Warming | Flynn Creek | $10 Gallon | Vote Today | Mendocino Church | Covelo Coal | Housing Action | AV Graduation | Redding Vote | Hobo Highway | Sales Tax | Steam Laundry | Hendy Woods | Free TV | Wine Fine | Bombing Ecofiction | Kalevala Brotherhood | Improv Workshops | Yorkville Flea | Indian Land | Ceramics Studio | Metal Smithing | Yesterday's Catch | Ukraine | Dessert Coffee | Free Speech | Part Ways | Watchtower v Stratton | Elsa Gidlow | Pressure Cooker | Skillet Lickers | Quiet Life | Pointlessly Walking | Corrugated Camper | Chaos Party | D Day | Empire Managers | Boyle's Camp
SOME LIGHT DRIZZLE is possible this evening along the coast. Otherwise hot and clear weather will continue with isolated 100 degree weather possible Friday. Another cool down is expected for the weekend. (NWS)
SWAT TEAM IN COMPTCHE
Chuck Wilcher reports: "Swat team making arrest across from fire house."
GAS HITS NEARLY $10 A GALLON IN MENDOCINO
by Amy Graff
A Chevron in the coastal village of Mendocino was charging $9.60 a gallon for regular on Friday afternoon. That's more than $3 a gallon above the state average of $6.25, according to AAA.
Judy Schlafer owns Schlafer's Auto Body & Repair in Mendocino and said her last load of 8,880 gallons of gas, which has to be paid off in 10 days, cost about $50,000. Three months ago, she said she paid about $20,000 less for the same size load. Schlafer said that if she didn't charge $9.60, she'd be out of business.
"I'm going to be lucky if I make the year with all the fees, the regulation, the payroll fees," she said. "If it continues the way it is, Mendocino won't have a gas station next year."
Schlafer's is the only station in the picturesque town that's popular with tourists, and it has gotten a lot of attention for its high prices amid soaring gas prices across the country in the past year. The station repeatedly gets called the most expensive gas in the country in the media.
Schlafer doesn't believe this and said gas is just as expensive in other places.
SFGATE called some stations in remote areas such as Mono County and Big Sur and couldn't find anything more expensive than Mendocino.
"Without much of a doubt it's the most expensive gas in the country," said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at Gas Buddy.
The cost of crude oil drives prices at the pump. Supply is currently limited and this means high prices. The supply issues started in the COVID-19 pandemic when demand for oil plummeted. Demand quickly rebounded, but production and supply are struggling to keep up.
"Refinery capacity has diminished due to COVID," De Haan said. "We don't have as much ability to refine as much fuel as the market is consuming. Prices continue to climb, it's absolutely amazing to see how high prices currently are."
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also impacted the price of crude oil as the U.S. and other countries imposed sanctions on Russia, removing millions of barrels from the global supply.
The average price of gas in California is $2 more than what it was a year ago. In the past week alone, the average price of gas in California went up about 17 cents a gallon.
"Prices continue to go up," De Haan said. "I don't know when they will go down."
LAST DAY TO RETURN YOUR BALLOT To The Fair Grounds Ballot Box Or Deposit Your Ballot In The Mail!
Please vote “YES” on Measure M to support necessary improvements at Anderson Valley Schools. Our schools are more than 60 years old and the infrastructure needs significant repairs. Your vote matters! Please return your “YES” ballot via mail or drop it off at the ballot box at the Fairgrounds before June 7! We appreciate your support for the kids and staff!
— Measure M Committee
AARON SAWYER: There were a couple of really interesting articles that Kym Kemp ran under the Odd News, Old News series from last year that related some of the history of coal mining in the Covelo area. There are at least three articles and all are worth a read for anyone interested. In short, there is enough coal up there that outside business interests were trading the mining rights for a few decades in the late 19th century, but the quality wasn’t good enough for serious development.
THE COAST’S HOUSING ACTION TEAM will present the Short Term Rental petition and offer supporting comments at the FOLLOWING BOS meeting, Tues June 21st! (Not as previously announced on June 8.)
Wanted - a few people to leave short voicemails (less than 3 minutes) for the Wednesday, June 8 Supervisors meeting. The Supervisors need to hear the heartbreaking comments 145 people wrote on the Short Term Rental petition. If you're game, email the Housing Action Team, and we'll reply with the phone number, simple instructions and part of the comments. An easy-peasy way to help: HATMendocoast@gmail.com
AV UNIFIED: 6TH GRADE GRADUATION
Dear Anderson Valley Community,
Congratulations to the following students that were promoted from 6th grade in this evening’s ceremonies hosted by Principal Cymbre Thomas-Swett, Charlotte Triplett, Keevan Labowitz, and Deb Pichler. We are proud of them and celebrate their accomplishment! A huge shout out to the parent/guardian volunteers who created a festive and lavish celebration stage! A special thank you to Deleh Mayne for a beautiful slide show depicting our students’ educational metamorphosis!
Jaime Benavidez-Rangel; Yeanette Camarillo-Balandran; Helen Cruz-Carrillo; Allen Ford; Miguel Hernandez-Fuentes, Jr.; Karla Lopez; Alex Manzo-Damian; Angel Medina-Martinez; Jonahs Ojeda Mendoza; Ashley Osorniio-Vargas; Joaquin Bucio-Olmedo; Jaquelin Contreras; Nicholas Espinoza; Jatziri Gomez; Robert Irvin; Melany Lopez-Jimenez; Jesus Marron Malfavon; Dorian Mendoza; Carlos Orozco Hernandez; Josiah Padilla-Lopez; Vianett Camarillo-Balandran; Damian Covarrubias; Yareli Ferreyra; Anthony Gonzalez-Orosco; Carlos Lopez; Giovanni Lopez-Zavala; Tyce Mayne; Dulce Moreno-Lua; Anthony Osornio; Saul Parra; Gabriella Perez; Ricardo Sanchez-Perez; Kate Valdez Lara; Aiden Punihaole Figueroa Martinez; Kevin Sandoval; Nicole Velasco Velasco; Mariluna Ramirez-Mora; Kevin Schoder; Logan Venuto.
With thanks to our parent volunteers: Heather Wallace, DAnn Wallace, Erika Damian, Pancho Ojeda, Cristina Velasco, Julie Mejia, Deleh Mayne.
The students are still in school the remainder of the week, but they have their important transition ceremony and celebration behind them!
Congratulations to the promoted students and their families!
As a reminder, tomorrow is the last day to vote in the election. Please return via mail or to the ballot box in the fair grounds your Measure M ballot!
ERNIE PARDINI: Well, tomorrow is election day. Many of you will be heading to the polls tomorrow to cast your votes. But before you do, I'd like to share something with you. It's been a long time since I've been able to get excited about county politics. But then, a couple of weeks ago, I was introduced to and had dinner with 5th district Supervisor candidate, John Redding. I fully expected to get the usual pats on the back and a flowery speech about his plans if elected and his assurance it was in your best interest. But this time was different. Our conversation lasted for over an hour, and I did most of the talking. He asked me what the concerns of the average working man in Mendocino County. Then he wanted to know how he, if elected , he could address these concerns. He asked question after question. He would occasionally share something that made better sense than my idea for a solution, I left there feeling like this man was one to ride the river with. Definitely got my vote.
THE GREAT REDWOOD TRASH TRAIL
The Board of Supervisors, in lock step fealty to State Senator Mike McGuire, will approve a letter supporting continued expansion of the Great Redwood Trail (GRT) Boondoggle this week. The State has already shelled out tens of millions to buyout/bailout former Northcoast Congressman and Democrat Party Godfather Doug Bosco who engineered himself into a substantial ownership and control of the publicly funded North Coast Railroad right of way. The State will spend tens of millions more for Sacramento Consultants to “master plan” the trail.
Drive down Brush Street in Ukiah to see the completed segment of the trail (pictured above). As can be seen, the Trail (aka the The Great Redwood Hobo Highway) also doubles as affordable housing sites for the drug and alcohol impaired.
Projected to cost hundreds of millions, it’s unlikely the trail will be completed this century, if ever. But McGuire’s self-promotion juggernaut will keep churning out press releases extolling the virtues of the Trail while McGuire simultaneously does battle with the phony Coal Train scare. McGuire, who’s buoyant enthusiasm is only matched by his ego driven ambition, hopes to parlay the trail boondoggle and coal train scare into an eventual run for statewide office.
POSSIBLE SALES TAX ON AGENDA
by Justine Frederiksen
On Wednesday, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss in more detail a potential sales tax measure to fund water projects and fire services.
Despite the hesitancy expressed by two supervisors last month, the board ultimately voted unanimously to have staff “begin drafting a sales tax ordinance regarding allocations for fire and water, and return to the full board on June 8, 2022.”
“I think when we come back we need to have a plan that’s very specific and explains to the public exactly what we’re trying to do with the water portion of this, and the fire portion,” said 3rd District Supervisor John Haschak. “Because without real specifics, they’re going to vote it down.”
The staff report prepared for the agenda item notes that:
• If the board chooses to put a proposed tax to the voters, it will need to decide what the rate of the tax will be. Later this year, the tax imposed by Measure B will be reduced from one-half cent (0.5%), to one-eighth cent (0.125%), meaning that a new tax of three-eighths of a cent (0.375%) would present as no change to the consumer. The Board, however, can choose to propose
• The board will need to determine whether it wants to formally commit to keep the use of funds limited to a specific purpose or allow for general governmental purposes. A general tax only needs approval by a majority of the voters while a special tax needs approval by 2/3. At the prior meeting, the board seemed to want a special tax, but staff would like to confirm that direction.
• If the board chooses to enact a special tax, it will need to decide how that purpose is defined. Please note that this language will limit the use of the funds for the life of the ordinance and may not be changed without additional voter approval. As such, it is generally advised that the limitations be specific enough to capture the intended use but not so specific as to dedicate funds
• The board will also need to decide whether and how tax revenues will be split between purposes. Indeed, after review of the May 17, 2022, board meeting, counsel is unclear as to whether the board intends to propose two separate taxes for fire and water, or a single tax that can be used for both. Key issues include: whether the board wants one or two tax ordinances and ballot measures; if the board chooses a single tax measure, whether and how to split the funds between fire and water; whether to include limits on expenditures or allocation to particular agencies and/or regions. Counsel generally advises against this approach because of the possibility of increased administrative costs and unintended consequences.
• Counsel would also like direction on any additional requirements or restrictions that the Board would like to incorporate into the ordinance. In particular, it is clear that the board is interested in some sort of mechanism to ensure that funds are used in a manner that fairly addresses the needs of the entire county rather than letting all revenues go to a few, limited geographical areas. Discussions have included the possibility of an equal distribution between fire districts or minimum expenditures of water funds in certain supervisorial districts. There are a number of options as to how an ordinance might choose to include protections for equitable distribution of funds while minimizing the potential for unforeseen consequences as laws and circumstances change. The board’s choice of such mechanism will need to weigh the risks of strong restrictions against the political and structural benefits they include. Examples include: the creation of a citizens oversight body to review expenditures and opine as to the appropriateness of expenditures and how funds are used; the creation of one or more advisory bodies to provide a recommended allocation formula for each fiscal year; a process for individual fire districts or other fund recipients to submit proposals to the board in advance of the county’s annual budget hearings; a specific fund allocation formula with an ordinance provision authorizing future boards to make amendments or other changes.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. June 8 in the board’s chambers at 501 Low Gap Road for anyone who wished to attend in person, and “virtual attendance will be available via Zoom.
Meetings are live streamed and available for viewing online on the Mendocino County YouTube page, at https://www.youtube.com/MendocinoCountyVideo or by toll-free, telephonic live stream at 888-544-8306.
(courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)
LEE EDMUNDSON: The ill conceived, poorly thought out attempt to piggyback the H2O and Fire District Taxes onto the proposed Library Tax should — if any rational, analytic thinking (still) exists on the BoS — should fall like a souffle Wednesday. Folks need to speak out against it, because it’s passage will spell doom come November if these Tax measures are conjoined. Poorly thought through. Amateur politics. Rookie mistake. Forgiven, but make the correction.
HENDY WOODS NEWS
Share and grow our knowledge of Hendy Woods State park. Events and gatherings, trivia and history.
Forest Ecology Walks in Big Hendy Grove this Summer (June - September)
Join us at 10:30 am Saturdays for a free Docent-lead Forest Ecology walk at Hendy Woods State Park's Day Use Area. Learn about redwood forest ecology, plants, animals and much more on this easy walk. Day Use Fee ($8) is waived for those considering volunteering.
Join our team of Volunteers this summer.
Love your local park by volunteering for your Hendy Woods State Park! Share your knowledge of the redwoods and love of your local community with visitors from all over the world! The Hendy Woods Community (non-profit that supports the park) is looking for volunteers in our visitor center and to lead forest walks on Saturdays this summer. In the spring we also need volunteers to help remove invasive plant species - Please let us know if you would like to join our team of volunteers! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Website: http://www.HendyWoods.org/
Keeping Hendy Woods Open!
May 11th was a huge anniversary. Ten years ago the Parks Department announced that they had decided to Keep Hendy Woods Open! Thanks so much to the fabulous group of people who made that decision happen. And thanks as well to all our current and past volunteers. We are grateful every day to know that the ancient redwood groves at Hendy Woods will be there for all the birds, bugs, and critters, including us human beings. And read this great article on the history of saving the original trees and later the park by our own Kathy Bailey: http://www.hendywoods.org/history
Free Entry to Hendy Woods State Park for local residents
On the Second Sunday of every month in 2022, the Hendy Woods Community is covering the Hendy Woods State Park’s Day Use fee ($8) for local residents from the following communities: Yorkville, Boonville, Philo, Navarro, Comptche and Elk - Know your zip code.
Enjoy a free visit to the park on us and stroll the old growth redwood groves and beautiful meadows, hike the trails, and unwind along the river! Note: Day use is from sun up to 1 hour after sunset.
AV VILLAGE UPDATE
We currently have a record 64 members (49 memberships) and 42 trained volunteers ready to lend a hand!
We are deeply saddened to have lost Cherry Green, among other beloved valley residents!
The Volunteer Appreciation Party was a blast! Especially since we got to honor some of our more active volunteers with certificates of appreciation, including Mary O'Brien, Ellen Fontaine and Jeanne Collins! Thank you to all our volunteers – every little bit counts! Please consider “paying it forward” and become a volunteer – you can decide how and how often you would like to volunteer – our next volunteer training is Sunday June 12th – right before our monthly gathering at the Senior Center (details below).
Happy Birthday to our wonderful members and volunteers: Mayte Guerrero, Heidi Knott-Gundling, Benna Kolinsky, Sandy Mailliard, Kathleen McKenna, PJ Nielsen, Kevin Owens, Don Smoot (don't see your name? send me your birthdate).
A nice write up about us: in the Community Foundation of Mendocino County Newsletter - check it out!
Free TV: The Village has a 32” Panasonic LCD flat screen television with remote to give to any member for free. It is a Panasonic model TC32LX14 includes remote and instruction booklet. It is not a smart TV. It has two HDMI inputs plus the std. array of RCA Jack plugs. It is a Cable ready TV. Contact Philip if you interested: (707) 895-3595 or cell (707) 972-5620
Upcoming Village Events: https://andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/index_list
2300-ACRE VINEYARD OWNER FINED ALMOST $3.8 MILLION, but refuses to pay, for failing to repair environmental damage.
Sonoma County vineyard developers accused of causing significant damage to streams and wetlands from the clearing of 40 acres of oak woodlands at the former Alexander Valley Ranch in 2018 are facing a $3,750,852 fine from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.
According to the complaint brought by the North Coast Water Board’s enforcement staff, the developers, Hugh Reimers and Krasilsa Pacific Farms LLC, failed to fulfill the terms of a 2019 Cleanup and Abatement Order, which required them to restore the streams and wetlands to their previous condition to address the environmental harm that their actions caused.
The case stems from the actions of the developers on the 2,278-acre property three miles east of Cloverdale in northern Sonoma County. In addition to the damage caused to headwater streams and wetlands, a board investigation also found that the accused parties discharged fine sediment to tributaries of the Little and Big Sulphur creeks in the Russian River watershed, which already has elevated levels of sediment causing it to be listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act.
Impacts on the property from activities four years ago continue to threaten the migration, spawning, reproduction and early development of cold-water fish. Excess sediment delivery to streams can smother aquatic animals and habitats; alter or obstruct flows resulting in flooding; and reduce water clarity, making it difficult for organisms to breathe, find food and refuge, and reproduce.
“The actions of the dischargers caused the destruction and degradation of state waters in violation of California law,” said Joshua Curtis, North Coast Water Board assistant executive officer. “Their resistance to restoring those waters caused a loss of natural resources that would otherwise benefit the public, and the proposed fine shows there is a cost for failing to comply with regulations that protect the environment.”
On August 29, 2019, the board issued a Cleanup and Abatement Order directing the dischargers to submit a workplan to assess, restore and mitigate for the impacts on their property by April 15, 2020, and to implement an approved plan by Oct. 15, 2020. To date, the dischargers have not submitted an acceptable workplan. One of the board’s priorities is to hold accused parties accountable for missed deadlines on existing enforcement orders.
A public hearing before the board will likely be scheduled during the first week of August 2022 to consider the complaint and vote on whether to approve the fine.
The administrative complaint is available for review on the North Coast Water Board’s website.
(North Coast Water Board Presser)
* * *
Mark Scaramella Notes: Unsurprisingly, Reimers was, until recently, the “hard charging” Chief Operating Officer of Kendall-Jackson/Jackson Family Wines. PS. This is not Reimer’s first rodeo:
REVISITING THE RETROSPECTIVE
Annie Esposito, the spouse of Bruce Esposito is still carrying water for the Cherney-Bari bombing eco-fiction.
In this short piece Mrs. Esposito slyly gets in the fact that KZYX had Judith Beatrice Bariscano as a station programmer, that there was a Pacific Islander who had sympathy for the areas remaining indigenous (an obligatory requirement when requesting cash from local Lib-Labs, and the usual present-day formulation for major radio Bay Ares stations like KQED-FM when conducting annual "weekly" pledge drives).
But our Annie somehow fails to mention that certain persons in the listening area and with information about Judi Bari were never given a voice on any KZYX open programs and certain of these people were actually banned from the premises as well as the airwaves. So much for Fair and Balanced reporting.
Esposito who probably enjoys a large federal pension since Mr. Esposito was a retired Marine Corps officer of a field grade rank mostly has the ability to not be inconvenienced by tourist trap fuel prices approaching $7.00 for 87 octane regular.
Ms Bales, is really no mystery. She inherited her current position at KZYX because of her devotion as a self activated orphan from Sacramento who was fostered parented by Judi Bari as Judi built up her own Bureau of Puppets & Propagandists.
HIT AND RUN THEATER will present four nights of Improv Workshops at the Community Center of Mendocino at 998 School Street on Tuesdays July 5, 12, 19 & 26 from 6:30 to 8:30pm. Attendees should be vaccinated and boosted against Covid 19 and be ready for evenings full of fun improv and theater games.
Hit and Run players Doug Nunn, Kathy O’Grady, Jill Lemos, Ken Krauss, Mindy Ballentine, and Janet Atherton will present a variety of games and exercises meant to give participants a chance to experience the joy of improvisational theater. The first three evenings will concentrate on teaching basics. On evening #4, Tuesday, July 26 we will present an informal show starring the workshop players. Each workshop will cost $20 or you can pay $50 for the complete workshop schedule. Show night, Tuesday, July 26 we will ask audience members to pay $10 to enjoy their friends perform.
For further information, please contact Doug Nunn at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Doug at 415-613-4416.
YORKVILLE FLEA MARKET
I would like to host another community flea market at the Yorkville Market on the 4th of July Weekend. I am thinking Friday or Saturday (or both?) to capitalize on the weekend traffic out to the coast, from 10-3 or in that general range.
As in years past, I will set up tables with some shade for those of who are interested in participating. You would bring any household items that you wish to sell, new or used, handmade crafts or art, and set them up for sale in your designated space. You would also be responsible for bringing a cash box and your own change to manage your sales. The table fee is $20, and if you want you can share the space with another community member. You would need to take with you any remaining items after the event is over.
Since the Market is closed, this event will take place outside.
Please let me know if you are interested and if you have a preference on which days and times to hold the event.
I know it’s less than a month away so if I could have confirmation from those interested in participating by the 15th it will give me enough time to plan.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Lisa at Yorkville Market <email@example.com>
Here is an interesting story that needs to be told about the plight of the local Indians near Fort Bragg, California.
When the representatives of the US government were handing out reservations, they handed out a fairly large reservation to the local Indian tribe that was at the time living just south of the town of Fort Bragg and down in the beach area near the ocean where the Noyo river empties out.
The government had given them all the land from the water's edge back several miles into the interior, but eventually it got more redefined as OLAP property west of the county road leading from the Noyo River shoreline and remaining West of the county road all the way to the 10 Mile River. The Indian tribe leased it out and some more of their land was leased out on agreement with the Johnson family later called Union Lumber Company, that's why the photo or likeness of an Indian chief appeared on all the company trucks that was part of the deal. The Indians were paid a little money every year for the use of the property, jumping forward to when Boise Cascade bought out Union a quit claim deed to the lumber for the Union Lumber Company owners did not own the underlying ground only occupied it, because in the 20s the courthouse in Ukiah burned down and burned up most of the records having to do with land deals in Mendocino County along with copies of the original lease between CR Johnson and the local Indians.
I have seen a map and it does exist of the original Indian grant, and there is still information in Washington DC, both in the Library of Congress and over at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, information showing what the Indians truly own in the town of Fort Bragg were to be considered sovereign land, the fact that the railroad has grabbed some of it, and nobody is bothered to dig around into the back history, and when Georgia Pacific. Title search nothing came out because the records had been destroyed by fire, sooner or later somebody is going to bring it all out into the open, into the light of day. The people who own the skunk train will suddenly find that everything they own is on Indian land, and all those houses from Casper north to 10 Mile River will suddenly become Indian property along with a large chunk of the state park system which is another group that didn't do their homework.
My personal view is that I hope somebody that is a Native American and a part of the group in Fort Bragg gets out and starts taking back their land. It will put to rest who has control over the mill site, and I personally believe a nice Indian casino and a golf course would be the best use of the property. It would naturally be exempt from all the hazardous material regulations and the city would not be able to sell permits because Indian land is exempt from local control. This would eliminate the giant power grab by the new people moving to town. It makes me sad to see what the true indigenous peoples of the United States have suffered through the greed of others, even though they did not have a deed to begin with it was their land by right of occupation, and what we as Americans did to them is no better than what the Russians are trying to do moving into the Ukraine is the same type of landgrab that's done all over the world. I would think after all these years we will learn better and had better manners, and the rest of the world but maybe I'm wrong but I don't think so.
MENDOCINO ART CENTER CERAMICS OPEN STUDIO, FREE for ages 15 — 18
Ceramics at Mendocino Art Center, July 12 -19, 2022, 8am — 10pm
No instruction, some experience needed
Open studio well equipped with access to tools, electric and gas kilns (gas kilns will require an extra charge), slips, stains, glazes, and clay (new 25 lb bag is $25, reclaimed is $15)
Current MAC Members (coastal residents, Gualala to Westport) $40. Current MC Members outside coastal area $100. Non-members $150
Call 707-937-5818 ext 10 for more information and registration. Also see Mendocino Art Center website at mendocinoartcenter.org
OUTLAW STUDIOS PRESENTS BEGINNING METALSMITHING
Beginning Metal Smithing with Nancy Gardner, June 24th and 25th ~ Friday and Saturday ~ 10:00 - 4:30 ~ $250. Lunch included!
This two day workshop will cover the basic skills needed to begin working in metal - copper and/or silver - sawing, filling, sanding and finishing/polishing, cold connections and introduction to soldering. We will start with an over view of the various ways to work with, and the properties of, precious metals. I have titled this beginning Metal Smithing and not beginning jewelry making as jewelry is a very big word that can represent a wide variety of materials and techniques. That being said I am a jeweler and the skills taught in this workshop are the foundation of precious metal jewelry making!
All tools and copper sheet will be available in class. I will also have sterling silver stock for purchase.
Please email at me at firstname.lastname@example.org to register for the class. Enrollment limited to 5 students.
Looking forward to seeing you in the studio!
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 6, 2022
GEORGE CREE, Laytonville. Failure to appear.
NATHAN DAUGHERTY, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, disobeying court order, probation revocation, smuggling controlled substance into jail.
PETER EROMENOK, New Plymouth, Idaho/Ukiah. Controlled substance/narcotics for transportation, sale.
WESLEY HUDSON, Red Bluff/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
STEVEN LEDESMA, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JULIE MARRS, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
COLE PARKIN, Ukiah. Probation revovocation, resisting.
JOSE RAMOS-PALMA, Fort Bragg. DUI, suspended license, child endangerment, probation revocation.
SALVADOR RIVAS, Cloverdale/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
TIFFANY WASHBURN, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.
UKRAINE, MONDAY, JUNE 6TH
Western weapons: Top Kremlin officials - including Russian President Vladimir Putin - warned the West over increasing arms supplies to Ukraine. Putin said his forces would strike new targets if the US gave Kyiv longer-range missiles, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country would respond by pushing back Ukraine's frontline.
Hope in the east: In the face of "fierce" fighting, Ukraine's President Zelensky said he believes there is "every chance" his country can hold Severodonetsk. His remarks came before the eastern city's mayor said Ukrainian troops would not surrender.
On the ground: Despite Zelensky's optimism, reports suggest Russia's bombardment of eastern Ukraine continues at an alarming rate. An update from Ukrainian officials said Russian
MOVE OVER ACLU, FIRE IS THE NEW CHAMPION OF FREE SPEECH
by Matt Taibbi
The expansion of the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education marks the end of an era, when free speech issues were the sole province of American liberalism.
After years of planning, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, better known as FIRE, announced a major expansion Monday, moving “beyond college campuses to protect free speech — for all Americans.”
FIRE was the brainchild of University of Pennsylvania history professor Alan Charles Kors and Boston civil liberties lawyer Harvey A. Silverglate, who co-authored the 1999 book, The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses. To the modern reader the book reads like a collection of eccentric cases of students and teachers caught up in speech code issues, most (but not all) being conservative.
To take just one of countless nut-bar examples, Kors and Silverglate told the story of a professor in San Bernardino reprimanded for violating sexual harassment policies because, among other things, “he assigns provocative essays such as Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal,” as the court case later put it. This was apparently the “cannibalism” portion of the accusation that he delved into such subjects as “obscenity, cannibalism, and consensual sex with children.”
The book triggered such an overwhelming number of responses from other faculty members and students that the pair decided to set up an organization to defend people who found themselves in tricky speech controversies on campuses. They soon found they had plenty of work and, by 2022, enough of a mandate to expand beyond colleges and universities into America at large. According to FIRE CEO Greg Lukianoff, as quoted in a Politico story, the group has already raised over $28 million toward a $75 million “litigation, opinion research and public education campaign aimed at boosting and solidifying support for free-speech values.”
As noted in another story I put out today, FIRE will be doing a lot of stepping into a role semi-vacated by the American Civil Liberties Union. I spoke with Nico Perrino of FIRE, producer and co-director of the excellent documentary about former ACLU chief Ira Glasser (see review here), to ask what the expansion would entail:
Matt: What was the genesis of FIRE and how has it evolved?
Nico: FIRE was founded in 1999 by two Princeton classmates Harvey Silverglate, a left-leaning, civil liberties attorney out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a conservative-leaning professor, Alan Charles Kors, who teaches the Enlightenment, or taught the Enlightenment, at the University of Pennsylvania. They enjoyed their college experience, but were dismayed by the rise of speech codes in the 1980s and ‘90s, so they wrote a book called The Shadow University.
After they published that book, they were flooded with requests from students and faculty members for help to help defend their free speech, due process, and free assembly rights.
The first case was at the University of Pennsylvania. This was even before FIRE was founded, but it’s the case that inspired The Shadow University and therefore inspired FIRE. There was a student, named Eden Jacobowitz, who was studying in his dorm room at the University of Pennsylvania. There was a group of students outside making loud noises, it was dark out, and he screamed out his window, “Shut up, you Water Buffalo!” It became known as the Water Buffalo case. The students outside ended up being black students, and the accusation against Eden was that he was shouting a racial slur. It turns out that he was Israeli, or devoutly Jewish, and “water buffalo” was a translation of a word, behayma, which in Hebrew means a loud or unruly person. Kors, our co-founder, came to his defense and became a cause célèbre across the United States and vindicating the rights. That set the stage for what we were going to do at FIRE more generally.
Over the years, we’ve defended all sorts of speakers. As you can imagine, popular speakers don’t need free speech protections, so we often defended speakers at the margins. People like Ward Churchill, for example, who said, I believe it was Ward Churchill who said, “Anyone who blows up the World Trade Center gets my vote”, or something to that effect. [Editor’s Note: Churchill wrote a book, Some People Push Back, that described the 9/11 hijackings as “counterattacks” to “genocide,” the victims being “little Eichmanns.”]
We defended a student at Valdosta State University, for example, who criticized his University president’s effort to build a parking garage on campus. A Buddhist environmentalist student who thought the president shouldn’t be encouraging more parking on campus, or more driving on campus, and should invest rather in public transportation. He created a collage that described a “Ronald Zaccari Memorial Parking Garage.” Well, Zaccari was the name of the president, who thought it was a threat, the idea being that the “Memorial” in the collage meant that he was going to die.
Matt: He thought “Memorial” was referencing his future non-existence?
Nico: He placed an expulsion note under Hayden Barnes’ dorm room door, and told him he needed to be out of the dorms. If you think someone’s actually a threat, you probably don’t slip a note under their door. We ended up defending Hayden Barnes, this is 2007, and taking his case to court and winning a $900,000 judgment in that case.
Matt: Didn’t you also do that crazy case in Indiana, about the janitor reading the book about Notre Dame and the Klan?
Nico: Yes. We defended the case of Keith John Sampson, a janitor at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, who was reading a book called Notre Dame vs. the Klan during his lunch break. He was working his way through school as a janitor. Someone saw, on the cover of the book, burning crosses and reported him to the University administration who found him guilty of racial harassment. The book, of course, was about how Notre Dame defeated the Klan when they marched on the campus. The Klan, people often forget, also hated Catholics, in addition to hating blacks. Someone literally judged the book by its cover. The University found him guilty of racial harassment for reading it. Funny thing is — well, the maybe not so funny thing is — the book was found in the University’s own library.
Matt: Functionally, what is this change going to mean?
Nico: Functionally, we’re getting a lot bigger. This is a $75 million expansion into off campus programming. We’ve already raised $28.5 million of that through a three year fundraising effort. We will be litigating and finding cases off campus. Some of those first cases should be coming down the pipe here shortly. Right now, as of this morning, people will start seeing ads defending a culture of free expression on television. You watch CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, you’ll see our ads start running with a high degree of regularity. We’re requesting $10 million in ads through the remainder of the year. Also, there will be billboards across the country in major cities. You’ll see free speech messaging out there. The big thing that we haven’t seen is people out there advocating for a culture of free expression in a visible way. We want to create an organization that people can rally around when threats to free speech exists.
That’s what this effort is about and we want to do so in an unapologetic way. Too often, there’s a lot of throat-clearing before for the defense of free speech lobby. A lot of apologies, it almost comes off as apology for free expression. We’re genuflecting before other values before we can say anything about what we believe is a fundamental human right. FIRE doesn’t take a position on the content of speech. You won’t see us condemn speakers, even the most vile, racist, or offensive of them. For us, it’s enough that the speech is protected or should be protected. We’ll defend it. We’ll argue on first principles. That’s what’s necessary to win.
Matt: This question may be a little uncomfortable: isn’t that what the ACLU is for? Don’t we already have an ACLU?
Nico: The ACLU has 19 different issues in values and defense. It’s necessarily going to be a little bit more difficult for them to determine how they prioritize their work and where it directs its limited resources. Ben Wizner, who runs the ACLU’s Free Speech Project, acknowledged as much in Michael Powell’s New York Times article last year. He said, “FIRE does not have the same tensions.” He said that for the ACLU, free speech is one of 12 or 15 different values.
We don’t have a racial justice program. We don’t have a reproductive rights program. We don’t have a trans rights program. We have a free speech program. We’re not having to deal with the tensions that may or may not exist with free speech and other values. FIRE believes fundamentally that free speech is supportive of all those values, so we’ll make those arguments where necessary, but no, there’s no other values that we have to defend, which makes our work a little bit easier and more focused.
Matt: Last question. Thirty or forty years ago, when George H. W. Bush pointed at Mike Dukakis and called him a card-carrying member of the ACLU, it was pretty firmly understood that speech was primarily a left liberal concern. Is that still true? And if not, is there a perception now that this has become a conservative fixation?
Nico: My sense is that freedom of expression should be core to every political belief. Our ability to express our political beliefs, whole stop, is the thing that makes debate discussion about all these other issues possible.
I was in a debate with a professor at North Washington University recently, and he was arguing essentially that free speech, all the conversations that you’re seeing in the media about free speech: that speech doesn’t rate when you have, as he was putting it, abortion rights being restricted all over the country, crackdowns on immigration, things of that nature. I said to him, “The only reason those other issues can rate is because we have our free speech right to discuss them.” So freedom of speech is the first right. It’s the matrix. It’s the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom.
As far as whether liberals have retreated from the idea? To a certain extent, yes. I think that’s apparent. All you need to do is look at who’s going after Dave Chappelle. Look at the response to Elon Musk’s decision to purchase Twitter. Netflix CEO, Ted Sarandos, I think, told the New York Times recently, that it’s an interesting time that we live in because free speech used to be a very liberal value, but that was when the censorship was coming from conservatives against Black Panthers, against Lenny Bruce, against anti-war protestors, against civil rights marchers, against —
Matt: Twisted Sister and Frank Zappa…
Nico: Ruth Bader Ginsburg said America is nothing if not a pendulum. When it swings one direction, it always has a tendency to swing back. For a lot of America’s history in the 20th century, it was liberals who were being censored, so they care deeply about free speech. Now conservatives see that they’re being censored or at least feel like they can’t speak. So they are more vocal in support of free expression.
Now, whether they’re consistently supportive of the principle is another discussion, as we’ve seen with what’s happened in Republican legislatures across the country. I think the suggestion is they’re supportive of the principle when it’s convenient for them, but that’s why we need a nonpartisan free speech advocate in this country. An organization that is going to, as Norman Siegel, who was featured in my documentary Mighty Ira, once said, “If I’m going to have anything tattooed on my chest, it’s going to be ‘neutral principles.’” That’s really what we’re advocating for here, that freedom of speech is an insurance policy for us. If we don’t defend the rights of speakers with whom we disagree with, how can we expect our rights to be protected?
PROTECTING FREE SPEECH!
Northern California Residents Reflect on the Impact of A 2002 Historic Supreme Court Ruling as 20th Anniversary Nears
While Jehovah’s Witnesses have chosen to temporarily suspend their door-to-door ministry due to the pandemic, their activity was almost permanently banned by one U.S. village in the late 1990s — that is until the United States Supreme Court stepped in with a historic 8-1 decision on June 17, 2002, declaring the local ordinance unconstitutional.
As the 20th anniversary of that precedent-setting decision nears, some Northern California residents wonder what their lives would be like if one of their neighbors had not knocked on their door and shared a life-changing message with them. Constitutional scholars marvel at the outsized impact the decision has had on the protection of free speech for all, agreeing with Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in the case, “The free-speech claim exempts everybody, thanks to Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
"It's very important to me, knowing that's how I learned about the Bible," said Katie Trunkwalter of Crescent City.
To say that Trunkwalter was surprised when Jehovah's Witnesses first visited her home would be an understatement. "I was living off the grid in a remote area with a survivalist mentality," she said. "I didn't even really have a door for them to knock on. But I was very happy when they showed up."
The 2002 Supreme Court decision in Watchtower v. Village of Stratton, affirmed that a local village ordinance in Stratton, Ohio, requiring a permit to knock on doors violated the rights of any person who wanted to engage in free speech with their neighbor, including Jehovah’s Witnesses who practice door to door evangelizing. The Court overturned two lower court rulings that upheld the ordinance, and thus paved the way for all citizens to maintain open dialogue with their neighbors on any number of issues including environmental, civic, political or educational.
“Looking back on the two decades since the decision, it’s clear to see the wide-ranging impact that Watchtower v. Stratton has had on free speech for all,” said Josh McDaniel, director of the Religious Freedom Clinic at the Harvard Law School. “This is just the latest of some 50 Supreme Court victories by Jehovah’s Witnesses that have helped establish and broaden First Amendment jurisprudence throughout the last century.”
The village of Stratton became a center of controversy in 1998 after the mayor personally confronted four Jehovah’s Witnesses as they were driving out of the village after visiting a resident. Subsequently, the village enacted the ordinance “Regulating Uninvited Peddling and Solicitation Upon Private Property,” which required anyone wishing to engage in door-to-door activity to obtain a permit from the mayor or face imprisonment. Jehovah’s Witnesses viewed this ordinance as an infringement of freedom of speech, free exercise of religion and freedom of press. Therefore, they brought a lawsuit in federal court after the village refused to modify their enforcement of this ordinance.
“Our motive for initiating the case was clear: We wanted to remove any obstacle that would prevent us from carrying out our scriptural obligation to preach the good news of the Kingdom,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Making it a criminal offense to talk with a neighbor without seeking government approval is offensive to many people, but particularly to God who commanded Christians to preach the gospel.”
While Trunkwalter continues to engage in a productive ministry through letter writing, phone calling and virtual visits, she is looking forward to knocking on doors again. "It's a good way to reach people," she said. "I always wanted someone to teach me about God, but I couldn't figure out how to do it. I stopped trying because I didn't believe my questions could be answered. So knowing someone else is out there who's like me, who didn't know where to look, encourages me to go door to door."
“We are thankful that we have the legal right to practice our ministry from door to door,” said Hendriks. “When the time is right and conditions are safe, we hope to visit our neighbors in person once again.”
This victory is one of more than 250 rulings in cases brought by Jehovah’s Witnesses in high courts around the world that have expanded the rights of people of all religious faiths. “It's hard to point to any organization, let alone a religious organization, that has had such a profound impact on the shaping of constitutional law over many decades in the Supreme Court," said Harvard professor McDaniel.
For more information on the Stratton case, go to www.jw.org and type Stratton in the search field.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
When I woke up this morning, I lay in bed feeling very angry. I was angry about stuff going on in my condo complex that I didn’t like, I was angry about what’s going in the world, I was angry at not being able to exercise as I am recuperating, and burn off energy, I wanted to sue my condo complex and so on.
Then I thought if me, the supposedly reasonable one, can feel this angry, then how worked up are millions of others I don’t even know? I understood then why all this violence is occurring. The world is very frustrating, with no real outlet. It is a pressure cooker that can’t be turned off. Pretty soon there’ll be a massive pressure-relief explosion; then the resulting mess will be cleaned up and frustrations released.
BTW, I feel like my normal self now, but I wonder if all I’m doing is burying the anger, and that someday I will become the Yellowstone caldera.
SAY OLD MAN, CAN YOU PLAY THE FIDDLE?
Yes, by Crackies, I can Play a Little!
Today in Music History -- On today’s date 137 years ago, Saturday, June 6, 1885, noted chicken farmer & Old-Time fiddle player James Gideon “Gid” Tanner (1885-1960) was born at Thomas Bridge near the town of Monroe in Walton County, Georgia. Gid Tanner is thought by many to be the greatest Old-Time fiddler of the 20th Century, & he is considered to be the linch-pin of the early Old-Time-Music movement.
Tanner learned to play the fiddle at the age of 14, & he quickly established a reputation as one of the finest musicians in Georgia. Early on, he participated in several fiddle conventions together with rival fiddler “Fiddlin’” John Carson (1868-1849), & when one of them didn’t win, the other would. Tanner reportedly had a repertoire of more than 2,000 tunes.
Although for most of his life Tanner made his living as a chicken farmer rather than as a musician, his band, the Skillet Lickers, became one of the most innovative & influential string bands of the 1920s & 1930s -- making 88 recordings for Columbia Records between 1926 & 1931.
The Skillet Lickers’ best-selling record was their 1934 RCA Victor recording of an instrumental version of “Down Yonder” -- a song composed in 1921 by Russian-born American songwriter Louis Wolfe Gilbert (1886-1970) as an updated version of his 1912 hit song “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee.”
Tanner stuck by the old traditions, even when other musicians around him were favoring a more modern, jazzy approach to their style & repertoire. He was also an extraordinary entertainer. He could accurately portray era stereotypes, singing as “low as a snake’s belly,” or high enough to nearly break glass. Along with the ability to contort his face into the strangest expressions, he could also throw his head back far enough to appear headless, & turn it around nearly as far as an owl.
Gid Tanner & his Skillet Lickers made their first recording, “Hand Me Down My Walking Cane,” in Atlanta on April 17, 1926. It was released by Columbia on a 78-rpm disc with “Watermelon on the Vine” on the flip-side. The Skillet Lickers made more than 100 recordings for Columbia Records before splitting up in 1931. Three years later, Tanner reformed the Skillet Lickers & had several releases on Bluebird Records. Tanner stopped making records in 1934, but he continued to perform into his seventies.
Many of the tunes & songs recorded by the Skillet Lickers remain popular with Old-Time, Country, & Bluegrass musicians to this day. Amongst their best-known titles are The Alabama Jubilee, Shortnin’ Bread, Old Joe Clark, The Ballad of Casey Jones, Boil Them Cabbage Down, Cotton-Eyed Joe, Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss, Soldier’s Joy, Bonaparte’s Retreat, & their biggest seller, Down Yonder.
In 1988, Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
A QUIET SECLUDED LIFE IN THE COUNTRY, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.
— Leo Tolstoy
GOOD EVENING postmodern America and friends further away,
Please enjoy this incredible message from Ramana Maharshi, while being hipped to a situation in the golden present, in Mendocino county USA: youtube.com/watch?v=bTYTnfpUXhs
Sitting here in the common room at Building Bridges homeless shelter, there is wonderful news. Two dental appointments are now secured at different clinics; one will deep clean the teeth, and the other provides stainless steel crowns which will be paid for by the insurance. Meanwhile, am continuing to voluntarily bottom line the trash and recycling here, since 60 plus generating trash & recycling around the clock creates an essentially "industrial situation", and keeping up with it is needed. Simple as that.
As I sit here listening to the narrator discuss the lack of any real difference in the various samadhi states, while I am simultaneously laughing at the postmodern global situation, which is clearly abominable in Kali Yuga, I have to marvel at the inherent joke of sending out networking messages saying that I am available on the planet earth for direct action in regard to ecology and peace & justice. I mean, my career alternative is to be in Ukiah pointlessly, daily walking back and forth to the co-op for the salads, soups, and health beverages paid for by food stamps. There is also a brief stop at Safeway for yoghurt and bananas for the evening night snack (which is happening this very moment).
And now the narrator (a Buddhist nun), says that destruction of the mind may be accomplished by not believing it to be separate from the Self. Of course, from the perspective of the fourth dimension, everything is Brahman. Anything that I might add to this would miss the point. ~The End~
Craig Louis Stehr
YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS
At least half the public is already onto the extravagant damage inflicted on our national life by the beneficiaries of the 2020 election.
by James Kunstler
The unravelling of the USA gets its summer steroid booster shot this Thursday when the political twerk-fest known as the January 6th Select Committee commences prime-time televising of its inquiry into the so-called “insurrection” the day that Congress met to tally the 2020 electoral college vote when hundreds of protesters entered the US Capitol illegally, egged on and enabled by a squad of FBI plants larded through the crowd, and by shadowy figures inside the building who unlocked the doors for them.
The objectives of this extravaganza are A) to soften up the remaining “purple” voters before the midterm election, B) to paint former president Donald Trump as an instigator of the uproar and an enemy-of-the-people so he won’t be able to run for office again, and C) to punish former White House employees and Trump partisans with onerous legal fees so as to knock them off the political game board.
The Party of Chaos certainly doesn’t need to reinforce the mass formation psychosis of its base who maintain that the 2020 election was the fairest-and-squarest in US history. The committee members will chant the talismanic phrase “The Big Lie” ad nauseam to ward off reasonable suspicions that they are the ones doing the lying. Since a kind of maniacal stupidity attends all the party’s doings these days, it could easily backfire on them. Even two years later probes are still pending in several swing states, and only a few weeks ago, the documentary 2000 Mules released time-stamped videocam footage of blatant wholesale drop-box ballot-stuffing around the country.
Lawsuits filed lately also claim the committee itself is illegally constituted, since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disallowed (against the rules) the minority Republicans from appointing their own chosen members. Instead, she did it for them, planting the vehemently hostile rogues Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger on it, meaning no witnesses will be called who might refute pertinent details of the “insurrection” narrative already constructed. Much of the testimony presented will be videotaped interviews with Trump White House officials and there will be no accounting for what may be edited out. In other words, you have an obvious setup for a star chamber, a device for disregarding individual rights and fair procedure.
The context, of course, as I aver above, is a country that is imploding six ways to Sunday — to paraphrase Chuck Schumer, the Party of Chaos’s Senate leader. At least half the public is already onto the extravagant damage inflicted upon our national life by the beneficiaries of the 2020 election. Thanks to “Joe Biden,” the dollar is hemorrhaging value, we instigated a war in Ukraine that will lead to global famine and mass refugee events, oil and natgas are unaffordable thanks to our destabilizing of global distribution networks, spare parts are unavailable for every imaginable machine in the land, the business model for farming is broken, real estate is groaning under rising mortgage interest rates, the CDC is still pushing Covid vaccines despite proof that they are ineffective and harmful, cities are overwhelmed with criminal violence and psychotic homeless drug fiends, and, as a final indignity — actually, an advertisement to the world of our depraved weakness — the US military is hosting drag queen shows at our European air bases.
Are these the circumstances that American voters are expected to endorse in the November election when all these conditions are liable to get a lot worse? Apparently, the Party of Chaos thinks so, since they’re delivering exactly what they stand for. And yet, they’re clearly nervous about it, as if they suffer fugitive doubts that we-the-people are avid for cultural and economic collapse.
My advice, then, is to take the televised January 6th hearings for the grand entertainment it’s intended to be. Enjoy the sob stories of the Capitol Police officers pretending to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Behold the terrible “threat to our Democracy” of the bare-chested interloper in a horned helmet chatting-up security guards in the Senate chamber. Note the “insurrectionists” taking seditious selfies in statuary hall and trying to fob off with souvenir furnishings. See Rep. Liz Cheney fulminate with scorn and disgust against her orange nemesis. Sympathize with committee Chair Bennie G. Thompson as he bangs his gavel and cries for order when any live witness utters the name Ashli Babbitt. Watch Rep. Adam Kinzinger turn on the waterworks. Take it all in and ask yourself: who exactly seeks to subvert this republic of ours?
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
EMPIRE MANAGERS ARE F…ING IDIOTS
by Caitlin Johnstone
A recent article in Politico's Lockheed Martin-sponsored National Security Daily newsletter featured a quote from an empire think tanker who argued that the tyranny of Saudi Arabia's murderous crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) can be tempered by sending him to seminars.
In "Saudi Arabia shows Biden can’t have it all," Politico describes an entirely imaginary conflict of presidential interests between a sincere desire to prioritize humanitarian concerns in Saudi Arabia and a need to maintain warm relations with Riyadh to keep oil prices low amid Washington's economic war against Moscow. I say entirely imaginary because of course the US would happily turn a blind eye to Saudi royals using babies for skeet shooting as long as they continued to advance US fossil fuel interests.
The article features all the usual mundane empire apologia you'd expect from a mainstream publication that is funded by war profiteers (the newsletter was sponsored by Northrop Grumman before Lockheed Martin), but one part stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of sheer foam-brained idiocy. Arguing that the US can advance both its fossil fuel interests and its super important humanitarian concerns, a denizen of the imperial hivemind named Kirsten Fontenrose is cited in the following text (emphasis mine):
Using Saudi Arabia to lower gas prices and secure geopolitical gains doesn’t have to be divorced from human rights promotion if the U.S. molds the wayward crown prince into a moral king.
“Shaping young leaders into the types of decision makers America would like as partners takes mentoring, monitoring and shaping,” said KIRSTEN FONTENROSE, a former top Middle East official on Trump’s National Security Council. “There is no reason we can’t establish something akin to a private seminar series for MBS and the inner circle as well as other young leaders in the Gulf or elsewhere around the globe.”
So in Fontenrose's empire-addled brain, the US can simply provide private seminars for not just MBS but other foreign leaders as well, teaching them not to do atrocities and war crimes. And this will reconcile the glaring dissonance between what the US government says it values and what it actually does.
That's the kind of thinking that gets you made into a top national security advisor in the government with the most powerful military force ever assembled. Indeed, that's the kind of thinking that runs the empire.
Fontenrose is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, a NATO-entrenched think tank that is funded by government entities, the military-industrial complex, fossil fuel companies and plutocrats. When questioned by The American Prospect last year about the fact that the Atlantic Council has received millions from Gulf state monarchies, Fontenrose responded, "Every think tank in Washington gets money from Middle East governments.”
This is true. Generally speaking, think tanks are institutions wherein academics are paid by the worst people in the world to come up with intelligent-sounding reasons why it would be good and smart to do something evil and stupid. Those narratives are then inserted at key points of influence before decision makers and the public, where they are used to help make the world a worse place to live.
This is not the sort of dynamic which lends itself to lucid thinking. Fontenrose's Atlantic Council bio reads like a recipe for turning a human brain into a cog in the imperial machine: from Harvard to the National Council on US-Arab Relations, to "building relationships with military officers and diplomats from the Middle East and South Asia for the Near East Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University," to positions in the Pentagon and State Department, to Senior Director for the Gulf at the Trump administration's National Security Council, and then on to the Atlantic Council.
And at the Atlantic Council she shall wait, spewing imperial mouth farts and earning handsome paychecks, until it's time for the revolving door of the Beltway swamp to usher her back into a government position again.
These are the kind of people who run the world. The imperial machine is packed to the rafters with sniveling power worshippers of this variety, people who choose to spend their lives clawing their way up into positions of influence within the most depraved power structure on the face of this planet, demonstrating their worthiness by their continual willingness to advocate awful things no matter how reckless or stupid.
This is why the world is as it is. The systems which allocate power and wealth elevate the worst among us to the most consequential of positions, where they are then free to act out their own inner misery on the rest of humanity and keep us in a state of suffering and trauma. Nothing will get better until we change those systems.