Breezy | Fire Potential | Cherry Green | Baby Formula | Wildoak Living | Book Discussion | Ukiah Burglars | Unusual Incident | Sunshine Club | Dragon's Lair | Ukiah Centric | Little League | Clytie Mathews | Marbut Fumble | Westport Bells | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Alexander McCallum | Dog Love | Yogi Berra | Gardening | Confidentiality | Loop Current | Replacement Theory | Reproductive Justice | Dubai | Urchin Festival | Malcolm Birthday | Corporate Dictators | Love Story
BREEZY WINDS AND COOLER INTERIOR TEMPERATURES are expected today and tomorrow. A warming trend will kick off this weekend and continue into next week. (NWS)
Cherry Green (10 year Anderson Valley resident), beloved mother of Taunia Green (former AV resident), died May 16, 2022 of COPD. Cherry is survived by her three daughters and three grandchildren. No services will be held by her family. If you would like to make a donation in her memory, Cherry requested donations be made to the Anderson Valley Health Clinic.
To those of you who knew, cared for, or thought of Cherry: Thank You. Truly. I send deepest gratitude to You and The Valley in general for its cooperative spirit.
I must also include the Anderson Valley Village for their consistent support, generosity and thoughtfulness. (I recommend this organization!) And the Anderson Valley Clinic and Dr. Mark Apfel. We couldn’t have gotten through the last ten years with out you. And even if you reached out to her and did not hear back, she spoke to me gratefully of hearing from you.
On a personal note: I love my mom deeply. I miss her. I may not have anyone that will love me like she has. Her love will never leave me, it will last forever.
Cherry’s life was both beautiful and hard, like so many of us. Some of the bright spots were that she found a loving man to be her husband and they made three beautiful, strong, intelligent daughters (Heather Lowery, Penny Weller, Taunia Green) who in turn made three delightful grandkids (Max Lowery, Victoria Weller, Aidan Lowery) who have grown into young adults that feel fulfilled, inspired and are thoughtful.
Condolences can be sent to:
Taunia Green, PO Box 832, Florence, OR 97439
And/Or Heather Lowery, 1640 Maple Ave, Apt 302, Evanston IL 60201
THE CO-OP, UKIAH, HAS BABY FORMULA!
WILDOAK LIVING on KZYX this morning at 9 am
On Thursday, May 19 at 9 am, join Johanna Wildoak for WildOak Living, the radio program about sustainability and building community in Mendocino County and beyond. Johanna will feature two women who each tell compelling stories, one with words and one with images.
She talks with local illustrator and photographer Leona Walden about the recently reissued Country Women, A Handbook for the New Farmer. A "back to the land" classic, this homesteading handbook chronicles the aspirations of tireless women seeking a new life on small farms around America, including in Mendocino County.
Johanna also talks with award-winning journalist Jori Lewis in Dakar, Senegal. Her book Slaves for Peanuts, tells the story of an African minister, born to would-be slaves, who walked a tightrope between Western colonization and African self-determination and what role the peanut played.
BURGLARY SUSPECTS INFO SOUGHT
On Sunday, May 15, 2022 near midnight two individuals committed a burglary of a business in the 4300 block of North State Street in Ukiah.
Suspect#1 (Left) – Red hat with white letters and silver label/sticker on top of the bill, black pants, black zip up jacket with hoody, white shirt, blue plaid boxers, white shoes with red markings and black gloves
Suspect #2 (Right)– Black beanie cap, black jacket, black glove with red marking and black shoes.
Suspects may have been driving a pickup truck, might also be associated with the names of “Daniel” and “Lucas”.
Taken during the burglary was a pelican case with the word “Diesel” in yellow.
Anyone with information that could assist Deputies is urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center by calling 707-463-4086.
HIGH-SPEED WRONG-WAY MENDOZA-GONZAGA
UKIAH CITY COUNCIL TO VOTE ON DRAGON’S LAIR DEMOLITION
by Justine Frederickson
The Ukiah City Council tonight was set to vote on the future of the home to the popular business Dragon’s Lair after a majority of members voted earlier this month that the building should not be demolished, despite the city’s Demolition Review Committee approving the building owner’s request to tear down the 100-year-old structure.
“I could go on and on about why we preserve buildings, why historic preservation is important, and that much of why we love Ukiah, and what makes it unique, is because of the historic buildings that we have downtown,” said DRC member Alyssa Ballard of the Historical Society of Mendocino County in December. “And this one in particular (101 S. Main St.) tells a story of a large part of Ukiah’s history, which is agriculture, and we don’t have a lot of commercial buildings left that do that.”
“And I realize that agricultural commerce is not as exciting as some of the historic retail buildings we have on State Street, which is likely why it’s one of the last buildings left that’s representative of it,” said Ballard, adding that she felt the building “originally constructed in 1921 as a hay barn and feed store,” met two of the three criteria that would “eliminate it from being demolished,” specifically the first and second.
Those three criteria are: “1. Has a special or particular quality such as oldest, best example, largest, or last surviving example of its kind; or 2. Exemplifies or reflects special elements of the city’s cultural, social, economic, political, aesthetic, or architectural history; or 3. Is strongly identified with persons or events significant in local, state, or national history.” According to city code, “if the Demolition Review Committee finds that any of the criteria listed apply to the building proposed for demolition, it shall recommend denial of the permit to the City Council.”
However, the other two members of the committee, Building Official Matt Keizer and Public Works Director Tim Eriksen, said they felt the building did not meet any of the criteria.
Eriksen, who additionally serves as the city’s engineer, said he was also concerned about the deteriorating state of the building, and he voted with Keizer to demolish both the structure housing Dragon’s Lair at 101 S. Main St. and the building housing Tom’s Glass at 105 S. Main St. Only Ballard voted against demolition of the Dragon’s Lair building.
“If you’re not excited about the committee’s action, this is just a recommendation to the City Council,” Eriksen said after the vote. “This item will be heard in front of the City Council, and you will have another opportunity to speak about this item (then).”
When the approved demolition permit came before the City Council during its May 4 meeting, Council member Mari Rodin said that while she empathized with property owner Todd Schapmire Jr. in regards to him having so many impediments to “what you want to do with your own property,” she also felt that the city’s ordinance regarding whether or not a building should be demolished was “pretty cut and dried,” and that the structure at 101 S. Main St. met two of the criteria that would keep it from being demolished, and it only needs to meet one.
“There are at least two reasons why I don’t think we can go along with the recommendation of the DRC; their reasoning wasn’t responsive to the criterion here,” Rodin said. “I think they made a mistake in recommending demolition; all the evidence in front of me is strongly against demolition.”
Rodin then made a motion to not demolish the building, and the motion passed with Council members Doug Crane and Josefina Duenas supporting it. However, the item was continued to the meeting this week in order for the council to consider other aspects of the building’s future.
Craig Schlatter, the city’s Community Development Director, explained that the council is being asked to vote on two items: 1) adoption of an Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration, and 2) authorization to the Building Official to issue a Demolition Permit for a structure located at 101 South Main St., as recommended by the Demolition Review Committee.
As a part of Action 1, staff is proposing to “require a development proposal to be approved prior to the building being demolished. We are also proposing that future development proposals include salvaging and/or incorporating a component of the façade into development to honor the historic character of the existing building.”
As part of Action 2, Schlatter said “the next step in the Demolition Permit process is for council to consider whether a viable market exists for 101 S. Main St., taking into account the condition of the building, the probable cost to put the building into marketable condition, and the uses of the property allowed under existing or probable future zoning regulations. If the council determines that a reasonable market does not exist, the Demolition Permit may proceed, with adherence to the mitigation measures. However, if the Council determined that a reasonable market does exist, the Demolition Permit shall not be issued.”
Schlatter added that staff “will be recommending the City Council … authorize issuance of the Demolition Permit for 101 S. Main St., based on the market analysis information provided by the applicant, indicating that a viable market does not exist.”
The public hearing has been continued to the May 18 meeting and scheduled for 6:15 p.m., although it was also scheduled for 6:15 p.m. at the May 4 meeting, but did not begin until 6:45 p.m.
(Ukiah Daily Journal)
Elizabeth Jensen: Anyone interested in rebuilding the local TBall/Little League Team? Returning this equipment to the fairgrounds today but would love to know it won’t be resting unused for too long!
Morgan Baynham comments: The community built that ball field, 'Squires Stadium' 1980's. I helped rake rocks many weekends, my kids played little league baseball there, had many hot dogs and burgers. Special thanks to Tom who put too many hours in maintaining the field and giving equipment. Would love to see it come alive again BUT it takes a communty effort to do that. Will help again if it comes alive. The County Fair would love to see that field come alive again. It's there for the playing.
THE COUNTY'S failure to implement any of the 28 specific recommendations made by their own Homelessness Consultant, Robert Marbut has meant more homelessness for the Ukiah and Fort Bragg areas. The Marbut Report, was submitted to the Board in 2018 and the Board and staff agreed they would implement it “in concept,” which meant not implement it at all. The subsequently ignored Marbut recommendations cost the taxpayers $60,000 which, as these things go, was a bargain — a double bargain because Marbut had given the County's leadership a practical strategy to reduce homelessness and help the homeless.
THE LAST TIME the Marbut Report came before the Board a few years ago they “directed” (in the following garbled way) that “staff shall continue outreach to the City Councils to endorse the strategic action in Dr. Marbut’s report, particularly prioritizing the needs to throughout the County; providing meals prior to 9 am and after 5pm to avoid taking homeless away from programs that are helping; limiting it for to Resource see days; and for staff to provide a written report every two months; and an in‐depth presentation to the Board of Supervisors every six months.”
IF ANYONE at any of the County's power levers actually cared about the homeless instead of securing funding for themselves via their 30-agency “Continuum of Care” to the tune of $20 annual million, the CofC people would at least recognize that they are as dependent on the lost souls shuffling up and down State Street as the lost souls are on them.
TAKE THIS ONE SIMPLE MARBUT RECOMMENDATION, for example:
“Mendocino County’s HMIS (Homeless Management Information System) participation rates are significantly lower than general participation rates within California. The existing HMIS data is thus ‘thin,’ which limits meaningful strategic decision making based on HMIS data. For the most part, HMIS data is currently limited to the Federal requirements and does not provide a rich enough understanding of the ‘uniquenesses’ that exist within Mendocino County. Additionally, the lack of universal quality data allows un-validated ‘myths’ to become operational ‘facts,’ thus hindering thoughtful strategic decision making. This lack of quality real-time data also prevents the ‘system’ from being integrated and coordinated, and weakens the coordinated entry system.
“In order to promote universal agency participation, all funding to any service agency provided by any governmental source and/or from a foundation should become contingent on the service agency being a proactive participant within HMIS. Carrots need to be created to encourage agencies to use HMIS, likewise, there must be financial consequences for not using HMIS. Simply put, HMIS data entry needs to be in “real-time,” it needs to be universal and it needs to extend well beyond HUD-funded programs in order to facilitate coordination of care across the entire service Continuum of Care (CoC).”
Translation: Each homeless person who gets help from the “Continuum of Care” needs to be identified, assessed and tracked in one single coordinated system so that better decisions can be made for individuals and for the homeless in general. And steps need to be taken to make sure that each of the 30 agencies making up the Continuum of Care are participating.
The Marbut Report had a number of other basic recommendations that everyone recognized were practical and helpful, but were never implemented or followed up on.
UKIAH'S most exciting attorney, Doug Losak, pled no contest to misdemeanor hit&run with property damage on May 5th for an incident in Ukiah last November. Losak somehow sideswiped the travel trailer of a deaf couple visiting from Wisconsin as the couple was pulling out of the In&Out Burger, Ukiah. Losak, apparently oblivious, drove on. The couple identified Losak's vehicle and the CHP figured out the errant motorist as Losak and arrested him. Losak was sentenced to a year of probation and restitution. The CHP noted that Losak may have been drinking at the time, but due to the passage of time there was no way to measure it.
READERS may recall that back in 2012, as Interim Mendocino County Counsel, Losak was arrested in the wee hours for marijuana possession and carrying an unpermitted concealed weapon. He pled no contest to that one, but earned the sobriquet Doug ‘The Midnight Rambler’ Losak. Soon after that he resigned as Interim County Counsel and has since been working as a staff attorney for Duncan James law office in Ukiah. Losak, in our opinion, did an excellent job when he functioned as County Counsel, an office before and since regarded as a nest of incompetents. Losak challenged a lot of bogus claims that other CC's simply pay the minimum five grand to save themselves the work.
AN ON-LINE READER called Wednesday to say that he would prefer that the AVA's daily collection of news, Mendocino County Today, be organized more like a conventional news website with sports, weather, local news, national news, events, etc. because he doesn't like having to scroll through the collection to see what's what on his smallish mobile phone. We told him he makes a valid suggestion and we would talk to our webmaster about it. However, more organization like that is yet another layer of preparation that we are not really staffed to do, considering how much time goes into each day's collection already. Most readers have no idea how time consuming the daily posts are, the ava said with a martyred sigh.
WE RECEIVED this jubilant message this morning: “Mendo Sheriff Lieutenant’s Son arrested for child pornography. Cover ups continue.” First off, there has been no cover-up, but there has been a lengthy out-of-county investigation because it has involved a complicated technical effort to track down the address of the computer and the person using that computer on which vile images have indeed been discovered. Lt. Comer, of the Sheriff's Department, has the alleged sins of his son visited upon him, and the young Comer has been charged but has yet to answer to the charges. Lots of local cop-bashers seem to be hoping that the senior Comer is the guilty party.
AND, the booking sheet, pictured below, says Comer has been warned that failure to appear is a felony, child porn a misdemeanor. All this is confusing and will be sorted out. But as of right now it's all pending, so put away the ropes and torches until we see what is what.
THE YOUNG MR. COMER is being represented by well known Sonoma County criminal defense attorney Chris Andrian, who is also representing former Ukiah Police Sergeant Kevin Murray on his drug and sexual misconduct charges.
WHEN CHILD PORNOGRAPHY first became a public issue, it seemed to me the logical regression from the ordinary pornography plauging the internet, and further evidence of a society in steep, rapid decline. I say that all pornography should be banned as it was before America lost its way, that America would be much less violent, much less nutso country if millions of pud-pulling voyeurs did not spend hours every day on the internet watching films of other people having commercial sexual relations, and verily, verily every time Rev Anderson says that a bunch of people write in to say the Rev is recommending censorship. Yup. I am. Any society has the right to protect itself against evil. And can anything be more evil than the sexual exploitation of children short of murdering them?
THIS EXCELLENT PIECE by Matt Lafever for Redheaded Blackbelt perfectly summarizes what truly happened in the Comer case: "Allegations Of A Cover-Up After Son Of A Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Faces Child Porn Charges—Sheriff Speaks Out"
THE BIDEN ADMIN'S really, really dumb idea, and the crazy woman they put in charge of it, is going, going, gone. The Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board is being shut down, according to The Washington Post. The board’s stated goal was to help combat the spread of "harmful disinformation," which the fascists accurately described as an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth.” The board had no enforcement powers and no authority to police individual speech, but with crackpot "disinformation expert" Nina Jankowicz in charge, well, chalk up another blunder for whomever's calling Biden's tune.
IRONIC that adults have to be re-instructed in the basics of proper nutrition and exercise. And worse than ironic that the mentally ill are loaded up on liver-destroying drugs when the less crazy among them, and your average neurotic-on-drugs, could be "cured" by an hour of vigorous movement every day. Ever wonder why there's much less mental illness in third world countries? Physical labor and 1500 calories a day.
CATCH OF THE DAY, May 18, 2022
JENNIFER BOWMAN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear.
NATHAN FELIZ, Redwood Valley. Carjacking, domestic battery, DUI, assault weapon, evasion, resisting, failure to appear.
ERIC GARCIA, Redwood Valley. Under influence.
COREY HEINE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-under influence.
RONDA LAMB, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ELLE MARTEENY, Crescent City/Ukiah. Mandatory supervision sentencing.
LUIS MENDOZA, Daly City/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, stolen property-vehicle, controlled substance, false information to peace officer, appropriation of lost property, unlawful registration, evasion, resisting.
EDWINA NIDEROST, Ukiah. Elder abuse resulting in great bodily harm or death, battery.
KOLE PARKER, Fort Bragg. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, grand theft.
LOWGUN PAYNE, Fruitland, Idaho/Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily harm, victim over 70 years of age.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I have known much love in my life (I am 64) but have known no greater love than what I shared with my dog. For those who have never known this attachment there are no words, except, dogs are the grace of God on four legs. When he died he took a part of me with him. I won’t be whole until that day when we are reunited at the Rainbow Bridge.
YOGI BERRA, New York Yankees
- 19 seasons
- Career batting average - .285
- Hits - 2,150
- Hrs - 358
- RBIs - 1,430
- 15 times all-star
- American League MVP - 3
- World Series Champion - 10
- Hall of Fame 1972
World Series stats.
- 75 games
- Batting average - .274
- Hits -71
- Hrs -12
- RBIs - 39
- Runs - 41
THE END OF CONFIDENTIALITY?
If the Supreme Court’s leaked documents regarding the overturning of Roe v. Wade are accurate, I think it could lead to state laws that remove a patient’s ability to expect confidentiality when consulting a physician. I am concerned that this will be the first step in allowing the Supreme Court to make rulings that could eliminate the expectation of privacy for a client consulting with an attorney or a supplicant confessing to a priest.
MONSTER HURRICANE SEASON Is Coming—and Here’s the Culprit
A swirl of warm tropical water called the Loop Current is unusually far north this year. That’s bad news.
The Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1, and the Gulf of Mexico is already warmer than average. Even more worrying is a current of warm tropical water that is looping unusually far into the Gulf for this time of year, with the power to turn tropical storms into monster hurricanes.
It’s called the Loop Current, and it’s the 800-pound gorilla of Gulf hurricane risks.
ON REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE
by Edna Bonhomme
Brit Bennett’s novel The Mothers (2016) begins with an abortion. For Nadia, a 17-year-old African American girl in Southern California, the difficulty lies not in having the procedure – ‘I didn’t want Nadia to be indecisive,’ Bennett said in an interview, ‘I really didn’t debate the “should she or shouldn’t she” question while I was writing. She just did’ – but in losing connections with her church. Some people in the community associate pregnancy termination with the history of the forced sterilisation of women of colour. But they overlook the history of enslaved Black women being forced to carry the children of enslavers who sexually assaulted them. Both are ways of dispossessing Black women of their bodily autonomy.
The leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that threatens to overturn Roe v. Wade concerns the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organisation, a 2018 Mississippi state law that bans abortions after the first fifteen weeks of pregnancy. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, then the Jackson Women’s Health Organisation – the last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi – will have to close its doors. Most of its patients are African American and working-class women.
More than twenty other states are also poised either to ban or to severely limit access to abortion. Oklahoma’s governor signed a law last week prohibiting abortions after six weeks. The highly restrictive Senate Bill 8 was passed in Texas last year. As Kali Holloway has pointed out, SB 8’s vigilantism – it promises $10,000 in ‘damages’ to private citizens who bring successful civil actions against anyone who ‘performs or induces an abortion’ or ‘aids and abets the performance or inducement’ – echoes 19th-century Fugitive Slave Acts.
According to the CDC, nearly 630,000 people in the US had an abortion in 2019. As Planned Parenthood puts it, one in four women will have had an abortion by the age of 45. Banning abortion doesn’t stop it. Reported cases in Texas may have decreased since SB 8 was passed, but that’s in part because people needing abortions have gone to other states to have them. Self-managed medication abortions, with people ordering pills online, have also increased since the passing of SB 8. Last month, a woman in Starr County was arrested and charged with murder after she miscarried in hospital, apparently telling staff that she had tried to induce an abortion.
African American women are almost five times as likely to have an abortion as white American women. They are also at greater risk of dying if they carry a birth to term, and have fewer resources to provide the care and support that they need. Loretta Ross and other Black women activists coined the term reproductive justice in 1994, arguing that reproductive rights are linked to broader issues of race, gender, class and freedom. As Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor puts it, their insights into the ways that poverty and other forms of oppression limited their life chances compelled them to demand reproductive justice – which also involved the right to raise children in healthy environments where their and their parents’ basic needs could be met.
Black feminists – past and present – have aimed to move beyond the platitudes of symbolic reform, advocating for comprehensive childcare and social services for all working-class people. While abortion policy splits along party lines, failures on reproductive justice are bipartisan. Ronald Reagan and the religious right may have vilified working-class Black single mothers as ‘welfare queens’, but it was Bill Clinton who removed America’s safety net.
As Alex DiBranco has written, ‘the anti-abortion movement in the United States has long been complicit with white supremacy.’ In Europe, too, anti-abortion groups evoke concerns about the ‘great replacement’ – the conspiracy theory that migrants from the Global South and people of colour will ‘replace’ white people.
Poland has imposed a near-total ban on abortion. In Germany, where I live, as in Britain, abortion is illegal but permitted under certain circumstances. Under Section 218 of the German Criminal Code, ‘whoever terminates a pregnancy incurs a penalty of imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or a fine’; exemptions are detailed in Section 218a. Section 219a forbids doctors from advertising, advising or informing patients about abortions. Pro-choice advocates call not only for the immediate abolition of articles 218 and 219a, but also for free contraception on demand. German anti-abortion laws are especially oppressive of working-class women or those who live in areas with fewer providers. Anti-abortion zealots do not confine themselves to their national borders: right-wing American organisations have spent millions on campaigning in Europe. Pro-choice activists, too, need to think about how to strategise and mobilise internationally against regressive laws restricting reproductive rights.
‘The value of a woman’s life,’ Adrienne Rich wrote, ‘would appear to be contingent on her being pregnant or newly delivered. Women who refuse to become mothers are not merely emotionally suspect, they are dangerous.’ So dangerous that a judge in Florida earlier this year saw fit to deny a pregnant teenager the right to an abortion in part because her grade point average was too low (a sign, supposedly, that she wasn’t mature enough to waive parental consent).
People are incensed by the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion and rapidly mobilising. As Melissa Gira Grant wrote in the New Republic, there are limits to electoral politics:
Democrats hold Congress right now but – in part thanks to the undemocratic distribution of Senate seats granting extra power to smaller, conservative states, paired with the anti-majoritarian procedures of the filibuster – cannot pass federal legislation to ensure the right and access to abortion.
Once they have overturned Roe v. Wade, American conservatives will turn their sights on contraception, gay rights and equality in the workplace.
‘If abortion is always the end of a story,’ Fran Bigman wrote of Brit Bennett’s novel, ‘never the beginning, we are unable to see what abortion makes possible.’ The abortion story that conservatives want to tell, by contrast, is one full of shame, terror and regret. This is what they wanted. The cruelty is the point.
(London Review of Books)
SEARCHIN' FOR URCHIN
The inaugural Urchin Festival — the first of its kind anywhere in the Country — Three days of festivities and activities including good eats, great places to stay, discoveries and hands-on experiences!
June 17th — 19th, with this most delectable delicacy!
Uni is the Japanese name for the edible part of sea urchins, and in the hands of the fabulous chefs, uni becomes an exquisite bite to eat! Michelin starred Executive Chef Matthew Kammerer is preparing a five-course purple urchin tasting menu at the Harbor House Inn (Elk), while chefs at Elk Cove Inn (Elk), Izakaya Gama (Point Arena), Glendeven Inn & Lodge and The Inn at Cobbler’s Walk (Little River), Little River Inn (Little River) and Princess Seafood Market & Deli and HarborView Bistro & Bar (Fort Bragg) will all have uni-focused menus!
Discover and learn more about purple urchin through instructional demos and hands-on experiences with community organizations like MendoParks offering up a demonstration on how to open and clean uni, and an educational chat at Van Damme State Beach. The Noyo Center for Marine Science offers an in-depth look at urchin along the California Coast, plus other activities related to urchin and its impact on our kelp forests.
Stay a night or stay for the entire weekend of the Purple Urchin Festival as several coastal inns offer specials. Check out these fabulous properties: Elk Cove Inn, Gledeven Inn & Lodge, Little River Inn, Noyo Harbor Inn and The Inn at Cobbler’s Walk.
Nothing goes better with uni than sake, so take part in the Sake Seminar at Little River Inn with a true sake expert sharing seven different sakes from Japan. And it’s not a true festival without music, and Little River Inn has that too with a special performance from Cheryl Wheeler and Kenny White at Abalone Hall.
CHUCK ARTIGUES of Cleone writes:
You might be aware that tomorrow (May 19) is the birthday of Malcolm X. A controversial (perhaps) but certainly very influential figure in US history. Perhaps you would note this by running a photo of him; if you do, I would like to suggest you run the following quote with it. It is from a speech he made in NYC in May of 1964.
"You can't have capitalism without racism. If you meet a non-racist white, usually they're a socialist"
THE NEW CORPORATE DICTATORS: SUPER-RICH AND SUPER-IMMUNE
by Ralph Nader
Ever since the heads of East India Trading Company (1600) and Hudson Bay Company (1670), were incorporated by English Royal charters, there have been corporate dictators. Their range and actions, have varied widely however. Today’s new corporate dictators shatter past restraints.
John D. Rockefeller ruled the Standard Oil Company monopoly until the trust busters from Washington broke up its giant price-fixing and predatory practices into several companies.
Andrew Carnegie was the ruler of the giant Carnegie Steel Company (which became U.S. Steel Corporation). Carnegie violently broke up strikes, such as the 1892 Homestead strike, before he left the company to be a major philanthropist building libraries and universities.
In the post-World War II years, the CEOs of General Motors and Ford had immense power but still had to contend with a strong United Auto Workers union and later with jolting consumer advocacy leading to federal safety and emissions regulation.
Today’s corporate dictators are like no others, beyond with unparalleled wealth towering over that held by Rockefeller and Carnegie (adjusted for inflation).
Consider the sheer unchallenged power of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook (Meta), Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, the wannabe CEO of a going-private Twitter, Elon Musk, (unless the sinking Tesla stock ends the debt-deep acquisition price), and Sergey Brin and Larry Page still in control of Google. Despite recent stirrings, there are no companywide unions at these companies and the prospect for such is still in the distant future.
These CEOs snap their fingers and their patsy Boards of Directors sign off on huge optimally priced stock options and other goodies. These CEOs don’t have to worry about their shareholders because like Zuckerberg, with a large portion of the shares, they have rigged their even larger control of voting shares giving them an unassailable shareholder majority.
They are hauled before Congressional Committees, appearing humble and afterwards they must be breaking open the champagne. Because after the public posturing by the lawmakers, no effective regulation is ever enacted. Antitrust action year after year doesn’t materialize, other than some weak consent decrees against Facebook which for a decade it violated while paying laughable civil fines.
No corporate monopolist comes close these days to being prosecuted for jail time. Under both the Democratic and Republican Parties, the Department of Justice cuts sweetheart ‘deferred prosecution agreements’ (See: Corporate Crime Reporter: https://www.corporatecrimereporter.com/) with the corporate entity and lets off the bosses. Boeing, after its two criminal 737 MAX crashes, is the latest example (See: Flying Blind: The 737 MAX Tragedy and the Fall of Boeing by Peter Robison, November 30, 2021).
The dictatorship over consumers is most unprecedented. Whereas the old dictatorial bosses – pre-unions – had control over worker’s lives at the workplace, today’s corporate dictators can ply their power 24/7. They can get into the minds of people to addict them and have their personal lives invaded and their personal information offered for sale all over the globe. The old bosses used child labor until the early 20th century, but then kids were largely off limits.
Today’s dollar dictators have fused children’s hands with their iPhones and incarcerated them in their vast gluttonous, nasty, violent Internet world to which they become addicted. For six to ten hours a day, their screen time has become their lifetime – families begone!
Not only do these bosses’ avaricious clutches have no “quit time,” the little ones are now being lured into the Metaverse Gulag equipped with three-dimensional goggles to distance themselves further from daily reality.
Although circumvented. millions of parents are at their wit’s end, trying to recover their children from their screens and their video games at all hours and their digital fantasy worlds. Although there have been dozens of expose’ books, documentaries and newly formed citizen groups focusing on these corporate child molesters, the hijacking of little America by these Internet Barons continues unabated.
Suing these commercial dictators for whom enough is never enough has gone nowhere. Judges don’t recognize offered causes of action. Moreover, under a special exception (Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act) from federal communications law, media like Twitter and Facebook are largely immune from suits no matter how violent, defamatory and false the anonymous hate messages traversing their corporate portals.
The contrast between the old and new corporate dictators is that the latter use, for free, your personal data for a fantastically profitable sale. The profit margins flowing from turning free “products” into big time cash are so high as to stun old-time economists who are used to margins under 10%, not over 50%.
Perhaps a bottom line in the differences between the old and new corporate dictators is twofold. Year after year, there is no number two really challenging their tight controls, no Avis to take on Hertz, as the old phrase went.
Second, the workers in these old industries felt and knew the oppressors or dictators ruling them. They were deep in this corporate reality. They could organize themselves because they knew their co-workers and this proximity gave birth to the union movements that led to fair labor standards and other regulations protecting workers (still much to be done here).
How do the users organize to overcome transaction costs (as with Facebook, Google and Twitter) when they never see each other? It’s a one-way gold mine ether out there. When several years ago, Facebook users formed a group for enhanced bargaining, Facebook sued for trademark infringement and blocked that nascent effort.
As long as Silicon Valley behemoths continue to rule Washington D.C. and State Capitals, get ready for more refinements of commercial tyranny.