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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023

Dry | Fertile Eggs | Flick Legacy | Hopper's Corner | Need Housing | Parks Hiring | Boonquiz | Khadijah Remembered | Jail Death | Cannabis Circumlocution | Cop Fighters | Stoned Kids | Weed Forums | County Failed | Jordan & Magic | Ed Notes | Olie's Catch | Women Voters | Rock Slide | Dem Club | Ethel Nelson | Yesterday's Catch | Larger Stage | Matrix Escape | Wants Electricity | San Andreas | Defensive Coordinator | Genesis Illustrated | New Years | Clear Lake | Cipher Brady | Baseball Waiting | Tech Arrogance | Bloody Hands | Operation Backfire | Spies Everywhere | Secession Needed | Ukraine | Irrefutable Evidence | SOTU Script | Flying

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AFTER A PERIOD OF DRY WEATHER today and Thursday, another weak front will bring light rain and high elevation snow to the area on Friday. Colder temperatures are expected by Tuesday of next week with more light precipitation. (NWS)

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Dear Anderson Valley Community,

Today was a great day. Tonight at the Board meeting, Coach Flick McDonald was honored for his amazing service.  Do you know what he achieved with our kids?  From the resolution:

  • Coach “Flick” McDonald has provided with his 40 years of teaching and coaching expertise  to the community;
  • Coach McDonald’s teams amassed more than 1,300 victories; and
  •  Coach McDonald’s varsity teams qualified for the North Coast Section playoffs every season from 1991 to 2013; and
  • Coach McDonald’s teams achieved five NCS  championships in his coaching career; and 
  • Coach McDonald tirelessly devoted himself to the development of feeder teams to ensure continuity of excellence in skill development for the high school volleyball legacy; and 
  • Coach McDonald did not hesitate to  step into a vacancy when called for emergency coverage in both a coaching and a teaching position in 2021 and 2022, and
  • Whereas, it is fitting that we celebrate this man who has given so much and honor his commitment and gift of time and care to develop the District’s women’s volleyball sport program.

That’s a cool day, when you get to witness and celebrate someone’s exceptional legacy.  We are grateful!

Earlier today, I took eight students to the Electrical and Plumber/PipeFitter apprentice programs in Santa Rosa.  If your student is interested in this path, encourage it.  Full pay, free training, full benefits, a career path with college units, and no debt.  A C or better in algebra is required, along with passing an interview and exam.  If your kid wants to go visit, have them come talk to me.  We should be sending kids into this program for a career, not a job.

Finally, I want to recognize the elementary staff for an amazing pilot of a new english language arts curriculum under the direction of Cymbre Thomas-Swett.  This is going to have exponentially positive achievement results for our kids.  Well done AVES.

So grateful to you all.

Louise Simson, Superintendent

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Potter Valley

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Hello all,

I am a resident of Boonville for 5 years. My 13 year old son and I will be needing housing soon. Preferably a 2 bedroom but can make do with one.

I currently work at Penny Royal and Substitute at the Elementary School. I am finishing my Elementary Ed credentials and hope to be teaching at AV next Spring. This Fall I hopefully will be Student Teaching at AV.

I have great references and credit. Please help us stay in the valley! I am going to be an awesome teacher and would live to do it here. If I don’t find housing, I will have to leave.

DM me any options out there.

ED NOTE: Why some young people say “DM me” in their on-line messages without even leaving a number or other form of contact continues to mystify us. But you might be able to reach Ms. Keller at Penny Royal Farms, 895-2410 or the elementary school at 895-3010 if you have any housing information for her.

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Following another good turnout last week when the winners came from behind to grab victory in the final round, we are looking forward to being back in action at the General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz on the 3rd Thursday. 7pm on February 16th at Lauren’s at The Buckhorn in downtown Boonville. Hope to see you there. Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quizmaster.

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Tomorrow 2/7/23 during the Varsity Girl's game at 5:30p.m. we will be retiring Khadijah's Jersey. Khadijah has been missing from our community since February 7th, 2018. 

Khadijah was a star athlete and a 4.0 student in high school. It was her dream to go to college and play basketball. 

If you have any information about her whereabouts, please contact the anonymous tip line 707-234-2100

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On Tuesday, February 7th, 2023, at about 12:30 A.M., an intoxicated 64-year-old male from Ukiah, was brought into our custody for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Refuse Disposal in State Water, and a Violation of Parole. The arrestee was on Parole for Failure to register as a Sex Registrant. The arrestee was brought into the Jail’s intake room where he was evaluated by our in-house medical staff. Our medical staff took the arrestee’s vital signs and cleared the arrestee to enter the facility. The arrestee was housed in the Jail’s Sobering Cell where the arrestee was monitored for a minimum of 4 times per hour.

At about 6 A.M., Corrections staff were checking on the arrestee housed in the Sobering Cell, the sole occupant of the cell. Corrections staff did not get a response from the inmate and summoned our in house medical staff. Staff checked the arrestee for a pulse, and they were unable to find one. Staff started resuscitation measures and called for an ambulance to come to the Jail. When the fire and ambulance staff arrived to the Jail, they assisted the Jail staff with life saving measures until death was pronounced at approximately 06:32 A.M.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Investigation Bureau was called to investigate the cause of death.

ED NOTE: Booking logs show that the person described in this press release (age, charges, city, date, parole status) was probably Mr. Ronald Pedigo, 64, of Ukiah, who has been arrested about once a year in Mendocino County starting in 2015 when he was arrested for a parole violation. Most of his subsequent arrests were for parole violations with a trespassing charge, a transient registration charge, and a failure to appear. On Christmas day of 2021 he was arrested for failure to register as a sex offender with priors and sent to state prison in February of 2022 where he served eight months of a 16 month sentence.

Ronald Pedigo, Feb 7, 2023, Dec 25, 2021

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by Mark Scaramella

(Board of Supervisors Meeting, Tuesday, February 7, 2023.)

Supervisor Ted Williams: We have had folks in this cannabis permitting program for about seven years, for a ministerial permit. Those ministerial permits need to be issued. I'm not blaming staff, I think we have a bad ordinance. I think it does take a lot of time. 200 hours of staff time on average seems like a lot of time to review an application. I think we are at a point where we just need to approve any application that we haven't identified as being out of compliance. I know staff probably sees 100 categories. As a county supervisor I see two categories. There is a stack where we have problems — put that aside. There is the other stack where we have not identified problems. It's a complete application. They have paid taxes, we don't see any reason to not issue. We could do 200 hours of further review to find a reason to not issue. But I think given that we've had these people waiting for seven years it's time for the board to act. We should direct staff to approve those applications which have not been found to be out of compliance. County Counsel may tell us we can't do this today; it's not agendized. I would like a straw poll to see if we want staff to bring back a properly agendized item to approve issuing permits to all those who have not yet been found to be out of compliance.

Supervisor Glenn McGourty: I think that there are issues. At the very least we need to review our processes with people who know permitting processes, people who know about cannabis programs that are running effectively. We need to see what we can do to up the game because we spend huge amounts of time not only at meetings, but also trying to support the program. We need to find out why we are doing so poorly. If I had a kid in school getting a D, I would want to speak to the teacher. I'd want to know what's the problem. And I kind of feel that's where we're at. I know our staff works hard, but I have always said, work harder not smarter. That's what I'm concerned about. It's clear that we have some issues.

Supervisor Maureen Mulheren: We have had this discussion before as a board and it's not legal to do that. The more it gets brought up the more the public gets the misunderstanding that somehow that's possible. We need to focus on doing what we can with the program and the ordnance that we have. In my dreams I would love to give everybody a green check mark, but it's not legally possible. Continuing to have this conversation is frustrating to the applicants and frustrating for the staff to hear from the applicants, Oh! I heard from the supervisors that you can just approve it. So could we ask County Counsel to weigh in before this goes any further?

County Counsel Christian Curtis: Supervisor Mulheren is correct. It would not be consistent with the ordnance or the environmental protection requirements being required to approve a permit without review. And people getting such approval would not be eligible for state licenses because it didn't have any local CEQA review.

Williams: County Counsel doesn't seem to have an idea for us. The CEO's office doesn't have an idea, the department doesn't have an idea, the board doesn't have an idea… Having people in the program for seven years and telling them we are going to look at the program and look for efficiency? It's too late. We are going to get sued. We have hundreds of applicants who are going to fall off this program and pull their funds and sue the county. We will be sitting here saying we had no options, we had to let it fall apart. I just can't keep a straight face here. Seven years is ridiculous! I'm at the point where there is no good option. I would be happy to have an agendized item to talk about approving the applications. It's imperfect. Maybe we shouldn't do it. But we also shouldn't spend 200 hours reviewing hundreds of applications. We will never get through them.

Supervisor John Haschak: I don't think this is the place to have this conversation. I agree with Supervisor Mulheren that when we throw these ideas out there like maybe we should just do it this way, and we can't do it that way, then it sets us up for failure. We have heard proposals on how to streamline parts of the process. We have to start acting on these because we are killing the program. When we say it's going to take 200 hours to review one application, that's just ridiculous! We need to really have a review of what the process is and what's happening in the department.

McGourty: I'm working with staff and the Mendocino County Cannabis Department to kind of figure out where we are with our process and where we are with applications that are pending and in good standing versus those that are not. Out of those discussions, we might be able to craft a reasonable agenda item to take a look at this.

Haschak: I thought that cannabis issues were supposed to be going to the General Government committee. So I think we should recommend having the General Government committee look into this.

McGourty: Remember that the cannabis department reports to us. So we have tried to come up with a mechanism, it's relatively recent, where we can have a check in with a representative of the board, which is me, along with Deputy CEO Dunnicliff, so we can respond very quickly to issues that are coming up with the Director [of the Cannabis Department]. I absolutely agree that all policy issues should be run through General Government committee. We can basically set up the discussion of this through our weekly meetings that we have with Director Nevedal. 

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In the end they decided to have staff come back with a cannabis process discussion item at an unspecified future date.

In the afternoon they discussed tree removal at cannabis cultivation sites for hour after hour after which Supervisor McGourty concluded: “To the cannabis community, I just wanna let you know we’re working really hard to make this work. It’s not easy. And I’m not sure where all the problems are right now and it’s not just the Board that’s doing this, it’s also our staff and I think we’d be remiss not to recognize that the Mendocino Cannabis Department works pretty hard trying to get things, you know, legal, and I kind of agree with Supervisor Williams that maybe we have given directions at times that might not be as clear as they could be so we’re gonna keep working on this until we get it right.”

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Campbell, Evans

JORDAN CAMPBELL, Willits. Battery on peace officer.

MAGICK EVANS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, battery on peace officer, resisting.

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MARIJUANA, an on-line comment: While not everyone who smokes pot as a teen develops mental health issues, many do. We even saw that in the 60s and 70s. 

Not emphasizing the “gateway drug” thing, though many believe it is. Not everyone who drinks ethanol becomes an alcoholic. Not everyone who takes cocaine dies from a myocardial infarction the first time. Not everyone who smokes cigarettes develops lung cancer. Not everyone who buys a lottery ticket is a moron. And on and on.

I’m just saying kids shouldn’t smoke pot. It’s bad for their growing bodies, their scholarship, and their interpersonal relationships. And let’s face it, their life now is tougher in many ways than ours was. They don’t need more trouble.

Even if you want marijuana legalized everywhere, you shouldn’t want kids hurting themselves.

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MENDOCINO CANNABIS ALLIANCE DOCUMENTS FAILURE of Mendocino County Cannabis Program in Letter to Governor Newsom

(February 8, 2023) Mendocino County, CA - Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA), the trade association representing cannabis operators in Mendocino County, submitted a sixteen-page letter today to Governor Gavin Newsom, Department of Cannabis Control Director Nicole Elliott, and California legislative leaders documenting the county’s failure to establish a process capable of moving small and legacy cannabis cultivators towards state annual licensure.

Nearly six years into its local permitting process, Mendocino County has transitioned just six local cannabis farmers to state annual licensure: less than 1% of all cultivators in the county. For comparison, 62% of cultivators in Humboldt County, 58% of cultivators in Nevada County, and 23% of cultivators in Trinity County have obtained a state annual license.

With state deadlines for permit processing approaching on July 1, 2023, MCA’s letter documents how nearly all small cannabis cultivators in Mendocino are now at imminent risk of losing their state licenses, threatening to undermine the promise of Proposition 64 to provide a just transition for legacy operators.

The letter documents how nearly six years after passing an ordinance to regulate cannabis cultivation, the Mendocino Cannabis Department (MCD) has not meaningfully moved forward to process local cannabis permits, cannabis permit renewals, or documents necessary for CEQA compliance. 

Recent reports from MCD suggest a plan to transition just 256 “prioritized” operators to annual licensure, implying that nearly 70% of Mendocino’s 841 current operators have no path forward to remain in the legal market. Simultaneously, however, statements by MCD indicate that expected staffing resources are just half of what MCD claims would be necessary to process these 256 applications in time to meet state deadlines. Further, among over 500 “deprioritized” operators, MCA has found that a substantial number have been deprioritized incorrectly based on demonstrably false claims of tax delinquency or lack of state licensure.

While the state allocated over $17 million in grant funding to assist Mendocino’s local government with permit processing in 2021, MCA’s letter documents a lack of public accounting on how these funds have been spent, inconsistencies regarding the county’s proposed work plan in its grant application, and delays in opening an application process for over $10 million in funds set aside for direct grants to cultivators. 

The letter further demonstrates how, rather than working to establish a viable permitting process, MCD and the Board of Supervisors have repeatedly focused time and energy on topics that raise additional barriers to compliance, including raising contrived legal objections to the county’s own cannabis equity program, and threatening operators with denial on “vegetation modification” grounds without due process.

“For years, MCA has been sounding the alarm on the unfolding crisis within the county’s cannabis program” said Michael Katz, MCA’s Executive Director. “Throughout 2022, we worked in good faith with the Board of Supervisors’ cannabis ad hoc committee to develop policy recommendations to course correct the program, only to have most of them rejected by the full board.”

“We are out of time,” Katz continued. “The bottom line is that there is no functional permit program in Mendocino, and no plan to create one. We cannot move forward if the county continues to obstruct local licensees. We need the state to intervene, and intervene now, if our legacy cultivators are to survive.” 

MCA’s full sixteen-page letter can be read here:

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Jordan & Magic, 1991

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IF I WERE BIDEN, I'd say the economy is great because football fans will bet an estimated $16 billion on Sunday's Super Bowl. In fact, though, millions of people are struggling to stay housed and fuel up their transportation, and likely as not their children are in bad schools, while gram and gramps' social security checks don't cover their expenses. To check the true state of the economy, visit your local food bank and ask around. Here in Mendo County, half our families qualify for food stamps. There are no jobs for the average young person, college educated or not, that will pay enough for him/her to ever buy a place of their own. 

IN 1970, I bought a one-bath, two-bedroom house in Boonville for $23,500 with a thousand down I chiseled out of credit cards. In 2005, that house sold for $450,000 to a couple of city yuppo-guppos. There is seldom a property in Boonville that sells for less than a quarter mil, and there are few-to-no jobs that pay enough for, say, a young two-job couple to qualify for a mortgage. There are lots of empty homes or houses that have been given over to wealthy transients, and those of you who struggle for shelter have my blessing to occupy any of them convenient to you.

USED TO BE that the Democrats prided themselves as the party of working people then, with the advent of the Clintons and from them on, the Democrats ceded working people to versions of Trump and then Trump himself, and now it's obvious that neither party represents people making less than a hundred grand, and only a thin slice of Americans make that much.

THE MAGAS, some of them anyway, probably know the difference between liberals and socialists, and the diff between socialists and communists, but deliberately conflate all three. Are there socialists in America? A few, less than a million probably. Are there communists? Maybe two in Mendocino County. (I'm a socialist, not a communist.) People who identify as communists? If there are fifty thousand in this country I'd be surprised, and there sure as hell isn't a Lenin among those toothless lions of the faculty lounges. The money drifts inexorably upward, the millions of Americans getting absolutely screwed are represented by no one.

WHILE it's beyond obvious to most people that Biden is not fit to be president now, let alone for another four years of on-the-job deterioration, the closest the MSM gets to stating the apparent is… 

A TYPICAL MSM assessment of Biden appeared in this morning's NYT: …It’s been widely reported that Biden plans to use the State of the Union to set up his case for re-election. There’s a rift in the Democratic Party about whether this is wise for an 80-year-old to do. Democratic officials are largely on board, at least publicly, but the majority of Democratic voters are not. “Democrats say he’s done a good job but he’s too old,” said Sarah Longwell, an anti-Trump Republican strategist who conducts regular voter focus groups. “He’ll be closer to 90 than 80 by the end of his second term.” Perhaps reflecting this dynamic, a Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that while 78 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents approved of the job Biden has done as president, 58 percent of them wanted a different candidate next year."

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Fishing with Olie Erickson

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The League of Women Voters of Mendocino County will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 21, 6-7:30pm, at the Caspar Community Center. Planning for the next year's local activities will be the focus of the program. Input for California League state level priorities will also be covered. 

Current local issues for emphasis are: Water; Land Use Planning (Mill Site); Transparency and Participation in Government; and Justice System Reform. 

A possible new local topic is updating the Fort Bragg City and Mendocino County Local Coastal Plans. These plans will be completely revised over the next few years, and citizen input is essential in addressing all the elements of the plans, such as housing, transportation and sea level rise. 

All members, old, new and prospective, are encouraged to attend and contribute to a lively discussion.

Coffee and conversation at 6, program at 6:30. It will still be possible to join the meeting via Zoom; check the League website for details:

For more information, call 707-937-4952.


Pat Dunbar, Publicity,

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Rock Slide, Big River Trail (Jeff Goll)

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Message from Club Chair: What's Coming Up

President Biden’s State of the Union Address. 5 pm Pacific Time Tonight!

Great jobs report and more! Go Joe!

Wish we could do a watch party in person. Maybe next year!

In case you missed Assemblymember Wood at our last Club Meeting Thursday, Feb. 2 via zoom.

Watch our YouTube: 

What about state mandates and local funding shortfalls? Hear Jim talk to us about the status of the seismic upgrade requirements of concern to the future of our coast hospital.

Next Club Meeting. Wednesday, March 1 @ 5:30 via zoom

Doug Linney, Founder of Activate America. 

Our 2022 campaign work to Hold the House thru California. What happened?

Early planning for 2024.

We are gearing up for 2024. Let's work together.

Join or renew your Club membership now @

Thank you! Karen Bowers, Club Chair

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Bessie Carlson Nelson (center) with her children, Henry Norman Nelson (left) and Ethel Nelson (right), c. 1936.

February 6, 1960 - Ethel Nelson died in a Oakland nursing home after a long illness. Born in Mendocino in 1883, she was the daughter of Elizabeth May (Bessie) Carlson and Captain Henry Nelson. Ethel’s grandfather was John Carlson, who arrived in Mendocino in 1852 on the brig Ontario which brought the first sawmill machinery to Mendocino.

Ethel’s father was a Norwegian sailor, who made his first trip to Mendocino in 1869. By the time of his marriage to Bessie in 1882, Henry was the captain of the schooner W. S. Phelps, which sailed between Mendocino and San Francisco. The Nelson family lived in Mendocino until 1890, when Henry took command of the ship Columbia and they moved to San Francisco.

Ethel never married, instead pursuing a career in Pharmacy. In a 1958 Oakland Tribune article, she recalled, “I used to go to sea with my father, and I guess it’s in my blood. It was on a ten-month trip to Australia with him that I decided to become a pharmacist. It was an unusual field for a girl, but then, it was unusual for a girl to go to work at all in those days. But my father said to me, ‘If worst comes to worst, you can always go out in the country and open a little drugstore!’” Ethel graduated from the University of California Pharmacy School in 1904.

After graduation, she worked in private pharmacies in San Francisco and West Alameda before becoming the first pharmacist at Samuel Merritt Hospital of Oakland. There, Ethel was on 24-hour duty and lived in a room next to her dispensary. In 1911, California passed an eight-hour women’s work law, prohibiting companies from employing women for more than 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. Ethel supported the hospital’s appeal of the law as it applied to nurses and pharmacists. “Miss Nelson has appealed to the Supreme Court to set aside the state law as unconstitutional, on the ground of discrimination in favor of men. The nurses hold that their profession, being filled with necessities for emergency calls, cannot be regulated by time unless illness can. Should the Supreme Court decide that the law is constitutional, hospitals must put on more nurses and pharmacists, or employ men to take their places, there being no limit on a man’s hours of duty.”

Though the hospital lost the appeal, Ethel continued to work for women’s equality. She co-founded the Women's Pharmaceutical Association of the Pacific Coast, which at the time of her retirement in 1953 was the oldest professional club for women in the United States. At her retirement party, the association honored her for 27 years as chief pharmacist for Highland, Alameda County Hospital and Clinics, and presented her with a lei of flowers flown in from the Hawaiian Islands for the occasion. In her later years, Ethel frequently returned to visit her childhood home of Mendocino and rekindled her girlhood love of the sea.

(Kelley House Museum)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Asbury, Eslinger, Hencz

DANIELLE ASBURY, Clearlake/Ukiah. Trespassing.

TRACY ESLINGER, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery. 

TESLA HENCZ, Laytonville. Stolen property, conspiracy.

Henderson, Kester, Nissan, Pedigo

JONATHAN HENDERSON, Ukiah. Grand theft, probation revocation.

LORRIN KESTER JR., Willits. DUI, suspended license.

ASHLEY NISSEN, Leggett. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.

RONALD PEDIGO, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, refuse disposal in state waters, parole violation.

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Bliss Divine God Realization Amidst the Stupidity of American Postmodernism

Warmest spiritual greetings, Following a sumptuous free lunch at the Plowshares Peace & Justice Center in Ukiah, California, am sitting here and now in front of computer #5 at the Ukiah Public Library. Glowing from the immortal atman located in the svarupa, or heart chakra, the body is relaxed and the mind is happy. Not identified with the body nor the mind, going where it is necessary to go and doing what it is necessary to do. The total chaos and insanity of American postmodernism does not affect the real you (us). The modifications of the mind stuff have no affect whatsoever on the real you (us). The changes in the body have no affect whatsoever on the real you (us). You (we) are free.

On March 1st it will be one year that I have resided at the Building Bridges homeless shelter in the Mendocino county seat. I am interested in being active on a larger stage, and am seeking others who identify as Jivan Mukta (liberated spirit), to collectively take divinely focused direct action. I invite you to contact me. 

Nothing else is effective anymore on the planet earth, so therefore, it is our calling to destroy the demonic and return this world to righteousness, which is the classic vedic definition of the role of an avatar. Meanwhile, I take long walks watching the mental factory and letting the thoughts dissipate, not attaching to them. 

It is time for a global spiritual revolution. Thank you for listening. 

Craig Louis Stehr

Snail Mail: 1045 S. State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482

Telephone Messages: (707) 234-3270


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Firefighters might have contained the recent past great fires if not for the strong winds. Those who sued PG&E and everyone else will now pay more for electricity in order to pay off the lawsuits, including businesses that will then raise prices for their goods and be less competitive worldwide.

France gets 70% of its electricity from nuclear power plants without a serious health problem. If California had more nuclear power plants, they could be located on the coast in areas that have small populations, and the excess heat generated could desalinate seawater, which California could always use.

We need more dams with fish ladders, and they could also produce electricity. Dams store water, are beautiful, have many recreational uses and provide downstream flood control and water for irrigation.

This should be a no-brainer for intelligent leaders. What we need is someone who knows what we need.

Leonard Riepenhoff

Santa Rosa

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The San Andreas Fault as it passes through Southern California

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by Jerry McDonald

The 49ers are going outside the organization to replace DeMeco Ryans as defensive coordinator.

Coaching veteran Steve Wilks will become the 49ers’ third defensive coordinator in four seasons, according to numerous reports Tuesday. The hire has yet to be confirmed by the 49ers.

Steve Wilks

Wilks, 53, was named interim head coach in place of the fired Matt Rhule last season for the Carolina Panthers after serving as the defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach.

The 49ers reportedly interviewed Washington defensive backs coach Chris Harris last week and were also considering internal candidates including defensive secondary coach Cory Undlin.

Wilks was elevated as the Panthers’ interim coach one day after Carolina lost at home, 37-15, to the 49ers, leaving the Panthers with a 1-4 record. Carolina went 6-6 the rest of the season to finish 7-10. Wilks was considered for the head coaching job that instead went to Frank Reich.

Carolina’s level of play improved and the Panthers began running the ball with more consistency after a blockbuster trade that sent star running back Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers for second-, third- and fourth-round draft picks in the upcoming draft and a fifth-rounder next season.

“The sun rose this morning and by the grace of God so did I,” Wilks said in a statement posted on Twitter after Reich got the job. “I’m disappointed but not defeated. Many people aren’t built for this but I know what it means to persevere and see it through.”

Wilks wished good luck to Reich, but that sentiment was not shared by his attorney, Douglas Wigdor.

“We are shocked and disturbed that after the incredible job coach Wilks did as the interim coach, including bringing the team back into playoff contention and garnering the support of the players and fans, that he was passed over for the head coach position by (owner) David Tepper,” Wigdor posted on Twitter. “There is a legitimate race problem in the NFL, and we can assure you that we will have more to say in the coming days.”

Wilks and Wigdor made no mention of whether the Panthers will be added to an ongoing lawsuit alleging racial hiring practices by the NFL and some teams. Nearly a year ago, Wilks joined Brian Flores’ lawsuit in an effort to bring attention to the lack of Black head coaches in the NFL.

In taking over the 49ers’ defense, Wilks will coordinate a unit that finished the 2022 season giving up the fewest yards (300.6) and points (16.3) of any team in the NFL.

The 49ers have Pro Bowl players at all three levels in edge rusher Nick Bosa, inside linebacker Fred Warner and safety Talanoa Hufanga. Also on hand are established defensive tackle Arik Armstead, linebacker Dre Greenlaw and cornerback Charvarius Ward, signed as a free agent a year ago.

Wilks can be expected to operate much like Robert Saleh and Ryans in terms of defensive philosophy.

“I’m trying to get something where we don’t have to turn much over,” Shanahan said at the 49ers’ season-ending press conference Feb. 1. “I would love to keep our same staff, so I’m going to talk to some guys on our staff. I’m going to talk to some guys outside our staff and hopefully whichever way we go, it’s someone who can work with who we have and what we’ve accomplished here.

“I love the scheme that we run and I feel the foundation with have on the D-line, at linebacker, at corner at safety, I think our players fit very well in it too. I’m hoping to find someone who fits with us personality-wise and scheme-wise.”

It remains to be seen what the makeup of the rest of the coaching staff will be and whether Ryans will hire any 49ers assistants for his staff in Houston. According to NBC affiliate KPRC2 in Houston, Kris Kocurek will remain with the 49ers as defensive line coach.

Given what happened to Wilks’ predecessors, the 49ers opportunity could lead to a third shot at being a head coach. Saleh was hired by the Jets following the 2020 season and Ryans last week by the Houston Texans.

Wilks has coached in the NFL since 2006, when he joined the Chicago Bears as a defensive backs coach. Wilks also coached defensive backs with the Chargers (2009-11) and Carolina (2012-14) before becoming an assistant head coach to Ron Rivera and later defensive coordinator through 2017.

He also was head coach for one season in Arizona but was fired after going 3-13 in 2018.

Saddled with a quarterback in Josh Rosen who was on his way out, Wilks was fired as the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury as head coach to install an offense for quarterback Kyler Murray, the first overall pick in the draft.

Wilks was later hired as defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2018 in the one-year reign of Freddie Kitchens. He sat out 2020 and was defensive coordinator for Missouri in 2021 before being hired by Rhule in Carolina in 2022.


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'Tis the Season to be Trivial

No matter that apocalypse looms wherever we turn, that life as we know it and non-life as we know it are undergoing drastic change, that our amazing instruments are credited with discovering our origin and it is an awesome sprawl of gas and dirt, (or, as we prefer, "Pillars of Creation"), way out in space. No matter that we have passed points of no return that we saw coming years and decades ago, and we still slog on in the wrong direction.

We have nonsense to tend to. This is New Year's Eve, by the prevailing calendar, and a big ball in New York City's Times Square is about to fall again, symbolizing nothing important. 

It started in its present descent in 1938, pretty much the same time as me (I was eighty-five days old, that NY Eve). A million people will ring in the new, despite the certainty that the new will be worse than the old, because that's just "what's trending" here in the new millennium.

'Twere not always thus. I remember when TV technicians cobbled together an around-the-world new-year observance, following the arrival of the new year as the earth turned into it, showing capitals and and other places great and small, as locals celebrated. I felt—Eleanor and I felt—like participants, zigzagging from continent to continent, traveling by time zone. At every stage, the "voices over" pre-apologized for the technical flubs they were certain would occur in Timbuktu or Podunk. 

None of those glitches came to pass! Against all odds, we watched live as our fellow celebrants drank and kissed and grinned, in places hot and cold, high and low. Like World War One's Christmas Truce, when soldiers paused the godawful trench war for a few hours to celebrate life and humanity with their erstwhile "enemies”, that New Year was such a magical moment, TV crews hopscotching around. Some places celebrated at midnight, some at dawn; all accepted TV's intrusive gaze in great spirit, festing alikeness and newness with the same tambourines. We were on the edges of our seats, as venue after venue failed to fail, came on loud & clear, each in their turn. It was as amazing as it was unlikely. If we had any nostalgia for great NYE parties of yore, they were utterly forgot in the rare camaraderie, partying down in an event that, unlike, solstice, say, or equinox, which are hyper-real events that require no eyes to transpire, New Year's Eve is man made. It is meaningless and exquisitely meaningful at the same time.

So. To borrow Maurice Sendak’s command from his 1963 masterpiece “Where the Wild Things Are,” let the wild rumpus start!

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Clear Lake (photo via James Marmon)

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by Dave Zirin

As Tom Brady says goodbye to the National Football League, it is worth reflecting on what we are losing. We are losing the greatest quarterback ever. His statistics are stratospheric. His unprecedented seven Super Bowl victories are legendary. His ceaseless “do your job” intensity is the stuff of tall tales.

We are losing someone who played at an all-pro or nearly all-pro level until the staggering age of 45. As ESPN’s Field Yates pointed out, if you divided Brady’s career into thirds, each roughly seven-year period would be enough on its own to get him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In other words, he had three Hall of Fame careers. Or perhaps it is simple enough to say that Tom Brady was named quarterback of the decade for two different decades. He accomplished this while competing against two generations of quarterbacks whom he regularly bested—players with names like Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees. And I, on a personal level, am losing someone who, for damn near a quarter-century, treated the team of my youth, the New York Jets, like Muhammad Ali treated Floyd Patterson (“picking the wings off a butterfly”), so please know that I am writing this appreciation and assessment through gritted teeth.

But understanding Brady demands more than devouring highlights and reading stat sheets. We are also losing the last superstar from the pre-social-media age. (When Brady was a rookie, Twitter was just a gleam in the devil’s eye.) This benefited Brady in the early years of his career when several of his personal and professional scandals skated beneath the brutal summary judgments of the masses. In addition, we are also losing the last Generation X football player, and I think that is important for understanding the slippery nature of the “political Brady.” When Tom Brady was drafted, Michael Jordan had yet to retire. It was a different era, when most athletes didn’t speak out in order to protect their paycheck. They took “shut up and play” not as an insult hurled by Fox News but as a guiding ethos. This was the sports world that Brady grew up with, and these are the athletes he modeled himself after. This partially explains why Brady already seemed old and uncomfortable a decade ago when Black athletes, including his own teammates, began to assert their rights to protest against police violence and racial inequity. It is true that over the last 10 years it’s been a form of white privilege that Black athletes have had to perform at a high level while also being peppered with political questions and had demands put on them to speak out in a way that white athletes have not had to endure. Brady never had the burden.

But not even Brady could escape the clutches of this political era and its demand for content, although he certainly tried. In 2015, Brady was casually keeping a bright red Make America Great Again baseball cap in his locker, and when some were alarmed, Brady laughed it off, explaining that Trump was basically a rich golf buddy. Many weren’t buying it, yet this MAGA man also skipped out on two visits to the Trump White House following Super Bowl victories. His old golfing pal had become too toxic. Yet it appears this was more about PR than politics, as Brady has been recently revealed to be texting chums with Ron DeSantis. Maybe they’re also just golfing buddies, although hanging with someone committed to eradicating Black history is certainly a choice. But as much as the right wing adores Brady, everyone seems to have forgotten that Brady was a consistent public supporter of Colin Kaepernick getting re-signed. He was outspoken about this in a hostile NFL climate in the years before 2020 and before branded anti-racist slogans appeared in the end zone.

On-the-field scandals also slid off of Teflon Tom. Both SpyGate and DeflateGate, which feel almost innocent now and are too tedious to recount here, stained his reputation in the moment and yet went largely unuttered amid the somber tributes when he finally announced that he was hanging up his cleats. These near-funereal reactions are understandable as an era ends. Something finally stuck to Teflon Tom: It wasn’t anything political or romantic. It was being 45. Even more than ferocious defense linemen like Aaron Donald or Nick Bosa, it was Father Time that put Brady down for the count.

It is possible—despite the highly curated tributes, documentaries, and podcasts and even despite the messy personal life—that we know even less about this man than we did a quarter of a century ago. Maybe Brady is the man who wasn’t there, a cipher who happened to be able to perform magic on a football field. Or maybe Brady has been able to keep himself to himself. Perhaps keeping the core of himself private stands as his final victory over an all-consuming media and public. If that was his intent, then in this day and age it’s a victory more impressive than any Super Bowl.

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* * *

FREEMAN DYSON, a major physicist, once tried to express the allure of power and killing. “I have felt it myself,” he warned. “The glitter of nuclear weapons. It is irresistible if you come to them as a scientist. To feel it’s there in your hands, to release this energy that fuels the stars, to let it do your bidding. To perform these miracles, to lift a million tons of rock into the sky. It is something that gives people an illusion of illimitable power, and it is, in some ways, responsible for all our troubles—this, what you might call technical arrogance, that overcomes people when they see what they can do with their minds” 

—Charles Bowden, “Murder City”

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* * *


by Bryan Denson

When Robert Eringer first saw Craig Rosebraugh in the news, he knew his professional contacts would be very interested in the young man’s story. A masterful account of Mr. Rosebraugh’s life as a radical environmentalist — not to mention his connections with domestic terrorists — would certainly impress the people who paid Mr. Eringer.

He was a pro at getting people to reveal intimate details of their lives in the memoirs he helped them produce. He would reach out to Mr. Rosebraugh and get him to write a book, to tell his story in all of its specifics.

That story had begun in the blink of an email one evening in 1998, as Mr. Rosebraugh, a tall, thin environmentalist, was making dinner. Alone in his one-bedroom apartment in Portland, Ore., he spotted an encrypted message in his inbox and decoded it to find a communiqué, addressed to him, from the Earth Liberation Front.

Craig Rosebraugh

Two days earlier, on Oct. 19, 1998, eight fires had torched a mile-long stretch of Vail Mountain in Colorado, burning through a ski-patrol building, several chairlift towers and the immense Two Elk Lodge. The arson caused $26 million in damages, then the costliest act of eco-terrorism in U.S. history. The E.L.F. claimed responsibility.

The shadowy saboteurs had targeted the construction project because it intruded on the habitat of the Canada lynx, a wildcat that the U.S. government would designate 17 months later as a threatened species. “This action is just a warning,” the saboteurs wrote. “We will be back if this greedy corporation continues to trespass into wild and unroaded areas.”

Mr. Rosebraugh, then 26, would recall gasping as he read.

“I knew this was a step up for the movement,” he said. “It raised the stakes. It was quite exciting and quite scary, to be honest.” He also feared, quite correctly, that the Vail fires would put him in the F.B.I.’s cross hairs.

With his heart pounding like a deadline reporter, Mr. Rosebraugh punched out a laudatory news release and emailed it to newsrooms across North America. Journalists lit up his phone for days.

“It was only a short time later that The New York Times did the piece on me labeling me ‘the face of eco-terrorism,’” he said.

For more than four years, he served as the primary spokesman for the E.L.F., presenting its firebombings as a moral guerrilla war against run-amok corporations busilyplundering the planet. He generated ink and airtime for such issues as suburban sprawl, deforestation and global warming, when mainstream environmental groups like the Sierra Club, which denounced the E.L.F., sometimes did not. All the while, the F.B.I. put Mr. Rosebraugh through the investigative ringer, working countless hours to determine whether his duties extended beyond his role as the mouthpiece for domestic terrorists.

The Earth Liberation Front could scarcely be called a traditional terrorist organization. The group’s guidelines, posted online, instructed its all-volunteer corps not to kill or injure anyone, though their operations certainly risked that possibility. Instead, members were told to slip underground and inflict maximum damage on corporate and government actors who despoiled the natural world. The front’s crimes would cause roughly $100 million in economic damages from 1996 to 2004, without ever taking a life.

Mr. Rosebraugh assured reporters that he did not know the identities of the saboteurs. But not everyone believed him, including the F.B.I. agents who put him at the center of their investigation and surveilled him relentlessly.

Robert Eringer

Also watching him from afar was Robert Eringer, who would later sign Mr. Rosebraugh to one of the most peculiar book deals in American history.

Person of Interest

Mr. Rosebraugh’s entry into eco-sabotage came in 1997, when a cell of the Animal Liberation Front sent him a letter taking responsibility for freeing nearly 10,000 minks from a ranch near Portland. The saboteurs, looking to publicize the crime, did not have to look far: Mr. Rosebraugh served as executive director of Portland’s militant Liberation Collective, a group that had publicly supported such sabotage. After receiving the communiqué, he held a news conference outside a local fur shop. Eventually, the E.L.F. also sent Mr. Rosebraugh anonymous claims of responsibility for its crimes.

The F.B.I. called the E.L.F. one of America’s top domestic security threats.

But federal agents pursuing the E.L.F. found themselves skunked time after time, a yearslong run of futility that one of the F.B.I.’s domestic terrorism chiefs once likened to “grasping at smoke.” Bereft of suspects, the F.B.I. zeroed in on Mr. Rosebraugh, as evidenced in more than 5,000 pages of F.B.I. files that he acquired under the Freedom of Information Act.

The records, shared by Mr. Rosebraugh with The New York Times and verified by the Department of Justice, provide a glimpse at the extraordinary efforts taken by the F.B.I. to keep tabs on its target.

According to the documents, agents searched Mr. Rosebraugh’s home, workplaces and vehicles on several occasions, carting off paperwork, desktop computers and other electronics. They secretly picked through his bank records, rummaged in his garbage, tracked his outgoing phone calls and tailed his vehicles The F.B.I. watched Mr. Rosebraugh’s home so habitually that an exasperated supervisor urged agents to consider mounting a camera on a utility pole in front of the dwelling.

Late one night, investigators made off with his pickup to secretly equip it with a GPS tracker. Mr. Rosebraugh said he had witnessed the operation and, believing that his truck was being stolen, called 911. He later found the vehicle on a police impound lot.

The records also show that the F.B.I. dispatched undercover agents and informants to attend Mr. Rosebraugh’s speaking engagements around the country. At an event in Seattle, Mr. Rosebraugh recalled, he spotted a blond woman dressed utterly out of place in the audience of black-clad anarchists. When she sidled up and asked him out, Mr. Rosebraugh calculated the social metrics and, smelling a rat, declined her offer.

“It was just a little too over-the-top,” he said.

Falling Out

In January 2001, Oregon’s top F.B.I. official, Dave Szady, appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes” to dispute Mr. Rosebraugh’s claim that he was merely E.L.F’s messenger: “I believe he knows the membership.”

One early morning that May, two teams of E.L.F. arsonists began the group’s first multistate arson operation — a strike against genetic engineering that caused $4.3 million in damages. One team hit the Jefferson Poplar Farm in northwestern Oregon, while another struck the office of a professor at the Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Mr. Rosebraugh read a draft of the two-part claim of responsibility and soon decided it was a hot mess. The previous owners of the farm had, indeed, grown genetically engineered trees, but the current owners were growing the trees the old-fashioned way — as natural hybrids.

“I knew it would be a major P.R. catastrophe,” Mr. Rosebraugh recalled. So he edited the communiqué to justify the arson while keeping to the provocative tone of the original: “We torched Jefferson Poplar because hybrid poplars are an ecological nightmare threatening native biodiversity in the ecosystem. Our forests are being liquidated and replaced with monocultured tree farms so greedy, earth raping corporations can make more money.”

Mr. Rosebraugh sent the edited communiqué to reporters, but his edits infuriated the E.L.F. saboteurs behind the attacks. Through an intermediary, they threatened to hunt him down. He seethed at their ingratitude.

“I felt the least that these individuals could do was have a respect and appreciation for everything I had gone through to represent their actions to the world,” he said. “And I felt that if I’m going to be threatened by the very people I’m risking my life and freedom for, what the hell am I doing?”

Mr. Rosebraugh never received another claim of responsibility. On Sept. 5, 2001, just six days before the attacks on the Twin Towers shifted the national conversation to a different type of terrorism, he announced his resignation.

Book Deal

Shortly before leaving his post, Mr. Rosebraugh received an email from Robert Eringer, the author and literary agent who thought Mr. Rosebraugh’s time with the E.L.F. would make for a great book.

“Craig was very enthusiastic,” Mr. Eringer said recently in an interview.

Mr. Rosebraugh, acutely mistrustful of strangers in those days, searched Mr. Eringer’s name online and discovered that he was, indeed, an agent and author whose books included spy novels and a nonfiction account of the Polish solidarity movement and its leader, Lech Walesa. His literary suitor clearly had ample experience to land him a book deal, but Mr. Rosebraugh declined initially.

Mr. Eringer persisted, and Mr. Rosebraugh eventually agreed to consider Mr. Eringer’s offer to help him publish a book. Mr. Eringer, 17 years older and living in Santa Barbara, Calif., happily accepted him as a new client and set him to work on a book proposal.

“Hi Craig,” he wrote in an email to his protégé on Feb. 1, 2002. “I think your additional material is excellent. You are a prolific writer — and on a roll. With that in mind, my suggestion for the moment is this: Keep going with ‘Glancing at the Guerillas.’ Completed, it would make a superb sample chapter.” He asked Mr. Rosebraugh to flesh out material on logging in the Pacific Northwest and on a controversial plan to drill for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. “More about the dangers to the environment caused by both — and what activists can do on either front.”

Later that month, Mr. Rosebraugh appeared under subpoena before a congressional subcommittee during a hearing on eco-terrorism. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination 54 times, refusing to answer all but one of the committee’s questions. Later that day, he proudly emailed Mr. Eringer to ask if he had read any news coverage of the hearing.

“I caught something on internet news,” Mr. Eringer responded. “The F.B.I. has called you the most active U.S.-based terrorist group! Can you make it down to L.A. by the 23rd?”

Mr. Eringer booked a room for Mr. Rosebraugh at the Inn at East Beach, in Santa Barbara, and met him on Feb. 23, 2002, to discuss business. He found his new client to be, perhaps like many writers, caustic and intense.

“My first impression,” he said, “was that Rosebraugh needed a hug.” But over meals, the two struck a tentative agreement for Mr. Rosebraugh to write a book manuscript that Mr. Eringer would then peddle to publishers.

“Good news,” Mr. Eringer soon wrote to Mr. Rosebraugh. “I have decided to go ahead and commission the book we discussed. Hence, I agree to an advance of $5,000 on the basis that it will take you approximately three months to write. You will write a minimum of 300 pages and cover the areas laid out in your proposal and those discussed while you were in Santa Barbara.”

Mr. Rosebraugh, unsophisticated about publishing matters, did not know that literary agents typically pitch nonfiction book proposals to publishers — not full-length manuscripts. But he signed the contract, which would pay him $1,000 for each installment he produced.

Not long afterward, Mr. Eringer let him know he would be moving to London, and he put his protégé in touch with an editor who would help shape the manuscript.

The fledgling author faced a punishing deadline that would force him to write 1,000 words a day for several months while also attending graduate school. He quickly fell behind and, by early September 2002, his editor had written to let him know that Mr. Eringer was disappointed not to have an E.L.F. manuscript to shop at the Frankfurt Book Fair the next month.

“Let your fingers sprint across the keyboard,” he wrote.

By December, Mr. Rosebraugh had knocked out 20 chapters, as well as a prologue and an epilogue, that read, as Mr. Eringer recently explained, more like a long academic paper. He decreed that the manuscript needed significant work and that his editor would fly to Portland to give it a top-to-bottom rewrite.

The news wounded Mr. Rosebraugh’s pride. He wondered how Mr. Eringer could have been so encouraging, and then suddenly so dismissive, of his work. Hoping to find answers, he searched Mr. Eringer’s name a second time.

What he found stunned him.

Since the first time Mr. Rosebraugh searched “Robert Eringer,” the results from Google had changed. The first item to appear was a two-part investigative story published the previous summer by Salon. The stories — headlined “The Greatest Vendetta on Earth” and “Send in the Clowns” — detailed Mr. Eringer’s role in a covert campaign of eavesdropping and dirty tricks against a Maryland journalist named Janice Pottker.

Ms. Pottker had angered Feld Entertainment, the family business behind the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, by writing an unflattering story about the family. She was hoping to expand that piece into a book when Mr. Eringer popped into her life as a literary agent willing to help fulfill her dream. But his actual job was to make sure she published nothing of the kind.

Mr. Eringer secretly worked for a Feld Entertainment consultant, Clair George, who was also a former deputy director of the C.I.A. Under Mr. George’s direction, Mr. Eringer edited Ms. Pottker’s manuscript, mining it for her sources and reporting them to Mr. George. Mr. Eringer skillfully diverted Ms. Pottker’s attention by helping her obtain a book deal on another subject — the family behind the Mars candy empire.

“And for years to come,” according to Salon, “Pottker would face one perplexing hurdle after another, unaware that her career was being monitored, prodded and shaped by a group of spies.”

Mr. Rosebraugh, horrified by the perfidies attributed to Mr. Eringer in Salon and unsettled by his ties to a former spook, feared for his life. That evening, he recalled, he settled in for a sleepless night with two loaded firearms, a knife and a baseball bat. The next morning, when Mr. Eringer’s editor showed up to begin working on the book, Mr. Rosebraugh pretended to be sick and unavailable.

He had no clue why Mr. Eringer had wormed his way into his life.

Operation Rosebraugh

As it happened, Mr. Eringer had spent a portion of his long career as a professional deceiver, honing his use of artifice as an undercover journalist in the 1980s.

While toiling for the freewheeling London tabloid Sunday People — under the alias Robert Douglas — Mr. Eringer had infiltrated a South Carolina faction of the Ku Klux Klan, to expose the group’s efforts to organize in Britain.

He later developed close ties to a Maryland publishing house, National Press Books. In 1993, he signed on with the publisher to edit “Safe House,” a memoir by Edward Lee Howard, a former C.I.A. officer. Mr. Howard, who had fallen under F.B.I. investigation for espionage, defected to the Soviet Union in 1985 after cleverly evading an F.B.I. surveillance team in New Mexico.

While working with Mr. Howard on his memoir, Mr. Eringer secretly hoped to lure the turncoat to a neutral country so that the F.B.I. could apprehend him. The bureau paid Mr. Eringer handsomely, but F.B.I. leadership ultimately failed to execute the plan, he said.

Mr. Eringer said he later targeted a U.S. fugitive named Ira Einhorn, known as the Unicorn Killer, who in 1977 murdered his girlfriend in Philadelphia, fled to Europe and fought extradition. He contacted the killer and cut a deal with him to edit “Cantor Dust,” Mr. Einhorn’s novel-in-progress. According to Mr. Eringer, his real mission was to report Mr. Einhorn’s plans to the F.B.I. With his help, Mr. Eringer said, the United States successfully extradited Mr. Einhorn to Pennsylvania in 2001. (The F.B.I., which has a standing policy of not commenting on informants, declined to comment about Mr. Eringer specifically.)

The premise of Mr. Eringer’s book ruse, as he calls it, is that everyone wants to publish one.

“It’s irresistible,” he said.

According to Mr. Eringer, the F.B.I. took him up on the plan to deploy the ruse on Mr. Rosebraugh, hoping to learn what its target was thinking, doing or thinking of doing. According to Mr. Eringer, he kept in touch with Mr. Rosebraugh by phone and email and dutifully read through the manuscript pages, passing everything to F.B.I. agents. Mr. Eringer said he hoped his target would cough up the “mother lode” — the identities of the E.L.F. saboteurs, perhaps even a confession from Mr. Rosebraugh — but such prospects soon dimmed.

“I just didn’t get the sense that this is a guy who goes out in the middle of the night and tries to burn stuff down,” Mr. Eringer recalled.

After the Salon articles were published, Mr. Eringer said, the F.B.I. shut down his Rosebraugh sting operation.

On Feb. 23, 2003, after he had hired a lawyer, Mr. Rosebraugh terminated his publishing contract with Mr. Eringer and paid back the $4,000 he had received in advances — still unaware that the funds had come from the F.B.I.

“He could have kept that money,” Mr. Eringer said with a laugh. “They would have never expected it back.”

The details of the F.B.I. investigation of Mr. Rosebraugh are corroborated by files obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, emails provided by Mr. Rosebraugh and by law enforcement officials familiar with the case. F.B.I. declined to comment on the specifics of the case.

A month after Mr. Rosebraugh ended his book deal, he bought a .45-caliber handgun and a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, fearful, he said, of federal agents, the E.L.F. saboteurs who had threatened him and Mr. Eringer. The F.B.I. secretly monitored his gun purchases.

The Next Chapter

Mr. Rosebraugh first learned of Mr. Eringer’s ploy in interviews for this story. “It was nice to have a bit more closure,” he said recently, describing the ruse as a colossal waste of taxpayer money.

Mr. Eringer disagreed. “From my perspective, it was actually quite inexpensive for an undercover operation,” he said. “As far as I could tell, the F.B.I. got more intelligence from me on what made Craig Rosebraugh tick than what they had amassed in two years.”

The next year, the government’s Operation Backfire investigation — entirely separate from Mr. Eringer’s efforts — indicted 19 men and women for roles in 20 major acts of E.L.F. and A.L.F. sabotage, including the Vail ski resort arson. It turned out that Mr. Rosebraugh was acquainted with three of the culprits, but, operating in an anonymized, cell-terrorist manner, none had ever told him about their crimes.

“He was a dupe,” said Greg Harvey, a retired police detective in Eugene, Ore., who played a key role in apprehending the gang. Mr. Harvey confirmed that the saboteurs had never revealed their identities to Mr. Rosebraugh because they had not trusted him. “They used him,” he said. “Then they kicked him to the curb.”

Today, Mr. Rosebraugh is scarcely a militant. He’s a 50-year-old documentary filmmaker in Pasadena, Calif., a family man with a wife, two children and a pair of law degrees, and he still doesn’t eat meat. His 2012 film, “Greedy Lying Bastards,” executive produced by Daryl Hannah, poked Big Oil by exploring corporate misinformation campaigns against global climate change.

Mr. Rosebraugh long ago renounced the E.L.F.’s firebombing as ineffective, noting that the Vail ski resort was up and running not long after the 1998 blaze.

“The fact remains that the group was very motivated to protect the very things we need to live, the very things we care about today,” he said. “Stopping climate change. Making sure we have clean water. Making sure we have clean soil. Making sure we have trees that act as they should in our ecosystem.”

He added: “I still think that people had a right do something.”

For Mr. Rosebraugh, one of those things was to actually find a way to publish the story he first unwittingly cobbled together for the F.B.I. In 2004, Lantern Books published his book, “Burning Rage of a Dying Planet: Speaking for the Earth Liberation Front.”

When he thought back on those years, though, Mr. Rosebraugh recalled how paranoid the F.B.I., the E.L.F. and Mr. Eringer had made him — furtively looking out his window, sleeping with a gun nearby. Yet he wondered if one could even call it paranoia.

“Everything I was paranoid about — and more — actually happened.”

(New York Times)

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The only way to fight back against the uniparty of Chaos is secession. There’s nothing wrong with the founding documents. There is something terribly wrong with all the psychopaths and obvious criminals we’ve stupidly elected over the years. That’s why we need secession and the total collapse of the current system with *ALL* the people currently working for it or in it removed and forever banned from holding any government jobs. Then maybe after 5 or 10 ten years or so, we can hold another constitutional convention and decide if we want to form another central/federal government. If not, then we’ll occupy North America as collections of states or confederations of states. That’s how freedom and democracy is supposed to work – what we have now is pile of crap run by mentally ill and delusional psychos.

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Ukraine expects Russia to mobilize up to half a million additional soldiers in the coming months, according to a senior intelligence official.

A senior Ukrainian official said Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov is not expected to be replaced this week in a government shakeup amid a growing corruption scandal. 

There's no sign of Ukraine retreating from the embattled eastern city of Bakhmut, the leader of Russia's Wagner mercenary group said. A Ukrainian military official said the landscape provides natural defenses that make it an "unwinnable fortress."

The UN chief warned the world is knowingly marching into a "wider war" in Ukraine.

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Irrefutable Evidence We're Deep Into The End Of Days

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REMARKS OF PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN – State of the Union Address as Prepared for Delivery

The United States Capitol

Mr. Speaker. Madam Vice President. Our First Lady and Second Gentleman.

Members of Congress and the Cabinet. Leaders of our military.

Mr. Chief Justice, Associate Justices, and retired Justices of the Supreme Court.

And you, my fellow Americans.

I start tonight by congratulating the members of the 118th Congress and the new Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy.

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to working together.

I also want to congratulate the new leader of the House Democrats and the first Black House Minority Leader in history, Hakeem Jeffries.

Congratulations to the longest serving Senate Leader in history, Mitch McConnell.

And congratulations to Chuck Schumer for another term as Senate Majority Leader, this time with an even bigger majority.

And I want to give special recognition to someone who I think will be considered the greatest Speaker in the history of this country, Nancy Pelosi.

The story of America is a story of progress and resilience. Of always moving forward. Of never giving up.

A story that is unique among all nations.

We are the only country that has emerged from every crisis stronger than when we entered it.

That is what we are doing again.

Two years ago, our economy was reeling.

As I stand here tonight, we have created a record 12 million new jobs, more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years.

Two years ago, COVID had shut down our businesses, closed our schools, and robbed us of so much.

Today, COVID no longer controls our lives.

And two years ago, our democracy faced its greatest threat since the Civil War.

Today, though bruised, our democracy remains unbowed and unbroken.

As we gather here tonight, we are writing the next chapter in the great American story, a story of progress and resilience. When world leaders ask me to define America, I define our country in one word: Possibilities.

You know, we’re often told that Democrats and Republicans can’t work together.

But over these past two years, we proved the cynics and the naysayers wrong.

Yes, we disagreed plenty. And yes, there were times when Democrats had to go it alone.

But time and again, Democrats and Republicans came together.

Came together to defend a stronger and safer Europe.

Came together to pass a once-in-a-generation infrastructure law, building bridges to connect our nation and people.

Came together to pass one of the most significant laws ever, helping veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.

In fact, I signed over 300 bipartisan laws since becoming President. From reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, to the Electoral Count Reform Act, to the Respect for Marriage Act that protects the right to marry the person you love.

To my Republican friends, if we could work together in the last Congress, there is no reason we can’t work together in this new Congress.

The people sent us a clear message. Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflict, gets us nowhere.

And that’s always been my vision for our country.

To restore the soul of the nation.

To rebuild the backbone of America, the middle class.

To unite the country.

We’ve been sent here to finish the job.

For decades, the middle class was hollowed out.

Too many good-paying manufacturing jobs moved overseas. Factories at home closed down.

Once-thriving cities and towns became shadows of what they used to be.

And along the way, something else was lost.

Pride. That sense of self-worth.

I ran for President to fundamentally change things, to make sure the economy works for everyone so we can all feel pride in what we do.

To build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down. Because when the middle class does well, the poor have a ladder up and the wealthy still do very well. We all do well.

As my Dad used to say, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, “Honey –it’s going to be OK,” and mean it.

So, let’s look at the results. Unemployment rate at 3.4%, a 50-year low. Near record low unemployment for Black and Hispanic workers.

We’ve already created 800,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs, the fastest growth in 40 years.

Where is it written that America can’t lead the world in manufacturing again?

For too many decades, we imported products and exported jobs.

Now, thanks to all we’ve done, we’re exporting American products and creating American jobs.

Inflation has been a global problem because of the pandemic that disrupted supply chains and Putin’s war that disrupted energy and food supplies.

But we’re better positioned than any country on Earth.

We have more to do, but here at home, inflation is coming down.

Here at home, gas prices are down $1.50 a gallon since their peak.

Food inflation is coming down.

Inflation has fallen every month for the last six months while take home pay has gone up.

Additionally, over the last two years, a record 10 million Americans applied to start a new small business.

Every time somebody starts a small business, it’s an act of hope.

And the Vice President will continue her work to ensure more small businesses can access capital and the historic laws we enacted.

Standing here last year, I shared with you a story of American genius and possibility.

Semiconductors, the small computer chips the size of your fingertip that power everything from cellphones to automobiles, and so much more. These chips were invented right here in America.

America used to make nearly 40% of the world’s chips.

But in the last few decades, we lost our edge and we’re down to producing only 10%. We all saw what happened during the pandemic when chip factories overseas shut down.

Today’s automobiles need up to 3,000 chips each, but American automakers couldn’t make enough cars because there weren’t enough chips.

Car prices went up. So did everything from refrigerators to cellphones.

We can never let that happen again.

That’s why we came together to pass the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act.

We’re making sure the supply chain for America begins in America.

We’ve already created 800,000 manufacturing jobs even without this law.

With this new law, we will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs across the country.

That’s going to come from companies that have announced more than $300 billion in investments in American manufacturing in the last two years.

Outside of Columbus, Ohio, Intel is building semiconductor factories on a thousand acres – a literal field of dreams.

That’ll create 10,000 jobs. 7,000 construction jobs. 3,000 jobs once the factories are finished.

Jobs paying $130,000 a year, and many don’t require a college degree.

Jobs where people don’t have to leave home in search of opportunity.

And it’s just getting started.

Think about the new homes, new small businesses, and so much more that will come to life.

Talk to mayors and Governors, Democrats and Republicans, and they’ll tell you what this means to their communities.

We’re seeing these fields of dreams transform the heartland.

But to maintain the strongest economy in the world, we also need the best infrastructure in the world.

We used to be #1 in the world in infrastructure, then we fell to #13th.

Now we’re coming back because we came together to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the largest investment in infrastructure since President Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System.

Already, we’ve funded over 20,000 projects, including at major airports from Boston to Atlanta to Portland.

These projects will put hundreds of thousands of people to work rebuilding our highways, bridges, railroads, tunnels, ports and airports, clean water, and high-speed internet across America.

Urban. Suburban. Rural. Tribal.

And we’re just getting started. I sincerely thank my Republican friends who voted for the law.

And to my Republican friends who voted against it but still ask to fund projects in their districts, don’t worry.

I promised to be the president for all Americans.

We’ll fund your projects. And I’ll see you at the ground-breaking.

This law will help further unite all of America.

Major projects like the Brent Spence bridge between Kentucky and Ohio over the Ohio River. Built 60 years ago. Badly in need of repairs.

One of the nation’s most congested freight routes carrying $2 billion worth of freight every day. Folks have been talking about fixing it for decades, but we’re finally going to get it done.

I went there last month with Democrats and Republicans from both states to deliver $1.6 billion for this project.

While I was there, I met an ironworker named Sara, who is here tonight.

For 30 years, she’s been a proud member of Ironworkers Local 44, known as the “cowboys of the sky” who built the Cincinnati skyline.

Sara said she can’t wait to be ten stories above the Ohio River building that new bridge. That’s pride.

That’s what we’re also building – Pride.

We’re also replacing poisonous lead pipes that go into 10 million homes and 400,000 schools and childcare centers, so every child in America can drink clean water.

We’re making sure that every community has access to affordable, high-speed internet.

No parent should have to drive to a McDonald’s parking lot so their kid can do their homework online.

And when we do these projects, we’re going to Buy American.

Buy American has been the law of the land since 1933. But for too long, past administrations have found ways to get around it.

Not anymore.

Tonight, I’m also announcing new standards to require all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America.

American-made lumber, glass, drywall, fiber optic cables.

And on my watch, American roads, American bridges, and American highways will be made with American products.

My economic plan is about investing in places and people that have been forgotten. Amid the economic upheaval of the past four decades, too many people have been left behind or treated like they’re invisible.

Maybe that’s you, watching at home.

You remember the jobs that went away. And you wonder whether a path even exists anymore for you and your children to get ahead without moving away.

I get it.

That’s why we’re building an economy where no one is left behind.

Jobs are coming back, pride is coming back, because of the choices we made in the last two years. This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America and make a real difference in your lives.

For example, too many of you lay in bed at night staring at the ceiling, wondering what will happen if your spouse gets cancer, your child gets sick, or if something happens to you.

Will you have the money to pay your medical bills? Will you have to sell the house?

I get it. With the Inflation Reduction Act that I signed into law, we’re taking on powerful interests to bring your health care costs down so you can sleep better at night.

You know, we pay more for prescription drugs than any major country on Earth.

For example, one in ten Americans has diabetes.

Every day, millions need insulin to control their diabetes so they can stay alive. Insulin has been around for 100 years. It costs drug companies just $10 a vial to make.

But, Big Pharma has been unfairly charging people hundreds of dollars – and making record profits.

Not anymore.

We capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month for seniors on Medicare.

But there are millions of other Americans who are not on Medicare, including 200,000 young people with Type I diabetes who need insulin to save their lives.

Let’s finish the job this time.

Let’s cap the cost of insulin at $35 a month for every American who needs it.

This law also caps out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare at a maximum $2,000 per year when there are in fact many drugs, like expensive cancer drugs, that can cost up to $10,000, $12,000, and $14,000 a year.

If drug prices rise faster than inflation, drug companies will have to pay Medicare back the difference.

And we’re finally giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices. Bringing down prescription drug costs doesn’t just save seniors money.

It will cut the federal deficit, saving tax payers hundreds of billions of dollars on the prescription drugs the government buys for Medicare.

Why wouldn’t we want to do that?

Now, some members here are threatening to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act.

Make no mistake, if you try to do anything to raise the cost of prescription drugs, I will veto it.

I’m pleased to say that more Americans have health insurance now than ever in history.

A record 16 million people are enrolled under the Affordable Care Act.

Thanks to the law I signed last year, millions are saving $800 a year on their premiums.

But the way that law was written, that benefit expires after 2025.

Let’s finish the job, make those savings permanent, and expand coverage to those left off Medicaid.

Look, the Inflation Reduction Act is also the most significant investment ever to tackle the climate crisis.

Lowering utility bills, creating American jobs, and leading the world to a clean energy future.

I’ve visited the devastating aftermaths of record floods and droughts, storms and wildfires.

In addition to emergency recovery from Puerto Rico to Florida to Idaho, we are rebuilding for the long term.

New electric grids able to weather the next major storm.

Roads and water systems to withstand the next big flood.

Clean energy to cut pollution and create jobs in communities too often left behind.

We’re building 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations installed across the country by tens of thousands of IBEW workers.

And helping families save more than $1,000 a year with tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles and energy-efficient appliances.

Historic conservation efforts to be responsible stewards of our lands.

Let’s face reality.

The climate crisis doesn’t care if your state is red or blue. It is an existential threat.

We have an obligation to our children and grandchildren to confront it. I’m proud of how America is at last stepping up to the challenge.

But there’s so much more to do.

We will finish the job.

And we pay for these investments in our future by finally making the wealthiest and the biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share.

I’m a capitalist. But just pay your fair share.

And I think a lot of you at home agree with me that our present tax system is simply unfair.

The idea that in 2020, 55 of the biggest companies in America made $40 billion in profits and paid zero in federal income taxes?

That’s simply not fair.

But now, because of the law I signed, billion-dollar companies have to pay a minimum of 15%.

Just 15%.

That’s less than a nurse pays. Let me be clear.

Under my plan, nobody earning less than $400,000 a year will pay an additional penny in taxes.

Nobody. Not one penny.

But there’s more to do.

Let’s finish the job. Reward work, not just wealth. Pass my proposal for a billionaire minimum tax.

Because no billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a school teacher or a firefighter.

You may have noticed that Big Oil just reported record profits.

Last year, they made $200 billion in the midst of a global energy crisis.

It’s outrageous.

They invested too little of that profit to increase domestic production and keep gas prices down.

Instead, they used those record profits to buy back their own stock, rewarding their CEOs and shareholders.

Corporations ought to do the right thing.

That’s why I propose that we quadruple the tax on corporate stock buybacks to encourage long term investments instead.

They will still make a considerable profit.

Let’s finish the job and close the loopholes that allow the very wealthy to avoid paying their taxes.

Instead of cutting the number of audits of wealthy tax payers, I signed a law that will reduce the deficit by $114 billion by cracking down on wealthy tax cheats.

That’s being fiscally responsible.

In the last two years, my administration cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion – the largest deficit reduction in American history.

Under the previous administration, America’s deficit went up four years in a row.

Because of those record deficits, no president added more to the national debt in any four years than my predecessor.

Nearly 25% of the entire national debt, a debt that took 200 years to accumulate, was added by that administration alone.

How did Congress respond to all that debt?

They lifted the debt ceiling three times without preconditions or crisis.

They paid America’s bills to prevent economic disaster for our country.

Tonight, I’m asking this Congress to follow suit.

Let us commit here tonight that the full faith and credit of the United States of America will never, ever be questioned.

Some of my Republican friends want to take the economy hostage unless I agree to their economic plans. All of you at home should know what their plans are.

Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset every five years.

That means if Congress doesn’t vote to keep them, those programs will go away.

Other Republicans say if we don’t cut Social Security and Medicare, they’ll let America default on its debt for the first time in our history.

I won’t let that happen.

Social Security and Medicare are a lifeline for millions of seniors.

Americans have been paying into them with every single paycheck since they started working.

So tonight, let’s all agree to stand up for seniors. Stand up and show them we will not cut Social Security. We will not cut Medicare.

Those benefits belong to the American people. They earned them.

If anyone tries to cut Social Security, I will stop them. And if anyone tries to cut Medicare, I will stop them.

I will not allow them to be taken away.

Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.

Next month when I offer my fiscal plan, I ask my Republican friends to offer their plan.

We can sit down together and discuss both plans together.

My plan will lower the deficit by $2 trillion.

I won’t cut a single Social Security or Medicare benefit.

In fact, I will extend the Medicare Trust Fund by at least two decades.

I will not raise taxes on anyone making under $400,000 a year. And I will pay for the ideas I’ve talked about tonight by making the wealthy and big corporations begin to pay their fair share.

Look, here’s the deal. Big corporations aren’t just taking advantage of the tax code. They’re taking advantage of you, the American consumer.

Here’s my message to all of you out there: I have your back. We’re already preventing insurance companies from sending surprise medical bills, stopping 1 million surprise bills a month.

We’re protecting seniors’ lives and life savings by cracking down on nursing homes that commit fraud, endanger patient safety, or prescribe drugs they don’t need.

Millions of Americans can now save thousands of dollars because they can finally get hearing aids over-the-counter without a prescription.

Capitalism without competition is not capitalism. It is exploitation.

Last year I cracked down on foreign shipping companies that were making you pay higher prices for everyday goods coming into our country.

I signed a bipartisan bill that cut shipping costs by 90%, helping American farmers, businesses, and consumers.

Let’s finish the job.

Pass bipartisan legislation to strengthen antitrust enforcement and prevent big online platforms from giving their own products an unfair advantage.

My administration is also taking on “junk” fees, those hidden surcharges too many businesses use to make you pay more.

For example, we’re making airlines show you the full ticket price upfront and refund your money if your flight is cancelled or delayed.

We’ve reduced exorbitant bank overdraft fees, saving consumers more than $1 billion a year.

We’re cutting credit card late fees by 75%, from $30 to $8.

Junk fees may not matter to the very wealthy, but they matter to most folks in homes like the one I grew up in. They add up to hundreds of dollars a month.

They make it harder for you to pay the bills or afford that family trip.

I know how unfair it feels when a company overcharges you and gets away with it.

Not anymore.

We’ve written a bill to stop all that. It’s called the Junk Fee Prevention Act.

We’ll ban surprise “resort fees” that hotels tack on to your bill. These fees can cost you up to $90 a night at hotels that aren’t even resorts.

We’ll make cable internet and cellphone companies stop charging you up to $200 or more when you decide to switch to another provider.

We’ll cap service fees on tickets to concerts and sporting events and make companies disclose all fees upfront.

And we’ll prohibit airlines from charging up to $50 roundtrip for families just to sit together.

Baggage fees are bad enough – they can’t just treat your child like a piece of luggage.

Americans are tired of being played for suckers.

Pass the Junk Fee Prevention Act so companies stop ripping us off.

For too long, workers have been getting stiffed.

Not anymore.

We’re beginning to restore the dignity of work.

For example, 30 million workers had to sign non-compete agreements when they took a job. So a cashier at a burger place can’t cross the street to take the same job at another burger place to make a couple bucks more.

Not anymore.

We’re banning those agreements so companies have to compete for workers and pay them what they’re worth.

I’m so sick and tired of companies breaking the law by preventing workers from organizing.

Pass the PRO Act because workers have a right to form a union. And let’s guarantee all workers a living wage.

Let’s also make sure working parents can afford to raise a family with sick days, paid family and medical leave, and affordable child care that will enable millions more people to go to work.

Let’s also restore the full Child Tax Credit, which gave tens of millions of parents some breathing room and cut child poverty in half, to the lowest level in history.

And by the way, when we do all of these things, we increase productivity. We increase economic growth.

Let’s also finish the job and get more families access to affordable and quality housing.

Let’s get seniors who want to stay in their homes the care they need to do so. And give a little more breathing room to millions of family caregivers looking after their loved ones.

Pass my plan so we get seniors and people with disabilities the home care services they need and support the workers who are doing God’s work.

These plans are fully paid for and we can afford to do them.

Restoring the dignity of work also means making education an affordable ticket to the middle class.

When we made 12 years of public education universal in the last century, it made us the best-educated, best-prepared nation in the world.

But the world has caught up.

Jill, who teaches full-time, has an expression: “Any nation that out-educates us will out-compete us.”

Folks, you all know 12 years is not enough to win the economic competition for the 21st Century.

If you want America to have the best-educated workforce, let’s finish the job by providing access to pre-school for 3- and 4-year-olds.

Studies show that children who go to pre-school are nearly 50% more likely to finish high school and go on to earn a 2- or 4-year degree, no matter their background.

Let’s give public school teachers a raise.

And we’re making progress by reducing student debt and increasing Pell Grants for working- and middle-class families.

Let’s finish the job, connect students to career opportunities starting in high school and provide two years of community college, some of the best career training in America, in addition to being a pathway to a four-year degree.

Let’s offer every American the path to a good career whether they go to college or not.

And folks, in the midst of the COVID crisis when schools were closed, let’s also recognize how far we’ve come in the fight against the pandemic itself.

While the virus is not gone, thanks to the resilience of the American people, we have broken COVID’s grip on us.

COVID deaths are down nearly 90%.

We’ve saved millions of lives and opened our country back up.

And soon we’ll end the public health emergency.

But we will remember the toll and pain that will never go away for so many. More than 1 million Americans have lost their lives to COVID.

Families grieving. Children orphaned. Empty chairs at the dining room table.

We remember them, and we remain vigilant.

We still need to monitor dozens of variants and support new vaccines and treatments.

So Congress needs to fund these efforts and keep America safe.

And as we emerge from this crisis stronger, I’m also doubling down on prosecuting criminals who stole relief money meant to keep workers and small businesses afloat during the pandemic.

Before I came to office many inspector generals who protect taxpayer dollars were sidelined. Fraud was rampant.

Last year, I told you the watchdogs are back. Since then, we’ve recovered billions of taxpayer dollars.

Now, let’s triple our anti-fraud strike forces going after these criminals, double the statute of limitations on these crimes, and crack down on identity fraud by criminal syndicates stealing billions of dollars from the American people.

For every dollar we put into fighting fraud, taxpayers get back at least ten times as much.

COVID left other scars, like the spike in violent crime in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.

We have an obligation to make sure all our people are safe.

Public safety depends on public trust. But too often that trust is violated.

Joining us tonight are the parents of Tyre Nichols, who had to bury him just last week. There are no words to describe the heartbreak and grief of losing a child.

But imagine what it’s like to lose a child at the hands of the law.

Imagine having to worry whether your son or daughter will come home from walking down the street or playing in the park or just driving their car.

I’ve never had to have the talk with my children – Beau, Hunter, and Ashley – that so many Black and Brown families have had with their children.

If a police officer pulls you over, turn on your interior lights. Don’t reach for your license. Keep your hands on the steering wheel.

Imagine having to worry like that every day in America.

Here’s what Tyre’s mom shared with me when I asked her how she finds the courage to carry on and speak out.

With faith in God, she said her son “was a beautiful soul and something good will come from this.”

Imagine how much courage and character that takes.

It’s up to us. It’s up to all of us.

We all want the same thing.

Neighborhoods free of violence.

Law enforcement who earn the community’s trust.

Our children to come home safely.

Equal protection under the law; that’s the covenant we have with each other in America.

And we know police officers put their lives on the line every day, and we ask them to do too much.

To be counselors, social workers, psychologists; responding to drug overdoses, mental health crises, and more.

We ask too much of them.

I know most cops are good, decent people. They risk their lives every time they put on that shield.

But what happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often.

We have to do better.

Give law enforcement the training they need, hold them to higher standards, and help them succeed in keeping everyone safe.

We also need more first responders and other professionals to address growing mental health and substance abuse challenges.

More resources to reduce violent crime and gun crime; more community intervention programs; more investments in housing, education, and job training.

All this can help prevent violence in the first place.

And when police officers or departments violate the public’s trust, we must hold them accountable.

With the support of families of victims, civil rights groups, and law enforcement, I signed an executive order for all federal officers banning chokeholds, restricting no-knock warrants, and other key elements of the George Floyd Act.

Let’s commit ourselves to make the words of Tyre’s mother come true, something good must come from this.

All of us in this chamber, we need to rise to this moment.

We can’t turn away.

Let’s do what we know in our hearts we need to do.

Let’s come together and finish the job on police reform.

Do something.

That was the same plea of parents who lost their children in Uvalde: Do something on gun violence.

Thank God we did, passing the most sweeping gun safety law in three decades.

That includes things that the majority of responsible gun owners support, like enhanced background checks for 18 to 21-year-olds and red flag laws keeping guns out of the hands of people who are a danger to themselves and others.

But we know our work is not done.

Joining us tonight is Brandon Tsay, a 26-year-old hero.

Brandon put off his college dreams to stay by his mom’s side as she was dying from cancer. He now works at a dance studio started by his grandparents.

Two weeks ago, during Lunar New Year celebrations, he heard the studio’s front door close and saw a man pointing a gun at him.

He thought he was going to die, but then he thought about the people inside.

In that instant, he found the courage to act and wrestled the semi-automatic pistol away from a gunman who had already killed 11 people at another dance studio.

He saved lives. It’s time we do the same as well.

Ban assault weapons once and for all.

We did it before. I led the fight to ban them in 1994.

In the 10 years the ban was law, mass shootings went down. After Republicans let it expire, mass shootings tripled.

Let’s finish the job and ban assault weapons again.

And let’s also come together on immigration and make it a bipartisan issue like it was before.

We now have a record number of personnel working to secure the border, arresting 8,000 human smugglers and seizing over 23,000 pounds of fentanyl in just the last several months.

Since we launched our new border plan last month, unlawful migration from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela has come down 97%.

But America’s border problems won’t be fixed until Congress acts.

If you won’t pass my comprehensive immigration reform, at least pass my plan to provide the equipment and officers to secure the border. And a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, those on temporary status, farm workers, and essential workers.

Here in the people’s House, it’s our duty to protect all the people’s rights and freedoms.

Congress must restore the right the Supreme Court took away last year and codify Roe v. Wade to protect every woman’s constitutional right to choose.

The Vice President and I are doing everything we can to protect access to reproductive health care and safeguard patient privacy. But already, more than a dozen states are enforcing extreme abortion bans.

Make no mistake; if Congress passes a national abortion ban, I will veto it.

Let’s also pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity.

Our strength is not just the example of our power, but the power of our example. Let’s remember the world is watching.

I spoke from this chamber one year ago, just days after Vladimir Putin unleashed his brutal war against Ukraine.

A murderous assault, evoking images of the death and destruction Europe suffered in World War II.

Putin’s invasion has been a test for the ages. A test for America. A test for the world.

Would we stand for the most basic of principles?

Would we stand for sovereignty?

Would we stand for the right of people to live free from tyranny?

Would we stand for the defense of democracy?

For such a defense matters to us because it keeps the peace and prevents open season for would-be aggressors to threaten our security and prosperity. One year later, we know the answer.

Yes, we would.

And yes, we did.

Together, we did what America always does at our best.

We led.

We united NATO and built a global coalition.

We stood against Putin’s aggression.

We stood with the Ukrainian people.

Tonight, we are once again joined by Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States. She represents not just her nation, but the courage of her people.

Ambassador, America is united in our support for your country. We will stand with you as long as it takes.

Our nation is working for more freedom, more dignity, and more peace,
not just in Europe, but everywhere.

Before I came to office, the story was about how the People’s Republic of China was increasing its power and America was falling in the world.

Not anymore.

I’ve made clear with President Xi that we seek competition, not conflict.

I will make no apologies that we are investing to make America strong. Investing in American innovation, in industries that will define the future, and that China’s government is intent on dominating.

Investing in our alliances and working with our allies to protect our advanced technologies so they’re not used against us.

Modernizing our military to safeguard stability and deter aggression.

Today, we’re in the strongest position in decades to compete with China or anyone else in the world.

I am committed to work with China where it can advance American interests and benefit the world.

But make no mistake: as we made clear last week, if China’s threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did.

And let’s be clear: winning the competition with China should unite all of us. We face serious challenges across the world.

But in the past two years, democracies have become stronger, not weaker.

Autocracies have grown weaker, not stronger.

America is rallying the world again to meet those challenges, from climate and global health, to food insecurity, to terrorism and territorial aggression.

Allies are stepping up, spending more and doing more.

And bridges are forming between partners in the Pacific and those in the Atlantic. And those who bet against America are learning just how wrong they are.

It’s never a good bet to bet against America.

When I came to office, most everyone assumed bipartisanship was impossible. But I never believed it.

That’s why a year ago, I offered a Unity Agenda for the nation.

We’ve made real progress.

Together, we passed a law making it easier for doctors to prescribe effective treatments for opioid addiction.

Passed a gun safety law making historic investments in mental health.

Launched ARPA-H to drive breakthroughs in the fight against cancer,
Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and so much more.

We passed the Heath Robinson PACT Act, named for the late Iraq war veteran whose story about exposure to toxic burn pits I shared here last year.

But there is so much more to do. And we can do it together.

Joining us tonight is a father named Doug from Newton, New Hampshire.

He wrote Jill and me a letter about his daughter Courtney. Contagious laugh. Her sister’s best friend.

He shared a story all too familiar to millions of Americans.

Courtney discovered pills in high school. It spiraled into addiction and eventually her death from a fentanyl overdose.

She was 20 years old.

Describing the last eight years without her, Doug said, “There is no worse pain.”

Yet their family has turned pain into purpose, working to end stigma and change laws.

He told us he wants to “start the journey towards America’s recovery.”

Doug, we’re with you.

Fentanyl is killing more than 70,000 Americans a year.

Let’s launch a major surge to stop fentanyl production, sale, and trafficking, with more drug detection machines to inspect cargo and stop pills and powder at the border.

Working with couriers like Fed Ex to inspect more packages for drugs. Strong penalties to crack down on fentanyl trafficking.

Second, let’s do more on mental health, especially for our children. When millions of young people are struggling with bullying, violence, trauma, we owe them greater access to mental health care at school.

We must finally hold social media companies accountable for the experiment they are running on our children for profit.

And it’s time to pass bipartisan legislation to stop Big Tech from collecting personal data on kids and teenagers online, ban targeted advertising to children, and impose stricter limits on the personal data these companies collect on all of us.

Third, let’s do more to keep our nation’s one truly sacred obligation: to equip those we send into harm’s way and care for them and their families when they come home.

Job training and job placement for veterans and their spouses as they return to civilian life.

Helping veterans afford their rent because no one should be homeless in this country, especially not those who served it.

And we cannot go on losing 17 veterans a day to the silent scourge of suicide.

The VA is doing everything it can, including expanding mental health screenings and a proven program that recruits veterans to help other veterans understand what they’re going through and get the help they need.

And fourth, last year Jill and I re-ignited the Cancer Moonshot that President Obama asked me to lead in our Administration.

Our goal is to cut the cancer death rate by at least 50% over the next 25 years. Turn more cancers from death sentences into treatable diseases. And provide more support for patients and families.

It’s personal for so many of us.

Joining us are Maurice and Kandice, an Irishman and a daughter of immigrants from Panama.

They met and fell in love in New York City and got married in the same chapel as Jill and I did.

Kindred spirits.

He wrote us a letter about their little daughter Ava.

She was just a year old when she was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer.

26 blood transfusions. 11 rounds of radiation. 8 rounds of chemo. 1 kidney removed.

A 5% survival rate.

He wrote how in the darkest moments he thought, “if she goes, I can’t stay.”

Jill and I understand, like so many of you.

They read how Jill described our family’s cancer journey and how we tried to steal moments of joy where you can.

For them, that glimmer of joy was a half-smile from their baby girl. It meant everything.

They never gave up hope.

Ava never gave up hope. She turns four next month.

They just found out that Ava beat the odds and is on her way to being cancer free, and she’s watching from the White House tonight.

For the lives we can save and for the lives we have lost, let this be a truly American moment that rallies the country and the world together and proves that we can do big things.

Twenty years ago, under the leadership of President Bush and countless advocates and champions, we undertook a bipartisan effort through PEPFAR to transform the global fight against HIV/AIDS. It’s been a huge success.

I believe we can do the same with cancer.

Let’s end cancer as we know it and cure some cancers once and for all.

There’s one reason why we’re able to do all of these things: our democracy itself.

It’s the most fundamental thing of all.

With democracy, everything is possible. Without it, nothing is.

For the last few years our democracy has been threatened, attacked, and put at risk.

Put to the test here, in this very room, on January 6th.

And then, just a few months ago, unhinged by the Big Lie, an assailant unleashed political violence in the home of the then-Speaker of this House of Representatives. Using the very same language that insurrectionists who stalked these halls chanted on January 6th.

Here tonight in this chamber is the man who bears the scars of that brutal attack, but is as tough and strong and as resilient as they get.

My friend, Paul Pelosi.

But such a heinous act never should have happened.

We must all speak out. There is no place for political violence in America. In America, we must protect the right to vote, not suppress that fundamental right. We honor the results of our elections, not subvert the will of the people. We must uphold the rule of the law and restore trust in our institutions of democracy.

And we must give hate and extremism in any form no safe harbor.

Democracy must not be a partisan issue. It must be an American issue.

Every generation of Americans has faced a moment where they have been called on to protect our democracy, to defend it, to stand up for it.

And this is our moment.

My fellow Americans, we meet tonight at an inflection point. One of those moments that only a few generations ever face, where the decisions we make now will decide the course of this nation and of the world for decades to come.

We are not bystanders to history. We are not powerless before the forces that confront us. It is within our power, of We the People. We are facing the test of our time and the time for choosing is at hand.

We must be the nation we have always been at our best. Optimistic. Hopeful. Forward-looking.

A nation that embraces, light over darkness, hope over fear, unity over division. Stability over chaos.

We must see each other not as enemies, but as fellow Americans. We are a good people, the only nation in the world built on an idea.

That all of us, every one of us, is created equal in the image of God. A nation that stands as a beacon to the world. A nation in a new age of possibilities.

So I have come here to fulfil my constitutional duty to report on the state of the union. And here is my report.

Because the soul of this nation is strong, because the backbone of this nation is strong, because the people of this nation are strong, the State of the Union is strong.

As I stand here tonight, I have never been more optimistic about the future of America. We just have to remember who we are.

We are the United States of America and there is nothing, nothing
 beyond our capacity if we do it together.

May God bless you all. May God protect our troops.

* * *


  1. George Hollister February 8, 2023

    “USED TO BE that the Democrats prided themselves as the party of working people then”

    The Democratic Party has become the party of government. Look where their money comes from. Government, including the hogs at the government trough, are a self interest group. This eventuality is inherent with socialism, or whatever one wants to call it. Surprise, surprise. Working people are there to get a pat on the head, and serve the needs government.

  2. Marmon February 8, 2023

    I hope our Editor in Chief learns something about excessive content moderation from today twitter hearing.


  3. Eric Sunswheat February 8, 2023

    Regulated fentanyl use supervision with Narcan death prevention, may be a realistic alternative to enhanced criminality of drug mis-use.

    RE: Let’s launch a major surge to stop fentanyl production, sale, and trafficking, with more drug detection machines to inspect cargo and stop pills and powder at the border.
    Working with couriers like Fed Ex to inspect more packages for drugs. Strong penalties to crack down on fentanyl trafficking. (President Joe Biden)

    —>. February 8, 2023
    Now that fentanyl test strips have been decriminalized in Pennsylvania, state agencies are working to gauge demand and distribute the tool, which helps identify deadly opioids and other chemicals…

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions that fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, gets mixed in with other drugs — often cocaine and heroin — to increase their strength and drive down costs.

    “In many cases, people who are addicted to drugs, they want the release, but they don’t want to die from the drug,” Struzzi said, adding that while he doesn’t condone drug use, the test strips could still save lives.

    • peter boudoures February 8, 2023

      I’m not worried about the users, I’m worried about the innocent people who could and do come into contact with the drug. Example: baby playing in San Francisco park as reported in the sfgate

      • Eric Sunswheat February 8, 2023

        Don’t allow use or distribution off site, and couple with psilocybin microdosing regime and food garden micro farming nutrition rehabilitation. We are talking same talk. Remove risk exposure to children by removing fentanyl profit demand and accidental access.

  4. Marmon February 8, 2023

    Officers Seize Large Quantity of Fentanyl and Methamphetamine on Early Morning Traffic Stop:

    On 2/07/2023 at approximately 0040 hours, Officers with the Lakeport Police Department conducted a traffic stop for a vehicle code violation near the intersection of S Main St and Hwy 175. The officers contacted the driver of the stopped vehicle, James Biocca, of Healdsburg, CA.

    Officers ran a DMV records check on James and determined that his driver’s license had multiple suspensions on file with good service. Officers arrested James and subsequent to his arrest located suspected fentanyl and drug paraphernalia on his person. Officers then searched James’s vehicle and located additional drug paraphernalia as well as a total of approximately 3.48 ounces (98.8 grams) of suspected fentanyl and 21.3 grams of methamphetamine all of which were packaged in varying amounts. Officers also located additional baggies and a scale inside the vehicle.

    Based on the items discovered during the search, James was booked into the Lake County Jail on the following charges: possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance for sale, transport of a controlled substance, possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics for sale, transportation of narcotics, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license.

    According to the DEA, just 2 milligrams of fentanyl is considered to be enough to cause an overdose and kill someone. Based on this data, the amount of fentanyl seized as a result of this one traffic stop could have killed up to 49,400 people.

    The Lakeport Police Department is committed to removing dangerous drugs from our community and working to ensure that Lakeport is a safe place to live and work. We would like to encourage those who are addicted to dangerous drugs, like fentanyl, to reach out and seek rehabilitative treatment.

    The police department currently is partnered with the Lake Family Resource Center and has a Crisis Responder who can link those in need with life-changing services. If this is something that you would like more information on, please contact our agency by calling 707-263-5491 or emailing us at or by sending us a message on facebook.

    -Lakeport Police Department


  5. Jim Armstrong February 8, 2023

    I followed Biden’s speech closely last night.
    I just surprised myself by reading most of it again above.
    Thanks for posting it. It is a good one.
    I didn’t have the guts to listen to Huckabee’s speech, but excerpts this morning show it was as bad as the other was good.
    And the behavior of Republicans reached a new low.
    I’m not sure reelecting Biden will even be a choice, but I am looking forward to the rest of this term and wish him, and us, well.

    • Marmon February 8, 2023

      Anyone else find it strange when Jill Biden started kissing Kamala Harris’ Husband on the lips last night?


    • Bruce Anderson February 8, 2023

      My sentiments exactly!

      • Chuck Dunbar February 8, 2023

        At long last you are a true believer, Bruce. OM to you on this lovely day.

  6. Steve Heilig February 8, 2023

    Anyone else find it strange how “conservatives,” especially pussy-grabber Trump fans like resident troll Marmon above (who previously assured everyone that the violent attack on Mr. Pelosi was some sort of gay scandal), are more obsessed with perceived perversions and silly salaciousness than normal humans?

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