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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021

Breezy Days | Outage Watch | Jim Allan | Dodgers Win | Pet Jack | Avoiding Scams | Lanny Cotler | Online Archive | Fundraising Party | Supervisor Troublemaker | Remember Kadie | Trent #4 | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Engine 18 | Coyote Questions | Circus Dare | Silly County | Real Bookstore | JFK Act | Hippie/Redneck | Big John | SF Heart | Fleet Week | Captain Alioto | Beware Tylenol | Washington Arch | Marco Radio

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A COUPLE OF BREEZY DAYS are on tap as brisk northerly flow sets up across NW CA. Cooler temperatures will also prevail both along the coast and interior with crisp mornings and mild afternoons. (NWS)

RED FLAG WARNING & FIRE WEATHER WATCH

Gusty northerly winds will increase across Mendocino and Lake Counties beginning late this evening in the wake of a passing dry cold front. Strongest winds will occur over upper slopes and ridges at elevations above 1500 feet where gusts of 30 to 40 mph may be observed. Northerlies then decrease over Mendocino Monday night while increasing over eastern Lake County and becoming northeasterly with similar wind speeds. While winds will remain lighter in some valleys with some decent humidity recovery, winds will remain brisk across mountain ridges with poor recoveries. Winds will remain breezy on Tuesday before diminishing late in the afternoon. These winds and low humidity, combined with still dry fuels across much of this area, will lead to critical fire weather conditions. (NWS)

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BIG SHUTDOWN POSSIBLE

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has warned of possible planned power shut-offs to nearly 8,000 homes and businesses in the North Bay in anticipation of dry, gusty offshore winds starting Sunday.

The Public Safety Power Shutoffs could begin Monday morning, according to a PG&E news release. The two-day notifications via text, email and automated phone calls began Saturday and are being sent to 88 homes and businesses in Sonoma County, 4,401 in Lake County and 2,314 in Napa County.

The combination of wind, drought and extremely dry vegetation could increase fire risk, PG&E said.

The National Weather Service has issued a fire weather watch for 11 p.m. Sunday through 5 p.m. Tuesday for the North Bay mountains, as well as the East Bay hills and valleys. North to northeast winds could exceed 60 miles per hour, the weather service said in an announcement.

The utility is sending a total of 44,000 notices to 32 counties and seven tribes in California. People also can look up their address online to find out if their location is being monitored for the potential safety shut-offs at pge.com/pspsupdates.

PG&E activated its Emergency Operations Center on Friday to monitor Bay Area weather conditions.

(Press Democrat)

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JIM ALLAN

Jim Allan shuffled off his mortal coil at home in his home on Casparado Way in the early morning of Friday, October 1, 2021 after a lengthy illness. He was 82 years old.

Jim was born James Coston Allan in Shelby County, Alabama December 16, 1938, the son of James Madison and Tekla Allan.  He attended Georgia Tech and graduated Birmingham Southern College with a degree in math and physics in 1961, the year he married Paula Wedeles. Together they had three daughters.

Jim worked for Physics International from 1968 to 1970, which was affiliated with the Lawrence Livermore Lab in Berkeley. After which time he joined the Back-to-the-Land movement, buying his homestead in Caspar in 1970.

Jim founded Stone Age Electronics and Ice Age Refrigeration, for many years servicing local’s appliances on the North Coast. 

He is survived by his daughters Jessica Allan, MD of New York City and Nicole Allan, MFA of Panama City Beach, Florida. They are forever grateful to Cesar and Angelica Rocha, Jim’s care givers in his later days.

A Memorial service will be held at some time in the future.

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THE LA DODGERS EVENED THE PLAYOFF SERIES against the Giants Saturday night showing that their 106 game winning season was no fluke either with a lopsided 9-2 win. The Dodgers’ Mexican pitcher Julio Urias held the Giants to just 1 run in his six innings and batted in a run of his own to accompany the Dodgers hitting. Game 3 of the playoff will be in Los Angeles Monday night.

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UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK

Jack is an uber-social dog; he has a happy, playful energy about him. Jack appears friendly with other dogs and might enjoy a lively canine friend in his new home. Jack can be vocal at times and will need daily exercise—a must for the Husky breed. He would also benefit and enjoy basic canine training. This handsome Husky is 2 years old and 60 svelte pounds. 

For more about Jack, visit mendoanimalshelter.com While you’re there, check out all of our canine and feline guests, our services, programs, events, and updates. Visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/ For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.

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AVOIDING SCAMS TARGETING SENIORS

AV Village Monthly Zoom Gathering, Today Sunday October 10th, 4 to 5 PM

Join us for a presentation by Lieutenant Jason Caudillo, of the Mendocino County Sheriff's office, on avoiding scams targeting seniors. Zoom link on our calendar: andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/1763

Please RSVP with the coordinator Anica Williams
Cell: 707-684-9829
Email: andersonvalleyvillage@gmail.com

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Lanny Cotler

A FRIEND OF LANNY COTLER WRITES: “I found out that beloved community member of Willits Lanny Cotler passed away today. Almost 20 years ago my mentor and friend, Lanny Cotler, reached out and held me up when I was attacked while protesting the War in Afghanistan and the bombing of a wedding. It was the fourth of July Parade. He was the only person who came to stand with me and walk a ways with me. 

Fly on free bird, fly on. I will never forget you — writer, actor, director, mentor, critical thinker, community builder. May you be free of pain and reunited with your brother and the energy of life in the universe. Thank you for being a part of my life Lanny.”

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BETSY CAWN WRITES:

Easy peazy!

I am really enjoying the ease with which I can go back and access past editions of Mendocino County Today and other postings using the posting archive calendar on the AVA website. I don't usually have time during the week to watch videos (like Trent James) or read the reader-posted links to other publications (as I just did from Harvey Reading's link to the Chris Hedges essay on corporate ownership of the judiciary). What a treat, and so so simple to get to. Thanks again for the beautiful website and delicious menu of info and other treats -- especially the Dave Brubeck videos, just heavenly!

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MENDOCINO COUNTY’S LAST REAL SUPERVISOR 

(He just happens to be my uncle, but still…)

by Mark Scaramella

Joe Scaramella explained the moment in his life when he got the inspiration to get into politics:

“I've been on the receiving end of injustice many times. But the most significant thing that affected my total approach was the time I had a contract to transport high school kids in the Point Arena area in the 1930s. I got that contract by means that some people thought were improper, although they were totally legal. The result was that it manifested itself into a political situation. They elected a man on the school board -- the man who I had gotten the bus driving contract from instead of him. So he was a school board trustee. In those days there wasn't much of a big deal about things like that. I started out with a three-year contract. It was written up. Official. But there was an election and some other change so they'd want me to go a little further, a little less south, a little more north, etc. I was a little ignorant about such things. They would modify the contract, but by oral modifications. But I always did what the governing board wanted me to do. All I tried to do was to accommodate them. I could have insisted on the terms of my contract and required them to make formal changes. But then I would have had trouble of course. I was just getting started and I thought I had to be a good guy so I accommodated them. So this fellow gets up on the board and he raised all kinds of holy hell saying the governing board didn't know what they were doing. I certainly didn't know what I was doing, I just obeyed what they told me to do. But according to him, what we were doing was “Wrong!” It was, technically, legally, it was not permissible. So they called me up there and, godammit I thought I was heading for San Quentin. So, damn it to hell, I had an older friend there with me and we cleared the situation up and I didn't suffer any consequences. But the exposure and the danger got me to thinking: ‘By God, No More.’ I would no longer rely on those guys to tell me what to do, I was going to do it on my own. Get it in writing. And I made it a point for the rest of my life to make sure that kind of thing didn't happen again.”

Not long after that Scaramella made his first of four unsuccessful runs for Fifth District Supervisor. “Nobody can match my record,” he said. “Four straight defeats. Some people have been supervisor longer, but they don't have my record of defeats.”

In 1952 Scaramella was up against John Ornbaun from Anderson Valley. “He was a good man,” said Scaramella, “but he liked to drink too much. That was the only reason I eventually succeeded. If I had to run against anybody else, I wouldn't have had a chance because I was considered to be a troublemaker. A troublemaker was not desirable.” (Laughs).

That year was a special eleciton because the incumbent had died near the end of his term.

At his first Board meeting the freshman supervisor recalled, “I walked into the boardroom one day and there was a lady by the name of Edith Beck who was the Clerk of the Board. I had been highly critical of the board and she knew about my criticisms. So I walked in and she said, ‘Am I going to have a job?’ just like that. I came back with ‘Why do you ask?’ She said, ‘Well, everybody tells me that you're a troublemaker and you're going to change the whole damn thing.’ I said, ‘Let's get this thing straight. Anybody can get an axe and demolish things. It's not my job to demolish things. My job is to construct things. You just do your job and you'll have nothing to fear from me.’ And she became one of my best friends from that point on. They fostered that notion that I was a troublemaker because I was critical. Perhaps sometimes unnecessarily. But, criticism in my judgment is an essential part of life. If nobody says anything negative, how can you expect things to improve? In line with my nature, I tended to be critical, and I suppose some would perhaps say revolutionary, I thought reform was a part of the job that needed to be done.”

“At that time the lumber companies thought they could run everything. In the first major experience I had in the budget making process in the county, As Board Chairman, I was called over to approve the budget. The budget had been worked up and prepared by Paul Matthews, the County Auditor. The final budget hearing was held in his office. Present was a man by the name of Charlie Strong who was the general counsel for the Union Lumber Company. He was the only other man there. After the meeting he took us over to the Palace Hotel and bought us a drink of wine. He liked wine so he did that. Well, I said then and there that this will never happen again. I said, ‘The Board meets up there in the boardroom and the budget will come up up there.’ And, by God, that's what happened. I wouldn't go back down there any more. I just didn't like that private sort of thing.

The County budget in the early 50s was around $500k to $600k for the whole county. Adjusted for inflation that would be $5 or $6 million today. 

“It had all been prepared and it was perfunctorily adopted by the board. There was no open discussion. That was one of the things… I had criticized that sort of thing. I was called a ‘troublemaker’ for things like that. I was able to reverse that kind of thinking. That was because I simply started out with the notion that I wanted to prove them wrong. That was the motivating force that influenced my performance as Supervisor. They thought I was going to be a first-class son-of-a-bitch but it turned out I was a second-class son-of-a-bitch.”

By chance, with one Supervisor having died and three being up for election, four new Supervisors were elected that year, 1952. The Ukiah Daily Journal editorialized at the time that the new Board represented “a meat axe operation” to reform County management.

“I came onto the Board with Joe Hartley from Hopland who succeeded Ed Haehl who liked to drink. There was Harold Bainbridge, who succeeded a drunk, pardon the expression, from Fort Bragg. And Paul Poulos defeated Guy Redwine who was also a man who was inclined to tilt the bottle.”

“We got the huge salary of $200 a month and we met once a month at the County Courthouse.” (Adjusted for inflation that $200 a month would be $2,000 a month now, or about $48k per year, no benefits.)

“I’d have to say that it was a fluke that I won election that first time. By this time I had run four times and then after those first two years, people started to realize I wasn’t quite the pain in the butt that they figured I’d be. But Mr. Ornbaun's friends got him to run against me again. They still opposed me. The first time, I defeated him narrowly in the general election. The second time I defeated him handsomely. In '58 I had no opposition — that was the only free ride I ever had. In '62 my friend Ted Galletti ran against me, There were still a lot of disgruntled old-timers who thought I was a troublemaker so they got Ted to run against me.”

“This is a small community,” said Joe. There were family relationships and business relationships — all of those played a part in it. In 1962 why, hell, I beat Ted damn near two to one. But after that the district was enlarged and went damn near up to Fort Bragg and up to Highway 20 and Ted had a lot of friends and relatives up there. Hell, I carried Mendocino by only three or four votes, it turns out. When the votes were being counted, my wife Geneva and I were over there in Ukiah and things were going badly. She said, ‘Let's go home. You've had it.’ I said, ‘Let's wait a minute...’ Pretty soon the lady came out and she said, ‘Well, you may find this hard to believe, but the south coast came in and you made it.’ The south coast never cared much for Ted Galetti ever since he was on the school board here. For some reason he offended somebody. Anyway, when that vote came in, instead of trailing by a few, I was leading by about 40, so that was the last time I defeated him -- but narrowly. So when I went to the supervisor's convention they used to refer to me as Landslide Joe because I beat him by so few votes.”

Geneva & Joe Scaramella at my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary, 1986

“Some of the reforms that I fostered and encouraged and supported did not go over very well,” said Joe. (This was before the Brown Act.) “Most of what I wanted to do at first was open the system up. It was all closed in, I wanted it to be more open and to have more in writing, to be more fair to contractors and employees.”

With the same kind of perseverence that he showed in his four previous runs for Supervisor, Joe Scaramella went on to create Mendocino County’s Civil Service Commission and wrote its first rules. He also wrote the first Board rules, a version of which is still in place.

He helped and supported Tax Assessor Webb Brown to raise the assessed value of huge swaths of Mendo’s provably under-assessed ranches and timber tracts, against significant push back from wealthy ranchers and timberland owners.

Joe Scaramella was also instrumental in Richard Wilson's opposition to the proposed Dos Rios Dam project which would have flooded Round Valley and turned it into a huge lake for shipment to L.A. Joe’s reason for his opposition to that dam had nothing to do with budding environmental concerns or water politics. Scaramella realized early on that flooding Round Valley would remove tens of thousands of acres of productive agriculture land from County tax rolls which would have seriously reduced the County’s core operations which were expanding in those years.

Scaramella was also the sole vote to put up more money for the Coyote Dam so that Mendo would retain rights to more of the water stored in Lake Mendocino. He described his fellow Supervisors as “short-sighted,” and “stingy,” because they had money available to make a bigger contribution to the dam cost, but simply didn’t see the need at the moment.

Space and memory don’t permit a longer list, but Joe Scaramella has a record of accomplishment over his 18 years in office that no other Supervisor can match, before or since.

These days, people run for the much more highly paid Supervisor position with nothing more than vague claims of “I’m for water and other good stuff… I’m a nice person and I support good things,” etc. But they never propose any specific projects or reforms, much less pursue them if elected. And no Mendo candidate would ever let themselves be called a “troublemaker,” or a “second class son of a bitch” when up against organizational resistance.

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ONE YEAR AGO TODAY, CAL FIRE FOUND THE BURNING REMAINS OF A 21-YEAR-OLD WOMAN NEAR GARBERVILLE

by Kym Kemp

“It was a year ago today the remains of Kadie Jones, our daughter, sister, grand-daughter, niece and friend, was found on a bar of the Eel River,” wrote Kadie’s grandmother, Janette Jones, in an email to us. “She had been murdered and then set afire.”

Her burned remains were located where Cal Fire personnel responded to a brush fire near the small town of Garberville in Southern Humboldt County. “Evidence located through the autopsy indicates that the female likely died prior to the fire and her death has been determined to be a homicide,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a prepared statement released last year soon after Kadie Jones’ remains were located.

“No one has been arrested for the murder yet and not many people have written about it for a year,” Kadie’s grandmother reminded us. “Kadie’s family is still missing her and not forgetting that someone knows something about what happened to her. Whoever was responsible for her murder has had a whole year longer to live than she.”

Janette Jones told us, “She will never be forgotten and will always be loved.” She and her family are “hoping someone will come forward with information that can put an end to the investigation and Kadie can be put to rest.”

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office described Kadie as “a white female, approximately 5 feet tall, 110 pounds, with brown/blonde hair and blue eyes.”

Anyone who has information on where Jones was in the days leading up to her remains being located from October 5-9, is requested to contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.

(Courtesy Red Headed Blackbelt, KymKemp.com)

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TRENT JAMES VIDEO #4. 

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ED NOTES

WT JOHNSON sold Starr Automotive and planned to retire but continued to be bombarded with requests from his old customers and friends to get rid of junked cars fouling the local roadsides. Most of us know him from his years of rescue work with Starr. (WT's hauled me out of a couple of jams, one of which I thought was impossible to do.) A personable, hardworking guy, WT finds himself in something of a predicament because his ongoing junked car removal effort was and is being done in lieu of an effective county abandoned vehicle abatement program. WT thought he had a deal with a local property owner to store abandoned vehicles on a much less visible property, but that agreement fell through and, having no other place to temporarily store his collected wrecks, WT has had to put them in his front yard, which just happens to be adjacent to Highway 128, thus attracting complaints from travelers at the unsightly visual. WT emphasizes that his accumulated cars are temporary at his place “until I can find a lot.” In the meantime, WT said Friday he is going to erect a fence between his place and the highway.

OVER THE LONG YEARS I've tried to explore Mendocino County's little known back roads, hearing about them here and there, usually in offhand contexts. “Butler Ranch Road is a shortcut to the McNab Ranch,” a friend mentioned in passing just the other day. Having driven past that driveway-looking dirt road that runs south, mostly, off the lower reach of the Ukiah Road, we all pass Butler Ranch Road on our trips to and from Ukiah. I also remember the Butler Ranch Road from the days when the Butler Family opened their ridgetop cherry orchard to any and all u-pick visitors. That annual free event was very big with hippies back when there were still hippies, and advertised widely in their media, such as it was, but the mere mention of “free” attracted quite a crowd. 

SO OFF I drove for an exploration of Butler Ranch Road on a slow Tuesday morning. It's well maintained but often 4-wheel steep, and it's a long climb with no visible structures until you nearly reach the top where, lying to the north there's a gray scatter of structures around a rather lavish main house with a requisite swimming pool that looks as if it were plucked from the Hollywood Hills and plunked down in the middle of literal nowhere, this particular nowhere being amidst a dusty vista of scrub oak and struggling madrone. The Butler road would certainly discourage drop-ins and doesn't offer much in the way of the stunning long-distance visuals common, say, on the Mina Road out of Covelo, or 162 out of Covelo over to Willows on I-5, two of my favorite drives.

FINALLY REACHING the ridgetop where Butler becomes McNab after about a forty-five minute climb, there are suddenly lots of mysterious driveways and scruffy settlements of the shipping container and abandoned tractor type interspersed with suburban-looking homes. McNab's heavily settled all the way to Highway 101. 

ON THE WAY DOWNHILL, I caught sight of movement on my right where a large mound of flesh wildly gestured for me to stop. Truth to tell, I always carry a gat on my explorations into back country Mendo, rural headquarters for what has become a national catchment for outlaws belatedly — five years belatedly — hoping to cash in on the dope boom. It was hard to tell if this guy was having a Big Mac attack or I'd accidentally driven on to his property. He seemed alarmed. No sign of a weapon on the guy, though, so I stopped, rolled down my passenger side window to talk to him, certain I was on the public road. I zapped him with a big phony smile and asked, “Wazzup?” like I'd heard cool young guys greet each other. “Who are you and what do you want?” he demanded. If I were still in my salad days, I'd probably have told him that as a free American I was under no obligation to explain myself to anyone, least of all obese hill muffins. But this man just looked uncomprehending, confused, not particularly hostile, so I courteously explained that I was from the Boonville newspaper and I was just like kinda you know sort of like driving through an area I'd never driven through before. “Boonville has a newspaper?” he asked. Justifiable skepticism, I suppose, but reasonable certainly as newspapers everywhere have either blinked off or soon will. Not only does Boonville have a newspaper but schools, a brewery, indoor plumbing. The works! I didn't say that because as quickly as he'd appeared, the big man bustled nimbly off and soon disappeared among shipping containers. I drove on. I realized that despite signs of settlement all around me I was still at the very peak of the north end of the McNab Ranch, far enough off the beaten path to rouse residents who, particularly at this time of year, are justly suspicious of outsiders. The rest of the trip was uneventful, and soon I was on 101. If you mistakenly assume that Butler Ranch Road is a shortcut to Hopland, or a shortcut even to the top of the McNab Ranch, I'm here to tell you that you'd better stick to the pavement.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 9, 2021

Anderson, Avelino, Ayala, Calvo

CHARLES ANDERSON, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.

CHRISTOHER AVELINO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

JOSE AYALA, Ukiah. Narcotic/controlled substance while armed, bringing controlled substance into jail, failure to appear.

DAVID CALVO, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, attempted murder, concealed dirk-dagger, paraphernalia, failure to appear.

Galvez, Garcia, Malone, Ramirez

JESSE GALVEZ-BENNETT, Ukiah. Burglary, grand theft, stolen property.

JUAN GARCIA-RAMIREZ, Ukiah. DUI, no license.

KRYSTAL MALONE, Fort Bragg. Trespassing, disorderly conduct-alcohol, paraphernalia, resisting.

MANUEL RAMIREZ, San Jose/Ukiah. DUI, robbery, under influence, controlled substance, no license, reckless evasion.

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Engine #18, Ukiah

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WHAT KIND OF…

Editor,

Let me see if I understand this. The Republicans are angry because the Democrats are proposing programs they were elected for. They include wildly popular investments in technical and “human” infrastructure all of which register sizable majorities in national polls.

The cost of doing what Democrats said they would do has been negotiated down to $3.5 trillion. Republicans are refusing to govern and risk defaulting on our national debts to force Democrats to request specific dollar amounts for the debt ceiling so that the public will confuse the cost of past expenditures with current spending and harm Democrat’s electoral chances.

Bush tax cuts cost a trillion dollars. Trump tax cuts the same. Now, Republicans quibble about national investments and child care.

As default looms, Republicans have blinked, but not participated. They don’t appear concerned with creating a stable, prosperous country.

Meanwhile, two Dem grandstanders, (Sens.) Manchin and Sinema, hold the president’s entire agenda hostage, ignoring their 48 colleagues, demanding huge program cuts but refusing to say which programs. This is not negotiation; it’s blackmail.

If I understood these dynamics correctly, the obvious next questions should be: “What kind of people are these? Why are they in office?”

Peter Coyote

Sebastopol

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

I just love these foolish arguments, vaccinated death vs un-vaccinated death etc…

For Humboldt, it will take mandated or even forced vaccination, but for Mendocino, which is one of the silliest places in the world, they might just have to turn over “forced vaccination” to roadblocks and “proof of vaccination” for entry to the county…

People too silly to get vaccinated is one thing, but 4.5 million deaths worldwide is quite another…

How can anyone be so non-civic-minded as to insist on not getting vaccinated? It’s completely foolish, just totally ridiculous!

In the Bay Area, right now, over 85% of the people are vaccinated, but they wear masks outside, while driving their own cars, absolutely everywhere!

I’m the one who thinks masks are ridiculous, useless and ineffectual, but then, I was one of the first to take his vaccine…

I did my part, but nobody in Northern California seems to believe in doing theirs!

The hospitals are getting a break, but all those senior-citizens who kept on working their healthcare jobs for the insurance or whatever, hell, they all suddenly decided to retire!

When every hospital is staffed with up to 50% travelers, and the hospitals are all busy, do you really want to risk being a patient?

And women keep on having babies, patients with cancer or who need surgery, and just everyone else who wants medical care has to sit there and be exposed to people who refuse to participate in the only solution we have…

Don’t try to visit your loved ones in the hospital, either, cause the doors are locked and guarded…

It’s insane, sitting there and raving about Ivermectin and Hydroxyquinoline and, heck, whatever, and tooting about percentages and all that other junk which is covered here ad infinitum, when in the end, you will be forced to take the vaccine!

So what will it take?

Do the right thing! Get your vaccine! Before you have to be forced! Because you will be…

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HOW BIDEN CAN BEGIN ‘RESTORING FAITH IN THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT’

Deadlines on JFK Records — Will Biden Follow the Law?

Mark Adamczyk and Brian Baccus

President Biden faces many well-publicized deadlines. But there’s one that has flown under most everyone’s radar. Biden has less than a month to make a decision about still-withheld records on one of the most consequential murders of the 20th century.

Nearly 30 years ago, Congress unanimously passed the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, a landmark moment in the fight against government secrecy. In the ensuing years, many documents were handed over to the National Archives, surprising and thrilling skeptics of big government.

But the euphoria soon died down. Some of the more sensitive documents were either produced with countless redactions or withheld completely, and in the years following the 1998 disbandment of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) — the entity tasked by Congress to facilitate the collection of the actual records — the flow of assassination material slowed to a trickle.

With Congressional oversight lacking, there was little incentive for any of these agencies, the CIA and FBI in particular, to finish their legally required review, and several thousand files were still classified to some degree as a 2017 deadline approached.

While many of these files were handed over to the National Archives, some of them quite interesting, thousands still contained redactions, or were held back in full. And then they were delayed even further, until a new deadline was set: October 26, 2021.

According to the National Archives website, nearly 16,000 documents remain partially redacted, most created by the CIA and FBI. With nearly six decades having passed since Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, this continued secrecy runs contrary to the expressed intent of the JFK Records Act.

JFK’s murder and the Warren Commission’s tawdry investigation are frequently cited as the origin of the downward spiral of Americans’ trust in their institutions, along with the Pentagon Papers and Watergate.

If Biden wants to help restore the American people’s faith in government and its institutions in general, it’s hard to imagine a better opportunity than the one he has this October. He can start building a legacy for his administration as one that promotes governmental openness at a time when the very idea of objective truth faces an uncertain future.

In a recent letter to the White House, a number of lawyers pressured him to do the right thing. These attorneys, including noted Washington whistleblower representative Mark Zaid, point out that none other than Biden himself said in an early press release: “My administration has no greater task than restoring faith in American government.”

Below, we are republishing a succinct summary of the JFK Records Act (along with some annotations) and its “deadlines” that have come and gone because of stonewalling by federal agencies that are supposed to be subject to its enforcement. It was written by Mark E. Adamczyk, an attorney who for the past 20 years has been studying the JFK assassination and related history.

Adamczyk highlights the looming deadline for the release of the JFK records by the National Archives, outlines Biden’s responsibilities as defined by the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act and urges readers to join him in writing a letter to the president asking him to follow the requirements of the law.

(WhoWhatWhy Introduction by Brian Baccus)

Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from National Archives / Wikimedia) and Justin Grimes / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The following article by Mark Adamczyk originally appeared in late September on Kennedys and King, a website dedicated to political murders.

The JFK Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (the “JFK Act”) mandated the final release of all assassination records by October 26, 2017. In October of 2017, President Trump publicly committed to authorizing the release of all records.

However, on the eve of the October 26, 2017, deadline, Trump changed course and issued an executive memorandum authorizing an additional delay of six months.

[Brian Baccus: When Trump first postponed to April 2018, he relied on the advice of White House legal counsel Curtis Gannon, who gained some notoriety months earlier as the author of another dubious and controversial memo, the one that authorized the so-called Travel Ban.]

We can only assume that agencies protecting these records (namely the CIA and FBI) pressured Trump at the eleventh hour for more time.

[BB: Mike Pompeo, in his capacity as CIA director at the time, reportedly urged Trump to back down from his initial pronouncements about transparency, and a National Security Council official revealed to The Washington Post that a number of federal agencies were actively imploring Trump to withhold release of some of the files.]

We will never know exactly what happened. What we do know is that Trump’s executive memorandum was a violation of the JFK Act. At the very least, Trump was supposed to issue a document that certified the specific reasons for postponement as required by the JFK Act.

[BB: Any remaining requests for continued classification were supposed to be subject to presidential approval on a record-by-record basis. Andrew Iler, one of the attorneys most involved with the research done for the Biden letter and its attached legal memorandum, stated in an interview with WhoWhatWhy that despite the explicit language of the Act requiring presidential approval of each remaining record sought for continued classification, “It’s not clear that President Trump looked at even one record.”]

After the six month “extension,” agencies were supposed to provide their final reasons for postponement to the president and the archivist. Compliance with the JFK Act was to be finally accomplished by April 26, 2018. Inexplicably, President Trump then issued another executive memorandum granting agencies an additional three years to “complete” their review of assassination records.

This was on the heels of a 25-year mandatory review obligation imposed by the JFK Act and then an additional six-month period to complete that review.

This effort is not about proving a conspiracy or validating the previous findings of the Warren Commission or House Select Committee on Assassinations. It is about following the law, which was passed by Congress in 1992.

In that same memorandum of April 26, 2018, the president required final action from agencies by April 26, 2021. By that date, the president required that all information on declassification of JFK Records be delivered to the archivist. That would, according to the executive memorandum, put the archivist in the position of making final recommendations to the president by September 26, 2021.

After receiving recommendations from the archivist, the president would then be in an informed position to authorize a final release by October 26, 2021. That was the plan, at least designed by President Trump in 2018 with legal advice from the Office of Legal Counsel.

What happened instead? We do not know of any action taken by agencies in the three-year period between April 2018 and April 2021. We saw no press releases from the archivist and the president in April 2021 indicating that agencies (protecting these records) did their jobs. 

We saw no press releases from the archivist and the president this summer indicating that they were making serious progress, in anticipation of the artificial “deadlines” authorized by Trump in 2018.

[BB: Over the summer David Ferriero, official archivist of the United States since 2009, and some of his colleagues at the National Archives and Records Administration, have been meeting with officials from the various federal entities subject to the Records Act, with the goal of expediting their declassification process. Ferriero issued a recommendation on September 26 to the president regarding the remaining records, but it is not publicly available at this time. Biden will now have a month to consider the recommendation.]

The archivist is not to blame here. I sincerely believe that the archivist wants to see these records released. These records are based on an event that happened in 1963. The problem is that the archivist is a custodian of records and does not have the authority under the JFK Act to compel the release of assassination records. Only the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) had that power under the JFK Act, but unfortunately the ARRB only had authority and funding through 1998.

Congressional oversight committees had authority to ensure compliance with the JFK Act after the winding-down of the ARRB. Those committees have done nothing that we know of, despite receiving correspondence from lawyers and researchers interested in compliance with the JFK Act. At this stage, Biden has the authority to ensure compliance.

In order to do his job under the JFK Act, a federal statute, Biden needs legitimate and transparent reasons from agencies for continued postponement. If the president receives that information, he can then make an executive decision on continued postponement. 

If the president authorizes postponement of more records, it must be accompanied by a written and unclassified certification of the reason(s). That is what the JFK Act requires. Vague explanations based on “national security” do not come close to meeting the standards of the JFK Act.

Congress declared that continued classification of records would be warranted in only “the rarest of circumstances.” That was in 1992, almost 30 years after the assassination. We are now almost 30 years after the passage of the JFK Act, and almost 60 years after the assassination itself.

I recently signed a letter and legal memorandum to Biden expressing the importance of this issue. That document can be viewed here. I strongly encourage you to contact the White House with a simple request. Follow the law. Stop the delays based on unfounded (and undisclosed) arguments from agencies that wish to continue hiding these records.

[BB: Accompanying the letter sent to Biden is a diverse and accomplished list of signatories voicing their support for the overdue enforcement of the Act. The list includes political scientists, prominent attorneys, professional historians, actor Alec Baldwin, several journalists, former Congressional investigators, and the man whose 1991 film JFK was the genesis for the legislation, Oliver Stone. The filmmaker and Vietnam veteran recently produced another film about the assassination, this time a documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in July.

One of the more compelling and even surprising aspects of the push for governmental transparency on this issue is that it is not confined to any particular point of view regarding the circumstances of Kennedy’s death. In addition to the names of individuals like Stone, the list also includes some of the more ardent supporters of the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone: journalists Gerald Posner, Max Holland, and Dale K. Myers.

Another important signatory is G. Robert Blakey, former chief counsel for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which officially concluded in 1979 that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of conspiracy.” Blakey also played a significant role in drafting the JFK Records Collection Act.]

This effort is not about proving a conspiracy or validating the previous findings of the Warren Commission or House Select Committee on Assassinations. It is about following the law, which was passed by Congress in 1992. 

It is worth noting that Joe Biden was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee when the JFK Act was passed by Congress in 1992.

The executive branch recently authorized the release of 9/11 records and it has the same chance to earn trust from the American public by authorizing the release of the JFK records. It should not be a difficult decision. It is what the law requires.

(Rob Anderson, District5Diary)

* * *

* * *

BIG BAD JOHN

(Big John, big John)
Every mornin' at the mine you could see him arrive
He stood six-foot-six and weighed two-forty-five
Kinda broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip
And everybody knew ya didn't give no lip to big John
(Big John, big John)
Big bad John (big John)

Nobody seemed to know where John called home
He just drifted into town and stayed all alone
He didn't say much, kinda quiet and shy
And if you spoke at all, you just said hi to Big John

Somebody said he came from New Orleans
Where he got in a fight over a Cajun Queen
And a crashin' blow from a huge right hand
Sent a Louisiana fellow to the promised land, big John
(Big John, big John)
Big bad John (big John)

Then came the day at the bottom of the mine
When a timber cracked and men started cryin'
Miners were prayin' and hearts beat fast
And everybody thought that they'd breathed their last, 'cept John

Through the dust and the smoke of this man-made hell
Walked a giant of a man that the miners knew well
Grabbed a saggin' timber, gave out with a groan
And like a giant oak tree he just stood there alone, big John
(Big John, big John)
Big bad John (big John)

And with all of his strength he gave a mighty shove
Then a miner yelled out "there's a light up above!"
And twenty men scrambled from a would-be grave
Now there's only one left down there to save, big John

With jacks and timbers they started back down
Then came that rumble way down in the ground
And then smoke and gas belched out of that mine
Everybody knew it was the end of the line for big John
(Big John, big John)
Big bad John (big John)

Now, they never reopened that worthless pit
They just placed a marble stand in front of it
These few words are written on that stand
At the bottom of this mine lies a big, big man
Big John
(Big John, big John)
Big bad John (big John)
(Big John) big bad John

(Jimmy Dean)

* * *

* * *

SAN FRANCISCO'S FLEET WEEK AIR SHOW is a stupid waste of time and money 

by Alex Shultz 

This should be the last-ever Fleet Week

Fleet Week is bad. Fleet Week is bad. 

On Thursday, I was minding my own business when, very suddenly, I thought I was going to die.

I’m not a particularly dramatic person, which you might not believe given how I started this story, but I’d ask you to take my word for it. The reason my heart was pounding out of my chest was because a jet had flown what felt like 10 feet above my Chinatown apartment. The entire building shook and dozens of car alarms rang at once.

Was this the start of World War III? No, it was some jets farting in the skies for San Francisco Fleet Week, the largest such Fleet Week in the country that Mayor Dianne Feinstein apparently brought here in 1981.

I didn’t live in San Francisco for the last Fleet Week Air Show. I'm not interested in a throat clearing routine where I wrap myself in the flag and praise the troops, while issuing one itty-bitty lil' complaint. That insincere fence-sitting is why we still have Fleet Week in the first place — before the San Francisco iteration was officially born, FDR rolled it out elsewhere as a patriotism-indoctrination exercise in the 1930s, when Americans (correctly) didn’t give a s—t about fighting wars in foreign countries.

Then we had the only excusable war in the '40s, and Fleet Week just became one of those things that happens at port cities, no questions asked. Which is stupid. Fleet Week is stupid. It’s a waste of time and money, a natural extension of the U.S. military at large. I think it’s disgraceful to scare the bejeezus out of people trying to live their lives — including, yes, the veteran TROOPS with PTSD who some of you are going to yell at me to respect more.

None of this is new, or news, which is what’s so frustrating. Dissenters have previously spoken out during Fleet Week and been summarily dismissed as scolds, as I’m sure will happen here. 

In October 1985, for instance, the Sacramento Bee reported on a “coalition of peace groups” that protested Fleet Week and military intervention in Central America. Those protesters didn’t even have the full story yet: A year later, Oliver North began shredding pertinent documents about the the Iran-Contra scandal, which exposed the Reagan administration’s plan to bolster right-wing rebels in Nicaragua. The protesters were totally, completely in the right, more than they knew. And Fleet Week was back in full force in '86, baby.

Fleet Week’s staying power is emblematic of the frustrating rinse-and-repeat cycle the United States constantly indulges in with foreign intervention. Unnecessary war kills countless non-Americans, which we ignore. Scandals about American soldier death tolls arise, crimes against humanity too brazen to push aside are eventually revealed, and the war becomes unpopular across ideologies.

So what happens next? A cut in defense spending? Anything reflecting even the possibility of a military downsizing or perhaps, on a micro level, just less aerial pomp and circumstance at home? Nah. Tiny blips indicating that Americans might actually believe military spending is too high are quickly erased by the arrival of a president who riles up the hogs. (See what happened in Pew polls with both Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.) Back to square one.

Liberals are far from blameless here, by the way, including in the Bay Area. Their top trait, passivity, is on full display for Fleet Week. Remember all the anger about how Trump went gung-ho on a big, beautiful July 4 military parade in 2019? The Cheeto man splurged Monopoly money on tanks and jets so he could have an extravagant show at the nation’s capital. It was shameful and gross, we can agree. The same energy has not exactly been kept for the tradition of death machines zooming around San Francisco (tickets still available!!!) at a cost of at least $1.26 million.

That figure was a 2016 estimate for the Bay Area aerial shows alone. The annual cost for the Blue Angels to draw smiley faces and dicks in the sky is something closer to $36 million, according to a 2019 estimate.

But smiley faces are awesome, you say! Dicks are funny! Expensive jets going zoom-zoom are sick! Okay, if you think I’m being the anti-fun police, let’s at least come to a compromise. How about this: If we simply must set tens of millions of dollars on fire, let’s literally do it. That would look cool too.

We can find an agreed-upon spot on the coast where a mound of money set ablaze won’t lead to an enormous forest fire, and where the environmental impact can’t be any worse than jets putzing about above major metropolitan areas. At least in that case, we’d be tossing money away for no reason, as opposed to the Navy’s publicly stated purpose for this weekend’s sideshow: “a recruiting tool to increase public awareness.”

That’s the thing. The Navy is, to its credit, very explicit about why it likes Fleet Week. How does it hit you reading that, knowing the Blue Angels are a recruiting tool so America’s military can stay bloated and stationed basically everywhere on Earth? Why is it that this form of propaganda is an acceptable weekend watching activity, but when other countries do their own stupid military processions, they’re scolded for brainwashed nationalism?

My hot take is these propaganda exercises are awful no matter where they’re happening. Frankly, they’re even worse in the United States, one of the few countries on Earth with the air strike and bombing capabilities to act on its threats — something we’ve shown a willingness to carry out semi-recently (and this is just off the top of my head) in Vietnam, Cambodia, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Syria.

All of which is to say: It’s not shocking to me that San Francisco, a bastion of liberal passivity, hosts America’s fanciest fuel-wasting procession — but it’s inexcusable all the same. Fleet Week sucks.

* * *

SF Fishermen: Far right standing up Captain Calogero Alioto in the 1920s

* * *

IN DEFENSE OF ANDREW WIGGINS

by Fred Gardner

Andrew Wiggins, 26, the Golden State Warriors smooth small forward, had a valid reason to fear the Covid-19 vaccine. He had once had an allergic reaction to Tylenol so severe that he started carrying an Epipen. Presumably this was known to the Warriors front office.

After Wiggins’s unwillingness to get vaccinated became known to the media in late September, he was criticized relentlessly. On October 4, after he yielded and got his shot, Rusty Simmons of the SF Chronicle quoted Wiggins explaining, “’I had a bad reaction a few years ago to Tylenol and from there I never really like to take anything. Let stuff heal naturally. That was a little fear factor.” Simmons may not have understood the significance of the comment, which was buried in his article.

Having once had a strong, adverse drug reaction is grounds for a medical exemption to the Covid-19 vaccination mandate. If the Warriors’ well-paid media staff had explained and publicized Wiggins’s valid reason for not getting the shot, the dignified young man would have been spared a lot of nasty criticism. By not citing his allergic reaction to Tylenol in his defense, the Chase-Centered flacks were instinctively or consciously protecting the image of Johnson & Johnson and Capital-M Medicine. If the Warriors refusenik had been assistant general manager Kirk Lacob, the owner’s son, you can bet the PR people would have publicized his valid excuse.

As I send this off on October 7, Wiggins’s severe reaction to Tylenol has been totally ignored by the media. This morning the front page of the Chronicle’s Sporting Green featured a piece berating Wiggins. The writer, Scott Ostler had been woke for a while by Colin Kaepernick, but this was the Ostler of old, the scold who regularly ridiculed a “knucklehead of the week” (usually a young black man caught smoking marijuana). Today he wrote, “Before Wiggins got vaxed, he grumbled to the media that this was a personal issue. Even though his refusal to get the shot had negative implications for his team and his league, he said it was none of anyone’s business… Once Wiggins was vaccinated, he used his platform to veer into new and troubling territory. He scattered a sackful of dangerous ideas, like a misinformed Johnny Appleseed. He rambled about his doubts and concerns, including a fear that the vaccine might do long-term damage. Wiggins’ expressed fears are unsubstantiated by a shred of medical or scientific evidence. For those still weighing the pros and cons of the vaccine, the only thing worse than no information is false information…” And so forth, including a borderline-racist reference to LeBron James.

Does Scott Ostler not read his colleague Rusty Simmons? Did he and everyone else on the sports desk think Wiggins’ severe reaction to Tylenol was insignificant trivia from his past? It was obviously of great significance to Wiggins and led to the “doubts and concerns” he expressed about the Covid-19 vaccine. His concerns are not groundless. He was lied to about the safety of Tylenol. We all were. (“Toadstools and Tylenol” is what UCSF medical students used to call their Pathology rotation at San Francisco General because the only cases of severe liver damage encountered were caused either by poisonous mushrooms that Asian immigrants mistook for ones that were edible back home, and acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol.)

The co-founder of O’Shaughnessy’s, Tod Mikuriya, MD, wanted case reports involving marijuana use in the treatment of various conditions to note the pharmaceutical alternatives and their adverse side-effects. As a result I have many Dangers-of-Tylenol clippings to forward to the Andrew Wiggins Defense Committee.

Aacetaminophen is the most widely used drug in the US, and it has the narrowest therapeutic ratio of any medication sold over the counter. The “therapeutic ratio” of a drug compares the amount required to produce harmful effects with the amount required to provide benefit. The therapeutic ratio of acetaminophen is about 2:1.

An Extra-Strength Tylenol contains 500 milligrams of acetaminophen. The recommended daily maximum is eight pills — 4,000 mg, or four grams. A person taking twice that much can incur severe liver damage — and people in pain sometimes lose perspective and gulp a handful. “Seven to eight grams a day for three or four days can be fatal,” according to William M. Lee, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Acetaminophen was known to have anti-pain and anti-fever effects when it was synthesized in 1909, but no drug company saw fit to manufacture it until 1953, when McNeil Laboratories brought it out (in combination with a barbiturate) as a safer alternative to aspirin. McNeil’s big selling point was that aspirin, the then-ubiquitous painkiller, was hard on the stomach. Preceding the launch, McNeil had hired a leading critic of aspirin, a gastroenterologist named James Roth, and organized a conference. “In 1951,” the company history recounts, “the safety and efficacy of acetaminophen was described at a scientific symposium in New York City sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Analgesic and Sedative Drugs. According to the research reported at this symposium, acetaminophen was found to be as effective as aspirin for pain relief and fever reduction, but without the side effects of aspirin such as stomach irritation, gastrointestinal bleeding, and impairment of the blood to clot normally.”

McNeil launched Tylenol Elixir for Children — pure acetaminophen — in 1955. The company history says, “The outstanding success of Tylenol was attributed to a unique marketing strategy: to inform health care professionals of the undesirable effects of aspirin and ask them to recommend Tylenol to patients susceptible to these effects.”

After Johnson & Johnson acquired McNeil in 1959, the safer-than-aspirin pitch was complemented by a massive giveaway of the product to doctors and hospitals, creating market share by irresistible financial force. In 1980 J&J sales reps began solemnly informing healthcare professionals that aspirin had been associated with “Reye’s syndrome” (pronounced “Rise”) a potentially fatal condition involving the liver and ultimately the brain of infants and children following viral illness. In 1982 the Surgeon General issued a warning to this effect. In 1986 all aspirin products were required to carry a warning label stating “children and teenagers who have or are recovering from chicken pox, flu symptoms or flu should NOT use this product.” A second sentence was added in 2003: “If nausea, vomiting, or fever occur, consult a doctor because these symptoms could be an early sign of Reye’s Syndrome, a rare but serious illness.”

It is a tribute to Johnson & Johnson’s marketing effort that so many people have heard of Reye’s and its association with aspirin, given how extremely rare it is. In ’86 there were approximately 100 cases in the U.S. In the UK, where better statistics are kept, there were 172 cases between 1986 and 1999 — only 17 associated with aspirin use. Aspirin (an extract of willow bark) is not as benign as cannabis, but it, too, has been on the receiving end of a corporate disinformation campaign. J&J has whipped up exaggerated fears of lethality — ”Aspirin Madness,” you might say.

In 2004 an Australian government committee evaluated the Reye’s warning statement on aspirin and concluded that “The data available does not confirm a specific or causal role for aspirin. It is likely that, if aspirin is involved in Reye’s syndrome, it acts to compound injuries to an already stressed metabolism.”

Acetaminophen poisoning has become the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S. Some of the cases are suicide attempts, some are unintentional (“therapeutic misadventures”). Many consumers don’t realize they’re overdosing on acetaminophen because they don’t know it’s an ingredient in hundreds of over-the-counter drugs — Nyquil, DayQuil, Theraflu, Excedrin, Coricidin D, Triaminic, Dristan, Midol, Pamprin, etc. - and prescription painkillers, including Vicodin and Percocet, the two most widely used.

The liver, as it breaks down acetaminophen, makes a toxic compound, N-acetyl-para-benzoquinoneimine, which is then transformed to a benign one. In cases of overdose, the liver can’t fully process the toxin, which accumulates. For those with liver damage from hepatitis and/or heavy alcohol use, a “therapeutic” dose can lead to acute failure. In May Dr. Lee presented data at a conference showing that one in eight cases of acute liver failure attributed to hepatitis B also involves acetaminophen poisoning. Lee summarized: “If you are sick with acute viral hepatitis and taking acetaminophen, you are more likely to go into acute liver failure… even if you take therapeutic doses.”

Given acetaminophen’s known effects on the liver, Lee commented, “I am surprised that it’s still on the market.” He elaborated to a Reuters reporter: “I don’t think that any drug with this amount of (use) and length of time on the market will ever be taken off the market, but there should be labeling change.”

The National Institutes of Health tracks acute liver-failure cases. In 2000 there were approximately 2,000 such cases, resulting in about 500 deaths. Acetaminophen overdose is the leading cause for calls to Poison Control Centers (133,000 in ’04, more than half required a trip to the ER or doctor’s office). Johnson & Johnson is putting out a blame-the-victim line, i.e., it’s your fault for not using as directed, or drinking alcohol, or inadvertently taking in combination with other drugs that contain acetaminophen. “If you’re not going to read the label, then don’t buy our products,” says a J&J spokesperson, haughtily, in the 2006 ad campaign. This may be a pre-emptive strike aimed at jurors who will be weighing how much to award the families of Tylenol victims. It’s a totally hypocritical pitch. For years Johnson and Johnson has been manipulating the supine FDA to stall and soften any warnings that might put a dent in Tylenol sales.

The marketing of Tylenol is one of the all-time triumphs in the annals of corporate public relations. By the start of the ’80s, Tylenol had surpassed aspirin and had a 37% share of the over-the-counter painkiller market. By 1982 it was generating almost 20% of J&J’s profits. But then came a national recall of all Tylenol products, occasioned by a whacko terrorist in Chicago who laced some bottles with cyanide and killed seven people. CEO James Burke’s handling of the situation is held up in the business schools to this day as a model of genius p.r. It is the subject of many learned articles, theses, even books. “Johnson & Johnson’s handing of the Tylenol crisis is clearly the example other companies should follow if they find themselves on the brink of losing everything,” says a typically admiring text used in a Defense Department communications course. The terrorist’s attack in Chicago gave Johnson & Johnson an opportunity to conflate safety with purity (just as the terrorists’ attack on 911 would enable the Bush Administration to conflate safety with repression).

Burke held a press conference less than six weeks after the recall to reintroduce Tylenol in its new “triple-safety-seal packaging.” It was the number-one story throughout the country in all media. Here’s Howard Goodman in the Kansas City Times: “The package has glued flaps on the outer box, which must be forcibly opened. Inside a tight plastic seal surrounds the cap and an inner foil seal wraps over the mouth of the bottle… The label carries the warning ‘Do not use if safety seals are broken.’” The unspoken message, etched deeply into consumer consciousness, is that the synthetic compound inside the bottle is perfectly safe. All we have to do is keep faceless evildoers from doing evil… The label did not warn that overdose could lead to acute liver failure.

James Burke’s/J&J’s misdirection play on behalf of Tylenol was widely imitated and has resulted in every commodity known to man being shrink-wrapped. It’s likely that many more people have been fatally stricken by acetaminophen in the last 24 years than would have died from terrorists slipping adulterants into Tylenol bottles. A macabre equation… And how do you factor in environmental damage from the production and application of x tons of plastic? What about the frogs with their permeable skins? What about the workers involved — all that human effort wasted on gratuitous packaging?

Burke went from selling Tylenol to selling marijuana prohibition. “When Burke retired [in 1989] after almost forty years with J&J,” states his Harvard Business School bio, “he quickly found a new mission as chairman of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, a coalition of communications professionals dedicated to persuading children to reject substance abuse. The result was the creation of the largest public service media campaign in the history of advertising - an endeavor that led President Clinton to award him in 2000 the Presidential Medal of Freedom.” The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, J&J’s non-profit arm, has been the major financial backer of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), another Prohibitionist propaganda network.

Paul Jellinek of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Jim Copple of CADCA were among the strategists who met with California and federal officials less than two weeks after Prop 215 passed to discuss steps to block its implementation. They both pledged money for legal challenges to Prop 215 and a p.r. campaign to maintain Prohibition in other states. According to notes taken by an attorney from the Drug Czar’s office, Jellinek said, “The other side would be salivating if they could hear [the] prospect of feds going against [the] will of the people.” What a frank acknowledgment of bias and conspiratorial involvement! Fortunately, a California law-enforcement lobbyist was taking notes that got turned over to “the other side” in the Conant v. McCaffrey proceedings. Journalist Pat McCartney obtained them and wrote an exposé for O’Shaughnessy’s.

Occasionally the wall of silence by the corporate media gets breached, but the message that Tylenol causes liver damage has yet to reach the masses. A 1998 article in Forbes by Thomas Easton and Stephen Herrera critiqued J&J’s strategy: “J&J has made grudging concessions, strengthening the warning label a little at a time… Why not warn about people about possible liver failure? J&J says that ‘organ specific’ warnings would confuse people. Why not talk about the risk of death? That would promote suicides, says the company.” The Forbes piece concluded, “Burke’s successor, Ralph Larsen, has a painful choice. He can rewrite the label, putting on it the verbal equivalent of a skull and crossbones. Or he can go on paying off victims, and hope for the best.”

(Fred Gardner is the managing editor of O’Shaughnessy’s. He can be reached at fred@plebesite.com.)

* * *

Washington Arch in Snow, lithograph by Ellison Hoover

* * *

SCENES FROM AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT ON GAMMA HYDRA 4.

“What if Jesus God was a little Asian Mexican gay Black guy? Not a dwarf, maybe, but petite, and he could still make fish and bread and wine appear out of nothing by waving His hands, and walk on water and cure leprosy and bring people back from the dead, and all the other Penn & Teller Fool Us and David Copperfield tricks, and He was still technically the offspring of the Mythical Creature that created itself and then every star and planet and galaxy and cosmic ray and photon of light in the entire 4 times 10 to the 32nd power cubic light-years of just /this/ universe, whose spacetime It also created, as well as laws of physics, and with all that power and glory It still gets cranky if you seethe a goat in its mother's milk, whatever that means, or mix chicken and eggs or dance on Sundays or get a haircut or wear clothing with more than one kind of fiber in it –a shirt, or pants, for instance, with cotton /and/ Spandex– or engrave a picture or sass back to your momma, or you can't give Him a fig from your branch when its not fig season and you haven't got any –He's clearly the real deal as described on the tin– but it's still /weird/ that He's this /tiny little effeminate lisping ethnic guy/ and not, you know, the Nordic surfer weightlifter dude in zoris and a white bathrobe. Would evangelical speakers-in-tongues and exorcists and beaters of Him into their children still respect Him and pretend to want to do what he would do? Or would it make it easier for them to finally grow up, and grow out of that sort of thing, like getting tired of comic books for little kids and moving up to better, more nuanced comic books, like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Delilah Dirk or Watchmen or Sandman or Saga or Girl Genius or Strong Female Protagonist?”

The recording of last night's (2021-10-08) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) is right here: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0457

Thanks to the Anderson Valley Advertiser, which provided at least an hour of the above eight-hour show's material, as usual, without asking for anything in return.

This was my first time back in KNYO's studio in Fort Bragg since being at Juanita's for six or eight weeks and doing the show from there, because of her car trouble adventure. There've been a few changes and I didn't react well. First, my keys didn't work and I kinda freaked out about that. Once inside, I found the streaming computer was replaced and new streaming software was on the screen, with little changes to it all that encouraged how off-base I felt. Though nothing was really wrong, that I knew of.

Two or three hours into the show I noticed that my backup recorder was off and dark. Apparently I had been in too much of a hurry to push the power connector all the way in, and it ran out its battery. I fixed that and started it again.

After the show was over I went to put the real recording in my thumb drive to take away with me and saw that there was no main recording in the streaming computer. The person who reinstalled the streaming software had not checked the box in settings that automatically makes a recording when you're on the air. (How would they know to do that? It's not their fault.) And I'd been up for like 26 hours at this point…

Go back a little. Almost midnight Alex had called from Arkansas to derail me from what I was reading because he didn't like it, and some kids came in from the bar next door and sat down at the mic and got in a discussion with Alex about the whole world and James Bond movies, so I gave up and went out for a walk, a couple of times (!), and got back just in time for the phone thing to screw up and start honking. Anyway, the whole night was exhausting and a fricking debacle and what /I/ think are some pretty good parts of the show are not even preserved, so– uh– ahem, ya know, /you might like it better this way./ I don't know what you like. People are always surprising me with what they like and what they don't like. Kids wear safety pins in their tongue now, earrings in their noses and eyebrows, and smoke cigarets that smell worse than ever (when they're not electronic cigarets}, and they brand their labia with swastikas; they can have a big blotchy ridiculous tattoo on their face and neck, and just all kinds of stuff that seems crazy to me, but I know it takes all kinds to make a world. And here's the thing: branded and self-tattooed and drugged-stupid people can work in a restaurant or a bank or anywhere and nobody gives them any shit about it. It's /normal/ to be all self-mutilated and fucked up now, just as it used to be normal, through most of U.S. history, for everyone to be drunk all the time, and to solve points of argument with fisticuffs, outside.

In case I wasn't clear, above, the recording is slightly distorted from hasty setup, and it's pieced together around two-plus missing hours. The glitch in the matrix is at 25 minutes in.

If I had known to come a whole /hour/ early to get used to the new stuff and get everything set right, I still would've screwed up that show. I think I'm just not as smart or present or maybe ruthless as I used to be. I feel like an old grumpy cat so much of the time now, and everyone wants to run the vacuum cleaner and move us to another house and take me to the vet and not have the good kind of wet food and rock in rocking chairs when I forget and let my tail uncoil. It's not the world, it's me. I know that.

Email me your writing on any subject and I'll read it on the radio next week. That's what I'm here for. I'll try not to mess it up too badly. If it's more than plain text, please provide a link to the media you want me to see.

BESIDES ALL THAT, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering that show together. Such as, for instance:

The 1939 Schloerwagen (say SHLOO-ah-vah-gen) (hard G). A Dymaxion car ripoff, but small and cool, and I'd like one, please, but maybe with an electric motor instead of a lawnmower motor.

https://www.vintag.es/2021/10/1939-schlorwagen.html

“Well, I planned to make a lot of money, and then become a nun.” “And he brought us in to meet them, and it was Paul McCartney and John Lennon, and he said, 'Paul, John, I'd like you to meet these girls; they're going to be Britain's first all female rock and roll band.' And John said, 'What ya got there, in that case?' I said it's a guitar. He said, 'Girls don't play guitars.' And I thought, Oh, are we gonna show you!” This is a brilliant short documentary. By the end you're weeping. At least I hope you are.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1QqLCpXMIw

And Every Michael Jackson grunt and shriek and huffed pant, disembodied from the music and all cut together.

https://boingboing.net/2021/10/06/every-michael-jackson-grunt-and-yell.html

— Marco McClean, memo@mcn.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com

9 Comments

  1. Lee Edmundson October 10, 2021

    So very sorry hearing of Lanny Cotler’s passing.
    I worked on his and his brother Steve’s movie “Heartwood” back in the 1990s as a background extra (the Paymaster). There were lots of us extras. We weren’t paid money, but fed well and given merchandise — flashlights, coolers, sweatshirts and the like — local businesses had donated to the effort.
    On the final night of the shoot — it had gone late and jeez it was bloody cold up there — we were riding back to the rendezvous parking area in a donated school bus — when he related to me how proud he was of everyone who’d participated in the making of the movie; how he wished he could have done more to thank us.
    I told him that he could do more. He asked How? I suggested that he add all our names (the extras) into the final credits of the film. Extras are never credited in movies. I said that would give each and every one a memorial for their contribution. You know, for their kids and family’s.
    Dang if he didn’t do just that.
    That’s the kind of guy he was. A real mensch.
    One more good one gone.

  2. Harvey Reading October 10, 2021

    ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

    Displays one thing very clearly: vaxers are as fascist, and twice as sanctimonious as antivaxers. A pox on both your filthy houses!

    • Harvey Reading October 10, 2021

      “4.5 million deaths worldwide is quite another…”

      4.5 million divided by 8 thousand million is a very small small, number, even expressed as a percentage, especially when one considers that “vaccines” are not readily available for many of those 8 thousand million.

      • Marmon October 10, 2021

        “4.5 million divided by 8 thousand million is a very small small, number, even expressed as a percentage.”

        I’m sure you would like those numbers to improve by several thousand million.

        Marmon

        • Harvey Reading October 11, 2021

          You would be sure.

  3. Harvey Reading October 10, 2021

    “SAN FRANCISCO’S FLEET WEEK AIR SHOW is a stupid waste of time and money ”

    Absolutely right. It’s just more conditioning to keep us loving our brutal military that does as it’s told when it comes to slaughtering other humans. It’s conditioning on the order of the reaction to the office building destruction back in ’01: ALL we’re supposed to remember is the couple of thousand people who died here…and not even think of the millions of civilians slaughtered by the US over the decades preceding, and following. Anyone even remember Vietnam? It’s just one example of many…

    • Tim McClure October 10, 2021

      Other instances of money wasted by the USN is the dog and pony show they brought to town here in Fort Bragg awhile back. They obviously hired a high price PR outfit to convince the local citizens that they really did care about minimizing harm to marine ecosystems while conducting maneuvers using high power sonar systems. Now we get a “Record of Decision “ notification in the mail stating “ after carefully weighing the operational and environmental consequences of the Proposed Action…” that they plan “ to continue training and testing activities at sea and in the airspace within the study area”
      In other words, we don’t care what your concerns are, we are going to do exactly what we wanted to do in the first place.
      I ask you, how can a citizen have any illusion that the USN cares about anything other than consuming their enormously bloated budget?

  4. Stephen Rosenthal October 10, 2021

    Fred Gardner failed to note two very important things in his hit piece on Johnson & Johnson, Tylenol and even San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Osler.

    1) Andrew Wiggins applied for a vaccination exemption on RELIGIOUS, not medical, grounds. No mention was ever made about an allergic reaction or any other medical conditions. It was only AFTER The NBA denied his RELIGIOUS exemption request that Wiggins mumbled something about “an allergic reaction to some kind of medication a few years ago” as a reason for his reluctance to get vaccinated.
    2) Ironically, of the three vaccine options, Andrew Wiggins selected Johnson & Johnson, the veritable Satan incarnate according to Gardner. But his reasons for getting the jab were not due to concern about contracting Covid or protecting others from exposure should he get it. No, it was greed. “Despite my strong beliefs, if I want to get paid, I have to be vaccinated.” The guy, who is no superstar by the way, makes $31.5 million a year to play basketball. Nice work if you can get it.

    I’m anything but a honk for Big Pharma, but I believe in the vaccines and I also believe in reporting the truth. You can do better, Mr. Gardner.

  5. Rye N Flint October 10, 2021

    Under our noses

    A friend just told me today that Cal Fire and JSDF (Jackson State Demonstration Forest) hired Paul Trouette’s private mercenary/ paramilitary firm LEER Asset Management Inc. to “Protect the loggers” from “possible violent protesters” in the non-violent demonstrations over the recent destruction of Old Growth carbon sequestering forest near Ft. Bragg.

    https://www.corporationwiki.com/California/Willits/paul-john-trouette/45179207.aspx

    I highly suggest that local citizens inform themselves on this “asset management firm”.

    https://kymkemp.com/2019/07/16/accusations-in-letter-to-the-editor-by-rainbow-ridge-activist-humboldt-redwood-company-responds/

    The redheaded blackbelt has many stories about this creep, but I think the most telling is the Time magazine article from 2014:

    “Paul Trouette, Lear’s CEO, says his firm was not responsible for the helicopter raids that the town’s residents complained about. “We do not do any kind of vigilante, black ops, Blackwater stuff,” he says, noting the company is licensed and regulated by the state of California, and only works on private land when summoned by the owner. Trouette is neither cop nor soldier; he is a longtime Fish and Game commissioner in Mendocino County, and the head of an organization devoted to preserving local herds of blacktail deer. Security contracting, he says, grew out of volunteer environmental reclamation. “It was a natural for our company to move into security contracting,” he says. “It’s just too much to handle for private ownership.””

    https://time.com/3393387/california-marijuana-pot-security/

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/lear-asset-management-marijuana-raids-mendocino-california

    oh did I mention, he used to be head of Fish and Game for Mendocino County?
    https://www.willitsnews.com/2008/03/21/new-group-wants-to-increase-deer-population/

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