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Mendocino County Today: Monday, May 23, 2022

Warming | Boonville Meltdown | Tow Trucks | Found Keys | Schools News | Eddie 87 | Housing Idea | Museum Gathering | Baptist Convention | Skunk Cinema | Architecture Showcase | Write-In Candidate | Mendo Cornfield | Southern Impression | Yesterday's Catch | Foreign Substance | Young Driver | Coastal Commission | Goatmobile | Ukraine | Woodsmen | Optimist | Mendosa Brothers | Biden Republicans | Harry Boos | Good Cop | Monkeypox | Trade Policy | Cookie Monster | Fat Man | SS Alcazar | War Economy | Wailakis

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DRY CONDITIONS AND ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES are expected through Wednesday. Some of the warmer interior valleys will approach 100 degrees in southern Mendocino and Lake counties on Wednesday. Cooler temperatures return Thursday into the weekend, along with a chance of light rain mostly north of Trinidad. (NWS)

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BOONVILLE MELTDOWN

Central Boonville was advised to "shelter in place" Sunday evening at approximately 7:30 as law enforcement converged on a Lambert Lane property abutting the Boonville Fairgrounds where Boonville native Stacey Rose had reportedly burned the property of his wife, Bronwyn Rose nee Hanes, and was threatening to shoot responding officers. 

Rose was subsequently spotted by aerial surveillance pacing the area armed with a rifle. An Army veteran, Rose was described as possessing multiple firearms and threatening "suicide by cop." Shortly before 8pm law enforcement said they had a "visual" of Rose with his hands up in surrender.

Shortly before 9pm, Rose was peacefully taken into custody on charges of brandishing an imitation firearm, obliterating markings applicable to an imitation firearm, criminal threats of death or great bodily injury and resisting arrest.

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LOCAL VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS and first responders have noticed a growing problem stemming from a diminishing supply of tow trucks/drivers in the County. Locally, the impact is felt most at traffic accident scenes when it can take hours for a tow truck to arrive from Ukiah as volunteer first responders have to stay on scene for traffic control for extra hours waiting for a tow truck, even though the only thing left to do is move a damaged vehicle off the road. (Mark Scaramella)

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TAYLOR BALSON: Found someone's Dodge keys by the soccer field. Hit me up if you know who's they are....

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AV UNIFIED WEEKLY UPDATE

Dear Anderson Valley Community,

We are galloping forward to the end of the year. What an amazing journey we have had. We took the scary steps together of reopening school with the support of the Concentric pooled testing and vaccinations coordinated by the dedicated Health Center staff. We had to reteach, and in some cases for our youngest students, for the first time, teach them what it meant to come to school everyday because they had never been to school before. Our staff had to meet students where they were at. Some kids were accelerated by home learning and others came back to school with major skill gaps. But most of all, we had to meet them where they were socially and behaviorally after a year and a half of fear, isolation, and disruption. I am proud of our staff and our students for all they have become this year!

Some Very Important Events Coming Up:

  • Preschool graduation May 27–Preschool Lawn
  • Prom May 27–High School
  • Six grade graduation June 6–High School
  • High school awards night: June 7 –High School
  • Eighth grade graduation June 8–High School
  • High school graduation June 9–High School–tickets required

Summer School:

If your student may be interested in attending summer school, please reach out to the school offices asap! This is a great opportunity for small group academic work and enrichment. I thank Charlotte Triplett and Stefani Ewing for their leadership on these programs.

If We Teach Them Nothing But Being Kind…

I am a true believer that my most important job as an educator is to partner with families to ensure we are developing kind, responsible, educated students that think of others. I am so proud of FFA class members under the direction of Beth Swehla that took an impromptu field trip to help a neighbor in need that is seriously ill, get their property weeded and fire safe. It takes a village not only to shape our youngsters, but for our youngsters to feel the responsibility to show care and respect to the elders of the village that have loved and supported them on their journey.

Measure M:

Please take a moment to vote and return your Ballot to the fairgrounds or in the mail by June 7. We appreciate the many requests for information. Another fact sheet is attached.

Anderson Creek Independent Study:

If you are seeking an alternative educational setting within Anderson Valley, please come to learn all about Miss Triplett’s program Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Anderson Creek Independent School building all the way back at the elementary near the bus barn. This is a vibrant and unique learning opportunity for families seeking a flexible alternative grades kindergarten through sixth.

Transition Wishes:

Planning for next year is well underway at both the elementary and the high school sites including curriculum reviews, new behavior and mental health strategies, additional enrichment programs, and so much more. We are excited!

The elementary campus has started their new garden area and the high school campus is well into Senior Projects! Good stuff! 

As we close this year, we want to wish our retirees all the best in their transition. Congratulations to Troy Kreienhop, Terri Rhoades, Shirley Hiatt-Tompkins, Nadia Berrigan, and Ann Panttaja. You will be missed and your decades of service will never be forgotten by those you served.

Best wishes to Emilia Theobald, Kaitlin Wiltjer, and Jim Snyder as they embark on their new opportunities as well! You will all be missed!

With deepest appreciation to you for your support of our staff and students this year,

Louise Simson

Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified

PS. Measure M supporters listed below urge you to return your ballot with a "Yes" vote for Measure M to provide much needed infrastructure repairs to our 60-year old AV schools including septic, roof, and HVAC replacements, and classroom remodels. No funds are used for teacher or administrator salaries—only infrastructure repairs and replacement. Ballots must be mailed or returned to the fairgrounds drop off box by June 7.

Measure M Endorsers:

Donna Pierson Pugh, Retired School Principal, Richard “Dick” Browning, Retired School Administrator and Board Member, Philip Thomas, Retired Teacher and Senior Center Treasurer, Michael ‘Flick’ MacDonald, Retired Teacher and Coach, Jim Boudoures, Philo Saw Works, Pilar Echeverria, Business Owner, Robert Pinoli, AVHS Retired Teacher/Athletic Director; Current Commissioner Coastal Mountain Conference, Melinda Ellis, Business Owner, Ric Bonner, Anderson Valley Health Center Board President, JR Collins, Retired Superintendent , Dr. Leah Collins, Anderson Valley Health Center, Star White, Parent, Kathy Cox, Retired Teacher, Deborah Cahn Bennett and Ted Bennett, Navarro Vineyards/Pennyroyal Farms, Sarah Bennett, Navarro Vineyards/Pennyroyal Farms, Aaron Bennett, Parent Co-Owner Navarro Vineyards/Pennyroyal Farms, Kathleen Bennett, Human Resources Navarro Vineyards/Pennyroyal FaRms , Aaron Wellington, Parent, Erika Damian, Parent, Veronica Barragan, Public Employee, Linnea Totten, Retired Teacher, Robert Day Retired Contractor, Emilia Theobald, Teacher, Doug Leach, Bruce and Ling Anderson, Mario Espinoza, Gabriela Henderson, Chrissy deVall, Deanna Branesky, Michael Mannix, Rob Risucci, Mark Reffle, Teresa Markofer, Ana Ramirez, Maria Ramierez, Joshua Treespirit, May Ann Grzenda, Jill Derwinsk, Charlotte Triplett, Guadalupe Espinoza, Ricardo and Francisca Suarez, David Ballantine, Noor Dawood, Ali Cook, Julie Honegger, Keevan Labowitz, Martin Quezada , Leigh Kreienhop, Nat Corey-Moran, Eden Kellner, Chloe Guazzone, Maria Villamor, Ginny Roemer, Ana Maria Guerrero, Erika Echeverria, Moises Perez, Greg Potter, Dawn Emery Ballantine, Sophie Otis, Helen Papke, Wendy Kein, Linda Mendoza, Dan Reed, Evan Marie Petit, Maricela Balandran, Nicholas Benett, Elizabeth Wyant, Elizabeth and Wallen Summers, Cymbre Thomas-Swett, A. Balandran, Anna Farquar, Mary Pat Palmer, Lauren Goldsmith, Marta McKenzie, Clem Donahue, Efrain Garcia, Gabriela Lena Frank, Kelly Griere, Daniel P. Horton, Cloey Bloyd, Scott Zarness, Kevin Jones, Gerald Karp, Captain Rainbow, Torrey Douglas, Mark Scaramella, William Ross , Stephanie Tebbutt, Jan Pallazola, Star White, Casey Farber, Rob Goodell, Mary Paffard, Stephanie Gold, Mrs. Nieves, Dawn Trygstad, Jessica Trombley, Jeffrey Pugh, Preston Metter, Caroline Blair, Dennis Johnson, Claire Walker English, Evette La Paille-Thomas, Gwyn Leeman Smith, Ann Gibson, Ann Christen, Francois Christen, Gail Gester, Ron Gester, Sharon Korn.

Please support the measure to give our kids the educational setting they deserve comparable to other districts in the county.

— Yes On Measure M Committee

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FORMER SUPERVISOR JIM EDDIE Is 87

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ONE MORE HOUSING IDEA:

A County-managed revolving loan fund run out of the planning department as permits are applied for that would reimburse materials costs as invoices are provided for base materials (pictures required). An incentive could be added for use of local labor or locally-owned stores. This way the “loan” would become a way to track progress as well as be limited to actual costs. Include a provision that the loan would be forgiven if the resulting home sells for at least 20% below market. Over time the fund would be reimbursed as the resulting building is added to the County’s tax rolls at market price. 

(We realize this is probably beyond the capability of Mendocino County’s housing braintrust, and that bureaucrats can probably find ways to not to it, but it’s an example of what could be done if the local housing jabbers really wanted to make a dent in the problem.)

— Mark Scaramella

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IT’S A PARTY!

The board will be hosting a festive gathering at the Little Red School House Museum on Sunday, June 5, 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Admission is free! For your enjoyment, the afternoon will include music by Bob Day and Erica Zissa, Brad Wiley telling entertaining Stories of Yesteryear, and complimentary snacks, local beer & wine and lemonade. The party will be outdoors, with all museum buildings open for your wandering pleasure.

We’re combining our get together with this year’s AV Historical Society annual meeting. In years past, the annual meeting has included a presentation of financial statements and a run-down of the previous year. This year, we’re simply making that information available via handouts so we can get right to the festivities. Non-members who would like in on the fun are welcome. So tell your friends that this is their chance to get fed and feted while supporting the AV Historical Society & Museum. Come see your friends and neighbors at the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum.

— Jerry Karp

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1906 Baptist Convention, Mendocino

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CINEMA IN THE REDWOODS

The Mendocino Film Festival is thrilled to partner with the Skunk Train for Cinema in the Redwoods, a unique twist on the outdoor movie experience. Four films will screen this summer, outside, under the stars, nestled within the majestic redwoods, a truly magical environment.

Just as Los Angeles has outdoor screenings at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Brooklyn shows films on rooftops, and Singapore shows movies on Tanjong Beach, Northern California’s redwoods give a slightly different immersive experience, melding the woods with the power of film.

Join us as aboard the incomparable Skunk Train in Fort Bragg and cruise 3.5 miles to an open meadow deep in the forest at the Glen. The screenings for 2022 are Mad Max: Fury Road (June 16), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (July 21), Austin Powers (August 11), and When Harry Met Sally (Sept. 15). Included with your ticket is a bucket of bottomless popcorn and a drink token for locally sourced wine or a soda. (Concessions and a full bar will also be available.)

In 1885, the Fort Bragg Railroad was formed to make transporting lumber easier in Mendocino. The train played a vital role during this time in transporting families and workers who set up the various logging camps along the route and in doing so became an entirely different type of line.

California coastal redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) are limited to an extremely small area on the Pacific Coast of the United States, from southern Oregon to central California, extending only 50 miles inland. Both Return of the Jedi (scenes in Endor with the Ewoks) and The Jurassic World series have showcased the special trees.

Angela Matano, Executive Director 

Mendocino Film Festival 

Office: 707.937.0171

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Architecture 2000 years ago
Architecture Today

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MEMO OF THE DAY:

Trent James has launched a run as an Official Write-In Candidate for Mendocino County Sheriff and this is what he needs: 40 registered voters that reside in Mendocino County to meet him tomorrow (Monday May 23) at 3:00PM in the far back parking lot at the Perkins Starbucks in Ukiah. A requirement is to have 40 signatures to run. Please be there!


SHOCKING?

To the Editor:

Please support Trent James for Mendocino County Sheriff. He is a "cop's cop". He is a whistleblower of impeccable integrity.

Trent James may be the last honest cop in Mendocino County.

Trent James blew the whistle on how it took 2.5 years to get the son of our county's SWAT commander charged on child pornography charges — 2.5 years — and even then, he was only charged with a misdemeanor and was released on his own recognizance.

Shocking!

Trent James blew the whistle on how the SWAT commander was promoted to lieutenant, even as his household was being investigated for child pornography.

Simply shocking!

https://www.gofundme.com/f/mendo-sheriff/donate

And remember to vote for Trent James as a write-in candidate for Sheriff.

Thank you!

John Sakowicz, Ukiah

ED NOTE: Untrue, all of the above. Dishonest Mendo cops have always been weeded out, Matt Kendall is an honest cop doing a first-rate job as Sheriff and is unopposed for re-election, the Comer case took a long time because it had to be farmed out to cyber-sleuths in Sacramento both for their expertise and for Mendo to avoid a conflict of interest, the charging decision is up to the DA, not the Sheriff.

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Cornfield, Mendocino Headlands, 1966

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ASSIGNMENT UKIAH: THOUGHT-FREE THINKING

by Tommy Wayne Kramer

Trophy the wife and I came back to Ukiah for the holidays and to see the kids, let our dog die in familiar surroundings and enjoy a fabulous parade down State Street in our honor.

It was all swell except the dead dog part, which took a surprisingly long time to happen, not that we minded.

And having left our house in the south to return to our house in Ukiah we’ve both been asked, repeatedly, the same single question. No one inquires about North Carolina weather and no one asks about food. There were no questions on how the Tarheels might fare against Stanford and no one seemed curious about the price of gasoline or houses.

All anyone and everyone wanted to know was how we managed to survive the crazy racists swarming in and among all those ignorant, backward southerners who go to church and vote for Republicans. But it was mostly just about the racism.

In Ukiah our friends are Ukiahans, and that means our friends are progressives. They fret about rednecks riding around in pickup trucks shooting squirrels, throwing beer cans at poor people and shouting mean things at black folk.

Progressives can’t help it. Progressives have not yet emerged from the swamp of the 1960s. Progressives think “Easy Rider” was a documentary, that “Deliverance” was a training film, that quarts of moonshine are sold at gas stations and that people of color ride at the back of the bus.

It’s all part of the ‘60s hangover. Ancient, out-of-date notions are accepted, obvious facts are rejected, and bias and bigotry harden into dishonest, dogmatic thinking. Progressives believe the South is racist, backward and the best place to avoid in the entire USA.

If we applied that kind of braindead thinking to California where would it lead? Do people in Cleveland assume I spend my Golden State days surfing monster waves at Lake Mendocino unless I’m in a hot tub with Kim Novak? Is it taken for granted that all my pals are gay and that film studios call twice a week to ask me to co-star in a Netflix series? How often do they think I water the palm trees in my front yard?

Do Buckeyes assume I eat only organic, fair-trade, shade-grown, locally sourced tofu and kale? Gross generalities based on outmoded perceptions are stupid, whether assuming the south is racist or that Californians mostly just play volleyball in Malibu.

Deeply tolerant Ukiahans are indignant over supposed racism in Alabama, untroubled by the irony they live in Ukiah, the whitest place this side of a polar bear reunion.

Our North Carolina city is about 30 percent black, and unlike California they aren’t shunted off to a ghetto on the other side of the tracks. My brother, who has lived in South Carolina 50 years, says there is no such thing as a segregated city in the south. Every big city and every small town has a black-white sprinkling through the neighborhoods.

Yet it’s Ukiah that leads the world in boastful “We Can Do Better Racism” signs, a virtue-signaling emblem I’ve never spotted in a yard down south. And (some) Ukiahans are quick and loud to harshly judge others for insufficient levels of diversity and tolerance.

The last time there were blacks in the Ukiah Valley they were herded in, and then out, by the Reverend Jim Jones. Tell me again about terrible conditions down south, and of the utopia that is Northern California.

Meanwhile, in Redwood Valley

Drove out to Redwood Valley (May, ’22) for the first time in a while, and as I left the RV Market I looked across the street.

My memory banks stirred, coughed, and sputtered to life as I recalled the great big hysteriathon over plans to build a Dollar Store on a corner opposite the Market.

As if the dirt patch at School Way and East Road was a lush park or a babbling brook, or even a lousy parking lot. It wasn’t even a genuine vacant lot because it was always littered in trash, junk and fast food wrappers caught on thorny thistles struggling through parched dirt. Yet, bless their sensitive hearts, RV folks could not tolerate a drab half-acre converted to a retail outlet.

No, you wouldn’t want a Dollar Store encroaching on a baked, desolate patch of worn-out tundra across the road from the 100-yard blight known as “downtown” Redwood Valley.

So why did I laugh out loud when I left the Market and looked across the street? What did I see? (Hint: Not a Dollar Store. Storage units! Yes, I saw a hundreds of locked metal crates surrounded by a big metal fence. Exactly the kind of fancy, charming, upscale development the elites of Redwood Valley held out for, and got.

Right between the eyes.

The Assignment: Ukiah column, authored by Tom Hine, enters its 17th year unless my geometry or geography is mistaken. Speaking of mistakes, say hello to TWK, my useless appendage who gets byline credit.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, May 22, 2022

Cabezas, Cadle, Gibson

OSCAR CABEZAS-TAFOYA, Ukiah. Resisting/threatening peace officer.

JAMES CADLE, Ukiah. Petty theft with priors, failure to appear.

MARVIN GIBSON, Willits. Controlled substance, ammo possession by prohibited person, felon-addict with firearm.

Hutchings, Maeyama, Maxfield

CASSANDRA HUTCHINGS, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JACOB MAEYAMA, Ukiah. Renting to distribute controlled substances.

BRADLEY MAXFIELD, Willits. Burglary. (Frequent flyer.)

Powell, Pritchard, Vega

KORAH POWELL, Arcata/Ukiah. DUI.

BRENT PRITCHARD, Manchester. DUI.

MYCHELL VEGA-AYALA, Ukiah. Suspended license, probation revocation.

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VIA CHRIS CALDER: Same as it ever was…

Group Captain Lionel Mandrake: "Jack, don't you think we'd be better off in some other part of the room, away from all this flying glass?" 

Gen. J.D. Ripper: "Ah, naah. We're ok here. Mandrake, do you realize that in addition to fluoridated water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream? Ice cream, Mandrake. Children's ice cream?"" 

Mandrake: "Good Lord." 

Ripper: "You know when fluoridation first began?" 

Mandrake: "No. No, I don't, Jack. No." 

Ripper: "Nineteen hundred and forty six. Nineteen fortysix, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your postwar commie conspiracy, huh? It's incredibly obvious, isn't it? A foreign substance is introduced into our precious bodily fluids without the knowledge of the individual, and certainly without any choice. That's the way your hard core commie works." 

Mandrake: "Jack... Jack, listen, tell me, ah... when did you first become, well, develop this theory." 

Ripper: "Well, I ah, I I first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love." 

Mandrake: [sighs fearfully]

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Boy in Car, 1920

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CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION MAJOR OBSTACLE TO SOLVING WATER SHORTAGE

by Jim Shields

Last week, the California Coastal Commission rejected the proposed construction of a desalination plant in Huntington Beach “sealing the controversial project’s fate after more than 20 years of debate,” according to Calmatters. “The unanimous decision about the $1.4-billion plant in Huntington Beach is pivotal because it sets a high bar for the future of turning seawater into drinking water in California, which can help buffer its vulnerable water supply against drought. The Coastal Commission staff had advised the commission to deny approval — citing, among other factors, the high cost of the water and lack of local demand for it, the risks to marine life and the possibility of flooding in the area as sea levels rise.”

What a crock. Guess the Commission is unaware that California is in a historic extended drought that calls for trying to solve water shortage problems, not exacerbating them. For example, desal plants would certainly offset, to some degree, rise in sea levels as coastal waters are processed into potable water.

And, of course, the Republicans had something to say about the Commission’s decision, even though they’re as much to blame as the Democrats for our state’s abysmal water policy.

Assemblyman Vince Fong said this about the Coastal Commission’s rejection of the SoCal desal plant: “The Governor touts the state’s ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach to address the drought. Yet, he did not propose funding for above ground water in this year’s budget. His Administration has not approved permits for water storage projects like Sites Reservoir — after almost a decade of voters’ approval of Proposition 1, a $2.7 billion bond dedicated to build water storage. These empty promises come on the heels of the California Coastal Commission’s rejection of a desalination plant in Southern California.”

According to a summary of a study I came across this week published in Science Magazine, it appears there’s been a major advance in operating desal plants.

Desalination of seawater is an established method to produce drinkable water but comes with huge energy costs. For the first time, researchers used fluorine-based nanostructures to successfully filter salt from water. Compared to current desalination methods, these fluorous nanochannels work faster, require less pressure and less energy, and are a more effective filter.

The study summary points out “if you’ve ever cooked with a nonstick Teflon-coated frying pan, then you’ve probably seen the way that wet ingredients slide around it easily. This happens because the key component of Teflon is fluorine, a lightweight element that is naturally water repelling, or hydrophobic. Teflon can also be used to line pipes to improve the flow of water. Such behavior caught the attention of Associate Professor Yoshimitsu Itoh from the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Tokyo and his team. It inspired them to explore how pipes or channels made from fluorine might operate on a very different scale, the nanoscale.”

Itoh explains, “There are two main ways to desalinate water currently: thermally, using heat to evaporate seawater so it condenses as pure water, or by reverse osmosis, which uses pressure to force water through a membrane that blocks salt. Both methods require a lot of energy, but our tests suggest fluorous nanochannels require little energy, and have other benefits too.”

The California Coastal Commission is a major obstacle in accepting workable solutions to California’s problematic water history. There’s an old saying that aptly describes the Commission’s decision-making process, at least in regards to desalination: You can come up with a thousand reasons not to do something, but you only need one reason to do it.

State Weed News

The Governor’s Office this week released a revised 2022-23 state budget proposal, jiggering numerous line item estimates from the original January budget.

One of the areas Gov. Gavin Newsom looked at in the so-called “May Revise” was how to “create a safe, sustainable, and equitable legal cannabis market.”

Good luck on that effort, Gav, since the ill-begotten “Great Experiment In Legalizing Pot” lies in smoking ruins all around us, most noticeably at Ground Zero, aka Mendocino County.

I’ve been working with various consultants hired by the handful of growers who decided five years ago they were going legit by signing up with the County’s weed program, but have been stalled and thwarted by the unworkable, confusing, and convoluted local regulatory framework.

These consultants are doing their best to move their grower clients into compliance with the Weed Ordinance From Hell, but are up against almost impossible odds to do so.

One of the consultants called me to complain about the weed bureaucrats down in the county seat who “aren’t being very helpful” in transitioning her clients into legal status.

She said, “We (various consulting firms) thought because Mendocino County was recognized as the cannabis capitol of the world, that you’d have a model program here. But it’s actually probably the worst place; it’s really a mess.”

“Those are the very same words I’ve used to describe what’s happened here,” I told her.

Anyway, back to Newsom who promised several months ago that he would help simplify the tax structure by moving forward a proposal that, if approved by the Legislature, would remove unnecessary administrative burdens and costs, temporarily reduce the tax rate to support shifting consumers to the legal market, and stabilize the cannabis market.

A statement released by Newsom’s office said, “We have heard from many of you who have said that the current cannabis tax framework is overly complex. We know that current tax policies disproportionately burden cannabis farmers and small businesses and create instability throughout the supply chain, ultimately undermining the societal benefits of a taxed and regulated market. The May Revision proposes statutory changes to reform cannabis taxes and help reduce burdens for legal operators. Some changes include:

• Setting the cultivation tax rate at zero beginning July 1, 2022.

• Setting Allocation 3 funding for youth education/intervention/treatment, environmental restoration, and state and local law enforcement programs at a baseline of $670 million annually for three years. Up to $150 million one-time General Fund is available as needed through 2025-26 to backfill Allocation 3 funding, along with the authority to increase the excise tax rate through 2024-25 if tax revenues fall below the baseline for Allocation 3.

• Strengthening tax enforcement policies to increase tax compliance and collection and reduce unfair competition.

The statement concludes with, “The budget proposal includes a one-time allocation of $20.5 million to help expand access to legal retail throughout California. The grant program will assist cities and counties that do not currently license storefront or delivery-only cannabis retailers. If approved, the funds will aid localities with the development and implementation of local retail licensing programs and helping more of California’s existing consumers gain access to regulated and tested products through licensed and legal retailers.”

My final comment: Nothing the state or county can do at this time, or any time, will solve this mess of all messes.

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher, observer@pacific.net, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live: http://www.kpfn.org.)

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UKRAINE, MAY 22

Russia attacked Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine from several directions overnight but were repelled to previous positions, President Zelensky's office said on Sunday.

Seven houses in Severodonetsk and at least 27 houses in surrounding towns and villages were damaged, according to the statement from the office.

The attack on Severodonetsk was part of a broader assault along the line of contact between Russian and Ukrainian forces, the Ukrainian military general staff said. 

“The enemy forces are preparing to resume the offensive in the Sloviansk direction,” the Ukrainian general staff said, referring to another key city in the area.

Russian forces have also destroyed the Pavlograd bridge between Severodonetsk and Lysychansk in the Luhansk region, says the Ukrainian head of the regional military administration.

Severodonetsk and Sloviansk are key to controlling Ukraine’s Luhansk region. Parts of Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk have been controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.

Here are more of the latest headlines from the Russia-Ukraine war: 

Ukrainian Air Command: Russia fired missiles into Zhytomyr region: Ukraine’s Air Command Center said Russian forces fired missiles at infrastructure facilities in the Zhytomyr region on Sunday. The Zhytomyr region was attacked from “the south-eastern direction” by “naval-based cruise missiles” according to Ukraine’s Air Command Center on Facebook. The center added, “four Russian cruise missiles were destroyed by the Center's air defense units.” Three missiles were destroyed by aircraft, and one by an anti-aircraft missile unit of the Ukrainian air force, they added. The Zhytomyr region sits to the west of Kyiv.

Venue usually used by Russia to promote itself in Davos has been rebranded as the Russian War Crimes House: The venue typically used by Russia to promote itself at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos has been rebranded as the Russian War Crimes House. Russia House was used to host events at WEF by Russians for many years. A Ukrainian businessman, working with WEF, has turned the venue into an exhibition depicting the devastation and destruction of the war in Ukraine. Organized by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation and PinchukArtCentre, an international centre for contemporary art based in Kyiv, “the exhibition aims to inform about the main facts, share faces, names and dates and provide at least some of the victims a platform from which to tell their real story,” the foundation said in a press release.

EU membership for Ukraine would take “15 or 20 years,” French minister says: Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union would take at least “15 or 20 years" to complete, France’s European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said on Sunday, while promoting President Emmanuel Macron’s alternative proposal of creating a new “European political community” including Ukraine. “If we say that Ukraine will join the European Union in 6 months, one year, two years, we are lying. It is not true,” Beaune told Jewish community radio station Radio J. “It is probably maybe 15 or 20 years. No matter what, it’s very long,” he added.

Russians introduce new controls on Mariupol movement, mayor’s adviser says: The Russian forces that control Mariupol have started requiring permits for cars entering and exiting the occupied Ukrainian city, an adviser to the city’s Ukrainian mayor said Sunday. Petro Andrushchenko, the adviser, also warned that deportations of Ukrainians from the region were increasing. Under the restrictions introduced Saturday, cars and passengers entering the city need single-use passes issued by a Russian commandant in Manhush or Vynohradne, towns to the west and east of the occupied city, Andrushchenko said.

Lithuania cuts Russian energy imports: Lithuania will have completely cut imports of Russian energy supplies including oil, electricity and natural gas from Sunday. The country’s Ministry of Energy said in a statement on Friday that the pan-European power exchange Nord Pool had decided to stop trading Russian electricity with its only importer in the Baltic States, Russian utility Inter RAO – meaning the country would no longer be importing any Russian energy. "Not only it is an extremely important milestone for Lithuania in its journey towards energy independence, but it is also an expression of our solidarity with Ukraine,” Lithuanian Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys said. “We must stop financing Russian war machine.”

— Al Jazeera

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Mendocino Lumber Woods Crew [Sam Elliott front center]

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Overpopulation, resource depletion and environmental breakdowns are surely on tap. But where I differ from many here who know this, is I am an optimist. Total breakdown is not inevitable. Solutions do exist. Most of them are considered science fiction now. The state of our society is crumbling, and seeing the total lack of response from the public makes it easy to be pessimistic. But as Yogi said, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over. The future hasn’t happened so anything can happen right now. I’m gonna live my life, ‘tho I’m not blind. And if I’m wrong and I’m still around, I will rage against the night.

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THE MENDOSA BROTHERS with Apple Fair sign, 1921

* * *

BUSH IS BIDEN IS BUSH

George W. Bush returns to the news with a tad too much honesty, lifting a veil on Washington’s dirtiest open secret: the Biden Democrats have become the Bush Republicans…

by Matt Taibbi

George W. Bush returned to the news last week. The man who once said, “Our enemies… never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we,” coughed up a gem of accidental truth about Ukraine. In the midst of blasting Vladimir Putin for suppressing dissent, he said:

“The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq. I mean, of Ukraine.Iraq too. Anyway. (laughs)”

Although Bush in recent years has been regularly tongue-bathed by blue-party acolytes for speaking against Trump, with Katie Hill once going so far as to admit to tears as she pondered “how much better we’d all feel if Bush were president today,” press priests from CNN to NBC to The Guardian last week tossed him back overboard over his Ukraine miss. Stephen Colbert even “waxed nostalgic,” remembering the time before his current apple-polishing period, when he was an actual satirist under Bush: “I made so much fun of him, and he gave me so many reasons to do that.”

Propaganda demands Bush take a dive now. Not only did his recent honesty malfunction complicate messaging about the unique iniquity of Russian aggression, he’s a living reminder of the uncomfortable truth that he and Joe Biden have essentially merged to become the same president.

Biden is just a less likable, more deranged version of Dubya, a political potted plant behind which authoritarians rule by witch hunt and moral mania, with Joe floating on a somehow even fatter cloud of media protection than Bush enjoyed after 9/11. Today’s Biden is Bush, a helpless, terrified passenger dragged on a political journey beyond his comprehension, signing his name whenever told to appalling policies, like a child emperor or King George in the porphyria years. It’s obvious, but no one will bring it up, for the usual reason, i.e., because Trump. The major difference is that while Bush was hammered as a simpleton by media smart-alecks for eight years, Biden’s steep mental decline has gone uncovered in an undeclared press cease-fire.

It’s more than a superficial resemblance. The mainstream Democratic Party project has merged in every meaningful way with the militaristic, authoritarian, surveillance-heavy vision of Bush’s neocon presidency, with woke fundamentalism replacing Bush’s “faith-based” evangelism, and Dems most recently pushing their own souped-up version of the PATRIOT Act. 

You could see the seeds of the merger back when Biden was still a sentient being, in those Bush years, when Scranton Joe was the chief Democratic cheerleader for Bush’s “brutal” Iraq invasion.

In his later, more overtly Bushian phase, Biden lied about his Iraq record repeatedly, but media outlets covering his presidential run told us not to put too much stock into his “gaffes,” which were nothing of the sort: they were intentional deceptions. “Immediately, that moment it started, I came out against the war at that moment,” Biden told NPR in September of 2019, prompting a story about “verbal slip-ups,” which became the go-to euphemism. In a debate against Trump a year later, Biden was even more explicitly deceptive:

From the moment “shock and awe” started, from that moment, I was opposed to the effort, and I was outspoken as much as anyone at all in the Congress and the administration.

This was just a lie, and not a particularly clever one. Biden told Fox months after the Iraq invasion that “I do think it was a just war,” told reporters weeks after “we need more forces,” and gave a speech at the Brookings Institution weeks later in which he said his yea vote for war “was the right vote then and it would be a correct vote today.” As Ryan Grim put it two years ago, Biden demonstrably supported the Iraq war “before, during, and after” the invasion. Unlike Bush, he never stopped lying about it.

If you want a clue into the political logic that drove both presidencies, a place to start is with The Right Man, a slobbering hagiography written by current blue-party darling and Bush speechwriter David Frum at the outset of the Iraq catastrophe. Author Frum paints himself as a world-weary wordsmith whose reflexive media-class cynicism was instantly exploded by exposure to Honest George’s artless rectitude. Every page of Frum’s book is filled with hilarious caricatures of presidential mythmaking, depicting Bush as a beatific cross of George Washington and Ben Stiller’s Simple Jack character from Tropic Thunder, a man literally too dumb to lie:

He insisted on accuracy to the point of pedantry. If his schedule called for him to record a radio address in Washington to be broadcast during a visit to California the following day, nothing could induce him to say, “Today, I am in California.” He would look up from the script with exasperation. “But I’m not in California.”

Of course this is not honesty but incomprehension, since Bush by the time the spot was set to air actually would be in California, but whatever.

Frum went on to insist Bush was so instinctively repulsed by untruth that he and other speechwriters had to learn not to “insert idle compliments” in speeches like, “I’m happy to be with you,” because “if he was not happy to be with you, he would not pretend that it was.” This from a man who didn’t hesitate to help write one of the lyingest presidential speeches ever, the “Axis of Evil” State of the Union address asserting nonexistent ties between Iraq, Iran, and North Korea that became a crucial part of Bush’s disgraced casus belli.

Frum was more interesting, though no less loathsome, in the book’s excitable passages explaining the nature of Bush’s political appeal:

“Goodness had been one of the main themes of the campaign speeches of George W. Bush. He often observed that if the government could ever write a law that could make people love their neighbors, he would be glad to sign it.

“This was, when you think about it, an odd thing for a Republican president to say. If Congress had sent Ronald Reagan a law obliging people to love their neighbors, he would have vetoed it as an impertinent infringement of personal liberty… But Bush came from and spoke for a very different culture from that of the individualistic Ronald Reagan: the culture of modern Evangelicalism.”

Bush was the perfect politician to accelerate the long-sought elite project of deconstructing American liberalism and constitutional principle, and replacing them with an authoritarian technocracy that rules by moral emergency. Bush’s special vulnerability was that he wasn’t just an evangelical Christian, but a reformed alcoholic, for whom rigidity and moral absolutism were desperate personal necessities. A George Bush who slipped and stopped seeing the world in black and white for even five seconds would likely wake up blowing coke in his own personal Hobbesian jungle in no time. He was easily convinced the unconquered world was fraught with unacceptable dangers, because for him, it was.

This absolutism got him into the White House. As Frum noted, Bush lost by 19 points among “women who work outside the home,” while the voters who carried him were those “most outraged by Clinton’s misconduct.” Among the one-fourth of voters who said the most important consideration in voting was “honesty,” 80 percent voted for Bush over Gore. Bush in other words lost the popular vote, and the remaining plurality that didn’t see him as an illegitimate executive installed by the judiciary had elected him virtually without expectations. 

As Frum put it, Republicans just “wanted him not to be Clinton,” with no mandate beyond “the promise to lay off the interns.”

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s more or less exactly how Biden got elected. Three out of every ten Biden voters said they were primarily voting against Donald Trump (double the 15% of Trump voters who said voting against Biden was their main motivation). Moreover even though it was constantly reported that women won the election for Biden, Trump actually gained among women in 2020 versus 2016 — astonishing given the amount of negative coverage about his misogynistic attitudes — while Biden won because an even split among men in the 2016 race became an 11-point advantage for team blue in 2020. Biden, like Bush, was sent to Washington as an essentially mandateless president, elected in a spasm of moral reaction, by people who voted for who he wasn’t, not for who he was.

Democrats during Bush’s presidency ranted endlessly about Bush binary brain, and made him the butt of endless jokes over his simplistic bloviating about “evildoers” and “evil deeds.” They tuned in every night to Jon Stewart routines that reveled in being the snickering “some” who questioned Bush’s lunatic theory of pre-emptive war, lampooning Bush’s description of Iraq as the land where all the worst things were “gathered in one place” as the “Wal-Mart of Evil.”

Many of the same people who roared with laughter at those routines now back the same Bushian program in blue. In the twelve years between the Bush and Biden presidencies, the old Republican Party machinery was massacred by the Trump movement, and the Democratic Party merged with the rump of the old Republican Party. Together they adopted, surpassed even, Bush’s tone of evangelical absolutism, preaching a stark Manichean vision of good versus evil — Biden in his convention speech even intoned about how “light is more powerful than dark” — stacking one moral panic atop the next.

Biden as president has constantly sounded apocalyptic tones about evildoers pushing us to the cliff-end of existence, from the “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” to saying Republican voting rights proposals made “Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle” and were the “most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War,” to the quintessentially Bushian “evil will not win” routine he unveiled in the wake of the recent Buffalo shooting, to the even more recent reports that Biden now views the entire Republican Party as an “existential threat to the nation’s democracy.”

These last two years of Biden speeches have used rhetoric borrowed directly from Bush’s tirades against terrorists, which is why it felt so appropriate when Bush chimed in last year to denounce QAnon Shaman and the rest of the selfie-snapping “insurrectionists” from January 6th as violent extremists sharing so so much with the 9/11 hijackers, murderers of 3,000 human beings:

“In their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit. And it is our continuing duty to confront them.”

These remarks set both hearts and trouser-fronts aflutter among everyone from Bill Clinton to Keith Olbermann, as a “continuing duty” to confront the “existential threat” with every conceivable tool of state power is very much what current Democrats have in mind. The Biden presidency has been working round the clock to enhance the powers of Dick Cheney’s surveillance state, seeking to aim it inward and at American citizens to an even greater degree even than the unacceptable levels seen under Bush (when the primary targets were Muslims, placed on a “watch list” of 1.2 million people that a judge ruled to be unconstitutional three years ago).

The same kinds of programs I watched people like Bernie Sanders rally against in the fight over the PATRIOT Act are being re-marketed as Democrat-friendly initiatives. These include everything from the Domestic Terrorism Prevention bill just passed in the House, to the much-panned attempt to create a “Disinformation Governance Board” in the Department of Homeland Security under the leadership of rattish crooner Nina Jankowicz.

The latter program, by the way, was universally misreported as having failed because of objections from “right wing media and Republican lawmakers,” as NPR put it, as if only evil Republicans could oppose such a great idea. This ignored the 1 in 3 Democrats who didn’t favor the idea, and blew off the criticisms of people like Glenn Greenwald, myself, former ACLU chief Nadine Strossen, Professor Amna Khalid, Nico Perrino of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and countless other liberals who were horrified that Democrats who spent the Bush years raising money as defenders of civil liberties were behind such a plainly Orwellian Truth Ministry concept.

Remember when Sean Hannity made bestseller lists with titles like Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism? Good times. “Hannity compares American liberals to terrorists and despots and categorically calls them ‘evil,’” observed a shocked Jason Carter, grandson of Jimmy. During these years Republicans appeared to have no vision of America that included people who didn’t vote red, calling liberals evil and indistinguishable from mass-murderers. People like former FBI agent Gary Aldrich said “Liberals are largely responsible for much of what happened” on 9/11, and people like novelist Tom Clancy concurred, saying on The O’Reilly Factor that 9/11 happened because “the CIA was gutted by people on the political left who don't like intelligence operations.”

I seem to remember a lot of people like myself who were enraged to hear themselves blamed for 9/11, our basic decency constantly impugned on Fox’s airwaves, or in speeches by the president questioning the patriotism of those “some” who saw the Iraq invasion as madness. It was even more infuriating to see the never-ending coverage of fanatics like John Walker Lindh upheld as evidence of widespread traitorous rot in the liberal ranks (“We need to execute people like John Walker [Lindh] in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too,” was Ann Coulter’s take).

Now, suddenly, it’s appropriate for Democrats to think this way about our own political opponents? We’re going to declare half the country (or more) an “existential threat” to Democracy, place them on lists, have their message boards policed and monitored, effectively criminalizing ideas and political orientation? This is exactly the Bush playbook we all once loathed, in reverse.

The one conspicuous stylistic difference is that this time, the loose-tongued, mentally absent executive signing off on sweeping secret surveillance programs gets a near-total pass from the press. The big difference between Bushisms and Bidenisms is the former were often endearing or unintentionally funny, while Biden is mostly just horrifying. His brain is like a cereal bowl in which the bits floating in milk occasionally touch and produce furious or incoherent exclamations: “immune to prostitute,” “I love those barrettes in her hair map,” “I used to drive an 18-wheeler, man,” “Putin may circle Kyiv with tanks but he’ll never gain the hearts and souls of the Iranian people,” and so on.

Even when the president is just mixing up words, it’s a freak show, like that time a few weeks ago when he talked about “our underlying effort to accommodate the Russian oligarchs and take their ill-begotten gains… We’re gonna accommodate them.” Official White House transcripts now contain bracketed passages to explain to us what the president “meant” to say.

The enormous policy difference between Bush and Biden to date is Bush responded to a foreign policy emergency by jumping straight to boots-on-ground war, while Biden’s response to Putin’s far more serious invasion has so far been limited to rejecting negotiation, imposing sanctions, and massively expanding a proxy battle with Russia in an apparent effort to “bleed” Putin. I believe it’s eventually going to come out that Bushian “regime change” is the plan for Russia, by force if necessary. Part of the reason to think this is because Biden keeps saying it. However, instead of having Jon Stewart around every night to batter the too-frank remarks of President Scramblebrains, the press response to the Biden show has been to spin these episodes as unconnected verbal accidents, signifying nothing.

When Biden said of Putin, “For God’s sake, the man cannot remain in power,” we had NPR stories about how what he said could have been more “nuanced.” When Biden visited 82nd airborne troops in Poland and said of the war, “You’re going to see when you’re there… women, young people standing in the middle, in the front of a damn tank saying, ‘I’m not leaving.’” The next day the White House “clarified” that “The president has been clear we are not sending U.S. troops to Ukraine and there is no change in that position.”

All this is remarkably similar to Bush’s habit of saying things to troops like, “I appreciate the fact that you really snatched defeat out of the jaws of those who are trying to defeat us,” or “I fully understand those who say you can’t win this thing militarily. That’s exactly what the United States military says, that you can’t win this military.” Bush often told us the blunt truth by mistake and Biden does the same thing. The subtext in both cases is an executive who’s been read in so infrequently that he forgets what he’s supposed to lie about.

We’ll see how big of a mistake, or not, the administration’s handling of Ukraine turns out to be, whether they’ll really attempt the same regime change madness that destroyed the Bush presidency. Maybe they won’t go that far, but it’s already obvious where their Domestic War on Terror is headed. This is the same “gross and excessive power grab” that Al Gore once warned would place constitutional protections in “grave danger.” Democrats were once appalled by the idea of a vast spy state, sorting humanity into “good” and “evil” piles. Now, they want in on these same ideas so badly, they even got their own version of Bush to preside over the plan. Can political life in America get any more ridiculous?

* * *

Young Harry Richard Boos, 1929

* * *

GOOD COP

by Herb Caen (1976)

Actually, things haven't changed much around Fifth and Mission in the past quarter century. The Old Mint is still standing there, doing whatever Old Mints do (they don't make money, that's one thing they do). The Old Chron, as the San Francisco Chronicle is known affectionately, is still across the street, putting out the best morning paper in town. Cattercorner: the venerable Pickwick Hotel where the walls talk back to you of pleasures past and hangovers present. The only major "improvement" is that big brute of a multilevel parking garage on the site of the original Hanno's saloon for artists, writers and newspaper hacks.

But then came another major change. Honest John Gehring, the traffic cop who ran the show at Fifth and Mission since 1939 (with occasional strolls to Fifth and Market) quit after 31 years on the force. Good old Fifth — without good old John the Cop is like Powell without the cable. But there you are.

"I've had it," he said. "I can't take it anymore. Winter is coming on and it gets dark early. There I am standing in the rain with the traffic backed up all the way to Howard and I'm telling the drivers to go thataway and they're telling me they want to go thisaway and I know that any minute some nut is going to come around the corner and hit me because he can't see me… Well, anyway, I'm quitting. My nerves are shot. My uniform is worn out and so am I."

John and I have grown old together. When he first chewed me out for making a U-turn, his mustache was black and I had enough hair to stuff a mattress. Now his mustache is white but he still has his hair (also white) so he is ahead of me there. In all those years I'd only seen him in his civvies once and he looked distinguished, like a retired banker or maitre d'Hotel at a good restaurant. But he has no regrets that he is neither.

"I guess I've been a pretty good cop," he says. "No, I don't mind people calling me a cop. That's what I am. A cop. The only term I can't stand is 'Copper.' A woman driver called me a 'copper' the other day and I really let her have it. That's no lady, calling a cop a 'Copper.' But I'll tell you one thing: I wouldn't want any kid of mine to be a cop. It's a lousy job. Too much night work, long hours, low pay. And no respect. Why, when I was a kid…"

Like all old-timers, cops or otherwise, John has a bad case of When-I-was-a-kid-itis. "I was born in the Mission," he says. "My father was German, a sausage maker. When a cop told us to go that way, we went that way. Today everybody wants to give you an argument. The old Mission was great. You know we never even locked the front door? Never. Every day some bum would come around for a handout and my mother would invite them right into the kitchen and cook them something. My old man would sit down and have a conversation with him. When the bum would leave my father would say, "Mighty interesting fellow."

"Imagine anybody doing that today? Everybody is suspicious of everybody else. My wife won't even take the chain off the front door till she looks through the peep hole."

John Gehring, plain San Franciscan, good cop, quitting the force after 31 years with a perfect record. Never a promotion, never a reprimand. He has never fired a shot in anger. "I only pulled my gun once, about 30 years ago. But that was the first and last time." The legend around Fifth and Mission is that he still has his original book of tags. Not quite true, "but I don't believe in giving tags. I ball them out instead. They remember that longer."

I don't know about you, but I feel sorry for cops. Most of them, anyway. Especially the old ones walking their beats, sensing the distrust and suspicion on all sides. Even when they're right they're wrong. No wonder so many of them become firemen.

"You do something wrong now," said John, "and you're on your own. Nobody backs you up. The brass, the City Hall, the public — they're all against you. It wasn't like that in the old days."

The old days: for better or worse, the cops ran the town and nobody ran the cops. Even in Sacramento where I broke into newspapering as a police reporter (prostitutes are turned out, presstitutes are broken in). I hung out with the cops for four solid years — the good ones and crooked ones, the sadistic ones and the gutsy ones. But even then, I could see they were a close corporation. It was us, the police, against them, the civilians, and neither particularly trusted or liked the other. The cops had more respect for a good criminal than they had for the Square John Public, maybe because they had more in common.

Now when I hear people berating the police as "the fuzz," or "pigs," I think about the good cops I knew — like Mike Strazzo, Sergeant Eddie Cox and Buck Lincecum in Sacramento and Snooky Nelder and Tom Cahill here. And honest John Gehring. They have one thing in common: a streak of sympathy that persists in spite of the brutalizing aspects of their job.

If the police have a theme song, its "The Public Has No Respect for Us," but respect is a two-way street and you have may have noticed there are more one-way streets than there used to be. The good cops, though, like John Gehring, get all the respect they can handle. 

By the way, he's retiring because he has hypertension. They didn't have that in the old days either. When cophood was in flower they called it "nerves" and said, "Go somewhere and relax," and that's what honest John is going to do. Grit his teeth and relax.

— Herb Caen, 1976

* * *

* * *

BIDEN IN ASIA

The politics of trade policy have become toxic in the U.S.

For decades, the mainstream of both the Democratic and Republican parties favored expanding trade between the U.S. and other countries. Greater globalization, these politicians promised, would increase economic growth — and with the bounty from that growth, the country could compensate any workers who suffered from increased trade. But it didn’t work out that way.

Instead, trade has contributed to the stagnation of living standards for millions of working-class Americans, by shrinking the number of good-paying, blue-collar jobs here. The incomes of workers without a bachelor’s degree have grown only slowly over the past few decades. Many measures of well-being — even life expectancy — have declined in recent years.

All along, many politicians and experts continued to insist that trade was expanding the economic pie. And they were often right. But struggling workers understandably viewed those claims as either false or irrelevant, and they refused to support further expansions of trade.

After President Barack Obama negotiated a major new trade deal — the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or T.P.P. — members of both parties criticized it, and the Senate declined to ratify it. Donald Trump then won the presidency partly on an antitrade platform, and he formally withdrew the U.S. from the T.P.P.

This morning, President Biden, on his first trip to Asia since taking office, has announced an agreement that he hopes represents the future of trade policy. It’s known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and includes India, Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Australia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and a handful of other countries.

Anti-neoliberalism

This framework is much less ambitious than Obama’s T.P.P. But the T.P.P. never became law in the U.S., so it is in some ways a meaningless comparison. Biden’s goal is to manage trade policy in a way that is both less bombastic and isolationist than Trump’s approach but also less dismissive of voters’ concerns than both parties tended to be before Trump’s presidency.

As one Biden adviser told me, the new framework is central to the Biden administration’s “post-neoliberal foreign policy.”

The crucial distinction between Biden’s framework and past trade deals is that this deal does not involve what economists call “market access” — the opening of one country’s markets to other countries’ goods, through reduced tariffs and regulations. The framework instead revolves around increased cooperation on areas like clean energy and internet policy. As a result, the deal does not require Senate ratification.

A tangible example is the global supply chain. As part of the framework, the 13 countries agree to identify supply-chain problems early and solve them. If a Covid outbreak in one country forces a certain kind of factory to close, a backup factory in another country can quickly increase production and minimize shortages around the world.

The China factor

Officials in much of Asia remain disappointed that the U.S. abandoned the T.P.P. They rightly note that Biden’s framework is much narrower and will do less to help Asian economies increase their exports to the U.S. “You can sense the frustration for developing, trade-reliant countries,” Calvin Cheng, a senior analyst at Malaysia’s Institute of Strategic and International Studies, told Al Jazeera.

Still, the Biden administration persuaded virtually every country that it wanted to join the framework to do so. Officials in these countries recognize that Biden is trying to re-engage with Asian allies, in contrast to Trump’s “America first” approach, and many badly want the U.S. to play an active role in the Pacific. Otherwise, they fear, China may dominate the region.

U.S. officials have the same concern, and the new framework — vague as parts of it may be — offers a structure for economic cooperation that bypasses China. If the U.S. and other major Asian economies can agree to standards on the supply chain, internet policy, energy and more, China will be left to choose between playing by those rules or missing out on new trade opportunities.

Katherine Tai, the top U.S. trade official, who has joined Biden on his trip, told The Associated Press that the U.S. was “very, very focused on our competition with China.” The new framework, she added, is intended to counter China’s growing influence in the Pacific region.

— David Leonhardt (The New York Times)

* * *

* * *

YOU CAN'T FOOL THE FAT MAN

Sittin with the fat man
Tryin to get a loan
Talkin about horses
And the women that we've known

Spittin on the sidewalk
Squintin into the sun
Greetin all the people
Smilin at everyone

I said, "Hey, listen, Fat Man
I just can't get a break
Must I pay my whole life long
For just one mistake?"

"My brother's in the armed forces
My sister is in jail
Won't you give me fifty dollars
So I can pay her bail?"

He said, "You can't fool the fat man
No, you can't fool me
You're just a two-bit grifter
And that's all you'll ever be"

— Randy Newman

* * *

SS Alcazar, Cuffey's Cove, Greenwood

* * *

NO WAY OUT BUT WAR

by Chris Hedges

The United States, as the near unanimous vote to provide nearly $40 billion in aid to Ukraine illustrates, is trapped in the death spiral of unchecked militarism. No high speed trains. No universal health care. No viable Covid relief program. No respite from 8.3 percent inflation. No infrastructure programs to repair decaying roads and bridges, which require $41.8 billion to fix the 43,586 structurally deficient bridges, on average 68 years old. No forgiveness of $1.7 trillion in student debt. No addressing income inequality. No program to feed the 17 million children who go to bed each night hungry. No rational gun control or curbing of the epidemic of nihilistic violence and mass shootings. No help for the 100,000 Americans who die each year of drug overdoses. No minimum wage of $15 an hour to counter 44 years of wage stagnation. No respite from gas prices that are projected to hit $6 a gallon.

The permanent war economy, implanted since the end of World War II, has destroyed the private economy, bankrupted the nation, and squandered trillions of dollars of taxpayer money. The monopolization of capital by the military has driven the US debt to $30 trillion, $6 trillion more than the US GDP of $ 24 trillion. Servicing this debt costs $300 billion a year. We spent more on the military, $813 billion for fiscal year 2023, than the next nine countries, including China and Russia, combined.

We are paying a heavy social, political, and economic cost for our militarism. Washington watches passively as the U.S. rots, morally, politically, economically, and physically, while China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, and other countries extract themselves from the tyranny of the U.S. dollar and the international Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a messaging network banks and other financial institutions use to send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions. Once the U.S. dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency, once there is an alternative to SWIFT, it will precipitate an internal economic collapse. It will force the immediate contraction of the U.S. empire shuttering most of its nearly 800 overseas military installations. It will signal the death of Pax Americana.

Democrat or Republican. It does not matter. War is the raison d'état of the state. Extravagant military expenditures are justified in the name of “national security.” The nearly $40 billion allocated for Ukraine, most of it going into the hands of weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon Technologies, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing, is only the beginning. Military strategists, who say the war will be long and protracted, are talking about infusions of $4 or $5 billion in military aid a month to Ukraine. We face existential threats. But these do not count. The proposed budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in fiscal year 2023 is $10.675 billion. The proposed budget for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is $11.881 billion. Ukraine alone gets more than double that amount. Pandemics and the climate emergency are afterthoughts. War is all that matters. This is a recipe for collective suicide.…

chrishedges.substack.com/p/no-way-out-but-war

* * *

T'tcetsa (aka Little Short, aka Lucy Lassik, aka Mrs. Lucy Young), Yellowjacket (aka Jack French), and Lucy's great-granddaughter, Martha Clark, on the Round Valley Reservation in Mendocino County, in northwestern California - Wailaki - 1922

14 Comments

  1. Eric Sunswheat May 23, 2022

    Why wage criticism of state government, before scientific inventors have developed scale of use.

    RE: The California Coastal Commission is a major obstacle in accepting workable solutions to California’s problematic water history. (Jim Shields)

    -> May 16. 2022
    The team hope to scale this technology up to industrial size over the next several years, aiming to create a membrane around one metre across in diameter.
    This membrane tech could also be used to filter other chemicals, such as carbon dioxide or other industrial waste products.
    https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/engineering/desalination-membrane/

    -> May 12, 2022
    The proposed nanochannel exhibits negligible chloride ion (Cl–) permeability caused by a powerful electrostatic barrier provided by the electrostatically negative fluorous interior surface.
    Thus, this nanochannel is expected to show nearly perfect salt reflectance for desalination.
    https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abd0966

  2. Kirk Vodopals May 23, 2022

    You Dr. Strangelove snippet from Mr. Calder coincides interestingly with Mr Shields reference to desalinization by flourine. I can hear the tinfoils screaming about how this desalinization proposal is another insidious plot to introduce flouride into our precious humanly vessels! Some of those “enlightened” folks have claimed that flouride is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. I wonder if they conjured that theory the same way Mr Mandrake did?

    • Eric Sunswheat May 23, 2022

      May 17, 2022
      The most troublesome compound, perfluorooctanoic acid, PFOA, has already been phased out. It was widely used in the manufacture of Teflon cookware, although it did not end up in the finished product.

      Whether the replacement processing chemicals, which are also fluorinated, are better, isn’t clear. An oft-asked question is whether consumers should stay away from Teflon cookware because of this concern.

      There is no reason to worry about the finished product because non-stick pots and pans do not release PFAS in any significant amount. A more valid concern is release of these chemicals into the environment during manufacture.
      https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/general-science/forever-chemicals-seem-be-forever-spotlight

  3. David Eyster May 23, 2022

    Good morning, Mr. Editor —

    Contrary to the claims of a couple of folks who claim to be in the know but are not, defendant Bailey Isaiah Comer, age 22, has been charged with a felony violation of Penal Code section 311.11(a), not a misdemeanor. This fact is easy to confirm on the court’s information portal. The prosecutor handling the case is Asst. DA Dale P. Trigg. The defendant’s defense attorney is Chris Andrian out of Santa Rosa. The next court date is June 6, 2022 at 9 o’clock in the morning in Judge Faulder’s Ukiah courtroom for entry of plea.

    DA Dave

    • Marmon May 23, 2022

      Cleanup on aisle 5

      Marmon

    • George Dorner May 23, 2022

      I am one of the folks who claimed young Mr. Comer is charged with a misdemeanor. I relied on the jail booking website. Said website is the responsibility of the sheriff, who is responsible for the posting.

      I have no reason to doubt Mr. Eyster; he didn’t supply the misinformation.

      • Deborah Silva May 23, 2022

        Bailey Comer may have been initially arrested on a misdemeanor charge but after investigation by the DA’s office it’s likely the charge was bumped up to a felony. I followed Mr. Eyster’s suggestion and looked up the documents related to the case; Comer is indeed going to court on a felony charge. I, too, saw the sheriff’s booking page and it said he was arrested on a misdemeanor charge.

  4. Craig Stehr May 23, 2022

    ~Why Are We Here?~
    Following a peaceful sunny day in Ukiah, California, am now back at the Building Bridges homeless shelter to sleep in my assigned bunk bed. I have a possible dental appointment in Sonoma county for a crown to save the broken tooth May 31st, and maybe they’ll do a “retreat” on a molar which has an infection underneath a previously done root canal. Also, I could at some point receive a deep cleaning and have a cavity filled in a top rear molar at Hillside Dental, which made a very rare exception, and approved me as a new patient. I am playing three lotteries twice weekly to win money. As the ashramites at Sri Aurobindo ashram in Pondicherry, South India said in the summer of ’94 when I was there, when I asked them why they were playing the lottery: “If God wants to give us money to do His will, there has to be some way for Him to get it to us.” Meanwhile, am waking up mornings with the mind repeating the Catholic Hail Mary prayer. Following morning ablutions, the (voluntary) trash & recycling chore begins, and the Hare Krishna mahamantram is repeated all the day long. After eventually finishing the voluntary chore, which improves the general quality of life at the homeless shelter, it is off to the Ukiah Co-op for the cold salad bar, possibly a large cup of soup, and always a fortifying beverage. Then, a walk about the county seat, nicknamed “haiku spelled backwards”, chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantram, and not identifying with the body and the mind, nor for that matter, what is happening in the “play of consciousness”, (which usually appears way too real, and changes constantly). Feel free to contact me at any time. What would you like to do? I have frequently mentioned going to places of political power and taking spiritual direct action. Is anybody motivated to do that? As I walk around Ukiah, California every day, wondering why I am here at all, and awaiting Divine Intervention to get dental appointments, and playing LOTTO, I am at least motivated to send out networking messages such as this one. If I did not do this, the entire fact of my being on planet earth wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever! ~The End~ Craig Louis Stehr Email: craiglouisstehr@gmail.com 💲PayPal.me/craiglouisstehr Telephone Messages: (707) 234-3270 22.V.’22

    • Marmon May 23, 2022

      Craig, Ukiah needs all the help it can get, stay put.

      Marmon

      • Craig Stehr May 23, 2022

        I agree that Mendocino county needs all of the help that it can get. The fantasy of it being au courant with endless wine brunches and supported by a culturally hip cannabis industry has worn off. Try and get a dental appointment using Partnership or Medicare. Did I mention my homelessness due to being displaced by the crazy designer drug phenomenon? Send the money here: PayPal.me/craiglouisstehr

    • jess May 23, 2022

      say what?

  5. Marmon May 23, 2022

    RE: DON’T MONKEY AROUND GUYS

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today alerted gay and bisexual men that monkeypox appears to be spreading in the community globally, cautioning people to take precautions if they have been in close contact with someone who may have the virus and to be on the lookout for symptoms.

    Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, which are generally passed through semen or vaginal fluid, but it can be transmitted through sexual and intimate contact as well as through shared bedding.

    Marmon

  6. Marmon May 23, 2022

    RE: EYSTER AND KENDALL’S STRATEGY REGARDING RECENT NEWS.

    If you have the press on your side, it works.

    Plausible deniability is the ability of people, typically senior officials in a formal or informal chain of command, to deny knowledge of or responsibility for any damnable actions committed by members of their organizational hierarchy.

    Marmon

  7. Michael Turner MD June 4, 2022

    Tommy Wayne Kramer is obviously new to the South. When I first moved to rural Louisiana I too was struck by the affability of race relations. Mixed groups of employees enjoying lunch together, cordial greetings, friendly inquiries about the family etc. Quite a difference from California, with its broad geographic segregation. So it took some time for me to gradually recognize the vile background racism that permeated the community. The same local surnames shared by both races, but one group prosperous, the other still living in the kind of rural poverty that shocked Robert Kennedy 60 years ago. The same segregated institutions, particularly the churches. And all of it rooted in 19th century quasi-biological notions of racial superiority / inferiority that were widely assumed. I worked in a hospital, and as I became a familiar figure, white people began freely sharing their startling racial theories and metaphors, all of which, of course, served to explain the deep socio-economic disparities. I’ll shock you with one example, an elderly gentleman explained to me why racial integration could never work ” If you mix vanilla ice cream with shit, it’s all gonna taste like shit.” Racial prejudice in the South is like the weather, it’s everywhere, all the time. I can tell you the exact moment I decided to move away. We had our three year old in pre-school (100% white) and began to notice little odd things he would say. One day I took him to the public library. An African-American teenager was sitting on the steps reading a book. My son looked up at me and asked: “Dad, why is that man bad?”

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