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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Interior Thunder | Boonville Sky | Memorial Service | American Flag | Shanley Interview | Pornography Charges | Sparrow | Pebbles Update | Batter Up | Sharon Amos | Napoleon Bever | Yesterday's Catch | Two Sergeants | No Swimming | Foreign Policy | Worst Coffee | Anxious Time | Jack Swilling | Succession Finale | Siamese Twins | Ukraine | Pi Fight | Helping Putin | Butterfly Plants | Blonde Joke | Water Glass | Another Brick | Negative IQ | Dumb Ideology | Mendocino Bay

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AFTERNOON THUNDERSTORMS will develop again today in the interior, mainly over Trinity County. Slow moving storms may produce locally heavy rain. Otherwise, dry weather and below seasonal average temperatures are forecast through Thursday. Above normal temperatures will return on Friday and continue for the weekend. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): On the coast this Tuesday more fog & 53F. Wind should arrive tomorrow & clear the skies then slowly warming temps into the weekend. A little pattern change, no?

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View from Mountain View Rd, Boonville (Jeff Goll)

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THE MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE at the Boonville Cemetery drew some 150 people, many of them veterans and their relatives, and a few who turned out simply to honor the people who served and serve now. The ceremonies were organized and presided over by Patrick Ford, a Marine Corps combat veteran of the Vietnam War. Pastor Dave Kooyers said the opening and closing prayers. Tom English, an Army veteran of the War in Vietnam, delivered the bugle call, To The Colors, as veteran Gregory Sims raised the flag. We then sang the National Anthem, and soon, America the Beautiful and, a few minutes on, God Bless America, the first time since elementary school I've sung all three. (Back in the day, elementary-age students sang all three prior to the day's instruction.) Curtis Frost, a uniformed, trim, fit-looking Air Force colonel, looking like he just stepped off a recruiting poster, and Sgt. Patrick Ford, in brief speeches, reminded us of the ultimate sacrifices made by many thousands of men and women in all the branches of the military services. A four-person rifle team of the local American Legion Post 385 fired a salute. The most moving address of the day was delivered by Don Shanley, who read off the names of nearly forty Marines he'd fought with who died in Vietnam combat. “These men are why I'm here today, these 18 and 19-year-old Marines,” Shanley said before reading off about 30 names of his fellow Quantico graduates who also died in Vietnam, roughly three-quarters of his class. For a small population, Anderson Valley has a large contingent of veterans, living and dead, and it was Ellen Fontaine Ingram who read all the names, including her husband's, of all the deceased Valley veterans inscribed on the cemetery's memorial wall. The ceremony closed with a rendition of Amazing Grace.

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photo by Mike Geniella

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interviewed by Steve Sparks (2009)

I met with Don Shanley, known as ‘Shanley’ to his friends, a couple of Saturdays ago at his house just south of Navarro. After a quick tour of the garden we sat down to talk in his spacious office from where he runs his business, ProSeed, specializing in landscape and erosion control.

Don was born in 1944 in San Francisco, the youngest of three boys, moving as an infant to what is now the last “fixer-upper” in Ross on Shanley Lane in Marin County. His father was an Irish immigrant from New York City and his mother from a long-time San Francisco family who had settled there in 1844, before the Gold Rush, when it was still called Yerba Buena and there were cows grazing on what is now Haight Street. When he was seven years old Don’s parents split up and a few years later his mother married Bud and the family moved to Chicago. “Bud was really my father in the sense that he was the male influence in my life — and what an influence he was. He was a Yale graduate (1923) and lived in Chicago where I was to attend junior high and high school. He kicked me in the ass and pushed me to be a better student. It was a big change for me, a much more formal existence. I had to leave my buddies and our BB guns and fishing in flip-flops and t-shirts to wearing a tie at dinner and serious study, although he also encouraged my swimming. Bud was excellent influence on us, a very cool guy. He even installed a bullet trap in the basement so I could continue to shoot. That made me cool with the other kids. Bud was very sarcastic and had a well-defined sense of irony. He was an old school gentleman, well educated but not a snob. His college roommate at Yale lived next to us in Marin and he’d come and visit his buddy and met my mother that way. Looking back if he had not come into my life I would probably have ended up as a surfer with a broken surfboard living under a bridge on Stinson Beach!”

Don attended New Trier High School which he enjoyed overall “thanks to the great teachers who went out of their way to encourage creativity.” He was an average student but a very good swimmer at a school known for its swimming program. He was not very social and when not studying or swimming he preferred to write poetry. This came about after reading Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ which came out in 1956 and caused quite a controversy. He graduated in 1962 and decided he wanted to see if his adequate academic achievements and swimming talents could stand up to the high standards at Stanford in Palo Alto. “I found out quite soon that I was out of my league. The swimming and study regimen that I maintained kept me focused but perhaps, with hindsight, it made college less fun than it might have been.” With a degree in history Don graduated in 1966 at a time when the Vietnam War was heating up. “The country was undergoing a very unsettling time. I had history professors in 1963 who lectured that JFK was on the right track establishing the Special Forces to fight insurgencies. I was reading Hemmingway and wanted to experience the ‘social calamity’ of my times. I had a romantic view of war at that time.”

Don entered UC Berkeley Graduate School in the fall of 1966 to get his MBA. He finished his quarterly exams and soon after, with the draft taking 45,000 soldiers every month, his status went from 2S to 1A and he realized that he’d be signed up as a private in the army in 30 days if he didn’t enlist to be an officer. He applied for the Navy but was told there was a wait so “in the only truly existential act of my life” he crossed the hallway and applied for the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School where they signed him up immediately. “My brothers were both in the service and in my naiveté I wanted to ‘see the war.’ After my training in Virginia I came out as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marines and was given command of a Rifle Platoon.” Soon thereafter Don was on the front lines in Vietnam. It was December 1967, the month before the Tet Offensive of 1968. “What followed was not one of the best years of my life.”

“I have many inconsistent views and thoughts about the war and don’t want to go into too much detail here. Another time perhaps. I do know that I had really terrific men and we were professionals. We were in the bush for eight months, running patrols and ambushes. We were between Laos and Khe Sanh, on Hill 861 Alpha, during the 75-day siege of Khe Sanh. We were on a small promontory surrounded by the 325th Infantry Division of the North Vietnamese Army, rumored to be 20,000 strong. They were very tough professional soldiers. They had walked from Hanoi. We had 42 men, backed up by another 120 or so a little way behind us. We were nowhere near any villages and you knew that whomever you saw was the enemy. It was never a case of having to work out who were soldiers and who were the villagers. I never did see any Vietcong during my tour. We were overrun on February 5th, 1968 but Khe Sanh held and ultimately the siege was lifted.”

“There was such a difference between being in the bush and the rear. There were 15 men in the rear for every one in the bush with his rifle, a little ammo, and a few grenades and two canteens. We were poorly supplied — little water, ammo running out, and insufficient medical supplies. When men returned to the rear after a 15-day patrol, filthy and stinking, they would steal whatever they thought they would need. If some Army Major said on a Tuesday that there was no milk available until Thursday these guys would tell the Major to get out of the way and just take the milk. We were not to be messed with and seeing the guys in the rear, well fed and with cold beers, did not make us happy. I am not whining. It was our job; we would do our very best. I only became pissed off years later.”

“People talk about the drug use among the soldiers. I never saw any at all in the bush. We just wanted new boots every three months and spent the time concentrating on covering each other. I lost most of my men, killed, wounded, or transferred in the 13 months I was there. I am in touch with a few of them but the only reunion I attended was for my class of 2nd Lieutenants. We had suffered the highest casualty rate in Marines Corps history. My class arrived just before Tet 1968 and was involved in some of the most intense fighting of the war. I was very lucky to only suffer a minor wound. I was not a career military guy and wanted out even though they tried to keep you in. For a time after my 13 months ‘In-Country’ I had a good gig in the Mediterranean dealing with paperwork and payroll but started to upset people with my stance with the Vietnam Vets against the War. This speeded up my eventual departure out of the service in March 1970. When Nixon invaded Cambodia — it was, ‘What the hell are we doing that for?’ It put me over the edge and I started to question it all.”

“I just wanted to get as many of my men home as possible. I was 22 with a lot of responsibility. Most of my men were under 20. When I got out I did not want to be some sort of ‘poster Marine’ attacking ‘the system,’ but after Khe Sanh I had become disillusioned. We had been trained to go up the hill, down the hill, through the hill. Here we were, being bombarded in rain-filled foxholes all day and under infantry attack at night. We were rarely on the offensive. It was all very mixed-up in my mind.”

“I have seen the Vietnam films and most have some redeeming qualities but ‘Apocalypse Now’ is the best. Although the film is full of hyperbole, the soldiers’ dialogue written by Michael Herr is very realistic; to me as a grunt he captured the vernacular very well indeed. ‘Platoon’ isn’t bad, and some aspects of ‘The Deer Hunter’ are good too. The war doesn’t go away from you but it can be put aside and you have to move on. I am incredibly privileged that I am alive and that my brain functions. Even on my worst days it’s good to know no one is shooting at me.”

After leaving the military, Don settled in Stewart’s Point on the west Sonoma County coast where he spent “a very reflective and meditative year, smoking a lot of dope.” He worked for a time in a lumber mill pulling green chain, dove for abalone, grew a garden, and was even a lifeguard for the Sea Ranch clubhouse. He also hitchhiked across the country three times in that year. He found more steady work as the gardener at the Little River Inn where he stayed for five years. “My Mother, who will be 99 in November, said at that time, ‘Donald — four years in college, half a year at Graduate School, three years in the Marines — and you’re still mowing lawns’.” During this time Don became the County’s first certified organic gardener in 1972 and sold his produce to various restaurants, etc. He also worked as a prep cook at the Café Beaujolais in Mendocino.

He and partner Susan Waterfall really got into the back-to-the-land movement and bought four acres in 1971 on Albion Ridge. “We nearly bought what became the Handley Cellars property in Anderson Valley. I had been in the Valley as a child when my family would stay at Rays Resort in Philo. I actually learned to swim in the Navarro River in 1948! Anyway, Susan was a classical pianist, among many other things, and thought she would get more piano students on the coast, so we bought there instead. I worked as a garden designer/landscape contractor for ten years but could never get anyone to do the hydroseeding on my landscape garden jobs. As a result, many years later, in 1983, I eventually founded ProSeed specializing in restoration, erosion control and hydroseeding. Susan and I split up in the mid-70s and I moved to Westport for four years and also lived on Greenwood Ridge but kept working in the same field. During these years I was writing and giving public poetry readings. My favorite one was at the Club Fort Bragg in 1978 that was critically acclaimed and could be said to be an important part of my local past. By 1980 I had become caretaker for Kris Kristofferson’s ranch in Elk. I still am. My ‘hermit’ period came to an end. That was a great place to live.”

Don thought he’d never get married. ‘I’d spent many years in the 70s in very volatile relationships and traveling a lot. There was lots of drama and risk taking. I’d take risks for fun and that is not really the way to go. I was living quite a reckless life, involved in the film business, and traveling all over the world.” In the mid-80s, having known Laura Quatrochi for a few years but only by phone in a business context. She is a botanist who grew and sold wildflower seeds for oldest American seed producer in Lompoc in southern California. They finally met and fell in love. They were married in 1991. “We lived on the Kristofferson Ranch before buying this property in the Valley in 1989. We worked on the roads, the pond, clearing the brush, and planting trees before moving here almost full-time in 1992. Laura puts up with me. She is brilliant and has enormous energy. We both do. We didn’t have kids, never had the time it seemed. Our two cats died and we never replaced them because we love the birds and lizards around our home. I swear the lizards know me. We’d love to get a dog but we travel too much at this point so it would not be fair to the dog.”

Don’s company, ProSeed, continues to be a success. If you see guys working on repairing/restoring the land following any highway, bridge, creek, pond, etc work in these parts (and ten other counties!) then it is very likely Don and his crew. “We bid for work from the State, the Feds, and private land owners and I love the scale of our jobs. It’s exhilarating to see 50 acres recovering from some construction project, covered in native grasses, lupines, willows, poplars… I’d do it until I was 90 if I could and I still learn something virtually every day. My crewmembers are union workers and earn good money. I love the camaraderie we have. I am on every job and we bust our ass and do a good job. The guys get it. We are professionals and that’s very important to me. I suppose I do get a little ‘Marine Corps’ on them sometimes but they understand me and hopefully my enthusiasm rubs off on them. It has been very satisfying to see all the hard work pay off, for both myself and for Laura in her business too.” (Wildflowers International, Inc./

Don continues to shoot skeet with friends, dive for abalone, and occasionally “harvest deer.” “It’s not really hunting around here. I also love the air here and as a runner that’s important. I love the mix of cultures we have and there is a good community here to be a part if you want that, but if you wish to live a more secluded lifestyle then nobody will bother you either. There is little to dislike here although the traffic has increased greatly and the gossip is a little too much occasionally but it’s sort of funny I must say. I sometimes think there is an attitude held by some people here that it is not ‘right’ or politically correct for businesses to do well. Just a thought.”

I asked Shanley (I think I can call him that after being at his home for a few hours!) for his responses to various hot-button issues that Valley people frequently discuss. 

The AVA? “I have always been a supporter and was very disappointed when Bruce left for that period a few years ago. Sometimes what is written is not necessarily true although I seem to be on Bruce’s side of any topic 99% of the time. He did pick on some people unmercifully but again I agreed with most of what he wrote. The paper is a terrific service to the Valley and I love the Valley People local pages. When I think of what is sometimes written I agree with Walt Whitman who said it was ‘The duty of writers (poets) to cheer up the slaves and horrify the despots’.”

The wineries? “Well, I’ve always liked a good Pinot Noir. No, seriously, the big issue is the water. It is not just a cliché. It is a serious issue. I was an avid steelhead fisherman and while it’s not all the wineries’ fault, they have been getting their water from somewhere and the fish have gone. They must pay greater attention to where their vines go. I drink wine and we have some wonderful wines in the Valley. Their being here has driven up the price of housing and their tasting room employees cannot afford to buy homes in the area, not to mention the families who work in the fields. Teachers can’t either. However I’d rather see one more winery than another Holmes Ranch with 70 or whatever parcels of 20 acres each with the all the roads this would require for retired dentists to get around. Sheep and apples are great but are no longer viable. I guess I’m a mixed bag of opinions on this.”

KZYX public radio? “I really don’t listen; maybe once in a while. It is sort of a pesky fly on my ear. Shouldn’t there be some sort of workshop for the presenters to learn how to present a show and work the equipment? It does remind me of the radio club in school.”

Knowing that he had pretty much traveled the world apart from sub-Sahara Africa, I asked Shanley if he thought he might live somewhere else in the future. “When I’m really old, stumbling around, maybe I’d move to San Francisco. I also love the Mediterranean countries and Buenos Aires in Argentina would be a good place for the final days if I were terminally ill. However, if I was in good health then Anderson Valley would be great.”

I posed the usual few questions to Shanley from a list originally devised by French Interviewer and Culture Expert, Bernard Pivot, and featured on television’s “Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton.”

Favorite word or phrase? “That’s tough for someone who likes to play with words. I guess I like the word ‘enthusiasm’ and all that it can mean and lead to.”

Least favorite word or phrase? “Racial expletives do not go real well with me.”

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? “Absolute silence. I do like a couple of days to myself now and again. Some quiet time with no agenda.”

What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? “Passive-aggressive people. I’m afraid I don’t have any pithy, crackling replies for some of these questions.”

Sound or noise you love? “All water noises, particularly really major, scary storms and the rushing of a river. The sounds of the ocean too.”

Sound or noise you hate? “Wounded people dying. It is not crying, it is a stammering, guttural sound before they die. And there is no worse smell on earth than that of rotting human flesh. On a vastly lesser level, more nauseating than hated, it would be boom boxes or a malfunctioning piece of equipment on Day One of a big job.”

Favorite curse word? “I have really tried to cut back on this, I used to say the ‘f’ word a lot but it’s probably ‘Oh shit’ more these days.”

Is there a film/song/book that has greatly influenced you in some way? “I love Bach; early Dylan affected me as did the ballads of John Coltrane. They have always been really good for my brain. The lyrics and voice of Leonard Cohen. The country/folk music of John Prine and Kris Kristofferson. ‘Birth of a Nation’ is a film I always remember and Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s ‘Apu Trilogy’ of movies — full of amazing artistic moments. ‘Apocalypse Now’ of course. As for a book, any poetry by William Carlos Williams has stayed with me, as have the writings of poet Gary Snyder.”

Favorite hobby? “I love to run, to shoot, to dive and snorkel, and to read, in no particular order.”

Profession other than your own you’d like to attempt? “An arbitrageur, in economics and finance. Someone who takes advantage of a price differential between two or more markets: striking a combination of matching deals that capitalize upon this imbalance, and realizing the profit from the difference between the market prices. Or maybe just a fishing guide in Idaho!”

Profession you’d not like to do? “A 2nd Lieutenant in Vietnam! No, er, any kind of job involving me being in a cubicle. I’d end up in the Federal Penitentiary in weeks, it would be torture to me.”

Happiest day or event in your life? “Well, I was extremely happy when I got on a plane and left Vietnam for good. Actually I did return to Khe Sanh a few years ago with the Peace Trees Movement, clearing out unexploded ordinance and planting trees. I planned to go up Hill 861-Alpha, now a coffee plantation, but something told me not to. The irony of being blown up over 30 years after being in combat there was not lost on me and I decided to observe from the base of the hill. The visit was quite something and I am still processing it. On a daily basis waking up and knowing I am with Laura makes me very happy indeed.”

The saddest? “I have rarely been sad exactly but I have had lengthy periods of depression and melancholy. I was not sad at losing men in the war, rather it was very hurtful. Losing my Grandfather (he was 104) was also hurtful. I would be sad if Laura was not here.”

What is your favorite thing about yourself, physically/mentally/spiritually? “My enthusiasm.”

Finally, if Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Shanley? Are you kidding?”

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Don was in some ways reticent to talk in great detail about his Vietnam experience but since our meeting I discovered this insight. The editor of ‘Red Clay,’ the magazine of the Khe Sanh Veterans Association has written, “I was privileged to have fought alongside Don Shanley when our position on Hill 861A was attacked by a large NVA force on 5 Feb 1968. His heroic actions are the sole reason that so many of us were able to return home to our families. For that, and for his work in Vietnam with Peace Trees, I want to say “Thanks.” 

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COUNTY OF MENDOCINO SOCIAL SERVICES EMPLOYEE Charged with Possessing Over 600 Images of Child Porn

by Matt LeFever

43-year-old Ukiah man Brian Klovski works for the County of Mendocino managing sensitive data about our local homeless. Currently, he sits behind bars at the Mendocino County Jail awaiting his arraignment for two felony charges for the alleged possession of over 600 images of child pornography.


A criminal complaint filed by the Mendocino County District Attorney indicates Klovski faces two felony counts. The first count specifies Klovski allegedly possessed over 600 images of child or youth pornography including “10 or more images of a prepubescent minor or a minor who was under 12 years old.” 

The second count alleges Klovski possessed child pornography that “depicted a person under the age of 18 years personally engaging in and simulating sexual conduct…” The criminal complaint states the counts are “of the same class and connected together in their commission.”

Klovski is an employee of the County of Mendocino working within the county’s Social Services department. His Linkedin states he works as the county’s Homeless Management Information System administrator and the Mass Care and Shelter Lead.

The County of Mendocino’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) collects data on housing and services provided to local homeless. A HMIS policy and procedures document specifies a background check is required for anyone working with the information system due to the sensitive nature of the information. The document indicates that anyone with a history of fraud, blackmail, theft, money laundering, or bribery will be denied access to the data set.

An article entitled “Providing Relief During the Mendocino Complex Fires” published by SEIU, the labor union representing County of Mendocino employees, describes Klovski’s efforts to coordinate a 400-person evacuation shelter during the 2018’s Mendocino Complex Fires. He is quoted saying, “Together, we’ve provided services to over 400 people seeking help. The shelter is staffed entirely by my fellow 1021 members, 24 hours a day, for over two weeks. I’m proud of our response and our care and shelter team.” identifies Klovski’s pay in 2022 as $66,893. The County of Mendocino has employed Klovski since 2016, according to the website’s records.

Klovski is a member of a well-known, local punk rock band known as Grimetime providing vocals, guitar, and synth. He is credited for writing the majority of their songs.

Filings in Mendocino County Superior Court Portal show Klovski pled guilty to driving under the influence in May 2019 resulting in community services and probation.

Klovski was booked into the Mendocino County Jail last Friday, May 26, 2023 for child pornography charges. His bail was set at $50,000. 

Remember, all charges Klovski stands accused of have not been proven in a court of law. In accordance with the legal principle of the presumption of innocence, any individual described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.


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White-crowned Sparrow, Howard Creek (Jeff Goll)

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Thanks for the letter from Jim Rhoads about my whereabouts. I've withdrawn from the regulatory game since it is not about legalization or reasonable regulations to replace unjust prohibition. Back then, we thought we had a fighting chance at fairness, if we were included in the regulatory process, since we were the ones being regulated and knew best what would be reasonable and community-based. Bureaucrats didn't know anything about growing cannabis as an agricultural product. Hundreds of medical users were being raided and criminally prosecuted under threat of jail and prison. I did my best to help others understand the harsh process I'd been going through for years with nothing but constitutional rights on my side, prior to Proposition 215 passing in 1996. Informing each other and the public was part of that process.

How little we knew about the government's unwillingness to share that process since wresting not sharing control was their goal. Nonetheless we persisted despite convictions, based on our love of the plant and our rights under both statutory and constitutional law to grow.

After my multiple convictions and appeals thruout the '90s, the Court eventually agreed with me about my right to transport medicine I could legally possess (or it would be unconstitutional) and I eventually prevailed. The Appeals Court established the Trippet Standard as the amount “reasonably related” to one's medical condition, which was affirmed by the CA Supreme Court in P v Kelly in 2010.

During all this time my arrests and prosecutions involved leaf not bud, thrown away by the farmers as pointless bulk, a felony. During all this time, I got it free or $100/pound for shake and smoked it myself for a medicinal touch. We called it “low ends.” We linked up with veterans in need, for which they were grateful, and Brownie Mary who used leaf to make her famous brownies when leaf from local growers ran out.

Meanwhile, I developed chronic bronchitis which I could manage but over time, it developed into COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder) which has left me with a massive breathing problem which I never anticipated and was never informed of such a possibility or I'd have lived a lot differently with regard to cannabis as medicine.

I'm ok when at rest — reading, typing, using the internet — but moving around is exertion and requires deep breathing, when I'm at my worst. Since there's no cure for COPD, lacking pharmaceuticals, I'm left to my own devices to find a new healing direction. 

Lo and behold, stem cell treatment has materialized. This is where healthy cells from one's own fat cells are accessed to replace the old impaired breathing apparatus to return the person to relative health. In the US, $100,000 is the cost compared to $20,000 in Mexico, where they've been doing stem cell replacement for years with success.

As I understand it, the US has started its own stem cell program with double blind trials and all that. They are only on the second trial with a coming third trial to determine effectiveness and approval in the future. They are rookies in the field compared to Mexico's long experience and healing oversight, far ahead of the US's sluggish pace. I trust experience over inexperience and lower cost over a cost four times greater for the same purposes and procedures. So my intent is to get a passport and go to Mexico for a new me. Tim Blake has encouraged me in this direction for years and I have a driver to take me to Mexico for this purpose. Stay tuned.

Pebbles Trippet


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by Bruce Anderson

(for Jim Armstrong)

Thanks to his parishioner-funding units, and the lax oversight characteristic of Mendocino County government, Sharon Linda Amos, sometimes called Linda Amos, sometimes Sharon Amos, and a half-dozen or so of her co-parishioners had gotten jobs at the Mendocino County Welfare Department where they steered additional public benefits to the People’s Temple in Redwood Valley. The church milked dependent children and the dependent elderly is several homes in Redwood Valley. The church also appropriated the property of its elderly parishioners. 

Jones picked up such a big head of fiscal steam in Mendocino County, and such a burgeoning reputation as a fighter for civil rights, that he picked up and moved down to the big circus of San Francisco where Willie Brown would soon describe Jones as “the greatest human being who ever lived,” and the Reverend Jones was pictured shaking hands with Mayor Moscone and pioneering gay supervisor Harvey Milk in mutually admiring photo-ops in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The unsuspecting population of Mendocino County would be slow to accept the influx of back-to-the-landers who began arriving in force at the time of People’s Temple’s local ascendancy, but Jones, who looked like what he billed himself as, “a short-haired man of God” had no trouble placing himself as the county’s leading liberal. He may have been a liberal but he was no hippie, and thus acceptable to the dominant county powers. 

The charismatic Indiana preacher soon repaid local hospitality by claiming that violent “rednecks” were trying to run him out of town, and erected a forty-foot watchtower where, on Sundays, a man with gun kept watch to fend off a frontal assault by the massed foes of inter-racial harmony. From my early experience in Mendocino County with my own multi-racial flock, I thought the reverend’s fears, while perhaps minimally plausible in the sense of the prevalent private disapproval of the county’s influx of new people of all kinds, it was obvious that the ‘necks, outside of barrooms, were only passively, if grudgingly, disapproving. They weren’t any more Klan-oriented than any other segment of the white community, including hippies who, in 1970, were still calling black people, including little old ladies, “spades.”

Reverend Jones, though, got a lot of liberal mileage out of pretending to being besieged by racists. He played the race card as craftily as Al Sharpton would ever play it, and was soon presiding over big, guilt-ridden ecumenical community meetings, which included everyone from Ukiah’s leading liberals to the chapter head of the local John Birch Society, Walter Heady, the whole bunch of them emerging to swear their commitment to multi-culturalism. Then Jones would go back out to his church and tell his parishioners that the people he’d just had lunch with wanted to kill them.

Jones used Mendocino County as a fiscal launching pad for his eventual re-location to San Francisco and, then, his tax-funded apocalypse in Guyana. But before he departed from Redwood Valley, hundreds of Mendocino County residents had had some association with him. My link was Sharon Amos, a social worker with the Mendocino County Department of Social Services.

Sharon Amos

Sharon Amos was short and sad and gray. Even when she was dressed in vivid reds and yellows she seemed to suck the life out of everything around her. If birds fell dead out of the sky, flowers suddenly wilted, small children broke inexplicably into tears, it would mean that Ms. Amos was up and on the move, heading for Boonville.

The day she first appeared, as the sight of her green county car coming up the road to the main house prompted a kid to scurry up a tree, and another to sprint out of sight over the side of a hill, poised to run farther from her if she got any closer. I didn’t have the flight option because I was in nominal charge of the operation, a group home six miles south of Boonville.

Ms. Amos had seen both boys run at the sight of her, and now she could see one of them, Merrill, resting as near to the top of an old oak as he could get without breaking off a limb too small to support him. Merrill looked down at us like a buzzard contemplating fresh kill. All that could be seen of the other boy, Domingo, were the long, wild strands of black hair framing his wary, round face.

“They’re acting out,” the social worker observed in a monotone, adding, “They’re very difficult, these two.”

Ms. Amos’s statements always sounded like audible reminders to herself that up is down, down is up. She probably went around all day murmuring mental post-its to herself.

The times were out of joint, and have remained disjointed Millions of people were “acting out,” and most of them were adults. A colleague of Ms. Amos had just made the local newspapers when she was stopped for speeding on Highway 101 near Ukiah with her nude self encased in Saran Wrap, a helping professional in need of help.

And here was this People’s Temple sad sack standing in the blast of Boonville’s summer sun in matching gray skirt and sweater, her white blouse secured at the neck with a large black ribbon. City social workers turned up in Boonville in modified cowgirl outfits, country social workers togged themselves out in the conservative female urban garb of the time — muted colors and sensible shoes. Quite a few female social workers were weekend hippies, or hippie-hippies who’d taken “straight” jobs to support their “old man.” The males tended heavily to cocaine.

I tried to divert Mrs. Amos from whatever embarrassment she might be feeling at her unhappy reception. When you’re here to help but the helpees run at the sight of you, well, people have been known to make career changes for lesser reasons.

“I saw your name in the Ukiah paper the other day,” I said. “What’s the People’s Temple?”

“It’s the only real church in this country,” Sharon Amos replied without emotion for such a big claim.

Amos & Jim Jones

“Jim Jones has brought people of all races together in Redwood Valley where we practice a true social gospel. It’s exciting and it’s beautiful.” She offered to put my name down “on our guest list if you would like to attend services.”

I was getting a definite cult vibe from Mrs. Amos. Numberless hours on hard benches with a congregation of joyless, zombo-ized social workers listening to the rantings of an outback Gantry? The social worker was not an effective proselytizer.

She seemed too tired to notice summer from winter, too exhausted to care that the two boys she had come to see had run away from her because, to them, Sharon Amos, Christian multiculturalist, was just one more in a series of people who did things to them they didn’t like -- teachers, psychologists, doctors, judges, social workers and of course, cops. The two boys saw Ms. Amos as one more cop, a different kind of cop, but a cop. They saw me as their live-in cop, more or less benign, but still an agent of the state, an enemy in a world of enemies.

The judge had sent the two boys to Boonville because they’d been arrested. When the cops tried to locate their parents, it was discovered that they didn’t have parents, although a chronological adult may have answered the door.

Merrill the tree climber had a Tourette’s-like habit of suddenly shouting out profanities in contexts where you got a mental health jacket the second time you did it. He’d been caught shoplifting food because he was hungry. Domingo was in Boonville for assaulting other children and adults at the slightest, and sometimes no provocation. I saw my job as getting Merrill to curse where it might do some good and to teach Domingo to attack only the people who have it coming. I did not share these rehab strategies with the authorities.

It was Sharon Amos’s job to check to see if the two victims of a crumbling society were being properly fed and housed. She may even have expected them to be better behaved than they had been, but only a social worker could think they were redeemable in any conventional sense. If they somehow learned to cope before they were permanently put away in prison they would do it on their own; there was no help available; the damage had been done. If the government had been there when they popped from their accidental wombs and placed them permanently in stable homes of regular meals and sane adults they might have had a chance. As they were -- crazy as hell and getting crazier -- the best we could do was provide a pleasant rural interregnum before they met their inevitable doom.

“I spend all my off-time working with the church,” Ms. Amos continued in the monotone of a person reading a bus schedule. “Reverend Jones is doing something very special. His sermons are amazing, and he lives what he preaches.” 

The newspaper story I had read said that the Reverend Jones not only tended to an ever larger, multiracial flock, he had just been appointed foreman of the Mendocino County grand jury. Mentioned among his parishioners was Mrs. Amos and Tim Stoen, the latter a Stanford graduate who functioned as both Mendocino County Counsel and as Jones’s legal blocking back. Since she was mentioned by name in the story, it was clear that Ms. Amos was a church bigwig.

Jones was quoted as saying that local “racists” were hostile to his church because it contained a large number of black people. This hostility, Jones said, had prompted him to erect that 40 foot gun tower that loomed up over his Redwood Valley church. 

The Reverend told the Ukiah Daily Journal that he’d headed west from Indiana after reading an article in Esquire magazine that said that winds off the Northcoast would puff nuclear fallout right on past Mendocino County. But Indianapolis, presumably, right down to its famous race car track, would be destroyed.

When the gun tower went up on the church grounds, Jones seemed to be conceding that he had traded one terror for another -- nuclear incineration for attacks by rural racist assault troops. But the gun tower aggrandized the People’s Temple as an oasis of tolerance in a sea of hostility, and Jones as a kind of multicultural Captain Courageous. The Reverend would protect his flock whatever it took, and his flock believed they were besieged.

Sharon Amos bought everything the Reverend Jones did and said, bought it all unto death, as things turned out. And here she was, a flat-affect, monotonal professional do-gooder, the saddest sack in all of Mendocino County, wrapped in gray wool six miles south of Boonville on a hot August day, droning joylessly on about the great hope she’d found with Reverend Jones, her droning voice containing not a hint of enthusiasm for anything. 

Jonestown was still seven years away.

Having halfheartedly invited me into the Temple’s embrace that morning as we stood beside her green county car, the social worker asked, “Do you think you can get Merrill to come down from there? I want to talk to him about a home visit. He can’t go, and that’s going to make him very unhappy.”

I couldn’t imagine how much more unhappiness Merrill might express; he’d already run for the treetops when he saw her coming. Besides, the kid knew in his bones he’d never hear any good news from his social worker or any other representatives of the state.

Merrill was his last name. It seemed somehow easier to apply his surname to him than Shane, his given name. And he said he liked ‘Merrill’ better than ‘Shane.’ A pie faced little boy with a perpetually worried expression on his broad features, Merrill looked more forlorn than he was. He had his coping strategies, not that they worked to his advantage, but they seemed to console him, and he did deserve consolation. He was half crazy from a life that was wholly crazy and he was only 12, and already placed among older, tougher kids who smacked him around whenever they could get away with it.

Some people thought Merrill really did have Tourette’s. We called his sudden eruptions “voice activated Tourette’s” because at the sound of a conversation that didn’t include him -- especially didn’t include him -- he’d run up and blurt out obscenities which, of course, coming from a child had the emotional effect of verbal hand grenades. A group of teachers would be talking among themselves and here comes Merrill, walking confidently toward them as if invited. “Sounds like a great big bowl of dicks to me,” he’d say, and walk off chuckling to himself. Then, when some inevitable someone told him to watch his mouth, Merrill would come back with, “Twat’s that? I cunt hear you.”

Merrill said his father had taught him these conversational ice breakers “so I can fit in better.”

Our task, besides trying to keep a straight face when Merrill went off, and he went off many times a day in howling, obscenity-laden rages, was to tutor the lad in the art of time and place. But he never was able to make the distinction because he was getting a little revenge in his demented way for all the bad that had been done to him. When he was able to shock a group of adults he was briefly in control of them. It was him making people hop up and down and sputter indignantly instead of them exploiting him.

Merrill’s father, who was drawing government nut money himself, freely admitted to the responding social worker that he had taught his son “how to swear like the rest of the kids.” 

Merrill loved his father, and his father was all he had in the way of role models, to borrow the tired descriptive from the exhausted schools that train the helping pros.

“Come on down here, Merrill,” I yelled up the tree at him. “Mrs. Amos wants to talk to you.”

Merrill, silent, stared down.

“He’s not going to cooperate,” I said, revealing my powerlessness to this odd representative of local government, this specially blessed congregant of “the most amazing church ever.”

Mrs. Amos turned her gaze landward.

“That’s Domingo over there, isn’t it?”

“That’s the top of his head,” I said.

We walked over to the side of the hill for a full body shot.

“You can suck my…” Domingo began, instantly animated when he saw us coming toward him. I tried to obliterate the looming, referent body part with a loud, gargling sigh as Domingo, now hopping up and down like he was gearing up to actualize a psychosexual attack, concluded, “to the root!”

“Are you going to let him do that?” Mrs. Amos asked in her usual monotone, so flat the question mark was inaudible.

Of course I was going to let him do that. It was a 100-degree day and Domingo was a good 40 yards away down a hillside. I suppose I could have hurled myself at the little bastard and chased him up into the goddamn hills, but let’s be realistic here, I thought, knowing that this lady and I shared no known reality.

I made a little joke, hoping to make it clear to Sharon Amos, MSW, that there was nothing I could do but I, too, found this kind of flip-out distressing. Why did she think the state and federal governments were paying me to confine these little nutballs to a remote rural ranch? Did she have any idea who she was dealing with? This is what these kids did. This is what life on the lowest rungs of capitalism had done to them. Like the rest of America they were all impulse and acquisition and envy. I had no idea how to get them to stop acting crazy because they were crazy and the country was crazy and I was feeling a little unhinged myself.

“Strictly speaking,” I began, hoping against hope that a little irony might mollify this deranged woman, “the boy hasn’t done anything except threaten us with sexual assault. I’m pretty sure I can stop him if he tries anything.”

I imagined a tiny brown boner charging up the hill at us like a dwarf rhino.

Mrs. Amos stared at me, then looked back at Domingo.

“Suck it baby,” Domingo screamed. “Yeah you, bitch.”

Tired of hearing midgets telling me to go fuck myself all day every day, I’d taught them some new insults. I’d taught them to say, “And the horse you rode in,” and “Fuck me? You’ll have to get in line.” These not so bon mots broke the rhetorical monotony for a while, but now they too were played back at me all day every day. Which is what I got for not keeping “professional distance,” as the therapists might describe my “coping strategies.”

I apologized to Mrs. Amos for the verbal mayhem.

“I’ve never seen him this bad, Mrs. Amos. He’s outdone himself today.”

Hah! Domingo was this bad every day, all day long and into the night. He was often worse, much worse. Any more or less sane adult could deal with bad language, even from a kid, but try living with a kid who sniffs glue, paint, and gasoline whenever he can, a kid who assaults whomever pops up into his addled Viewmaster, child or adult. I spent a lot of time everyday simply restraining the little psycho. 

Mrs. Amos stared at the kid. I hoped Domingo’s obscene exertions in the summer heat were wearing him down, but he showed no signs of fatigue. Every time we looked his way he got off another obscene blast. But I still felt a need to reassure the social worker that I wasn’t as impotent as I appeared. She seemed completely out of it, but I didn’t know her very well so I couldn’t be sure she was as zoned out, as oblivious as I suspected she was.

So I said that I thought it was a shame a 14-year-old boy was shouting obscenities at us, that it was subversive of good order, not to mention a violation of even the loosest known adult traditions of child rearing.

A normal person would have told me to spare her the bullshit, but this lady had no irony, no emotional roll bar. It wasn’t that her bullshit detector needed new batteries, she didn’t have one to begin with.

“America does this to people,” Mrs. Amos said. “I know that.”

Domingo fired again. “Come down here, bitch, so I can bone you up… “

Mrs. Amos responded to the abrupt switch from oral to anal rape by saying, “I think he should be tested for Simian Crease Syndrome.”

“Pardon me?”

“I attended a conference last week on it,” Amos continued. “You can see that some hyper-masculine males have an extra crease on the palms of their hands. There is a strong correlation between these creases and an extra male chromosome which causes an excess of testosterone and increases the likelihood of violent criminal behavior.”

“That’s very interesting,” I said, trying not to laugh, and beating back an impulse to check my own palms. “It sure would explain today’s outburst,” I added, lathering her up a little more, wondering how much more insincerity this woebegone creature could take before she woke up and denounced me as “an enabler,” as another social worker had done when I laughed as I described a repeat episode of aberrant behavior to him. Lots of these helping pros didn’t seem to know that there was a difference between laughing at unacceptable behavior and sanctioning it. And the people who didn’t know the diff seemed to be running Mendocino County and, for that matter, the country.

The social worker took a last look at Domingo who now was chanting, “Suck it baby, suck it,” cupping his crotch and thrusting it forward to an imagined disco beat. I had to admire the boy’s commitment to outrage.

Without further comment on either the boy’s verbal aggression or its possible links to the higher primates, Mrs. Amos turned her back on Domingo and we walked over to the tree for a second-round of negotiations with Merrill. I wondered if Merrill had a Simian Crease. He sure got up that tree fast.

Merrill looked down at us, expressionless.

“Coming down, Merrill? Or do we have to talk from here?” I said to the tree.

The tree was non-responsive.

“Shane? I went to see your father in Laytonville,” Mrs. Amos said in her depressed, unamplified voice, too softly, I thought, for Merrill to hear.

“What did she say?” Merrill yelled.

“Mrs. Amos said she went to see your father in Laytonville,” I shouted back like a cop trying to work out a hostage release. “I’m not going to relay everything like this,” I added. “If you want to hear what Mrs. Amos says, you come down here and talk with her like a gentleman.”

“Your mother is a gentleman,” Domingo yelled from over the side of the hill.

“Yes, I went to see Mr. Merrill,” Mrs. Amos continued, speaking directly to me, perhaps realizing on her own that both the substance of what she had to tell me about Merrill’s father and my bellowed relays to the boy in the tree were not an effective way to communicate.

“He lives in Laytonville in this rundown old motel,” Amos began. “It was about 11 in the morning when I got there. I knocked on the door and Mr. Merrill told me to come in. The room was so dark I could barely see him at first. There was no light on and the shades were drawn, and Mr. Merrill was still in bed.” She paused. “And he was in bed with one of those blowup sex dolls.”

I laughed.

“I thought it was totally inappropriate of him,” she said.

I laughed again.

I knew for sure by then that she was nuts, and that it didn’t matter what I said or did, short of ripping her clothes off and throwing her over the hill to Domingo, Ms. Amos was in her own world.

“Well, heck, I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe after his rough experience with Mrs. Merrill the poor guy thought he needed a less demanding relationship.”

Ms. Amos looked hard at me. I’d finally gone too far.

“It’s not funny,” she said, reflexively, without heat. “Mr. Merrill has real problems.”

I snapped myself back into a state-sanctioned posture of Appropriate Male.

“Yes, you’re right. That’s terrible,” I said. “What did he think he was doing?”

“Mr. Merrill is not my problem,” she said. “I have to do what’s best for Shane, and it’s clear that Shane cannot see his father at this time. Mr. Merrill’s home environment is not suitable for a young boy. It’s totally inappropriate even for a visit.”

It was raining inappropriates. Mrs. Amos was way ahead of the appropriateness curve prevalent in Mendocino County today where that bland judgment is applied to everything from mass murder to Hawaiian shirts at funerals.

Seven years later I was driving back to Mendocino County from Sacramento where I’d come in 3,523 in a half-marathon. It was late in the afternoon and raining, a November day just before Thanksgiving, 1978. Out of the car radio came a series of announcements all beginning with “What appears to be a mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana…”

The announcer went on to say that a woman identified as Sharon Linda Amos had been found dead in a house called Lamaha Gardens in Georgetown, Guyana, which served as a sort of reception center and clearinghouse for Reverend Jones’s new society deep in the jungle. Mrs. Amos’s job was to screen visitors. With Jones gone deep into pharmaceutical speed and the terminal paranoia that often comes with it, the social worker was one of the few persons he trusted among his all-white inner circle.

Sharon Amos, announcements began to say, had received the news that “revolutionary suicide” had kicked off out at Jonestown. It was over. Jones was killing his church and it was time for her to go too.

Amos radioed the mother church on Geary back in San Francisco. “Do what you can to even the score,” she ordered San Francisco.

The score was already something like 700 to nothing for insanity because out in the jungle almost everyone had downed the cyanide-laced Kool-Aid or had had it forced down their throats.

San Francisco would have to get busy if the Temple’s city people were going to add to the imbalance. San Francisco, as Amos reminded them, was supposed to dispatch teams of “Avenging Angels” to kill the Temple’s critics and defectors and then off themselves.

The San Francisco Temple ignored the instruction.

Described as hysterical by the 75 or so Temple people clustered at Lamaha Gardens for the apocalypse, Amos told them all it was time for them to transition themselves into the next life. Amos said that this was it, the last order from J.J. himself. Kill yourself for the revolution.

The Temple people stared at Amos. She had no authority with them. They considered her a snitch for Jones, and even by their questionable standards, they regarded Amos as a nut, a diagnosis Amos proceeded to confirm.

Turning from the backsliders and summoning her three children to follow her up the stairs, Amos ordered Charles Beikman, a 43-year-old ex-Marine, and the only Temple member available likely to do what Amos told him to do, to come upstairs with her and her children.

Amos’s overweight and under-brained daughter, Lianne, carried a butcher knife into the upstairs bathroom. Amos promptly slit her 11-year-old daughter’s throat, then she cut her five-year-old son’s throat. Amos ordered the cretinous Beikman to hold Lianne while Amos sawed Lianne’s jugular. Having dispatched her three children, Amos didn’t have enough energy left to finish herself off. She couldn’t get a butcher knife deep enough into her throat. Semper Fi Beikman had to close the social worker’s file for her.

Out in the jungle, the official body count was 883, of whom 660 could be identified. The unidentified corpses were those of children who had been born in Jonestown. Nobody was sure who they belonged to, but it was the devil who’d killed them.

Back in Mendocino County, everyone who’d helped Jones along, including the judges who’d signed over the now dead children to Jones, ran for cover.

ED NOTE: Linda Amos, was, in the aftermath of the jungle slaughter, sometimes identified as Sharon Amos. We knew her as both Linda and Sharon. In the wild aftermath of Jonestown, the Mendocino County Social Services boss, a Uriah Heep-ish fellow called Dennis Denny, was asked why his office had diverted so much welfare dough to Temple members — Jones signed up his imported flock for every freebie available as soon as they landed in Mendocino County. In many cases the instant sign-ups amounted to instant fraud, and it was carried out by several Temple people who had jobs with Social Services. Denny, as nearly a thousand bodies lay rotting in Jonestown, a good number of them from Mendocino County, said he’d always closely monitored the Temple through Ms. Amos, and that Ms. Amos had functioned as a kind of People’s Temple liaison for him from her position in both Mendocino County Social Services and the Temple. The true reason Denny was hands off the Temple, I would think, is because Jones had quickly become politically powerful in the County, and Jones had Tim Stoen, his legal advisor, sitting in the pivotal local position of County Counsel. (Today, Stoen has retired as a prosecutor assigned to Ten Mile Court, Fort Bragg.) Denny wasn’t the only local official who would dive under his desk after Jonestown. Many of the children murdered at Jonestown had been signed over to Jones by the Mendocino County Superior Court. 

* * *


Photograph of Napoleon Bonaparte Bever with a three-horse team hauling lumber-filled railroad cars from the Mendocino Lumber Mill located on Big River Flat to the Incline where the cars would be pulled up the bluff and out to the Shipping Point.

Behind Mr. Bever is the mill and its associated buildings, including the ninety-foot high, million-brick chimney that would later collapse in the 1906 earthquake. On the far left of the image is a dwelling, and then to its right is the cookhouse with its storage sheds. Workers’ cabins are visible to the left of the tramway, while on the other side of the track are the carpentry and blacksmith shops that serviced the mill, which is the largest structure in the background.

The building with a tall round chimney in the background on the left is probably Mendocino’s short-lived electric plant. From 1902 until about 1907, the town had its own General Electric dynamo, powered by steam boilers that were fueled by sawdust delivered on one of the elevated conveyor structures visible here. Note the power poles running along the left side of the photo. The plant generated up to 120-kilowatts and powered 1,300 lights via 5.5 miles of electrical wire throughout the town. The Mendocino lighting plant was shut down on November 16, 1907, after the town began receiving electricity from the Fort Bragg Electric Light Company.


* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, May 29, 2023

Aguilar, Coleman, Morales, Perez

GABRIEL AGUILAR, Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.

JOHN COLEMAN-DANIELS, Los Angeles/Willits. Reckless driving in off-street parking facility, divided highway, no license.

NATHAN MORALES, Covelo. Failure to appear.

OSWALDO PEREZ-AVENDANO, Santa Rosa/Piercy. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, stolen vehicle.

* * *


Two sergeants know something’s the matter

They drink beer and watch tracers glow.

They say you could hear monkeys chattering nearby

When they first got here years ago 

But now the jungle is silent

Can’t hear no parrots squawk

The night’s infrared, ultra-violent

The sergeants drink beer and talk

Remembering sing-songmonkeys

Tygers parading at night

Breeze in bamboo warm and funky

Moon just a little too bright

Those monkeys of old Indo-China

Died when the trees were attacked

Crying some tried to get the hell out

On some poor soldier’s back

Do you remember Bill Murphy

Lost out on patrol?

Told we were winning hearts and minds

God rest his soul.

— Fred Gardner

* * *

* * *



Before we lunge down another rabbit hole, we should reexamine recent foreign policy decisions, lest we repeat mistakes with similar outcomes. After sacrificing young Americans and billions of dollars to defeat communism in Southeast Asia, we lost, and the enemy took over Vietnam. After we rescued the shah, he was overthrown and replaced by an anti-American Islamic Republic. When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, we armed the mujahedeen to fight the Russians and forced them to withdraw. When we abandoned Afghanistan, the Taliban seized power and al-Qaida launched 9/11.

After 9/11, we invaded Afghanistan and installed a sympathetic government. Twenty years later, we abandoned Afghanistan, the Taliban returned and canceled any reforms. Alleging weapons of mass destruction, we invaded Iraq, replaced Saddam Hussein and left. ISIS filled the vacuum, and we are still fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Although we poured millions into Latin America to support dictators and overthrow liberal regimes, thousands are now fleeing the region’s poverty, violence and corruption to seek asylum in the United States.

Thousands of lives and trillions of dollars later, our own democracy is under threat, we face a climate crisis, and we outspend everyone on our war machine.

Tony White

Santa Rosa

* * *

* * *


by James Kunstler 

Liberalism was never about freedom, but nurtured a profound desire to change humanity above all other aspects. This rendered it a willing ally of tyrants promising to do the dirty work of such a project.

— John Waters on Substack

An anxious silence falls over the land this Memorial Day as we discern increasingly that those we put in charge of this shape-shifting thing called the public interest are running out of trips to lay on the people. Something grotesque is revealing itself: a bankruptcy not just of money but of national purpose, meaning, and legitimacy. You realize this day, with a breaking heart, that your country has been stolen by psychopaths.

Brace for impact. We’re already off the road and now it’s only a matter of how this vehicle comes to a stop in the ditch. Then, it’s a question of how each of us emerges from the smoldering wreckage. The main thing, though, is clear to everyone: What we were riding in is no more. We’re out there stumbling around in the dark, in shock, trying desperately to assess our whereabouts and what has happened to us.

Now, the trouble with being ruled by psychopaths is that they don’t care about other people. They are actually incapable of imagining the lives of others, especially the fact that these others care about each other, and what happens to them. You may have noticed, for instance, that the psychopath Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) went to Ukraine last week and declared, “Russians are dying. We have never spent money so well.” Only a couple of months ago, he called for the assassination of Vladimir Putin. He stopped short of dissing Mr. Putin’s mother.

Ukraine, of course, is a lost cause, and it was never a good cause in the first place. Contrary to Lindsay Graham’s untoward utterance, American money has killed far more Ukrainians than Russians. He overlooked that because he doesn’t care about the Ukrainians, for whose sake our “folks” in charge supposedly undertook this clusterfuck. Lindsay Graham also may not have noticed that our country is collapsing and Russia is not. That’s must be because Lindsay Graham does not care about Americans, either.

As for our money, it looks like most of the rest of the world — the nations that still produce things of value — are so turned-off by American pathocracy that they are seeking every way possible to stop using our money in international trade settlements. That money, our dollar, became the world’s reserve currency because our country ended up on top in the previous world war and for the better part of a century afterward dominated the planet militarily. Naturally, as our leadership turned more pathological and pathocratic, so did our military endeavors — until lately they amount to little more than just smashing up other countries to show we can do it.

These other countries must wonder which is the next place that America will try to smash up? Two of these other countries, Russia and China, are coming around to the realization that they are possibly better equipped to do the smashing than America is. There is no indication that our pathocracy recognizes that the next smash-up may be World War Three, and that we may not emerge from it victorious.

Hence, our anxiety this Memorial Day as we reflect on America’s military exploits generally, and must perforce contemplate our less-than-glorious prospects ahead. How will our pathocrat neo-con strategists greet the debacle of our failure in Ukraine? Will they dream up yet another misadventure as reckless and absurd? You have good reason to be concerned.

Pathocracy always marches toward totalitarianism because pathocrats can’t imagine a management of public affairs by a people who care about each other (and their country). Therefore, everyone must be subject to incessant coercion and punishment, especially for their thoughts (and especially for thoughts of opposition to pathocracy). However, there are certainly more people who care about each other than there are psychopaths in America. I’m not a big fan of quantification but, for the record, psychiatric meta-analysis estimates that 1.2 to 4.5 percent of the population displays psychopathic personality disorders.

How that tiny fraction of the citizenry came to take charge of our affairs is surely the big mystery of the moment. My guess is that under conditions of economic-social-and-political collapse, the people who care about each other become preoccupied with their mutual caretaking duties while the psychopaths, unburdened by such cares, can go about other business — such as plunder, murder, and the sowing of chaos.

Sometimes in history, the pathocrats are simply overthrown by the majority of humans with functioning emotional equipment. It’s not easy, though, because in most other places around the world, the pathocracy become the sole owners of the guns and have armies and police at their disposal to put down revolts. That’s not quite exactly the case here in the USA with our Second Amendment to the Constitution. The putative president, “Joe Biden,” cracked some time ago that anyone seeking to oppose him better bring some F-15 fighter planes to get the job done. As the good book says: Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

This Memorial Day is the pregnant moment before history gives birth to new and astounding events. Everyone senses it. The rough beasts are out there slouching across the fruited plain. Attend to your duties courageously, as those before us did, who we remember today.


* * *

THIS IS JACK SWILLING, the founder of Phoenix, with his adopted Apache son. During the U.S. Civil War in Arizona he was an Army Scout for the Confederacy until he was captured by the Union Army (California Militia) and scouted for them. After the Civil War he purchased hay from John Y.T. Smith to sell to the U.S. Cavalry at Ft. McDowell. John (Your’s Truly) Smith was using ancient Native American canals to channel water off the Salt River onto his hay fields at what is now 7th St. and E. McDowell, in Phoenix. Swilling approached Daryl Duppa, a wealthy Englishman, running a stage stop in Black Cannon for the financial support to dig out the ancient Indian canals and survey a town. Together they hired others to do the labor and began the City of Phoenix. Duppa had a Classical European education, spoke 5 languages, had traveled the world and was the younger brother of English Lord Duppa. Duppa suggested they name the city Phoenix after the Greek myth of a bird rising from ashes. Other early settlers wanted to name it Pumpkinville. Duppa also named Tempe because it reminded him of the Greek city of the same name he had visited. Swilling died in Yuma Prison. He had joked in a saloon that he should rob a stagecoach to solve his financial problems. Soon after a stagecoach was robbed and he was wrongly convicted. He died of illness in prison. Duppa lived in Phoenix until the late 1800s. He was well respected and appreciated. Duppa never returned to England. He had killed a fellow English officer in a duel many years earlier and his family paid him money to never return to England.

* * *


Spoiler Alert: Now that was a serious finale for serious people. The final episode of ‘Succession’ will go down as one of the greatest endings to the greatest series of our era — one that guided us to a truly Shakespearean conclusion. “The show is against bulls**t,” creator Jesse Armstrong said in an interview in February. How fitting, then, that the denouement of series 4, episode 10, saw the failed scion of a media empire — Roman Roy — finally admit, of himself and his siblings: “We’re bulls**t.” That was always the conceit, wasn’t it? The grasping, idiot children of Logan Roy, the imposing patriarch who most often told them to “f**k off,” who pitted them against each other and promised favoritism, then fed from the trough of their self-abnegation — none of them had the smarts, the sophistication, the inner resources to succeed their great and terrible father.

— Maureen Callahan

* * *


by Lynne Vallone

Chang and Eng’s family belonged to a large Chinese community in Siam, and were known locally as the “Chinese twins.” As the boys grew, the band of flesh connecting them stretched to five and a half inches, allowing them to walk, however haltingly, and to swim. They would probably have become fishermen, like most of the men in their family, if not for the opportunistic Scottish merchant Robert Hunter. After years of effort, the merchant, together with the American ship’s captain Abel Coffin, gained royal permission to take the brothers on a performance tour of Europe and America. Chang and Eng signed a contract on April 1, 1829: it promised to pay them a wage, all their expenses and stated that a return trip to Siam would be arranged within five years. Chang and Eng, illiterate youths far from home, controlled by adults who viewed them as material goods, were essentially treated as slaves by Coffin and Hunter. Coffin brought embalming fluid along to safeguard his investment, intending to display the twins dead or alive. “I hope these will prove profitable as a curiosity,” he wrote to his wife, Susan, who eventually undertook much of the daily work of managing the twins. Onlookers flocked to view the Siamese Twins and paid a high price — 50¢ or the equivalent — for the privilege.

* * *


Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said his fighters have begun their withdrawal from Bakhmut as they hand the eastern city to Russia’s military after capturing it in a months-long battle. Ukrainian officials have insisted this week that pockets of resistance remain in the city.

Ukrainian officials said a new wave of drone attacks launched by Russia overnight at multiple cities, including Kyiv, had failed to reach the intended targets.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said that Ukraine was behind the drone attacks on the building on May 3. US intelligence has indicated that a Ukrainian group may have launched the operation, sources told CNN, while Kyiv has denied involvement. 

Russia’s defense minister called the cross-border raid near Belgorod a “terrorist act,” and said Moscow will respond “extremely harshly” to any further attempts.

* * *

* * *


by Boris Kagarlitsky

A long-retired Russian military man was discussing current events by phone with a former colleague living in Ukraine. Both resented the war between the two recently fraternal countries and expressed the hope that this madness would soon end. A few days later, representatives of the special services raided the Russian. He did not give out any military secrets, and no one accused him of this. He was charged, however, with publicly discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. In turn, the former officer, who knew the laws, objected that the conversation had been a private one. And such a charge was meant to apply to public statements only. “But it was public,” objected the intelligence officers. “After all, we heard it!”

This is not a fragment from a story written by a modern imitator of Franz Kafka or George Orwell, but news that is now being discussed on Russian social networks. There you can also find numerous reports of fines imposed on people who had inadvertently painted their fence yellow and blue many years ago, now risking undesirable associations with the Ukrainian flag, or who thoughtlessly went out into the street in blue jeans and a yellow jacket. It got to the point that the police considered writing a denunciation on a box of apples. The fruits were guilty of the fact that the same “enemy colors” were present in the package.

Perhaps Western readers may find all these episodes ridiculous. But try to imagine what it is like to live in a state where you can be detained and prosecuted for wearing the wrong clothes, for liking a “seditious” post on social networks, or simply because the incoming police chief did not like your appearance. As a matter of principle, Russian courts do not pass down acquittals (in this regard, the situation is much worse than in Stalin’s time), so any accusation, even the most absurd, is considered proven as soon as it is brought. And this applies not only to political matters, which would be at least somewhat understandable in a war, but in general to any criminal or administrative case.

To my Western colleagues, who, after more than a year since the beginning of the war, continue to call for an understanding of Putin and his regime, I would like to ask a very simple question. Do you want to live in a country where there is no free press or independent courts? In a country where the police have the right to break into your house without a warrant? In a country where museum buildings and collections formed over decades are handed over to churches, heedless of the threat of losing unique artifacts? In a country where schools drift away from the study of science and plan to abolish the teaching of foreign languages, but conduct “lessons about the important,” during which children are taught to write denunciations and are taught to hate all other peoples? In a country which every day broadcasts appeals on TV to destroy Paris, London, Warsaw, with a nuclear strike?

I don’t think you really want to.

We in Russia also do not want to live like this.

We resist or at least try to preserve our beliefs and principles based on the humanistic tradition of Russian culture. And when we read on the Internet about another call to “understand Putin” or “to meet him halfway,” this is perceived inside Russia as complicity with criminals who oppress and ruin our own country.

Such appeals are based on a deep, almost racist contempt for the people of Russia, for whom, according to Western liberal pacifists, it is perfectly natural and acceptable to live under the rule of a corrupt dictatorship.

Of course, when someone tells you that the Putin regime is a threat to the West or to the whole of humanity, this is complete nonsense. The people to whom this regime poses the most terrible threat is (aside from the Ukrainians, who are bombarded daily by shells and missiles) the Russians themselves, their people and culture, their future.

It is clear that Putin and the system he leads have changed over the past few years; these same people in the mid-2010s could look quite decent compared to other world politicians. Certainly, they pursued the same antisocial policy, lied the same way, tried to manipulate public opinion just like their Western counterparts. But the crisis that has been going on for the past three years, the war and total corruption, have led to irreversible shifts, in which the preservation of the existing political regime turned out to be incompatible not only with human rights and democratic freedoms, but simply with the elementary preservation of the rules of modern civilized existence for the majority of the population.

We must deal with this problem ourselves. How quickly this will happen, how many trials will come along the way, how many more people will suffer, no one can know. But we know exactly what will occur. The decay of the regime will inevitably lead the country to revolutionary changes, which the supporters of the existing government will write about with horror.

And from the Western progressive public, we only need one thing – stop helping Putin with your conciliatory and ambiguous statements. The more often such statements are made, the greater will be the confidence of officials, deputies and policemen that the current order can continue to exist with the silent support or hypocritical grumbling of the West. Every conciliatory statement made by liberal intellectuals in America results in more arrests, fines, and searches of democratic activists and just plain people here in Russia.

We do not need any favor but a very simple one: an understanding of the reality that has developed in Russia today. Stop identifying Putin and his gang with Russia. Realize at last: those who want the good of Russia and the Russians cannot but be irreconcilable enemies of this power.

(First published at Russian Dissent. Translated by Dan Erdman. Boris Kagarlitsky PhD is a historian and sociologist who lives in Moscow. He is a prolific author of books on the history and current politics of the Soviet Union and Russia and of books on the rise of globalized capitalism. Fourteen of his books have been translated into English. The most recent book in English is ‘From Empires to Imperialism: The State and the Rise of Bourgeois Civilisation’ (Routledge, 2014). Kagarlitsky is chief editor of the Russian-language online journal (The Worker). He is the director of the Institute for Globalization and Social Movements, located in Moscow.

* * *

* * *

AN OLD, BLIND MARINE wanders into an all-girl biker bar by mistake. He finds his way to a bar stool and orders a shot of Jack Daniels. After sitting there for a while, he yells to the bartender, 'Hey, you wanna hear a blonde joke?'

The bar immediately falls absolutely silent.

In a very deep, husky voice, the woman next to him says, 'Before you tell that joke I think it is only fair, given that you are blind, that you should know five things: The bartender is a blonde girl with a baseball bat. The bouncer is a blonde girl. I'm a 6-foot tall, 175-pound blonde woman with a black belt in karate. The woman sitting next to me is blonde and a professional weight lifter. The lady to your right is blonde and a professional wrestler. Now, think about it seriously, do you still wanna tell that blonde joke?'

The blind Marine thinks for a second, shakes his head and mutters, 'No...not if I'm gonna have to explain it five times.'

* * *

* * *


Germany Investigates Roger Waters For Incitement To Parody

by Matt Taibbi

Pink Floyd star Roger Waters gave a concert in Berlin on Wednesday, May 17, and last week we learned German officials responded by investigating him for “suspicion of incitement of the people.” Berlin police sent a statement to CNN:

The context of the clothing worn is deemed capable of approving, glorifying or justifying the violent and arbitrary rule of the Nazi regime in a manner that violates the dignity of the victims and thereby disrupts public peace.

This story was media catnip and inspired an explosion of headlines. By Memorial Day, Waters completed his ascent into the Hitler-of-the-minute club, displacing Donald Trump, Jill Stein, Robert Kennedy, Vladimir Putin, Elon Musk, Trump again, and others on the media naughty list. We were reminded Waters is an antisemite and Putin-lover who supports genocide in Ukraine and “desecrated the memory of Anne Frank.” Twitter search returns for Roger Waters + scum populated. 

After watching the film Sunday night to make sure, my adult mind concludes The Wall’s themes hold up 40-plus years after release. It’s a great album that sadly has more relevance now, as evidenced by this extraordinary episode of authorities attacking a satirical image as the real thing. In fact, a record that probably did seem confused and a little ridiculous in 1979 suddenly makes a lot of sense, which enhances the general feeling, which I’ve had a lot lately, that the whole world is stoned. 

As C.J. Hopkins wrote yesterday, watching a Labour MP in England, a group called “Stop Antisemitism,” the CEO of the International Legal Forum, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and many others scramble in a snap to call for Waters to be banned/de-platformed was a unique mix of funny and terrifying. It did not seem possible that such an enormous quantity of people whiffed on forty years of context at the same time. 

The weekend wig-out forced me to look back at original reviews of The Wall. In hindsight, these are good for a laugh. I always thought This is Spinal Tap was based on a mix of Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, but early takes on The Wall also recall the famed review of Tap as “treading water in a sea of retarded sexuality and bad poetry.” Robert Christgau, “dean” of rock critics, summed it up in a slam of the iconic album:

Dumb tribulations-of-a-rock-star epic… too-kitschy minimal maximalism with sound effects and speech fragments… the story is confused… if the recontextualization of “up against the wall” is intended ironically, I don’t get it. B-minus

If I’d been a grownup and not 9 when The Wall came out, I might have thought something similar, but like a lot of young people, I felt that whatever the album was about, it was cool! Kids in elementary school thought Another Brick in the Wall Part 2, which seemed to be on a continuous radio loop my entire adolescence, was about sucky teachers. That was a lucky marketing break for the band, but also awesome and fitting somehow for an album packed with badass songs we vaguely understood were supposed to be deep and anti-something, and who cared what?

By the time the movie The Wall came out in 1982, starring Boomtown Rats lead and future Nobel Prize nominee Bob Geldof and directed by Alan Parker (who later made another sneaky-fun, underrated object of snide reviews, Angel Heart) I got that the story was somehow about links between alienation, fame, and authoritarianism. I didn’t fully get it, but even at 12 I knew The Wall was a metaphor, and definitely not any sincere fascist battle cry. No one then thought it was anything but the opposite. 

Cliff’s Notes on The Wall plot: the madness of World War II, where a bridge at Anzio beach is held for “the price of a few hundred ordinary lives,” is paid forward to the son of one of the war fallen, a zoned-out singer named Pink. (Waters’s father Eric died at Anzio). Played by Geldof, Pink falls through the “thin ice” of sanity to build a “wall” between himself and both his feelings and his audience. He becomes a monster, passing his monstrousness to his audience, as he hallucinates himself a fascist tyrant. 

Is this pretentious? Hell yes! Do the movie’s complaints about the miseries of fame and limitless sexual opportunity seem hilariously self-indulgent? Absolutely. But it’s rock! For wasted 19-year-olds! It all works, and songs like Another Brick in the Wall Part 2, Hey You, Mother, Run Like Hell,and Comfortably Numb have more than passed the test of time. They stuck with us for a reason, describing something that for decades made sense to people all over the world. 

The Wall has been around so long that its once-corny warnings about repression, militarism, and “thought control” have come full circle and become dangerously on-point. In our new global panacea, cartoon depictions of fascism are fascism. The new righteousness police almost certainly are really unhappy with Waters over his more recent opinions about Israel and Palestine on one hand, and Ukraine on the other, which is their right — I’m not sure I agree about all these things either — but for instance, comparing the murdered Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to Anne Frank is clearly opinion, not an endorsement of genocide. Claiming it is, amid headlines about the singer’s “Nazi outfit,” takes amazing gall. 

Moreover taking The Wall’s 44-year-old lyrics at face value as a way of piling on the character assassination campaign is a breathtakingly dishonest tactic, even by current standards. Billboard printed tweets that opened with taglines like THAT ONE LOOKS JEWISH, containing a video showing Waters in a red armband, singing, “If I had my way, I’d have them all shot!” — as if this weren’t an ancient routine everyone over 45 knows by heart, depicting a fictional rock star gone mad. (Note the famed next lyric to In the Flesh, “And that one looks queer,” is removed).

A kinky sidebar to all this is the fact that The Wall’s lyrics have gained unpleasant new resonance in the anti-disinformation/surveillance capitalism age. Mother might as well be describing the DHS, or Alexa, or Twitter’s Trust and Safety department: 

Mama won’t let anyone dirty get through

Mama’s gonna wait up till you come in

Mama will always find out where you’ve been

Mamma’s gonna keep baby healthy and clean

The Wall warns of shutting ourselves off from unseemly parts of ourselves: fear, rage at society, lust. Cadres of content police trying to shut down unclean thoughts and “dark sarcasm” all over, to say nothing of closing off criticisms about things like war or conditions in Palestine, are each absurdly perfect takes on “Another brick in the wall.” The Internet in general is a world into which people disappear to become alienated from themselves, lost in the same “space cadet glow” Waters once saw in the eyes of rock spectators. Great music aside, people once thought The Wall was heavy-handed schlock. If authorities are calling it incitement, is that what reality is now?

* * *

* * *

COMMUNISM is such a non-thing in the west that western rightists have to make up imaginary communist threats to be afraid of, pretending devoutly anti-communist institutions like the Democratic Party and the World Economic Forum are communist, or that "woke" stuff is communism.

If you have to make up imaginary communist threats to give your ideology meaning and purpose, you have a dumb ideology. Making an identity out of being anti-communist in the west is like making an identity out of being anti-dinosaur. Stop being ridiculous and do something real.

— Caitlin Johnstone

* * *

Mendocino Bay (Jeff Goll)


  1. Margot Lane May 30, 2023

    White crowned sparrow

  2. George Hollister May 30, 2023

    I see today a very good photo of a White Crowned Sparrow at Howard Creek.

    • Jeff Goll May 30, 2023

      Thanks GH, the bird IS more Sparrow than Finch. I went with erroneous identification and will use the “Merlin” app from now on.

  3. Chuck Dunbar May 30, 2023


    Today Caitlin Johnstone speaks directly to one of our regulars, letting him know, in bluntest of words, to “stop being ridiculous!” Thank you, dear Caitlin, for your wisdom.

    “If you have to make up imaginary communist threats to give your ideology meaning and purpose, you have a dumb ideology. Making an identity out of being anti-communist in the west is like making an identity out of being anti-dinosaur. Stop being ridiculous and do something real”

    • Lazarus May 30, 2023

      Is that like the Left calling Republicans Nazis, Jim Crow, Hitler, etc.?
      Be well,

  4. George Hollister May 30, 2023

    Caitlin Johnstone is correct, and the same thing can be said about fascism.

  5. Stacey Warde May 30, 2023

    This alone makes a subscription to the Anderson Valley Advertiser worthwhile:

    “If birds fell dead out of the sky, flowers suddenly wilted, small children broke inexplicably into tears, it would mean that Ms. Amos was up and on the move, heading for Boonville.”

    Thank you, Bruce.

    • Sarah Kennedy Owen May 30, 2023

      Yes, that was a good description of a very spooky person. I had never heard of her so I read a bit more on the internet, an article written by a friend of hers from the 60’s who lost track of her but was with her when she met Jones in 1967, I believe it said. The writer knew the story of Amos’s children, Amos’s ex-husband and father of her children (who escaped the clutches of Jones not long after he saw the charlatan making advances on his wife and Amos’s fixation on Jones). The story of what happened to her and her kids is harrowing to the core. If she was without life when Bruce Anderson met her, and she sucked the life out of all around her, it was because she had been drained by that vampire, Jim Jones. The writer said she (the friend of Amos) had only met Jones once but that he had contacted her by phone after that and tried to convince her that her husband was a drug addict, and had tried to contact her again, despite her hanging up on him, to promote what she suspected was a sexual relationship with her. That was apparently how he operated to get women followers. Jones was nothing but a major con artist who went into overdrive when he saw the authorities were catching onto him. What happened was a tragedy that threw a terrifying shadow over the whole world, but probably nowhere as much as Mendocino County, where he had been accepted and had grown politically powerful. It has left a scar on everyone who was alive then and is still around here on earth some 45 years later.

    • Gary Smith May 31, 2023

      “That’s very interesting,” I said, trying not to laugh, and beating back an impulse to check my own palms.

      Lots of laughs within that piece, this one maybe the funniest.

  6. michael turner May 30, 2023

    Kunstler wrote the same column again.

  7. Lynne Sawyer May 30, 2023

    Tony White’s succinct synopsis of American history from the 1960s to current times should be required reading in high school history classes. -Tex

  8. Mike Geniella May 30, 2023

    Enjoyed reading the Don Shanley piece. Thought provoking.

    • Chuck Dunbar May 30, 2023

      Yes, just so.

    • Stephen Rosenthal May 30, 2023

      Yeah, me too. Scrolled past almost all the other stuff.

    • William Brazill May 30, 2023

      I got to meet and know Don some when we were both living in the Westport, Newport area in the 70’s and feel real lucky our paths crossed.

  9. Jim Armstrong May 30, 2023

    I was surprised that you published the story about my co-worker and friend Linda Amos still another time, at least the fourth.
    Since I have posted a response each time (once or twice before the online paper), you knew that I would do so again even without your “dedication” to me.
    I have mentioned before that there are clever parts and entertaining turns of phrases in it, trademarks that seem to have faded. For some reason I read it again right through this morning and found I still enjoyed them.

    But more important, it is a vicious piece, full of lies and slander, including an accusation of murder.
    Once or twice, you admitted to some of those in the past, but now publish them again.
    If readers here care, they can search for my replies in past issues and find details of the two years I shared a telephone with Linda at the Welfare Department.
    And you, if you will, can explain why you revisit it.

    • Bruce Anderson May 30, 2023

      “Accusations” of murder? She cut her children’s throats, a documented fact.

    • Bruce Anderson May 30, 2023

      The more I read this lying response from Jim Armstrong calling me a liar only citing “murderer” as applied to Amos, the more annoyed I am. There’s not a single “lie” in that piece, or even a distortion, as anyone who’s ever read the many books and articles on Peoples Temple can testify to.

      • Jim Armstrong May 31, 2023

        I’m glad you are annoyed.
        First, you didn’t say why you published this again and attached my name to it.
        Second, you need to explain how it became “a documented fact” that Linda Amos committed the crimes you accuse her of when there were just five people in the apartment, of whom only one survived and whose account is the only possible record.
        Clearing those up will be a good start to a further discussion if that is what you want.

  10. Betsy Cawn May 31, 2023

    Lake County’s Jim Jones connection:

    Cobb Mountain’s popularity with “alternative” cultures (including Harbin Hot Springs, Adi Da, Shambala, and others) was almost unknown to the lake-centric mainstream (working “middle” class entrepreneurs, marketeers, and “ag” communities) supporting the elected “leadership” driving endless — and frequently fruitless — “economic development” campaigns, until the Valley Fire spotlighted the suddenly “discovered” uniqueness of Cobb area collectives, all of them dispersed in less than a day during the mass evacuation and excluded from re-entry for weeks.

    Harbin’s owners and managers staged a transformative comeback, while the transcendent servant-leaders of the “Mountain of Attention” organized the rebuilding of “community” infrastructures and lost homes — still far from replacing the destroyed resorts like Hoberg’s and defunct resort dwellings that housed a variety of low-income dwellers.

    Over the years, the maturing members of former cult clubs (as well as truly devotional “churches”) — aghast after Jones’s maniacal massacre of desperate devotees — shed much of their youthful exuberance and mastered the tools of “development” and its bureaucratic fiefdoms, to emerge as fiscal and environmental leaders who newly exemplify the inclusive long-term recovery and risk reduction “mindfulness” movement responding to catastrophic disaster “management” needs, well beyond the scope or capacity of local government.

    But the lingering shadows of Jones’s “family” members influence on county government agencies — Social Services most obviously — remain, and the pall cast upon the cultural history of Mendocino’s underworld, as described by Mr. Anderson’s retelling of still reverberating aberrant mistreatment, is hardly lost on us on this side of the Cow.

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