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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022

Warming | Moonshine | Woods Buses | Cerfs | Grange Booth | Buckhorn Crew | Wildlife | Mathes Memorial | Candidate Forums | Bragg 1949 | County Notes | Indian Tub | DA Shame | Parkers | Paint Out | Dusty Photographer | Eagles Hall | Halloween Party | Ed Notes | Police Reports | Favorite Books | Random Thoughts | Yesterday's Catch | Lemonade Stand | Smoky Summers | Vol. 26 | Status Quo | No Outlet | Israel Money | Hank & Bob | Coloring Popeye | UFW Bill | Ken Kesey | Farmworker Bill | Kit House | Plekhanov | Rodney & Elvis | Civil Libertarians | SOS | Arms Dealers | Stained Greenhouse | Legacy Media | Spider Got | Ukraine | War Map | Priorities | Big Buddha

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DRY WEATHER and warmer interior daytime temperatures are forecast today through this weekend. (NWS)

TODAY IS THE AUTUMNAL EQUINOX, one of just two days each year when daylight hours throughout the world are nearly equal. This animation video shows how the terminator line shifts throughout the year.

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photo by Judy Valadao

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SOME GOOD NEWS: BUS STOP AT THE WOODS

This information is for those of you who live along Little River Airport Rd. or any of its connecting roads. Back in April the Mendocino Transit Authority (MTA) established a bus stop in front of the Woods Clubhouse. It is part of their Route 60/Coastal schedule. Currently the MTA bus stops at the Woods four times a day, Monday through Friday. There are two southbound stops at 8:25AM and 4:35PM. You can use the morning run to get to the Anderson Valley and Ukiah. Using the two northbound stops at 9:15AM and 5:10PM, you can get to Mendocino, Caspar and Fort Bragg. At your request the bus will take you along Franklin Street down to Denny’s. There is a promised mid-day stop at the Woods when the MTA hires enough drivers. Check the MTA website for a full list of schedules. If you want to use this bus service the Woods Cooperative Association (WCA) has authorized limited parking. They request that you park in the area next to the Lodge which is west of the clubhouse. There is no overnight parking at this time. This is a great way to avoid high gas prices. You can shop, make doctor appointments, hike the coast, lower your carbon footprint and even get to work if you have flexible hours. Each bus has two bike racks if you want to get around that way.

Ronnie James

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The Cerf Family, Ukiah, 1895

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THE COUNTY APPLE FAIR in Boonville is upon us this weekend. Unfortunately the Freaky Fruit Wacky Vegetable display and competition WON'T be happening this year. We intend to bring it back in all it's glory next year. But if you've got that most wild, incredible, bizarre peach or gourd or carrot and want to share, we bet you can find a place to display it. 

Meanwhile, as usual, the AV Grange has a booth in the AG building. Our theme this year is: LETTUCE TURNIP the BEET (get it?), and as usual we are looking for 75 varieties of fruits and vegetables to display. If you have some garden or orchard produce to add, especially slightly different varieties, it doesn't have to be beautiful. 6pm Thurs, Sept 22 is the time to find us in the AG building. It's free to come in if you are helping. 

See you there, lets have a great fair. 

(Captain Rainbow)

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The Buckhorn crew, Boonville, 2012

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PETIT TETON MONTHLY FARM REPORT - AUGUST 2022

Wild Farming

Our farming includes a community of humans and a community of the original inhabitants. We often work together with, around, and in spite of the wild. After 18 years of enhancing the landscape with watering holes, ponds, more trees both native and fruiting, vegetable crops, and farm animals, the wild folks have proliferated and diversified much to our delight, at least most of the time! This year has been especially interesting.

There are two big hazelnut trees planted 14 yrs ago in front of our hot tub. They had a prolific set of nuts this year which we were looking forward to harvesting until one day before the nuts were ready for picking we noticed some broken shells on the walkway and under the trees. Next day there were more and we became suspicious. So did the dogs one of which spent hours sniffing around the area and staring into the trees. One night, in the enthusiasm of the chase, they even broke a part of the hot tub. OK, we thought, mice! Mouse traps caught nothing. Well, maybe a pack rat. We set up the small live trap to catch it. Meanwhile the piles of nut shells and nibbled off branches were becoming higher. After a number of days of trying different placements, the trap caught a very cute gray rat with a very long tail. And after one full month of trapping we are now at 28 catches of all ages and sizes. Needless to say we managed a meager harvest of 1lb of hazelnuts in lieu of the 20 we were expecting from the trees, and we’re still catching the rats. One moral of the story is to never “expect” anything when farming; the wild life is wily and often smarter than we.

And yes, we drove each and every rat down the road to a lovely pullout near a stream and are threatening to put up a RAT CROSSING sign at the spot to keep them safe!

A male pilliated woodpecker (the kind that “sings” like Woody the Woodpecker in the cartoons - pa PA puk, pa-PA-puk) recently took ownership of a fence line of grapes that were just ripening. We quickly threw some bird netting over the whole thing and for several days he continued to try to peck through it, throwing angry glances at any of us who passed by but barely budging.

Rattlesnakes are an important part our farm. They perform mouse, gopher and rat control and are natives of this land. They themselves are kept in control by the King snakes. Recently a pair of timber rattlers took up residence under a cargo container up the hill from the kitchen which is used to store the jars we use for canning. The kitchen crew became squeamish when they went for jars and found the snakes curled up half in the sun under the front door sill. We don’t kill anything unless it’s right at the house and threatening us so we offered to get the jars for them. The snakes seem to have moved on now.

Our most recent and ongoing contest is with a male acorn woodpecker who insists on attempting to drill holes in our two large dining room windows. He starts rat-a-tatting at first light and would continue all day if we let him. We’ve put up a big hawk picture, wrapped the nearby 4x4 redwood posts in cardboard to discourage his drilling and have tried dingle dangles, lights and air guns. Nothing deters him. It rained yesterday so we didn’t see him, but he’s back today. The windows are still in one piece.

Over 90% of the property is left to the wild and we know from game cameras that there are mountain lions, wild pig and coyotes on the top, and a bear has been sighted once. But over the years we have live-caught on the farm 19 bobcats, 2 pack rats, a family of feral cats we took to the shelter, raccoons, possums who don’t want to leave the cage, and skunks which no one wants to deal with. We took some on rides and let others go nearby. They are all beautiful and are equal partners in our community keeping us on our toes and in the real.

Hang in and take care,

Yours, Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Krieg

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CANDIDATE FORUMS

The League of Women Voters of Mendocino County is pleased to present two candidate forums during the first week of October.

On Wednesday, October 5, candidates for the Mendocino Coast Health Care District Board will present their views and answer questions. All candidates have agreed to participate. The forum will be held on Zoom, from 6-7:30 pm, and will be moderated by a League member; questions from the audience will be taken via the Chat function.

On Friday, October 7, Albion-Little River Fire Protection District Board members will participate in a forum held on Zoom, from 6-7pm. All candidates have agreed to participate; a League member will moderate.

Again, audience questions will be via Chat.

Zoom links for both meetings can be found on the League's website under the Calendar tab.

For more information, call 707-937-4952.

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Fort Bragg, 1949

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COUNTY NOTES

by Mark Scaramella

IT’S NOW PRETTY OBVIOUS, that no matter how much good service you may provide to Mendocino County, if you say one negative or critical thing, no matter how right, no matter how minor, you are officially on the outs, snubbed by the petty little insider club that Official Mendo has become, a club with a very high self-regard. Take John McCowen, who upon retiring after twelve years of pretty good work as a Supervisor not only didn’t get his standard Whereas-Proclamation of non-accomplishments, but was wrongly accused of stealing county property. The most recent example was last March when long-serving County Treasurer-Tax Collector Shari Schapmire retired after telling the Board she couldn't work with them anymore and declaring the consolidation of her office with the Auditor to be wrong-headed and insufficiently planned. 

The County’s Retirement System Board, however, partially filled the whereas gap by issuing their own (little noticed) proclamation “Honoring Shari Schapmire For Her Service To The Mendocino County Employees Retirement Association And The Board Of Retirement.”

“Shari’s exceptional knowledge and understanding of finance and investments, and true appreciation for Mendocino County, has been a valued addition to the board,” said the proclamation. “Shari has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to serving as trustee, exhibiting the highest principles of collegiality and respect for MCERA, it’s Board, staff and members. Shari has served the County of Mendocino for 40 years and looks forward to retirement. She plans to enjoy her favorite pastimes including traveling, spending time with her family and grandchildren, and to sip a margarita or two. Shari has promised her husband Todd that she will take on more household chores, even vacuuming, and will learn to navigate travel on her own when she retires.”

After several more whereases, the Retirement Board concluded: “The Mendocino County Board of Retirement honors and applauds Shari Schapmire for her years of service and expresses its sincerest appreciation. Shari is wished continued success in her retirement and all future endeavors.” 

But nothing from the Supervisors. Not one single whereas.

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MENDO’S ALLEGEDLY “EXPANDING” pot bureaucracy is moving north to the nearly abandoned Willits Courthouse. Schedule to be announced, but probably some time this year. How the pot bureacracy can be “expanding” to the point they need the empty space at the old Willits “Justice Center” while the pot “industry” has collapsed and nobody is even applying for their punitive “permits” anymore was left unasked.

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THE UKIAH COURTHOUSE is scheduled to be abandoned in four years when the Judges and their legal minions move a few blocks east down Perkins Street to a new concrete bunker over by the (abandoned) railroad tracks, newly renamed the Great Redwood Hobo Trail. The Supervisors discussed what to do with the current downtown courthouse on Tuesday without much substance. General Services Honcho Janelle Rau said the building is in decent shape, that the courtrooms in the upper floors are seldom used, and the DA’s staff is kinda cramped in their basement offices. Nobody wondered why the new courthouse needs nine courtrooms if the courtrooms in the top floor of the current courthouse are seldom used. One possibility mentioned in passing was to buy the current courthouse from the State — apparently the “state,” whoever that is (unofficially, preliminarily), has said they would want some money from Mendo for it — but nobody knows the cost. They casually considered the option of moving the DA’s office across the street (cattycorner) to the Deadbeat Dad building which is underutilized. That move would give the DA more space, but wouldn’t do much to address the problem of still being a few blocks from the new Judicial bunker. Nobody knew where to move the Deadbeat Dad office if that happened. The DA wasn’t on hand for the meeting and so far, nobody has asked the DA what he thinks about moving to the Deadbeat Dad building. 

And nobody remembered that back when this judicial boondoggle was first announced more than a decade ago, the nice lady from the San Francisco court admin office promised the Supervisors that the Courts would reimburse Mendo for the impact of the move on the County. 

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Indian Tub, Jackson State Forest

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WHY ISN'T MURRAY HERE?

Editor,

Wow! I will try to be articulate and respectful, but I have had a really hard time keeping my thoughts to myself about Mr. Rapist with a Badge. The double standards in the judicial system in beautiful Mendocino County are showing once again.

My name is Walter Kristopher ‘Ludicrous’ Miller. I am a career criminal. I am doing 183 years to life for firing a weapon out of a moving vehicle at a pursuing deputy sheriff. I still think God Mr. Brewster was not injured. I am not writing this to complain or whine. I am right here where I'm supposed to be.

What confuses me is why isn't Mr. Murray my neighbor? Why isn't his rapist having to register as a sex offender? How in the hell under the right circumstances can he be a cop again?

In none of my three strikes was anyone physically injured. I did murder a Crown Victoria that Mr. Brewster was driving. But this man Murray who had chevrons on his sleeves, using his position, his power and if I had read right his pistol, raped and abused for women that we know about. Who knows how many never came forward? And he basically gets a slap on the wrist? District Attorney Eyster, where is the justice? Do those poor women and what was done to them even matter? What about what they went through and what they still probably go through at night when they are scared to death unable to sleep? 

I am a violent criminal, but every woman I've ever been with told me how safe they felt with me. They knew that nothing or nobody would hurt them when I was around. I was the one they call before they called 911. It just makes me sick that because Murray was an officer he is shown leniency and, Oh well, those ladies will get over it.

I hope this comes back to bite you in the ass the next election year, District Attorney Eyster. It's no wonder you didn't show your face at his last court date. 

And Mr. Murray, I hope your luck runs out. You are disgusting and a bad person. You took advantage of those you swore to protect. There are so many willing females and your limp dick had to really hurt those ladies? How does it feel to be lower than the man who was found guilty of trying to shoot a sheriff? You really make us all sick.

District Attorney Eyster: you should be ashamed.

Sincerely,

Walter Kris Miller

Salinas Valley State Prison

Soledad

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Dr. Cecil Parker and Wife Evelyn, 1963

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MENDOCINO ART CENTER'S MENDOCINO OPEN PAINT OUT (MOPO)

A Plein Air Festival Thru September 25 — Free to the public

The Mendocino Art Center welcomes more than 60 oil, pastel, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media artists, from throughout California, as well as Illinois and Pennsylvania.

More information & detailed schedule: https://www.mendocinoartcenter.org/mopo

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SKUNK TRAIN’S NEW BOSS to save historic Finnish lodge as residence, possible future hall use

by Frank Hartzell

Built in 1914, this gigantic hall was once Socialist Hall and Fort Bragg Labor Temple before becoming Eagles Hall in 1960. The Eagles are now defunct and the hall was sold to Stathi Pappas and his family this week. He plans to live in it and fix it up.

When the general manager of the Skunk Train was taking a walk in his new hometown of Fort Bragg, he saw something that thrilled his imagination as an archeologist and history buff — the old Eagles Hall.

So he bought it. Efstathios Pappas and his wife Miranda Pappas have purchased the building at 210 N. Corry Street. The family plans to live in it while conducting needed extensive repairs. He hopes to offer it someday for hall use.

The deal closed at the end of last week, county files show. No sales price was indicated for the recent transaction. Pappas, who goes by “Stathi,” took over as general manager of the California Western Railroad and the Skunk Train in April, running the local operation. The Sierra Railroad operation is the corporate structure above the California Western/Skunk. 

The hall was built in 1914 by the local chapter of the Socialist Party of America, according to the book The Nelson Brothers, which examines Finnish immigrant history in Northern California in the early 1900s. The building was designed by Arvid Nelson, who was active in the Finnish and Socialist communities in Fort Bragg at that time. Materials were paid for by “comrade loans” and constructed by volunteer labor. The Finns named it Toveri Tup (Comrades Hall). English speakers called it “the Labor Temple.” For more than 100 years the hall hosted plays, dances, concerts, speakers and special events. Most recently, it was the venue for the Gloriana Musical Theater company.

The historic hall on Corry Street in Fort Bragg has two stories, a grand stage, a basement, attic and cupola on top. It harkens to a day when Fort Bragg was full of benevolent lodges and full membership rolls.

During World War II, it became the International Workers Order, Redwood Lodge No. 3893, and in 1946, the Fort Bragg Labor Temple for trade unions. In 1960 it was purchased by the Eagles organization. The local branch of the Eagles disbanded in early 2022, and the hall went back to the national Eagles organization, which put it up for sale. Longtime member Vi Holquist said the local chapter of the Eagles once had as many as 300 members but had fallen to half a dozen.

“Nobody wanted to be an Eagle anymore,” Holquist said.

Some did.

Lee Edmundson was one of eight Eagles members at the meeting in January 2022 when the decision was made to dissolve the lodge. Wanting to get Gloriana theater members in as Eagles and expand the local ownership, Edmundson voted against dissolution. Only Eagles members were allowed to attend the meeting and vote, which he said was 4-4. Gloriana members who wanted to make a pitch could not enter by lodge rules. After the tie vote (4-4), the receiver had to make the decision as to whether to sell the building and send the money to the national chapter or keep it going. A receiver is a neutral trustee appointed by a court to make decisions in estate matters where there is a dispute.

“He could have gone either way based on what he had but he went with selling the building,” Edmundson said.

Edmundson said the city and others involved made a big mistake by not proactively protecting the structure.

“The city of Fort Bragg fumbled this a bit. This should have been on the National Registry of Historic Places 20-25 years ago.” 

Edmundson was pleased to hear that a man who loved history was buying the building to fix up and someday offer for hall use again, but he’ll be watching.

“I hope he is telling the truth,” Edmunson said. He said he had seen too many deals start out with big promises only to end up with a demolition permit application.

Various county records showed a sale price of approximately $475,000.

The building had been used for the past 13 years by the Gloriana Musical Theater for performances. There was also the Fort Bragg Rotary Club’s annual beer festival and other community events. The news that the Eagles were selling the building devastated the theater company, which now has nowhere to play; the hall also contained their props and other material. The company removed most of their things but now are looking for storage. Gloriana attempted to buy the building with a community fundraiser, but the effort fell short.

After he took possession, Pappas found interesting items inside like VHS and reel-to-reel tapes of old shows; he says that he wants to get these to the right place.

The building is one of the largest in Fort Bragg at more than 7500 square feet. It was always an amazing site for newcomers and old Fort Braggers alike, a place unrivaled except by Federal FDR stimulus built Cotton Auditorium for large community gatherings. It was also clear to all those who used the building that it desperately needed renovation.

“I turned the corner and said this is huge! My goodness, what is this building?” Pappas said. “I saw a For Sale sign on it and started doing some research on it and got even more interested. At first, I thought this is a pipe dream. I’d never be able to pull something like this off. Then I talked to my realtor and I was like, `Well, what would it actually take?’ The answer started looking very reasonable. Then I thought why couldn’t we rehabilitate and preserve this important structure? That’s when the dream began.”

The purchase by Pappas was from Fort Bragg Eagles Aerie Number 833 and receiver Devere Dunham, county files show. 

Pappas, 43, will now undertake the considerable job of fixing up the grand hall made of old growth redwood, with its famed madrone floors, luxurious stage and odd little basement. The rafters are made of old growth heartwood not available today. The Eagles had initially hoped to sell the historic hall about twice what they got for it but inspection reports detailing all the problems and repairs needed dropped the value. The hall has a caretaker house on its south side as living space and an upstairs apartment which once housed a dance studio. 

In this submitted photo, Stathi Pappas stands in the forest with his steam train, the Chiggen, in the background. Since he has taken over as general manager at the Skunk Railroad, there have been several concerts where local musicians played at the new venue out where the tracks now end, just before the entrance to the old now collapsed tunnel.

“It will be an adventure, sure. You live your life and do things that matter in terms of your values. That hall has a unique history from the time of the Finnish Benevolent Association and on to the Eagles. All of that fits into my interest in history through archeology,” Pappas said.

“My heart goes out to these historical artifacts. Sometimes an artifact speaks to you and says I need help,” he said.

What was Fort Bragg like in that “Our Town” time?

In those early days, socialism had not become a bad word. Fishermen and loggers even participated in unions. The town was nearly self-sufficient, with prosperous merchants who sold shoes, lumber, furniture and more joining numerous lodges and community organizations that did everything from provide scholarships to supporting the elderly, sick, veterans, and sponsoring baseball teams. The town turned out more than 1000 people for baseball games between rival lumber mills, schools, churches and lodges. There were traveling teams, women’s teams and of course, the high school squad. In those days, the Skunk railroad could take people to Willits and on to San Francisco.

Pappas looks at a building like his new purchase and sees the mostly forgotten but important times that built the present and the future.

“In 1914 here they were putting up this major building and staking their role in this community with this building. These people played their roles and lived their lives with determination and seriousness, and you’re looking at a building like that and it really takes us back to a time most people don’t otherwise think much about,” he said.

“These are stories that perish once the artifacts are gone. The historical record is good, but you have to go looking for it. Here you turn the corner and see this building and it’s huge and it makes an impression nothing in writing ever can.”

There were rumors in town that the building was going to be demolished by out-of-town developers who would put three houses on it. 

“I found it really amusing when people were saying L.A. investors were buying it for housing. Nothing could be further from the truth. I bought it for my family’s use. We will live there.”

Before coming to Fort Bragg, Pappas worked in places like Washington state and Colorado in management of railroads and railroad museums. Pappas earned his doctorate at the University of Nevada, Reno in Anthropology and Historic Archaeology. At Michigan Technological University he earned a Masters of Science in industrial archaeology. He said the university, located on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, was surrounded by Finnish history and logging history, making the purchase seem like his world coming full-circle. He got his undergraduate degree in anthropology from UC Berkeley.

Pappas is the same man who about 15 years ago personally purchased and fixed up the steam train now operating on the Skunk Train Tracks, affectionately called the Chiggen. It is his personal property, not property of the railroad. The name Chiggen comes from the fact that the old steam train advertised a roadside chicken stand in the Stockton area for three decades. Pappas played on the chicken locomotive as a kid in the Stockton area and returned home to fix it up. He said it would have been a million-dollar job had they not fixed it up themselves, machining most of the parts. Built in 1909 by H. K. Porter, the Santa Cruz Portland Cement Co. #2, the Chiggen may be on loan next summer in Fort Bragg. It can also be rented for special events.

Skunk Train employees practice a performance done on the recently arrived steam train, property of general manager Stathi Pappas

And to answer the question that most Fort Bragg residents want to answer about the new steam train — What about that weird whistle? 

He said that he restored the train and whistle back to how it was when delivered in 1909. He said the more familiar chime whistles only came later. The train has been on loan to The Skunk.

There has been a major effort to keep the Eagles and the Hall going for more than two decades. In 1997 the hall was transferred into private hands, transferred to Nick Lopedota Sr. and Patty Lopedota, with no sale price indicated. A year later it returned to Eagles ownership, county files show. The saving of Eagles Hall comes at the same time a new mural is being created celebrating the Finnish community in the heart of Fort Bragg’s downtown. Lauren Sinnott, a noted local artist and former mayor of Point Arena, is including the building in her mural, which is on the wall across the alley from the Music Merchant on the south side of Franklin in the heart of downtown. 

Fort Bragg was famously founded by three ethnic groups that once had their own sections of town — the Portuguese (often from the Azores), the Italians and the Finns.

“The mural will depict one strand of Fort Bragg’s interwoven history: Finnish immigration during the late 1800s and early 1900s,” Sinnott wrote in an email. “These immigrants brought a strong tradition of cooperation for the common good. Along with providing basic necessities for their families and community, they wove a social network with plays, presentations, music and dance, organizing for causes, and enjoying refreshments together after a cleansing sauna,” Sinnott wrote. The mural will also depict the Finnish cooperative grocery store, which is now fittingly an ethnic Hispanic food market. The Fort Bragg Consumer Cooperative was founded in 1923 by a group of Finnish sawmill workers and woodsmen, lasting almost 60 years before closing. Kalevala Hall built in 1895, originally the Finnish Temperance Hall, is still in use at 430 E. Redwood — now as Lion’s Hall.

The Lions and Rotary clubs are two of the remaining active clubs from the glory days of the lodges. At one time, the Redmen, the Moose, the Eagles, the Grange and many more played major roles in local sustainability, life and keeping money and charity local.

A mistake often made by those without knowledge of the Mendocino past is crediting the eccentricities of the Finns to the hippies, who came nearly a century later. The language Boontling came from 19th century Anderson Valley settlers, many who were Finns, not 1970s stoners, as tourists may say. (The origins are debated, and it may have originated from children of the early Boonville residents trying to keep secrets from parents.) Oddball housing in Albion originated as often with Finnish and other freewheeling loggers as much as back-to-the-landers of the 20th century. Communes were established by the Finns and were the model for the later hippie communes. Sinnott’s mural also depicts Sointula Commune, which means “Place of Harmony” and was a 636-acre piece of logged, extremely hilly land 8 miles SE of Fort Bragg, jointly purchased by four Finnish families, who each had their own home, but shared barns, buildings, livestock, saunas and celebration. The mural also depicts a sauna, with friends and families enjoying refreshments after their traditional steam bath.

This is what the mural being painted this week on a Franklin Street wall in downtown Fort Bragg by artist Lauren Sinnott should look like when complete. It features Fort Bragg’s Finnish history, including Lions Hall, and the former Eagles Hall, now owned by Stathi Pappas.

The now defunct Eagles lodge, Fort Bragg Aerie No. 833, was organized on November 10, 1904, according to an article from the Fort Bragg Historical Society published in the Advocate-News. However, without a hall of its own, meetings and social events were held in other meeting places. A 40th anniversary dance was held in the I.O.O.F. Hall on Main Street (now the Masons Hall). In 1959, they began using the building, officially recording ownership in 1960.

“We had dart tournaments, conventions, dinners and dances,” Holquist said. The Eagles had more than 300 members: “until the Georgia Pacific went out of business, we lost a bunch down to 38 on the roster. There were six of us that tried to keep it open,” she said.

She and fellow Eagles supporter Lyle Koski remember donations to the cancer society, senior center, food bank, library, toys for tots, the Children’s Fund and Eagles specific causes like diabetes prevention and treatment.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles started 1898 in Seattle. Within 10 years there were more than 1,800 Aeries in the United States, Canada and Mexico with a membership exceeding 350,000. Free health insurance and paid leave from work injuries was once their effort.

Gloriana is still looking for a performance hall but is planning on opening a place for classes, karaoke, open mike events and such in the Boatyard shopping center.

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ED NOTES

THESE POINTLESS blurb-like “stories” are common in the Chron and the Press Democrat, the two papers I read every day. Used to be that the junior-most reporter would be dispatched to ferret out some details of the nightly mayhem. If he couldn't find any, he would file a story with a lot of fluff, but interesting fluff, on why he came up empty. 

OF COURSE given the givens of our imploding society, a nosy reporter could get him or herself a mortuary toe tag just for asking. There's still an open case of the murder of a retired cop in Oakland who was shot protecting a television news crew from getting robbed. All this is unnerving, of course, but even more unnerving, an experienced criminal of my broad acquaintance told me a couple of years ago that some gangs require at least one murder as an initiation fee, “and they can be of anyone.”

MIGHT BE TIME to stock up on iodine pills, what with Putin rattling his nukes as his failed attempt to colonize Ukraine goes so wrong that he's instituting a draft and reinforcing his frontline troops with convicts, promising them their freedom if they fight.

A LITERARY look at what may be coming up if Putin gets shoved all the way out of Ukraine, is Cormac McCarthy's ‘The Road,’ just about the bleakest fiction you'll read.

SOME OF US will recall that the Reverend Jim Jones brought his flock west to Mendo from Indiana because he'd read an article in Esquire that claimed the Emerald Triangle was somehow less susceptible to nuclear radiation drift than any other area of the United States. The article, which I have a vague recollection of reading wayyyyyyyyy back when that mag was a must-read, included a lot of dubious wind charts and weather stats allegedly supporting the thesis of the NorthCoast being out of nuke-drift.

“Come on out, everyone! The times are finally back to being precedented!”

JONAH RASKIN suggested favorite foods as a follow-up to favorite books. Why not? I said. Lists are fun, and JR proceeded to list his:

Not in order of importance and not all at once, please.

  • Hot dog and sauerkraut with mustard.
  • All beef hamburger, rare, with fries and ketchup.
  • French onion soup.
  • Foie gras and fuck the duck and the geese.
  • Dim sum in a genuine Chinese restaurant.
  • Ramen, increasingly a favorite.
  • Pizza, of course, always popular with me, excellent at Arizmendi in the City and elsewhere.
  • A Reuben on rye. 
  • Tarragon roast chicken with roasted carrots and mashed potatoes.
  • Garlic mussels steamed in white wine with fries on the side.
  • Grilled cheese sandwich 
  • Spaghetti with one meatball and red sauce, a dish introduced to me by the song ‘One Meatball’ by singer Josh White. 
  • Butter croissant with coffee.

THE GUY EATS GOOD, but some of these edibles must be special occasions. Foie gras? I wouldn't recognize it if it appeared on my plate. Anyway, thinking about it, and writing as a food-as-fuel guy lucky to be married to an excellent cook, I most fondly remember the fuel I consumed as a kid, and never quite got over hankering for — chokers (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with lettuce if avail}; Eskimo pies, tamale pie, lamb chops, which went for about a dime a pound in 1950; deep fried chicken; mom's potato salad; Baby Ruth bars, none of which except for lamb chops I've eaten since.

AS A CHRONOLOGICAL ADULT, and in no particular order:

  • pot roast
  • ground beef sandwich on sour roll at the old Joe's at the foot of Taylor Street, SF
  • BLT's
  • lemon meringue pie my wife makes with real lemons
  • apple pie, home made
  • Beef and egg clay pot like they made at Woy Loey Goey's on Jackson in '67
  • Any kind of curry
  • Indian fry bread
  • East Indian roti
  • spaghetti
  • Homemade rum raisin ice cream made by my niece, Frances
  • bulk granola
  • Mex food and the donuts from the Redwood Drive-In, Boonville
  • chicken pot pie
  • pan-fried t-bone steak 

* * *

NOTE TO THE DEFENDANT COMMUNITY OF MENDOCINO COUNTY: Driving Around In The Middle Of The Night With A Tail Light Out And With A Load Of Dope And A Large Amount Of Cash Enhances The Odds That You Will Encounter Law Enforcement

On Monday, September 12, 2022 at 11:30 P.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were on routine patrol when they observed a vehicle traveling southbound on East Road in Redwood Valley.

The Deputies observed vehicle code violations prior to the vehicle pulling into a dirt turn out with the driver then exiting the vehicle. The Deputies contacted the driver and identified him as being Thomas Stricklin, 46, of Nice. The Deputies learned Stricklin did not have a valid driver license and the registration on the vehicle was expired.

Thomas Stricklin

The Deputies obtained consent to search Stricklin's vehicle. During the search of Stricklin's vehicle, the Deputies located a commercial quantity of suspected methamphetamine, a commercial quantity of marijuana and a large amount of US currency.

The Deputies continued their investigation and developed probable cause to believe Stricklin possessed the suspected methamphetamine and marijuana for sale and that he transported the illicit drugs with the purpose of selling the substances.

Stricklin's vehicle was towed due to the fact it was blocking a driveway.

Stricklin was arrested for Felony Possession of Controlled Substance for Sale, Felony Transportation of Controlled Substance for Sale, Misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana for Sale, Misdemeanor Transportation of Marijuana for Sale, Felony Possession Controlled Substance.

Stricklin was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

========================

SURE 'NUF, HERE'S BRITNEY AT 12:45AM

On Monday, September 19, 2022 at 12:42 A.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies stopped a vehicle in the 1000 block of South State Street in Ukiah.

As the Deputies were conducting the traffic stop, the driver of the vehicle advised the vehicle belonged to Brittney Bouley, 35, of Willits. A short time later, Bouley approached the Deputies on foot in an attempt to check on the driver of the vehicle.

Brittney Bouley

A warrants check revealed there was an active Mendocino County felony warrant for Bouley's arrest.

Bouley was arrested for the felony warrant and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where she was held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

========================

DANGEROUS PERV, NO BAIL

On Sunday, September 18, 2022 at 11:48 P.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a call of illegal camping in the 200 block of Ford Road in Ukiah.

The Deputies contacted Kenneth Dewitt, 41, of Ukiah, inside a motor home at that location. The Deputies spoke to Dewitt for a short time before being dispatched to a priority call for service.

Kenneth Dewitt

While the Deputies were responding to the priority call for service, Sheriff's Office Dispatch advised them that Dewitt was a sex registrant. Dispatch further advised Dewitt was out of compliance with his registration mandates.

The Deputies completed the call for service and returned to the Ford Road area where they contacted Dewitt again.

The Deputies questioned Dewitt and developed probable cause to believe he had failed to meet the deadline for his annual registration date and the 30-day registration date as a transient.

The Deputies also learned Dewitt was on active CDC Parole. They contacted his Parole Officer, who authorized a parole hold for Dewitt.

The Deputies arrested Dewitt for Sex Offender Fail To Register, Sex Offender Fail To Register Transient) and Violation of Parole.

Dewitt was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was held on a No Bail status.

* * *

FRED GARDNER on Favorite Books:

I'm with you on John R. Tunis, Dos Passos, Bardacke, Chekhov and others. My Graham Greene of choice is Travels With My Aunt and Shakespeare play Measure for Measure. I was thinking “How could he leave out Annie Proulx?” till you got to bat again. I'm with Betsy Cawn on Fowler and Goffman. Did you ever read Christina Stead? Did anybody mention Pynchon? Gore Vidal? Zora Neale Hurston? Francine Prose? Charles Willeford? Upton Sinclair? Robert Stone? It's just a big wide fictional world and we're all damn lucky to be readers!

Here's a sleeper: Leaves in the Wind by Gwyn Thomas, a Welshman. Little, Brown 1949, republished by Monthly Review in the '60s. 

By cosmic coincidence I had just taken a picture of Lincecum and Benito Santiago loosening up over my cannabis-infused bookshelf. 

* * *

MIND CRAWL

Identifying with that which Is Prior to Consciousness

Awoke early and watched random thoughts crawl through the mind, before moving the body in the direction of the showers at Building Bridges homeless shelter in Ukiah, California. This segued to bottom lining the trash & recycling chore, which then prompted a trip to the nearby laundromat. Returned to the homeless shelter with the laundry squeaky clean, put on a cap and sunglasses, and headed out for a breakfast burrito and cup o' coffee at the Ukiah Co-op. Next stop: the Ukiah Public Library. Right this moment am on a public computer at precisely 5:00PM PDT, fully conscious in the here and now. I am ready to go forth on the planet earth and destroy the demonic and return this world to righteousness. For the Jivan Mukta there isn't anything else to do, other than drop the body-mind complex altogether and go up.

Playing three lotteries twice weekly and accepting contributions on the occasion of the September 28th birthday at PayPal.me/craiglouisstehr.

That's it! There isn't anything else to say.

Craig Louis Stehr, craiglouisstehr@gmail.com, Telephone Messages: (707) 234-3270

* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, September 21, 2022

Joaquin, Kemp, Lavenduskey, Swearinger

LEE JOAQUIN, Covelo. DUI-alcohol&drugs.

REXFORD KEMP II, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Stolen vehicle.

RITA LAVENDUSKEY, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent Flyer)

FELIX SWEARINGER, Covelo. Assault with firearm, wilfull cruelty to child, criminal threats, controlled substance, ammo possession by prohibited person.

* * *

* * *

WE’RE LOSING THE LUXURY OF A SUMMER SPENT OUTDOORS

by Emma Pattee

On Labor Day, my husband and I stood at the sliding glass door to our hotel room balcony, staring out at smoky skies.

We were at Lake Chelan in Washington, on our first big post-pandemic vacation, with our 3-year-old and 6-week-old baby. Overnight, the wind had brought wildfire smoke from fires in Idaho and Montana. I woke up with a sore throat. I slid open the balcony door and the smell of a bonfire came rushing in. The lake was barely visible through a curtain of haze that blocked the sun and turned everything sepia-colored.

“We can’t let the kids go outdoors,” I said.

“We can’t keep them indoors,” my husband replied.

Next to us, our toddler banged his shovel against his sand bucket.

I looked down at my phone to check the air quality index: AQI 122. Above 50 is considered “acceptable.” Above 100 is considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups” like children and the elderly. But there is no amount of wildfire smoke that is safe to breathe. Smoke is made up of tiny particles that burrow deep into your lungs and pass into your bloodstream. Scientists don’t know what will happen to our children, who are growing up exposed to wildfire smoke summer after summer after summer, for weeks at a time.

This is the new summer on the West Coast: checking the air quality before going on a hike, getting anxious on a windy day because it means the fires are going to get worse. Scheduling camping trips, swimming lessons and soccer camp and then canceling them as smoke interferes. Entire Saturdays spent inside, trying to entertain my rambunctious toddler and fussy baby. For children growing up in the American West, it isn’t a question of what you want to do outdoors; it’s a question of whether you can even go outside.

And it will only get worse. Climate scientists estimate that the frequency of large wildfires could increase by over 30 percent in the next 30 years and over 50 percent in the next 80 years, thanks in large part to drought and extreme heat caused by climate change. Over 40 percent of Americans live in areas with hazardous air quality levels, and that number is growing with each fire season. Twenty-four of the top 25 worst cities with particulate matter pollution are on the West Coast.

My husband and I grew up in Oregon and spent our summers camping, playing pickup basketball and biking with our friends. When I got pregnant, we talked about the things we wanted to do with our kids: camping in the Wallowas, biking down the Oregon coast, kayaking in the Columbia River and hiking on Mount Hood. All parents do this — superimpose their own childhoods onto their children’s — and parents are wrong. Their kids like soccer instead of skiing, or want to play video games instead of the piano.

But for kids growing up in the West right now, summer is becoming a season of hazards, spent at least partly indoors. Even meeting our most ambitious climate goals will not change the fact that our children will live through increasingly smoky summers in which the days they can safely play outside will become fewer and fewer. Instead of buying kayaks, I should buy them an indoor play gym. Stop stocking up on sunscreen; stock up on games and toys instead. Screen time is no longer something to avoid; it’s now a salvation.

Back in our hotel room, we eventually decide we will stay inside until the AQI drops below 100. I turn on “Paw Patrol” and my husband goes to the vending machine to buy soda and snacks.

Every 15 minutes, my son wanders over to the sliding glass door, looking out at the lake. “I have a perfect great idea,” he says, pointing at a flamingo pool float drifting forlornly in the haze. “Let’s go ride the mingo.”

“Not yet, buddy,” I say, for the hundredth time. “The air is dirty.”

It feels like admitting defeat to stop planning camping trips, or plan to host an indoor birthday party in August. I keep grasping at the summer I wish they could have: entire days playing in the woods, covered in dirt, carefree.

I am guilty of denial, too. When the air quality finally improves during our lake vacation, and we venture outside to the sandy beach, I stare up at the grimy sky and try to convince myself that this is just a one-off. Surely the smoke will fully clear tomorrow. Besides, how bad can one smoky day be for a child’s lungs?

The next morning, my toddler wakes us up with a wet, hacking cough. The smoke hasn’t cleared. We pack our bags and drive home early.

A few days later, heavy winds brought wildfire smoke to our home in northeast Portland, filling the house with the smell of stale smoke. The sky turned from gray to dirty orange, the sun a dim orb in the sky, like a streetlight that somebody forgot to turn off.

I shut all the windows and canceled our plans. Another summer day spent indoors.

(Emma Pattee is a writer, climate journalist and native Oregonian.)

* * *

* * *

PEOPLE IGNORE POLITICS because they perceive (correctly) that neither of their country's two mainstream political factions cares about them, and because they perceive (incorrectly) that those two mainstream political factions are the only possible framework for political action.

A tremendous amount of perception management has gone in to getting people to buy into the absurd delusion that not only can status quo politics be used to change the status quo, but that it's the only way to change the status quo. People stop ignoring politics when they learn there's a whole meaningful reality underneath that delusion.

That's when the apolitical majority becomes political. When their eyes open to the fact that (A) things are fucked, (B) the political system is rigged to make sure they stay fucked, and (C) that the political system is irrelevant because we vastly outnumber those who run it.

— Caitlin Johnstone

* * *

* * *

JOURNALIST SLAIN

Editor: 

The Israeli government whitewashed an investigation into the death of a Palestinian journalist and American/Palestinian citizen, Shireen Abu Akleh. While agreeing now (unlike earlier) that a member of its military shot and killed her, the Israeli government refused to accept responsibility for Akleh’s death. The government claimed that she was shot in a crossfire with Palestinians, but an earlier investigation by the New York Times showed that no armed Palestinian were close to her at the time of the shooting.

According to USA Facts, since 2000 over 70% of American aid to Israel has gone to its military. USA Facts says that annual U.S. assistance supports 20% of Israel’s military budget. The U.S. is largely silent on the uses of these funds by Israelis. Yet, according to UNESCO, 21 journalists have died in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories since 2002.

My question is: why should American taxpayers sponsor the continuation of an Israeli occupation that supports the killing of journalists? Isn’t it time to consider ending all American taxpayer subsidies to Israel, unless it agrees to treat Palestinians with dignity, including putting an end to killing Palestinian journalists?

Steven M. Delue

Petaluma

* * *

HANK & BOB

Henry Miller: "You know, Bob Dylan came to my house ten years ago. Joan Baez and her sister brought him and some friends to see me. But Dylan was snooty and arrogant. He was a kid then, of course. And he didn't like me. He thought I was talking down to him, which I wasn't. I was trying to be sociable. But we just couldn't get together. But I know that he is a character, probably a genius, and I really should listen to his work. I'm full of prejudices like everybody else. My kids love him and the Beatles and all the rest."

Bob Dylan: "I like Henry Miller. I think he's the greatest American writer."

* * *

POPEYE IN COLOR

Royal Navy stoker with 21 years service nicknamed “Popeye”, photographed on board the HMS Rodney in September 1940. A stoker was responsible for anything from the propulsion systems to hydraulics, electrical, and firefighting systems. The HMS Rodney played a major role in the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck in mid-1941. Credit: @jecinci

Gaining over 49,000 likes, this colorization became the 3rd most liked photo of the HistoryColored Instagram in 2021. Click the link below to see the other top 15 most popular history colorized photos of 2021!

historycolored.com/photos/9538/top-15-most-popular-history-colorized-photos-of-2021/

* * *

NEWSOM FEELS THE HEAT ON FARM LABOR MEASURE

by Dan Walters

Gov. Gavin Newsom will soon write a new chapter in California’s decades-long conflict over the unionization of workers in the state’s huge agricultural industry — and what he does could affect his obvious quest to become a national political figure.

Assembly Bill 2183, a measure that would make it easier for the much-troubled United Farm Workers Union to organize farmers’ employees is sitting on his desk, passed by overwhelming margins by Newsom’s fellow Democrats in the Legislature.

The union’s drive for using a card check process or mailed ballots took on urgency when the U.S. Supreme Court declared in 2020 that it had no right to enter farmers’ property to talk with their workers, exacerbating the UFW’s chronic inability to make significant organizational inroads.

That failure, union leaders say, is due to farmers’ undermining organizational elections, which now are conducted by secret ballot. However, the UFW has also suffered from its own organization shortcomings as journalist Miriam Pawel chronicled in her authoritative book, “The Union of Their Dreams.”

Newsom vetoed an earlier version of the bill last year, saying, it “contains various inconsistencies and procedural issues related to the collection and review of ballot cards,” and adding, “Significant changes to California’s well-defined agricultural labor laws must be carefully crafted to ensure that both agricultural workers’ intent to be represented and the right to collectively bargain is protected, and the state can faithfully enforce those fundamental rights.”

This year’s version contained some changes that the UFW and its allies hoped would placate Newsom, but just before final votes last month, Newsom once again indicated his opposition. “We cannot support an untested mail-in election process that lacks critical provisions to protect the integrity of the election,” Newsom spokesperson Erin Mellon said.

Newsom’s unusual preemptive declaration may have been an indirect request that the Legislature not send him a second measure, but it didn’t deter legislators from acting with 55 votes in the Assembly and 26 in the Senate.

If anything, it spurred the UFW to redouble its public campaign, including a highly publicized week-long march to the Capitol from Delano, site of a 1965 grape worker strike that led to formation of the UFW and in 1975 to passage of the state’s Agricultural Labor Relations Act.

The UFW also formally joined the California Labor Federation after former Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez took the umbrella organization’s helm and obtained expressions of support from national political figures such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and, this week, President Joe Biden.

“In the state with the largest population of farmworkers, the least we owe them is an easier path to make a free and fair choice to organize a union,” Biden said on Labor Day.

All of this puts Newsom in a political pickle.

If he signs the bill, he will not only be reversing himself on a high-profile issue — never good optics for an ambitious politician — but could be providing critics with ammunition should he someday be seeking presidential votes in agricultural states that are critical in White House contests, such as Iowa, Ohio and Florida.

However, if he vetoes the measure, it could make it much more difficult for him to gain support in the Democratic Party’s progressive/activist wing, to which unionization of workers in agriculture and other low-wage industries is a holy grail. Delores Huerta, the UFW’s most revered figure, has predicted that Newsom would sign the bill because he’ll want union support for a presidential campaign.

A veto would also mean that he would probably see another UFW bill next year and every other year of his governorship.

(CalMatters.org)

* * *

KEN KESEY, 1935-2001

* * *

SIGN FARMWORKER BILL

Editor: 

Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted, “Hey (DeSantis) clearly you are … busy playing politics with people’s lives.” Newsom is also playing politics with people’s lives and refusing (so far) to sign Assembly Bill 2183, the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act. This proposed law would allow farmworkers to vote in union elections away from supervisors’ interference.

Current law permits growers to manipulate the union organizing process and intimidate farmworkers by requiring that elections be held at the workplace, rather than by mail in ballot. Please contact Newsom and insist that he sign AB 2183.

Then, after he signs AB 2183 into law, when he debates Gov. Ron DeSantis, he will be able to say he did the right thing for California’s farmworkers.

Mark Mills-Thysen

Sebastopol

* * *

Check out this fabulous craftsman kit home in the 1934 sears catalog.

Ps. 1934 was the height of the great depression. People were lucky to have a roof over their heads. They were not concerned over a second bathroom or a half bath.

* * *

WHAT I CAN ONLY CALL my "infatuation" with Plekhanov disappeared as if by magic. Never, never in my life had I regarded any other man with such sincere respect, indeed veneration. Never had I stood before any man so humbly, and never before had I been so brutally "kicked." That's what it is: we have been booted up the arse. Or is it in the balls? When a man with whom you desire to cooperate, cheek by jowl, plays chess with your emotions, deals with comrades like a confidence trickster, then there can be no doubt that he is a bad man, a kind of criminal, inspired by pretty moves of personal vanity and conceit. In a soldier of the revolution, sincerity is all. I see now Plekhanov thinks only of the marshal's baton in his knapsack — and now it is in his hand.

— Lenin as channeled by Alan Brien

* * *

ELVIS AND DANGERFIELD, 1961

* * *

WHAT HAPPENED TO AMERICA'S CIVIL LIBERTARIANS?

Onetime watchdogs of state power have stopped caring about abuses. It can't all be because of Trump, can it?

by Matt Taibbi

Over the weekend I published a feature on Justice Department use of bullying tactics and unfair practices, called “The Justice Department Was Dangerous Before Trump. It's Out of Control Now.” Despite the fact that the bulk of the article focused on targets broadly sympathetic to the left, like the late radical lawyer Lynne Stewart and a civil rights firm in Baltimore raided for the crime of representing another lawyer, a flood of emails and social media posts ensued, most on the predictable theme that this piece packed with facts and testimonials by people other than myself was right-wing grift: “What happened to you, man?”

I’ve always been more liberal than leftist — living in the Soviet Union and its successor states will tend to make you queasy about both ends of the political spectrum — but still fit more on the blue side of the aisle, and for a long time, took pride in this. In the Bush years especially it was left-leaning lawyers and antiwar activists who were able to look past gruesome current headlines about 9/11 or anthrax or bombings in Jakarta or London, and see the long-term damage being done to the national character through surrender on issues like torture, rendition, assassination, and watch-listing. The ACLU mattered in those years.

Now, tables have turned. Those who were once quickest to see through War on Terror propaganda are now most susceptible to the same appeals. You may once have been the DOJ’s loudest critics, but they’ve got you now. Man, do they ever have you, worse even than the Pentagon had Republicans in the Bush years. And the real shame of it is, they’re using the same arguments they employed then, down to the smallest phrases, just tweaked a little to fit certain progressive pretensions — and over you meekly fell, like Michael Spinks after the first love-tap from Mike Tyson. 

As noted in the article, the DOJ is clearly no longer terribly interested in the courtroom, which is why the percentage of cases ending in trial keeps dropping (below 2% now). Once-skilled prosecutors find the unpredictability of judges and juries irritating, so they’ve spent decades pouring energy into new techniques for bullying people into pleas. 

For a book called The Divide I spent years learning the similar ways city prosecutors grind down street suspects, from making broke people pay for their own DNA tests to police “test-a-lying” to the extravagant misuse of disorderly conduct laws to charge people for crimes like standing in front of their own homes (a.k.a. “obstructing pedestrian traffic”). If a prosecutor could get bail denied, the game was basically over, especially in New York, where DAs could use loopholes to speedy trial rules to threaten suspects with enough waiting-for-trial time that they’d end up pleading to crimes they didn’t commit, in some cases because they’d get out faster that way.

Federal investigators mostly don’t need to resort to such tactics, since they tend to hunt bigger game. But they still put thumbs on the scale. This includes everything from piling on terrifying quantities of charges to using counterintelligence authority to build cases by peeking at evidence that would otherwise be denied to them (a trick called “parallel construction”), to using “filter teams” to rummage through mountains of privileged material, to threatening potential witnesses and even lawyers with prosecution using laws souped up post-9/11 to blur lines between advocacy and conspiracy.

Most of all, they’ve mastered media. In the last two decades, the Justice Department and its related law enforcement partners have become a de facto primary national media operation. They now not only involve themselves in deciding what stories may or may not be circulated — it still boggles the mind that would-be liberals don’t see the peril in letting the FBI tell Facebook or Twitter when to throttle down distribution of any news stories, much less true ones — but fill papers like the New York Times and Washington Post with sensational headlines by having bottomless pools of “people familiar with the matter” whisper pitches to gullible journalists. They do the same with CNN and MSNBC (and still, quite often, Fox News). 

Lefty audiences once laughed at Republicans for queueing up every day to watch parades of generals and Pentagon officials on Fox bleat scare stories to them about the trrrsts. Now those same would-be educated progressives are tuning in to MSNBC and CNN to gobble news from masses of security state officials crudely disguised as media figures, to name just a few:

“John Brennan, James Clapper, Chuck Rosenberg, Michael Hayden, Frank Figliuzzi, Fran Townsend, Stephen Hall, Samantha Vinograd, Andrew McCabe, Josh Campbell, Asha Rangappa, Phil Mudd, James Gagliano, Jeremy Bash, Susan Hennessey, Ned Price, Rick Francona... I can keep going.”

By November 2016 the DOJ had virtually unlimited secret search authority and had already set precedents that they believed allowed them to bypass judicial review whenever they felt like it. When Ed Snowden exposed an extralegal surveillance program, and intelligence chiefs lied to Congress about it, the Justice Department’s response was to give the chiefs a walk and indict the whistleblower. Civil libertarians were freaked out by all this as late as 2015. Many tried to mobilize. Then Trump got elected, and they all went quiet. I know for a fact some figures in some ACLU offices bit their tongues about certain episodes because fundraising was going through the roofthanks to stories like the Trump travel ban, and they didn’t want to confuse their suddenly enthusiastic donors. The Carter Page case, in which an innocent person was placed under secret FISA monitoring after the FBI lied in its application to the secret court, was a dream opportunity for groups like the ACLU to show they stood up for all Americans. But the ACLU pooh-poohed the original “Nunes memo,” and only conceded the truth after an Inspector General’s report forced their hand. They did speak up about the “unchecked power” of Facebook and Twitter after Trump’s suspension, but stayed away from many other cases the old ACLU would have jumped at, like FBI involvement in monitoring political speech, even as they criticized Trump on other issues.

The reason it’s important to raise a fuss about abuses involving Trump isn’t in spite of the target. It’s because the DOJ trains extralegal weaponry (and its new expertise in lying through the media) on him in particular that these cases matter more. By the time Trump was elected, the only thing standing between the security bureaucracy and basically unlimited authority was the theoretical objection of voters and judges. So it mattered, a lot, when the DOJ repeatedly used illegal tactics on a sitting president and got away with doing so every time. If they could do it to Trump, they could (and do) do it to anyone, and seemingly on every day of his presidency, they violated new norms. 

But, you say, who cares about a little FISA abuse or leaking of classified intercepts or grand jury material to the media, or raiding the offices and apartments (and seizing the cell phones) of presidential lawyers? The implicit argument of Trump’s pursuers has always been that any rule-bending is worth it because, like Saddam Hussein, Trump was and is a unique danger, an “exceptional” or “existential threat.” Therefore we don’t need to prove cases, as Representative Maxine Waters once explained on MSNBC, because we just know:

I think he colluded with Putin, doing the election and that hacking and everything that took place. I think that it’s there. We just have to dig deeper, do the investigation and find it.

The real victim of this reasoning wasn’t Trump, but concepts like the presumption of innocence, which get degraded during these manias. Once people start down the road toward this kind of thinking, they tend not to stop until they themselves are victimized by it, which is happening with more than a few Republicans now. 

Authorities aren’t stupid. When they start smashing rules and throwing off constitutional restraints, they always start with someone unpopular. People as a result tend to shrug off the excesses in the moment, but it’s the world they wake up to ten years later that’s the problem. We were told after 9/11 that our political problems in the Middle East were really tactical issues, and that if we just let the right people take the gloves off for a few years, our terror problem would go away. Instead we multiplied our enemies a hundredfold, and won for our trouble the honor of having Swiss-cheesed a Constitution some of us were proud of once.

The story of Lynne Stewart is a warning. Stewart was charged with materially aiding a designated foreign terrorist organization, a list compiled by the Secretary of State. As Stewart wrote:

“The trouble with this is that when you are accused of aiding a terrorist organization, you are not permitted to litigate whether it is, or is not, a “terrorist” organization. It’s a given. If the government says it is a terrorist organization, then it is.”

Who’ll be surprised when we create domestic versions of those same offenses? Who’ll be in charge of those lists? The government now has access to exponentially more massive and varied databases than it did then. How will that intelligence be used? Overseas we use algorithms to score people for droning. Is the subject a military-aged male? Does he appear to be carrying a weapon? Has his cell phone been pinging in the wrong locations, or calling the wrong numbers? As former CIA chief Michael Hayden said, “We kill people based on metadata.”

Of course, this same Hayden recently called “today’s Republicans” the most dangerous people on earth, which makes one wonder how he and his CIA pals would like to see “metadata” used at home. We already know local police employ algorithmic profiling, often described in media via the euphemism, “Predictive policing.” What are the chances the Justice Department is not already doing the same, on a much more sophisticated level? 

In the War on Terror years we handed the government the power to conduct unlimited warrantless surveillance, which was bad enough, but the tools exist now to punish people without trial or conviction or even notice, by enlisting private partners to deny access to publishing or travel or credit or whole ranges of other services. 

This would be totally in character for a Justice Department that finds judges and legislators irksome and would like to make the Attorney General’s manual the law of the land. This dystopia is coming, Trump or no Trump, but it’s coming faster because people who otherwise might be saying something keep being suckered by Current Thing melodramas and the allure of rich partisan donors, and can’t see even ten minutes into the future. Twenty years ago, they were all able to take the longer view. It can’t just be the money. What happened to all of these people?

* * *

* * *

STATE DEPARTMENT STOPS PUBLISHING MILITARY EXPENDITURES, ARMS TRANSFER REPORT

The report has been published since the 1960s

by Dave DeCamp

The State Department announced in August that it will no longer publish World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers (WMEAT) reports, which have been released by the US government since the 1960s.

The WMEATs detail US global military spending, arms transfers, and related data for each country in the world. The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included an amendment that repealed a 1994 provision requiring the State Department to publish a WMEAT each year.

“Section 5114(b)(4) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 repealed the 1994 statutory provision that required the Department of State to publish an edition of WMEAT every year. Consistent with this repeal, the Department of State will cease to produce and publish WMEAT,” the State Department said on its website.

The State Department said that the report it published in 2021 was the “final edition” of the WMEAT. The 2021 WMEAT covered an 11-year period from 2009 through 2019 and found that the US was by far the world’s largest arms dealer. During that period, about “79 percent of world arms trade by value appears to have been supplied by the United States.”

The discontinuation of the WMEAT reports, which reduces the US government’s transparency, comes as the US is shipping billions of dollars worth of arms into Ukraine with virtually no oversight. Since Russia invaded on February 24, the US has pledged $15.1 billion in weapons for Kyiv.

news.antiwar.com/2022/09/19/state-department-stops-publishing-military-expenditures-arms-transfer-report/

* * *

Greenhouse from Recycled Stained Glass

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Another more glaring example is the reporting on Putin. Putin has Stage 4 Cancer, he’s had 3 heart attacks, he has Parkinson’s Disease, he’s on his last legs — all of which I’ve seen in the legacy media in the past 6 months. Meanwhile, Biden appears to be in the middle stages of dementia, and the stroke he had in the 90s is never mentioned.

* * *

* * *

UKRAINE, Wednesday, September 21, 2022 (Headlines)

• Over 200 Ukrainian fighters, including commanders of the Azov Battalion that fought in Mariupol, were released in an exchange with Russia, the war’s largest. Two U.S. military veterans were also released. 

• Russia releases 215 fighters, including Mariupol commanders, in a prisoner exchange.

• At least 1,252 people are detained in protests across Russia.

• Ten prisoners, including Americans, have been released as part of a Russia-Ukraine exchange, Saudi Arabia says.

• With a ‘partial mobilization,’ Putin escalates the war.

• One-way flights from Russia are selling out or skyrocketing in price.

• Biden says U.S. and its allies will ‘stand in solidarity’ against Russia’s aggression.

• Putin announces his support for referendums in occupied Ukraine.

• Russia is desperate for troops, but it will take time to mobilize new recruits, analysts say.

• Russia’s forces, though entrenched in the south, are struggling elsewhere in Ukraine. 

(CNN)

* * *

Data as of Sept. 19, 2022 | Sources: Institute for the Study of War; C.N.A. Russia Studies; Rochan Consulting

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HUMANITY TAKING ANOTHER STEP toward world war between nuclear superpowers is as good a time as any to reassess our priorities in life. What we think about, what we talk about, what we speak out about, where our attention gravitates, where we place our political energy, how we spend our time on this earth, and with whom.

Anyone who is interested in a sincere relationship with reality must take seriously the possibility that this could all be gone soon, and use that as a guidepost for how they spend their time and energy on this planet.

— Caitlin Johnstone

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Giant Buddha, China, 1925

12 Comments

  1. Mike J September 22, 2022

    I generally am at odds with the sentiments of Caitlin Johnstone on some fronts, but this is good:
    “HUMANITY TAKING ANOTHER STEP toward world war between nuclear superpowers is as good a time as any to reassess our priorities in life. What we think about, what we talk about, what we speak out about, where our attention gravitates, where we place our political energy, how we spend our time on this earth, and with whom.

    Anyone who is interested in a sincere relationship with reality must take seriously the possibility that this could all be gone soon, and use that as a guidepost for how they spend their time and energy on this planet.

    — Caitlin Johnstone”

    In a Sept 5 column she bares her own faulty delusional conditioning by mistakenly characterizing Chris Mellon and Lue Elizondo as basicly manipulative agents of the deep state. Given that Danny Sheehan is closely aligned with them, and sharing ALOT about what’s going on, I find it necessary to have a little corrective argument with her, utilizing the comment section of America’s last surviving actual newspaper.

    Now, the scene in Ukraine is acute. The astronomical society there has taken a close look at the sky above Kyiv and have detected the large scale presence of a very very advanced technology.

    Apparently there are adults monitoring everything.

    But, Caitlin, rest assured it’s not the agenda of Lue and Chris to make us scared of these monitoring beings (no matter their strange-to-us appearances or awe inspiring trans medium tech unnerving our pilots). It’s true that Congress has to do a threat analysis, but look at Sheehan’s clarifying remarks about all that.

  2. Marmon September 22, 2022

    RE: TRUMP WILL SKATE AGAIN

    Disclaimers could go a long way in protecting Trump from fraud charges

    Published Dec. 15, 2021

    “No matter how much some asset valuations appear exaggerated, analysts say, financial statements that were provided to lenders contain ample warning that the numbers don’t necessarily meet GAAP.

    Even though several claims in financial statements that the Trump Organization provided to lenders can be proved false, analysts say in a New York Times piece, charging the former president with fraud remains a steep climb because of disclaimers that make clear the claims are unaudited and don’t follow generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

    As part of his effort to secure debt financing to buy properties and other assets, Trump provided lenders with “statements of financial condition” that were signed by his external accounting firm, Mazars USA, the Times reported.

    The forms, generally around 20 pages, are summaries that the accounting firm prepared annually of Trump’s assets and liabilities, as owner and principal of the Trump Organization, and given to lenders as part of his effort to secure financing, whether for a hotel, office or a golf course.”

    https://www.cfodive.com/news/disclaimers-could-go-long-way-protecting-trump-fraud-charges/611568/

    Marmon

    • Bruce McEwen September 22, 2022

      Napoleon at Elba…?

    • Marmon September 22, 2022

      If you sued everybody in the real estate world of New York about their valuations, I don’t think you’d have anybody left.

      Marmon

      • Marshall Newman September 22, 2022

        Most property owners and real estate folks in New York are honest. No reason to sue them, unlike the putz you are trying – and failing – to defend.

  3. Chuck Dunbar September 22, 2022

    ED NOTES: “THE ROAD”

    “A LITERARY look at what may be coming up if Putin gets shoved all the way out of Ukraine, is Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road,’ just about the bleakest fiction you’ll read.”

    I read this book a couple years ago, and it is a good read, though, as the Editor notes, grim as hell. The stuff of nightmares—I would not read it now, for sure— and these days it’s not an unreasonable depiction of a possible future for all of us. The current risk of nuclear war seems to me, an average citizen, higher than in the Cuba situation.

    Nikita Krushchev was not crazy, nor driven by a wild nationalistic fervor. But Putin does seem crazed and fanatically driven, and he is now in a difficult position as is commonly reported. I don’t read too much about the probable dynamics of nuclear escalation, but what I’ve looked at is very scary. The timelines for response and counter-response by imperfect leaders with imperfect information are very short, and come with the highest stakes imaginable. Escalation could occur really quickly, and the back-and-forth attacks would be horrific. At least Trump is no longer our leader, as that would clearly heighten the risk. I personally try not to think much about this, but it creeps into my awareness too often.

    • sam kircher September 22, 2022

      I made sure to pass that novel around a small group of like-minded friends soon after it was published. Their immediate impulse upon reading it showed me that our minds weren’t necessarily so alike. To a man, their reaction to that grim allegory was not to “keep the flame,” but to arm themselves to the teeth, or make a run on ammunition if already amply armed. The protagonist of the tale navigates the apocalypse with two bullets. A remarkable read, but a piss-poor film version…

      • Bruce McEwen September 22, 2022

        It’s based on Worstward-Ho by Beckett, from the best reviews I’ve read; I was curious what others thought of such a grim story, so I started reading reviews and learned about old Beckett.

  4. Margot Lane September 22, 2022

    Ed: might you inform us a little bit more about the Giant Buddha? I’m usually prepared to be acceptingly mystified & gobsmacked by your myriad of intriguing photos, but this Buddha looks so unlike any other I have seen! Is there a backstory?

  5. Bruce McEwen September 22, 2022

    Squadron of fighters just roared over sending us scrambling into the street to shade our eyes as they flew into the sun, having come and nearly gone before we heard the tremendous roar. Now that Harvey the Heavy has denied it we must be under martial law. Putin’s calling up any old veteran who can stand. Three more fighters just went over going in a different direction. Good thing you can still shoulder a pack and knock out the push-ups, Chief. It looks like we might get called up. Stand by for orders, conscripts, Anderson and I will be your new DIs.

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