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Mendocino County Today: November 19, 2012

THE MENDOCINO COUNTY FAIR, aka The Boonville Fair, is on the ropes, running on fumes, life support, dying. The annual state subsidy of about $215,000 has been cut from the State's budget. Unless the Fair can generate more income, it will soon exhaust the reserves it's been running on, a surplus accumulated over the years through a combination of popular revenue-generating events, included the much-loved annual Fair, and prudent management that continues to this day with Fair Manager Jim Brown.

BROWN SAID LAST WEEK that even with the passage of Proposition 30 and a revived State cash flow that cash will flow mostly to education, not to help subsidize county fairs. “We are going to have to try to come up with that much money,” Brown said. “There may be some grant money available for facility upgrades and maintenance, and we certainly will be looking into all of the grant opportunities, but grants generally cannot be used for operating expenses or employment.”

THE PERSONABLE BROWN went on to point out that the budget cuts at the state level will negatively affect Fair staff, which is already bare bones. “We have already cut our expenses this year. We saw this coming and we have been as prudent as we can be over last five years. So we have the reserves. Depending on our expenses we might be able to run a year or two more, but then there would be nothing left, no reserves. And the business would be gone,” Brown said. “We would like to be able to finish the year and still have some reserves left and continue to be able to operate at a basic level. We have already increased our fees a little, and we've raised our rentals. But at some point you run yourself out of business. We're certainly not going to be able to make up this shortfall just with increased fees.”

THE WESTERN FAIRS ASSOCIATION represents fairs throughout the state. But Brown said Western Fairs is composed of various interests at odds or indifferent to county fairs. Brown said that at the Monday meeting last week several local people had promised help with grant applications. “We’re also starting to work on a direct-mail fund-raising campaign, and we also are looking at some sponsorships or membership arrangements,” he said. “Maybe someone out there could introduce me to someone who could bring some resources to bear or to be a sponsor. That could offset some of our funding loss.”

”WE HAVE TO FIGURE SOMETHING OUT SHORT-TERM and long-term because we really can't depend on the state for funding anymore,” Brown declared. He said our two state representatives, Chesbro and Evans, told him that fair subsidies are in competition for money with more pressing state priorities such as healthcare and education. “I made it clear to Mr. Chesbro how important fairs are to the community and to the local economy. I put together a presentation last year laying it all out. Chesbro said he supports fairs, but he can't vote for fairs over healthcare or fairs over education. He says giving money to fairs would mean taking money away from somewhere else.”

BROWN pointed out the domino effect of forcing county fairs to close. “It will put pressure on the bigger fairs because carnivals will suffer and probably try to raise their prices because they’ll have fewer places to operate. Concessionaires and food operators will be squeezed as well. It will hurt the whole industry. Obviously, they don't see the whole picture. The governor has told us that we need people on our boards who are good fundraisers. Essentially they say we're on our own. We would hope that they'd at least provide some minimum level of guaranteed funding even if it has to be reduced. Most of the other departments in the state have been cut something like 30%, but we got cut 100%. We could probably survive if we got at least half of what we were getting. But this is too big a blow too quickly.”

ATTRACTING events that draw lots of people to Boonville, Brown pointed out, is difficult. “It's hard for boat shows, car shows, RV shows, and so on to come here because they don't think people will drive to Boonville. They prefer areas that are closer to Highway 101. They like that drive-by traffic. Right now our main activity is in the two annual wine events, the music festival, the beer festival, and the Fair itself. We also have some private rentals by locals periodically. We were hoping that the Not So Simple Living Fair would be expanding somewhat in the future as well. We've even had people suggest that we somehow try to tap into the marijuana business, but that doesn’t seem very realistic. We certainly are willing to try anything that is reasonably possible. We're trying to figure out ways to perhaps increase rodeo participation. The sheepdog trials are popular during the Fair but don't provide much of a draw the rest of the year. Our main focus now is grants, sponsorships and fundraising. We'd like it if people could introduce me to people who could provide financial support. Maybe grape growers or other business people would be interested. We would be happy to follow up on any leads. Any suggestions at all, call me at 895-3011.”

COMMENT OF THE DAY: “Israeli apologists justify Israeli aggression on the Palestinians on grounds of self-defense. But Israel is a country of 7.5 million people who possess a well-trained army with tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, helicopter gunships and F-16s and F-18s, and lethal — and illegal — phosphorous munitions. Gaza is a small occupied territory of 1.7 million which has no heavy weaponry, just some old guns and some largely ineffectual rockets. Israelis cite hundreds of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza in 2012; but until Israel's recent attack they had killed not a single Israeli, though they did wound a few last March when fighting between Palestinians and Israelis escalated. Sorry, but this does not meet the criteria for defense. Even if it did, the concept of proportionality of response renders Israel's actions morally reprehensible as well as in violation of international law.” — Ed Watters

Marijuana Legalization A State Issue, by John McKay

McKay

Though it may seem the dust has barely settled from California's failed effort in 2010 to legalize marijuana under Proposition 19, the winds of change may be blowing here again, this time from the north.

Washington State voters, along with those in Colorado, have voted to legalize marijuana for adult use and to regulate within state borders production, transportation and sales. We plan to capture much-needed revenue while moving from a law enforcement model to a public health approach, emphasizing treatment and education over handcuffs and jail.

To be sure, it will take years to drive organized crime out of the marijuana business in our state, but we are proud to have helped kick off debate about the failures of marijuana prohibition.

As the US attorney in Seattle, I helped lead federal enforcement of marijuana laws. But like many in law enforcement, I saw firsthand the dangerous futility in asserting criminal laws in the face of enormous demand for marijuana and the resulting black-market profits for gangs and drug cartels. In spite of the sometimes heroic efforts of law enforcement, marijuana is readily available to our kids. Public safety remains threatened by gun violence and criminal turf wars over billions of dollars in illegal and untaxed marijuana sales. We incarcerate minorities at higher rates than whites, even though whites consume more marijuana.

Many now are asking the fundamental question: Do the criminal laws prohibiting marijuana use by adults have the support of, we, the people?

Washington's ballot measure, endorsed by two former US attorneys, a former FBI agent in charge of Washington State and leaders in public health, passed overwhelmingly.

 We sounded law enforcement and public-safety themes while exposing the dominance of the gangs and drug cartels in the vast marijuana black market. With other sponsors and partners, we highlighted the proposed law's tight regulation, restrictions on advertising, youth treatment and education, and the significant revenues from taxing marijuana sales. And we took the heat from medical marijuana activists who opposed the law because of our tough driving-under-the-influence standard for marijuana impairment.

 Some see the new state law as an invitation to federal intervention against those who dare to question the federal policy of blanket criminalization. This need not be the case.

 With 18 states and the District of Columbia allowing medical marijuana and many more considering similar state legislation, President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder face a choice: Will they allow states to help them drive the gangs and cartels out of the marijuana market, or oppose them and face a continuing rebellion as more and more states pass laws reminiscent of those presaging the repeal of alcohol prohibition?

Our new law allows a year to carefully plan implementation and regulations for this new approach to marijuana, which we expect will involve important dialogue between state and federal officials.

 The new marijuana laws in Washington and Colorado may point the way to achieving real change in California, too — and across America. Bringing the production and sale of marijuana under tight regulatory control and capturing the tax revenues will directly challenge the deadly dominance of the drug cartels and gangs.

 It is now clear the states will lead the way to ending marijuana prohibition in the United States. California should be in the vanguard. Will it? ¥¥

(John McKay is a visiting professor of law at Seattle University and the former US Attorney for the western district of Washington.)

On the way: There are 130 Medbox dispensaries now operating with 40 more scheduled to open by year's end

MEDICAL MARIJUANA company Medbox saw its stock soar an astonishing 3,000 per cent as investors seek to get in on the ground floor of what they think could be America's next boom industry. In the wake of this year's elections in which both Colorado and Washington residents voted to legalize marijuana, investors began buying up MedBox shares as quickly as they could. On Monday, MedBox shares sold for $4. By Thursday they were at $215. Medbox is an automated medication dispenser for medical marijuana accessible with fingerprint recognition or a medical marijuana card. Using a touchscreen, patients can select up to 50 different varieties of pre-weighed medical marijuana sealed in standard medication vials. The machines do not use cash, but rather a pre-paid card that alerts the customer when the balance is low so that each purchase can be documented. The company operates 130 dispensers and is scheduled to install 40 more before 2013. “We believe an appropriate trading range is between $5 and $10 but, alas, the market will do what it will do,” Medbox founder Vincent Mehdizader told MarketWatch, who's recent story on properly investing in marijuana was considered one of the reasons for the sudden interest. The stock price then tumbled back down to $100 on Friday. That sent the company's market cap from a respectable $45 million to a shocking $2.3 billion almost overnight — double the market capitalization of menswear retailer Jos. A. Banks Clothiers. Mehdizader said the company was also planning to expand beyond marijuana, installing temperature controlled vending machines serving a wide-range of drugs in places as diverse as drug stores and prisons. Somewhere between $600,000 and $700,000 worth of purchases in the company were made this week. “We couldn’t really understand why that was happening other than that there was a high demand for stock with limited supply,” Mehdizader said. It's possible buys were done by one hedge fund or several big buyers, with day traders also adding to the demand. Now the company is trying to find ways to protect early investors with company-owned shares should the price they bought it at drastically lower. “We don't want those investors to have sour feelings about what happened,” Mehdizadeh said. Marijuana investment is still considered high risk. Of nearly 3,000 dispensaries 500 were closed or shut down by federal government in the last 12 months. Medbox has grown steadily over the last year and Mehdizadeh is confident it will continue to do so, but doubts the current feeding frenzy prices realistically reflect the company's value. “We feel within 10 years we could legitimately have share prices hit $215 again,” he said. (Courtesy, the London Daily Mail)

STANFORD quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) is congratulated by long snapper Jacob Gowan (56) after the No. 14 Cardinal upset No. 1 Oregon in overtime Saturday. Jacob is a senior at Stanford majoring in mechanical engineering. He's the son of Don Gowan of Philo and Sharon Gowan of Santa Rosa.

MARTIN TEVASEU is a graduate of Anderson Valley High School and a professional football player presently with the Indianapolis Colts where he plays nose tackle.

 

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A ZIONIST WORLDVIEW and the Slaughter in Gaza

(19 November 2012) by Professor Lawrence Davidson

Introducing Fred Skolnik

Skolnick

Soon after my analysis, “In Defense of Robert Falk” (4 November 2012) was published by Media with a Conscience (MWC), the site editor forwarded to me an unusual chastising response. Unusual because it came from a relatively well-known scholar and writer by the name of Fred Skolnik. Mr. Skolnik is the editor in chief of a 22 volume Encyclopedia Judaica (second edition), a work that won the Dartmouth Medal in 2007. He is also the author of numerous works of fiction all concerning life in Israel. It is not rare for Zionists to take me to task, and Skolnik is most certainly a Zionist. Yet it is rare that those who chastise are of Skolnik’s stature. And so, a reply is in order.

Mr. Skolnik does not like Dr. Falk who, the reader might remember, is the present United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories. And, because I defend Falk, he does not like me either. Indeed, as far as Skolnik is concerned I am part of “an army of Israel haters...churning out endless... venomous half truths” about the Land of Israel. Nonetheless, Skolnik has taken the time to write a three page commentary to set me and my readers straight. He says, “I will state Israel’s case in as few words as possible, though you of course may not choose to publish this in order not to lose the effect you are aiming at.” Well, that is silly. I have no objection to my readers seeing Mr. Skolnik’s response. Here is how you can do so: go to the MWC site; search for Davidson; go to “In Defense of Robert Falk;” and scroll down to Skolnik’s comment.

Mr. Skolnik’s Arguments

That being said, here is my analysis of elements of Mr. Skolnik’s case for Israel.

1. Skolnik: “There is no historic Palestine that has anything to do with the Arabs, nor is there an ‘indigenous’ or native Muslim population there.” This is a very old fantasy or myth that has been developed over the years to allow radical Zionists and violent settlers to rationalize their historical absorption of Palestinian land.

• Quoting from the Wikipedia entry for Palestinian People, an entry which reflects the latest research into this subject of who was where and when, including genetic analysis, we find that Palestinians are the “modern descendants of those who have lived in Palestine over the centuries and today are largely culturally and linguistically Arab....Genetic analysis suggests that a majority of the Muslims of Palestine, inclusive of the Arab citizens of Israel, are descendants of Christians, Jews and other inhabitants of the southern Levant whose core reaches back to prehistoric times.”

• Furthermore, “a study of high-resolution haplotypes [DNA sequences] demonstrated that a substantial portion of Y chromosomes of Israeli Jews (70%) and of Palestinian Muslim Arabs (82%) belong to the same chromosome pool.”

• What all this means is that the ancestors of those Palestinians who are now culturally and linguistically Arab have been in Palestine from time immemorial. Over the ages, the population fragmented, acquired differing religious, linguistic and cultural traits. Indeed, those indigenous Palestinians, Jews and local Christians as well, are basically the same people gone in somewhat separate cultural ways.

• Poor Mr. Skolnik. It is a shock that he is so ardently supporting the ethnic cleansing of his own cousins.

2. Skolnik: “Most of the Arabs with ‘roots’ in the Land of Israel migrated there from other parts of the Arab world in the 19th and early 20th centuries while the Jews have been continuously present in the Land of Israel for well over 3000 years.”

• This is another myth that was most prominently put forth in a book by Joan Peters, published in 1984, and entitled From Time Immemorial. Her argument and evidence were meticulously taken apart and shown to be false by Norman Finkelstein in his Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (1995).

3. Skolnik: “The displacement of the Arabs in the Land of Israel during Israel’s war of Independence...was paralleled by the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Jews living in Arab lands at the time whose lives were made unbearable under vindictive Arab rule.” Subsequently, the Israelis “received their Jewish brethren with open arms” while the Arab countries that received Arab refugees “herded them into camps and treated them like animals.”

•  For an editor of a 22 volume encyclopedia Skolnik shows a deplorable tendency to slip into generalizing, stereotyping and lumping together multiple events with multiple outcomes. Here are some counterpoints:

• Actually, the exodus of Arab Jews from their countries of residence went on over an extended period of time and in some cases, such as Algeria, had nothing to do with the events in Palestine. In other cases where the Arab country found itself at war with Israel, as with Egypt, Jewish immigration was a direct result of the Zionist expulsion of Arabs. And in the case of Morocco, the government tried hard to assure the Jews safety and prosperity to counter Zionist propaganda urging them to leave.

• Sometimes the “displacement” was hastened, as in Iraq, by Zionist agents committing violent acts of sabotage against local Jewish communities.

• The reception the Arab Jews got in Israel wasn’t quite the “open arms” picture Skolnik paints. They were received by their European Jewish “brethren” with racial prejudice. Even today, Ashkenazi and Sephardic/Mizrachi relations in Israel are strained.

• As to the Arab refugees who were allegedly treated like animals by their fellow Arabs, this is an exaggeration. The situation differed from country to country. For instance, treatment in Lebanon was bad, in Jordan it was good. In none of the refugee camps in Arab countries were conditions worse than those in the tent cities and “development towns” in the Negev Desert into which the Israelis herded 80% of the Arab Jewish refugees.

4. Mr. Skolnik has other points which time and space do not allow me to address. The interested reader can find them in his response to my essay on Dr. Falk. If you read and consider them please take the time to follow up with other sources of information, such as the works of the Israeli historians Ilan Pappe and Benny Morris as well as the journalistic pieces of Amira Hass and Gideon Levy (both of whom work for the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz), and the reports of Israel’s human rights group B’Tselem. These are all Israeli sources, but they tell a very different story than does Skolnik.

From Skolnik to Gaza

As Mr. Skolnik so aptly demonstrates, we all live within our own world. These are usually constructed for us by our upbringing: our families, our peers, our schools, our friends and the level of attachment we develop to the community. This attachment is usually sustained and deepened by the reinforcing information environment that the community provides for us. These environments at once transform us into “good” citizens and simultaneously narrow our views of the world so they conform to acceptable political and cultural paradigms. The process usually works quite well. Nevertheless, it is still true that in any community you get a continuum of acceptance and devotion ranging from the skeptic to the true believer. For the latter, the community can do no wrong and its behavior can always be rationalized. When it comes to Israel, Skolnik is a true believer.

In a country like Israel, one that has armed itself to the teeth yet feels perennially insecure, and where the true believers are in charge, the situation is made dangerous in the extreme. Over the years Israeli leaders, generally believing the same things that Fred Skolnik believes, have dispossessed and ethnically cleansed the Palestinians, pushing them into ever smaller areas of concentration.

Gaza is the worst example of these cases. It is a virtual “open air prison” of a million and half people squeezed into 139 square miles, the most densely populated place on earth. There, with the compliance of the United States and the European Union, the Israelis have proceeded to reduce most of the Gazans to abject poverty. When, periodically, these people strike out at their tormenters, usually in ineffective ways, they are labeled terrorists and, again with Western blessing, attacked furiously and disproportionately by the Israelis. You can now witness the latest onslaught live on the web.

Conclusion

Gaza City, Nov. 16, 2012

Under these circumstances Skolnik’s assertions that the Jews were in Palestine first and the Arabs only came later as interlopers is really besides the point. Let us say, just for the sake of argument, that he is correct. That the Jews, even in their European guise, are the real indigenous Palestinians, having come back to the homeland after an extended absence of several thousand years. Even granted this fiction, does any of that give today’s Israeli Jews the right to treat the Palestinians as they do? Does it justify the creation of an apartheid environment in the occupied West Bank? Does it give them the right to reduce a million and half Gazans to a calculated impoverishment and then provoke them until they respond, whereupon Israelis indulge themselves in self-righteous mass murder?

I don’t believe any of Skolnik’s pseudo-history. I also don’t give a damn who lived in or controlled Palestine three thousand years ago. The ones who control it now are, by their actions, no better than barbarians and the leaders in the West who back them have Palestinian blood on their hands. When it comes to behaviors like ethnic cleansing and cultural genocide the claim of self-defense is ludicrous. Nor can the fantasies of Fred Skolnik justify such on-going crimes.

(Lawrence Davidson is a Professor of History at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. ldavidson@wcupa.edu

SHANACHIE PUB'S MUSIC! (For a concise list, please scroll to the bottom)  PLEASE REMEMBER, THERE ARE NO DOGS ALLOWED AT THE PUB.  "HAPPY HOUR" IS DAILY from 5-7 pm! Get $1. off all drinks! TUESDAY PINTS are just $3. ALL DAY!!!!  OPEN MIC is every WEDNESDAY at 8:40 PM!-Sign ups start at 3 pm  REMEMBER, you can order gourmet pizza from PIZZA TO GO and have it delivered to the Pub! Hours are Sun.-Thurs. from 11am to 9 pm, and Fri. & Sat. from 11 am to 10 pm, and some of their specialties are the Southwestern, Mediterranean, Zorba, Marinated Mushroom and The 707! They also have garlic bread, Jo-Jo fries, wings, salads and more! Check out the menu on the bar and call 459-5813!  FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23rd welcomes local favorites SCHINDIG!-9 pm-NO COVER!  Originally, we were to expect The Schinless Diggers, which is simply Schindig, minus Malakai Schindel, but Malakai can make it after all, so Schindig is on! This band is a local favorite with most of the members having grown up in the Willits area. No matter how far they go, they are always drawn back eventually, and they always carry a piece of the rolling hills of Mendocino County in their heart. They have been together for many years- about 6 years as “Schindig”, though it goes a bit deeper than that. Some band members have been playing and jamming together for 20 odd years since their early youth. There has been some turnover in membership, but they have always stuck to the same goal of entertaining, inspiring and “moving” the audience in all senses of the word.  SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24th features Singer/Songwriter JAY WATKINS!-7 pm-NO COVER!  Born in Sonoma Valley in 1951, Jay grew up on the music of Nat King Cole, Burl Ives and Fats Domino's Blueberry Hill was the major component planting the seed for Jay’s love of music and song.  He later was given piano lessons and discovered “The Black Jack Wayne Show” on TV, a Bay Area country music show, which he soaked in. Although he does not consider himself a country artist, this country influence is still evident in a number of his tunes.  Jay went on to learn to play the saxophone and acoustic guitar and at fifteen he bought his first electric bass, playing in high school garage bands, while continuing to play the acoustic guitar on his own. His first song was written at the age of sixteen and he has been writing ever since, using songwriting as an outlet to express his intellectual, philosophical and spiritual nature.  Jay was influenced by 60's & 70’s, groups like The Birds and Buffalo Springfield, and in the 80’s took an interest in “world beat” music and its variety of rhythms, especially the African, Latin and Caribbean, and the fusion of those with the rhythms of western culture. In the late 90’s he got some hands on experience playing bass in a “world beat” band. This exposure to “world beat” music convinced Jay that rhythmic diversity should be a primary consideration when putting together a repertoire.  Although Jay played bass in a number of groups over the years, he always seemed to come back to his acoustic guitar and songs. In 1999 Jay and his wife moved to the rural woodlands of northern California, on a ridge just inland from the coast, and now prefers the simplicity of performing alone, which his material is well suited for. With this new focus Jay wrote some fresh new tunes and picked out tunes from the past that he still considered relevant, resulting in his current repertoire, an eclectic mix of heartfelt songs.  In the second half of 2011 Jay recorded two CD’s of his songs. The first of which, “As Good A Time As Any”, was released on July 25, 2012. The second CD,”On The Ride”, should be out sometime in 2013. Visit www.jaywwatkins.com

ON THE WAY.... FRIDAY, NOV. 23RD-SCHINDIG-ORIGINAL FOLK ROCK!-9PM

SATURDAY, NOV. 24TH-JAY HAWKINS-SINGER SONGWRITER!-7 PM

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 28TH-LAGUNITA'S NIGHT FROM 7-10!-$1. OFF "DOGGIE DOLLARS" THURSDAY, NOV. 29TH-OVER EASY-UKIAH DUO!-6 PM FRIDAY, NOV. 30TH-BLUE REPTILES-JAZZY BLUES!-9 PM

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