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CLEAR SKIES, driven by persistent, gusty offshore flow, will continue today with particularly warm conditions along the coast. Winds will gradually ease this evening with warm, dry conditions persisting early this week. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): On the coast this Sunday morning I have a severely clear 39F. Morning temps will start coming up some & we'll likely see some overnight clouds in the next few days. Rain returns Thursday with moderate amounts forecast.
AV UNIFIED NEWS
Congratulations to the Elementary staff for a wonderful family art night. Almost 100 people attended and enjoyed a great evening that included Libby's homemade tamales and an art lesson for the family led by Kathleen Michaels. These types of community building events are so important to Anderson Valley. We greatly appreciate the participation.
Just a reminder that daylight savings time begins next Saturday night. That’s always a real shift for our students related to sleeping schedules and being hungry. For our younger elementary students adjusting the schedule a little bit at a time can help. The elementary site also has a book fair coming up November 6th-9th.
Donna Pierson Pugh asked me to remind everyone that the AV Kids and Teens Activities Meeting is Wednesday, November 1 from 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria with a Tamale Dinner. There will be activities for younger children, and we would like youth and teens to be involved in the discussion. Please R.S.V.P. (text or call 707 684-0325) so the Teen Center will have enough tamales!
I want to update you on the construction progress for the Junior and Senior High School. We had a bid walk last week with strong contractor participation. The bids are expected in November. Hopefully, we can afford the science and library wings at the same time and we would start construction in June 2024 and continue through December 2024. There will be three portable classrooms out by the domes while this is occurring. In addition, our team has been working very hard with the State to get our gym and domes building eligible for the seismic retrofit program. If we can demonstrate significant eligibility, we would be eligible for major upgrades or potential building replacements. This is a slog of bureaucracy, but we will do it. The shop is more problematic, but we are concurrently working on that as well. For the track and field, we are in the process of executing the grant agreement and then we will get the request for qualifications out to start finalizing the design process. I think the project will take 24 to 27 months to complete.
Thank you to all of the parents/guardians at the Junior and Senior High School who have been meeting with me regarding grades. I look at every report card personally. If there is more than one D or a single F or any combination of those alphabet letters, I have a parent meeting. The implications of credit deficiency with an F is difficult for a student to climb out of once they have multiple failures. Our goal is to catch struggles early. I continue to remind students and parents/guardians that tutoring is available during the day in the library on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and by requesting availability on Tuesday and Thursday. We also have after school support on Tuesday for all subjects, and on Wednesday and Thursday for math specifically. Have your student take advantage of this. If your student is headed to college or a trade program, a grade of less than a C-in a course subject could be a barrier to admittance. Let us help your kids with our dedicated staff staying after school.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our coaches this fall: John Toohey, Kendra McEwen, Nate Hill, Geraldo Torrales, Yesenia Peña,and Brianna Ferreyra. The gift of time and energy you give the kids is amazing. Thank you to all of the drivers supporting the program.
Also on the plate is the Community Schools grant. We had to take a deferral on it for a year due to a staff member's leave of absence, but I’m going to start getting the ball rolling so we are able to apply for the implementation grant worth $200,000 a year for five years. This is the last year to apply for the funding, so we will do our best. This is a program that recognizes that schools are now the hub of the community and it is an opportunity for us to expand services and outreach in all areas of health, wellness, academic support, social and emotional support, food security, and career and college expansion. I will be reaching out with some surveys related to this and we would appreciate the feedback. The district is also partnering with Sonoma State in a state-wide career and college collaboration to support our students in grades 6th through 12th to explore college and career opportunities and chart a path to success.
We still have numerous positions open. We also desperately need substitute teachers. If you have a four year degree and are willing to take a basic skills test, we can put you on our sublist. This is a great flexible opportunity to make extra money and serve the students in your community. It is perfect for retirees. Contact Sara Hayward at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just a reminder that November 1 is a professional development day and students are not at school. Teachers will be working on the math adoption at the elementary site and vertical alignment of our curriculum at the high school site.
Louise Simson, Superintendent
AV Unified School District
COACH JOHN TOOHEY'S ROARING PANTHERS: AV defeated Cornerstone Christian from Antioch 58-40 on Friday night. Cornerstone played within six points of undefeated inevitable league champs Roseland last week, but last night they could not keep up with us.
Jack Spacek was an absolute terror on both sides of the ball. He and Ehndy Perez defensively set a physical tone to the game that felt like we had stepped through a wormhole back to the 1990s. To Cornerstones credit, they battled and chased us all night. Our kids were just far too relentless and far too consistent on offense to allow them within less than 2 possessions at any point in the second half.
Eric Perez snagged two interceptions and was dynamic on the perimeter as a runner. Trenton Rossi, active for his first game after missing most of the season with a broken finger, recorded a successful conversion run, a 40 yard catch on a skinny post, and a big QB sack at an important point in the game. Our guards Sam Guerrero and Greg Para, punished their ends and linebackers on our powers and long traps. Gus Spacek cleared our off tackle lanes giving our runners a clear open canvas to paint themselves a masterpiece in offensive football last night.
The defense is beginning to make a claim for the stingiest in the league. I’d be willing to make that claim outright had we not missed some open field tackles against Swett. And last night we had some mental lapses over pursuing from the back side allowing Cornerstone to score three consecutive times on a what is their version of a split zone cutback. We were unable to adjust with technique so we adjusted with alignment and their last offensive gasp dissolved.
We are playing our best football right now. I am truly hoping we get some post season games because this team is executing on a technical level I’ve not had in AV since probably the 2011 squad down in Kezar on Halloween night.
Friday night was special. Given our new sports complex that will be built where the current soccer field is, that could very have well been the last exclamation mark on the story of football at the fairgrounds. It’s an appropriate one, as it was a fourth quarter forfeit to Cornerstone in 2018 that laid this program down to rest for what I thought was for good. Now half a decade later these seniors have avenged that collapse.
SUPERVISORS, DA FACING GROUNDSWELL OF OPPOSITION OVER CUBBISON
by Mike Geniella
Mendocino County Supervisors and District Attorney David Eyster are facing a groundswell of opposition this week in their assault on elected county Auditor Chamise Cubbison.
Cubbison supporters say they will show up for her expected entry of a not guilty plea at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Mendocino County Superior Court. Then that afternoon at 1 p.m. they will be present before the County Board of Supervisors, which after the fact, has decided to give the Auditor an opportunity to address her controversial suspension without pay. The board’s move is seen as procedural, however, rather than any serious review of an action they took without public notice, and has set the stage for a possible legal challenge.
“It is unbelievable what is going on,” said Val Muchowski, a longtime figure in local county politics.
Cubbison’s suspension by County Supervisors, and DA Eyster’s criminal charge against a County Aauditor he has battled with over his office’s spending, is fueling the biggest County political brouhaha to erupt in a decade or more. It threatens to loom large over upcoming races for the County Board of Supervisors, and a possible bid by Eyster to become a Superior Court judge in next year’s March primary.
The growing public criticism is unsparing.
“The Supervisors took on the role of a constitutional wrecking crew in their rush to judgment on Cubbison,” declared Jim Shields, a veteran north county newsman and manager of the Laytonville County Water District.
Shields in a published statement declared, “The county is on shaky legal ground surrounding this entire, unseemly affair, including the justification provided by the outside attorney.” Morin Jacob, managing partner of a San Francisco law firm, is the board’s outside legal advisor.
Muchowski, who is a leader of the 100-member strong Mendocino Women’s Political Coalition, said her group is aghast at the actions taken by the board and the DA.
“We are very upset about this,” said Muchowski, who has been active in county politics since the 1980s.
Carrie Shattuck, a Redwood Valley resident, and candidate for the board in next year’s election, directly chastised board members after their vote to suspend Cubbison.
“I think the board is really jumping the gun. Ms. Cubbison has not even been arraigned yet,” scolded Shattuck when she confronted supervisors in the board room at their last meeting.
Julie Beardsley, a union leader for 850 county workers who retired this past week from the county’s beleaguered Public Health Department, said Saturday the situations at the County’s administrative and board level are dismal.
“There is no effective leadership at the top. I don’t mean to sound like such an alarmist, but the dysfunction is not isolated. It is widespread,” said Beardsley.
Beardsley said deputy CEOs in the County Executive Office are young and often not as experienced as traditional department heads yet they are running some key county agencies.
Sara Pierce, the Deputy CEO appointed to serve as acting Auditor after suspending Cubbison, for example, has only about three years of experience in county fiscal matters. "She is totally not qualified," said Beardsley.
Kathy Wylie is a Mendocino Coast resident who served on three county Grand Juries. Wylie said she is fed up with the “blame game” going on at the top levels of county government.
“Quit the blame game. It is costly, unproductive and a huge waste of taxpayer money,” said Wylie.
Wylie isn’t happy with DA Eyster’s involvement in the administrative chaos either. “The DA should be referring high profile cases (like Cubbison’s) for outside review when he or his staff are personally involved.”
Board Chairman Glenn McCourty said this past week he could not comment on the mushrooming controversy.
“We have been advised by our counsel not to discuss or comment on any ongoing criminal investigation and criminal matter,” said McCourty in response to questions.
DA Eyster failed to respond to written questions submitted to his office about the Cubbison case, and his role in the broader controversy over the forced consolidation of the county finance offices.
On Oct. 17, however, Eyster publicly read a statement at the Board of Supervisors meeting denying a vendetta against Cubbison and lambasting “a false narrative being circulated by some who have pursued an agenda of misinformation and by others who recirculate this false narrative without having enough information to know better.”
Eyster insisted the criminal investigation was “not instigated by me or anybody else in the DA’s Office,” but rather an outside complaint made to the Sheriff’s Office.
Yet a board statement issued later described it as “the District Attorney’s investigation,” and said it was “prompted after the CEO’s office found evidence of misappropriation of funds in September 2022.”
Eyster in his statement to the board was defiant in refusing to discuss who sought the investigation, or whether he viewed his past public battles with the Auditor’s Office – which are documented on video and in meeting transcripts — as a possible conflict of interest in pursuing criminal charges against Cubbison.
“Finally, while some don’t like it, my staff and I will not publicly discuss facts and/or legal theories of this case (or any other case for that matter) outside of court unless and until there is a conviction. If someone looking in from the outside tells you or writes that they have divined what is going on and why, don’t believe it,” said Eyster.
Eyster and some members of the Board of Supervisors for two years now have been engaged in an odd political alliance when it comes to the forced consolidation of the County finance offices, and the subsequent arrest of Cubbison.
Muchowski said when the board seats became filled with all Democrats, she and other longtime local political activists celebrated. “Finally,” recalled Muchowski.
But how Eyster, a Republican, fits into the current board political mix is curious in the minds of Muchowski and other longtime observers of County government.
Eyster claims to be a Reagan Republican but sometimes his personal behavior toward staff, and opponents in County government and in the courts behind can be mercurial and Trump-like. Eyster’s abrupt firing in 2016 of his popular chief assistant left courthouse insiders gasping.
Since taking office in 2011, Eyster has battled with three County Auditors in a row over office spending, including travel related expenses, office parties under the guise of “training sessions,” and the use of drug-related asset forfeiture funds for routine office expenses.
Cubbison is the latest Auditor to find herself in Eyster’s cross hairs.
Cubbison, a Mendocino County native, was recruited a decade ago by County administrators to work in the Auditor’s Office because of her knowledge of county finances, learned while working as a highly regarded budget analyst for the County’s Department of Transportation.
After Eyster took office, Cubbison earned his ire by questioning his requests for office reimbursements for travel and other expenses.
“He described me as a ‘pain in the ass’,” Cubbison recalled. “As Auditor on behalf of the public, I am supposed to be a pain in the ass.”
Eyster, in an extraordinary escalation of their dispute in 2021 appeared before the Board of Supervisors and publicly attacked Cubbison’s qualifications to be appointed interim auditor after then-Auditor Lloyd Weer decided to retire early. Eyster also publicly supported a board notion to abolish the two elected County positions with oversight of County finances – Auditor and Treasurer – and create a single Department of Finance more closely associated with the County’s executive offices.
The forced consolidation of the two offices, seen as the first step in the board’s disputed plan, was opposed by then Treasurer/Tax Collector Shari Schapmire, senior finance employees including Cubbison, and civic organizations including the Mendocino County Farm Bureau. The Farm Bureau, like Schapmire and others, worried that the board’s action would create chaos, and reduce the “fiduciary checks and balances for the County.”
Schapmire and other county finance veterans have defended Cubbison.
“In my experience directly interacting with Chamise Cubbison, I found her to be competent, meticulous, and dedicated to her duties,” said Schapmire in a recent interview. “That being said, others found her to be abrupt, direct, and often times difficult.”
Cubbison, despite being under fire from the Board and the object of Eyster’s scorn, was elected by county voters in 2022 to lead a combined Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector office. It has been plagued by an exodus of veteran county employees, staff shortages, a troublesome new software program, and other related issues. Board members have piled on, clamoring for financial reports that either have been delayed, or never been done before. They point their fingers at the Auditor’s Office for uncertainty over the county’s true financial status and a few months ago with fanfare asked for a state Controller’s audit amid the turmoil. That audit is still pending.
In the meantime, Eyster stepped up his war with Cubbison, directing his own investigators to further probe Cubbison’s alleged role in a disputed extra pay deal during the Covid pandemic for former County Payroll Manager Paula June Kennedy.
After a year of investigation Eyster decided to accuse both women of felony misappropriation of public funds.
At issue is an estimated $68,000 in overtime pay for Kennedy, an arrangement that Cubbison said was made between Weer, the retired auditor, and Kennedy before she was in charge of the Auditor’s Office. Cubbison in fact put Kennedy on administrative leave, and later dismissed her from her payroll position because the arrangement had not been properly authorized.
Eyster’s criminal complaint suggests Cubbison and Kennedy engaged in some conspiracy. But the Auditor’s attorney, Chris Andrian, said there is no evidence suggesting Cubbison personally benefited financially from the pay arrangement. “The money went for work actually performed. Not one dime went into my client’s pockets,” said Andrian.
Cubbison has said she chose to fight the felony charge the DA filed against her rather than to quietly resign in a misdemeanor deal Eyster offered her before the criminal complaint was even filed on Oct. 13.
“I have done nothing wrong,” said Cubbison.
Cubbison is weathering the storm, buoyed by the growing public support but weighed down by the damage to her reputation.
“It’s a struggle, but I know I have no choice but to defend myself, and my integrity as a professional,” she said recently.
The Bottom Line; there seems to be some misunderstanding going on regarding the State of the CV Starr Center. There are some who are placing the blame of The CV Starr's financial situation on Moneque Wooden. It is my understanding that Moneque chose to leave MCRPD and go to work for the city under public works as an analyst. In August, MCRPD decided to cancel the operating agreement, thus leaving the CV Starr center without any management oversight. We are all thankful that the city made the judgment call of sending Moneque back. What she found was that the CV Starr Center is in financial distress, and if changes aren't made, it will not be financially sustainable for the future. This is by no means her fault . She is a number cruncher who is looking for the best way to turn this mess around. If truth be told, the swimming team is costing quite a bit more than they bring in, i.e., Lifeguard and custodian cost. Does that mean they need to go ? Certainly not! We all need to work on fundraising, grants and how we can cut back where possible and still keep our pool open for the community and our swim teams. Wasting time and energy on the blame game is getting us nowhere. Can we please move forward with ways to make money to get the center out of this financial mess.
COVELO PLANE CRASH VICTIMS IDENTIFIED
On October 27, 2023 the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Coroner's Division was able to identify, by dental record comparisons, the individuals who died during the October 20 plane crash in Covelo. Those individuals were determined to be Vaughan Wesley Porter (54-year-old male from North Highland, Utah) and Jaime Danielle Rust (51-year-old female from Payson, Utah).
UKIAH SHELTER PETS OF THE WEEK
Our Pets Of The Week are the uber-adorable Playing Cards Puppies. These little darlins are Lab mixes, 3 months old and 25-ish pounds. Like all puppies, Ace, Spades and Hearts are friendly, happy and playful. They will need lots of loving, consistent training, and gobs of play time to ensure they mature into well behaved adult dogs. And best of all, these pups are spayed/neutered and ready to go home with you ASAP!
For more about the Playing Cards Puppies and all our adoptable dogs and cats, head to mendoanimalshelter.com.
For information about adoptions, call 707-467-6453.
Check out our Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/profile.php
“THEY” SAY there are only six degrees of separation from someone we know. Applying this dubious standard to our population of 332 million people, have some association with every sixth person. Bill Boger at Jack's Valley Store, has considerably narrowed these odds. A graduate of Carlmont High School in 1967, and U.C. Santa Cruz in 1971, since buying the store in Philo from the original Jack Clow, Bill has encountered a group of locals who came to the Anderson Valley from the same area of the San Francisco Peninsula.
WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN? Not in Anderson Valley it won’t. Mike Reeves, long-time resident of Boonville, wrestled on the same Serra High School team as Rick Rajeski, also of Boonville. Mike wrestled at 135 pounds, pounds, Rajeski at “unlimited.” Rajeski also played varsity football as a sophomore at Serra High School. Football Hall of Famer Lynn Swann was one year behind Reeves at Serra High School. “Swann was a great guy!,” Reeves recalls. Rajeski went on to play football at the Division One college level, later becoming a career CHP Officer. Officer Rajeski retired in Boonville. after over 20 years.
FRITZ OHM. Bill Boger met Fritz in Anderson Valley but knew of him when they both lived in the Pescadero/LaHonda area. Bill and Bill Meyer, a graduate of San Carlos High School, had friends in common in Half Moon Bay. Mike Reeves derives from San Mateo County and is a graduate of Serra High School where he probably knew, or certainly knew of, Rick Rajeski, a football star at Serra, with whom Bill had friends in common. John Phillips of Deerwood Meadows is a Palo Alto High School graduate. Bill had friends in common with the late Hayes and Linda Brennan who came north from LaHonda. And there's Mark Rawlins of the Mailliard Ranch and a graduate of Menlo/Atherton High School, and Jim Boudoures and Dennis Toohey, also of the fertile Peninsula. Most unusual, and much closer than 6 degrees, Bill rented a room from local guy David Butler in San Diego in 1971 and, wait for it, shared a girlfriend with David Skilman. But not at the same time, Bill hastens to add.
AMONG THE ANTI-ISRAEL DEMONSTRATION SIGNS over the weekend, “Queers for Palestine” is, uh, one of the funnier. Queers for Palestine is like Chickens for Colonel Sanders. Most Americans of whatever sexuality would not find life in the Arab countries comfortable. Which isn't to say that the Israeli attacks on Gaza aren't disproportionately monstrous given Hamas' not as monstrous attacks on Israel.
STOPPED in at Geiger's new market in Hopland last week, and I'm here to tell you it's quite impressive, a full-service grocery store which should save Hoplanders long round trips either north or south to do their basic shopping.
LIFE IN THE USA, a reader goes deep: “I think of it as the end of an era, a disintegration of what was before. What lies ahead is a mystery, but many people are certainly having a difficult time navigating the change. No surprise there, as it is not an easy thing to endure. I suspect the ride is rougher in this country because the fall is greater here than, for instance, in Zimbabwe. Here in Rancho Navarro we have a number of properties that are off grid. I think of them blithely going about their days and nights when we are in the midst of a long outage. Those of us on the grid consider it a major inconvenience, if not a minor tragedy, while they may not even be aware of their neighbors' anguish.”
THE PRIMARY lobbyist for PG&E is the former President of the CPUC, the California Public Utility Commission. The Board of the CPUC is appointed by Governor Newsom. All these government officials are supposed to work for you and me, the taxpayer, the ratepayer. But they don’t because California utilities are not public utilities; they are run for private profit. A few noble souls like the late Bill Bennett and my late friend Joe Neilands, fought the PUC all their days, but chalk up another outrage brought to us by the Democrats, not that Republican administrations have ever been any better.
DEMOCRATS who call themselves “progressives,” are Democrats embarrassed by the national party, especially the shuffling cadaver pretending to be president. But in all the years here in rural pwog country, very few progressives of the genuine type have gotten elected, one of the rarest was the late Phil Baldwin.
I HOPE PHIL can hear my posthumous apology for supporting Dan Hamburg over Phil in some election a long time ago. As a scrappy Ukiah City councilman — the only one before or since (except, perhaps, for Steve Scalmanini) — I remember Phil introducing a resolution opposing the widening war in the Balkans. He also tried to persuade his colleagues to adopt a living wage ordinance. Additionally, and perhaps most boldly of all, the inside agitator introduced this bold resolution:
“Whereas Lake Mendocino is a key recreational resource for the people of Ukiah, many citizens of Ukiah who are swimmers, sailboaters, hikers, picnickers, canoe and crew enthusiasts, runners, mountain bikers, rowers, and campers who appreciate the peacefulness of a quiet lake and these folk and lake’s fishery may appreciate and benefit from an occasional break from the noise and fossil fuel pollution generated by power boats and jet skis and the concept of sharing is a good one, the Ukiah City Council calls on the Army Corps of Engineers to institute a policy to close Lake Mendocino to internal combustion, water-going vehicles on Sundays and Mondays during the non-tourist season of September 15 to May 1, and during the tourist season May 1 to September 15, on Mondays and Tuesdays after 5pm.” The motion failed, of course, but Phil never failed for trying.
READY FOR THE CHALLENGE
I sincerely thank MendoFever for posting my announcement about my candidacy for the 2nd District's seat on the Board of Supervisors. The local journalism you champion connects and informs the community and helps maintain the heart and health of this beautiful place we call home.
I recently had a candid exchange with Mr. Anderson of the AVA (a fellow Marine like myself and someone I can tell loves this County as much as I do, Semper Fi ). I emphasized my unyielding commitment to our County and District 2 in that conversation. I grew up here, as did the five generations before me. It helped form me into a man who values service. I've served my country for eight years, did a tour in Iraq, and returned with the hope and desire to raise my family in this beautiful place we call home. I searched for workplaces where I could contribute, improve, and protect the most significant aspects of our community, its people, and the things that allow them to thrive. I dedicated years to the manufacturing base of this community, climbing the ladder within two central economic pillars of our manufacturing base. I have always adhered to the idea that it was my duty to protect the opportunities provided by these companies for our future generations and help steward and contribute to their economic success in any way I can. I believe in servant leadership, that leaders only thrive by placing the needs of others at the forefront and fostering a culture of empowerment—current county leadership is lacking in this.
My entry into politics stems from a desire to address our most pressing issues meaningfully. Challenges such as the housing shortfall, a palpable leadership vacuum, and the rising tide of addiction are not abstract concerns; they are the lived realities of our neighbors, friends, and families.
Our current county status profoundly troubles me. The stark visuals of my children dodging needles during a casual bike ride around the neighborhoods, parks, and trails of Ukiah or the sight of our fellow citizens battling homelessness and addiction pains my heart. We have intelligent and capable people and non-profits in this County who offer viable solutions. Yet, our Board seems paralyzed and incapable of making the hard decisions to move our County forward positively, often defaulting to another Ad Hoc committee. Complaints of inconsistent county processes aren't just evident; they're a tangible barrier to progress. This paralysis IS the sickness plaguing our County and creating problems like economic stagnation and the lack of available housing, which cascades to homelessness, addiction, and despair. The current Board seems unable to guarantee the County's ability to preserve its essential functions, let alone address these pressing issues. I hear the collective public frustration about the Board's lack of transparency, action, and leadership.
Acknowledging these challenges is just the start, but it is the action that truly counts.
I am eager to address the myriad of issues our County is grappling with and lay out my roadmap for a better future for our residents. This dialogue is essential, and I hope it continues to flourish.
I aspire that my words and deeds resonate with District 2 constituents. It is high time we rise and demand accountable leadership and make Mendocino County the home we are all proud to be a part of.
With warm regard and determination,
Jacob S. Brown
Candidate, Board of Supervisors 2nd District
PLANTERS, like this one outside City Hope Cafe on Ellis Street in the Tenderloin, are among design choices being used by residents and business and building owners that are intended to discourage homeless people from creating encampments.
MENDO’S EDIFICE COMPLEX
Are you an optimist or pessimist? Do you see the world as a playground where all your dreams can come true or a barren wasteland of strife and hopelessness? A rather striking contrast to consider how we view life full of love, support & kindness, happy & carefree or debilitating dread and doom? I am fortunate in that I see all of it the good, the bad and the ugly, otherwise known as reality! Not to be confused with that old Clint Eastwood movie! The truth always comes knocking, sometimes gently an often with brute strength.
I am that knock, knock, knock, knock gentle and forceful at the same time. You just have to open the door of your mind, a little bit at a time til you can see clearly. I have to find a million and one ways to say the same thing, over and over again hopefully without sounding like a broken record and boring you all to death, but here I go again.
Mental Health is a general term for taking care of your brain health. Mental illness is a multitude of conditions that affect the brain. There are many!
Serious Mental Illness is Bipolar Disorder, schizoaffective Disorder, Schizophrenia and Severe Major Depression which affect cognition and interferes with ones life and the ability to function on the daily.
Anosognosia which 50 percent of people with Serious Mental Illness experience is literally the inability to understand you are sick you have no insight in to the fact that you need help therefore unable to accomplish anything to get that help or adhere to necessary medications.
When I speak of Mental Illness I am specifically speaking of Serious Mental Illness.
The problems we face are a direct association with Serious Mental Illness! Homelessness, addiction and incarceration!
When you nurture the root all the branches and leaves flourish. But first the roots must be connected.
While we gaze upon the flowering of thoughts and ideas and what is right and wrong even our own egos, in awe of it all. The fact remains what we perceive and the truth are not the same.
The truth is we blame the poor, mentally ill and addicted for their lot in life, for their incarceration and homelessness. Instead of providing the necessary intercedence (which by the way is not jail) to redirect their illness and plight. Aside from that addiction is also an illness in its own right and pretty soon homelessness will be too.
Regardless the money does not matter, build all the psych and jail beds you want, have at it. It is not going to provide the necessary support for helping families like mine.
POINT ARENA CONSIDERS THE ACTUALS
Agenda - November 1, 2023
Special Session - 6:00 pm
Council Chambers, 451 School Street
A) Review of Fiscal Year 2023-24 Budget to Actuals
B) Current Status of Grants
C) Proposed Cost-Saving Measures
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE: Events Calendar
FIRST FRIDAY AT CLOUD NINE ART GALLERY
Event: November Featured Artist at Cloud Nine Art Gallery
Margaret Paul, Fine Silver and Sterling Jewelry
Friday, November 3, from 5 - 8
Cloud Nine Art Gallery, 320 N. Franklin Street, Fort Bragg A celebration of Margaret's work. She will give a brief talk with a Q&A at 6pm. Enjoy a glass of bubbly, light refreshments and the wonderful guitar background music provided by Christopher Cisper as you view our original paintings, woodworking marvels, unique metal sculptures, imaginative fine art photography, and silver jewelry, all on display at Cloud Nine.
In her own words: “After a decade of art adventures with ceramics, I discovered the wonders of working with silver. My love of antique sterling flatware led to creating spoon, fork jewelry. Along the way, I discovered precious metal clay and the endless possibilities therein. It's pure joy to create a .999 fine silver piece of jewelry from scratch. My latest ‘Wear Your Passion’ series has been very popular.”
Cloud Nine Art Gallery is now open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 - 5 or by appointment. (Note: Wed. open; Mon. closed)
CLINT SMITH, LOVING THE KIDS, WILLITS STYLE [from the archives of April, 2009]
by Bruce Anderson
Clint Smith's lawyer, Mark Kalina, asked, “Everyone here for Clinton Smith please stand.”
Almost everyone in the packed Willits courtroom last Tuesday, stood.
There were schoolteachers and churchgoers, parents and children, all of them standing for Clint.
It was trial by community, and Clint Smith's community, which included the judge, was there for him.
Clint Smith is a 38-year-old Willits Charter School math and physics teacher. He's married. Mrs. Smith teaches at an elementary school in Willits. The Smiths have two daughters, the elder of whom is a classmate and former close friend of the 15-year-old girl her father was sleeping with for nearly a year.
Mr. Smith told the 15-year-old he loved her, that he would leave his wife and children for her when she turned 18. They played on-line games together, games designed for adolescents, not 38-year-old men. Smith asked his student to send him nude pictures of herself, and he would send her nude pictures of himself. They had sex at Smith's house while Smith's wife was at work, while his daughters were at school.
And the nicest people in Willits were now standing for Smith in the same courtroom of the same judge who had already, and reluctantly, convicted Smith on a single count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
All the other charges against Smith had been dropped by Judge Brennan, the loosest judge in Mendocino County, maybe the loosest judge anywhere. Those charges included lewd and lascivious acts with a child; oral copulation with a child under the age of 16; sexual penetration with a foreign object; sexual intercourse with a minor; and providing harmful matter to a minor with the intent of seduction.
All the nice people standing in silent support of their hero, the fallen physics teacher, seemed to regard Smith as the victim of the 15-year-old, Jezebel the sophomore. Or, if not her victim, just a guy who was too darn nice to turn down the gift of young flesh.
One has to wonder if all the people standing for Smith, who included Smith's father-in-law, Roger Hearn, would have remained standing if they'd seen the videos Smith had sent his young love, those charming little movies Smith made of himself masturbating. Smith sent his 15-year-old lots of those, dispatched them so heedlessly that the 15-year-old's 12-year-old sister saw them too, a premature lesson for the younger child of the joys awaiting her at the Willits Charter School.
Maybe Smith sent the girl the videos because they were cheaper than red roses and singing valentines, but don't tell the girl's mom that. “He's a stone pervert,” she says. “What's wrong with these people who are defending him?”
Smith hired three therapists to depict his mental health as normal if not robust. They said Smith was “unlikely to re-offend,” as if that was the point. They also said that Smith was not a threat to public safety, that he certainly doesn't belong in prison, that he shouldn't have to register as a sex offender, that he simply made a mistake, that he isn't a nut.
Defense attorney Kalina, and the three therapists — Kevin Kelly of Ukiah and Robin Goldner and Mary Delaney of Willits — argued that Smith was “a loner, a co-dependent,” so anxious to please that he “didn't know how” to break off a relationship he knew was wrong, “fearful that the young woman might be disappointed in him.”
None of the therapists interviewed the girl, but Kelly's report was at least otherwise conscientious. Goldner's and Delany's assessments were crazier than their patient.
Delaney testified that Smith's “transgression was not setting boundaries with a student…” that “he had a lack of knowledge and understanding of how to deal with young women who may act provocatively toward him,” that Smith didn't have “the pursuing instinct of real predators.”
Delaney wrapped up by suggesting that Smith “use his experience to train and educate other teachers.”
Therapist Goldner, a female who sports a distracting goatee, said, “It would be unjust for Clinton Smith to go to prison… It would be a ridiculous waste of time and money… pure suffering and pure punishment and not healing, which is what he needs.”
Goldner said that the therapy already visited upon Smith by his trio of helping professionals translated as “85% of his rehabilitation has already been done.”
A retired judge named Gustafson, also of Willits, said he'd seen cases resembling the Smith case, implying that it was all the girl's fault.
Smith himself delivered a monotonal, pro forma “apology.”
“I want to deeply and sincerely apologize for my wrong actions that hurt so many people…”
Defense attorney Kalina, apparently aware that his client was in fact a textbook example of insincerity if not psychopathology, insisted that Smith “was truly remorseful.”
Prosecutor Dan McConnell did what he could to restore at least a semblance of sanity in the proceedings. He pointed out that Smith had at first partly blamed the girl, and had resorted to Viagra to ensure his performances, several of which occurred in the parking lot of a Willits bank, a venue Eros is unlikely to have visited. McConnell, again illustrating the obvious to a roomful of morally oblivious citizens, said the law regards 15-year-olds as children, that they legally cannot consent to sex with adults, however childlike the adults may be.
The Mendocino County Probation Department's Tim King was similarly reality-based.
“…The punishment warrants a prison recommendation, otherwise what message does that send to other young girls who are infatuated with their teacher, or to others in the same profession? Furthermore, probation was appalled at the number of teachers and educators who submitted letters in support of Mr. Smith.”
Just before Smith was sentenced, the courtroom was cleared for the victim. She wanted to make a statement. The statement she made was that Smith shouldn't go to prison because he's a nice man. It was clear from her remarks the girl still loves him. She said that jail time “wouldn't be fair to his family.”
Judge Brennan, with Lady Justice's blindfold fully removed, had the bailiff summon everyone back into his courtroom where he sentenced Smith to six months in the County Jail, three years summary probation with four years in prison suspended. Smith, the judge said, would not have to register as a sex offender and there would be no restrictions on his access to computers.
Brennan told Smith to report to jail on August 25th.
With the couple of weeks he's already done in the County Jail, and time off for good behavior, Smith will be home for Christmas.
The victim's mother is suing the Willits School District in federal court. She says the school district has acted irresponsibly, which isn't the half of it.
* * *
Notes: Jake Isaac assisted with this story. Judge Brennan is not widely admired in Willits. The Willits man who shot the tame deer in Brooktrails? Brennan let him off. The Willits man who clearcut public trees at the Brooktrails airport to get more sun for his pot plants? Brennan let him slide. The Willits woman who tried to get a restraining order against her deranged ex-husband who'd followed her to Willits from the MidWest? She didn't get the restraining order.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, October 28, 2023
JOANNA BENNETT, Covelo. Attempted murder.
DARCI DRAPER, Bullard, Texas/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, petty theft, resisting.
HECTOR DUARTE, Ukiah. Parole violation.
LILY FIGUEROA, Ukiah. Under influence while in possession of firearm, concealed weapon in vehicle.
RAMON GARCIA-TAMAYO, Ukiah. DUI, controlled substance, failure to appear.
DARIN HAMMOND, Ukiah. Robbery, battery, disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.
JESSICA HUG, Fort Bragg. Controlled substance/narcotics for sale, paraphernalia, conspiracy, failure to appear.
CARMELO JIMENEZ-VALVERDE, Healdsburg/Ukiah. DUI, controlled substance.
ADAM KESTER, Ukiah. Controlled substance, ammo possession by prohibited person.
RAMON MACIEL, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs. (Frequent flyer.)
JOSEPH MARTIN, Ukiah. DUI, domestic battery, false imprisonment.
JONATHAN MCCOY, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
JENNIFER RISCH, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.
JOEY SCHWESTAK, Santa Cruz/Ukiah. Use of another’s ID with intent to defraud, petty theft, getting credit with another’s ID, controlled substance/narcoticcs for sale, false ID, paraphernalia, conspiracy.
This is in regard to Louis Bedrock, a writer and translator whose articles have been published in this paper.
It is with great sadness that I am reporting that Louis died on October 26, 2023 in Inverness, Florida. He was 78 years old. He had been on a bike riding vacation and passed away suddenly in his motel room. I think he had written several pieces about his riding experiences and the people he met on the trail. I had accompanied him on several of those trips.
Roselle Park, New Jersey
MEMO OF THE AIR: Do they even know it's Halloween.
“Last Halloween I asked my nephew, do you know why you wear a costume, and you know what he said? To have fun and get candy. He didn't know it's to protect his virgin spirit from the wretched dead who roam the earth one night a year to steal souls. I hate to say it, times have changed, and for some people the emphasis is not on frightening away demons. But frightening away demons is the reason for the season. Here's something chilling: a recent poll of American fifth graders found that sixty-three percent could identify the cartoon character Jack Skellington, but only fourteen percent could identify Alghul, the ghoul that dwells in burial grounds. That is appalling, kids being more familiar with a fictional cartoon than with a real ghoul. When I was a child our whole family would go down to the public square and we'd get around that ceremonial mound and we would go sunwise and anti-sunwise, it was a family thing to do. In the town that I live in, we don't even erect an altar anymore to torture animals as a warning to the spectral realm. Because someone complained about the howling!”
Here's the recording of last night's (Friday 2023-10-27) eight-hour-long Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and KNYO.org: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0564
I'm happy to read your writing on the radio. Just email it to me and that's all you have to do.
Besides all that, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together, such as:
The true meaning of Halloween. We've forgotten, and that's a shame. Is Halloween over-commercialized? Yes. (Rerun.))
"In fact it is the time when Satan impregnates his bride."
A mom commercial for orange juice.
And Kazui Nihonmatsu's /X from Outer Space./ A cautionary tale. (90 min.)
Marco McClean, email@example.com, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
Minding my own business coming back from my local bar breakfast when up Sacramento's L Street comes a large pro-Palestine demonstration. Palestinian flags flying, chants of "Free Palestine!,” famalies and friends, head scarfs and keffiyehs, megaphones, "Israel be damned!,” taking me completely by surprise.
Considering the recent events in Gaza and Israel I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised. I knew there was a substantial Palestinian community in Sacramento and certainly more than. enough supporters.
I must say here that in college I lived on a kibbutz in southern Israel, not too far from the recent Hamas slaughter. I'm a Vietnam vet so I know about killing civilians but this Hamas…
I've taken Israel's side for many years. But like other folks on the left my sympathies are certainly with the Palestinians. However, this recent Hamas makes it hard to cconnect with any demonstration for Palestinian rights after such an horrific attack into Israel. It feels like the demonstrators are siding with Hamas, while siding with Israel in any way makes you a Zionist fascist. What's a liberal to do? "Never again…”
“Free Palestine…” Can there ever be a middle ground? I think not. Wipe out Hamas? I heard that about the VC in Vietnam. Good luck with that, Same with up north in Lebanon. “There's always a war…” as George Orwell said in ‘1984.’ I'm afraid Israel will always be at war with someone. I hate to admit it but I think some war should come to Iran. No country has clean hands, just ask the native women and children who got Hamased by the U.S. cavalry. But Iran needs to feel some pain, not just sanctions. I don't have to fight so it’s easy for me to say just as it is for any "Death to Israel'” demonstrator. Easy to yell. A lot harder to give up Monday Night Football and actually g oto the war zone and back up the yelling.
William J. Hughes
OFFICIALS IN GEORGIA ARE SUPPRESSING POLITICAL PROTEST as ‘Domestic Terrorism’
Misguided, draconian laws are being used to punish and chill legitimate political protest.
Over the past few months, 42 activists have been charged with “domestic terrorism”under Georgia state law. Their acts of “terrorism”? Alleged property damage and trespassing while protesting. These prosecutions exemplify a highly problematic trend of both the federal and state government: using domestic terrorism powers to punish dissent.…
THE TREVOR BAUER CONTROVERSY
A controversial and unpopular baseball player is accused of savage behavior, spurring instantaneous calls for banishment. A few years of legal process later, it appears the gun was jumped.
by Matt Taibbi
Two years ago, then-LA Dodgers pitcher and reigning Cy Young award winner Trevor Bauer was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball, in the wake of sexual assault allegations inevitably described as graphic. Baseball fans and non-fans alike were told about him “punching and choking [a woman] during sex without consent,” leaving “bruises on the woman’s face and blood in her eye.” The episode was seen as so terrible that it made a kind of editorial sense when, in the summer of 2021, MSNBC followed a segment on Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein with one on Bauer.
This is a difficult subject for obvious reasons. Neither authorities nor the media should ever outright ignore sexual assault allegations, and as anyone who’s covered sports knows, these cases quite often turn out to be worse than initially advertised. Even more ominous, many are later overlooked or excused by teams or leagues willing to take a PR hit in exchange for a talented enough player. Home team sportswriters often seem to shade coverage in a less brutal direction, reflecting fan hopes that maybe this onewasn’t so bad, and Our Boys won’t have to start the season without their closer/point guard/star wideout. The kickoff to this year’s NBA season was tainted by such questions.
Nonetheless, the Bauer case is beginning to look like it will prove a cautionary tale for sportswriters everywhere. Unlike some other athletes who’ve gotten in trouble, Bauer was already unpopular with sportswriters before the bomb went off, in part because of a brusque attitude and unorthodox political opinions. As a result, some in the press seemed to decide he’d be where they’d finally draw the line, in the talent-versus-infamy equation. As he was the league’s top ace, it looked to some like a great opportunity to make a statement. “Stop Paying Attention to Trevor Bauer,” wrote Sports Illustrated. “He is a man accused of horrific acts who continues to show no concern for the people who say he hurt them.”
Bauer ended up exiled from the Show, pitching in Japan. Then, just a few weeks ago, news broke: he and a woman named Lindsey Hill concluded a settlement. As part of the deal, Bauer was permitted to show video of Hill the morning after the alleged attack (which he did on X), and release text message exchanges between Hill and a friend before their meeting. From the New York Post:
Bauer continues reading from the texts: “Then after the first time we met, ‘Net worth is 51mi,’ she [texted]. ‘Bitch, you better secure the bag!’ was the response. But how was she going to do that? ‘Need daddy to choke me out?’ she said, and ‘Being an absolute whore to try to get in on his 51 million.’ ”
The court-approved releases raise a lot of questions, particularly about the coverage. It appears many “details” were taken on faith by reporters who initially covered the story, including, seemingly, the blood and the bruises. Other women have since come out accusing Bauer, and it’d be a mistake to pre-judge those accusations in as this one appears to have been. No matter what, the footage Orf shows above serves as a reminder that there’s a reason why we have a legal system.
Note also: most people accused of crimes aren’t famous ballplayers, but small-timers whose shoplifting or assault mugshots become ugly headlines above little online arrest reports that remain on the Internet forever, for potential future employers and friends alike to see. What should media do, about people who are accused but not yet convicted? Probably at minimum, cover exonerations with as much vigor as opening charges. Unfortunately, dirty laundry will always sell better.
* * *
A HOUSE INVESTIGATION REVEALS DISTURBING IRS HOME VISIT PRACTICES
The IRS promised to curtail home visits, but the House Weaponization of Government Committee did a deep dive, revealing more about past abuses. Has this happened to you?
by Matt Taibbi
On March 9 of this year, as I was testifying before Ohio congressman Jim Jordan’s House Weaponization of Government Committee in Washington, an IRS agent came to my home. After some soul-searching I contacted the Committee, which to my surprise aggressively pursued the case, leading first to disturbing revelations, and later to a rare piece of good news: the Treasury Department promised to “end most” home visits.
Three months later, the excellent staff at Jordan’s Committee released a report on the issue. Particularly via an example involving a resident in Marion County, but also through some general details that shed additional unnerving light on my case, it reveals problems far worse than I imagined. If the IRS hasn’t in fact curtailed “most” of these visits, we’d better hope it does, and soon, as this program has the potential to generate real unrest in a hurry.
The most unsettling revelations involve a bizarre incident from about a month and a half after my case, on April 25, 2023. On that date, a woman was visited at her home by a man identifying himself as “Bill Haus” from the IRS’s Criminal Division. He then “informed the taxpayer he was at her home to discuss issues concerning an estate for which the taxpayer was the fiduciary,” and after sharing “details about the estate that only the IRS would know,” the taxpayer “let him into her home.”
The woman informed “Haus” that the estate issues had been resolved, and furnished documents to prove it. At this point, he informed her of his real purpose, claiming she was delinquent on several tax filings and provided “several documents to the taxpayer for her to complete.”
Hesitating, the woman offered to put him on the phone with her accountant, but when he didn’t answer the phone, she contacted an attorney, who “repeatedly told Agent ‘Haus’ to leave the taxpayer’s home since the taxpayer had not received any prior notice from the IRS of any issue.” The agent reportedly replied that he was with the IRS and could go into anyone’s house at any time, and before leaving told the taxpayer she had “exactly one week to satisfy the remaining balance or he would freeze all her assets and put a lien on her house,” as the Committee report put it.
Once “Haus” left, the taxpayer feared a scam and had the good sense to immediately contact the Marion, Ohio Police Department (MPD), upon whose reports this story ends up being based. (Emails published below.) The MPD ran the plate of “Bill Haus” and found it came back to a car owned by someone with a different name. The police contacted the car owner, who “attested that he was an IRS agent but admitted Bill Haus was not his real name; he was using an alias.”
After the MPD’s first call to “Haus,” a report from the officer shows even local police thought he was a fake:
[Agent ‘Haus’] advised me that he was an IRS agent and I did not believe him . . . . I then called the Summit County Sheriffs Office and explained to them the call that I handled and that it appears that [Agent ‘Haus’] is going around pretending to be an IRS agent…
Now for the really crazy part. “Agent Haus” was indignant at police discovery of his identity and filed a complaint against the MPDwith the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, or TIGTA. Only when a senior officer from the MPD called TIGTA to respond to this complaint were they able to confirm that “Haus” was “a legitimate IRS agent.” Emails to the Committee not only show they initially believed him to be an “imposter” still, but eventually learned, from a Treasury officer who handles Inspector General complaints, that IRS agents who make home visits “are given alias names… to avoid people knowing their true identity.”
Not only did TIGTA confirm the details of the incident to police, they admitted to the MPD officer that “the agent should have notified MPD that he was working in the area” so “we could know that he was legitimate (if he was legitimate).”
Pause here to consider the numerous problems already confirmed, to police, by the IRS:
IRS agents make field visits using aliases;
IRS agents make “pretext” visits, i.e. they announce they’re asking about one thing, when really by their own admission, they might be investigating something else;
The IRS makes local, covert home visits without informing local authorities.
Think of the problems that could arise from the last issue alone. According to the exchanges, the IRS isn’t required to inform local officials of investigative activity, but as noted by the TIGTA official in communications with the MPD, this is something they shoulddo, to avoid mixups. Here for instance, even after a lengthy inquiry, local police were unsure “Agent Haus” really worked for the Treasury. Imagine if the taxpayer called police to come over duringher visit, and think of the things could go wrong. It’s insanity that the Treasury would have investigators using aliases making Clockwork Orange-style “surprise visits” without informing local officials.
The TIGTA officer tried to reassure police that IRS agents only make such visits after the taxpayer receives advance notice by mail. However, as in my case, there had been no such advance notice here. How would anyone be able to distinguish between an undercover IRS agent and a trespassing scammer? A major at the MPD called TIGTA to ask how the citizen could file a complaint, and the MPD was told “it would be a waste of her time.” Not until May 4th was the taxpayer able to speak with “Haus’s” supervisor, who confirmed she did not, in fact, owe money. He apologized, saying “some things that were said were wrong . . . things never should have gotten this far.”
The IRS told the Committee weeks later that the case was closed, and a day after that sent a letter explaining that the alias issue was not standard procedure:
The IRS has long provided training and procedures to promote the proper customer experience, and also for confirming our identity for taxpayers and local law enforcement upon request. The interactions described to us suggest those procedures were not followed.
The report also reviewed my case, which had some similarities to the Ohio incident. As Racketreaders know, I was visited by an agent who left a note asking me to call in four days (does anyone else find it odd that calling right away was not okay, but calling at 6 a.m. four days later would have been?)
The Committee report contains general information raising new questions about that visit. It says the Committee learned unannounced field visits have traditionally been reserved for “rare cases” involving serially unresponsive taxpayers, and that most issues are dealt with through the IRS’s “Automated Collection System,” or ACS.
It’s “for other accounts, generally those with a tax debt that exceeds $100,000,” that “the IRS assigns a revenue officer… to resolve the outstanding balance.” I not only didn’t owe the IRS $100,000, it was more like the other way around. As was confirmed by the IRS to the Committee in my case, “Mr. Taibbi did not owe the IRS anything. Rather, the IRS owed Mr. Taibbi a substantial refund.” This is yet another item on the ledger suggesting my case was not a random mistake, although it must be noted that’s still at least a possibility.
If the IRS only assigns individual officers to resolve cases in matters involving substantial debts and serial non-response, why was one assigned in my case, but more importantly that of the woman in Marion, Ohio, who also didn’t owe money? At least with me there’s a somewhat obvious possible explanation, even if it’s a dark one. What could be under the hood of the other case, and the thousands of other home visits Commissioner Danny Werfel a few months ago promised to curtail in the name of “safety for taxpayers and IRS employees”?
The IRS has been accused of political targeting under both Republican and Democratic administrations in recent times, with the IRS forced to express “sincere regret and apology” for “mistreating” 40 mostly conservative organizations in the Obama years. At the time of these stories I was naïve, assuming that if there were such abuses, they had to be aberrations and edge cases. Now I’m not sure. Between some of the calls I’ve gotten since my case was made public, and stories like the one described in this new report, more routine misuse has to be considered as a possibility.
I was just about calmed down after an infurating week when I read the Committee’s report this morning. My first reaction was a sense of gratitude toward Chairman Jordan and Committee staff for taking up the matter. It’s not a fun thing to investigate the IRS, and they uncovered a wealth of important detail and managed concrete policy changes, which is what elected officials are for. I then thought about the reaction sure to come for expressing such thanks to a Republican, and fell back in a mood. Hence the decision to issue a separate statement, done therapeutically to get certain thoughts this report inspired off my chest before taking my kids to the zoo.
* * *
Thanks, to a Politician Who Did His Job
When the IRS visited my home, Jim Jordan actually did something about it. Why couldn't I call a Democrat?
A new report about IRS home visits has just been released by the House Weaponization of Government Committee, chaired by Ohio congressman Jim Jordan. It outlines disturbing issues, including confirmation that IRS agents making home visits may come without warning, using aliases, and without informing local enforcement agencies of their presence.
One of the cases outlined is my own. My home was visited by the IRS while I was testifying before Jordan’s Committee about the Twitter Files on March 9th. Sincere thanks are due to Chairman Jordan, whose staff not only demanded and got answers in my case, but achieved a concrete policy change, as IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel announced in July new procedures that would “end most” home visits.
Anticipating criticism for expressing public thanks to a Republican congressman, I’d like to ask Democratic Party partisans: to which elected Democrat should I have appealed for help in this matter? The one who called me a “so-called journalist” on the House floor? The one who told me to take off my “tinfoil hat” and put greater trust in intelligence services? The ones in leadership who threatened me with jail time? I gave votes to the party for thirty years. Which elected Democrat would have performed basic constituent services in my case? Feel free to raise a hand.
If silence is the answer, why should I ever vote for a Democrat again?
by Bob Dylan
Well, the neighborhood bully, he's just one man,
His enemies say he's on their land.
They got him outnumbered about a million to one,
He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
He's the neighborhood bully.
The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He's criticized and condemned for being alive.
He's not supposed to fight back, he's supposed to have thick skin,
He's supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He's the neighborhood bully.
The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,
He's wandered the earth an exiled man.
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,
He's always on trial for just being born.
He's the neighborhood bully.
Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him.
He was supposed to feel bad.
He's the neighborhood bully.
Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he'll live by the rules that the world makes for him,
'Cause there's a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.
He's the neighborhood bully.
He got no allies to really speak of.
What he gets he must pay for, he don't get it out of love.
He buys obsolete weapons and he won't be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.
He's the neighborhood bully.
Well, he's surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.
Now, they wouldn't hurt a fly.
To hurt one they would weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He's the neighborhood bully.
Every empire that's enslaved him is gone,
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.
He's made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody, under no one's command.
He's the neighborhood bully.
Now his holiest books have been trampled upon,
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth,
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health.
He's the neighborhood bully.
What's anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin', they say.
He just likes to cause war.
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.
He's the neighborhood bully.
What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers?
Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill,
Running out the clock, time standing still,
NETANYAHU SAYS ISRAELI TROOPS HAVE PUSHED INTO GAZA
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel called the incursion “the second stage of the war.” He did not describe it as an invasion, and the maneuver appeared more limited than some experts had predicted.
by Patrick Kingsley, Ronan Bergman & Yousur Al-Hlou
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said in a televised news conference on Saturday evening that Israeli forces had entered the Gaza Strip on Friday, beginning “the second stage of the war.” He called the campaign “our second war of independence” and warned Israelis to expect a “long and difficult” campaign.
Military officials had said earlier in the day that Israeli troops had advanced into the northern part of the enclave on Friday, accompanied by a massive aerial and artillery bombardment, and that they remained there on Saturday evening. Hamas’s armed wing confirmed on Friday night and Saturday afternoon that its forces were fighting with Israeli soldiers inside Gaza.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel refused to directly answer questions Saturday about whether he too bore some responsibility for the deaths of more than 1,400 Israelis in the Hamas-led surprise attack on Oct. 7.
Taking questions from reporters for the first time since the cross-border incursion three weeks ago incited a war between Israel and Hamas, Mr. Netanyahu said, “For now, my supreme mission is to save the country and lead our soldiers to total victory.”
“After the war, everyone will need to give answers to hard questions, including me,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “There was a horrible failure, and it will be fully checked. I promise you, no stone will be left unturned.”
Several current and former Israeli officials, including the head of the country’s Shin Bet intelligence service; Israel’s finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich; and former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett; have acknowledged some responsibility for the failure to prevent Palestinian gunmen from killing and kidnapping Israelis in towns near the Gaza border.
Some Israeli commentators have blamed Mr. Netanyahu’s current right-wing coalition government, which pursued a wide-ranging judicial overhaul that tore the country apart and prompted scores of Israelis to say they would refuse volunteer reserve duty in the military. The controversy shook Israel’s security establishment and left it in turmoil, they argue.
Others have pointed to Mr. Netanyahu’s role in overseeing Israel’s policy of seeking an economic accommodation with Hamas — including allowing hundreds of millions in Qatari cash to enter Gaza annually — in exchange for a fragile cease-fire. Critics say those economic incentives ultimately propped up Hamas’s rule, rather than moderating it.
Mr. Netanyahu has strongly rebuffed both claims. “They say that I wanted to strengthen Hamas,” he said. “Certainly not me. I led three campaigns against Hamas.” And he argued that those campaigns “weakened the military capabilities of Hamas and at least prevented it from growing stronger.”
Still, Mr. Netanyahu said, in hindsight, it wasn’t enough.
He said the Israeli authorities were doing all they could to bring back the at least 230 people confirmed to be held hostage after Oct. 7. Earlier on Saturday, family members of some of the hostages met with Mr. Netanyahu after raising concerns that an expanded ground offensive could endanger the lives of their loved ones in Gaza.
“The war inside Gaza will be long and difficult — and we are ready for it,” Mr. Netanyahu said Saturday night. “This is our second independence war. We will fight to protect our country. We will fight on land, in the sea and in the air. We will destroy the enemy above ground and underground.”
The prime minister was accompanied by two other top members of the country’s emergency unity government: Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, and the former Israeli military chief of staff Benny Gantz, whose National Unity Party joined the government for the duration of the war.
The three have had their differences. Mr. Netanyahu briefly tried to fire Mr. Gallant in March, while Mr. Gantz has severely criticized Mr. Netanyahu in the past. But all three hit similar notes in their speeches, preparing Israel’s citizens for what they said would be a protracted and bloody campaign.
At the end of his speech, Mr. Netanyahu said the country faced an existential campaign — one equivalent to a second war of independence. The statement was most likely intended as a rallying cry for Israelis, for whom the young state’s triumph against its Arab neighbors in 1948 is a cherished national story.
But for Palestinians, that time holds much darker memories. Around 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes during the wars surrounding Israel’s founding, an event widely known as the Nakba, or catastrophe, in Arabic.
As hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have recently fled their homes in northern Gaza amid Israeli warnings to evacuate to the southern part of the enclave, some Palestinian officials have drawn their own comparisons to 1948.
One goal of Israeli policy is “to expel the Palestinian people” and “repeat the Nakba,” Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, claimed in a televised speech on Saturday night. Israeli officials have said the evacuation within Gaza was to ensure civilians’ safety as Israeli forces continued their offensive against Hamas there.
A pro-Palestinian demonstration through downtown Brooklyn on Saturday stretched for many blocks down Flatbush Avenue. Protesters marched onto the Brooklyn Bridge, with some climbing onto a metal support structure to affix a Palestinian flag and a sign reading “Free Palestine.”
As blackouts cut off most communications between Gaza and the rest of the world, humanitarian aid organizations said they have struggled to contact members of their staff on the ground and that the lack of service was preventing aid from reaching people in need.
Before the blackouts, aid workers in Gaza were already struggling to stay alive amid fuel shortages that have put humanitarian agencies such as UNRWA, the U.N. agency that aids Palestinians, on the brink of complete shutdown. The blackouts have further alarmed aid organizations, escalating worries about staff safety and aid operations.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
“If we manage to avoid World War Three,”
I think the US is in the same situation that the Russian Empire was in 1905.
The hubris of the US military establishment is astonishing. Biden falsely believes that a 2 front war is “no problem” for the US military. He is a deranged old fool.
During the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, the Russian navy was completed destroyed when its 2nd Pacific Squadron (which contained many new battleships) met the Japanese Combined Fleet at the Battle of Tsushima. This sea battle and its aftermath shocked the world.
The US faces a similar fate. I think if the Chinese & US fight over Taiwan, there might be a result like the Battle of Tsushima, with the US losing its carriers.
There is nothing magical about US vehicles or equipment. The Bradleys are burning (along with all the German garbage) on the steppes of the Motherland. I wonder if this is why the US won’t supply Ukraine with Abrams tanks. The video of US tanks burning would be too much for the brittle egos of the Pentagon.
UKRAINE, SATURDAY, 28 OCTOBER
With winter approaching, Ukrainian officials are desperate for more air defenses to protect their power grids from Russian strikes that could plunge the country into freezing darkness.
So desperate, in fact, that they are willing to experiment with a monster of a weapons system that was the brainchild of Ukraine and is now being pursued by the Pentagon.
Americans officials call it the FrankenSAM program, combining advanced, Western-caliber, surface-to-air missiles with refitted Soviet-era launchers or radars that Ukrainian forces already have on hand. Two variants of these improvised air defenses — one pairing Soviet Buk launchers and American Sea Sparrow missiles, the other marrying Soviet-era radars and American Sidewinder missiles — have been tested over the past several months on military bases in the United States and are set to be delivered to Ukraine this fall, officials said.
A third, the Cold War-era Hawk missile system, was displayed on Ukraine’s battlefield this week for the first time, in an example of what Laura K. Cooper, a senior U.S. defense official, had described this month as a FrankenSAM “in terms of resurrection” — an air defense relic brought back to life.
THOU SHALT NOT KILL
by Dennis Kucinich
When will we ever learn?
As a member of the US Congress for 16 years, I gave over 500 speeches warning about the consequences of US wars against Afghanistan, the Balkans, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria. I spoke for the imperative of peace in the Middle East, on behalf of Israelis and the Palestinians alike. I met with leaders of many countries who were grappling to keep their nations out of conflict and I came to understand the role some in the US government have played to intentionally catalyze war, fueling arms sales globally, without regard for the consequences. The consequences are here!
We are cartwheeling towards a massive East v. West war with religious and ethnic overtones. This seemingly inexorable March of (nuclear) Folly, will ultimately pit the United States militarily against China, Russia and their allies.
The US, with its political divisions on full display, functions now only for purposes of funding wars. Otherwise, the government will shut down over its inability to balance the books from the expenses of previous wars which were put on the national credit card.
The polarization of US politics, the cognitively impaired and failing executive branch, the instability of the congressional leadership, the purblind partisanship, the ideologically, click-bait driven media has produced a mad blood lust for war against Iran and acceleration toward the abyss.
Through illegal war after illegal war, the US has demoralized and demonized itself against the rest of the world. It is the US and Israel against the Arab, Muslim, Chinese, Russian, Iranian, Turks, et al. The probability of nuclear war is higher than it has been since the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 16-28, 1962, when President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev found an off ramp averting annihilation. Today, the price of nuclear vengeance and retribution would be the deaths of at least five billion people, and the end of life on planet Earth.
The Biden foreign policy has always been a shambles. It has been based on military domination, economic coercion, and ideological arrogance which has swept up in its maw the Democratic party. The war in Ukraine, for example, meant to weaken Russia, has strengthened it economically and politically at the cost of the lives of 350,000 of the flower of Ukrainian youth. The US has rattled China over Taiwan, pretending we can intimidate the Chinese Navy and Coast Guard in their own front yard.
The latent virus of megalomania has so excited America’s leaders that it has accelerated the formation of an alliance against our nation, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Diplomacy has become an abattoir. Blood lust blinds, sweeping aside primal human sympathies, exciting those ancient emotions to declare enemies, take up the cudgel and beat those enemies to death.
We are at an exceedingly dangerous moment of world crisis when the fragile bonds which connect us, each to the other, are being torn asunder by acts of mass murder, the miasma of apartheid, oppression and occupation, stereotyping, racism, bigotry, accelerating mistrust, desire for vengeance and retribution, compelling a dialectic of conflict which could lead to the destruction of the world.
Our survival as a species depends upon surmounting moments such as these, making of human relations a science, and human and ecological security the highest purpose of the work of people everywhere. When our brothers and sisters are killing each other, it is imperative, in the name of all humanity, that we intervene to stop the killing so that all may survive.
Like an unruly child, our government out of control. We must call out now, hastened by whatever survival instinct that yet resides in us, and say STOP IT!
Stop the escalation.
Stop the militarization.
Stop the race toward the abyss.
It bears reflection at this moment that some of the same individuals, including President Biden, who led us into the disastrous Ukraine war and before that into devastating wars which killed over a million people in Iraq and Libya, are now leading the US into war against Iran … and World War III.
The US is now defending itself by bombing sites assumed to be Iranian proxies in Syria. The panoply of offensive material which the US is pouring into the region suggests preparations are being made to attack Iran, which in turn will prompt other nations to respond.
Now comes the Middle East conflict between Hamas and Israel. Instead of playing peacemaker, a role which ultimately protects Israel from destruction, the US is enabling the wholesale slaughter of Gazans, naively warning all others to step aside while standing guard with aircraft carriers and planes, emplacing US troops, and putting all US service personnel in the region at grave risk.
This as the Netanyahu-Ben Givr government has fearfully approached a ground invasion while collective punishment having been previously meted out from the air to over 7,000 of Gaza’s civilian population. The air attack and the ground invasion are retribution for Hamas’ horrific attack on October 7th, which resulted in the murder of 1,400 Israelis, most of them civilians. Under such circumstances, the hostages in Gaza are damned from above and below.
On October 7th, shattered were the myths of the omni-competent Mossad and the technologically superior Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) which were powerful deterrent factors against attacks. Israeli movements into Gaza will find synchronous advancement by in the north, by Hezbollah, across the Lebanese border and attacks soon coming from many directions.
The continued bombing of the Palestinians in Gaza is inciting hundreds of millions of Muslims in the region who were already on edge because of the desecration of the Al Aqsa Mosque on October 4th, 2023, which could have played a role inciting Hamas’ Oct. 7thunjustified planned massacre.
Masked in the attack on Gaza is the agenda of Israel’s fair-right ultranationalist government to establish an ethnically-pure religious state, removing the Palestinians from Gaza and the West Ban, and the realization of the establishment of the prophesied Third Temple, which means razing Al Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam.
I believe in the protection and survival of Israelis and Palestinians. I believe in the protection and survival of all people.
The protection and survival of Israel or Palestine is not furthered by the bombing, starvation, and mass killings of innocents. It is a form of suicide presenting as homicide.
It is time to stop taking sides and start working instead for the goal of a just peace.
I oppose the killing of innocents whatever their race, color, creed, nationality or nation. There are hundreds of millions of Muslims and Arabs in the neighborhood now seething at the injustices of the massacre of innocents, and only nine million Israelis…
The whole world is watching. The region is waiting. The Times of Israel reports today that as of October 29th, Israeli citizens who happen to be Palestinians, will be shot at public protests. Does anyone think the murders of Palestinians in the West Bank, together with those who will be shot for protesting, will not result in a sharp upcycling of violence in the region?
Hamas’ charter calls for the destruction of Israel through Jihad. Those on both sides who advocate kill or be killed are on the ascendant. Let us stand, then, in the place where all this killing leads, to northern Israel, on Mount Megiddo, (original Hebrew Har Megiddo, Anglicized to Armageddon). The final battle awaits with nuclear missiles as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Then we await the Second Coming of Christ on the Mount of Olives, and the establishment of the Third Temple supplanting Al Aqsa. Frankly, I’d rather watch the Netflix version.