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Mendocino County Today: April 25, 2013

SINCE KZYX IS NPR, standards of local/community broadcasting cannot be applied, and I'm afraid you're languishing in the past to think otherwise. NPR is akin to Wal-Mart and McDonald's, just another functionary of American monoculture. Wal-Mart tells us what to buy, McDonald's tells us how to eat, and NPR tells us how to think, how to talk and most importantly, what to fear — and they never let up on any of it. So, since as an NPR affiliate KZYX exists only to promulgate the Official Story, creative and/or critical thinking will not be tolerated, and hired personnel are chosen accordingly, and are left plenty of time for petty ego-wrangling. On-air announcers read the same stuff Wolf Blitzer does on CNN, just in a more restrained tone of voice. Blitzer, it is worth noting, appeared on a “celebrity” Jeopardy show and did not get one correct answer. He is dumber than a rock but apparently can read official press releases phonetically without the burden of knowing what the words mean. The difference between CNN and NPR is that NPR is aimed predominantly at politically correct liberals who regard themselves as smarter than everyone else. The corporate underwriters like Chevron understand this quite well. — Jeff Costello

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MENDOCINO MYSTERY MAN BURIED— AGAIN.

Mendocino's Mystery Man was given a memorable reburial on a warm Tuesday afternoon almost 27 years to the day that his bones were rescued from a crumbling headland over the ocean.

Believed to be a drowned sailor after State Parks anthropologist's studied his bones, this young man had been buried, minus his hands and feet, in a redwood plank coffin sometime between 1850 and 1870. His skull may have hit the surf and vanished as the skeleton appeared at the bluff's edge. Hands and feet may have been worn away as the body sloshed in the sea and dark ocean sand lay by his hipbones after pockets and cloth of his pants disintegrated with time. Drowned people often have sand in their pockets. Decomposing bodies were buried where they were found.

The same State Park employee who collected the bones in 1986 and took them to Sacramento wondered decades later what happened to the bones after it was established they were not native remains. He found them, had them studied, then looked at having them reburied.

Evergreen Cemetery, Mendocino
Evergreen Cemetery, Mendocino

Laurie Hill from the Mendocino Little River Cemetery District arranged a gravesite at Evergreen Cemetery, a local sculptor carved a grave stone, flowers were obtained, a redwood coffin was handmade, and a bagpiper came. It was an open coffin service and everyone present who wanted to got to see the bones and cultural artifacts (mostly buttons) found with his skeleton.

Forty people came to the funeral after reading about it in the local paper. Here was a poor sailor ready to return to a grave on shore after his bones were inadvertently misplaced for 27 years. Poems about sailors and the sea were read. Folks spoke of his having a mother or wife who watched their man walk out the door for a sea journey he never came back from. As a community we understand while important folks get fancy funerals and big headstones this man was one of the thousands of working men who helped make the maritime community on the coast 120 years ago. Since his family was long gone locals were standing in with thoughts that community can be a family too. There were no religious overtones to the event. It was just a group of folks happy to welcome a nameless unknown Mendocino Mystery Man to a permanent home on shore. Home is the sailor from the sea. It was a touching ceremony on a beautiful day. — Katy Tahja in Comptche

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LEON GIBSON is one of about a hundred Mendocino County people who regularly get arrested. Gibson is a death-wish drunk dying mostly on the streets of Fort Bragg, although he occasionally does his drop-fall in Ukiah. He's never in jail long enough to dry all the way out, never mind long enough to re-think his life priorities.

Gibson, 2/2011, 10/2012, 12/2012, 4/2013
Gibson, 2/2011, 10/2012, 12/2012, 4/2013

THE LOCAL JUSTICE SYSTEM is content to run Leon through its Potemkin processes on an average of once a month, and Leon's gotten himself arrested for years now, although from the look of him recently Leon's about to turn up his toes.

ALL THIS TIME, everyone from the cops to the DA to the judges simply declare, “Well, it's poor old Leon again. Nothing we can do.” Which, narrowly considered, is true. But it's not just and it certainly isn't justice to tolerate public suicides. And it's very bad for public morale.

THE BOONVILLE NEWSPAPER suggests that our county's eight judges, on their own initiative, buy a suitable piece of property — or maybe two pieces of suitable property — one inland, one near Fort Bragg, to serve as a Mendocino County Farm. Their honors would do this in return for their life jobs at the big pay, and they'd do it because the hundred or so Leons of Mendocino County cost us all more in money and mass chagrin than the untended walking wounded represent. The judges should also get behind a County Farm, or at minimum an expansion of the County Jail into a County Farm, because the revolving court door they sponsor undermines respect for the law.

ONCE THE JUDGES have performed this unprecedented act of charity, the rest of us, via the County of Mendocino, would be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the County Farm, which, by the way, was the way the County of Mendocino dealt with its drunks and incompetents up until World War Two. The old County Farm near Low Gap and Bush in Ukiah was, we understand, at least partially self-supporting, and it was indeed a working farm.

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A LAWLESS LEGACY

Obama is Comfortable with Bush’s Inferno

By Ralph Nader

George W. Bush is riding high. A megamillionaire, from the taxpayer-subsidized Texas Rangers company, he makes $150,000 to $200,000 per speech, receives a large presidential pension and support facilities and is about to dedicate the $500 million George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on April 25.

President Obama will be at the dedication, continuing to legitimize Mr. Bush, as he did from the outset by announcing in 2009 there would be no investigations or prosecutions of the Bush officials for their crimes.

In an interview with the New York Times, Mr. Bush continued to say he has no regrets about his Presidency. “I’m comfortable with what I did,” he said, “I’m comfortable with who I am.” He added, “Much of my presidency was defined by things that you didn’t necessarily want to have happen.”

But he and Dick Cheney made them happen, although Mr. Bush attributed some military events to Providence. One of the “things” he is comfortable with was his criminal, unconstitutional invasion and occupation of Iraq, which took over one million Iraqi lives — children, women and men — created 5 million refugees and committed overall sociocide on that country which posed no threat to the U.S. The carnage continues to this day by a militarized al-Qaeda-in-Iraq that didn’t exist before his invasion.

Apparently, Mr. Bush is “comfortable” with the price paid by the U.S. soldiers and their broken families — over 5,000 fatalities and suicides, 200,000 injuries, illnesses and traumatic syndromes — and by U.S. taxpayers, who over time will pay an estimated 3 trillion dollars according to Nobel Laureate and economist, Joseph Stiglitz.

Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has said repeatedly that Bush and Cheney “lied us into invading Iraq.” Such an understatement. Bush and Cheney not only lied about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, they also deceived, covered-up, corrupted or intimidated the mass media, bullied an abdicatory Congress, and delivered a false address to the United Nations with the now regretful Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Two secretary generals of the UN subsequently declared Bush’s war of aggression against Iraq to be a violation of international law.

Bush suffers no qualms about the brutal realities of his war and his recidivist violations of our Constitution, federal statutes and international treaties. “One of the real challenges of life is when you complete a chapter, you don’t atrophy, that you continue to find ways to contribute,” said Bush in an interview with The Dallas Morning News. Army veteran Tomas Young is atrophying from his massive wounds in Iraq. Before he decides to end his devastated life, possibly this month, he summoned his moral energy to write Mr. Bush a poignant letter calling him to account for his war crimes. Bush, however, never responds. After all he’s “comfortable” and that bloody “chapter” is closed.

The American people have yet to come to terms with the reality that presidents are above the law. Presidents can commit repeated crimes in an outlaw presidency so long as they can invoke, however falsely and vaguely, national security.

Were presidents to engage in personal crimes or obstruction of justice, like Nixon with the burglary of the Democratic Party’s Watergate offices, the law and Congress can hold them accountable. But Bush and Cheney had bigger fish to fry with their destruction of justice. As the ancient Roman historian Tacitus wrote: “The worst crimes were dared by a few, willed by more, and tolerated by all.”

Fortunately, for our fragile democracy, there were dissenters. After 9/11, leading civil liberty groups objected to provisions in the Patriot Act that allowed searches of your home and businesses without telling you for 72 hours. And, the muzzling of librarians and custodians of your financial medical records from even telling you that the feds are retrieving them. And warrantless snooping on millions of Americans.

In the months leading to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, more than three hundred retired generals, admirals, high ranking officers, national security officials and diplomats spoke out against any invasion.

Retired General and former Director of the National Security Agency Bill Odom called the invasion the most strategic military blunder in our history. Bush’s father was privately opposed to the invasion, urging his top retired advisors, James Baker and Brent Scowcroft to speak and write against the pending invasion.

The venerable, conservative American Bar Association weighed in with three White Papers declaring Bush’s many signing statements — that he was not bound by legislation — domestic surveillance and treatment of enemy combatants were unconstitutional actions. Bush never acknowledged these reports. And this week, a bipartisan report by the Constitution Project concluded that Bush/Cheney approved torture practices at Guantanamo.

All the above plus mass anti-war rallies in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere did not slow the march to war. The protests were not strong enough to penetrate the political and electoral systems. Until that happens, criminal unconstitutional actions regularly conducted at top levels of our government will not, as a practical matter, trigger either the application of the rule of law or the impeachment authority of the U.S. Congress. To the contrary, each succeeding President feels free to push the illegal, unconstitutional envelope further.

So the lawless legacy of George W. Bush continues under Obama — sometimes worse, sometimes not. Indefinite detention, arbitrary use of military rather than civil tribunals, secret evidence and secret laws, war crimes, secret courts, immunity from judicial review, continual snooping on citizens, extraordinary renditions to foreign countries and, for the first time, President Barack Obama claims to have the right to assassinate an American citizen, far from the battlefield, in his sole secret judgment as prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner. All shame the Obama Administration.

The above list comes from the great law professor, Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, who published a chilling article in the Washington Post on January 15, 2012.

The Presidential outlawry continues as a bipartisan dissolution of our constitutional system because the vast majority of the “we the people” are not demanding our constitutionally sovereign power.

They give truth to Tacitus’ dictum.

On April 25, George W. Bush will bask in the fawning media sunlight of his presidential library and museum. The devastated people of Iraq and the soldiers of America, sent to kill and die in Bush’s illegal, boomeranging war, may have some exhibits, pictures and artifacts to suggest for the museum’s collection.

(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.)

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SNOOP DOPE

Editor:

I noticed in the March 27th edition of the AVA an item for Cannabis cards featuring a bio on the rapper Snoop Dogg. How is this guy a role model for anything? Now Bob Marley (featured in a previous Cannabis card) I can see, but not someone who made his fortune through gangster rap music which features lyrics like: “I wear my blue rag on the left side 'cause that's the Crip side.” Really? Why does our culture constantly embrace this genre of music and this type of rapper? It's a continuing revelation to me — the stupidity of American society when you hear about these dummies at various awards shows hobnobbing with all the Hollywood Glitteratti. Is it really any surprise that these idiots are jumping up on the stage and snatching the mic from a girl's hands or getting into group melées at public events?

It seems the same naïve duped white people who are properly horror stricken at the mention of neo-nazis or White Power Skin-head music roll out the red carpet for these gangster rappers. Guys (mostly) whose millions of dollars are made celebrating a misogynist criminal gang lifestyle that is dooming whole generations of inner-city youth to jails, and to early deaths.

Now I understand the whole 1950's Norman Mailer philosophy about the intrinsic coolness of black culture and embracing all things black. Yet can you not see that this might be a thinly-veiled albeit politically correct form of racism? It’s like saying that “all Native Americans are noble savages” or “I like black people — I knew a black guy once and he was nice.” In other words, people are not cool, nice or alright just because they are black, white, Latino, ethnic or otherwise. Instead, let them be judged by their ethics, personal integrity and merit.

Some guy who makes his public appearances draped in a cape fashioned like a giant blue (i.e., Crip colors) bandana should not be embraced as some sort of a marijuana advocating folk hero. The dude doesn't smoke the weed as medicine, but merely to get loaded; that's it plain and simple. If he suddenly starts calling himself a rasta or speaking in a fake Jamaican patois (not unlike some of our dear homegrown Mendolanders) just remember Bunny Wailer ain't buying it, so why should you? He may sponsor a Pop Warner football team, but I wonder how many gang initiations and gang deaths his lyrics have inspired? — Signed: Someone somewhere in the gulag

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A READER WRITES: “…given the absence of a national functional rail system a Fort Bragg-Willits train senario will remain just what it is: a fantasy. We still live in the stone age of transportation. The practicality of high speed trains has not been lost on the Chinese. They just launched their longest high speed train in the world:1400 miles from Beijing to their southern coast. China has agreed to build a high speed rail system across Turkey. What china gets in return would be a link that would complete a Chinese trans-Eurasian railroad bridge project that would bring freight from China to Spain and England. Just a quick google search of Chinese high speed trains would illustrate how backwards we are. I say give the Fort Bragg-Willits job to these guys, although it might take them a few months.

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ON APRIL 19, 2013, at approximately 1am, Mendocino County Sheriff Deputies were called to a residence in the 40000 block of Seaside School Rd., Gualala, regarding a report of an assault. Upon arrival at the location deputies learned that Iuta Pitmman, 29, had forced her way into the residence and assaulted a subject with whom she previously had a dating relationship, and assaulted Sharla Davis, 42, a visitor at the location. Neither subject required medical attention. Pittman was subsequently arrested for assault and battery and domestic violence. Deputies sought and were granted an Emergency Protective Order. Pittman was served with the court order and lodged at the Mendocino County Jail with bail set at $25,000. (Sheriff’s Department Press Release)

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TIME TO END INDENTURED SERVITUDE

America’s Miserly Minimum Wage Needs an Upgrade

By Raph Nader

America’s highest-paid CEO last year, John Hammergren of McKesson Corp., received compensation of over $131 million. That is the equivalent of about $63,000 per hour, or $10,000 more than the annual median household income in the United States. Meanwhile, some of this country’s lowest-paid workers—those on minimum wage—made just $15,080 annually at $7.25 per hour. Mr. Hammergren had surpassed that amount by 9:15 a.m. on his first workday of the year.

It is long past time for minimum-wage workers to receive a raise. Had the federal minimum wage just kept pace with inflation since 1968, it would stand today at $10.67 per hour, not $7.25.

President Obama finally broke his four-year silence on this issue by calling for a minimum-wage increase in this year’s State of the Union address. But he advocated a federal rate of $9.00 per hour by 2016—well short of the $9.50 by 2011 he promised while campaigning in 2008, and far from catching up with 1968. Rep. Alan Grayson (D., Fla.) rightfully went a step further this month by introducing a bill to increase the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour.

Mr. Hammergren’s compensation represents just one example of corporate avarice. The top 100 highest-compensated American CEOs all made more than $15 million last year. Over the last 45 years, the minimum wage has lost nearly one-third of its inflation-adjusted value, while CEO compensation has skyrocketed 900%.

At a Senate Labor Committee hearing last month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) noted that had the minimum wage increased in proportion to worker productivity since 1960, it would stand today at $22 per hour.

Critics argue that increasing the minimum wage will harm the economy. In fact, when low-wage workers receive a wage increase, they spend that money back into the economy to pay for the necessities of life. In 2011, a Chicago Federal Reserve study showed that for every dollar increase in the hourly pay of a minimum-wage worker, the result was $2,800 in new consumer spending from that worker’s household over the year. Studies from the Economic Policy Institute indicate that a $10.50 hourly minimum wage would increase economic activity by at least $30 billion over each of the first two years and add 140,000 jobs.

Opponents claim that a $10.50 wage would burden consumers with price increases. Yet Costco starts its workers at $11.50 per hour plus benefits, which assures lower turnover and higher productivity. Andy Shallal, owner of the successful Busboys and Poets restaurant chain, starts his workers at $10.25 per hour.

The last refuge of critics is the oft-repeated refrain that raising wages might harm small businesses (which already have received 18 tax breaks under Mr. Obama). The reality is that, according to a report from the National Employment Law Project, two-thirds of low-wage workers are employed not by small businesses but by large, multinational and highly profitable corporations such as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s.

The low wages provided by large, profitable corporations don’t harm only minimum-wage workers. They also harm taxpayers and many small-business owners who are already paying more than minimum wage in one simple way: through our taxes.

Corporations pay their workers such low wages that the workers can’t afford to buy the food, pay the rent, or get the health care they need. Consequently, these employees increasingly turn to the taxpayer-funded government safety net via food stamps, Medicaid, the earned income tax credit and housing-assistance programs. Taxpayers end up footing the bill for the unconscionably low wages paid by profitable corporations.

Wal-Mart, which grossed $318 billion in the U.S. last year, provides its workers with technical advice about how to apply for this public assistance. For responsible businesses to subsidize the low wages of their larger competitors is a complete perversion of capitalism.

Corporations like Wal-Mart have no problem making profits while paying the higher $10.25 minimum wage in Ontario, Canada, just across the border from Buffalo, N.Y. Australia’s minimum wage is almost $16 per hour. Of the 10 countries with minimum wages higher than America’s, eight have unemployment rates that are the same or even lower.

Poll after poll has shown overwhelming American support—70%—for increasing the minimum wage. All that is standing in the way is Congress. Thirty-nine House Republicans and 24 Republican senators voted to increase the minimum wage in 2007. The moral and economic reasons to increase the lagging minimum wage haven’t changed.

Do members of Congress want to serve the interests of their corporate pay masters? Or do they want to support a hard-pressed working class of 30 million Americans whose depreciating wages result in deprivations and tragedies? It’s time for our country to catch up to 1968 wages.

(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.

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DIGITAL TOWN HALL Discusses Prevailing Victim Issues

Victims and Advocates around State Lend Their Voice to the Discussion

Sacramento — As part of its tribute and commemoration of California Crime Victims’ Rights Month, the California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) will host its first ever Victims’ Rights Digital Town Hall to hear from advocates and victims of crime from around the state and discuss prevalent issues surrounding victims’ rights.

Four sessions are scheduled over a 2-day period covering several key issues. Beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 24, the first session will be moderated by Sacramento District Attorney Jan Scully and will address human trafficking and sexual assault. Panelists include:

From 11:00 a.m. to noon the discussion will revolve around barriers and the solutions needed for victims to receive services. Panelists include:

Beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 25, El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson will guide the discussion on domestic violence and physical assault. Panelists include:

The Digital Town Hall will conclude with the 11:00 a.m. to noon discussion on healing, coping and resources for recovery. Panelists include:

To join the conversation, visit the website at: http://vcgcb.ca.gov/victims/victimsrightsmonth/townhall.aspx.

California Crime Victims’ Rights Month is an effort to raise awareness of victims' needs and to advocate on their behalf. This year’s theme for the month is Facing New Challenges. Finding New Hope. Nearly half of all crime committed in the United States goes unreported, which means too many victims of crime are not receiving the benefits and services they deserve. We hope to change that through the open dialogue and sharing of best practices at this Digital Town Hall.

CalVCP received more than 53,000 applications and provided more than $70 million in compensation to crime victims last fiscal year. Through the program, victims can be reimbursed for crime-related expenses including costs associated with funeral services, medical bills, mental health treatment, and relocation. Funding for CalVCP comes from federal grants and criminal restitution fines and not taxpayer dollars.

For additional information about CalVCP, visit www.calvcp.ca.gov. (District Attorney’s Office Press Release)

One Comment

  1. Jeff Costello April 25, 2013

    Re Snoop Dogg et al, after seeing a picture of P Diddy getting a big hug from Martha Stewart at some glitzy gathering of showbiz bigshots, I thought of Robin Williams, who as you may recall started out as stand-up comedian. The Juiliard-trained actor, being possessed of ambition and salesmanship, understood that stand-up comedy would be an ideal stepping-stone. Playing the part of a comedian got Williams enough exposure and publicity to boost him into movie stardom. Will this in mind I started observing rappers, many of them doing the same thing. Ice T worked a short rap career into a long-running acting job as a cop on Law & Order. Irony? No, good business. Snoop Dogg has worked his raunchy rap into a very lucrative career as an all-around Famous Person, not unlike Kim Kardashian. Like Ms. K, his picture appears in magazines and entertainment websites too regularly to be an accident, and the money keeps pouring in. Is this true of all rappers? Of course not. Just the ones you’ve heard of.

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