the better writer. Direct and forceful. Kunstler is the Cassandra whose dire predictions never come to pass, just another crank in a bathrobe who sits in front of a computer all day.

  7. Louis Bedrock December 3, 2019

    According to Stehr’s Swami Swananda, “we are all in our individual small boats going down a slow moving river, and what is happening in this world is actually takes place on the river’s banks.”

    This is nonsense, like most of Stehr’s observations: Puerile, simplistic nonsense that is derived from Plato and that was incorporated into Christian mythology.

    The Swami John Webster observed,

    “We are merely the stars’ tennis balls,
    struck and banded
    Which way please them”


    And the Swami Richard Dawkins has written,

    “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, or any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. As that unhappy poet A E Housman put it:

    ‘For Nature, heartless, witless Nature
    Will neither know nor care.'”

    • Craig Stehr December 3, 2019

      Thank you for taking this all at least seriously enough to offer your response. ;-)

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