WILLITS POLICE are investigating the death of Danny Lawrason, 77, found dead in his home on East San Francisco Avenue on Sunday June 16th. A press release from the police was ambiguous. It said that Lawrason suffered “gunshot wounds” — plural — but his death “is being investigated to determine whether foul play was involved.” Foul play as speculation means the old man was either murdered or he shot himself. Forensics are expected to reveal which.
SO, a likely homicide of an old man in Willits, a definite homicide on Spy Rock of a Mexican man found dead at a pot op, an LA kid missing out of Southern Humboldt who said he was going to work on “Murder Mountain,” which sounds like Spy Rock but could be any ridgetop between Spy Rock and Arcata, the likely homicide of Fort Bragg's Katlyn Long, and the adjudicated but unprosecuted homicide of Ukiah's Susan Keegan.
NOT THAT DRUG murders are less serious than the bludgeoning of Mrs. Keegan by Doctor Keegan, and not that the shooting death of an old man in his home is easy to unravel, but we don't know who committed these crimes. How about prosecuting the crimes where we do know who did it. If Doctor Keegan and Mrs. Keegan are the only people on the premises and the death certificate says that Mrs. Keegan was murdered, where is the prosecution, Mr. DA? It's past time to get the doctor on the stand. Of course, if the professional classes of Mendocino County get free passes to bludgeon their mates to death and generally skate on major felonies, maybe the DA's office should update its policy manual to indicate official reality.
WORSE, IN ITS WAY, is the death of young Katlyn Long of Fort Bragg. She spends her last night among us with her estranged boy friend at his request. He, Garrett Matson, scion of Fort Bragg's prominent Matson family, wakes up the next morning, Katlyn doesn't. She is dead from a drug overdose, but she's not a drug person. Matson hires ace criminal defense attorney Richard Petersen. Petersen tells the cops, in this case the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department, that if they'll submit the questions they want to ask to Petersen, the cops can eventually, perhaps, quiz his “client.”
FIRST OFF, a dead girl with one other person in the room obviously constitutes probable cause that the alive person is responsible for the dead person. Why wasn't Matson arrested on the spot? His lawyer can sit in on any subsequent questioning, of course, but that questioning should have occurred at the County Jail. But it never took place at all either in or out of jail.
ANY OTHER PLACE than this bumbling jurisdiction, Matson would have been run through the system. As it stands, we've got two male killers running around loose because law enforcement, all the way up to the DA, haven't done their jobs.
BUT DOCTOR KEEGAN is the more egregious of the two perps. He was married to Susan Keegan for 30 years, but wasted no time hooking up with a new girlfriend only weeks after his wife died at his hands. And Mrs. Keegan's death certificate was changed to “homicide.” Again, two persons in the house, one of them is murdered, and it wasn't the doctor. Why hasn't he been arrested and charged?
RASTA FEST'S organizers know what they're doing. By Monday night you'd never know 7-8,000 people had been in town over the weekend. Clean-up crews were already at work Sunday night, and by daylight Monday our very own Arlene Guest, the under-sung heroine who voluntarily keeps Boonville litter-free year-round, had launched her own second-wave clean-up.
NINE YEARS AGO, cameras on the Golden Gate Bridge recorded a lone coyote jogging across the bridge from the Marin Headlands south to the Presidio. That pioneer apparently founded the Frisco coyotes who now number about 20, having established themselves in most of the substantially wooded areas of the city. Two coyotes were shot in Golden Gate Park a few years ago after they allegedly attacked two big, aggressive dogs — off leash dogs — an attack that seemed more like mutual combat when the dogs rushed a den containing coyote pups. Coyotes aren't stupid. They don't look for fights with larger animals, and there was no real reason to shoot the two in Golden Gate Park. I've seen the same coyote (I think) twice in the dunes near Lobo Creek at the western edge of the Presidio not far from Baker Beach, an exciting discovery both times for me, a coyote guy from way back off odd encounters with the animals in Mendocino County. Those encounters both involved stare downs that went on for several minutes until the coyote got tired of laughing at me. They made me understand why the Indians regarded the coyote so highly — the animal is intelligent and has a sense of fun. The more hysterical dog people want the SF coyotes exterminated as ongoing hazards to little Woofie and Floofie, the obese housecat. One nut even said she was afraid her infant might be carried off by unchecked coyotes! The coyotes may pick off a feral cat once in a while but they've never been seen roaming the neighborhoods in search of larger meals. I hope the city isn't stampeded into killing this least menacing of all the wildlife roaming San Francisco.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: If real fame is a mask that eats into the face, then pseudo-fame, the current kind, might be a decoy that eats into the brain. You often meet those people in California, people who have forgotten that you are real, that you watch the news, that you know who they really are, that you know where the money is coming from. They begin to lie to journalists and themselves with the same grim hope: if I say this and no one contradicts me it might be true. A sense of entitlement stands in for personal values. They don't mind if they're fooling you and fooling themselves, so long as they can keep the show on the road. — Andrew O'Hagan
THE PURSUIT OF EDWARD SNOWDEN: Washington in a Rage, Striving to Run the World
By Norman Solomon
Rarely has any American provoked such fury in Washington’s high places. So far, Edward Snowden has outsmarted the smartest guys in the echo chamber -- and he has proceeded with the kind of moral clarity that U.S. officials seem to find unfathomable.
Bipartisan condemnations of Snowden are escalating from Capitol Hill and the Obama administration. More of the NSA’s massive surveillance program is now visible in the light of day -- which is exactly what it can’t stand.
The central issue is our dire shortage of democracy. How can we have real consent of the governed when the government is entrenched with extreme secrecy, surveillance and contempt for privacy?
The same government that continues to expand its invasive dragnet of surveillance, all over the United States and the rest of the world, is now asserting its prerogative to drag Snowden back to the USA from anywhere on the planet. It’s not only about punishing him and discouraging other potential whistleblowers. Top U.S. officials are also determined to -- quite literally -- silence Snowden’s voice, as Bradley Manning’s voice has been nearly silenced behind prison walls.
The sunshine of information, the beacon of principled risk-takers, the illumination of government actions that can’t stand the light of day -- these correctives are anathema to U.S. authorities who insist that really informative whistleblowers belong in solitary confinement. A big problem for those authorities is that so many people crave the sunny beacons of illumination.
On Sunday night, more than 15,000 Americans took action to send a clear message to the White House. The subject line said “Mr. President, hands off Edward Snowden,” and the email message read: “I urge you in the strongest terms to do nothing to interfere with the travels or political asylum process of Edward Snowden. The U.S. government must not engage in abduction or any other form of foul play against Mr. Snowden.”
As the Obama White House weighs its options, the limits are practical and political. Surveillance and military capacities are inseparable, and they’re certainly huge, but constraints may cause major frustration. Sunday on CNN, anchor Don Lemon cited the fabled Navy Seals and said such commandos ought to be able to capture Snowden, pronto.
The state of surveillance and perpetual war are one and the same. The U.S. government’s rationale for pervasive snooping is the “war on terror,” the warfare state under whatever name.
Too rarely mentioned is the combination of nonviolence and idealism that has been integral to the courageous whistleblowing by Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning. Right now, one is on a perilous journey across the globe in search of political asylum, while the other is locked up in a prison and confined to a military trial excluding the human dimensions of the case. At a time of Big Brother and endless war, Snowden and Manning have bravely insisted that a truly better world is possible.
Meanwhile, top policymakers in Washington seem bent on running as much of the world as possible. Their pursuit of Edward Snowden has evolved into a frenzied rage.
Those at the top of the U.S. government insist that Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning have betrayed it. But that’s backward. Putting its money on vast secrecy and military violence instead of democracy, the government has betrayed Snowden and Manning and the rest of us.
Trying to put a stop to all that secrecy and violence, we have no assurance of success. But continuing to try is a prerequisite for realistic hope.
A few months before the invasion of Iraq, looking out at Baghdad from an upper story of a hotel, I thought of something Albert Camus once wrote. "And henceforth, the only honorable course will be to stake everything on a formidable gamble: that words are more powerful than munitions."
Edward Snowden’s honorable course has led him to this historic moment. The U.S. government is eager to pay him back with retribution and solitary. But many people in the United States and around the world are responding with love and solidarity.
(Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”)
U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE THELTON HENDERSON has granted preliminary approval to a $1.025 million settlement in a class action lawsuit brought by the National Lawyers Guild on behalf of 150 people who were arrested by Oakland Police during a Nov. 5, 2010, demonstration. The civil rights lawsuit, Spalding et al. v. City of Oakland, CAND No. C11-2867 TEH, challenged OPD’s unlawful kettling and mass arrest of the 150, and their detention by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, following a march protesting the light sentence given Johannes Mehserle for killing Oscar Grant. (http://wecopwatch.org/nlg-victory-for-oscar-grant-protesters/)
AGENCY BUSY SPYING ON 300 MILLION PEOPLE FAILED TO NOTICE ONE DUDE WORKING FOR THEM
By Andy Borowitz
Washington (The Borowitz Report)— A US intelligence agency was so busy spying on 300 million Americans that it failed to notice one dude who was working for it, a spokesman for the agency acknowledged today. “I guess we were so busy monitoring the everyday communications of every man, woman, and child in the nation that we didn’t notice that a contractor working for us was downloading tons of classified documents,” the agency spokesman said. “It’s definitely embarrassing, for sure.” Despite having an annual budget in the neighborhood of tens of billions of dollars, the agency had no idea that a dude who was working for it five days a week was getting ready to send those classified documents to a journalist who would then tell everybody in the world. “Maybe if we hadn’t been so busy keeping our eye on those other 300 million people, we would have noticed that this one guy who was working right under our noses was up to something totally fishy,” the spokesman said. “But you know what they say about hindsight.” As for where that guy who leaked the documents was planning to go next, the spokesman admitted, “We don’t have a clue.” … “I know what you’re thinking — an intelligence agency probably should know that Hong Kong has an international airport and that its departures board lists flights to Moscow and whatnot,” the spokesman said. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe we need a bigger budget or something.” — Andy Borowitz. Courtesy, the Borowitz Report
NANCY PELOSI BOOED at Conference for Saying Snowden Broke the Law — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was challenged over her criticism of Edward Snowden and defense of the Obama administration’s surveillance policies during the Netroots Nation conference in California. As she spoke about the need to balance security with privacy rights, activist Marc Perkel interrupted, shouting, “It’s not a balance! It makes us less safe!” Pelosi was later booed when she mentioned Snowden.
Pelosi: “As far as Snowden, he did — you know, I may be in disagreement with you. He did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents. We don’t know…”
Audience members: “Boo! Boo!”
Pelosi: "I understand. I understand."
Audience members: “Boo! Boo!”
Pelosi: “I understand. But it did violate the law. And the fact is — and the fact is that, again, we have to have the balance between — between security and privacy."
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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY: I do not understand why all these “homeless” ding dongs are allowed to drag these dogs and puppies around with no collars, no tags, no vaccination tags, yet under penalty of having a lien placed on my property, I have to license my pets every year. I went to Garberville today with my granddaughter and she pointed out a guy dragging by that had absolutely no seat in his pants. Bare butt. Nice. The bank has to steam clean the stairs behind their building to get out the stink. Virtually every single “homeless” person here has a dog. I saw a woman the other day with a chicken. We don't walk down the streets of Garberville anymore. I'll move my car around town rather than expose my granddaughter to possibly being bitten or worse by these dogs. I feel sorry for the animals. Most of them are full of fleas and ticks, not neutered and often get dumped when they aren't cute anymore. It's a shame.
THE MENDOCINO TOWN PLAN UPDATE, after maybe 20 years since its last update, will again be reviewed and considered and public comments will be taken by the County Planning Commission on July 11 at some time after 9am (the second item on the agenda) at the Board of Supervisors Chambers, 501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah. The Planning Commission will then comment on the Local Coastal Program Amendment/General Plan Amendment Draft Mendocino Town Plan and Ordinance Amendment to Town Zoning Code, making recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. Should the Board of Supervisors adopt the Mendocino Town Plan and Zoning Code, the Local Coastal Program/Ordinance Amendments will be submitted to the California Coastal Commission for certification. For more information go to http://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/planning Or call 463-4281