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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Cooling Trend | Parking Warning | Lindy Running | Ed Notes | Boonville Quiz | County Recruitment | Darkroom Class | New GJ Reports | Navarro Mill | Ordinance Clarity | Spanish Class | Art Gardens | Joshua Grindle | Edie 114 | Portugee Frank | Dam Thoughts | Hippie Gathering | Rosie Grover | Gualala Monitoring | Colorado Flynn | Truck Dream | Go Solar | Midwife Hylan | Yesterday's Catch | Carbon Emissions | Ukiah Existence | Musselwhite Album | Abortion Precedent | Rational Creatures | Jokerman | Expecting Violence | Drinking Party | Ukraine | Tanana Streak | TV Generals | Searchlights | Gaffingstock Biden | Cartwheeling | Consciousness Challenge | Old Oak

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TEMPERATURES WILL TREND COOLER this week across interior portions of Northwest California, with highs falling into the low to mid 90s by Friday. Otherwise, rainfall chances will be near zero during the next seven days. (NWS)

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Noyo Harbor, Fort Bragg

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FORT BRAGG COUNCILMAN LINDY PETERS:

After much thought and careful consideration, I have decided to run for one of the four open City Council seats this November. I have chosen to run for the 2 year term and not one of the three 4 year terms. 

True, I did say 4 years ago that it would be my final Council election, but circumstances have changed and I believe Fort Bragg could benefit from having someone like me who already has the skill set, institutional knowledge and first level experience that comes with serving over 20 years on the City Council. 

Voters should know that there is the distinct possibility of 4 brand new Council members out of 5. On top of that, we will have a brand new City Manager, a brand new Police Chief and a fairly new though very competent staff at City Hall. For this reason I cannot turn my back on the great people of this community. This is not the time for me to step down. I am able and ready to serve you all again. It was not an easy decision. A big “thank you” to all who have encouraged me to run. I promise I’ll give you 2 more years of dedicated work and quality effort if the voters approve. 

I hope the three Council members with whom I currently serve will all choose to run again for those three 4 year terms. Experience counts now more than ever. If the last two years have taught us anything it is to expect the unexpected. Together we have weathered a serious drought, survived the economic downturn of COVID-19 and skillfully navigated the PSPS events that threatened our public safety. 

Who knows what challenges the next two years may bring? I do know this. You can count on me if I can count on you. Remember to vote November 8th and thank you for your continued confidence and support.

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ED NOTES

THE “MEADOWS” FIRE off deep Peachland Road at Lone Tree and Black Oak ridges was first reported at 12:12pm Tuesday afternoon. A massive response ensued, involving 196 firefighters, 14 engines, 4 water tenders, 1 helicopter, 3 dozers and a dozen other vehicles. The 196 firefighters included up to 7 hand crews drawn from the Anderson Valley Volunteers, CalFire, the Department of Corrections, and the California Conservation Corps. At 2pm the blaze was described as having burned 20 acres. Two structures — not further described — were destroyed. 16.54 acres burned. Mild winds out of the west drove the fire in an easterly direction into some trees but the fire mostly into open land in steep terrain. The fire was contained by 2pm. Crews remained on site to extinguish hot spots. Cause not yet known. 

INCIDENT UPDATE (7am) 16.54 acres & 65% contained: https://twitter.com/CALFIRE_MEU/status/1549758550947385344?s=20&t=xSttLZP5wHcjOMjSjwgYIQ

THE KEY WITNESS against defrocked Ukiah policeman, Kevin Murray, was never publicly identified. She was described only as a prostitute from, it was believed, “the Sacramento area.” She had reported that Murray, in uniform, had forced her, at gunpoint, to fellate him. The City of Ukiah arranged to pay her nearly a quarter of a million dollars, prior to Murray's trial, on the apparent assumption the City might have to pay her a lot more if she pursued her claim. The alleged prostitute has since disappeared, hence the disappearance of felony charges against Murray who awaits sentencing on misdemeanors.

  1. mendofever.com/2022/07/08/former-ukiah-police-sergeant-cops-a-plea-may-only-face-two-years-probation/
  2. theava.com/archives/192576#6

I WAS STARTLED during this morning's (Tuesday) walk when out of the dawn mists I spotted what appeared to be a pack of wolves, all of them contained in a single, impressively sturdy cage, all of them silent, all of them indifferently (presumably) eyeing me as I shuffled past along Anderson Valley Way near Bud Johnson's place. If they aren't wolves, these beautiful creatures are good imitations. I'm guessing wolf-dogs. Pure wolves are illegal in California, half-wolves, if registered, are permitted. The AV Way wolf-dogs must be more wolf than dog because dog-dogs, dumb as they are, would have been barking and jumping all over the place. But these animals, 8-10 of them, just stared, unmoving.

I REMEMBER when the All-Star game between the National and American leagues was a real contest with real arguments among fans and players alike about which league was better. No more, and with the expansion of the major leagues from 8 teams each to 15 teams each, well, the talent pool has been seriously diluted. Not to sound too much like an embittered geezer, but the only baseball I see these days is an occasional newsclip of gym muscles hitting home runs. Ho bleeping hum. (One caveat; I still like to watch major league shortstops do their thing. I'd pay my way into the ballpark just to watch Brandon Crawford field bp ground balls. Amazing athlete, always exciting.)

SACRAMENTO has overtaken San Francisco as homeless champ. The state capitol has more than 5,000 homeless inside the city limits. That's slightly more lost souls than the 4,400 homeless in San Francisco. But the numbers become more startling considering that only 525,000 people live in Sacramento while San Francisco's population is 874,000. Sacramento has 952 homeless per 100,000 citizens, the city that knows how, 503 per 100,000.

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THE QUIZ IS ALLLLLL THE WAY BACK!

The Big Boonville General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz takes place this Thursday, July 21st at Lauren’s at The Buckhorn. We are presenting this brain tickling and caressing event on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month and we get underway at 7pm. (Dinner served until 9pm). Hope to see you there, you know it makes sense. Cheers, Steve, The Quizmaster.

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IN SUPERVISOR MULHEREN’S recent facebook post about County matters she included a heretofore unpublished chart entitled “Applications Per Recruitment.” 

As usual, these charts ask more questions than they answer. We assume “applications” means job applications submitted to Human Resources. But what does “recruitment” really mean? Is it a job offer? Is it a full-time employee at work in the job they applied for? Is it new hires who passed their probationary period to become full-time employees? Whatever it means, the chart’s number of applications looks suspiciously high. It basically says that for the last five years Mendo has been getting around a dozen applications per recruitment and that last year they got over 3800 applications from which they “recruited” over 450. Does that mean there were 450 new hires in 2021 out of a total of about 1100 employees? That would be a disturbing amount of turnover. According to the May CEO Report (the last one with a vacancy and recruitment list), the County had 299 “positions in recruitment” and 402 “vacant positions.” 

The June CEO Report did not have a vacancy/recruitment report and CEO Darcie Antle said the version that was supposed to include funding source categories would be discussed in closed session. 

It’s hard to know what to make of these suspicious numbers. The high number of applications probably has to do with people submitting applications because they are required for various unemployment and welfare benefits, but which they probably either aren’t remotely qualified for or have no intention of accepting at the current rates of pay. 

With vacancies and the many related budget and staff problems now getting more attention, you’d think that the Supervisors and management would be paying attention to these numbers. Supervisor Mulheren at least cared enough to post the charts, but without explanation or followup. 

If working conditions and pay rates don’t improve pretty soon we’re probably going to see more vacancies and “positions in recruitment” than in the past. But will anybody be paying attention or doing anything to address it?

(Mark Scaramella)

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FOUR NEW GRAND JURY REPORTS

Mendocino County Jail

Summary

The current County jail facilities have served Mendocino County since 1985 and need major renovations. The jail campus has a history of long-standing deferred maintenance. Failure to address these repairs will increase costs and continue to expose the County to potential liabilities.

The 2021-22 Mendocino County Grand Jury (GJ) focused on two serious maintenance issues within the jail campus which need immediate attention. The GJ observed uneven broken sidewalks which are unsafe for both correctional staff and inmates. There is also a vacant, dilapidated prefabricated structure which warrants removal as it presents a serious liability to the County.

Staff shortages within the Fleet and Facilities Department (FFD) have contributed to the deferred maintenance of the jail. In the past, a maintenance worker has been assigned to the jail, however, this is no longer the case due to staff shortages.

Staff shortages for Correctional Officers (COs) are an ongoing concern. Low wages and lack of available housing are contributing factors. This continues to present major problems for the recruitment and retention of COs. Developing competitive incentives will alleviate a portion of these problems. The entire report is at: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/county-organization/grand-jury/2021-2022-reports

County Programs Of Last Resort: Public Administrator, Public Conservator And Public Guardian

Summary 

In every community there are individuals who are a danger to themselves or others or are unable to care for their basic needs as a result of their serious mental illness. California law provides a statutory process prior to initiating involuntary treatment within the Lanterman-Petris Short (LPS) Act, Welfare and Institutions Code sections 5150, et seq., commonly referred to as “5150.”

When a psychiatric health facility where an individual from Mendocino County has been placed through a 5150 or subsequent hold, determines that an individual is gravely disabled due to their serious mental illness and requires conservatorship, the Behavioral Health Department (BHD) receives those referrals, cares for those individuals, and the Public Conservator (Director of the BHD) initiates petitions within the Superior Court for those who have been declared gravely disabled.

Placement of these individuals is difficult since there is a lack of beds available in appropriate facilities close to home. Many placements are made in Southern California far from natural support networks. The construction of a Psychiatric Housing Facility (PHF) in Mendocino County will help with initial hospitalization of psychiatric patients. When an individual is “gravely disabled” due to dementia or serious brain injury (rather than mental illness), and there are not any family members or friends who can be appointed conservator to care for them, the Public Guardian receives referrals for conservatorship under the Probate Code. The Public Guardian, who is the Director of the Social Services Department (SSD) will initiate probate conservatorship proceedings in the Superior Court for these individuals.

Approximately eight individuals within the County die each month without next of kin or with next of kin who decline to take control of their remains or their estate. If no next of kin step forward, the remains of these individuals and their property, if any, is referred to the staff of social services in a program called the Public Administrator.

The administration of these programs often requires the County to initiate actions within the Superior Court and are partially dependent on County General Funds. Per capita spending for these programs exceeds those of neighboring rural counties.

The entire report is posted at: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/county-organization/grand-jury/2021-2022-reports

Measure B Re-Examined

Summary 

After a slow start, the funds generated under the Mendocino County Mental Health Treatment Act, known as the Measure B Ordinance No. 4387 (Measure B) have made considerable contributions to mental health services available in Mendocino County. The slow start actually contributed to the generation of an increased budget for new facilities and funding of pilot programs for four years.

Two of the three major planned facilities are operational and designs for the Psychiatric Housing Facility (PHF) are being completed. The Behavioral Health Department (BHD) is commended for their efforts in the completion and operation of two building projects: a Behavioral Health Training Center (BHTC) in Redwood Valley and the Crisis Residential Treatment Center (CRT) in Ukiah, recently named the Phoenix House. Additional crisis services were funded by Measure B, creating Mobile Outreach and Prevention Services (MOPS) and facilitating National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) training.

In the past, required annual audits have not been performed for Measure B funds. Currently, audits for fiscal years 2019 and 2020 are being finalized. However, the audits will not cover the first 15 months of operation which include election and consultant costs.

Unfortunately, the Mendocino County Grand Jury (GJ) discovered the voter-approved ordinance directive for specific substance abuse programs were not funded with Measure B funds.

The entire report is posted at: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/county-organization/grand-jury/2021-2022-reports

Redwood Valley County Water District

Summary 

The Redwood Valley County Water District (RVCWD) cannot and has never been able to provide water security to its customers. The RVCWD does not have sufficient water rights or water resources to serve its current customers. Due to these deficiencies, since 1989 the RVCWD is currently under a court moratorium that does not allow the addition of another residential customer. The RWCWD has further self-imposed a limitation on new agricultural connections. There is no current water allocation to agricultural customers. At this time, the health and human safety needs of the RVCWD’s domestic customers are being met with purchased water from the Millview County Water District (MCWD).

When the RVCWD was formed in 1964, they had no water rights. In January 1956 the residents of Redwood Valley voted to reject participation in the Coyote Valley Dam project. The other voters in the affected Upper Russian River basin approved the project and the formation of the Russian River Flood Control District (RRFCD). The RRFCD administers the 8,000 annual acre feet (AF/year) of storage water in Lake Mendocino allocated to Mendocino County.

In the early 1970’s, Federal no-interest loans were available through the Bureau of Reclamation's Small Projects Act to fund western states water projects. The RVCWD needed assured water supplies to access the funding. A Memorandum of Guarantees (MoG) with RRFCD for excess/uncontracted water from Mendocino County’s 8,000 AF/year of Lake Mendocino water allowed the RVCWD to pursue district voter approval and apply for the Federal funds. The MoG led to the current stipulated judgment that allows access to RRFC uncontracted water.

The RVCWD had two outstanding voter approved Federal loans from 1975 and 1980 which totaled $7.3 million. These Bureau of Reclamation loans paid for the following infrastructure: a water treatment plant, both a domestic and separate agricultural water distribution network, limited water storage and a system to pump water directly from Lake Mendocino. As of August 2021, the unpaid principal balance on the loan was $6.85 million.

The entire report is posted at: https://www.mendocinocounty.org/government/county-organization/grand-jury/2021-2022-reports

Katharine (Kathy) Wylie, M.S. Ed. Foreman, 2021-22 Mendocino County Grand Jury

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Navarro Mill (photo by M.M. Hazeltine, circa 1868)

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IT’S OBVIOUSLY BESIDE THE POINT, but in the Grand Jury’s recently released report on Measure B — “Measure B Re-examined — they take a little indirect shot at County Counsel Cristian Curtis. “… The ordinance was imprecise about the execution of the programs,” and “In future ordinances prepared for ballot measures, the function and responsibility of County Departments, Advisory Boards and Committees be spelled out in greater detail.” And we would add “with clarity.” 

UNFORTUNATELY, the Grand Jury’s recommendation comes too late for the Cannabis Tax Advisory Measure, the Public Safety Advisory Board and the upcoming Fire Sales Tax measure. Not that the Supervisors are capable of spelling out anything in greater detail or clearly.

The cannabis tax advisory measure said that the “majority” of revenues should go to roads, mental health, emergency services and enforcement. But that was so vague that it let the Board do nothing of the sort and claim later with a straight face that they did.

Or, take this sentence from last year’s Public Safety Advisory Board ordinance: “Examine and report on interdepartmental issues related to law enforcement and public safety.” And, “Review public safety concerns by ensuring that complaints are appropriately dealt with for County employees…”

The ordinance does not define “interdepartmental issues” at all, nor what kind of reporting is expected. 

And “appropriately dealt with for County employees”? Which county employees? Surely they can’t mean all of them. Or do they mean law enforcement “County employees” in this context? 

We have not reviewed the latest “advisory” language for the fire taxes, but the language came from the same source(s) and it has not been circulated for public comment, even though they want the public to approve it.

(Mark Scaramella)

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29th ANNIVERSARY OF ART IN THE GARDENS: A celebration of creative expression and blooms

Celebrate art and community amongst the summer blooms at Art in the Gardens. Join the festivities at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens with fun for all ages on Saturday, August 6 and Sunday, August 7. There will be live music and more than 50 art vendors on the Event Lawn. Food, wine, and craft brews will be available for purchase. Musical acts include The Real Sarahs with Alex de Grassi, Mama Grows Funk, New Nashville West, and Moon Rabbit. Not to mention, the Perennial Garden will be at its peak and the dahlias are spectacular this time of year!

There will also be a variety of opportunities on August 5, 6, and 7 for you to get creative and nurture your inner artist including Paper Collage, Pine Needle Basketry, Paint & Sip, and Kids Acrylic Painting. For a more exclusive experience, tickets are available for the “Summer Soiree” on August 5 with hors d’oeuvres, craft cocktails, wine, and beer amongst the evening glory of the perennials.

Advanced tickets are strongly recommended (required for workshops and Soiree) and parking is limited so please plan to carpool. Event tickets are available online. Adult tickets are $25, juniors age 6 - 14 are $15, kids age 5 and under are free. Members of the Gardens can purchase discounted event tickets at $15 each. Proceeds from this spectacular event will directly benefit the non-profit botanical garden and its mission to engage and enrich lives by displaying and conserving plants. Check www.gardenbythesea.org/aig for ticket information and to see the full schedule of Art in the Gardens activities.

Don’t miss this classic summer festival, join us the first weekend of August for a celebration of creative expression at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

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Joshua Grindle feeding his chickens, 1920

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MENDOCINO COUNTY NATIVE EDIE CECCARELLI IS NOW NO. 1 IN CALIFORNIA — the oldest of the nearly 40 million people who call this state their home.

by Chris Smith

Ceccarelli, the pride of Willits, took over the title on July 2 when Berkeley's Mila Mangold passed away. A native of Nebraska, Mangold lived to be 114 years and 230 days old.

Cecarrelli’s age today is 114 years, 164 days.

Born on Feb. 5, 1908, she has been certified by Guinness World Records and the Gerontology Research Group as the seventh oldest person on Earth — to be clear that is No. 7 out of almost 8 billion.

Ceccarelli's profoundly extraordinary longevity also makes her the second oldest American. The most-senior person in the country — Bessie Hendricks of Lake City, Iowa — is just 90 days older.

Meet Ceccarelli, who as a younger woman loved little more than to dance, and you’d likely be astounded by how elegant she is, and how she looks to be decades younger than she is.

“Edie appears to be in great shape, hopefully in line for more honors in the future,” said Robert Young of the Gerontology Research Group, which monitors and studies the relative few humans who live to 110 years or older.

“She looks great,” Persico said. “Her appetite is still good.”

Persico, who's 82, recalled that while looking at Ceccarelli's face she declared, “Edie, I've got more wrinkles than you do!”

For most of Ceccarelli's life, she was so healthy that she didn't keep so much as an aspirin in the house.

Willits resident Edith “Edie” Ceccarelli, cracks a smile as a parade of Willits residents drive by in cars, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022 as they celebrate her 114th birthday. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2022

At 114, she’s living with dementia and a few other health issues. Only rarely anymore will she stand and push her walker, preferring to sit.

“She really doesn’t want to walk as much,” said Perla Gonzalez, who operates the Holy Spirit home with her husband, Genaro. “She still walks a little bit, but not has much as she used to.”

Each day, Ceccarelli dresses sharply, and she relishes every meal. The typical person her age is reduced to always lying in a bed and relying on caregivers for everything.

Ceccarelli isn't only up every day, she sometimes responds to requests or procedures she finds unsatisfactory by turning a bit uppity.

“I just love it when she fires up,” cousin Persico said. “She's still got that spunk.”

Once when asked for her advice for a long life, Ceccarelli replied, “Have a little red wine with dinner. And mind your own business.”

Another time she offered this counsel to those desiring a good and fulfilling life: “You've got to work. You learn to live without a lot, for one thing. You can't have everything you like. You've got to sacrifice a little.”

Ceccarelli started out in 1908, the year Henry Ford introduced the Model T, as Edith Recagno, the first of seven children born to Maria and Agostino Recagno. She would outlive each of her younger siblings.

Edie recalls picking potatoes for 50 cents a day, and reading at night by the light of an oil lamp.

She graduated with the Willits Union High School Class of 1927. And, in '33, she married Elmer “Brick” Keenan. They soon moved to Santa Rosa, where he went to work as a typesetter with The Press Democrat.

The Keenans settled onto Santa Rosa's Benton Street and they adopted a daughter, Laureen, who would grow up to marry and have three children. Edie has outlived them all.

When Brick Keenan retired from The Press Democrat in 1971, he and Edie left Santa Rosa and returned to quieter, smaller Willits. They had a house built there along Mendocino Avenue.

Brick Keenan died in 1984. His widow later married Charles Ceccarelli. They'd lived happily for just a few years when Charles died in 1990.

Edie Ceccarelli did fine living alone until she was past 100 years old. She's now celebrated and treated like royalty by the staff of the Holy Spirit Residential Care Home.

Last Feb. 5, Ceccarelli waved and smiled from a shady spot near the porch as her town cheered her roundly with a huge small-town birthday parade.

All of the six people on the planet who've lived longer than Ceccarelli are women. Men rarely make it very high on the oldest-on-Earth list.

Currently at No. 1 is Lucile Randon of France, at 118 years and 157 days.

Randon became the oldest confirmed human upon the April 19 death of Japan's Kane Tanaka, who was 119 years and 107 days.

The only living American confirmed to be older than Ceccarelli, Bessie Hendricks, is not only the oldest Iowan today; researchers confirmed that she has lived longer than anyone ever before born in Iowa.

Edie Ceccarelli, for now the oldest known Californian, shows no sign of counting the days. But clearly, she is savoring them, along with some of the simple pleasures of life.

“She still gets her wine, especially at night,” said Perla Gonzalez of the Holy Spirit care home. “It helps her sleep.”

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Francisco Faria (or Farnier), known as "Portugee Frank." Frank was among the earliest settlers in the area arriving around 1850 with Nathaniel Smith, settling first at Cuffey's Cove, near Greenwood/Elk and hunting game for the Albion Mill. He survived a bear attack that left his left arm crippled before he moved to Mendocino and opened a saloon on Comptche Road. (Kelley House Museum)

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DAM FUTURE, Two Views

Todd Lukes: Everyone waxing poetic about an antiquated failing dam system that really does nothing to support Sonoma or Mendocino other than a few wineries is tiring. Can’t eat wine, but you can sure eat salmon and steelhead. Not to mention a lot more commercial fishermen would be employed by having a healthy fishery rather than a couple of rich winery owners mowing down the oak woodlands to squeeze out a few more grapes. End the damn dams and let the river flow. Get over your addiction to water that should never have flowed as abundantly as it is. Just cause some white guy walked around putting paper signs on a tree way back when doesn’t make it right nor something that should be sustained. We should really be seeking to end most river diversions and restore our native fisheries rather than pipe water to wasteful projects. That doesn’t just end with the Eel, but the Klamath, the Delta, and on and on.


Betsy Cawn (Lake County): Removal of Scott Dam at Lake Pillsbury will NOT repair all the downstream damage in the Eel River Basin that has been created over the decades, including the dumping of railroad construction waste into the channels. Preservation of the dam will sustain the exquisite wildlife preserve that is surrounded by USFS lands and private investors, including the Mendocino Land Trust, and the National Monument (Snow Mountain / Berryessa Wilderness) that is critical for the protection of headwaters that serve three (and sometimes four) counties west of Lake, at not a penny of profit for the use of the county to protect and manage its critical watershed. Regardless of the sentimental references to restoring the salmon, the projects needed to do that are the responsibility of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the counties participating in the Eel-Russian River Commission. You would destroy the immediate surroundings of the headwaters upon which ALL of the users depend, while doing nothing to force Mendocino County to establish responsible water management programs?

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Bo's Land boogie crowd in dusty light, Sept. 1970 (photo by Nicholas Wilson)

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TRAGIC ANNIVERSARY OF NOTORIOUS MURDER SPOTLIGHTS RECENT FEDERAL COURT RULING.

July 19, 2022 — Thirty-seven years ago to the day (July 19, 1985), 15-year-old Rosie Marie Grover was brutally raped, stabbed, and bludgeoned to death in the early morning hours in the rocky, dry creek bed of Doolan Creek in south Ukiah. 

The person convicted of murdering her – and unanimously sentenced to death by jury and judge -- was Richard Dean Clark, now age 58 years. Clark remains housed at San Quentin State Prison.

Death penalty sentences are automatically appealed to the California Supreme Court as a matter of law, as happened in Clark’s case. 

When the California Supreme Court affirmed Clark’s special circumstance first degree murder conviction and death sentence on August 30, 1993, Clark’s appellate defense team next turned its attention to the federal court appellate system. 

Clark’s 2009 federal appeal worked its way through the federal district court system, with numerous time extensions along the way, and after four-and-a-half years was denied by U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup on March 31, 2014.

Within a month, a new appeal was filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the federal appellate court where the case further languished for years.

Unfortunately, the delays and the excessive passage of time has invited lightning to strike. 

After the aforementioned thirty plus years of appellate litigation, District Court Judge Alsup -- following directions handed down by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco -- issued an order on July 14, 2022 reversing the death sentence imposed on Clark by a Santa Clara County jury in June 1987, a jury death verdict that was also separately affirmed by the trial judge at the time of the original sentencing, now-deceased Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Robert P. Ahern (1983-2011).

In discussions between the California Attorney General’s Office and Mendocino County District Attorney Eyster late last week, DA Eyster was told that legal research is being undertaken to see if a writ of certiorari, a form of discretionary appeal, to be filed with the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. is in the cards, further appellate review that DA Eyster respectfully asserts needs to happen. 

District Attorney Eyster also personally reached out late last week, spoke with, and explained the current legal situation to spokesperson siblings (a brother and a sister of the victim) on both the paternal and maternal sides of Rosie’s family. 

Defendant Clark – the only defendant from Mendocino County left housed on California’s politically-dysfunctional Death Row -- was originally prosecuted by the California Attorney General’s Office, specifically Deputy Attorney General Gene Kaster, because of a local conflict of interest. 

The widespread publicity and public outcry, along with the fact that the newly-elected DA (formerly the appointed Public Defender) had previously represented Clark in the same case, resulted in the Attorney General being brought in to prosecute the case and, eventually, a change of venue being granted which moved the defendant’s trial to Santa Clara County. 

Clark’s criminal defense attorney at the time of the trial was former Mendocino County District Attorney Joe Allen.

In addition to the loss of the Ukiah High School student, this crime was especially heart-breaking because it should have been prevented -- the California Highway Patrol declined to respond to the young girl calling in to say she was afraid and needed help. 

As recounted in a Daily Journal article on November 4, 1985, “Rosie Grover, 15, was raped and beaten to death at about 4:30 a.m.., July 19 while she walked from the Greyhound bus depot at Yokayo Shopping Center to her family home at a South State Street mobile home park. Her body was found in the dry bed of Doolan Creek behind the Ron-de-Voo restaurant parking lot.

“Rosie Grover called the Ukiah office of the Highway Patrol, probably from a public pay telephone in front of the House of Garner restaurant. She asked the dispatcher on duty to have an officer give her a ride to her home, about one mile farther south on State Street. The dispatcher [declined;] instead suggested that Rosie call [the] Ukiah police.” Rosie never made that second call.

Rosie Grover’s death led to a necessary statewide change in CHP policy. CHP policy now requires CHP dispatchers to personally call the local police agency instead of asking the person in need to make a second call. If the local police agency is unable to respond for whatever reason, CHP will then send CHP officers to where the person in need is located.

In a July 18, 2015 article in the Ukiah Daily Journal, a social media post by Rosie’s friend, Denise Smith Mazan, was republished:

“July 19th marks the 30-year anniversary since my lifelong friend Rosie Grover’s life was tragically taken from her. A very sweet soul, Brian A Wells, who didn’t even know Rosie, but like so many people in Ukiah was impacted by the loss, decided to raise money to have a tree planted and bench installed in her honor…. Rosie’s death changed my life, and so many others. But her life is what mattered, the smiles she brought, the laughs, her loyalty. I had known Rosie since kindergarten, so just 10 short years until her death, but she has been in my life for 40 years and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.

“This bench [installed in McGarvey Park] can just be a bench where people relax, or like my mom did at this very park when she was pregnant with me, sit and take a break on her walk to and from work. Or this bench could be more… Rosie’s life wasn’t perfect, but she always chose to put a smile on her face and bring happiness to the world. We all live with crazy stress, but life has a way of taking care of itself; you never know when that life will be gone. So choose to bring happiness to the world, your family, your friends, yourself.

“Thank you, Rosie Grover, for that forever smile that we will never forget. I love you forever.”

(For further legal reading to include the California Supreme Court decision, the U.S. District Court decisions, and the U.S. Court of Appeals decisions, see https://www.mendocinocounty.org/.../distric.../news-releases.)

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T. HAMILL: GUALALA RIVER STREAM TEAM KICKS OFF RIVER MONITORING WITH A BANG

Over 40 river stewards from all over the north coast spent a fun and educational day at Mill Bend and the Gualala River Estuary being trained to monitor water quality. The Stream Team citizen scientists with 20 years of data collecting experience brought their collective know-how to help kick-start the data collection on the Gualala River. Through a Whale Tail grant from the Coastal Commission, the Gualala River Stream Team, along with their partners the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy and Friends of the Gualala River, will continue monitoring water quality conditions at four sites on the Gualala River. For information regarding ongoing monitoring dates and time, please visit the Gualala River Stream Team Facebook page. All are welcome to join in and experience the satisfaction of local stewardship, collaboration, and camaraderie.

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WHAT HAPPENED TO WASHBURNE?

Editor,

For about seven years Mr. Flynn Washbunre was a constant contributor to the AVA in the form of self-deprecating, often hilarioius, always entertaining personal stories. Given his impulse for drug use and bank robberies, it is my sincere hope that this has not once again caused his demise. It would appear that Mr. Washburne has fallen completey off the map. Perhaps the esteemed editor can update us on the status of Mr. Washburne.

Respectfully,

Alan Crow

Mendocino County Jail

Ukiah

ED REPLY: We heard from Flynn recently when he wrote in to object to something Larry Livermore said about Flynn being a little heavy on his thesaurus. I believe he's in Denver where, I think, he's originally from. We miss his contributions, too. I'd encouraged Flynn to write up his adventures with Ukiah's defendant community when he functioned as night manager at one of Ukiah's white powder motels.

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Truck Dream (photo mk)

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

The mistake Kunstler made is he didn’t have Mendocino Solar or Advance Power do his system. Mendocino Solar did ours about ten years ago and it has been trouble free. We put in more than we use and electrons we feed into the grid are welcomed by those people over in the valley running their air conditioning. It has been a long time since California had a brown out. Our electric bill was high since our rental is also on our meter and I am in the habit of running power tools and space heaters. I figure we are saving somewhere about $150/mon. We also bought a Chevy Bolt and since the solar covers the charging we are saving big time by cruising on by those gas stations. -Somewhere around $3-400 a month.

After the tax write offs and the mark down from Platinum Chevrolet we paid about $23,000 for the new Bolt in 2018. Sonoma Clean Power gave us a free charger. The car has been trouble free and is an absolute pleasure to drive. The eventual big cost of an electric car is when the batteries need replacing. We had no problems with the batteries, but there must have been a problem somewhere because after 3.5 years of owning the car, Chevrolet replaced our batteries. We now get more miles per charge and we could easily round trip Santa Rosa from Little River before.

So at a savings of about $500/mon or $6,000/year we will cover the cost of the panels, car, and insurance in 10 years. Since the panels are supposed to last 25 years it is easy to see that our ever increasing savings will also cover the cost of replacing the solar system and car. And we are not polluting.

Somehow I also suspect that Kunstler has not had my power outage experience of waiting in line to fill up a 5 gallon gas can (not cheap these days), transporting this highly explosive liquid home to fill the generator tank, starting the generator (if you left old gas in then it won’t start, and then putting up with that smell and noise for hours on end.

One bonus worth mentioning is that if the power is out during the day we can plug our refrigerator, freezer, computer, or other appliances into the inverter and run them off of the panels. Go solar! (Donald Cruser)

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MCHC WELCOMES CERTIFIED NURSE MIDWIFE KATE HYLAN

MCHC Health Centers is pleased to welcome the newest member of its Care for Her team: Certified Nurse Midwife Kate Hylan, who is currently accepting new patients. Care for Her provides women’s healthcare, including prenatal care and childbirth support, to patients in Lake and Mendocino Counties.

Kate Hylan

Although Hylan and her husband are originally from the East Coast, they’ve spent most of their adult lives in Southern California. However, Hylan said, “Having spent so much time in Eureka and Fortuna [in Humboldt County] during my training, we knew we wanted to get back to Northern California. And I’ve had my eye on Care for Her for a while because this is exactly the type of practice and patient population I want to work with.” In a sense, this is a homecoming for Hylan, since she “caught her first baby” while training under Certified Nurse Midwife Dana Estevo, who is now a Care for Her provider.

Hylan calls midwifery her “calling” and can pinpoint the moment she knew it. After graduating from college with a degree in evolutionary biology, Hylan joined the Peace Corps as an agricultural volunteer and was sent to West Africa. At that time, she planned to pursue a career in conservation or ecological sustainability.

When she arrived in Kayemor, Senegal, she was encouraged to integrate into the community where she would be serving, so when the local “matron” (maternity provider) asked her to visit the weekly clinic, Hylan readily agreed. Like many maternity providers throughout Senegal, Adama Gueye she was put in charge of prenatal care for her whole community (in her case, a population of 18,000 people) after receiving a weekend’s worth of training.

Hylan had no idea that when Gueye invited her to put her hands on a pregnant belly and witness her first birth, her life would be changed forever. At that moment, Hylan said she knew, “This is it. This is what I am meant to do.”

Since that time, she has dedicated her professional life to caring for patients and empowering women to make choices about their care. She completed her studies to become a family nurse practitioner and certified nurse midwife at Vanderbilt University and worked in many different settings, from birthing centers to military bases to a refugee camp in Tijuana, Mexico, where her team represented the migrants’ only access to healthcare. She has also worked all over the country, from Massachusetts to Tennessee to California. Regardless of the geography, Hylan sought out non-profit health practices, including federally qualified health centers like MCHC Health Centers, where patients are assured care regardless of their financial status.

She sees her primary role as that of health educator, and she is deeply invested in helping women understand the options available to them. She also appreciates learning from her patients, saying, “I am amazed by the strength and resilience of these women.” Whether she is meeting with patients during an office visit or supporting them through the birthing process, Hylan allows her patients to lead the way whenever appropriate. “All women should be able to be in control of their own bodies,” she said.

Care for Her Certified Nurse Midwife Devery Montano was part of the team who hired Hylan. She said Hylan “impressed us all with her energy and obvious desire to provide comprehensive women’s health care here in Mendocino County. Kate’s previous midwifery experience at other practices has well prepared her to seamlessly join the Care for Her team.”

Care for her is part of MCHC Health Centers, which includes Hillside Health Center and Dora Street Health Center in Ukiah, Little Lake Health Center in Willits and Lakeview Health Center in Lakeport. It is a community-based and patient-directed organization that provides comprehensive primary healthcare services as well as supportive services such as education and translation that promote access to healthcare.

When Hylan is not caring for patients, she spends time with her family enjoying the outdoors, especially among the redwoods.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, July 19, 2022

Cortinas, Curtis, Daugherty

ALEX CORTINAS, Ukiah. Elder abuse with great bodily injury or death, controlled substance, conspiracy, more than an ounce of pot.

RICKIE CURTIS, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, failure to appear.

DANIELLE DAUGHERTY, Ukiah. Hit&run with property damage, controlled substance, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

Dodson, Elza, Gonzalez, Madden

WAYNE DODSON, Albion. DUI.

TYLER ELZA, Willits. Probation revocation.

JOSE GONZALEZ-ARTEGA, Ukiah. DUI.

LAROY MADDEN-STEPHENS, Willits. Probation revocation.

Mansfield, Maple, Maples, Smith

GEORGE MANSFIELD, Fort Bragg. Trespassing, parole violation.

RUSSELL MAPLE, Covelo. Disobeying court order, resisting.

ELIJAH MAPLES, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, battery with serious injury.

BRYAN SMITH, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

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Emission data excludes forestry and land use; ends at 2019 to exclude temporary declines during pandemic. | Source: Climate Action Tracker

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THEN I SLEEP THE SLEEP OF THE JUST AND THE TRUE

Existing in Ukiah, California, While the World Burns

Good afternoon everybody,  Am at the Ukiah Public Library right now, having just finished reading today's New York Times.  Be sure to check out Paul Krugman's Opinion piece on page A19 of the July 19, '22 issue entitled "Climate Politics Are Worse Than You Think".

Otherwise, am doing nothing of any particular importance in postmodern America.  Aside from existing, am sending out the usual networking message encouraging the establishment of spiritually focused direct action groups.  I have received no realistic offers or show of interest in this from anyone.  Therefore, I get up in the morning, perform the same bathroom-shower ablutions, voluntarily bottom line the trash & recycling chore at the Building Bridges homeless shelter on South State Street, leave and go to the Ukiah Co-op for sushi and soup, and then on to the library.  Somewhere in all of this, a cup of java jolt at Schaat's Bakery is enjoyed.  Later, it is off to Safeway to stock up on yoghurt and fruit and nuts for the evening, plus fruit juices and bottled water.  Then, I go to sleep.  This ends my email message to you.

— Craig Louis Stehr, craiglouisstehr@gmail.com, (707) 234-3270

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GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING BLUES ICON CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE returns to his Delta roots for the most captivating album of his legendary career, a stripped-down, semi-acoustic gem featuring Charlie’s deft, subtle guitar playing, masterful harp and soul-deep vocals. Rolling Stone says ”Charlie Musselwhite , with unabashed excellence, sets the standard for blues.” Get Mississippi Son, available now at your favorite retailer or digital music provider.

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A 1792 CASE REVEALS THAT KEY FOUNDERS SAW ABORTION AS A PRIVATE MATTER

Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall and Patrick Henry didn’t advocate for prosecution of a woman who probably had an abortion

washingtonpost.com/made-by-history/2022/07/19/1792-case-reveals-that-key-founders-saw-abortion-private-matter/

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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO REASON?

by Stacey Warde

I find it extraordinary — in these days of Trumpism, I probably shouldn’t — that organizations like the Proud Boys, for example, claim NOT to be white supremacists but instead insist that they are “patriots,” “Western chauvinists,” as though chauvinism itself was a virtue. Like their brothers and sisters in the Lord Trump, and without any solid evidence, reason, or basis in fact, they support The Big Lie, and will go to great lengths and extremes with the flimsiest of proof (the act of a fool, actually) to defend their falsehoods — all, apparently, with little to no clue of the esteemed place that *reason* holds as one of the basic virtues of Western culture.

Reason, it is suggested by most of the ancients, is not only uniquely human but a mostly surefire way to avoid falling into the snares of lies and delusions of people of questionable character.

As the Stoic philosopher and freed slave, Epictetus, who from Roman times clearly had no influence on the Proud Boys or others of their ilk, says on the importance of using your brain (again, a virtue traditionally held in high esteem in Western culture):

“If we look with due care, we’ll find that there is nothing by which the rational creature is so distressed as by that which is contrary to reason, and that, conversely there is nothing to which he is so attracted as that which is reasonable.”

I wonder, how long before those who still believe in the Lord Trump find reason enough not to believe in him any more?

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A STUDY ASKED AMERICANS IF THEY COULD SUPPORT POLITICAL VIOLENCE. Half Said They Think A Civil War Is Coming

by Joe Garofoli

The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol may be just the beginning of an increasingly violent chapter in America’s history.

One in five Americans believes that violence can be at least sometimes justified “to advance an important political objective,” and half believe that a civil war is on the way “in the next few years,” according to a new nationwide survey by researchers at UC Davis’ California Center for Firearm Violence Prevention.

The survey dug into some of the potential motivations for political violence — and many revolve around issues important in conservative circles.

When asked questions about specific objectives, nearly 12% of respondents said that violence could be at least sometimes justified “to return Donald Trump to the presidency this year” and 25% “to stop an election from being stolen.”

Meanwhile, 7% of respondents believed it could be at least sometimes justified to use violence “to stop people who do not share my beliefs from voting,” 24% said it could be OK “to preserve an American way of life based on Western European traditions,” 19% “to oppose the government when it does not share my beliefs,” and 38% “to oppose the government when it tries to take private land for public purposes.”

The findings are foreboding at time when American democracy is on edge, with a House committee holding explosive hearings on the Jan. 6 attack and the country reeling from more than 300 mass shootings this year, amid debates over the Supreme Court’s power and efforts to restrict voting rights.

The survey of 8,620 people aimed to learn more about what was motivating Americans at a time when researchers noted that both gun violence and gun purchases are increasing, more people believe QAnon-type conspiracy theories and political polarization is widening.

While researchers tempered the results by noting that a “large majority of respondents rejected political violence altogether,” they said that “these initial findings suggest a continuing alienation from and mistrust of American democratic society and its institutions, founded in part on false beliefs.”

The findings “suggest a high level of support for violence, including lethal violence, to achieve political objectives,” researchers wrote. “The prospect of large-scale political violence in the near future is entirely plausible.”

In one of the survey’s more startling findings, 40% of the respondents said that “having a strong leader for America is more important than having a democracy.”

That was among many results that shocked the lead researcher, Garen Wintemute, an emergency medicine physician and the director of the California Center for Firearm Violence Prevention.

“I had pretty dark expectations about what we would find with this survey because of the homework I had done getting ready for it,” Wintemute said. “But the findings are darker than my worst-case scenario.”

Rachel Kleinfeld, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and author of “A Savage Order: How the World’s Deadliest Countries Can Forge a Path to Security,” called the finding that many people value having a strong leader over a democracy “the most worrisome statistic” in the survey.

Kleinfeld said that while America has “most of the risk factors for significant widespread political violence,” the nation also has strong “resilience factors” like a powerful professional military and other institutions “that are hard to take down with violence.”

“Those are big resilience factors, but they can weakened and what we see in a statistic like that is very strong support for a weakening of our institutions,” Kleinfeld said. If that resilience is “weakened, we will likely see much more broad political violence,” she said.

Wintemute said the desire for a strong leader is a reflection that “there is a sense of insecurity and fear in the United States.”

When people feel insecure, many “look for strong leadership as in authoritative, as in authoritarian leadership,” Wintemute said. “Democracy and civil society experts have been concerned about this for quite some time. And I think what we’re seeing is that tentativeness of commitment to democracy in the United States is perhaps even greater than we thought.”

(SF Chronicle)

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Picnic at Sherman's Point, Camden, Maine, 1900

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UKRAINE, TUESDAY, JULY 19TH

Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with the leaders of Iran and Turkey in Tehran on Tuesday, a summit that was focused on enforcing a peace deal in Syria but was largely overshadowed by the war in Ukraine.

Russia is poised to restart gas exports via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany at a reduced capacity on Thursday, though Putin warned that volumes could decline if a turbine sent for servicing, and held up by sanctions, isn’t returned in a timely fashion.

The EU is set to propose a voluntary 15% cut in natural gas use by member states starting next month on concern Russia may halt supplies of the fuel. An IMF working paper warned that a cutoff of Russian gas could result in a hit of as much as 2.65% to the European Union’s economy.

EU Set to Target 15% Cut in Gas Demand on Russian Supply Woes Putin Arrives in Iran for Raisi, Erdogan Talks Dominated by War Seaport Trades Billions of Russian Bonds as Wall Street Retreats Germany to Wait Until Early Next Week to Count Russia Gas Damage Russian Gas Halt May Spark 2.65% Hit for EU Economy, Study Shows Gazprom Poised to Restart Gas Flows Through Nord Stream Pipeline EU, China to Cooperate on Tackling Food Crisis, Fertilizers On the Ground

Russia struck the Odesa region with seven missiles overnight, one of which was shot down by air defense, while six hit a village, according to the Ukrainian military’s southern command. Six people, including a child, were injured. Kremlin forces are trying to create conditions for resuming the offensive in the Donetsk region, Ukraine’s General Staff said in a statement. The Russian military continued shelling, hitting areas from Chernihiv region in the north to Dnipropetrovsk region in the south, according to Ukrainian officials.

(Bloomberg)

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WHY DO WE KEEP LISTENING TO THE ‘TV’ GENERALS ON UKRAINE? 

by Daniel Davis

Listening to television commentary and interviews of retired U.S. generals, one would be forgiven for believing Russia is on the ropes, and Ukraine was winning the war. Looking at on-the-ground battlefield reality in Ukraine, however, it quickly becomes apparent that the generals’ boasts continue a decade-long trend of rosy combat proclamations that all too often turn out to be disastrously wrong. American media, Congress, and the public need to start applying a little more scrutiny to what these officers say. The Russians are no doubt bloodied and have suffered significant equipment loss, but there is no evidence on the battlefield that they are anywhere near “exhausted.” Most of the artillery promised by the West has already been delivered and it has not, to date, resulted in even slowing Russia’s advance through the Donbas, much less stopped it. The HIMARS launchers have enabled Ukraine to strike deep behind Russian lines, and they have caused harm in their enemy’s rear areas. Nonetheless, even that has not resulted in any observable reduction in the still-heavy daily barrage of artillery on Ukrainian positions.

The most important fundamentals of war, the basics of combat operations, almost all reside on the Russian side. Since the G7, G20, and NATO Summits, there have been no additional large-scale contributions of modern weaponry promised to Ukraine. The amount of equipment to date has been a couple of hundred artillery tubes, about 250 Soviet-era tanks, and a few hundred Vietnam-era personnel carriers. Cumulatively, all of this gear — including the HIMARS — are not a fraction of the type of kit Ukraine would need to launch a counteroffensive. 

The idea, then, that Ukraine could stop Russia’s current offensive and then transition to a counter-offensive to drive Putin’s troops back has no valid basis on the ground in Ukraine. But such optimistic, rosy proclamations that are disconnected from battlefield realities are not new for America’s active and retired generals for the past two decades.

The danger in these types of statements is that they give false hope to the people of Ukraine, give an inaccurate picture to the American people of what’s possible, and encourages Congress to continue funding a strategy that almost certainly will fail. At the very least, it is time to start viewing routinely optimistic claims by some of our active and retired generals with more skepticism.…

19fortyfive.com/2022/07/why-do-we-keep-listening-to-the-tv-generals-on-ukraine/

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Navy Searchlights Illuminate San Pedro

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BIDEN IS A GAFFE-INGSTOCK: The decline of the prez — and the presidency

by Andrew McCarthy

“End of the quote. Repeat the line.” Such is the senescence of the 46th president of the United States that when he is not flat-out misspeaking, it is because he is reading the cues as he stumbles through the see-Jane-run prose of White House speechwriters. Like life at 79, the teleprompts come at you fast.

We must bear this in mind when assessing how consequential it may be when the putative leader of the free world misspeaks. We gasp, yes, but it is probably not as damaging as one might fear. 

Alas, that realization induces as much pang of regret as sigh of relief. The bully pulpit is among the American presidency’s greatest assets when exploited with competent confidence. There was a time, not so long ago, when a president of such gravity called for the Berlin Wall to be razed, and it actually did come down in due course, along with the evil empire whose crumbling he’d had the vision to see coming. 

Nowadays, though, presidential rhetoric is as apt to trigger eye-rolling as execution of a coherent plan. 

White House down

As with nearly everything befalling his train wreck of a term (which has “just” 30 months to go!), Joe Biden is guilty more of accelerating a corrosive trend than of causing it. He entered office notorious for his gift of the gaffe, a thin-skinned lemming so dull that when one of his presidential bids was torpedoed by a plagiarism scandal, it turned out he had chosen another mediocrity — former British Labour leader Neil Kinnock — to steal from. 

Through a half-century of rhetorical misadventure, Biden has never been taken seriously — including by President Barack Obama, who, confoundingly, plucked Biden from the scrap heap to be his running mate after serving with him in the Senate … and famously slipped an aide a “Shoot. Me. Now.” note he’d scribbled during one of Biden’s logorrheic discourses. (Obama discouraged Biden’s yen to succeed him in 2016 and did not back the 2020 presidential bid until Biden had the nomination sewn up, even then cautioning Democrats, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f- -k things up.”)

It is not just Biden but the presidency itself whose power to persuade, and just as important to instill fear in rogue regimes, has suffered diminution. Donald Trump supporters concede that their man is not to be taken “literally,” an epithet etched in stone even before two fraudulent months of post-election “stop the steal” claptrap triggered a riot at the Capitol — and it should not be ignored that Trump’s apparently imminent third bid for the presidency is premised not merely on maintaining the fiction but on making adherence to it a litmus test of loyalty.

Still, the former president’s apologists maintain that foreign powers had to take him “seriously,” despite the innate mendacity and numbing effects of his unhinged Twitter tirades. There is something to this. Candidate Trump might have ripped Obama on social media for dispatching American troops to Syria without congressional authorization, but that hardly meant President Trump would not bomb Syria without congressional authorization as a warning to Bashar al-Assad and Russia that his “red lines” against the use of chemical and biological weapons, unlike Obama’s, were not just vapid news copy.

Joe vs. Donald

This contrast, more than his incoherence, explains Biden’s problem. Enemy regimes proceeded cautiously with Trump not only because his instability and tendency to dissemble made him unpredictable, but because he was just aggressive enough, and just dismissive enough of the progressive international order, that the rogues figured he (and the hawks around him) might just take out an Iranian terror master, such as Gen. Qasem Soleimani. 

Trump’s words might not have carried much weight, but his populist preference for lightning displays of might over long-term entanglements did.

Biden, by contrast, is a captive of transnational progressivism, where red lines are just preliminaries to new red lines, and talking (and talking, and talking) is an end in and of itself. The international media are in thrall to the urbanity and nuance of these “citizens of the world,” but the hard men can’t help but notice that when they take Crimea, nothing of real consequence follows the preening recriminations, unless you count the West’s lining up to buy more Russian oil and gas while strangling its own energy producers.

Loose lips

This default position against acting in America’s vital interests, this insistence on being perceived as a team player on a dysfunctional team, rather than as the essential nation willing and able to lead, is what makes Biden’s verbal missteps and the paralysis they signal such a vulnerability. 

During a press conference, with Russian divisions encircling Ukraine, Biden — making like a pundit instead of a president — jaw-droppingly observed that Moscow would face limited risk if it proceeded with a “minor incursion,” since the United States and its allies would inevitably “end up having a fight about what to do and not do, et cetera.” 

Did the president’s insouciant display of fecklessness provoke Vladimir Putin’s invasion? Unlikely. Biden, with eyes to see and access to the best intelligence, had also cavalierly noted that Russia “probably” would attack, and that’s because Putin was patently poised to do so after very costly preparations.

Yet the Kremlin still had to decide whether to go big or go small. After Biden’s gaffe, Putin went big: trying to swallow Ukraine whole rather than merely securing the grip he already held on the eastern border territories. Putin, it is fair to surmise, calculated that if Biden would not even play the game of feigning opposition to any incursion and warning vaguely about retribution, he could afford to indulge his grand ambitions.

Putin may have been more swayed, months earlier, by Biden’s shameful surrender of Afghanistan to the Taliban. The president withdrew a modest commitment of forces in a manner that obviously endangered Americans, rendered the US-backed government in Kabul unsustainable, and ensured that the Taliban and its allied jihadists would overrun the country. Yet in July, with the collapse imminent and obvious, Biden took to a podium and laughably insisted that Kabul would hold and a Taliban takeover was “unlikely.” This was followed by an embarrassing administration campaign to portray the new Taliban regime as reformed and pragmatic, even as it executed Afghans suspected of collaborating with Americans and reimposed suffocating Sharia strictures.

Empty words

In themselves, Biden’s words are meaningless. Of that, there is no better testament than the soles of his advisers’ shoes, worn away by the speed and regularity with which those words are walked back. 

Well, yes, the president did say Putin is a “war criminal,” but we are not seeking to prosecute him as if he were, you know, an actual war criminal. Well, yes, the president did say Putin “cannot remain in power,” but, no, we are not seeking regime change and wouldn’t think of meddling in Moscow’s internal affairs. Well, yes, the president did say he would abide by the “Taiwan agreement” with China’s president, Xi Jinping, but, no, there is actually no such thing as a “Taiwan agreement” — there is just the same old “one China” policy under which we ambiguously acknowledge that China claims Taiwan as its own but we do not recognize its claim. And OK, yes, the president did say he was committing the US to defending Taiwan militarily, but, no, that does not actually mean we’re committing to, um, defending Taiwan militarily — our policy of strategic ambiguity has not been altered by the president’s habit of strategic vacuity.

Mixed messages

Of course a government’s failure to speak clearly and credibly in defense of its interests can do harm. The mutual misconstruals by the Japanese and American governments of their counterparts’ words and intentions in the weeks before Tokyo’s attack on Pearl Harbor are legendary. 

Did the British “invite” Hitler to invade Poland by expressly guaranteeing only its “sovereignty” rather than its “territorial integrity”? Did the Truman administration “greenlight” North Korea’s invasion of the South when Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s Press Club speech omitted Korea from its description of Truman’s “defensive perimeter” in the Pacific? It is easy to overstate the effects of seeming rhetorical missteps. History and its revelation of previously secret intelligence files generally show a multitude of factors and interests in play when regimes make momentous decisions.

(New York Post, from National Review)

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Woman doing a one handed cartwheel, Bohumil Krohn, 1937/1938

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OUR CHALLENGE IS TO TRANSCEND OUR EVOLUTIONARY APE HERITAGE

by Caitlin Johnstone

Did you know chimpanzees hunt smaller primates for food?

They do. They're actually very skillful hunters due to their size, their strength, and especially their intelligence. They coordinate their attacks, working together to cut off the escape routes of their prey to greatly increase their success rate. Scientists have even frequently observed them using crude spears to kill a small primate species called the lesser bush baby for their meat.

One of the many interesting things about this behavior in our primate cousins is that they are so good at hunting they can become victims of their own success, wiping out entire populations of prey in their area. Red colobus monkeys have been hunted to the brink of local extinction in Uganda by chimpanzees hungry for a quick protein fix, solely because they've been gobbling up those delicious little guys faster than they can reproduce.

Sound familiar?

The tendency of homo sapiens to overburden our ecosystem with our consumption is not unique to us, and is not new. In fact, it looks like we've been on this trajectory toward ecocide since our ancient evolutionary ancestors began evolving extra brain matter.

And it is possible to just stop there and conclude that we are no different from our chimp relatives in this sense. That we will simply keep overhunting the red colobus monkey until there are none left, that we will keep depleting and destroying our biosphere until it can no longer sustain life. That the human brain differs from the chimpanzee's only in intelligence, not in wisdom. That we are in essence no different from the cyanobacteria at the dawn of the Proterozoic Era, a new species showing up on the scene and causing a mass extinction event in an ecosystem overburdened by their rapid flourishing.

You do also however have the option of openness to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, our species is destined for greater things. That maybe, just maybe, we have within us the capacity to transcend the mindless patterning of our evolutionary ancestors and move into a mindful relationship with this planet and its life forms. That maybe, just maybe, this whole human adventure doesn't need to end in disaster after all.

From what I can tell, the only people who find this idea outlandish are those who have never experienced a great unpatterning of their own. Who have never healed the wounds of their past and transcended the unwholesome mental habits which were given to them by their conditioning. To anyone who has experienced a dramatic transformation from dysfunction into health, it's obvious that any human could potentially go through such transformations as well. Or even all humans.

It is possible that our descendents will look back on humanity's existence on this planet from prehistoric times up until this crucial present moment as a kind of bridge between animal life and a new terrestrial expression that isn't driven by the unconscious conditioning patterns that have driven the movements of every species on this planet from the very first single-celled organisms onward. That what we're experiencing right now at this critical juncture is what it looks like before the emergence of the Earth's first conscious species.

An unconscious human is one driven compulsively by deep-seated mental habits they don't really see and can't do much to control, so they'll often find themselves engaged in unwholesome behavior patterns like addiction, unkindness, greed and neurosis, and making the same mistakes over and over for reasons they don't quite understand.

A conscious human is one who doesn't have unseen conditioning pulling the strings from behind the scenes in their subconscious mind, because they have done their work and drawn their inner demons into the light of consciousness where they can be healed. They are therefore able to move through life deliberately and in the interest of what's best, rather than compulsively and in a way that spreads trauma to others.

A conscious humanity would mean that this way of functioning blossoms throughout the entire species.

Doesn't it kind of look like that might be what's happening? Like all the chaos and confusion of these strange times could simply be the birth pangs of a species whose relationship with consciousness is about to take a dramatic pivot? The increasingly shrill mass media narratives rapidly approaching white noise saturation? The increasingly widespread awareness that our society's rules are made up and we can change them whenever we want? The mysterious increase in incidents of spiritual awakening as reported by teachers of enlightenment? Just how goddamn weird everything's been getting these last few years?

I think it's possible. I think it's possible we are moving as a species toward an adaptation that will enable us to survive in a situation which is very different from the one we first emerged in, as every species eventually does if it doesn't go extinct. If this is indeed what is happening, it stands to reason that it will be an adaptation that prevents us from wiping ourselves out via ecocide or nuclear war, and that a collective movement into consciousness is what that adaptation will look like.

A conscious species would be able to work in cooperation with its ecosystem, rather than compulsively consuming it due to primitive impulses to obtain and dominate and egoic impulses to be rich and have more. A conscious species would be able to convert civilization from competition-based models into collaboration-based models, where rather than trying to climb over each other to get ahead we all work together to make sure everyone has what they need to live. A conscious species would no longer see the sense in dividing itself up into separate competing nation-states which brandish armageddon weapons at each other out of fear and greed.

The more I learn about humanity, and the more I learn about myself, the more possible such a world appears to be. Sure the world's a chaotic and distressing mess right now, but so is childbirth. However bad things get for us, as long as we're still alive our problems are nothing that can't be fixed with a collective movement into consciousness.

Anyway. That's my pet theory right now. And the cool thing about my theory is that if you like it too, you don't have to wait for it to come true. You can start becoming more conscious on your own right now and leading the charge for the rest of us. Investigate your true nature, heal your wounds, be responsible with your actions, and begin working to coax all your endarkened bits into the light.

And then hopefully the rest will follow. If they don't, worst-case scenario is you wind up a lot more happy and functional than you otherwise would have been, because you brought so much more consciousness to your inner processes and your habits of perception and cognition.

This is where the real adventure is at, in my opinion. This is where the rubber meets the road.

I will meet you there.

(caitlinjohnstone.com)

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The Cowthorpe Oak, etching by Jacob George Strutt (1824)

26 Comments

  1. George Hollister July 20, 2022

    Something Caitlin Johnstone misses is humans have domesticated plants and animals to supply their food. Chimps have not figured that one out. Humans are unique in the animal world with their concerns for the extinction of other animals, and plants. No other species gives a twit about that.

    • Kirk Vodopals July 20, 2022

      That’s a pretty narrow view of the ecological web. Individual animals may not express much concern (or have any concept) of extinction of another species. But the web breaks down quickly when species are unnaturally removed from (or added to) the system. I highly recommend the film “Attack of the Killer Cane Toads”. It’s definitely a jungle out there, but no single species other than us “exceptional” humans can have such an impact on the ecosystem. That said, I always refer to George Carlin in these discussions.. “Someday the earth may shake us humans off like a bad case of fleas. Woof!”

      • George Hollister July 20, 2022

        True. Humans are the keystone species in most of the areas they inhabit. Environments breakdown, then adjust, then thrive, then breakdown, etc. This has been going on from the beginning. We see it in the fossil record. The environment we see today in the Americas was created by humans at least 10 thousand years ago. This is natural, as is what we see today. Unique to humans is humans get concerned about extinctions, and the impacts humans have on their environment. I suspect this trait goes back many thousands of years in pre-history. Imagine a council of hunter-gatherer tribes meeting to discuss the potential extension of mega fauna. It would not surprise me it that happened.

        • Kirk Vodopals July 20, 2022

          Thumbs. It’s all about the thumb

          • Chuck Dunbar July 20, 2022

            That thought could be opposed…..sorry, couldn’t resist….

            • Kirk Vodopals July 20, 2022

              👍

  2. Bruce McEwen July 20, 2022

    Caitlin and Stacy seem to both be saying the same thing. This is a promising sign that enlightenment is indeed spreading. Better clap on a mask, George, it could be contagious.

    • Kirk Vodopals July 20, 2022

      My biased right-brain view of Johnstone’s assessment is that it is utterly subjective. The concepts of “elevating consciousness” are practically meaningless to me. Sure, we could all be nicer and more empathetic to each other, but that’s not going to solve all these practical problems we face in these societies we live in. All civilizations have collapsed, in a regional scale. But, globally, us humans are not going anywhere for the foreseeable future. Getting us all on board to agree to a global consciousness is impractical. “Becoming more conscious” as a general solution, particularly in this day and age, is meaningless. We can’t even agree on who the bad guys are, who is destroying our country, and who is truly evil or good. Trump is the perfect example of this. I’ll trade “elevating consciousness” for simply just paying attention.

  3. Jacob July 20, 2022

    The fact that Lindy Peter’s thinks the current Fort Bragg city hall staff are “very competent” only demonstrates why Fort Bragg needs new leadership. He is referring to the team whose mismanagement led to the entire area smelling like a sewer and boondoggle after boondoggle rather than real solutions to the problems and challenges facing the community. Meanwhile, the city’s infrastructure is crumbling and our water supply is not secure but the big new project they are working on is a “pipe to nothing” that will only carry ocean water to hypothetical facilities that won’t exist for years, if at all! That sounds like a priority compared to a new pipe that could capture and reuse all the treated water the City of Fort Bragg just pumps into the ocean every day. Who doesn’t want at least two more years of bad judgment and dysfunction?! Experience matters but a history of bad experiences, including bullying other councilmembers who have the audacity to disagree with him and belittling neighbors concerned about a project proposed next to their homes, isn’t the kind of experience I want more of…

  4. Cotdbigun July 20, 2022

    Dear Stacey Ward,reminiscing about the orange monster and the 71 million deplorables can be helpful and enjoyable if you’re so inclined. I’m a bit of a history buff myself, but now my big concern is the present and what the next big steps in the decline of the country might be and what can be done to stop the insanity.
    The poor old fool reading the teleprompter word by word is not the savior that you elected,I’d surely would like to know who’s in charge. Life with the businessman in charge was prosperous and now it’s the shits and getting worse. Could your uncanny ability to reason help us out of this unmitigated disaster that Biden (speaking of clowns) and company have created? BTW, I can’t afford an electric vehicle.

    • Chuck Wilcher July 20, 2022

      “Prosperous?” The disaster of a presidency known as Trump was anything but “prosperous.”

      “Per the chart, Trump is the only president in the last 80 years to net job losses during his presidency. President George W. Bush is the runner-up with 1 million jobs added during his administration. Bush’s successor, Barack Obama, is credited with 12 million jobs. ”

      https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/11/06/fact-check-pandemic-unaccounted-presidential-job-growth-chart/6177339002/

      • George Hollister July 20, 2022

        Covid.

    • Bruce McEwen July 20, 2022

      The Age of Reason was back in Descartes day, but reason can’t answer all the questions, such as this one: what has kept this colossal disaster from crashing before? I mean, reasonable people have been expecting the sort of collapse and wreckage Kunstler keeps harping on ever since the early 1970s — what has kept it going for half a century? — it defies all logic, and yet every day the sun comes up and we go back at it, ambitious to the point of oblivion—there never having been any plan, except grab as much as you can for you and your own and screw the rest. So what keeps it all together and keeps it going? Reason, canny or uncanny, can’t give us the answer.

      • George Hollister July 20, 2022

        The course in the past, as in the present, is in order for humans to survive they need to adapt. Mega fauna went extinct, but agriculture, and animal husbandry were invented. The economics of resourced exploitation was substituted with the economics of the creation and management of raw materials. Energy resource exploitation has continued, and will continue, though from new sources.

        Chimps have not done any of this.

        • Bruce McEwen July 20, 2022

          Your source, (open ital.) 1491 (close ital.), which I have read, was published in order to obscure other more honest books on anthropology. Most notably, Paul Shepard’s (open ital.)The Tender Carnivore (close ital.), books that contend the domestication of plants and animals produced the concept of stored food, whether in silos or in herds and flocks, all of which gave rise to the political state and private property, the source and cause of all our contemporary headaches.

          • George Hollister July 20, 2022

            Solving one set of problems creates new ones. We might throw this into the mix of the continuum of human evolution.. Does anyone want to go back? No, not really, except with a fantasyland view of our human past.

            BTW, my source is a look, from many. sources of human history.

            • Harvey Reading July 20, 2022

              This is funny: two readers of “popular” science blathering on as if they knew something. Have a very fine day, the both of you goofs…

              • Bruce McEwen July 20, 2022

                Popular anthropology readers, sure. But here we have your favorite journalist, Caitlin Johnstone, sounding like Carlos Castaneda or Alistair Crowley — where does that leave you, O Sage of the Waste?

                • Bruce McEwen July 20, 2022

                  Psssst… get Caitlin to read your horoscope!

        • Jurgen Stoll July 20, 2022

          Chimps haven’t put other chimps on the moon either but they evolved far enough to cause the near collapse of another species by over harvesting them to use human terms. They probably acted instinctually and didn’t have learned members of their species telling them that they better cut back before the bush babies are all gone and then have to get their food from harder to obtain sources. Humans have evolved to the point where we know that our behavior is killing the planet but won’t back off because we feel the need to protect our territorial gains or accumulation of shiny things so they wont be diminished even if it means that behavior will destroy our species. We know we must change and change quickly to have a chance at survival but conservatives by definition don’t want change and that’s roughly half the population. Instead of adapting and focusing on what will bring the planet back to stability, this conservative part of the human race insists on holding on to and increasing their share of power and pissing on the corners of their territory to keep out the others and accumulating more shiny things to attract females like the chimps did, meanwhile dooming their own species, and the planet. It’s time to listen to the learned ones among us and take their advice and give a time out to the babblers of bullshit.

          • George Hollister July 20, 2022

            What exactly does it mean to “kill the planet”? Throughout history, and likely before, there have been many definitions.

            • Bruce McEwen July 20, 2022

              Well, George, whenever humans speak of life they mean “life as we know it” and so it ought to stand up to that frail scarecrow Reason that if a human says “kill a planet” the crazy primate probably means the likes of us and other life forms extant on this globe, despite the vaguest hints by some of the least credible specimens that there is life elsewhere—get it?

    • Stacey Warde July 21, 2022

      My comments are not so much “reminiscing” as a lament over the apparent loss of reason in our public discourse, and particularly among those who, against all sound reason, still believe Trump won Election 2020. There’s no reminiscing, in fact, when a large percentage of those 71 million voters still believe The Big Lie and who, as a recent conservative judge pronounced recently in the Jan. 6 Committee hearings, pose a “clear and present danger” to our republic.

  5. Stephen Rosenthal July 20, 2022

    Ed Notes: “ I REMEMBER when the All-Star game between the National and American leagues was a real contest with real arguments among fans and players alike about which league was better.”

    I remember when I used to watch the All-Star game. Haven’t watched in years, nor have I watched or listened to a single baseball game this year. Can’t stand what this once glorious sport has become.

  6. Harvey Reading July 20, 2022

    I’d as likely go back to film as I would be to go back to vinyl records. Have people gone completely nuts?

  7. Lee Edmundson July 21, 2022

    I strongly suggest alla ya’ll read the Washington Post story about the 1792 case Thomas Jefferson, (Soon to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) John Marshall and Patrick –Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death — Henry considered.
    It bears testament to the fact that not only is Justice Samuel Alito a terrible historian, but also that he’s a worse jurist.
    “Deeply rooted in the history and traditions of our country” is exactly what Alito skirted around in cherry-picking his view of Constitutional “originalism” regarding DOBBS V MISSISSIPPI and overturning ROE V WADE (1973).
    Pathetic. Disgusting. Should have no place in our Supreme Court’s decisions.
    Next?

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