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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, August 13, 2022

Mild Weekend | Cloudy Moon | Peachland Delays | Boonville Preschool | County Finances | Boont Bouquets | Skunk Lawsuit | Nevampera Trio | Adventist & Anthem | Donald Philbrick | Szagora Fine | Poisoned Trees | Fetzer/Bonterra | Jennie Pesula | Back-Seat Alfredo | Yesterday's Catch | Mendo Gridders | Fire Information | Trail Delusion | Gone Forever | Bobolink | Bill Passes | Marriage Advice | Rushdie Stabbed | Massive Wealth | Ukraine | Kaepernick Signed | Diamond Jim | Old Tats | Seized Records | Jail Card | Trump Besieged | Republican Spines | Gestapo Steal | Nuclear Documents | More Respectable | Gym Rats | Marco Radio | Sempe Covers

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SEASONABLE WEATHER will occur through the weekend, followed by the development of hot interior temperatures during early to middle portions of next week. In addition, scattered thunderstorm development will be possible Wednesday and Thursday. (NWS)

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Cloudy Moon (via Virginia Sharkey)

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PEACHLAND ROAD CONSTRUCTION AND DELAYS: Construction of the 2019 Storm Damage Repairs on Peachland Road, CR 128, at milepost 1.60, began August 8, 2022, and is expected to last up to 6 weeks. Extended delays should be expected (possibly up to an hour) Monday through Friday during construction. The roadway will be open on weekends and holidays. Construction signs will be posted. (Mendocino County Department of Transportation Presser)

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Waldorf inspired home based preschool near downtown Boonville. Outdoor play rain or shine, gardening, kitchen projects, handwork including sewing and embroidery, seasonal songs and stories woven throughout. Ages 2.5-5yrs old, Monday through Thursday 9 AM to 1 PM with aftercare available until 5 PM. Parenting support and wonderful community of parents included. Limited space, contact Sarah Ryan for details. 

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by Mike Geniella

A flurry of pronouncements and pontifications garnered headlines this week but brought little clarity to the true state of the County of Mendocino’s finances.

Some critics argued the county’s books are a mess, and that state intervention is needed to bring order to its record keeping. 

Supervisor Ted Williams went so far as to brashly claim the county has “three sets of books,” leaving board members unable to decipher the county’s true financial condition.

County budget experts and the former county Chief Executive Officer bashed Williams’ claims, and every one of them raised questions about he and other board members understanding of basic budget processes.

A check with outside financial analysts showed that despite all the handwringing and finger pointing, the county’s credit rating remains a solid A+.

The county’s credit rating as of August 12 is still in the top tier, according to Fitch, Moody’s, and S&P, the three recognized credit rating services for government and corporate financing in the U.S. 

So, how serious is the county’s alleged fiscal crunch and who is to be believed? 

Who knows.

County Supervisor Ted Williams last week triggered the intense local debate by convincing fellow board members to unanimously ask the state Controller to step in and review county finances.

Oddly, Williams this week was downplaying his widely publicized concerns. In a series of text exchanges focusing on his complaints, Williams wrote this week about hard-to-get updates, and incomplete reporting. Instead of answering a series questions or elaborating on his positions, Williams glibly concluded, “If there is not a problem you should be able to request a balance sheet.” 

That’s it. 

Newly elected county Auditor Chamise Cubbison, who oversees a newly combined auditor/tax collection office, fired back that Williams and other naysayers are spreading misinformation, and false claims about an alleged lack of adequate fiscal reporting.

Cubbison said there are several factors at play, including the stress of the recent board-mandated merger of county financial offices, the departure of veteran auditing and tax collecting employees, and chronic office vacancies. Cubbison said her office is struggling to meet relentless demands from county administrators and board members for updated reports on a multitude of financial issues.

Former Tax Collector Shari Schapmire, a veteran of county finances, was blunt in her assessment: “The majority of this board is ill-equipped to comprehend the financial complexities that are inherent in the operation of the county.”

Board claims also provoked a response from former CEO Carmel Angelo, now a local government management consultant in San Diego.

“If there is a lack of fiscal leadership at the county level, it lies with the board itself,” declared Angelo. Angelo said when she left office earlier this year county reserves totaled $20 million, and board members had been briefed about what was needed as the new fiscal year unfolded including the county’s ability to cover increased costs of new labor agreements.

“What is going on here?” Angelo asked.

New county Chief Executive Officer Darcie Antle was soft pedaling the so-called “crisis” by week’s end.

Instead, Antle was quoted in an interview as saying there are “areas of concern” including close to $70 million in long-term debt service and rising interest rates as the county contemplates refinancing bonds to fund a new jail. Antle said a reported $3.6 million shortfall in the county financed health plan was caused by the Covid pandemic, and high-dollar claims that followed. Before that, Antle said the county in fact had a robust reserve in the health plan.

There’s no doubt the county is facing rising costs, a flat revenue stream, and an estimated 400 unfilled county positions that are hampering service levels. 

County Supervisor John Haschak wrote this week in a letter to constituents, “Whether it is a planner, jailer, road worker, or Human Resources director, qualified applicants are hard to come by.”

“We certainly don’t want to lose any of the employees we have,” said Haschak.

So, what are local taxpayers to believe?

Are county finances seriously out of balance? Is there need for possible state oversight, and an overhaul of how the books are kept? Is this heated rhetoric the result of the demands surrounding labor negotiations? Or are these mismanagement claims baseless and undermining public confidence?

Hard to tell.

Haschak to his credit proposed a special Board of Supervisors’ meeting with Antle and the administrative staff, and Auditor Cubbison and her assistants in hopes of clearing the air.

“If we all aren’t on the same page, then we have real problems. The public deserves better,” wrote Haschak.

Indeed. The sooner a special meeting happens the better.

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Stop by and pick up a cheerful bouquet of lovingly locally grown flowers for your table this weekend.

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by Mary Callahan

The operator of the popular Skunk Train attraction in Fort Bragg has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the California Coastal Commission seeking a declaration of its independence from state and local land-use regulations.

The Aug. 9 suit is part of a power struggle that began when Mendocino Railway acquired the northern part of the abandoned Georgia Pacific lumber mill site at the Western edge of Fort Bragg.

The roughly 300-acre chunk of bluff-top property requires substantial cleanup but will ultimately redefine the coastal town when developed.

As a Class III railroad operating under the jurisdiction of the federal Surface Transportation Board, the Skunk Train’s owners claim they are exempt from building permits and other authorizations for rail-related projects, such as the conversion of the longtime roundhouse to use for equipment maintenance and repair.

Mendocino Railway President Robert Pinoli said the company has faced hostility, defamation and a frivolous state court lawsuit from the city, along with continual harassment from the Coastal Commission, resulting in the threat of hefty fines up to $11,500 a day if work on the property doesn’t stop.

“Line 1 (of the federal complaint) says it all: ‘It’s about state and local authorities’ illegal efforts to impose land-use permitting and preclearance requirements on federal railroad’s land-use activities in blatant violation of federal preemption principles,” Pinoli said.

Many around town and in city government say it’s not so simple. They question whether an operation that basically serves as a tourist attraction should legitimately hold so much power and whether that power is being applied correctly.

They fear the railroad’s status could be exploited to pursue more ambitious plans, including housing, tourist and commercial development that were part of the railway’s plans for the site until the city council’s “hostile actions” prompted it to put them on hold.

The rail company and the city had been part of the same long-term planning effort for many years after the mill’s closure in 2002 and the Skunk Train’s sale in 2004 to what’s now Mendocino Railway.

But their relationship quickly frayed in 2021, when Mendocino Railway used eminent domain to acquire 210 additional acres from the mill site — property the city had hoped eventually to buy itself. The railway’s use of eminent domain, the power to condemn property for its own use, stems from its status as a common carrier and “public utility.”

The city later sued the railway, which in turn sought to have the case thrown out. The request was denied. Two appeals, including one to the California Supreme Court, were unsuccessful.

Pinoli says the issue can only be heard in federal court, even though the state case is still pending.

The new suit, filed in U.S. District Court, Northern Division, unfolds against a landscape of controversy that includes the city’s pending lawsuit challenging the Skunk Train’s legitimacy as Class III railroad and ability to exercise public domain.

A Willits man, John Meyer, also is fighting the railway’s attempt to condemn 21 acres he owns outside town. That case is set for trial Aug. 18.

The railway also has antagonized some with its plans to make a bid for 13 miles of rail line running north from Willits, a route intended as part of the Great Redwood Trail. Mendocino Railway could still persuade the Surface Transportation Board not to bank the rail but instead keep it active so the Skunk Train can haul gravel roughly between Longvale and the Highway 101/Highway 162 junction and Willits — presumably the transfer and loading facility it wants to build on Meyers’ land.

Members of the Coastal Commission, which met in person at Fort Bragg Town Hall in July during active construction at the roundhouse and an Alder Street office site, raised questions about the boundaries of the railway’s independence.

In an Aug. 10 letter telling the railway to cease its work on the property and submit a full description of all projects underway by Aug. 26, the commission’s North Coast District Enforcement Analyst Josh Levine referenced earlier letters, including one in 2020 stating the commission was “unconvinced that Mendocino Railway’s (“MR”) railholding are necessarily still appropriately considered to be a part of the interstate rail network … and thus believe that the proposed development plans at the former Georgia-Pacific Mill site may be outside the jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board.”

Pinoli has argued that the railway also hauls freight — loads of aggregate for stream restoration, equipment, a large steel structure for folks along the line — in addition to out-and-back trips from Fort Bragg and Willits into the redwoods. (A tunnel collapse has closed the track midway between the towns.)

He says the railway understands that only rail-related projects can proceed without authorization from local and state coastal authorities.

“We would be subject to all of the jurisdictions that any other developer would be subject to,” he said. “We have no problem delineating. We know clearly where the boundaries are. These agencies have no boundaries.”

But Fort Bragg Mayor Bernie Norvell said, “A lot of it is, What is railroad and what isn’t? Do they (Mendocino Railway) decide what’s railroad and what isn’t? I just can’t imagine that because you are a railroad that you can go buy a piece of property anywhere and then go be exempt from everything.”

As for eminent domain, “Those laws were put in place in order to get the train from one side of this country to the other,” Norvell said. “That was going to happen. All those laws they put in so nobody could stop it.”

Norvell noted that the Coastal Commission’s three-day meeting at town hall occurred against the noise of construction on the Skunk Train’s property nearby.

“I don’t know if that’s arrogance or confidence or what,” he said, “but when you fly it in the face like that, you have to expect some sort of reaction.”

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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The Matts Nevampera Family, Elk, 1894

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Adventist Health and Anthem Blue Cross announced they have reached a new contract agreement that provides Anthem health plan members with continued in-network access to services at Adventist Health facilities throughout Mendocino County effective immediately.

“We are pleased to continue our long-standing partnership with Anthem Blue Cross and continue to provide excellent healthcare locally,” said Judson Howe, President, Adventist Health North Coast Network. “The new agreement aligns both organizations in our shared community health and well-being goals.”

More info here:

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for questions or concerns.

— Cici Winiger, <>, Fort Bragg

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Donald Philbrick, 1929

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The North Coast Water Board announces:

The North Coast Water Board approved a fine of $301,950 against a cultivator in Humboldt County for failing to cleanup and abate sediment discharges to Mad River tributaries, according to an order adopted at an August 4 board hearing. The fine was increased by more than 40 percent from the proposed liability.

Szagora LLC, (the “cultivator”) commercially cultivated cannabis on a 100-acre property along the Humboldt-Trinity County line between the towns of Dinsmore and Mad River.

The board found that the cultivator failed to respond to an enforcement order requiring it to maintain an access road on their property consistent with industry standards created to protect water quality and beneficial uses. North Coast Water Board staff determined the road is undersized, misaligned and contains failed stream crossings that threaten to discharge sediment to the Mad River less than a quarter mile east of the property. During a public hearing where the cultivator failed to appear, the board determined that a higher fine was justified because the cultivator was largely unresponsive to various board actions requiring corrective actions at the property.

“The cultivator made no effort to comply with water quality protection standards and this constitutes intentional misconduct,” said Gregory Giusti, the board chair. Excess sediment washing into streams can harm the migration, spawning, reproduction and early development of cold-water fish. The discharge of sediment in the Mad River watershed is especially problematic because the Mad River watershed is listed as an impaired water body under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act due to elevated sedimentation/siltation and turbidity.

The enforcement order directed the cultivator to submit a workplan to correct the road on their property by July 1, 2021, and to implement an approved plan by October 15, 2021. To date, the cultivators have not submitted a workplan or implemented any corrective actions.

“These monetary penalties do not remove the requirement for the cultivator to correct the poorly designed road and failed stream crossings on the property,” said Gregory Giusti, the board chair. “It is the board’s expectation that the cultivators implement corrective actions to protect aquatic species or else risk additional fines.”

The board has prioritized enforcement on missed deadlines in existing enforcement orders and on discharge violations associated with site development and use for cannabis cultivation without applicable permits.

The North Coast Water Board’s mission is to develop and enforce water quality objectives and implement plans that will best protect the region’s waters while recognizing our local differences in climate, topography, geology and hydrology.

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I wonder if the Water Board has heard about ranching. Have they checked all the crossings on all the ranch roads? The owners didn’t do the work after a $200,000 fine? Ok $300,000 fine will make it easier. Who put the road in? Who sold the property? Were the culverts in place prior to 2017? If so, then they’ve handled some of the highest flows we could expect. If the water board initiated the work and charged the “industry standard” for the correct sized culvert, then fine. That might cost $10,000 if they got ripped off. The ridiculously outsized fines just tempt people to walk away. It’s more than they probably have paid to date on the property. The water board sent me a $3,000 fine for a mistake on their part. I told them they might as well make it $1,000,000 at that point. When the Waterboard racks up enough charges to put a lien on the property, will they fix the culverts?

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MORE HACK & SQUIRT bordering Rancho Navarro — this area is just below some homes:

SAPLINGS also get the treatment:

AND SOME STRANGE purple-stained areas (who knows what this might be?):

(photos by Mike Kalantarian, August 12, 2022)

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For those of us fortunate to live in Mendocino County's wine country, the Fetzer name is legendary. The family story is one of vision, hard work, and creative endeavors on a number of fronts. Who can ever forget clean and crisp Sundial Chardonnay, the affordable picnic wine that sold nearly 1 million cases a year at its peak? The 11 Fetzer family members, their accomplishments, and their lifestyles are woven into the fabric of the local wine region. Now Bonterra Organics is the new corporate name of the venerable Fetzer Vineyards, according to its Chilean-based owner. The name change is probably for all the right reasons. Still, the Fetzer family saga is our story, and I doubt it will fade anytime soon. (Mike Geniella)

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Renowned Coast Beauty, Jennie Pesula, 1925

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On Wednesday, August 10, 2022 at about 8:25 PM, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a call about a vehicle parked in the 22000 block of East Side Road in Willits.

The caller advised the vehicle was occupied by a male subject in the back seat, which possible was stalking a resident in the area, not the reporting party.

Sheriff's Deputies arrived and located a green Toyota parked in the area. They contacted a male subject in the back seat, who was identified as Alfredo Nunez Aguilar, 51, of Willits.

Alfredo Aguilar

Aguilar was displaying signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance. The Deputies further noticed a handgun in plain view within reach of Aguilar and a used glass pipe, commonly used to smoke controlled substances.

Aguilar was given verbal commands to keep his hands visible and exit the vehicle. Aguilar complied and was detained.

Aguilar consented to a search and inside his pants pocket, Deputies located two live rounds of ammunition.

In a cup, Augilar was holding when contacted, Deputies located approximately 5.1 grams of a suspected controlled substances. The handgun was found to be loaded with one live round in the chamber and three more in the magazine. Also in the vehicle were binoculars, bolt cutters, wire cutters, and a game camera.

Sheriff's Deputies were advised Aguilar was prohibited by law from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Aguilar was arrested for possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person, possession of a controlled substance while armed with a loaded firearm, being under the influence of a controlled substance while armed and possession of a drug paraphernalia.

Aguilar was transported to the Mendocino County Jail where staff located approximately 0.6 grams of a controlled substance on his person. The charge of bringing a controlled substance into the jail was added to his booking charges.

Aguilar was to be held in the Mendocino County Jail in lieu of $35,000 bail.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, August 12, 2022

R.Aguilar, Attanasio, Carinio

RUBEN AGUILAR, Willits. DUI, probation revocation.

MYQ ATTANASIO, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-solicitation of lewd act, resisting, failure to appear. (Frequen flyer.)

ALAN CARINIO, Napa/Laytonville. DUI-alcohol&drugs. 

Cauckwell, Cooper, Galvan

RICHARD CAUCKWELL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)

TIMMY COOPER, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-drugs & alcohol.

VINCENT GALVAN, Fort Bragg. Trespassing, paraphernalia, parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

Guyette, Hammon, Hatcher

THOMAS GUYETTE JR., Lakeport/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent. 

SEAN HAMMON, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JAIME HATCHER, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

Lathrop, Legendre, Lincoln

JOSIE LATHROP, Ukiah. Resisting.

JULIE LEGENDRE, Willits. Probation revocation.

LUCY LINCOLN, Covelo. Stolen property, controlled substance.

Marks, Mendez, Pannell

JOHN MARKS JR., Ukiah. Domestic battery, protective order violation, county parole violation.

CODY MENDEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

JAMES PANNELL, El Cajon/Ukiah. DUI, suspended license for DUI.

Ponce, Scott, Wakeland

DAVID PONCE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Burglary, grand theft, conspiracy.

STEVEN SCOTT, Fort Bragg. Corporal injury to spouse, disobeying court order, failure to appear.

KYLE WAKELAND, Redwood Valley. Providing pot to person over 18, switchblade in vehicle, under influence.

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Mendo High Gridders, 1896

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Getting burned up is my top concern. Current fire information is not current enough. PG&E, Cal Fire, cryptically named wildfire cams — existing information is too geographically broad. During two recent fires in Lake County, smoke blew for miles, but I could find nothing online about what was happening until hours later.

I need minute by minute intelligence to get, for instance, off Glass Mountain or across Tubbs Lane or up Highway 128 to Boonville to get away from fast moving flames. Nothing provided so far is sufficient. I listen to Cal Fire’s radio, watch flightradar24, look out the window, count firetrucks and see which way they went. We need real time information in one place, not a competitive scattering of website memberships and hour old news.

Gregory Sprehn


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The air still cuts and the wind is ringing every tree leaf in The Valley, but before you know it, we will all be back at our favorite swimming holes, looking for shade trees. My favorite place to swim, as a kid, was what we called, the “Tie Chute”. At one time, this was a place on the Navarro where railroad ties were skidded down a steep bank (or chute) to the river, and then floated out to the ocean.

It was really just a small natural pool of deep water next to a huge rock outcropping. This swimming hole was on my Aunt’s Summer Resort and could be accessed by a foot path that ran right by an old Indian camp where we sometimes found arrow heads.

After swimming, in the late afternoon, we would race to “the hot sands” to warm up. This little patch of sand was slightly higher than the rest of the little beach, and for some reason, the rich white sand here became much warmer than the rest.

Our skinny wet bodies raced for this warm dune, in hope of smothering our shivers. Soon, we were dulled by the heat and barely able to move. But now an even more fundamental craving struck us: sodas. How could we possibly obtain sodas down here on the beach? Except for the main house kitchen, the resort relied exclusively on ice chipped from blocks in a big wooden ice house that sat under a huge oak tree. A portable ice chest was unthinkable, a distant luxury unfamiliar to us. It may not seem like much now, but this quandary grew in our minds to exaggerated proportions. Should we stay here in this heavenly place, half anesthetized by the hot sands, or leave for what we knew were the riches of an open soda fountain, filled with every imaginable treat?

There was case upon case of Coca Cola, root beer, cream soda, Squirt, and Orange Crush cooling in a huge commercial refrigerator up at the Resort, but that was ten minutes away, up a hot steep path. This had to be carefully considered. There was also an ice cream refrigerator up there with six black lids. Each exposed a five gallon tub of vanilla, chocolate, rocky road, or strawberry (the only flavors we knew). But it didn’t end there. There were restaurant sized carafes of chocolate, raspberry, or strawberry syrup and a whole gallon jar of walnut halves with a grinding mill for making sundae toppings.

Then there was the three-stem milk shake machine. Scoop in all the ice cream the silver chalice would hold… add syrup and milk… mount your concoction… and grind to order. All of this was free to us, and we considered it our birthright, the spoils of having a summer resort in the family. After much deliberation, we always made the same decision, and headed up to the big resort kitchen to claim our prize. We almost never returned to the beach until the next day. Instinctively, we must have felt that these two great pleasures were not meant to be combined. Still, we always pondered what it might be like to have sodas, at the beach. I still swim there from time to time, but that soda fountain? It’s gone forever.

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THE BOBOLINK was a two-masted schooner built in 1868 in Oakland, California by L. S. Allen. She was owned and operated by Asa H. Simpson, with her home port being San Francisco. The Bobolink measured 104 ft x 29 ft x 9 ft with a single deck and could carry 170 gross tons. In 1884, the ship was sold to J.B. Ford of the Mendocino Lumber Company. On March 24, 1898, the Bobolink wrecked at Kent's Point, south of Mendocino Bay, with the loss of crewman, Pete Nelson, a native of Sweden. (Kelley House Museum)

The Wreck of the Bobolink

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TODAY, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a sweeping bill that will invest more than $430 billion in climate change and extended subsidies for the Affordable Care Act. It will raise about $737 billion over the next ten years by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, adequately staffing the Internal Revenue Service after years of cuts so it can catch people cheating on their taxes, and raising the tax rate on rich corporations to require them to pay a minimum of 15%.

The vote was 220 to 207, along party lines, although the measures in the bill are widely popular. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) didn’t lose a vote, even among those Democrats concerned the measure doesn’t go far enough. For their part, Republicans have been misrepresenting the bill to justify their opposition: Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) has called it a “war on seniors” because he says it cuts Medicare spending. That’s a misleading read on a provision that is expected to save $265 billion by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

This bill is a huge deal for the country and for the Biden administration, launching us into a new era in which we take serious steps to address climate change, start to rein in the costs of healthcare, and begin again to ask the very wealthy to pay their share of the costs of running our country, and yet it has been overshadowed by today’s other big story.

After days of attacks on the FBI and the Justice Department by former president Trump and his supporters for the Monday search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property, today a federal judge unsealed the search warrant and the property receipt for that search. The warrant shows that agents were investigating whether Trump violated the Espionage Act. 

The property receipt reveals that agents reclaimed for the United States more than 26 boxes of documents, including ones labeled “classified/TS/SCI,” which means “top secret/sensitive compartmented information.” This is highly classified material that is available only to those necessary to the project, and must be discussed, used, and stored only in secure locations because its release to the public would cause “exceptionally grave” damage to our national security.

Trump’s lawyer Christina Bobb, who is also an anchor for the right-wing One America News Network, signed the property receipt.

Even before the release of the warrant, Trump had offered a number of excuses for taking documents to Mar-a-Lago and then keeping them despite a subpoena for their return. First, he blamed FBI agents for planting them on the premises, riling up his base against the FBI. That effort continued today: before the judge unsealed the documents, it appears Trump leaked them to Breitbart, which published them without blacking out the names of the agents who executed the search warrant, evidently intended to menace them. 

Then he claimed that while he had taken only a few documents, former president Barack Obama had taken 33 million. This afternoon, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) put out a statement clarifying that it took possession of all Obama’s presidential records when he left office in 2017 and that it moved about 30 million unclassified pages of them to a “NARA facility in the Chicago area where they are maintained exclusively by NARA. Additionally, NARA maintains the classified Obama Presidential records in a NARA facility in the Washington, DC, area. As required by the P[residential] R[ecords] A[ct], former President Obama has no control over where and how NARA stores the Presidential records of his administration.”

Now he and his allies are saying that he declassified all the documents he took out of the Oval Office, so the recovered documents were no longer classified. The fact they were not marked declassified, as required, was simply because White House counsel didn’t get the paperwork done. 

But there is a process for declassification; a president can’t just say something is declassified. Further, as legal analyst and former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa clarified, a president cannot unilaterally declassify nuclear secrets. 

Legal analyst Joyce White Vance said, “Even if this is true & it holds up (I’ve got significant doubts) what does it say that Trump declassified materials that put our national security in grave danger? And that the Republican Party continues to support him?”

— Heather Cox Richardson (

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AUTHOR DOWN. Salman Rushdie is on a ventilator, cannot speak, and will likely lose an eye, after the novelist was stabbed up to 15 times on Friday by a suspect police identified as a man from New Jersey 'with sympathies toward Iranian government.' Rushdie's condition was updated by his agent shortly before 7 p.m. on Friday, hours after the author was repeatedly stabbed by Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey, who rushed the stage as the author was about to give a lecture in western New York. He was arrested at the scene. 'The news is not good,' he said. 'Salman will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed; and his liver was stabbed and damaged.' Rushdie, 75, who has been the subject of death threats from the Iranian regime since the late 1980s, was attacked as he was being introduced to the stage for the CHQ 2022 event in Chautauqua, near Buffalo, on Friday morning. Law enforcement sources told The New York Post that an initial investigation suggests Matar is sympathetic to the Iranian regime and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.


A man has been taken into custody after Sir Salman Rushdie was stabbed on stage in New York state.

The 75-year-old Indian-born British author, whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was about to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution when the incident occurred.

Sir Salman was stabbed at least once in the neck and once in the abdomen, according to police officials, before he was taken to hospital where his condition remains unclear.

New York state police have named the suspected attacker as Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairview, New Jersey.

Major Eugene Staniszweski said at a press conference held in Jamestown on Friday: “Earlier today at approximately 10.47am, guest speaker Salman Rushdie, aged 75, and Ralph Henry Reese, age 73, had just arrived on stage at the institution.

“Shortly thereafter, the suspect jumped on to the stage and attacked Mr Rushdie, stabbing him at least once in the neck and at least once in the abdomen.

“Several members of the staff at the institution and audience members rushed the suspect and took him to the ground, and shortly thereafter, a trooper who was at the institution took the suspect into custody with the assistance of a Chautauqua County Sheriff’s deputy.

“Mr Rushdie was provided medical treatment by a doctor who was in the audience until EMS arrived on scene.

“Mr Rushdie was airlifted to a local trauma centre and is still currently undergoing surgery.”

Photos from the Associated Press (AP) news agency showed Sir Salman lying on his back with his legs in the air and a first responder crouched over him.

His book The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims view it as blasphemous, and its publication prompted Iran’s then-leader Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa calling for his death.

Mr Reese, from the City of Asylum organisation, a residency programme for writers living in exile under threat of persecution, suffered a minor head injury.

They were due to discuss America’s role as an asylum for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for freedom of creative expression.

A video posted to Twitter by an AP reporter in the audience showed a man dressed in black being led away from the stage.

New York governor Kathy Hochul told a press conference that a state police officer saved Sir Salman’s life.

She added: “He is alive, he has been airlifted to safety. But here is an individual who has spent decades speaking truth to power, someone who’s been out there unafraid, despite the threats that have followed him his entire adult life.”

The Chautauqua Institution, which was hosting the lecture, tweeted about the incident, writing: “We ask for your prayers for Salman Rushdie and Henry Reese, and patience as we fully focus on co-ordinating with police officials following a tragic incident at the Amphitheater today.

“All programs are canceled for the remainder of the day. Please consult the NYS Police statement.”

Its president Michael Hill said: “What we experienced at Chautauqua today is an incident unlike anything in our nearly 150-year history.

“We were founded to bring people together and community to learn and in doing so, to create solutions through action, to develop empathy and to take on intractable problems.

“Today now we’re called to take on fear and the worst of all human traits – hate.”

Jeremy Genovese, 68, from Beachwood, Ohio, a retired academic from Cleveland State University, told the PA news agency he arrived at the amphitheatre as it was being evacuated and that people were “streaming out”.

He said: “People were in shock, many people in tears. Chautauqua has always prided itself as a place where people can engage in civil dialogue.

“The amphitheatre is a large outdoor venue where people have given lectures since the late 1800s. You need a pass to access the grounds but it is not too difficult to get in.”

Sir Salman’s publisher Penguin Random House said they are “deeply shocked and appalled” by the incident.

The chief executive of Penguin Random House, Markus Dohle, said in a statement to PA: “We are deeply shocked and appalled to hear of the attack on Salman Rushdie while he was speaking at the Chautauqua Institution in New York.

“We condemn this violent public assault, and our thoughts are with Salman and his family at this distressing time.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter he was “appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend”.

He added: “Right now my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay.”

Sir Salman was previously president of PEN America, which celebrates free expression and speech, and its chief executive Suzanne Nossel was among those reacting to the attack.

She tweeted: “PEN America is reeling from shock and horror at word of a brutal, premeditated attack on our former President and stalwart ally, Salman Rushdie.”

She added: “Our thoughts and passions now lie with our dauntless Salman, wishing him a full and speedy recovery. We hope and believe fervently that his essential voice cannot and will not be silenced.”

Sir Salman began his writing career in the early 1970s with two unsuccessful books before Midnight’s Children, about the birth of India, which won the Booker Prize in 1981.

It went on to bring him worldwide fame and was named “best of the Bookers” on the literary award’s 25th anniversary.

The author lived in hiding for many years in London under a British government protection programme after Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for his death over The Satanic Verses.

Finally, in 1998, the Iranian government withdrew its support for the death sentence and Sir Salman gradually returned to public life, even appearing as himself in the 2001 hit film Bridget Jones’s Diary.

The Index on Censorship, an organisation promoting free expression, said money was raised to boost the reward for Sir Salman’s killing as recently as 2016, underscoring that the fatwa for his death still stands.

His other works include The Moor’s Last Sigh and Shalimar The Clown, which was long-listed for the Booker.

He was knighted in 2008 and earlier this year was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

* * *

Police identify Salman Rushdie attack suspect as 24-year-old from New Jersey as Hadi Matar, 24, in custody after author of Satanic Verses was stabbed at literary event in western New York

The man accused of stabbing author Salman Rushdie on a stage in western New York on Friday is a 24-year-old man from Fairview, New Jersey, according to authorities.

Police identified the suspect as Hadi Matar, 24, in a news release distributed hours after the Indian-born author’s knifing.

Many have noted that Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for Rushdie’s death in 1989, with a bounty of more than $3m being offered for anyone who killed the author.

The New York Post, citing law enforcement sources, reported that Matar was sympathetic toward the Iranian government.

Iran’s government has long since distanced itself from the Ayatollah’s decree – or “fatwa” – calling for Rushdie’s life. But anti-Rushdie sentiment has persisted.

The Chautauqua Institution’s president, Michael Hill, said his organization had made sure in advance to have law enforcement officers on hand for Rushdie’s talk. He said the stabbing was “unlike anything in [the institution’s] nearly 150-year history”.

“Be assured we will return to our pulpits and our podiums,” Hill said while offering prayers to the families of Rushdie and Reese. “We’ll continue to convene the critical conversations that can help build empathy, obviously which is now more important than ever.”


* * *

* * *

UKRAINE, Friday, August 12, 2022

Cities in eastern Ukraine and the area around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant came under renewed Russian shelling overnight, local officials said, prompting the U.N. to sound the alarm and demand a demilitarized zone around the facility.

U.K. intelligence has offered some analysis on the explosions that rocked Russia’s Saky airbase in Crimea, which Kyiv has not publicly taken credit for.

Anonymous Ukrainian officials cited by Western news outlets, however, have claimed Ukrainian responsibility for the attack, prompting President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to openly reprimand those who are leaking their country’s military tactics.

Ukraine’s military destroyed the last remaining bridge over the Dnipro River in order to deny Russian forces the opportunity to advance with their equipment.

“Today, the Armed Forces of Ukraine targeted the fourth and last bridge that connected the right and left banks of the Dnipro river,” wrote Serhii Hlan, a member of Ukraine’s local government in Kherson, on Facebook. “That is, the Russians no longer have any opportunity to fully transfer their equipment to the right bank.”

Last month, British intelligence said it had indications that Russian forces were scrambling to create makeshift bridges to ferry militarized vehicles and equipment across the river.

— Amanda Macias, CNN

* * *

BREAKING: Cleveland #Browns announce signing of controversial QB Colin Kaepernick to a 1 year deal, per Adam Schefter. Sources say the deal is worth $5 million plus “starter bonuses” if he wins the QB job over presumed starter Jacoby Brissett.

* * *


166 YEARS AGO, ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 12, 1856, famous Gilded-Age Irish-American businessman, financier, philanthropist, & noted gourmand James Buchanan “Diamond Jim” Brady (1856-1917), was born in New York City.

Born into a modest household, Brady worked his way up from bellhop & courier. After gaining employment in the New York Central Railroad system, he became the chief assistant to the general manager by the age of 21. At age 23, Brady parlayed his knowledge of the rail-transport industry & its officials to become a highly successful salesman for Manning, Maxwell, & Moore, a railroad-supply company. In 1899, he became a sales agent for the Pressed Steel Car Company. By shrewd investments in the stock market, Brady accumulated wealth estimated at $12 million.

Known for his penchant for jewels, especially diamonds, Brady amassed a collection of more than $2 million worth of precious stones & jewelry (equivalent to approximately $60 million today).

The 1915 photograph depicts Diamond Jim Brady at around the age of 59.

Diamond Jim Brady’s enormous appetite was as legendary as his wealth, although modern experts believe that it was greatly exaggerated. According to legend, it was not unusual for Brady to eat enough food for ten people at one sitting. Restaurateur George Rector (1878-1947), owner of the famously exclusive Rector’s restaurant on Broadway in New York City, once described Diamond Jim Brady as “the best 25 customers I ever had.”

Brady was said to have routinely begun his day with a hefty breakfast of eggs, breads, muffins, grits, pancakes, steaks, chops, fried potatoes, & pitchers of orange juice. He would then stave off mid-morning hunger by downing two or three dozen clams or oysters, only to repair to Delmonico’s or Rector’s for a lunch that consisted of more oysters & clams, lobsters, crabs, a joint of beef, pie, & more orange juice. In mid-afternoon, came a snack of more seafood -- followed by dinner: three dozen large Lynnhaven oysters, a dozen crabs, six or seven lobsters, terrapin soup, & a steak, with a dessert of a tray full of pastries & two pounds of bonbons. Later in the evening came an après-theatre supper of a few game birds & more orange juice.

Diamond Jim Brady was known for his long-time relationship with noted actress & singer Lillian Russell (1860-1922). It is said that her eating habits were a perfect match for his.

In 1895, Diamond Jim Brady became the first person in New York City to own an automobile.

On April 13, 1917, Brady died in his sleep at the age of 60 from the effects of a heart attack. Brady never married, & after his death his estate was distributed to many institutions, most notably New York Hospital. When his body was examined, doctors discovered that his stomach was six times larger than normal.

* * *

* * *


WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI recovered documents that were labeled “top secret” from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, according to court papers released Friday after a federal judge unsealed the warrant that authorized the unprecedented search this week.

A property receipt unsealed by the court shows FBI agents took 11 sets of classified records from the estate during a search on Monday.

The seized records include some marked not only top secret but also “sensitive compartmented information,” a special category meant to protect the nation's most important secrets that if revealed publicly could cause “exceptionally grave” damage to U.S. interests. The court records did not provide specific details about information the documents might contain.

The warrant says federal agents were investigating potential violations of three different federal laws, including one that governs gathering, transmitting or losing defense information under the Espionage Act. The other statutes address the concealment, mutilation or removal of records and the destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations.

The property receipt also shows federal agents collected other potential presidential records, including the order pardoning Trump ally Roger Stone, a “leatherbound box of documents,” and information about the “President of France.” A binder of photos, a handwritten note, “miscellaneous secret documents” and “miscellaneous confidential documents” were also seized in the search.

Trump’s attorney, Christina Bobb, who was present at Mar-a-Lago when the agents conducted the search, signed two property receipts — one that was two pages long and another that is a single page.

In a statement earlier Friday, Trump claimed that the documents seized by agents were “all declassified,” and argued that he would have turned them over if the Justice Department had asked.

While incumbent presidents generally have the power to declassify information, that authority lapses as soon as they leave office and it was not clear if the documents in question have ever been declassified. And even an incumbent's powers to declassify may be limited regarding secrets dealing with nuclear weapons programs, covert operations and operatives, and some data shared with allies.

Trump kept possession of the documents despite multiple requests from agencies, including the National Archives, to turn over presidential records in accordance with federal law.

The Mar-a-Lago search warrant served Monday was part of an ongoing Justice Department investigation into the discovery of classified White House records recovered from Trump’s home earlier this year. The Archives had asked the department to investigate after saying 15 boxes of records it retrieved from the estate included classified records.

It remains unclear whether the Justice Department moved forward with the warrant simply as a means to retrieve the records or as part of a wider criminal investigation. Multiple federal laws govern the handling of classified information, with both criminal and civil penalties, as well as presidential records.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, the same judge who signed off on the search warrant, unsealed the warrant and property receipt Friday at the request of the Justice Department after Attorney General Merrick Garland declared there was “substantial public interest in this matter,” and Trump said he backed the warrant’s “immediate” release. The Justice Department told the judge Friday afternoon that Trump’s lawyers did not object to the proposal to make it public.

In messages posted on his Truth Social platform, Trump wrote, “Not only will I not oppose the release of documents ... I am going a step further by ENCOURAGING the immediate release of those documents.”

The Justice Department's request was striking because such warrants traditionally remain sealed during a pending investigation. But the department appeared to recognize that its silence since the search had created a vacuum for bitter verbal attacks by Trump and his allies, and felt that the public was entitled to the FBI’s side about what prompted Monday’s action at the former president’s home.

“The public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing,” said a motion filed in federal court in Florida on Thursday.

The information was released as( Trump prepares for another run for the White House. During his 2016 campaign, he pointed frequently to an FBI investigation into his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, over whether she mishandled classified information.

To obtain a search warrant, federal authorities must prove to a judge that probable cause exists to believe that a crime was committed. Garland said he personally approved the warrant, a decision he said the department did not take lightly given that standard practice where possible is to select less intrusive tactics than a search of one's home.

In this case, according to a person familiar with the matter, there was substantial engagement with Trump and his representatives prior to the search warrant, including a subpoena for records and a visit to Mar-a-Lago a couple of months ago by FBI and Justice Department officials to assess how the documents were stored. The person was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

FBI and Justice Department policy cautions against discussing ongoing investigations, both to protect the integrity of the inquiries and to avoid unfairly maligning someone who is being scrutinized but winds up ultimately not being charged. That’s especially true in the case of search warrants, where supporting court papers are routinely kept secret as the investigation proceeds.

In this case, though, Garland cited the fact that Trump himself had provided the first public confirmation of the FBI search, “as is his right." The Justice Department, in its new filing, also said that disclosing information about it now would not harm the court's functions.

The Justice Department under Garland has been leery of public statements about politically charged investigations, or of confirming to what extent it might be investigating Trump as part of a broader probe into the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The department has tried to avoid being seen as injecting itself into presidential politics, as happened in 2016 when then-FBI Director James Comey made an unusual public statement announcing that the FBI would not be recommending criminal charges against Clinton regarding her handling of email — and when he spoke up again just over a week before the election to notify Congress that the probe was being effectively reopened because of the discovery of new emails.

The attorney general also condemned verbal attacks on FBI and Justice Department personnel over the search. Some Republican allies of Trump have called for the FBI to be defunded. Large numbers of Trump supporters have called for the warrant to be released hoping they it will show that Trump was unfairly targeted.

“I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked,” Garland said of federal law enforcement agents, calling them “dedicated, patriotic public servants.”

Earlier Thursday, an armed man wearing body armor tried to breach a security screening area at an FBI field office in Ohio, then fled and was later killed after a standoff with law enforcement. A law enforcement official briefed on the matter identified the man as Ricky Shiffer and said he is believed to have been in Washington in the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol and may have been there on the day it took place.

(Daily Mail)

* * *

* * *

TRUMP BESIEGED by investigations from all sides: An FBI raid on White House documents, a New York tax probe, a Georgia grand jury on stolen elections, January 6 and even his CFO in court for tax fraud

by Rob Crilly

When FBI agents raided former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort on Monday it triggered outrage among his supporters, who accused the Department of Justice of persecuting the former president.

Trump himself accused authorities of a 'witch hunt,' and of trying to ensure that he could never run for president again.

Even Republicans with no great love of Trump said it was a dangerous and unprecedented step. 

'This is a very dangerous line they've crossed,' said New York GOP donor Eric Levine. 

'And unless they come away with proof that he was plotting with Putin the invasion of New Hampshire or something, this heavy-handed manner of obtaining information on an ex-president is quite breathtaking.'

Sources said the raid was part of an investigation into whether Trump took classified documents home with him after leaving the White House, and even that they may have included nuclear secrets.

And it signified that Attorney General Merrick Garland and his Department of Justice now have the former president squarely in their sights.

Whether or not they have the evidence - or the political will - to charge a former president is another question.

But it is not the only legal jeopardy facing Trump or his business empire.

Two criminal investigations are under way. One is into allegations of interference in the 2020 election and another into possible financial crimes. 

At the same time, a Congressional inquiry is weighing whether or not to recommend criminal charges related to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol last year.

Trump was acquitted last year by the Senate of 'inciting an insurrection' for the way he fired up his supporters and spread false claims about the 2020 election being stolen from him. 

Republicans said he was vindicated. 

But that was not the end of the matter.

The House has established a committee to sift through the events leading up to the riot, and has presented its evidence in a series of blockbuster hearings during the summer.

It has included testimony from Trump's own aides that he knew he had lost the election, despite public claims to the contrary, and that he was told some of his supporters were armed, yet still demand they be allowed to march on Congress to protest certification of Joe Biden's election victory.

The committee has no legal power to prosecute Trump. But it could recommend that the Department of Justice press charges.

Possible indictments could include obstructing the vote count in Congress or conspiring to defraud the US.

Presidential records

Trump aides were seen carrying boxes of files to Marine One when Trump flew out of the White House for the final time last year.

But presidents are meant to hand over their documents to the National Archive at the the end of their term under the requirements of the Presidential Records Act.

In February, the National Archive said some 15 boxes of government material, which should have been turned over, had been found at Mar-a-Lago.

Negotiations continued over materials that Trump had allegedly kept, but the quiet discussions exploded into public on Monday when the former president confirmed that his club had been searched by the FBI.

Attorney General Merrick Garland defended the operation and said he had signed off the search.

'Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy,' he said. 

'Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor Under my watch, that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing.'

New York tax probe

A New York judge on Friday ordered the Trump Organization and its financial chief to stand trial in October on criminal tax fraud charges. 

Prosecutors believe that Allen Weisselberg and Trump's company conspired to give off-the-books compensation to senior executives for 15 years. 

That included $1.7 million, including rent, car payments and school tuition, for Weisselberg, who is accused of defrauding New York out of $900,000 in unpaid taxes.

He and the company deny any wrongdoing. 

At the same time, Trump faces a civil case being pursued by New York Attorney General Letitia James. She is looking into allegations that Trump's company misled lenders and tax authorities about asset values, by raising and lowering valuations depending on whether it was for tax or investment purposes.

She questioned Trump under oath on Wednesday. But he pleaded the Fifth Amendment, repeating the phrase 'same answer', more than 400 times.

The two investigations are separate but James' civil investigation could lead to a lawsuit and fines.

Georgia grand jury 

Trump's lawyers and allies are in the firing line in Georgia, where the former president and key aides allegedly tried to overturn the state's 2020 election result.

Leaked emails and phone transcripts show how they put pressure on local officials including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to stop Georgia's 15 electoral college votes going to Biden.

In a January 2021 phone call, Trump even called on Raffensperger to 'find' him the 10,000 votes he needed to beat the Democratic candidate. 

A grand jury has been convened to sift the claims and decide whether there is enough evidence to bring charges. 

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis more than three dozen individuals to appear before the jury. They include Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and Trump lawyer, and Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator.

* * *

* * *


by James Kunstler

To America’s political Left, serving its masters in the runaway deep state, reality itself must be portrayed as “baseless,” as in nothing to see here, folks. Is it any wonder, then, that half the country has gone mental. The reality they don’t want you to see is that the intel-and-surveillance agencies of our Republic have taken on a rogue life of their own as a dominant “fourth branch of government,” and that some time ago they embarked on a crime spree against anyone threatening their operations.

That would include especially target number one: Donald Trump. For a masterful explication of how this amazing clusterfuck developed, I commend you to The Conservative Treehouse website where the writer who styles himself as “Sundance” put together a four-part report on how the original sin of RussiaGate metastasized into the stage-four cancer of institutional necrosis that culminated in this week’s raid on Mar-a-Lago.

The gist is: it turns out that the president does not have sole authority, in practice, to declassify and release government documents. With the rise of the security state, many new procedures have been erected within that massive labyrinth to prevent it or slow-walk it. The most effective has been to make the president himself a target of, or a material witness in, drawn-out investigations. That was the exact purpose of the Mueller exercise. Any exculpatory documents released by Mr. Trump — for instance, the complete unredacted text exchanges of FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — could have been used to hang an obstruction of justice charge on the president.

Mr. Trump adroitly avoided that trap, and many other legal pitfalls the deep state laid for him, and might have won reelection but for the well-organized ballot fraud of 2020. But the epic blunders of “Joe Biden” are giving Mr. Trump, and the movement behind him, a pretty good shot at routing the incumbent regime. Doing so, first in the 2022 midterms and then in the 2024 presidential election, portends a now quite visible effort coming to dismantle that reckless, unelected “fourth branch” of government. So, the intel-and-surveillance agencies are fighting for their lives — and the actual humans in charge must be keenly aware of their criminal liabilities.

Despite all attempts to disable him in office, Mr. Trump, as president, got to see an awful lot of classified material, including all the evidence of Hillary Clinton’s Russia Collusion hoax, abetted by the FBI, the DOJ, CIA, and DOD, plus all the lawless shenanigans that took place in the FISA court. A lot of it was assembled when, late in the game, Mr. Trump was finally able to appoint Directors of National Intelligence he could trust — Ric Grenell and then John Ratcliffe — who wrested many documents out of the foot-dragging agencies. Further maneuvers by artful Attorney General William Barr — the appointment of John Durham as Special Counsel and his drawn-out investigations — kept Mr. Trump from releasing any declassified RussiaGate material ever since. The catch was: he still had bales of that evidence in his possession among the personal papers he took with him from the White House.

Now, it also happens that in March of this year Mr. Trump filed a lawsuit in Florida against Hillary Clinton and many entities and persons who abetted the construction of RussiaGate. The person assigned to preside over the case was magistrate judge Bruce Reinhart, a one-time DOJ attorney who had been involved in the 2007 Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking prosecution, and who then mysteriously switched sides in mid-litigation and signed on as a lawyer for Epstein. Epstein was soon let off of serious charges with a wrist-slap, amid suspicions that he was an intel agency operative who required protection. And, of course, now Mr. Epstein is dead, offed under highly mysterious circumstances while in federal custody.

Bruce Reinhart was involved in the 2013 government defense of IRS officer Lois Lerner, who never answered for targeting conservative organizations for tax punishment and “losing” thousands of emails pertaining to the cases. Bruce Reinhart also left a long record of social media posts denouncing Mr. Trump for one thing or another. Yet, he remained as presiding judge over the Trump lawsuit against Hillary, et al., in Florida since March and then suddenly recused himself on June 22 of this year. Naturally, many of the aforesaid unclassified documents in Mr. Trump’s possession would be introduced as evidence in an effort to prove that Hillary Clinton sought to defame and defraud him over the confected Russia Collusion story.

And so it happened that Bruce Reinhart was just the right person for the FBI to seek a warrant from, though the choice looks ludicrous now. And hence, the desperate raid on Mar-a-Lago to get that trove of evidence, especially with an election looming that could transform congress and lead next year to a raft of investigations into the corrupt intel-and-surveillance deep state. Of course, it’s laughable to imagine there aren’t copies of all that material in other places, so it’s not as though the FBI can make the evidence just disappear. But the apparent object of the move is to hastily convict Mr. Trump in a DC federal district court on any Mickey Mouse charge involving his dispute with the National Archives that would, theoretically, prevent him from running again in 2024.

One must wonder if Mr. Trump did not catch the FBI (and DOJ) in a “rope-a-dope” operation of his own. He’d just come off a successful primary season in which over 90 percent of his endorsees won their races. The midterm elections look increasingly dire for the Democrats, the Party of Chaos, as led by the transcendentally incompetent “Joe Biden.” In June, Mr. Trump had met at Mar-a-Lago with FBI agents and produced many documents requested under a subpoena. Were the FBI and DOJ alarmed by what Mr. Trump handed over then, and did it suggest there was plenty of other material, possibly more damaging, in the former president’s collection headed into court? The momentous lawsuit against Hillary — which gets no coverage in the Left agit-prop news media — is not over.

In any case, the FBI and DOJ ended up embarrassing themselves with the August 8 Mar-a-Lago raid, an act as ham-fisted and tone-deaf as any in the nauseating annals of “Joe Biden’s” sinister regime. They outed themselves as an American Gestapo, dedicated chiefly to persecuting the ruling regime’s political enemies, and they probably succeeded in galvanizing even sturdier opposition to be expressed at the polling places this November, at great peril to the agencies’ officers, and perhaps even the agencies’ continued existence.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

* * *

* * *


The FBI was a more respectable law enforcement agency when it was led by a pug faced man in a dress who let gangsters pay for his vacations. Fire all the bastards in the alphabet agencies, cancel their pensions, and if they complain, string them up!

* * *

Paul Whiteman, Babe Ruth, and John Philip Sousa at the gym (1927).

* * *


Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is about 5:30pm. Or send it whenever it's done and I'll read it next week. You have all the time in the world, so why not just do it now?

And/or you can phone during the show and read your work in your own voice. I'll be in the clean, well-lighted back room of KNYO's storefront studio at 325 N. Franklin, where the number is 1-(707) 962-3022. If you can't control yourself from swearing, wait until after 10pm, so not to agitate the weasels.

I think Douglas Wayne Coulter might show up tonight with his mini-size well-traveled guitar and Woodie-Guthrie-up the place. He's not as mobile as he used to be, but it might happen.

Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via (That's the regular link to listen to KNYO in real time.) (Or just go to KNYO.organd click /Listen/, whatever works best on your gizmo. And the schedule is there for KNYO's many other terrific shows.)

You can always go to and hear last week's MOTA show. By Saturday night the recording of tonight's show will also be there.

Besides all that, there you'll find a glittering hoard of golden coins of whimsical wisdom to dive in, and swim around like a porpoise, and throw it all up in the air and let it hit you on the head until showtime, or anytime, such as:

"Every day Doggo would parade the high-walled streets with Quivven the Golden Flame perched on his back." "All about her the skulls shrieked madly." "Even though they throw me into the Mamertine dungeon yet will I not put my legs in those absurd things thou callest trousers, Flaccus declared stoutly." "You signed certain papers today, Lioski, accused the liquid horror." And 3,000 more pages of this terrific stuff.

From the days before the insurance companies ruined the fun for everybody. I immediately see a way to win, but you'd have to do teamwork with at least one other person, and I'm told, yes, sorry, that was against the rules. Keep your hands to yourself, Joey.

And the joy of corn.

— Marco McClean,,

* * *

SOME COVER ART by Jean-Jacques Sempe (1932-2022)


  1. Jim Mastin August 13, 2022

    In response to Greg Sprehn’s need, and indeed everyone’s need for immediate fire intelligence, I suggest using the Watch Duty app (

  2. Kirk Vodopals August 13, 2022

    Maybe Trump and McConnell should have not blocked Merrick Garlands nomination to the supreme Court?

    • Michael Koepf August 13, 2022

      Donald Trump was living the high life with Melania in the Trump tower when Mitch “the turtle” McConnell held up Garland “the sneaky weak’s” nomination during the Obama administration. Trump had nothing to do with it at all.

      • Kirk Vodopals August 13, 2022

        Uh huh. But Trump wants all the credit for Gorsuch and Coney Barrett? Puleeez

  3. Marmon August 13, 2022

    Kari Lake Lays Out Plan to Keep Phoenix From Becoming San Francisco: “Get Treatment, Go To Jail, or Get Going”


  4. Bruce McEwen August 13, 2022

    JHK’s fabrication unravels into a yarn in light of HCR’s tightly knitted assessment of the past week’s drama between the forces of Dullness and Wit.

    • Chuck Dunbar August 13, 2022

      Nailed that one, Mr. Bruce

  5. Betsy Cawn August 13, 2022

    I question Mr. Kunstler’s usage of the word “transcendentally” to describe the President (as in “led by the transcendentally incompetent “Joe Biden.”). In point of fact, the term itself was the subject of Emanuel Kant’s discourse on “The Power of Language: Philosophy and Society: Kant’s Distinction between the Transcendent and the Transcendental” (

    “Transcendental principles are those concerned with our mode of cognition of empirical objects, insofar as this mode of cognition is possible a priori. Thus, transcendental principles do not transcend or transgress the limits of possible experience, but rather make knowledge of experience possible.” The question of Mr. Biden’s incompetence can only be answered by examining the evidence supporting the assertion, which is not provided in Mr. Kunstler’s condemnation — like most of his churlish aspersions.

  6. Chuck Dunbar August 13, 2022


    What a sweet end to today’s AVA coverage—the several New Yorker cover illustrations by artist Jean-Jacques Sempé, whose are graced, over many years, more than 100 covers for this journal. Thank you, AVA.

    From the New York Times obituary today for this artist:

    “It was timeless storytelling without words, a kind of pictorial haiku, the droll whimsies of an illustrator who never attended art school but who, for a half-century at the drawing board, had bypassed life’s meanspirited realities for a mythical world of mischievous schoolboys, daydreamers, nosy neighbors, holidaymakers and swooning lovers.”

    The obituary ends on this note:

    “Sempé found his métier in the past. ‘I love to draw street scenes, and that means that you have to draw cars, but I hate drawing modern cars,’ he told the British newspaper The Independent in 2006. ‘They are very fast and very efficient, but they have no charm.’
    ‘For me,’ he added, ‘the modern world lacks charm. I am not saying that things were always better in the past. They weren’t. But things looked better, or at least more interesting, to me.’ ”

    • Chuck Dunbar August 13, 2022

      should be “whose art graced” in first sentence

  7. Marmon August 13, 2022


    Law Enforcement executes Search Warrant on Home of Ex Police Lieutenant with Willits PD


  8. Stephen Rosenthal August 13, 2022

    As of this moment Kaepernick signing with the Browns is a rumor. Nothing has been officially confirmed. The Browns would be foolish to sign him – he’s 36, hasn’t played in 6 years and, while flashy on occasion, wasn’t very good when he did play. Jimmy G would be a much better fit if they’re dissatisfied with their current backups, albeit at a greater financial cost than Kaepernick. But the Cleveland Browns are a shitshow, so anything they do is no longer surprising.

    • Bruce Anderson August 13, 2022

      I’m hoping he does sign and does well. I think the collusive NFL ban on him in his prime playing days was and is an outrage.

      • David Moore August 13, 2022

        Yes it was.

        • Irv Sutley August 14, 2022

          I hope Colin Kaepernick is signed, plays a season with the Browns, and traded to the 49ers for his last season when he bows out and wins the Mayorship of San Francisco.

      • Stephen Rosenthal August 14, 2022

        My comment has nothing to do with his banishment from the NFL. I agree it was odious and uncalled for, collusion by rich white men to put a black player in his place. His offense: not honoring the ridiculous pregame ritual of the Star Spangled Banner. However, football is played on the field, not in the boardroom, and taking whatever emotions anyone may feel out of the assessment, Kaepernick was an average quarterback at best, especially after Harbaugh was fired (an egregious mistake). Kaepernick didn’t walk away empty-handed though; reliable reports are he settled for between $5-8 million.

  9. Marmon August 13, 2022

    Joe Biden’s tyranny will not stand.


    • David Moore August 13, 2022

      Oh dear Heavenly Father, that’s a scary comment, what did Joe do?
      Are you in jail? Is someone in your family in jail? Was it based on nothing and no actual crime was committed?

      It must be an egregious over stepping of the government for you to post in such a way. I know you’re not a snowflake. You’d never overreact to something that say, Hillary was subjected to for far less. You’re a tough, motorcycle riding guy who’d never go to bat for an elite, New Yorker, who gives zero shits about you or me, or anyone who can’t do him a favor. You’re way too smart to fall for such obvious bull shit, right?

  10. Marmon August 13, 2022


    Twitter is in trouble, everyone is going over to Truth Social after Monday’s raid. Also, Trump is pulling in donations that are like astronomical. Thank you DOJ, FBI, and the media for making MAGA go nuclear.

    I’m proud to call myself a “Truth Social Worker”


    • David Moore August 13, 2022

      Wow, it’s great that he’s still making money off of all of you poor or maybe middle class people! He’s a “billionaire” and he needs all of the money he can get from you, the mostly poor folks who support him. It all really makes sense, down the line. When you somehow profit from all of this.

      Good luck!

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