Warming | 29 New Cases | Water Report | Green Sign | Officers Indicted | Panther Football | Ukiah Fires | Mayor Paulsen | Body Found | Future Farmers | Brownsville? | State Street | Hopkins Recovery | 56 Merc | Mendo Crush | Lost Coast | Ed Notes | Reid Sentenced | Flores Sentenced | Yesterday's Catch | Mystery Thriller | Rough Rider | More Recalls | Iron Dome | Fairijuana | 300% | Conservation Lack | 1862 Groupshot | Infodemic | Covid Light | House Truck | Peace Boat | Eiffel Lightning | Toxic Lake | Doorknob Principle | Publicity Discrepancy | Frosty Caught | Moronic Hoax
WARM TEMPERATURES are expected through the end of the week as the high pressure builds into the Northern California and Pacific Northwest. No precipitation is expected through the weekend while the ridge flattens and temperatures moderate back down. (NWS)
29 NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.
FORT BRAGG STAGE 4 WATER CRISIS STATUS REPORT
The City Council declared a Stage 4 Water Crisis at its regularly scheduled meeting on September 13, 2021. A Stage 4 Water Crisis targets a 30-40% decrease in seasonal water use based on the most recent year in which water conservation measures were not required (2019). A complete listing of Stage 4 Water Conservation Restrictions is available on the City’s website.
The City Council and City Administration continue to be grateful to and in awe of our residents, businesses and public partners who continue to exceed the water conservation goals. To date for September, current average daily water usage is 552k gallons a day. If this trend continues to the end of the month, usage will be 32% lower than September 2019, which meets the 30-40% goal. That said, we experienced a drop in average daily usage from 561k gallons for the first 13 days of September to 539k since September 14th – the day after the City moved from Stage 3 to a Stage 4. This is continued progress at a 4% decline in usage in the last week, especially with the restoration of city water sales as a result of the partnership with Mendocino County, Ukiah and Fort Bragg.
Although water hauling from Ukiah started out slowly, the number of truckloads has increased. The rain last Saturday, which increased the flows in the Noyo River, allowed the City to increase the amount available to out of town customers to 63,000 gallons per day for this week, which has exceeded demand.
The increased flows in the Noyo have also allowed the City to divert water from Waterfall Gulch to the Summers Lane Reservoir to restore some water storage used during September. As of September 18, before the rains started, the reservoir was at 79% capacity. Capacity has increased to 82%, which is above the 70% level projected by staff at this point of the month.
The Desalination-Reverse Osmosis Treatment System from Aquaclear is scheduled for delivery at the end of the week in time to be operational before the next set of high tides starts on the Noyo River on October 5.
The Groundwater Treatment Equipment to allow the City to use the Fort Bragg Unified School District’s irrigation well water for potable water is scheduled to arrive the following week.
We are so grateful to the support and efforts of our community in weathering this drought. Thank you so much for all you are doing.
Questions and concerns about the Stage 4 Water Crisis can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information on Stage 4 Water Crisis and other helpful water conservation guidance is available on the City’s Water Conservation webpage. Water conservation kits are available for free at the Farmers Market every Wednesday from 3pm to 5pm.
(Fort Bragg City Presser)
FEDERAL COURT INDICTS EX-ROHNERT PARK OFFICERS FOR EXTORTION
Two former Rohnert Park police officers accused of impersonating federal agents and seizing money and marijuana from drivers they pulled over have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of extortion.
The indictment filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco Tuesday accuses former Sgt. Brendan Jacy Tatum and former Officer Joseph Huffaker of extortion under color of law and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of law. Tatum was also accused of tax evasion and falsifying records in the federal investigation.
Prosecutors say the two officers and others pulled drivers over on Highway 101 in 2016 and 2017, seized cash, pot and property, then allowed motorists to go if they did not contest the seizure.
At times, the indictment alleged, Tatum and Huffaker pretended to be agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They also sometimes drove in unmarked cars without their body cameras and failed to report the contraband to their department.
Federal prosecutors also claim Tatum falsified police documents to cover up his activities after authorities began to suspect him. Financial records show a trail of nearly $450,000 in cash Tatum never reported for tax year 2016, according to prosecutors.
If convicted, Tatum could be sentenced to up to 65 years in prison. Huffaker faces a maximum sentence of 60 years.
VEGETATION FIRE ON LOW GAP ROAD EVACUATES UKIAH HIGH SCHOOL
by Justine Fredrickson
A vegetation fire started about a mile from Ukiah High School Tuesday afternoon, leading to the evacuation of the campus, according to emergency scanner traffic.
The fire was first reported around 3:24 p.m. Sept. 21 as a “50-foot strip” of fire in grass located about a mile and a half from the high school, which is located at 1000 Low Gap Road.
Multiple engines, water tenders, bulldozers and ground crews from the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and Cal Fire quickly responded, as well as aircraft that began dropping fire retardant on the flames.
Shortly before 4 p.m., crews reported “making good progress on the fire” by dropping retardant and laying hose around it, and it was described as holding at about three acres in size.
Soon after the fire response began, emergency personnel reported that students and others were being evacuated from Ukiah High School as a precaution.
About 4:10 p.m., the Cal Fire Mendocino Unit reported that forward progress had been stopped, with “hose line around the primary fire and resources working to extinguish an additional small spot. Resources will remain at scene until this small fire is fully contained.”
Cal Fire reported that the fire was contained to three acres, and two spot fires were also contained: one at .25 acres and the other at 20-feet by 50-feet in size.
Also Tuesday, a small fire was reported near the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds that was quickly put out by a witness nearby, according to scanner traffic.
(Ukiah Daily Journal)
BODY FOUND UNDER HIGHWAY 101 BRIDGE IN MENDOCINO COUNTY
by Matt Para
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after two people who stopped to stretch their legs during a road trip on Monday afternoon reported finding a decomposing body below a raised section of Highway 101, authorities said.
The body was below the Highway 101 bridge over Outlet Creek, near the intersection with Underpass Road. The site was about 1.5 miles south of the intersection of Highways 101 and 162, between Willits and Laytonville, said Capt. Greg Van Patten, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
“We can’t say at this point whether it was a homicide, suicide, accidental death or natural death,“ Van Patten said Tuesday.
The body was found on the ground and appeared to have been there for two to three months, Van Patten said. He said there was evidence of a homeless camp at the site.
Investigators couldn’t definitively say whether the body was a man or woman, but they guessed it was a man based on clothing and shoe size, Van Patten said.
A forensic examination was planned to determine the cause of death and investigators were working to identify the body.
“We’re actively going through all the recent missing persons reports to see if there’s any commonality between clothing or what physical description we can get from the body at this point,“ Van Patten said.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
Letter to Editor,
Back in 2007, we sat in Pt. Arena, talking about all the weirdos in Boonville and Philo‘s past: from Charles Eng to the true believer cult of Rev. Moon. I just found this history in my old AVA stories. Here goes:
Native son, Kris Iversen, complained that he wants Boonville returned to him. When asked what he‘d do with it, he said, “Burn it all down and let it go back to natural … like it used to be.”
Kris’ Dad was of the infamous Iversens of Point Arena. His mother shot his dad, and got away with it without prison. Kris’ maternal grand-parents were the Browns. Kris says that Boonville was originally called Brownsville after his Grandparents on his Mom‘s side. Kris says the “Boonvillians” were the new influx of “high falutin’ folks” with fresh money, interloping into Brownsville as the times changed around the time of the Gold Rush. …That the “Boonvillians” were named after a bastardization of the name “Brownsville”, which had fallen from grace, as the Browns succumbed to murder. To avoid also being lynched, the locals created their own slang language, “Boontling”, unfamiliar to newcomers, for safety‘s sake.
Kris’ Grandma Ledford had married Mr. Brown of Brownsville. They had three sons. One night their three sons wanted to go to Ukiah. After dark, the local Brown boys borrowed three of their new neighbors’ horses to make the trip. As dawn approached, only one son made it back in time to return the horse he rode. The neighbor awoke to see his other two horses missing.
Enraged, the rancher met the remaining two brothers on the trail, hanging both locals where he found them …for horse stealing. The remaining son fled West under the threat of death, leaving Brownsville and the family ranch behind him forever. Thus, the Browns became Coastal to Point Arena.
Just after that, it was speculated that the encroached upon, economically poor “Brownsville locals ” created Boontling for survival from the interloping folks moving to the area with fresh horses, new money and scratchy rope.
The Hopkins Fire is an awful tragedy that we all dreaded happening as drought and heat grip our community this summer. My heart goes out to all of you that have lost your homes and sustained damaged on your property. For those of you in your neighborhood east of Calpella, the blackened landscape is a grim reminder of this awful event. The most important thing is that no one was hurt or lost their life. We thank our first responders who moved quickly to evacuate everyone safely and to contain the fast moving fire. The fact that this is the result of arson makes the event all the worse to bear. Thanks to all who respected the traffic control measures and stayed out of the area while the public safety team secured the area and removed hazardous situations before allowing people to return to their homes.
Now begins the long road of recovery for those affected. This morning the Board of Supervisors declared the Hopkins Fire as a local emergency as well as a local health emergency due to the potential of contamination from the fire in our water shed to move into our drinking water supply. Our hope is that this will allow the County to receive state and federal grant funds to clean up home sites, put in erosion control measures, remove destroyed cars and hazardous substances from the area. There has already been considerable work done to remove hazardous trees and restore utilities to the area.
We also adopted an urgency ordinance to allow for the use of travel trailers on site for those who need an alternative place to live while their homes are rebuilt or repaired. The fees will be waived for the permit by the Mendocino County Planning and Building Services Department.
These are small steps to helping recover from the very unfortunate events that have changed so many peoples’ lives. Be assured that we want to help you recover and we are here to help if we can.
If you haven’t already, please check the county’s website on the Hopkins Fire which lists information and numerous resources: mendocinocounty.org/government/executive-office/prevention-recovery-resiliency-mitigation/hopkins-fire
BILL KIMBERLIN: If you have a problem in the Valley, you might want to talk to Bill Holcomb. I did when I first returned in 1990. I also talk to him today. He doesn't know everything, at least I think he doesn't. In any case the fair parade had a problem, the Grand Marshall didn't show up. What to do? Better call Bill. New Grand Marshall drives his 1956 Mercury Montclair convertible at the head of the parade and all is well. Thanks Bill.
CRUSHING ON MENDOCINO COUNTY WINES!
Rugged, resilient, and delicious — all the traits you look for in, uh, wine grapes. It starts with the terroir, and Mendocino County is no slouch with 12 diverse AVAs. But it’s more than just the terroir, the local characters are as much of the wine as are the land and the grapes, filling each bottle with passion, creativity and individualism.
On your journey of discovery, stop by tasting rooms to learn about the wines themselves and other farm fresh delectables like honeys, cheeses, and herbs. At these boutique vineyards, you’ll be amazed at the offerings and by the homegrown hospitality. Within this charmed community, you’ll also experience beautiful socially responsible venues. To find out more, including top al fresco crush pads, read our MendoMoment (https://www.visitmendocino.com/youve-got-a-crush-on-mendocino/).
There’s no better time than under an Autumn sky, when trees are bursting with red, orange and golden leaves, and grapes are ripe for the pickin’ to fall in love with Mendocino County.
COME AND VISIT (https://www.visitmendocino.com/good-times-are-brewing/)
TOM ALLMAN: If you live in Mendocino, Humboldt, Sonoma or Lake County, and you have never ventured to Shelter Cove — you need to. Come see the “Lost Coast.” A community of strong people who know that they can be cut off from the outside world in an instant, with an earthquake, a tsunami or a wildfire. This community is strong, smart and prepared. It is my honor to help protect and prepare this community.
There are several nice restaurants (usually closed Mon/Tuesday). There is a great RV Park (year round) and there are several nice motels available 7 days a week.
P.S. The danger of visiting? You won’t want to leave.
This empty picnic table is calling your name:
IN THE EARLY 1980s a man calling himself Larry Livermore began publishing a 'zine called The Lookout out of his house on Spy Rock Road near Laytonville. Elements of the community reacted harshly to “Whoever this Livermore character thinks he is.” The liberals, predictably, accused Livermore of “divisiveness.” Outlaw marijuana growers threatened to kill him, and the town's gentry, insofar as it can exist in outback populations, non-personed him and his 'zine. A blustery character called Piano Jimmy assaulted Larry one night when Larry appeared in town with his breakout punk band, The Lookouts. But among the young, Larry was all the rage.
LOTS OF NORTH COUNTY people said they hated the Lookout, but they all read it. Couldn't help reading it since Larry placed it free around the public areas of town and similarly spread his lively prose views up and down the Northcoast and, soon, all over the country. His 'zine, I'd thought, was the first, but LL said, “No, Aaron Cometbus was first, and he's still doing it. He started in Berkeley as a high school kid and now lives in New York where he's a book dealer.” (Cometbus is highly recommended, btw. Cometbus is always smart, always lively.)
HAVING experienced much the same community reaction that Livermore's Lookout did when I assumed the helm of the SS AVA, Livermore and I became friends and allies, joking about which of us might first achieve community-wide “mpf,” maximum piss-off factor. We ran neck and neck, but I had the advantage of publishing every week in a community where I was something of a known factor and also enjoyed a radically inflated reputation for violence, which was not a handicap in the newspaper business if you're publishing material likely to enrage its targets. Livermore, however, made his home in a lawless place deep in the hills north and east of the dusty little crossroads of Laytonville, a “community” of sorts but one where unpopular community members have been known to disappear, as have just regular people-people.
THE LOOKOUT 'ZINE, as I recall its trajectory, also began publishing articles about music. Then playing it as a band called The Lookouts, which segued into a musical money machine called Green Day. As a guy who tuned out mid-Sinatra, I wasn't interested, but LL went on to become a famous figure in music, and made so much money he could probably buy all of Spy Rock, from 101 to the Eel.
BUT we always stayed in touch, and wasn't I delighted to see the man himself making his puzzled way to our new inner sanctum? (We're in re-org mode.) Since he came down from the mountain, LL has become a citizen of the world, traveling throughout Asia and Europe with a permanent home in Brooklyn. He's presently studying Mandarin. “Hardest thing I've ever done,” and had stopped by on his way north to visit Spy Rock, as wild and untamed as ever, and then Hank Sims in Eureka at the Lost Coast Outpost. We exchanged memories of the vivid personalities we'd known and congratulated each other on our longevity, and the ground floor punker promised to see me before we both turned up our toes, and drove on, heading north and deeper yet behind the green curtain.
ENJOYING LUNCH with a friend at Boonville's always enjoyable General Store in Tuesday's wilting heat, I couldn't miss an odd couple, the larger of whom pushed past me to the counter as I fetched an ice coffee for my friend, who was already immobilized at our table outside. The pudgy man who'd pushed past me wore a tent-size Hawaiian shirt. He reminded me of Fatty Arbuckle without the humor. He placed a complicated plate with lots of precise directions for this and that in his order. The young Mexican woman at the counter patiently nodded agreement. Then, when she appeared at his table outside a few minutes later, Arbuckle suddenly snarled at her, “Why are you so rude?” The young woman seemed nonplussed because inside the store she was polite and outside the store she'd just arrived when Arbuckle went off on her. I was sitting only a few feet away. Arbuckle followed up with, “"I'm never coming here again,” as if his loss just had to be crucial to the survival of the restaurant and maybe even Boonville. The woman mumbled an apology for a crime she hadn't committed and went back inside. The man had annoyed me disproportionately, I guess, because I was prepared to do an intervention, but he plunged his florid face into his food and didn't say another word. His companion was buried in his telephone the whole time, never looking up even to eat.
ANOTHER SIGN THAT THE APOCALYPSE NEARS
Defendant Lena Jade Reid, age 21, formerly of Fort Bragg, was sentenced by the Mendocino County Superior Court last Friday (Sept. 17th) to 14 years in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
Rather than face a local jury that had been summoned for jury duty on August 23rd, the defendant instead entered no contest pleas the Friday prior to two felonies: continuous sexual abuse of a child and using a minor to create for distribution child pornography.
A no contest plea to a felony offense is the same as a guilty plea for all purposes.
Continuous sexual abuse of a child is characterized in the Penal Code as a violent felony. As a result, the good and work time credits the defendant may attempt to earn towards her early release back to a community are limited to no more than 15 percent of the defendant’s overall sentence.
Nevertheless, upon her eventual release from state prison on parole, the defendant will be required to annually register for the remainder of her life as a convicted sex offender with the law enforcement agencies wherever she is allowed to reside.
In brief, for her own sexual gratification and the sexual arousal of others, this defendant repeatedly sexually abused her two-year old son and created pornography shared with others showing her performing sex acts on the child.
In her own defense, the mother claimed she had engaged in the sex acts and created the pornography because she was being threatened with violence by a man she met on a Dark Web site where people can anonymously post illicit content.
Fortunately, the child was rescued by law enforcement and Child Protective Services and is under the care and custody of his biological father, who is engaged in getting his son all necessary and appropriate counseling and other help for the trauma and abuse the boy sustained too early in life.
The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence underlying this defendant’s convictions and state prison sentence were the State Parole Office in Ukiah and the Fort Bragg Police Department.
The attorney who prosecuted defendant Reid from original charging through last week’s sentencing hearing was Deputy District Attorney Eloise Kelsey.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Carly Dolan presided over the Friday sentencing hearing and ordered the imposition and execution of the 14-year sentence.
CHILD PORNOGRAPHY DEFENDANT RETURNED TO STATE PRISON.
Defendant Miguel Ramon Flores, age 34, most recently of Ukiah, was sentenced by the Mendocino County Superior Court last Friday (Sept. 17th) to 96 months in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).
Rather than face a local jury that had been summoned to jury duty on August 23rd, the defendant instead entered a guilty plea the Thursday prior to possession of child pornography, a felony.
The defendant also admitted that he had suffered a prior a Strike offense. In 2018, the defendant was convicted in Tulare County Superior Court of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under the age of 14 years, a felony and a Strike pursuant to the voter-modified Three Strikes law.
The defendant’s Strike admission doubled the underlying child pornography base term (4 years), as well as limits the good and work time credits to no more than 20 percent of his overall sentence that the defendant may attempt to earn in state prison towards early release back to a community on parole.
Upon his eventual release on parole, the defendant will once again be required to annually register for the remainder of his life as a convicted sex offender with the law enforcement agencies wherever he is allowed to reside.
In brief, for his own sexual gratification, this defendant was in possession of videos obtained from a female acquaintance showing her performing sex acts on her two-year old son.
The defendant “met” the female on an anonymous social media site existing on the Dark Web.
At the time of his crime and subsequent arrest, defendant Flores was on parole for the earlier Tulare County conviction.
The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence underlying the defendant’s conviction and state prison sentence were the State Parole Office in Ukiah and the Fort Bragg Police Department.
The attorney who prosecuted defendant Flores from original charging through last week's sentencing hearing was Deputy District Attorney Eloise Kelsey.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Carly Dolan presided over the Friday sentencing hearing and imposed the stipulated eight-year sentence.
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 22, 2021
BENJAMIN BICKNELL, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear.
THEODORE BURGESS, Leggett, Vandalism.
JESSE HARNETT, Probation revocation.
TRAVIS HUMPHREY, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
TED LEWIS JR., Ukiah. Unlawful possession/use of tear gas weapon.
JEREMIAH MCOSKER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol,county parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
JASON RAY, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JOSE RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Grand theft, failure to appear, probation revocation.
JACOB SELLMER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-intoxicated drugs&alcohol.
CODIIN TUTTLE, Willits. Domestic battery, damage to power lines.
JOSHUA VEACH, Redwood Valley. DUI-alcohol&drugs.
SCOTT LIPANOVICH FINDS HIS VOICE IN THE LOST COAST
by Jonah Raskin
Crime novels are as common as the cold or the coronavirus, but riveting crime novels set in northern California are as rare as criminals with real brains in the world of Dashiell Hammett, the author of The Maltese Falcon, the detective story that unleashed an avalanche of down and dirty murder mysteries. Criminals with and without brains play leading roles in The Lost Coast, (Encircle; $15.99), Scott Lipanovich’s new “mystery thriller,” as he calls it, that rambles from Fort Bragg to Ukiah, Santa Rosa and beyond, and picks up speed as it goes. The beginning is a bit sketchy. But don’t give up. By the end of chapter one, when Lipanovich introduces state senator Allan Watkins — “the last of the Heartland liberals” — the story gets really interesting.
Norcal settings make the novel an enjoyable read, as do the quirky characters, especially the private investigator, Jeff Taylor, who tangles with the kind of folks — “plumbers, realtors, nail pounders and people employed in the marijuana industry” — you might meet in a bar in Hopland, Cloverdale, Whitethorn or Little River. After listing the names of the suspects in the case, and adding himself, Taylor asks “What did we have in common? We’re all part of the same struggle. We’re human, and though we share more than ninety-eight percent of our DNA with chimpanzees, we are a million times more complex. We confuse love with desire, we confuse needs with greed.” He adds, “If there are gods above, they are surely laughing at us much of the time.”
The Lost Coast is a mystery thriller for a reader who thinks and enjoys thinking about things like human nature, the state of the State of California, democracy, boys and their mothers. In a way it’s too well written. That means that in order to appreciate it you have to slow down, and resist the impulse to turn the pages quickly and find out whodunit. “The land dropped and we walked to a grassy mesa, where there was a pond,” Lipanovich writes. “Night was falling fast. A flock of tiny birds wheeled, dipped toward the water, rose in unison and flashed white bellies,”
By all means dig the mystery, but make the time to dig the word painting and the poetry, too. In Lost Coast, which is his first novel, author Scott Lipanovich, who lives in Santa Rosa, finds his own voice and amplifies the many voices of the characters he has created in his Lost Coast, a magical place that appeals to lovers of adventure. You might not actually make it there in person, but you can travel there in the pages of Lipanovich’s poetic meditation on landscapes and the people on the edge of the Golden State.
HOW ABOUT RECALLING THEM?
In looking back at the latest California recall attempt, I wonder what would happen if the Democratic Party funded recalls of representatives who regularly vote to suppress efforts to benefit the public? Say, representatives who won’t allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drugs prices or those who fight similar public-benefit issues. What if they were faced with a recall as a result of their choices? This might help awaken representatives who listen to their party and big donors and not the majority of the people they were elected to represent.
CONGRESS SHOOTS DOWN AID TO REPLENISH ISRAEL'S IRON DOME
Just a few hours before a scheduled vote on the American Budget Law, a group of progressive Democratic Congress members forced the House of Representatives to remove a clause that would have funded replenishment of Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system.
THE STATE FAIR ANNOUNCES.....
The CA State Fair today announced the addition of the first-ever, state-sanctioned cannabis competition and awards. The CA State Fair Cannabis Competition and Awards will join a roster of coveted, annual competitions celebrating California’s rich agricultural history and dynamic industries including wine, craft beer, olive oil and cheese.
“We are pleased to celebrate California’s legal and licensed cannabis industry as part of the CA State Fair in 2022,” said California Exposition & State Fair Board of Director Jess Durfee. “For the past 166 years, the CA State Fair has always been a first mover, leading the State Fair circuit with innovative programming and large-scale competitions that celebrate the best the state has to offer, making the addition of cannabis cultivation a natural new category.”
In 2018, commercial cannabis became legal in the State of California for adult use and since that time has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry. The awards have been developed in partnership between the California Exhibition & State Fair and Cultivar Brands, a California-based cannabis marketing and events agency who specializes in the creation of programs that continue to move cannabis into the mainstream.
“The launch of state-sanctioned awards is a watershed moment for the Californian cannabis industry,” said Cultivar Brands CEO Brian Applegarth. “Not only will we showcase the California farmer, large and small, and the incredible cannabis flower that the state has to offer, but we will educate and demystify the plant, challenge the stereotypes and continue to evolve towards normalcy.”
The competition is open to all licensed growers in California. Entrants will be classified into three classifications representing three primary divisions for submission by light source: Indoor, Mixed Light and Outdoor. The competition will award medals for the cannabis flower only, showcasing the primary cannabinoids and terpenes expressed in the cannabis flower. Seven individual cannabis plant compounds will be tested and identified for awards. Based on the levels of cannabinoid and terpenes concentration, 77 bronze, silver, gold and double gold medals will be awarded including the coveted Golden Bear trophy for “Best of California.”
The competition will be scored objectively, through science-based analysis performed and certified by SC Labs, one of California’s premier cannabis and hemp testing lab. SC Labs will provide all entrants with the required Certificates of Analysis (COAs), as well as a PhytoFacts®* chemometric report that will identify all the unique compounds of the submission to determine the award winners.
“I’m really excited to be involved with the state fair because it is the traditional place where the agricultural community comes to show off their best work,” SC Labs Co-founder and President Josh Wurzer. “This just further validates cannabis as part of that community. As a cannabis scientist, it’s really cool to see an event like this putting the data and analytics at the forefront of the process. It’s making a big leap forward for the application of quantitative cannabis testing to actually measure the qualitative aspects of cannabis.”
The first-ever CA State Fair Cannabis Competition and Awards will evaluate the 2021 harvest and celebrate the award winners during the CA State Fair set to take place July 10-26, 2022, at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento, California. The submission window opens on November 1, 2021 and will remain open until March 30, 2022. Award winners will be announced in May of 2022.
This historic moment has arrived, and cannabis is now officially part of the CA State Fair, one of the world’s largest state fairs. For more information on the CA Cannabis Competition and Awards, visit www.castatefaircannabisawards.com.
CALIFORNIA STRUGGLES TO CONSERVE WATER AMID HISTORIC DROUGHT
SACRAMENTO — Californians failed to significantly cut back their water consumption in July, state officials announced Tuesday, foreshadowing some difficult decisions for Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration as an historic drought lingers into the fall.
Newsom had asked people in July to voluntarily cut back their water consumption by 15% to help address a severe drought that has left some of the state's reservoirs at dangerously low levels.
But in the three weeks after Newsom's announcement, residents reduced their water consumption just 1.8%, according to new data released Tuesday and reported by the Sacramento Bee.
"On conservation, we’re going to be needing to do more,” board chair Joaquin Esquivel said.
Still, Esquivel was hopeful the state's conservation numbers will improve. Newsom declared a drought emergency in the Russian River watershed along the state's north coast in April. Data from that region shows people reduced their water consumption by 17% compared in July compared to 2020.
"We see that it takes time for conservation to boot up,” Esquivel said, adding that the 17% figure “shows the responsiveness of communities” to appeals for conservation.
Dave Eggerton, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, said the numbers “represent a promising start in reducing water use,” saying water agencies are “ramping up public information campaigns to build on that progress.”
The numbers released Tuesday represent only about three weeks’ worth of data. And Californians are using about 15% less water per capita than they were in 2014.
But this drought has strained water resources like never before. Several of the state's largest reservoirs are already at record lows. The water level is so low in Lake Oroville that officials had to shutter a hydroelectric power plant for the first time ever.
Still, Newsom has declined to impose mandatory water restrictions. Newsom's predecessor, former Gov. Jerry Brown, imposed mandatory 25% water restrictions during the previous drought. The Newsom administration has signaled water restrictions could come if the drought persists.
Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth said officials are planning for “a worst-case scenario in terms of water availability" for the state's three largest reservoirs.
REVELATIONS AND PROFESSIONAL PERSPECTIVES WORTH UNDERSTANDING
The pandemic has unleashed a tsunami of misinformation, lies and half-truths capable of proliferating faster than the virus itself. “Fake news” has swamped social media feeds, upended presidential briefings, and flooded vulnerable communities, hindering the fight against COVID-19 on everything from mask-wearing to vaccinations to the reality of the virus itself. The potentially fatal dangers posed by the “infodemic” are especially acute in communities of color, where long histories of racism and medical mistrust — combined with a lack of trusted messengers — have paved the way for COVID-19 misinformation and vaccine skepticism.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Heard something on the radio this morning that gave me pause. The Death Rate in Ohio over the last year has exceeded the Birth Rate... So first, it appears in certain places, where COVID has been allowed to run unimpeded, having it's wild and wooly way with those communities, It has indeed become a tool that at least stops population growth, and selectively culls the herd. Who knew? That said, the Delta Variant that has accomplished this feat is nearly an order of magnitude more contagious and virulent than the original infection, so it still seems the original COVID (COVID Light), wasn't up to the task of changing the population density, save killing off the sick and elderly. If you had made that claim, that COVID was designed to infect everyone, and kill off the "Social Dead-Weight", you could have absolutely made a serious case for that. At least it would have had some logical grounding. Anyway, I thought this new datapoint was very interesting... not trying to start any new conspiracies, but if you can get past the sheer horror of this, the way it unfolds truly is fascinating.
— Marie Tobias
THE GOLDEN RULE PROJECT
by Kerry Benefield
Some days, Helen Jaccard says she wakes feeling hopeless. The task before her, protesting against nuclear weapons and war, can feel Herculean. There is too much to do, too much to tell people, too many stories to share. She calls nuclear weapons “an existential threat to humanity.”
So, where to begin?
Jaccard has found that it’s easiest to start with the boat. The Golden Rule is 34-foot ketch — two masts, three sails, one of which is emblazoned with a giant peace sign.
“We reach thousands of people wherever we go,” she said. “She’s very photogenic ... . It’s, ‘The Peace Boat’ is here.” The “Peace Boat” is the Golden Rule, the very boat that was sailed to some level of fame in 1958 when peace activists were stopped and arrested in Hawaii as they attempted to sail to the Marshall Islands to disrupt U.S. atmospheric nuclear testing. That journey aboard the Golden Rule, and the arrests and publicity, is often credited with inspiring the creation of Greenpeace and other activist organizations.
Jaccard, who lives in Lake County but spends a good deal of her time traveling wherever the Golden Rule sails, is the project manager for The Golden Rule Project. She spent a couple of days last week in Santa Rosa, speaking to groups about the Golden Rule and their mission for world peace.
Owned by Veterans For Peace, the Golden Rule had a rough go after her early fame.
By Jaccard’s telling, after the high profile arrests in Hawaii, the boat was sold and lost to time for decades until she was identified in 2010 when she sank in a gale while docked in Humboldt Bay.
Alerted to her identity, a group of activists set to work rebuilding her. It took five years. She was relaunched June 15, 2015, with the intention of being an eye-catching way into weighty discussion about the world’s future and the possibility for peace.
“We want the general public to get educated on nuclear weapons,” Jaccard said.
The coronavirus pandemic has not surprisingly cut down on the Golden Rule’s travels. Plans for sailing to international waters have been postponed. Still, in her latest incarnation, she’s sailed to British Columbia, Ensenada, Hawaii and the Sacramento River among other jaunts, Jaccard said.
The boat has just made her way from Hawaii, where she spent more than year because of the pandemic. She stopped in San Francisco Bay and before prepping to head to her home port of Humboldt Bay. Wherever she sails and wherever she stops, the idea is to talk and educate. It’s a simple idea that is not so easily made good upon.
“In the 1980s, people were fairly educated on nuclear policy,” Jaccard said. It was front of mind stuff. Think of the stir that the release of the TV movie “The Day After” in 1983 caused. I recall sitting in the multipurpose room of Hidden Valley Elementary School finding out which of my friends were allowed to watch it and whose parents steered them away.
“No Nukes” stickers dotted car bumpers all over Sonoma County. As I recall, it didn’t feel particularly divisive to come down against nuclear annihilation.
“First the Reagan-Gorbachev agreement that took us from 80,000 nuclear weapons down to 15,000 nuclear weapons, that was a huge success,” she said.
But that win took the spotlight off the issue to a degree — and shifted wind from activists’ proverbial sails.
“And then the Soviet Union collapsed and the threat of nuclear war was apparently reduced, if not over,' Jaccard said. “So, the whole nuclear abolition movement decreased dramatically and then, of course, the climate change issue came to the forefront and our youth really got involved in that.” In a twist, Jaccard said that the volatility of former President Donald Trump may have inadvertently renewed concern around nuclear weapons.
“President Trump actually sparked the new rise of the nuclear abolition movement when he was threatening Kim Jong Un and vice versa with nuclear exchanges,” she said.
That worry has been in the news in recent days after release of excerpts of a new book from Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa that reports Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was fielding and making calls about safeguards to prevent Trump from starting a nuclear war in his final days inside the White House.
According to Woodward and Costa’s book, Milley ordered nuclear control officers to check with him first regardless of what they heard from the president.
That scene points to the frightening nature of anything to do with a nuclear arsenal, Jaccard said.
“People became aware of that recently — that one person can start a nuclear war,” she said.
Nuclear weapons, Jaccard said, remain an existential threat to human existence in much the same way as climate change. And the Golden Rule is a perfect vessel to educate folks, she said.
“The Golden Rule is so much more than the nuclear issue,” Jaccard said. “It encompasses the whole peace and justice community.” “Most people, most countries don’t want nuclear weapons to exist, but how organized are we?” she said.
Backers of the Golden Rule want their voyages, their stops, their visits to light a spark that will keep burning in people after the boat sets sail. So, they arrange events and meals and talks — all to keep the conversation going.
In the next year Veterans for Peace hope to sail the Golden Rule down the Mississippi River starting near its headwaters in Minnesota, into the Gulf of Mexico, up the Atlantic Coast to Maine. And of course, they expect to have stops and talks all along the way.
“Arranging that in 100 different places, it’s not easy,” she said.
“There are some days I feel hopeless,” she said. “But the way I feel hopeful is through action...If we all believe that peace is possible, peace is more likely to happen. So, start with that.”
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
CLEAR LAKE TOXIN LEVELS SPIKE FROM ALGAE BLOOMS
• One sample taken from Clear Lake on September 7 showed a record-high concentration of the liver toxin microcystin, at levels 20,000 times higher than EPA guidance for recreational waters.
• A ‘Do Not Drink’ advisory covers about 280 homes and could last a month or more.
• The lake’s cyanotoxin outbreak has interfered with the operation of public drinking water systems.
By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue — September 22, 2021
Amid a withering drought, a severe harmful algal bloom in California’s second-largest freshwater lake is producing exceptionally high toxin levels, resulting in a drinking water emergency for hundreds of residents who draw water directly from Clear Lake.
The colorful but noxious mats of cyanobacteria in the Northern California lake have also led to difficulties for public utilities that have more sophisticated treatment systems than individual households.
Lake County public health officials on September 15 notified residents along the Lower and Oaks arms not to drink water from their private lake intakes. The warning, which could last a month or more, was issued after water samples from those areas showed astronomically high levels of the liver toxin microcystin.
The warning applies to about 280 households that use the lake as a water source and are not connected to a public water system. Boiling water does not kill the toxins. Alternative water supplies for those affected by the advisory are being arranged. Emergency rooms and veterinary clinics have been briefed on symptoms of cyanotoxin exposure, which can be deadly for pets who drink contaminated water.
GABBY PETITO RECEIVED NATIONWIDE ATTENTION. KHADIJAH BRITTON, LIKE MANY MISSING INDIGENOUS WOMEN, DID NOT
by Alana Minkler
Yolanda Hoaglen, the Round Valley Indian Tribes’ Native American Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault program director, shared some of the names of Indigenous people in her community near Covelo who have been murdered or gone missing over the years, some of whom are men, and most of whom received little publicity.
“We just want our loved one’s crime to be solved and their names out there too,” Hoaglen said.
Here are the ones she listed:
- Rosalena “Belle” Rodrigues
- Nicole Smith
- Rachel Sloan
- Micheal Leon Pena
- Ivan Tillotson Jr.
- Robert Want
- William Bettega
- Kenneth Whipple
- Vanessa Niko
- Stephanie Faye Myers
- Noland Mitchell
- Charles “Buzzy"Mitchell
- Yancy McCloud Jr.
- Theresa Brown
- Joe Poe
- Jason McLean
- Virgil Bussell
- Al’ Awnie O’con
- Joseph Basurto
- Budd Lincoln
- Leeroy Russ
- Donald Stanley
- Godfrey Luke John Jr.
- George “Kabby” Oakes
Anyone who is need of help can call the YWCA’s 24-hour domestic violence crisis hotline at 707-546-1234.
Over the past week, Laura Betts watched as national media focused on Gabriel “Gabby” Petito, a 22-year-old Florida woman who went missing in Wyoming last week after a potential domestic violence dispute with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie.
Bretts is thankful that Petito’s family now has a body to bury, because she knows how hard it is to not be able to hold a funeral or burial for a loved one who goes missing.
Her niece, Khadijah Britton a member of the Wailacki Round Valley Indian Tribe, disappeared in Mendocino County more than three and a half years ago, less than a week after she told police and domestic violence counselors her boyfriend had tried to kill her with a hammer.
Britton, who was 23 when she disappeared, is one of thousands of women of color who’ve gone missing or who have been murdered in recent years, almost none of whom received the same level of attention that Petito has.
A 2012 Department of Justice report found that the number of women murdered on some reservations was 10 times higher than the national average.
Four years later, the National Crime Information Center reported 5,712 cases of missing Indigenous women and girls across the country, but the real number is believed to be far higher than that.
California alone had 40 cases in 2018, the sixth-highest number in the country, according to an Urban Indian Health Institute report.
And a 2021 study by the Sovereign Bodies Institute found that a majority of the murder and disappearance cases involving Indigenous women in Northern California remain unsolved.
Petito’s case dominated headlines and trended on Twitter, TikTok and Instagram, spurring a multiagency investigation and concern nationwide. On Sunday, FBI found a body in the woods that matched Petito’s description after a couple remembered seeing her white van on the side of a road and then shared the video footage to figure out its location.
Petito had a significant social media presence and was known for her posts on living “the van life” while traveling national parks with her fiance.
Bretts and others acknowledge that Petito’s social media presence likely contributed to the public interest in her case, but they say they can’t help but wonder if the fact that Petito was white and had blonde hair and blue eyes was also a factor.
“You [look] to our Indigenous women, and they’re none of that,” Bretts said.
In Britton’s case, witnesses reported seeing her boyfriend taking her at gunpoint from a home in west Covelo at midnight on Feb. 7, 2018. Police identified the boyfriend, Negie Tony Fallis, also of the Wailacki Round Valley Indian Tribe, as the “best person of interest” in the case, but say they do not have enough evidence to charge him.
While Britton’s case was covered by the Press Democrat and other local papers, it didn’t receive much attention outside the North Bay.
“We contacted all the local media, all the local papers, which is a lot,” Betts said.
One media outlet in San Francisco told her, “it's just not newsworthy,” she said.
Betts said the attention has never come close to the national fervor of Petito’s case.
Shannon Barney, retired Mendocino Sheriff’s Office lieutenant who was the investigations commander in Britton’s case, said that from his perspective, media interest is a “double-edged sword.”
It can turn up more witnesses, but at the same time it can generate many false leads, spreading resources thin.
Betts said she’s been looking into cases of other women who have gone missing. She’s seen mothers of four or five children, with siblings and many people who loved them. Many are women of color.
“Their stories are just as newsworthy as Gabby’s,” she said.
“We want the coverage―we need the coverage,” said Yolanda Hoaglen, the Round Valley Indian Tribes’ Native American Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault program director.
“We just want our loved one’s crime to be solved and their names out there too,” she said.
“There’s been so many deaths in the valley, people passing away from COVID-19 and homicide,” Hoaglen said. “I work here at the domestic violence center and it’s really hard, emotional work. I know a lot of people here personally and get to know them.
“We love and support each other and we will get through this by supporting each other,” she said.
Betts said Britton’s grandfather died recently and was heartbroken over his granddaughter.
“He died not knowing where his granddaughter was,” Betts said. “It’s really emotional that we couldn’t give him that peace.”
Moxie Alvarnaz, outreach coordinator of Sovereign Bodies Institute, said the lack of attention to missing and murdered Indigenous women is a manifestation of the impact of colonization on Native peoples.
“We know there's a severe crisis among Indigenous peoples, of our peoples being taken from us, murdered, disappeared or criminalized,” said Alvarnaz, whose organization collects data and documents cases of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples.
“I think that's pretty obvious that there's a huge interest and this particular case with Gabby Petito, which of course, I'm not here to downplay,” said Alvarnaz, a member of the Hawaiian tribe Kanaka Maoli.
News coverage and social media interest increase word-of-mouth and awareness and can lead to more witnesses. It also provides a fuller picture of the victims, portraying them as human-beings with loved ones, Alvarnaz said.
“We're in a difficult situation where families are desperately trying to get media to care about our loved ones desperately, desperately, desperately for years,” Alvarnaz said.
In Petito’s case, amateur crime buffs and internet sleuths shared hints and ideas on TikTok and spread awareness about Petito’s case. The hashtag #GabbyPetito had more than 700 million views on TikTok as of Tuesday.
Cheressê Hadlêy-Best, a family friend of Britton’s, has been trying to raise awareness about Khadijah’s case. After Petito’s case began trending, she created a TikTok video about Khadijah’s case with the #KhadijahBritton.
Report finds lack of scrutiny in cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women She plans to create videos about other missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“I myself am Native American and it hurts to see that us Natives don’t get much coverage,” Hadlêy-Best said.
She said Khadijah has “only been covered maybe three times and never spoken of again and that just doesn’t sit right with me. I made it because there’s no videos about her on (TikTok),“ Hadlêy-Best said.
“When media turns its back on our peoples, it is saying that our lives, that our bodies and our relatives, are not worth saving, are not worth protecting and are not worth paying attention to,” Alvarnaz said. “It means that we aren't worth resources, it means we aren't worth finding.”
The FBI renewed their call for witnesses in February, offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction on Khadijah Britton’s kidnapping case. Anyone with information about her case can contact or submit anonymous tips to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office at 707-234-2100 or the FBI San Francisco Division at 415-553-7400.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
RUSSIAGATE: MORE LIKE WATERGATE
by Matt Taibbi
CNN Chief Media Reporter Brian Stelter hopped on the set of his Reliable Sources show this weekend, and offered his take on Special Counsel John Durham's recent indictment of former Perkins Coie attorney Michael Sussmann, calling Durham's probe a "total bust." This was in the context of accusing other networks like Fox and OAN of a pattern of "lie, rinse, repeat."
I was sick last week and didn't get around to reading the Sussmann case until Tuesday. I can't imagine Stelter has read it, since the whole thing is about complicity on his side of the media aisle in years of repeat errors and lies, including multiple editorial double-downs even after a major story was publicly exposed as factually incorrect. A long list of press figures — from Stelter's own CNN colleague and shameless intelligence community spokesclown Natasha Bertrand to reporters from The New Yorker, Time, MSNBC, Fortune, the Financial Times, and especially Slate and The Atlantic — were witting or unwitting pawns in a scheme to sell the public on a transparently moronic hoax, i.e. that Donald Trump's campaign was communicating mysterious digital treason to Russia's Alfa Bank via a secret computer server.
The story sounded absurd from the start, and was instantly challenged by experts. Even outlets normally hostile to Donald Trump like the New York Times and the Washington Post correctly steered clear of it initially. However, plenty of other reporters fell for it and kept falling for it, including Stelter's own CNN. We've known this story was false since at least December 9th, 2019, when Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz told us that "the FBI investigated whether there were cyber links between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, but had concluded by early February 2017 that there were no such links":
Horowitz's conclusion was particularly embarrassing for CNN, which cited "sources close to the investigation" in March of 2017 — well after the FBI had already decided there was nothing there, according to Horowitz — to report the "FBI investigation continues" into the "'odd' computer link." Moreover, when the original main source for the Alfa story, a "computer expert" who went by the name "Tea Leaves," refused CNN's requests for an interview for that piece, the network explained in apparent seriousness that "fear has now silenced several of the computer scientists who first analyzed the data," as if a combo squad of Russian spies and Trump goons might put bullets in their heads.
We find out from this indictment that those sources were terrified, all right, only not of Russians or Trump, but of being found out. In fact, the "academics" who were the sources for Franklin Foer's original October 31, 2016 Slate article, "Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?", were so concerned a nonsense allegation of secret Trump-Russia communication wouldn't pass a public smell test that one of them proposed faking the story to make them "appear to communicate," literally using the word "faking" in an email.
They ended up not going that far, but the "research" they did produce was so weak that one of them complained that they couldn't "technically make any claims that would fly public scrutiny," even if reporters and others lived down to their expectations and proved "not smart enough to refute our 'best case' scenario." The researcher's email went on, in a line that summed up much of the Russiagate phenomenon:
“The only thing that drives us at this point is that we just do not like [Trump]... Folks, I am afraid we have tunnel vision. Time to regroup?”
The intrepid reporting heroes who bought this manure-sack from these people were the ones to whom Rachel Maddow said, with a straight face, "We are blessed to have journalists as talented as you... writing about this."
Another press embarrassment came in the weeks preceding Election Day in 2016, when an employee of a "U.S. Investigative Firm" — reported to be Fusion-GPS, the Clinton campaign's oppo research firm — reached out to "Reporter-2," which Erik Wemple of the Washington Post has already confirmed is the aforementioned Foer of Slate. The pertinent part of the indictment reads:
“On or about October 30, 2016, an employee of the U.S. Investigative Firm (the "Investigative Firm Employee") forwarded another reporter ("Reporter-2") a tweet, which indicated that the FBI Director had "explosive information about Trump's ties to Russia." The Investigative Firm Employee's email stated, "time to hurry," suggesting that Reporter-2 should hurry to publish an article regarding the Russian Bank-1 allegations. In response, Reporter-2 emailed to the Investigative Firm Employee a draft article regarding the Russian Bank-1 allegations, along with the cover message: ‘Here's the first 2500 words’.”
Wemple asked Foer to explain what happened. His response:
“If memory serves, it was a technical piece. I sent one long section, that was about the community of computer scientists and their work, to someone who I thought was knowledgeable to see if I had the thrust right. Unfortunately, they weren't of much help.”
In other words, Foer's idea of checking the technical aspects of a story alleging secret communication between Trump and Russia involved sending a 2500-word chunk of his draft to Hillary Clinton's own hired opposition researchers. Despite these excellent folks not being of "much help," Foer was somehow able to run his story the next day. And we really wonder why people don't trust the news media?
The media angle here is bad, but there are bigger issues. Understanding their scope begins with the criminal allegation that Sussmann lied to the FBI when he brought them the story of Trump's alleged communication with Alfa Bank.
To begin with, Sussmann supposedly told the FBI he was not doing work on the matter "for any client," when in fact he was billing multiple clients for that labor, including the Clinton campaign.
He also told them he'd been approached by multiple cyber experts about the story, when it appears Sussmann himself went into the world in search of oppo, not the other way around. The indictment explains the cyber experts were approached by a client of Sussmann's, a "U.S. Technology Company" executive — identified as 'Tech Executive 1" — who asked the group to look for Trump-Russia connections. The complaint already described how Sussmann enjoined "Tech Executive 1" to help him organize research about Trump.
The executive in turn reached out to out to multiple university-employed computer experts (variously described as "Originator-1," "Researcher-1," and "Researcher-2") and asked them to analyze "public and non-public internet data" in search of a "true story" that would impeach Trump's claim that he had no connections to Russia apart from a failed casino and the Miss Universe pageant. "Being able to provide evidence of anything that shows an attempt to behave badly in relation to this," he said, would mean "the VIPs would be happy," a seeming reference to Sussmann's high-profile clients in the Hillary Clinton campaign.
About that "true story" line: remembering always that indictments are not proof, "Tech Executive 1" is repeatedly shown in Durham's complaint entreating the academics to not worry too much about the truth part. At one point, after Sussmann puts together a "white paper" on the Alfa-Trump tale for presentation to both the FBI and the media, "Tech Executive 1" forwards the draft to the academics in an email. Note the wink-like smiley-face at the end:
Please read as if you had no prior knowledge or involvement, and you were handed this document as a security expert (NOT a dns expert) and were asked: 'Is this plausible as an explanation?' NOT to be able to say that this is, without doubt, fact, but to merely be plausible. Do NOT spend more than a short while on this (If you spend more than an hour you have failed the assignment). Hopefully less. :)
The indictment makes a conspicuous point of mentioning the long list of characters in and around the Clinton campaign who were privy to Sussmann's Trump-Alfa project. In one passage, Durham explains who's on an email chain about the subject dated September 15, 2016, after Sussmann had given the story to the New York Times and four days before Sussmann would deliver it to the General Counsel of the FBI:
On or about September 15 , 2016, Campaign Lawyer-1 exchanged emails with the Clinton Campaign's campaign manager, communications director, and foreign policy advisor concerning the Russian Bank-1 allegations that SUSSMANN had recently shared with Reporter-1.
Campaign Lawyer-1 is Marc Elias, the General Counsel for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Durham also lists former Clinton campaign manager and current Harvard fellow and House Majority PAC president Robby Mook, former Clinton communications director and current Showtime The Circus co-host Jennifer Palmieri, and former Clinton foreign policy advisor and current National Security Advisor to Joe Biden Jake Sullivan.
The indictment also mentions extensive email correspondence with Fusion-GPS, which eventually provided "another white paper... concerning purported ties between Russian Bank-1's parent company and the Russian government." This became part of the package Sussmann delivered to the FBI General Counsel on September 19th, in a hard copy that "contained no date or author's name." Sussmann allegedly didn't mention the Clinton campaign, the Tech Executive, the academics, or Fusion-GPS, and told the FBI he was coming in as a "good citizen and not as an advocate for any client."
There's nothing in the indictment to say that any of these people were read in on the most damning communications with the Trump-Alfa sources, in which they talked about things like the story not passing "public scrutiny" or being a "red herring" that might best be "ignored." There's no proof, in other words, that someone like Jake Sullivan knew Sussmann was about to knowingly deliver a false story to the FBI.
However, it is a reasonable inference that the Clinton campaign knew the FBI was not going to be told they were Sussmann's client. If the campaign's general counsel Elias was looped in to all of Sussmann's activities, and all of these aforementioned people knew Sussmann had both gone to the press and to the FBI with this story, I defy any of them to provide an innocent explanation for their failure to disclose that the Clinton campaign was the source of the story once it was made public.
These people didn't just keep quiet about that fact, but actively lied to the public about it. The deception went all the way up to Hillary Clinton herself, who tweeted about the original report from Foer in Slate. Hillary's tweet, which is still up — this should tell people a lot — contains a lengthy statement from Sullivan:
“Hillary Clinton: Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.”
There are at least two glaring deceptions in Sullivan's statement. He says the alleged Trump-Russia link was "discovered" by journalists, when obviously it was the Clinton campaign that brought the bogus story to journalists. He also says "we can only assume that federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia," when the campaign of course didn't need to "assume" anything, being fully aware that the FBI was already looking into the matter.
They'd pulled the same, "Shocked, shocked" routine after the release of the first public story sourced to Christopher Steele, the September 23 Yahoo! report by Michael Isikoff alleging a secret Trump-Russia backchannel, "Trump U.S. Officials Probe Ties Between Trump Adviser and Kremlin." The Clinton-funded Steele, again by way of Perkins Coie and Fusion-GPS, were the real sources for the story claiming that former Trump aide Carter Page had met with a Russian official who was "believed by U.S. officials to have responsibility for intelligence collected by Russian agencies about the U.S. election." However, right after the Yahoo! story came out, the Clinton campaign released a statement decrying the "bombshell" report about Trump's "chilling" ties to the Kremlin, as if hearing it for the first time.
Sussmann met with FBI General Counsel James Baker on September 19th. After that meeting, the FBI General Counsel met with the Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division. The General Counsel told the Assistant Director Sussmann claimed not to be working on this issue "for any client." The Assistant Director made the following contemporaneous notes:
“Michael Sussman [sic] -Atty: - said not doing this for any client
Represents DNC, Clinton Foundation, etc.”
It's been suggested that the case against Sussmann is weak because his alleged crime was lying to the FBI, when the FBI knew full well he was working for the Clinton campaign. This doesn't exculpate Sussmann, it inculpates the FBI, for doing what it did throughout the Russiagate scandal: participating in the fiction that sources like Sussmann or Christopher Steele were financed by someone other than the Clinton campaign. In the Steele case, remember, the FBI went so far as to conceal the Clinton campaign's role from the FISA court on at least three occasions (see page 260 of the Horowitz report), and director James Comey went so far as to publicly insist Steele's report was "first funded by the Republicans," among many other examples.
Russiagate was a daisy-chain of deceptions. The Clinton campaign systematically planted phony stories about things like the Trump-Alfa business, the pee tape/blackmail tale, and Carter Page's supposed role as a Trump-Russia conduit; the FBI went along with the fiction that inquiries launched on these matters did not originate as paid research from the Clinton campaign; and a parade of news media figures were culpable either as dupes or witting participants in these frauds, which in the case of the Alfa stunt was executed in a "hurry" to affect a presidential election.
The only thing preventing all of this from being thought of as a scaled-up version of Watergate is the continued refusal of institutional America to own up to the comparison. Dick Nixon's low-rent escapades like the "Canuck letter," distributing fliers offering free "balloons for the kiddies" on behalf of Hubert Humphrey in black neighborhoods, or sending masses of pizzas to Ed Muskie's hotel, all paled in comparison to the massive, ongoing campaign of fake news stories — political sabotage — planted by Clinton campaign figures in 2016 and beyond. The fact that the accompanying program of illegal surveillance was effected by lying to obtain FISA authority instead of a "third-rate burglary" and a bug doesn't improve the situation. If the target had been anyone but Donald Trump, no one would bother even trying to deny how corrupt all this was, and continues to be.
Maybe this is the last of Durham's indictments, and we won't see charges filed against the other people mentioned in this complaint. Still, the truth is what it is, and a large percentage of America already sees it, no matter how many TV hosts deceive themselves to the contrary.