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Mendocino County Today: Monday, July 10, 2023

Seasonable Temps | Tiger Lily | Sex Crime | Living Out | Roving Miscreants | Tibetan Monks | FBPD Officers | Ed Notes | Maggie Catfish | Lake Emily | Hulbert Interview | Yesterday's Catch | CPUC Request | Green Bridge | Tough Guys | Best Dogs | Apple Tom | Braxton Questions | Dress Code | Owens Valley | Less Catholic | Shaky Joe | Bag Man | Election Hoopla | Four Cornerstones | Good Journalism | First Julian | Blind Lemon | Palestinian Authority | Ukraine | Riff-Raff | Unconscious Machinery | My Story

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DRY WEATHER and seasonable temperatures will occur across much of interior Northwest California during the first half of this week. Much warmer conditions are then expected during mid to late week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): The sun came out about noon yesterday after a very foggy start. It is a foggy - drizzly Monday morning on the coast with 53F so far. The satellite shows a lot of fog along the entire coast making it hard to say when it might get sunny. The NWS says mostly clear by mid-week, where have we heard that before?

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Tiger Lily, South Fork, Gualala River (Randy Burke)

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POLICE CONVERGED ON LAYTONVILLE Saturday Night to Calm a Hostile Crowd Accusing a Man of Sex Crimes Against a Minor

by Matt LaFever

An altercation involving at least 20 people at Laytonville High School this past evening prompted an emergency law enforcement response. 

Reports from the scene indicated a crowd of adults and teenagers had gathered to confront a Laytonville man with accusations that he had committed sexual crimes against a young community member and told him they would hold him there until law enforcement arrived.

The man, later reported to be Trevor Wilson, 19, of Laytonville reportedly began to make suicidal statements after being confronted with the unproven allegations and attempted to flee the area. The crowd intervened and kept him detained until law enforcement arrived on the scene. 

Trevor Wilson

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, and Fish and Wildlife deployed to the situation with full lights and sirens. Upon arrival, officers quickly calmed the crowd and as of 11:09 p.m. are processing the scene and taking statements.

Wilson was booked into the County Jail on charges of kidnapping for robbery & rape, contact with intent to commit lewd act with a minor, and lewd/lascivious acts with child under 14 with force. Bail was set $250,000.

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by Jim Shields

Recently a 44-year-old Laytonville man with a history of multiple police “contacts” was busted down in Brooktrails on several charges.

Here’s the story:

He’s someone well known to me and my co-workers at the Laytonville County Water District. Like the cops, we’ve had more than our fair share of “contacts” with this guy. He’s one of these shiftless mopes with a long history of petty theft, vandalism and anti-social behavior in our community.

According to the Willts Police blotter, he was snagged after a violent encounter with a Brooktrails woman who told officers that the suspect, Kristoff Suba, of Laytonville, had attacked her that morning, and “alluded to a history of domestic violence by Suba.” The victim explained that she was able to “prevent further attacks from Suba (that morning) by warding him off with a stun gun,” and the Willits Police notes that “statements from the victim, witnesses, and evidence on scene supported the victim’s account.”

Kristoff Suba

Hang on for a second, the incident will now get your full attention.

The victim told officers that she also had found a suspected pipe bomb in Suba’s belongings. The cops searched a vehicle and found what they described as “a suspected improvised explosive device (IED) made of PVC pipe. Personnel from the Humboldt Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad then responded and reportedly determined the IED was operational and in working condition.” The Willts Police Department adds that “based on statements from the parties, and no evidence of the manufacturing of destructive devices at the residence, there is believed to be no danger to the public.” The Willits Police thanked the Sheriff’s Office and the Humboldt Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad for their assistance.”

I assumed this woman-beating coward, miscreant, and IED transporter, would be locked up tight pending the criminal justice process running its course.

Nope, didn’t happen, he was soon back out on the streets where he doesn’t belong. 

Well, guess what?

Last Sunday, I received a phone call informing me that Mr. Suba was filling a barrel with water on a property not his own. In fact, he doesn’t have a property of his own. For the past two years, Suba has been stealing water from fire hydrants, turning hydrants on and wasting water, and vandalizing water district water meters.

I went out to the site and confronted him, and sent him on his way. I’ll spare you all of the other details regarding our encounter. 

We’ve spent a lot of our time dealing with this guy and his miscreant antics.

Ditto for Sheriff’s deputies.

I want to thank the Sheriff’s Deputy who responded to this most recent event. He was just as frustrated as I was.

The bottom line is we should not have to deal with characters like this guy.

The real question is why was Suba cut loose from jail after being arrested for domestic violence and being in possession of a pipe bomb that was “was operational and in working condition.” 

The state of California needs to abandon the Pandemic-era failed experiment with emptying its jails via “catch-and-release” policies that allow crooks and criminal misfits to avoid incarceration. Some of these new laws and policies seriously undermine basic public safety. To what end?

If you review the Sheriff’s booking logs and arrest records you’ll find that probably a little less than a hundred or so offenders commit an outsized share of crime in this county, often without any, or very short periods of time detained in jail, that would have interrupted, or at least slowed the frequency of their criminal and anti-social activity.

Sheriff Kendall will tell you that when they’re successful in keeping some of these serial offenders locked up for a while, there’s an immediate nosedive in crime in the areas they hail from. It’s a fact that jail’s revolving doors allow suspects to pirouette in and out of jail, giving crooks the freedom to carry out even more crimes and anti-social mischief.

All across California out-of-control shoplifting is causing business owners — large and small — to either close their doors or reduce their hours of operations. Businesses are doing this because state law holds that stealing merchandise worth $950 or less is just a misdemeanor, which means that law enforcement probably won’t bother to investigate, and if they do, prosecutors will let it go.

Recently, a woman who owns a shop in Ukiah reported a shoplifting incident. She says her efforts to regain a stolen item, resulted in the alleged shoplifters, three teenaged girls, assaulting her and then posting the assault on Instagram. 

She went on to say, “The Ukiah Police were called, and they arrived 45 minutes after the incident. They told me that my options were to press charges or get a restraining order, but that neither option would work out well for me. The police report listed the incident as mutual combat.” 

She said she feels, “incredibly let down by the Ukiah Police Department. They did nothing to help me. The theft in Ukiah downtown businesses is out of control. Small businesses can't take the losses caused by shoplifting. Some consider closing due to this issue. The Ukiah Police do not help us.”

And, don’t forget, we haven’t even discussed the ongoing tragedies that plague the Covelo community.

Clearly these sorts of incidents and situations point to disturbing indications that our vital and indispensable institutions critical to fostering and protecting public safety are not functioning as they should.

It’s a foundational concept in our democracy that people should never be asked to determine just what and how much they can put up with to live in society.

Time for all of that to change, don’t you think?

The only answer is for county officials, mainly the judges, to abandon the policy of emptying the county jail. To hell with the state Legislature and their idiotic laws that give free reign to criminals to carry out even more crimes and anti-social behavior at the expense of public safety. 

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher,, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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TIBETAN MONKS TO CREATE SAND MANDALA At The Well Spiritual Center In Mendocino 

by Rachel Archuletta

The venerable monks of Sera Jey Monastic University in Southern India will be on the Mendocino Coast this summer, bringing with them the sacred practice of Tibetan sand mandalas to share with the community. This community-sponsored event is a fundraiser for Sera Jey Foundation, which supports the education of Tibetan youth in India who are growing up in exile, and promotes the teaching of kindness all over the world. []

The monks will spend four days at The Well Spiritual Center, located at 45004 Albion Street in the heart of Mendocino (just around the corner from the Gnar Bar and next door to The Garden Bakery) where they will create, and subsequently destroy, a traditional Tibetan Medicine Buddha Sand Mandala. They invite all who would like to attend to witness this deeply spiritual live art event August 3–6, 2023.

Sand Mandala Event Schedule:

Opening Ceremony: Aug 3, 10 am (~30 mins)

Mandala Creation daily: Aug 3 to Aug 6, 10am to 5pm (except for Aug 6)

Mandala Dissolution*: Aug 6 at 2pm

Guided Meditation: Aug 5 to Aug 6, 10am (~30 mins)

*After the Mandala dissolution, the monks will bring the sand to the ocean, where it is poured out, to carry healing energies throughout the world.

Silent Auction Saturday August 5 from 10:00 to 5:00 p.m., featuring a handmade Medicine Buddha Thangka signed by the monks and many other goodies from local businesses.

There will be a pop-up shop throughout the event with many handcrafted Tibetan wares.

The Medicine Buddha Mandala depicts the Buddha of Healing, the manifestation of the healing energy of all enlightened beings. In the Tibetan tradition, this mandala helps promote peace, calm, and tranquility in the heart. The happiness that results is transmitted to others, benefitting all beings.

Sand Mandalas are a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of mandalas made from colored sand. A sand mandala is ritualistically destroyed once it has been completed and its accompanying ceremonies and viewing are finished, to symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life. The monks will then cast the colored sand from the mandala into the ocean so that the blessings imbued in the mandala will spread everywhere the sea touches, to promote peace & healing on a global level.

A mandala is thought to bring peace and harmony to the area where it is being constructed. Simply viewing a mandala is believed by Buddhists to be enough to change one's mind stream by creating a strong imprint of the beauty of perfection of the Buddha's mind, as is represented in the mandala itself. As a result of this imprint, one may be able to find greater compassion, awareness, and a better sense of well-being. The monks have traveled far and wide to bring this healing gift to our coastal community. 

The plight of the people of Tibet is not well-known due to the fact that foreign journalists are not allowed to enter the Tibetan Autonomous Region, and if they are caught within the borders of Tibet, they risk being arrested by the Chinese government. Although many countries and cultures around the world face oppression and persecution, Tibet is ranked among the least free countries in the world. 

Donations are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, as all proceeds go to Sera Jey Foundation []

For more information, please contact Rachel Archuletta at or (707)972-1116, or Sally Wells at or (707)357-3466.

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The Happy Warriors, Fort Bragg PD

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ADDING to my long list of grievances with the Superior Court of Mendocino County, ever more remote from the people it allegedly serves, is the Court's new portal. Used to be simple and direct to read the day's docket for each courtroom. No more. For the incompetent cyber-user like me I couldn't access the court calendars at all without the patient instruction of the young woman at the County Courthouse Law Library, and it's still a lengthy process that I've written down so I can do it again.

WHEN our truly gifted court reporter, Bruce McEwen, climbed aboard the SS Love Boat and sailed south with his new bride, we lost, and Mendo lost, a true picture of how justice is dispensed in Mendocino County beyond, of course, the basic fact that it's almost purely a class-based system — you get what you can pay for. McEwen, a former Marine, was temperamentally perfect for the job because he could not be intimidated by either the Black Robes, the lawyers or anybody from the Defendant Community, and several of the last regularly threatened McEwen with ultra-vi.

AS NEWSPAPERS DISAPPEAR, and even when they were thriving, few papers could afford a full-time court reporter; consequently only the most lurid cases got and get attention. Now, with literally millions of bloggers, not a one of them in Mendo covers the courts, although there are some excellent true crime reporters and investigators at work on-line in other parts of the country. But the Mendo courts go uninvestigated, and with their new portal the Mendocino County judges make it very, very difficult even to see who is in which court and what they're charged with.

RFK Jr. has admitted that he uses testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which some doctors describe as “legal steroids.” 

Kennedy says he is on an “anti-aging” protocol prescribed by his doctor that includes TRT, a hormone treatment that can cause an increased risk of blood clots, heart attacks and strokes in some cases. For a guy synonymous with anti-vaxx views, including the claim that vaccines cause autism and kill more children than they protect, que pasa with his use of steroids? The ’roid he’s on must be pretty strong stuff to transform the flabby physique of a 69-year-old man to that of an NFL running back, and you better believe I can't wait to get me some of that stuff from the Boonville Health Center to see what it will do for me.

AOC has gone all the way non-pwog with her endorsement of Biden's bid for reelection in 2024. It seems beyond evident that Biden is barely functioning, and not functioning at all as el presidente. How naked does he have to get before the Democrats admit he's down to his skivvies? More than half the country, and not just the Magas, believe the evidence of their eyes, that Biden is ga-ga. And here's a smart person like AOC pretending he isn't.

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Dear Editor,

A lot of water has run under the bridge since we last corresponded and I am moved to say hello by your recent writings on (and from) Costello and the Redleg Boogie Blues. So many fond memories.

I've enclosed a couple of recordings I did many years ago with Jeff, his one-time wife and mother of their children, Maggie, a couple of friends, and Redleg front man, Joe Tate. Though not intended as “Redleg” recordings, the Maggie Catfish CD “Just Like Magic” captures Jeff and Maggie at (I think) their best, and Maggie's wonderful painting of the Sausalito houseboat neighborhood as the cover-art is a gem. 

The songwriting is superb as is Joe Tate's on the fur-song Redleg “Summer of Love” demo. Maggie's recording “Girl from Gate 5” on the “Just Like Magic” CD tells much of their story in clever song. In some ways Jeff's talent was hidden from the casual observer but, the writing comes full circle as does his guitar playing all these years later, standing tall. I am forever grateful for my association with Jeff and Maggie, leading of course to our own connection (with a little flavor contributed by Dannie Martin).

I called Maggie the other day just to connect and tell her about your enthusiasm for Redleg Boogie Blues, which of course delighted her. Please let interested readers know that Maggie can be found at the Marin Valley Crafts Fair, 100 Marin Valley Drive, Novato, the first Saturday of each month, happy to tell stories and talk about Redleg Boogie Blues and the era that was. She also has a limited number of the “Just Like Magic” CDs for sale.

I will (celebrate--or curse) the 80th anniversary of my birth next month. As they say “…getting old isn't for sissies” and I do my best to keep ahead of the curve, sometimes a bit of a struggle. I hope this finds you and the major in good spirit and health. 


Jake Rohrer 

Haiku, Hawaii

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Lake Emily, Brooktrails (Jeff Goll)

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History & Highjinks

by Jacqueline Potter Voll

We continue our conversation with John Hulbert, Pacific Bell retiree and lifelong Anderson Valley resident. Recently, my brother Scott, who is also a PacBell retiree, my mother Fran and I had the pleasure of meeting John and chatting with him over breakfast about the two men’s quixotic careers and about John’s memories and stories of phone service since its inception in the Valley. Again, as in the first two parts of this series, the tales will be mainly told in John’s own words, with which I have taken a few liberties — may John forgive me!

John kept shaking his head, incredulous at how things have changed over the years. “See,” he said, “the guys today, half of them don’t even know how to climb a pole. They use the bucket, the cherry-picker, instead. If you are well-trained at climbing, it’s safer than the bucket on the ladder truck.”

“Especially,” Scott said, “if you’re on a grade or if the hydraulics give out.” 

John continued. “Some of the first line trucks we had were a combination of electric and hydraulic. Electricity would run it up. Had to pull them forward, in and out, with a crank. Up electric and down hydraulic. There were generators on the trucks. Once, I was just outside of Boonville in the cherry-picker, going up. The electricity shorted out and I just kept going up. I couldn’t stop it and I knew it would have gone higher than I could stand so I just slid all the way down that ladder. Got down and it was still going up! When I got to the bottom I turned the safety valve on that terminal to release the hydraulics. A near miss! Now, if I’d been up there with my hooks, I would not have had any problem at all.

“When linemen first started training, they took time out for one week of first aid, then one week of climbing. You’d go back on the job and, of course, you’re still spooky. So I’d get them up the pole. When you first are learning to climb, you have to hang onto that pole because you’re afraid to let go and lean back, right? I’d take my straps and lightly rap them on the knuckles to tease them into letting go. It was a rough way to do it, but they learned to trust that belt.”

“The phone company had three arms of wire coming in from Cloverdale and they went clear to Fort Bragg. Some of them went down to the coast to Point Arena, Elk. Some of those high crosses used to scare the pants off me. We used to have to ride chair car across chasms to position open wire. Like across Mendocino Bay. In order to position brackets out there, you’d have those chair cars go out and pull those wires down and put that transition in and move on to the next one — ride the strand. Chair car had a steel post off of center that sat kind of in back with two wheels which scooted you along. In fact, I saved my chair car. I’ve still got it at the house.” 

“Bet you kept your hooks!” Scott said.

“I did,” John replied, “Up until about a week ago. The tree trimmers were going through here and I knew I wasn’t going to use them anymore so I gave ’em to them. Yeah, hooks and belt.” 

Scott interjected, “Yeah, necessities!”

John added, “The phone company supplied them, but once they moved to automation, they’d get rid of them, so I just saved mine.”

Scott asked, “How many glass insulators do you have?” 

John told us, “When we ripped out those toll lines between Ukiah and Mountain House, I got cases of those, purple ones, beautiful! There was no demand for them. I boxed them up and when somebody’d come by, “I'd just give them away. I’ve got maybe five left.”

More changes, this time in the manner of speech, or phone company patois. The changing of some slang John suggested was all for the better. For instance, a coil of rolled wire, when they first came out, was called a “niggerhead”; now its known as a “pickupper.”

They almost got in trouble in Point Arena one day when the boss shouted to the crew, “Hang those guys!” The nearby gaggle of sidewalk supervisors became visibly alarmed, looking around for a lynching. Little did the civilians know the reference was to a “down guy,” a support wire that goes from the pole to that anchor that keeps the pole from tipping.

Poles were made of different wood through the years and received various treatments to protect them from wear, woodpeckers and weathering. “Some were made of sawn redwood, some of western cedar; square oak poles were the first. At one time, the poles were treated with propane. You could drill a hole through the pole, light a match and it would shoot a flame through the pole. The company didn’t realize for a long time how dangerous propane-treated poles were; they could have started forest fires! Until the boss saw us fooling around, saw the flash, heard the whoosh. He hollered ‘Damn, what’d you just do?” We told him, ‘Lit the pole on fire.” He called the supe, they investigated and quit using propane. Creosote was probably the best and most long-lasting treatment, except for its toxic properties. I’m not sure,” said John, “what they use anymore.”

“The company was, nonetheless, a stickler for safety,” John emphasized, “One of your main objects was survival.”

I asked John, “You took a lot of risks?”

He replied, “It’s a dangerous job, but if it’s done right it’s not dangerous. Each little crew had their own motto. Ours was ‘Do it right the first time’.”

John returned to the past: “When the phone company pulled the wires in long ago, they weren’t pulled in by hand. When they came out from Mountain House this way, they’d come through and locate people who had mules and horses they could rent. Then they’d pull those lines in with rented horses or mules or whatever they could find. Maintenance was always a problem with most of those lines because whoever bought right-of-way wasn’t always along the main road but up in the mountainous country.”

Again, John stressed, the most expensive thing they had to do was maintenance. “Brush, trees, squirrels, kids shootin’… I’ve pulled darts out of those cables. BB gun damage… Sometimes we found arrows stuck in the cables. We never knew if they did it intentionally, or if they were aiming at a hawk.”

“A guy used to go out ever New Year’s Eve and shoot his shotgun up in the air, and every New Year’s Eve, the phones would go off in that area; no one could figure out why. After the third time we repaired the shotgun blast in the cable, well, we could see where it came from. We kept telling’ him: Knock if off! The guy would say, ‘Oh, I didn’t do that.’ So the boss went up there next New Year’s Eve and caught him at it. The one he always shot was one of the main cables; they were expensive to repair.”

John had noticed a lot of people in the Valley’s hills have radio phones. Scott says they have a helluva a time getting them up through the forests and maintaining them, what with obstacles like fallen trees and wild pigs. 

“People used to call me for help on those things,” John said. “I couldn’t physically go out and do it but I would explain to them on the phone what they could do. I told them, if you find any dumbbells at garage sales or flea markets, just any kind of a dumbbell, it would be worth the investment to buy every one of ’em to test their radio phones.”

In answer to my query, John explained that a dumbbell is actually a handset with a dial on it. You put clips here, pressure there, and you can read where the trouble is. Scott wondered why the gadgets are called dumbbells. John reminded him that the original ones, with little knobs on each end, looked like a dumbbell. Scott commented, “I always thought it was named for the guy using it!”

“I wish,” John said, “they’d kept better records of things. When I retired, I just destroyed all my records ’cause they were private; gate combinations and things like that I was privy to. Unless I had gotten permission to keep the records from everyone involved… couldn’t do that so I just put it all in the fireplace — Privacy in Communications Act! By law, you could not overhear a conversation and then relay to anyone what you heard or take advantage of it. Such as a stock market tip; if you heard stock prices were going up, you couldn’t run out and invest.”

“Reports to the Sheriff’s Department would scare the stuff out of me but I couldn’t pass the info on. I knew where half the drug dealers in the County were. And up on that boom truck, you could look down into people’s pot farms — you’d just have to keep quiet!”

Scott told of once finding a bookie joint behind the false back bar of a tavern in the City when he worked there. He could not tell a soul.

“Yeah,” John agreed. “Secrecy in Communications. It was drilled into you from Day One. Federal law, federal control. That’s why if someone destroys a cable the government could come in and arrest them. We would try to keep it low profile.”

“You wouldn’t want people to know what you’re talking about anymore than I would, and that’s the way it should be kept. We just have to make sure they continue to enforce it.”

Scott told John that when he was still working for PacBell out of Fort Bragg, they still had the little rail car laying in the yard there so that they could shoot trouble going down the Skunk Train railbed to Willits. 

John told us, “I still have the train schedule and the key to that; you had to have a key for switching. If you only had two guys you were kind of hurt moving the rail car so we usually took four guys to lift it up and set it off the track to let the train pass. We always knew approximately what time the train would be coming through. There were two tunnels on that track between Fort Bragg and Willits. It was quite a distance from one end to the other of each tunnel. When you’d get to the center where it turns a corner, it was black. All you had was a little flashlight type of headlight on there.

“When we were young, a bunch of us clowns hooked up a little wire to a piece of asphalt and attached it to the choke. Now, the foreman was a super-strict guy; he was a ‘Don’t go around that bush, go through it’ type of person. We got him in the middle of the tunnel where it was pitch dark and we choked that thing out ’til it stopped. He panicked. He was beside himself, also wondering when the train would come. So we pulled it back out. He got it started again and we’d choke it up again — drove him nuts!”

“Then we had a Jeep, maybe the same crew, same foreman. We used to commute from Ukiah to Point Arena. We’d leave Monday morning and be back in Ukiah on Friday night. Well, coming back on Friday we got this idea… It was a little Jeep stationwagon with four or five of us in it. We found a hole in the floor of the Jeep and dropped a piece of wire down there with flashing attacked to its end. There we were, going down the road in the dark. The boss always drove, he wouldn't let any of us drive! One of us would drop the wire and that thing would hit the tailpipe with an awful clatter. Oh my God! The boss wold roar. What is it, boss? Then we’d drop the flashing down again. We drove him nuts on that one, too. We’d simply pull out the wire if he stopped to check — he could never find anything wrong.

“Another night, we rigged a wire through the hollow structural pipes of the Jeep. When we pulled on it, the horn would honk. Well, the boss was driving along behind another car and we let rip with the horn: Beep, beep, beep! We kept it up; the boss was beside himself with embarrassment. Finally, the elderly gentleman in the car ahead pulled off the road and let us pass. The boss yelled at him, wildly gesturing, ‘There’s a short in the horn!’ and sheepishly pulled his head back in the window. We continued on down the road… Beep, beep, beep. By the time we got to town, there was no trace of trouble with the horn; we had yanked the wire. He could just never figure out what caused it.”

John got up to leave and as we were shaking hands, he joked, “My cattle are gettin’ hungry. That’s what a farmer said to me once and I asked him ‘How many cattle have ya got?’ ‘Oh,’ the farmer replied, ‘I got one.’ He had one cattle!” 

John laughed as he disappeared out the front door into the still chill morning, which for us John had by now managed to fill with warmth. It didn’t surprise us to learn that John was largely responsible years ago for raising funds to buy an engine and the “jaws of life” for our local Volunteer fire and rescue units. 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, July 9, 2023

Carrillo, Carter, Cruz

TINA CARRILLO, Hopland. Under influence, probation revocation.

CHRISTOPHER CARTER, Covelo. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, ammo possession by prohibited person, failure to appear, probation revocation.

ISABELA CRUZ, Lakeport/Ukiah. DUI, leaving scene of accident with property damage, resisting.

Garcia, Gower, Muniz

RAYMUNDO GARCIA, Orange Cove/Willits. DUI.

JASON GOWER, Eureka/Ukiah. Controlled substance, under influence, paraphernalia, mandatory supervision violation, resisting.

HUGO MUNIZ, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license for DUI, probation violation.

Ramirez, Rios, Stanton

MANUEL RAMIREZ, Redwood Valley. Domestic battery, disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.

SESARIO RIOS IV, Hopland. Mail theft, conspiracy.

JACOB STANTON, Cloverdale/Ukiah. DUI.

Tapia, Tiscareno, Wilson


EMMANUEL TISCARENO, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-drugs&alcohol.

TREVOR WILSON, Laytonville. Kidnapping for robbery & rape, contact with intent to commit lewd act with minor, lewd/lascivious acts with child under 14 with force.

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We are yet again reminded that our world is rapidly warming, this time by severe heat waves in the South and the wildfires in Canada. The time to act is now to stop polluting our atmosphere with carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.

With the passing of last year’s Inflation Reduction Act there are incentives that make clean energy sources cheaper than burning fossil fuels. The California Public Utilities Commission is tasked with regulating utilities and ensuring that ratepayers have affordable, safe and clean energy.

I ask that the members of the CPUC show bold leadership and rapidly transition all California utilities from burning carbon-polluting fossil fuels to producing electricity from clean sources, such as solar and wind, and using energy storage. Please, for the sake of our grandchildren and all future generations, make this transition the top priority.

Ron Sadler


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The Green Bridge (Switchville), North Fork, Gualala River (Randy Burke)

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I TOURED BURLESQUE, offering $1,000 to any local yokel who stayed three rounds with me. None of them ever did. I don't say that in any bragging way. In the first place almost any pro can lick the toughest guy in town. In the second place the first of the three rounds, if I needed three, lasted five minutes - two minutes more than legal. The second round, if the fellow was still in there winging at me, lasted maybe ten minutes. A third round, if necessary, could last all night. 

You can't have too much respect for a sucker, and any amateur who climbs into a ring to fight the heavyweight champion of the world is a sucker. Furthermore, I figured anybody who lasted three of those rounds with me wasn't a real home town boy. He was a pro trying to make a sucker out of me or trying to get himself a rep by flattening me.

For a spell there I traveled with the Sells-Floto Circus at $2,500 a week, taking on all comers, but I remember the horse I rode in the parade better than I remember the poor guys I flattened.

— Jack Dempsey

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

If you think you have the best dog in the world you probably do. 

Here’s the deal: Everyone’s dog, including yours, is the best dog in the whole wide world. 

People love their cocker spaniels and why wouldn’t they? Same with Collies, Sheep Dogs, mutts and strays. All great dogs.

Dogs have dogonalities just like people but without all the neurotic weird, sneaky hidden agenda stuff. If you believe dogs are sneaky you are wrong. Those are cats.

I once thought Airedales were the finest dogs on the planet and they were and are. If you’ve got one, congratulations. Fine, fine dog the Airedale.

But I’ve had a couple Golden Retrievers and I now think Golden Retrievers are the best dogs in the world and by a considerable margin. They are funny, good looking and not very smart so it’s easy to trick them by hiding their stuffed squeaky duck under a sofa pillow.

One problem with Golden Retrievers is that they are everywhere: TV ads, magazine covers, Youtube videos, airline flight attendants and a surprising percentage of your neighbors. 

You can hardly walk down the pet food aisle at Safeway without a dozen or a hundred Golden Retrievers leering at you from package labels. How long before a Golden Retriever runs for Ukiah City Council?

And like anything that’s crazy popular (Big Macs, Toyotas, Taylor Swift, California) you don’t want to appear as if you’ve been swept up in a big hot fad, like women watching Outlander or men not drinking Bud Lite. You want to be different so you pick a Schnauzer, which is a marvelous dog. Maybe the best.

But no, Golden Retrievers are best. Their dogonality may be limited, but it’s true and genuine: They love you. 

A Golden Retriever adores its owner and does whatever it takes to make him happy. They smile, they roll on their backs, they chase stuffed duckies.

My last dog would have done whatever I asked. If I’d said “Puppy, go get me a beer” she’d gallop off to the fridge, stand a while in the kitchen, then return looking sorrowful. She’d be wearing her woeful “Sorry I let you down” look, and with her limited vocabulary try to explain about the opposable thumb stuff. Very sad. 

She’d make up for it by leaving her stuffed duckie on my chair, but I’d never know because I’d be in the kitchen looking for that last can of Milwaukee’s Best, which I now remember I drank in the shower this morning.

So it wasn’t the opposable thumb thing at all. Silly me. But she should have known it was the last beer in the 12-pack. (Jeez. Can’t even count to 12.)

Told you Retrievers weren’t very smart. And what’s this gnarly old stuffed yellow chicken doing on my recliner anyway?

Dear Readers, this rambling introduction leads to breaking news that a puppy will soon be landing on our doorstep. By now the Spousal Unit will have knitted little pink booties and spent several thousand dollars on turquoise bandanas, stuffed toys, and bouncy balls that light up and speak Esperanto. 

Our civilization’s obsession with dogs is yet another yardstick with which to measure the collective madness. Tell someone you’re getting a dog and they light up as if you won the lottery. 

Tell them you’re getting a child? Oh how nice they say, and change the subject to the marvelous French Bulldog they just saw on Church Street.

I’ll not be surprised if friends and neighbors stage a puppy shower, the city puts a banner across State Street, and Joe Biden calls to remind Trophy to register the dog to vote in November. 

It goes on: There are more Rainbow Ag dog food options than entrees at The Broiler. Starbucks has free birthday cream drinks for dogs. Your dog has a better chance of breaking into Hollywood movies than your niece.

If we die more people will fight over who gets the dog than who gets my savings account or Trophy’s Nancy Drew books.

By the time you read this the pup might already be here. If so, it’s probably upstairs napping with its mommy, on the bed I once slept on. 

Common Sense Breaks Out

A cool breeze of intelligent thinking gusted through the County Supervisor chambers recently when the board unanimously rescinded its ill-conceived Inclusionary Rule.

Like many mischievous laws, the Inclusionary Rule came to life as a well-meaning gesture to supposedly increase affordable housing. In reality the Inclusionary Rule demanded every construction project include 25% of new housing be “affordable.” 

You’re from California so you can guess who had to foot the bill for this magnanimous gesture. (Hint: The Contractor) But don’t think too hard about why local housing is so expensive, and thus scarce. Both are results of your hardworking representatives performing their magic, i.e., dreaming up more tax penalties for any business doing anything.

But Poof! and Voila! By a 5-0 vote, our beloved Supervisors disappeared it. Give yourselves five well-deserved pats on each others’ backs. 

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To the Editor,

When Joe Biden (Jerry Philbrick said not to call him our president) kissed his son Hunter on national television, was that like a Mafia kiss of death? However, you can't really predict what a politico does today. Hillary kissed Obama and both those warmongers are allegedly alive making millions on book deals like Stormy Daniels, Jean Carroll, and Alvin Bragg are no doubt planning! Is Trump-hating here to stay?

I need to take a break from my “Biden bashing” since I just received the June 14 edition and my brain is again on alert as there is once again near blasphemy against our heroic General Braxton Bragg. I can surmise that the Editor is in favor of a name change for our fair city. Since I will be in absentia for a while, could somebody submit for me the change to “Mendoza Beach” after California's first esteemed Governor)?

Also the Editor seems to be an authority on the life and times of Braxton Bragg. The following might take some research, but instead of slander, I request the “honorable” AVA please submit it to us readers the real true facts about Mr. Bragg. 

What my inquiring mind would like to know is: What is Braxton's date of birth and where was he born? When did he pass on and where is his grave? How about information on why at least five other United States towns are named after an alleged mean, blundering and slave-whipping man! Also please research the civil war and let us know what battles were lost due to general Bragg's blunders. According to the media it is amazing that Bragg even survived the Civil War!

It doesn't seem too difficult to establish facts on Bragg's career at West Point and in Texas during the Mexican-American war. Please Editor, put up or shut up!

You did get some facts straight to the best of my knowledge about Fort Bragg history.

My grandma Clara Saunders was the first Crow “half-breed” born in Fort Bragg in 1884. I listened at her knee about much early folklore on the Mendocino Coast. To my knowledge there was never ever any “brutal slavemastery” nor slaughter of any Native Americans in the Fort Bragg city limits.

One more requested fact: When and where did Braxton Bragg actually own this “fantasy slave plantation”?


David 'Hazel Youngcault-Crow Nation historian' Giusti

San Luis Obispo

PS. Hello to Alan Crow. I got a kick out of him calling me a Muppet! Even though it appears that Alan is still obsessing on me, he didn't this time in the June 14 letter to the editor practice his excessive literary “convict brutality.” But why is a Washington state Okie worrying about Fort Bragg? Is he planning on terrorizing Mendo when paroled? But guess what, Alan? If you ever get a parole date from the Vacaville insane asylum where the Department of Corrections currently is now housing you, you will be dubbed a mentally disordered offender and sent to the Atascadero funny farm for life. A lot of good your snitching to district attorney Eyster did you!

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by Bill Hatch

When you drive into the Owens Valley from the south, on your left to the west is the most magnificent mountain range in the Sierra Nevada. Majestic Mt. Whitney, tallest peak in the continental United States, stands in the middle of a jagged row of peaks, not much shorter. In late spring, great paths of snow descend nearly to the valley floor, which tilts up gradually to the foot of the mountains. On this, the eastern side of the Sierra, there are no foothills. Pastures, occasional fences and a few houses hidden in copses well off the road near the mountains, present the occasional sight of working ranchland but Los Angeles Department of Water and Power probably owns it and leases it to the ranchers. Most of the pasture land is idle. 

On the east side are the Inyo Mountains, lower, more rounded, impressive but definitely a desert landscape. Beyond them lies Death Valley. Between US Route 395 and the Inyos in the southern end of the Owens Valley, you see the dark outlines in riparian vegetation of the nearly empty Owens River. As you drive farther north you see to the east the main characteristic of the valley, Owens Lake’s alkali bed, which this year had more wetlands around and within it than usual due to the record snowfall and runoff. The importance of the fresh playas of runoff for the residents, they told me, was that the water suppressed the usual toxic dust that had plagued the valley since the LADWP appropriated the river, the lake, and much groundwater besides. 

The towns of Lone Pine and Big Pine (farther up the valley) seem almost to have no visible means of support. Looking for a stock cane I’d forgotten to support my bad hip as I toured different sites, I visited a feed and seed store that had no canes for managing animals but featured pet supplies in the foreground and decorative pastel nylon lariats hanging on the back wall. 

The City of Independence is the county seat of Inyo County. Its homes and main street display the industry and prosperity of government employees. The Museum of Eastern California is the most interesting place in the valley. It has excellent exhibits of Paiute and Shoshone artifacts – baskets, arrowheads, leather clothes, and photos. The museum had a great collections of photos of its history including early European-American settlers, the farming period, the period when Los Angeles bought most of the water rights and land, and Manzanar, the WWII Japanese internment camp located in the valley a few miles from Independence. We stopped by the Manzanar camp itself, which may mean many different things to many people, but to me it just means a collision of the racial hatred that suffuses California and the magnificent cultural stamina of the Japanese people. While trying to think about that disjunction for a moment, I wandered into a gift shop full of toys for children touring in the backseats of family cars where I met a US Park Service official who was certain that the most interesting thing in Manzanar was her PhD. 

I was growing uneasy about Owens Valley. 

Later, we saw on the east side of the road about 15 horses, some of them paints, hanging close together in a pasture that was small enough that you could see all four fences. I thought they might have belonged to the Big Pine Paiute Shoshone Reservation, but their receptionist told me that those mustangs belonged to a private rancher. It added new meaning to the comment of a farmer friend of mine that horses are just “pasture ornaments.” This band seemed to be somebody’s Wild West pets. On the other hand, maybe the rancher saved them from the pet food factory. Or, possibly, they are movie-extra mustangs. Either way, it didn’t add up to the thrifty organization of working cattle ranches I’m familiar with. Maybe the small herds in the distance here and there, barely visible from the highway, were part of actual working ranches. But the Owens Valley just doesn’t look right to someone who’s traveled to many of the remote parts of California where cattle are still raised.

On the other hand, 502 movies were made in this valley, most around Lone Pine, so, if certain vistas strike a chord of recognition, that’s the reason. Every cowboy star has filmed there, from Will Rogers’ silent film in 1920, “Water, Water, Everywhere,” to all the great cowboy stars – Tom Mix, Hopalong Cassidy, Hoot Gibson, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Glenn Ford, Robert Mitchum – all the way to Jamie Foxx in “Django Unchained” in 2012. The Spencer Tracy masterpiece, “Bad Day at Black Rock,” was filmed in part there. Parts of the Owens Valley have been filmed so many times from so many angles, the reality before you gets confused with the illusion in your memory.

The towns don’t have the rhythms of the land they rest on because that land is owned by a city far away. Because of this nearly total outside ownership, the towns have a sense of idle waiting. Some of the houses in the streets off the highway have the eccentric front gardens of retired country people and there are some fine looking homes in the county seat that probably belong to government managers. But, generally, they don’t look prosperous. The restaurants were crowded with travelers when we were there. Many customers appeared to be hikers and fishermen, not the more affluent skiers that go farther north to Mammoth. The restaurants themselves are an uneven mixture of mediocrity that all close early in the evening. Bishop is bigger and has more bustle.

Maybe, my sense that nobody seemed to be getting better at anything in these towns comes from the de-skilling that takes place when a region is absorbed into a tourist economy. There is no farm or ranch economy left and its myriad skills have vanished leaving little behind but hopefully grinning salespeople.

Walking back to my motel from a coffee shop I passed a crew of young Mexican men behind a chain-link fence, sitting at a picnic table behind which was a food truck feeding them through a window. Again, they weren’t what they looked like any more than these towns were the “Old West” towns they looked like. The boys weren’t ranch hands or farm workers, they were working on some government project – something for LADWP on the aqueduct, or perhaps on the CalTrans highway-widening project south of Lone Pine that has been unearthing ancient bones, which has raised deep concerns among the Paiute and Shoshone residents of the valley.

At the motel I noticed in the office a small orange wooden swing in which two statues sat. I asked who they were and the manager (from India) told me they were Vishnu and a consort. A touch of Vedanta was just what the day had lacked, evidently.

The moon was full the evening I was there and I stepped out the door around 10 p.m. to look at the Mount Whitney Range. Mount Whitney, 14,500 feet, is the tallest mountain in the continental United States. Its top quarter was still snow covered, with wide paths of snow falling down the slopes to the edge of the valley. Its massive size, beauty and grandeur stunned me and I didn’t stop staring at it for quite a while. The silver glow off the mountain top washed away the entire history of Owens Valley from my mind for a moment. Great mountains are symbols of the Center of the World, the Axis, Unbilicus, where Heaven and Earth, the higher and lower realms, connect. It is a place where stories become ideas.

But, while the silver glow of this great peak pulled my thoughts well beyond the history between this poor valley and that huge city, it provoked me to think about the reason. It cannot be condemned and explained simply as rampant capitalism. Although there were certainly powerful private railroad and real estate interests and cadres of eager engineers, capitalism is only part of the story. In the case of the legal expropriation of Owens Valley water, only owners of the valley land were private; they were paid with public funds in a bond issue approved enthusiastically by Los Angeles residents, state and federal government officials. 

Transporting enough water from Owens Valley and later Mono Lake to Los Angeles for it to grow throughout the 20th century, from 300,000 in 1910 to nearly 4 million today, was the very essence of the slogan of Republican Progressives from Teddy Roosevelt to Arnold Schwarzenegger: “The greatest good for the greatest number.” Yet, always, beneath that happy trope, there was another, best expressed by the supply-side economic baloney peddled by Hollywood’s gift to government, Ronald Reagan: “Greed is good.”

Of course, without that water, eventually Southern Pacific Railroad would have had to cut back on its advertising of the grand advantages of living the California Dream and Los Angeles would not have grown to its present grotesque size. It is a city with constantly increasing thirst, smog, traffic, political unrest, population density, and property values as land for development runs out. If it had not been for the Owens Valley’s water, many people who had no idea they would ever live one day in a place called Los Angeles might have remained closer to home and the incredible weight of this city, which knows no value but More, would not have become such a drag on the state’s resources.

I searched for a reason for this enormous display of human hubris at the foot of one of the nation’s greatest mountains and found myself back with Hesiod. 

Around 700 BC, in “Works and Days,” Hesiod wrote to his brother: 

“For we had already divided our inheritance, but you seized the greater share and carried it off, greatly swelling the glory of our bribe-swallowing lords who love to judge such a cause as this. Fools! They know not how much more the half is than the whole, nor what great advantage there is in mallow and asphodel (poor people’s food--ed).”

From thoughts like these the Greek concept of pleonexia developed. It’s not just greed; it’s a special kind of greed, a lust for the goods of others, taken by superior force. When dealing with petty criminals, it is grist for the criminal courts; but, when whole cities and states are taken and incorporated into the order of a new tyrant, the pleonexia of the tyrant becomes justice because he owns the law. 

Anyone who looks at Owens Valley can see the perfectly orderly result of our system of progressive American pleonexia. To complete its total dominance, Los Angeles turned Owens Valley into one of its favorite western movie sets.

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* * *


by Michael Goodwin

Stein’s Law holds that “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

The late Herbert Stein made the observation about economic trends, but his axiom perfectly describes Joe Biden’s shaky dance with political death. 

The president is trying to navigate a narrow path between two potential disasters.

Each one could prove fatal to his tenure, but if the twain shall meet, he doesn’t have a prayer. 

And it’s a near certainty they will meet because the facts we already know are overwhelmingly stacked against him and more damaging information is coming soon. 

One track of his predicament stems from general public unhappiness with his performance.

Averages of recent polls compiled by RealClearPolitics show him with an approval rating of a saggy 42%, and the number sinks to the mid-30s on his handling of the economy.

He’s taken to boasting of his policies as “Bidenomics,” which is an odd move given public sentiment about the results. 

By consistent margins of at least 3-1, voters say the nation is on the wrong track and an astonishing 71% of respondents, including half of Democrats, said in a recent survey the 80-year-old-Biden is too old to seek a second term.

His doddering nature and frequent brain freezes compound the view he’s way over the hill. 

The other track of the president’s predicament is the gathering storm related to his son.

The obvious fact that Hunter Biden is getting favored treatment from the father’s Department of Justice has broken through the media’s Praetorian Guard and the public doesn’t like the smell of it. 

Although Hunter has agreed to plead guilty to two tax violations and a gun charge later this month after a supposedly five-year investigation, he’ll likely avoid spending a day in prison. 

A sweetheart deal for a notorious family member would be political trouble for any president, but the Bidens’ scandal is mushrooming now because of the sensational testimony of IRS whistleblowers.

They allege Justice officials obstructed efforts to seek more serious charges against Hunter, tipped off his lawyers to searches and interviews and refused to let them probe whether Joe played a role in the family’s multimillion-dollar schemes. 

“The criminal tax investigation of Hunter Biden has been handled differently than any investigation I’ve ever been a part of for the past 14 years of my IRS service,” said Gary Shapley, a supervisory special agent in the Criminal Investigation unit.

He added that decisions at every stage were “benefiting the subject.” 

Complicity with Hunter 

The sworn testimony, including release of a WhatsApp message where Hunter says his father is sitting beside him as he demands millions from a Chinese businessman and threatens consequences if it isn’t delivered, adds to the growing pile of evidence that Joe was in on the scheme from the get-go. 

The message, the fruit of an IRS subpoena, was sent in late July of 2017.

Recall that Tony Bobulinski, the CEO of a joint venture involving Hunter and Jim Biden with a Chinese energy conglomerate, has said he met with Joe about the family business in May of 2017. 

Although Joe was a private citizen then, Hunter, according to Bobulinski, claimed the Chinese partners owed his family $20 million for work done in 2015 and 2016 — while Joe was vice president. 

Emails show the “big guy” was secretly slated to get 10% of the money.

If he did, or if probers can show he got money from any of Hunter’s deals, the final dot would be connected. 

Already, much of the public gets the emerging picture.

With the whistleblowers’ claims forcing Dems’ media outlets to cover the story, and with Big Tech no longer censoring anti-Biden stories as it did in 2020, more and more Americans see the pattern and most believe Joe Biden is corrupt. 

Two-thirds of voters in one survey say Hunter got a sweetheart deal because of his father, and less than one-third of respondents in another survey said they believe the president is innocent of allegations regarding the foreign payments, which they believed were aimed at influencing American policy decisions. 

In plain English, a big majority is already convinced the president is a compromised commander-in-chief. 

With congressional Republicans just hitting their stride in uncovering the facts, more revelations, combined with Biden’s age and poor job performance, increasingly make his campaign for four more years look like a pipe dream. 

Which raises the central question: How does Biden’s tenure end? 

My answer echoes the dialogue over bankruptcy in Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.”

How, one character asks another, did you go broke, and the famous response is, “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.” 

We have been in the gradual phase of Biden’s downfall for some time, and now the sudden phase is approaching. 

Evidence of Joe’s involvement is almost certain to expand with the testimony of Devon Archer, a former partner of Hunter’s in many deals, including the one with Burisma, the corrupt Ukrainian energy company. Archer and Hunter were appointed to the company’s board when Joe was vice president, and Archer, headed to federal prison in a separate case, has no incentive to protect the family. 

$iphoning Burisma tap 

If the president played a role or profited from the Burisma deal or others, Archer would most likely know. 

Although Joe could dangle a pardon to keep him silent, the move would be seen as so outrageous that it would, in the eyes of most Americans, instantly convict the president himself of corruption. 

My hunch, then, is that testimony from Archer and other witnesses will create such a public storm that Joe will have no real defense and very little wiggle room.

At that point, he likely would begin to test the waters for horse-trading to save himself. 

Faced with certain impeachment and possibly conviction and removal, he could privately offer to drop his re-election plans.

That doesn’t sound like much of a concession, but it might be enough to keep him in office for the remainder of his term because nobody in either party wants a President Kamala Harris. 

Of course, Joe would still be subject to possible charges from the Justice Department after he leaves office.

And if Donald Trump becomes president again, he would get his revenge for Biden prosecuting him and the tit-for-tat would be complete. 

Meanwhile, Dems could have an open primary, with Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Sens. Amy Klobachur, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, and Pete Buttigieg and other dreamers free to pick up where they left off in 2020. 

Even Sen. Bernie Sanders would probably try again and why not Hillary, too? 

It all sounds far-fetched — until you imagine a Trump-Biden rematch, with Biden hobbled by a terrible first term and both candidates accused of crimes. 

If Democrats stick with Biden under those circumstances, they’ll be inviting the second coming of Trump.

(New York Post)

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WELL IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN. Time for everyone to spend a year and a half pouring mountains of mental energy into arguing about who should be the next President of the United States of America.

Friendships will be shattered. Family dinners will be ruined. Social media activists will lose themselves in weeks-long flame wars. And, when all is said and done, the person sworn into office on January 2024 will oversee an administration which governs in more or less the same way as their predecessors.…

* * *

THE FOUR CORNERSTONES of the American political psyche are 1) emotion substituted for thought, 2) fear, 3) ignorance and 4) propaganda.

― Joe Bageant, Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War

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THE REAL HORROR, to me, lies in the fact that there is absolutely no vehicle in American journalism for the kind of “sensitive” and “intellectual” and essentially moral/merciless reporting that we all understand is necessary — not only for the survival of good journalism in this country, but for the dying idea that you can walk up to a newsstand and find something that will tell you what is really happening. 

— Hunter S. Thompson

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The failure by journalists to mount a campaign to free Julian Assange, or expose the vicious smear campaign against him, is one more catastrophic and self-defeating blunder by the news media.

by Chris Hedges

The persecution of Julian Assange, along with the climate of fear, wholesale government surveillance and use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers, has emasculated investigative journalism. The press has not only failed to mount a sustained campaign to support Julian, whose extradition appears imminent, but no longer attempts to shine a light into the inner workings of power. This failure is not only inexcusable, but ominous. 

The U.S. government, especially the military and agencies such as the CIA, the FBI, the NSA and Homeland Security, have no intention of stopping with Julian, who faces 170 years in prison if found guilty of violating 17 counts of the Espionage Act. They are cementing into place mechanisms of draconian state censorship, some features of which were exposed by Matt Taibbi in the Twitter Files, to construct a dystopian corporate totalitarianism.  

The U.S. and the U.K. brazenly violated a series of judicial norms and diplomatic protocols to keep Julian trapped for seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy after he had been granted political asylum by Ecuador. The CIA, through the Spanish security firm UC Global, made recordings of Julian’s meetings with his attorneys, which alone should invalidate the extradition case. Julian has been held for more than four years in the notorious Belmarsh high-security prison since the British Metropolitan Police dragged him out of the embassy on April 11, 2019. The embassy is supposed to be the sovereign territory of Ecuador. Julian has not been sentenced in this case for a crime. He is charged under the Espionage Act, although he is not a U.S. citizen and WikiLeaks is not a U.S.-based publication. The U.K. courts, which have engaged in what can only be described as a show trial, appear ready to turn him over to the U.S. once his final appeal, as we expect, is rejected. This could happen in a matter of days or weeks. 

On Wednesday night at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Stella Assange, an attorney who is married to Julian; Matt Kennard, co-founder and chief investigator of Declassified UK, and I examined the collapse of the press, especially with regard to Julian’s case. You can watch our discussion here

“I feel like I’m living in 1984,” Matt said. “This is a journalist who revealed more crimes of the world’s superpower than anyone in history. He’s sitting in a maximum-security prison in London. The state that wants to bring him over to that country to put him in prison for the rest of his life is on record as spying on his privileged conversations with his lawyers. They’re on record plotting to assassinate him. Any of those things, if you told someone from a different time ‘Yeah this is what happened and he was sent anyway and not only that, but the media didn’t cover it at all.’ It’s really scary. If they can do that to Assange, if civil society can drop the ball and the media can drop the ball, they can do that to any of us.” 

When Julian and WikiLeaks released the secret diplomatic cables and Iraq War logs, which exposed numerous U.S. war crimes, including torture and the murder of civilians, corruption, diplomatic scandals, lies and spying by the U.S. government, the commercial media had no choice but to report the information. Julian and WikiLeaks shamed them into doing their job. But, even as they worked with Julian, organizations such as The New York Times and The Guardian were determined to destroy him. He threatened their journalistic model and exposed their accommodation with the centers of power.

“They hated him,” Matt said of the mainstream media reporters and editors. “They went to war with him immediately after those releases. I was working for The Financial Times in Washington in late 2010 when those releases happened. The reaction of the office at The Financial Times was one of the major reasons I got disillusioned with the mainstream media.”

Julian went from being a journalistic colleague to a pariah as soon as the information he provided to these news organizations was published. He endured, in the words of Nils Melzer, at the time the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, “a relentless and unrestrained campaign of public mobbing, intimidation and defamation.” These attacks included “collective ridicule, insults and humiliation, to open instigation of violence and even repeated calls for his assassination.”

Julian was branded a hacker, although all the information he published was leaked to him by others. He was smeared as a sexual predator and a Russian spy, called a narcissist and accused of being unhygienic and slovenly. The ceaseless character assassination, amplified by a hostile media, saw him abandoned by many who had regarded him a hero. 

“Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide,” Melzer concluded. 

The New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, El Pais and Der Spiegel, all of which published WikiLeaks documents provided by Julian, published a joint open letter on Nov. 28, 2022 calling on the U.S. government “to end its prosecution of Julian Assange for publishing secrets.” 

But the demonization of Julian, which these publications helped to foster, had already been accomplished.

“It was pretty much an immediate shift,” Stella recalled. “While the media partners knew that Julian still had explosive material that still had to be released, they were partners. As soon as they had what they thought they wanted from him, they turned around and attacked him. You have to put yourself in the moment where the press was in 2010 when these stories broke. They were struggling for a financial model to survive. They hadn’t really adapted to the age of the internet. You had Julian coming in with a completely new model of journalism.” 

There followed a WikiLeaks-isation of U.S. media outlets such as The New York Times, which adopted the innovations pioneered by WikiLeaks, including providing secure channels for whistleblowers to leak documents.

“Julian was a superstar,” Stella said. “He came from outside the ‘old boys’ network. He talked about how these revelations should lead to reform and how the Collateral Murder video reveals that this is a war crime.” 

Julian was outraged when he saw the heavy redactions of the information he exposed in newspapers such as The Guardian. He criticized these publications for self-censoring to placate their advertisers and the powerful.

He exposed these news organizations, as Stella said, “for their own hypocrisy, for their own poor journalism.”

“I find it very ironic that you have all this talk of misinformation, that’s just cover for censorship,” Stella said. “There are all these new organizations that are subsidized to find misinformation. It’s just a means to control the narrative. If this whole disinformation age really took truth seriously, then all of these disinformation organizations would hold WikiLeaks up as the example, right? Julian’s model of journalism was what he called scientific journalism. It should be verifiable. You can write up an analysis of a news item, but you have to show what you’re basing it on. The cables are the perfect example of this. You write up an analysis of something that happened and you reference the cables and whatever else you’re basing your news story on.”

“This was a completely new model of journalism,” she continued. “It is one [that] journalists who understood themselves as gatekeepers hated. They didn’t like the WikiLeaks model. WikiLeaks was completely reader-funded. Its readers were global and responding enthusiastically. That’s why PayPal, MasterCard, Visa and Bank of America started the banking blockade in December 2010. This has become a standardized model of censorship to demonetize, to cut channels off from their readership and their supporters. The very first time this was done was in 2010 against WikiLeaks within two or three days of the U.S. State Department cables being published.”

While Visa cut off WikiLeaks, Stella noted, it continued to process donations to the Ku Klux Klan. 

Julian’s “message was journalism can lead to reform, it can lead to justice, it can help victims, it can be used in court and it has been used in court in the European Court of Human Rights, even at the U.K. Supreme Court in the Chagos case here,” she said. “It has been used as evidence. This is a completely new approach to journalism. WikiLeaks is bigger than journalism because it’s authentic, official documents. It’s putting internal history into the public record at the disposal of the public and victims of state-sponsored crime. For the first time we were able to use these documents to seek justice, for example, in the case of the German citizen, Khalid El-Masri, who was abducted and tortured by the CIA. He was able to use WikiLeaks cables at the European Court of Human Rights when he sued Macedonia for the rendition. It was a completely new approach. It brought journalism to its maximum potential.” 

The claims of objectivity and neutrality propagated by the mainstream media are a mechanism to prevent journalism from being used to challenge injustices or reform corrupt institutions.

“It’s completely alien, the idea that you might use journalism as a tool to better the world and inform people of what’s happening,” Matt said. “For them it’s a career. It’s a status symbol. I never had a crisis of conscience because I never wanted to be a journalist if I couldn’t do that.”

“For people who come out of university or journalism school, where do you go?” he asked. “People get mortgages. They have kids. They want to have a normal life…You enter the system. You slowly get all your rough edges shorn off. You become part of the uniformity of thought. I saw it explicitly at The Financial Times.”

“It’s a very insidious system,” Matt went on. “Journalists can say to themselves ‘I can write what I like,’ but obviously they can’t. I think it’s quite interesting starting Declassified with Mark Curtis in the sense that journalists don’t know how to react to us. We have a complete blackout in the mainstream media.” 

“There has been something really sinister that has happened in the last twenty years, particularly at The Guardian,” he said. “The Guardian is just state-affiliated media. The early WikiLeaks releases in 2010 were done with The Guardian. I remember 2010 when those releases were happening with The Guardian and The New York Times. I’d read the same cables being covered in The Guardian and The New York Times and I’d always thought ‘Wow, we’re lucky to have The Guardian because The New York Times were taking a much more pro-U.S. pro-government position.’ That’s now flipped. I’d much prefer to read The New York Times covering this stuff. And I’m not saying it’s perfect. Neither of them were perfect, but there was a difference. I think what’s happened is clever state repression.” 

The D-notice committee, he explained, is composed of journalists and state security officials in the U.K. who meet every six months. They discuss what journalists can and can’t publish. The committee sends out regular advisories. 

The Guardian ignored advisories not to publish the revelations of illegal mass surveillance released by Edward Snowden. Finally, under intense pressure, including threats by the government to shut the paper down, The Guardian agreed to permit two Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) officials to oversee the destruction of the hard drives and memory devices that contained material provided by Snowden. The GCHQ officials on July 20, 2013 filmed three Guardian editors as they destroyed laptops with angle grinders and drills. The deputy editor of The Guardian, Paul Johnson — who was in the basement  during the destruction of the laptops — was appointed to the D-notice committee. He served at the D-notice committee for four years. In his last committee meeting Johnson was thanked for “re-establishing links” between the committee and The Guardian. The paper’s adversarial reporting, by then, had been neutralized.

“The state realized after the war in Iraq that they needed to clamp down on the freedom in the British media,” Matt said. “The Daily Mirror under Piers Morgan…I don’t know if anyone remembers back in 2003, and I know he is a controversial character and he’s hated by a lot of people, including me, but he was editor at The Daily Mirror. It was a rare opening of what a mainstream tabloid newspaper can do if it’s doing proper journalism against the war, an illegal war. He had headlines made out of oil company logos. He did Bush and Blair with blood all over their hands, amazing stuff, every day for months. He had John Pilger on the front page, stuff you would never see now. There was a major street movement against the war. The state thought ‘Shit, this is not good, we’ve gotta clamp down.’”

This triggered the government campaign to neuter the press. 

“I wouldn’t say we have a functioning media in terms of the newspapers,” he said. 

“This is not just about Assange,” Matt continued. “This is about all of our futures, the future for our kids and our grandkids. The things we hold dear, democracy, freedom of speech, free press, they’re very, very fragile, much more fragile than we realize. That’s been exposed by Assange. If they get Assange, the levies will break. It’s not like they’re going to stop. That’s not how power works. They don’t pick off one person and say we’re going to hold off now. They’ll use those tools to go after anyone who wants to expose them.” 

“If you’re working in an environment in London where there’s a journalist imprisoned for exposing war crimes, maybe not consciously but somewhere you [know you] shouldn’t do that,” Matt said. “You shouldn’t question power. You shouldn’t question people who are committing crimes secretly because you don’t know what’s going to happen…The U.K. government is trying to introduce laws which make it explicit that you can’t publish [their crimes]. They want to formalize what they’ve done to Assange and make it a crime to reveal war crimes and other things. When you have laws and a societal-wide psyche that you cannot question power, when they tell you what is in your interest, that’s fascism.” 


* * *

* * *


“We need the Palestinian Authority,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says. “We cannot allow it to collapse.”

Israeli press outlets reported last week that Netanyahu told a closed session of a parliamentary committee that everywhere the Palestinian Authority is “successfully operating, it does our job for us.”

It is the most stark admission by Israel yet that the Palestinian Authority is a collaborationist entity, whose main purpose has been to help maintain the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

As Israeli satellite channel i24 explained in its report on Netanyahu’s admission, although there are almost daily acts of Palestinian resistance in the northern West Bank in towns such as Jenin and Nablus, armed resistance in areas like Ramallah and Bethlehem is relatively rare.

* * *


Ukraine's deputy defense minister has appeared to admit that Kyiv's forces were behind the attack last October on the bridge connecting Russia and Crimea.

The blast was a psychological blow to Moscow and a major propaganda victory for Kyiv. Traffic has since resumed on the damaged bridge, though it was briefly halted Sunday as Russia-backed officials said they shot down a cruise missile nearby.

Ukrainian commanders who were captured by Russia after defending Mariupol in the infamous siege on the Azovstal steel plant have vowed to return to the battlefield following a prisoner swap.

A pivotal NATO summit is two days away. Ukraine tops a packed list of US priorities, while Turkey has taken on a key role, supporting Kyiv's bid to join the military alliance but also stalling Sweden's membership.

* * *

* * *


As far as I know, we don’t yet have artificial intelligence. What we got is some computers with very complicated and detailed programming. Programs are merely electromagnetic instructions that operate on different parts of the computer. They have the intelligence of a rock, but can perform tasks so well that many people think they are intelligent, but they’re not conscious.

Some day we will develop much more advanced neural networks such that it is possible – maybe – that a machine could achieve self-awareness. The jury is out on that.

There’s a next step in development where a non-conscious machine has such advanced programming a person can’t tell whether the machine is self-aware or not. Scientists will have to spend a lot of time and effort to determine if a machine is truly conscious. Testing has been developed to see if a machine is alive (mentally). It is called a Turing Test.

The media has been invested in describing true AI, as anyone can see or read books and novels, but so far it’s all science fiction.

* * *

MY STORY isn't pleasant, it's not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories. It tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves. 

— Hermann Hesse 


  1. Linda Bailey July 10, 2023

    Re: Property taxes in Mendo County

    Does my memory serve me correctly that the problems in the Assessor’s office began with the BOS consolidation of Assessor and Recorder (they seem to like reducing voter choices of management) several years ago. Experienced assessors resigned, diminishing staff competency. Sound familiar with what happened recently in Treasure’s office?

    • Adam Gaska July 10, 2023

      They really started having problems when they combined assessor/recorder and elections. Then the office neglected the recorder/assessor side of things.

      More recently (the last few years) they have been chronically understaffed in some key positions. Planners and appraisers used to make the same, then to attract more planners, they increased their salary. So appraisers moved to become planners. The wage disparity increased to 30%+.

      They have since moved them closer to parity. In the private sector, appraisers are in short supply so the pay is much higher than working for the county.

  2. Madeline Cline July 10, 2023

    Re: Inclusionary Housing Ordinance

    On the June 20th meeting, the Board passed direction for staff to prepare a repeal of the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, meaning it will come back for an additional vote with language attached to that action.

    Also, the vote was also not unanimous – Gjerde voted no.

  3. Mike Geniella July 10, 2023

    Ms. Bailey is spot on with her observations about property taxes in Mendocino County,

  4. Bruce McEwen July 10, 2023

    Thanks for the kind encomium, Chief! As the last of the courthouse hacks, I tried to make the cases read like a Scott Turow or John Grisham novel —on the basis that readers would read about a fictitious crime before they would venture into a courtroom to follow a real one, and in most newspapers the drama gets lost in the conceit of “objectivity.”

    • Bruce McEwen July 10, 2023

      “The claims of objectivity and neutrality propagated by the mainstream media are a mechanism to prevent journalism from being used to challenge injustices or reform corrupt institutions.”
      — Chris Hedges

  5. Lazarus July 10, 2023


    Good luck with the new pup Mr. TWK.
    Your previous insightful and heartfelt piece on the death of Puppy prepared me for what was inevitable for mine and me.
    Thank you,

  6. Eric Sunswheat July 10, 2023

    —> Possession: chain of custody not substantiated.

    RE: The real question is why was Suba cut loose from jail after being arrested for… being in possession of a pipe bomb that was “was operational and in working condition.”…

    The victim told officers that she also had found a suspected pipe bomb in Suba’s belongings. The cops searched a vehicle and found what they described as “a suspected improvised explosive device (IED) made of PVC pipe.
    — Jim Shields

  7. Margot Lane July 10, 2023

    It is my understanding that Hunter after his demise had his remains shot out of a cannon. I think that sets a high bar for writers of all stripes.

  8. Eric Sunswheat July 10, 2023

    RE: As far as I know, we don’t yet have artificial intelligence. — ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

    —>. June 14, 2023
    Think about the escalating known powers of Artificial Intelligence (AI). We are slowly learning about it this past year, although it has been in existence since the 1980s. In early 2000, higher -powered computers were developed to increase the power of AI — and the good and bad applications of it have been escalating.
    Some scientists, who have been working on AI, are now saying it is getting beyond their control – AI will soon be smarter than humans and will overpower human directions.
    An analogy between the dire possibilities of AI have been compared to the release of nuclear bombs, or another raging global pandemic, or a dramatic climate change with soaring temperatures.
    A dystopian portrait, for sure. Do you care about this? Are you worried? … I look back at World War II, when America was challenged by attacks from Germany and Japan.
    In some unprecedented, united and inspired way, Americans joined together and worked as one to organize an action plan. We turned our factories, our economy, our self-sacrificing to produce machinery, planes and weapons to conduct war.
    We rationed, did not use butter, saved rubber and tin cans, and anything else the military thought would help to aid in the war effort. The best and brightest in our country organized a united response – and it worked. The future of our country was at stake.
    The problems we have today need the same united, thoughtful effort. We need the best and the brightest to help all of us get together to help control our global climate problems, substantially decrease fossil fuel use, and control the misuse of AI.–people-care

  9. Marmon July 10, 2023

    Did Harvey die?

    If so, where is his dog?


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