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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023

Rain | Jughandle | Coast Fatality | Flight | Glyphosate Alert | Holiday Bazaar | Broilergate | Lighthouse | Sako v Mo | MacKerricher | Betty Barber | CSD Meeting | Tree | Last Dinner | Caretaker Needed | Blue Hutchins | Sequoia Band | Yesterday's Catch | Hirschman Celebration | PG&E Questions | Condor Club | Medicare Disadvantage | Mentally Unbalanced | Information Warfare | Color Problem | Increasing Dysfunction | Our House | Genocidal Intent | Be Human | Boundless Cynicism | Momsen Lung | Collapse/Rebirth | JFK Wounds | Prison Homer | Vaughn Love | Past Places | Car Question

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MODERATE TO PERIODS OF HEAVY RAIN is expected today, mostly across north of the region. Gusty ridgetop winds will also accompany the heavy rain. Rain will become more showery Thursday with a threat of small hail. Cooler, dryer weather is on track late week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): On the coast this Wednesday morning I have a cloudy 53F. Lots of rain today & more tomorrow then about a week of dry skies are forecast except for maybe a shower this weekend. We have another day of large waves up to 25' so be careful along the coast.

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Jughandle Rock (Jeff Goll)

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by Madison Smalstig

A Point Arena man died last week after falling off a 300-foot cliff on the Mendocino County coast, officials said.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office received a report about 5 p.m. Thursday that someone fell off a cliff near the Point Arena Pier, Capt. Greg Van Patten said in an email.

A witness to the fall reported it to authorities. They did not see what led up to the incident, Van Patten said.

Medical personnel responded and performed CPR on the person, later identified as Job Daniel Nunez-Gamino, 23. Lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful due to the extent of his injuries and he was pronounced dead at the scene, Van Patten said.

The man’s family later told officials that Nunez-Gamino often hiked along the bluff where he fell.

The Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the man’s death, though based on initial findings officials believe it was accidental.

The coroner will determine Nunez-Gamino’s official cause of death following an autopsy, Van Patten said.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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(photo by Falcon)

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Skunk Train Spraying Herbicide Now

The “railroad” wants you to believe that the only way to clear brush on the 3 miles of tracks along Pudding Creek is to secretly dump glyphosate along the tracks, and not because they don’t care about Fort Bragg more than profit and paying local residents to do a job that’s been done manually for decades is not as cost effective.

They also want to charge you $100 for the privilege to walk this toxic trail.

We encourage all who care about glyphosate being dumped into the ground at sea level and in our backyards to contact the EPA, local and county government officials, and the coastal commission to report these deliberate environmental violations.

We also encourage all residents to inform the unsuspecting tourists, particularly the “railbikers” that they are sitting just inches away from ground contaminated by a known carcinogen that was intentionally sprayed only because it was cheaper than paying someone to hold a weed whipper.

The contact information of those responsible and relevant agencies is below:

Efstathios Pappas - (209) 603-7363 -

Robert Pinoli - (707) 849-1922 -

Melodie Hilton - (707) 337-3691 -

Skunk Train main office - (707) 964-6371 -

Mendocino County Ground Water Contamination Reporting - 707-463-4363 -

City of Fort Bragg code enforcement -

EPA tip line - 1 800 424 8802

— Susan Strang <> 

Fort Bragg

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by Mike Geniella

The irony of it all.

Chamise Cubbison did the responsible thing in February 2020 by seeking a legal opinion from the County's high priced outside attorney about DA Dave Eyster and his disputed spending practices. 

Cubbison, then Assistant County Auditor, warned Morin Jacob, managing partner of the San Francisco law firm of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, that long-standing issues with the DA had become more contentious.

Cubbison specifically cited the DA claims for reimbursement for a Broiler Steak House dinner that he hosted for 42 staff members and 25 guests. He had labeled the post-holiday gathering a “training session” and insisted the Auditor’s office use state asset forfeiture funds to cover the $2,345 cost. Typically, the money seized from criminal-related activities is used for drug and crime prevention programs including law enforcement training.

It was clear in her letter to Jacob that Cubbison was seeking advice on how to deal with a DA who had waged a decade long battle with the Auditor’s Office over use of asset forfeiture funds, travel reimbursements, and now a so-called evening training session at a popular local steak house.

Cubbison went so far as to tell Jacob that her office had even suggested language the DA could add to some claims which would expedite processing “but the DA refused to consider those suggestions.”

“In nearly all the cases, the response is that the CEO has authorized an exemption, that the DA is an elected constitutional officer, and the Auditor is trying to limit the DA’s budgetary authority, or that asset forfeiture funds are non-county monies and not subject to county policy,” Cubbison wrote.

Eyster had earlier succeeded in winning a special exemption to spending documentation requirements from former CEO Carmel Angelo in his bid to get around questioning by the Auditor’s Office.

Then when former Auditor Lloyd Weer retired, and recommended that Cubbison be named his successor, the DA took the unprecedented step of vehemently opposing her appointment, declaring she was unqualified. He also supported a move by the Board of Supervisors to consolidate two independent County offices lead by elected officials to oversee the county finances: the Auditor/Controller and the Treasurer/Tax Collector. The board’s intention is to eventually abolish both offices and create a new Department of Finance more closely aligned with County administrators.

Jacob in her response to Cubbison’s request for help provided no clarity.

Jacob opined that the Auditor/Controller does not have “general authority” to require the DA to comply with County policies, but then wrote that the office does have “authority, however, to not reimburse claims and can deny claims for purchase of goods or services that are not in conformity with existing county policies.”

Jacob went on: “The District Attorney may use asset forfeiture funds that may fall outside of conformity with county policies but subject to the guidelines outlined by Government Code 11489.”

Jacob conceded that the DA may have to obtain travel authorizations but only for those that are not related to a case, and either involve travel outside of California or are over $1,000.

In short, instead of clarity that Cubbison clearly sought, Jacob had obfuscated the issues between the Auditor’s Office and the District Attorney.

Fast forward three years and it is again Jacob who is center stage in the determination whether the Board of Supervisors could immediately suspend the embattled Auditor without pay before she has even been arraigned and a plea entered to the felony criminal charge Eyster filed against her in mid-October.

Jacob said yes, she could be immediately suspended, and then belatedly offered Cubbison an opportunity to appear before the board two weeks after the fact.

Cubbison attorney Chris Andrian ripped the board, and Jacob, for denying his client due process. He warned civil litigation challenging the board’s action was likely.

There are no surprises here.

Board members, the CEO's office, and the DA were all aware of the questions Cubbison as Assistant Auditor, and others before her, had raised about questionable spending practices and reimbursement requests from the District Attorney’s Office since Eyster took over in January 2011.

Yet Cubbison is the elected official who ended up with a serious criminal charge filed against her, and who got sandbagged without a hearing, or the opportunity to publicly defend herself at the time the Board acted without notice. 

Her reputation is in tatters after 16 years of County service. Cubbison was recruited from the County Transportation Department to work in the Auditor’s Office because of her hard work and expertise.

Cubbison for her part set aside her differences three years ago with the District Attorney and sought legal advice in a bid to clear the air. He chose to wage a vendetta and solicited the county’s CEO and Board members to assist.

Cubbison should be praised not condemned for showing responsibility to County taxpayers as a veteran employee and elected official.

Yes, maybe Cubbison is stubborn, difficult, and not easy to work with, according to members of the County’s entrenched bureaucracy. 

So what? She is, after all, an auditor.

DA Eyster likes to defend his sometimes bully boy behavior by declaring the public wants a “tough prosecutor.”

Perhaps the blowback from the Cubbison case suggests the public favors an equally tough, no-nonsense Auditor too.

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Letter from Chamise Cubbison to Outside Attorney Morin Jacob

Morin I. Jacob, Managing Partner 

Liebert Cassidy Whitmore 

135 Main Street, 7th Floor 

San Francisco, CA 94105 

Feb 2, 2020

Dear Ms. Jacob: 

In follow up to our phone conversation this week, the Auditor-Controller is seeking a legal opinion regarding the authority of Auditor-Controller to require the District Attorney to comply with County Board of Supervisors' Policies, Auditor-Controller procedures, and generally accepted accounting principles established by the Government Accounting Standards Board. 

Due to staff changes in the Auditor-Controller's (AC) office, purchasing practices and policy compliance have come under more consistent review. There are several types of Claims submitted by the District Attorney that are being more closely monitored, sometimes resulting in those Claims being denied or in requests for additional supporting information. Some similar Claims may have been paid in the past. More recent Claims have been denied with explanation. 

The issue became more contentious with the denial of a Claim (Item 1) to the Broiler (local steak house) for a 2018 End of Year Staff Workshop and Continuing Education dinner. When AC staff requested supporting documentation (as would be required for any other department), it became apparent that 42 attendees were County employees and 25 were general members of the public or employee spouses and/or family members and that the event did not comply with County Policy #18 or #1. AC staff also questioned whether it was an appropriate use of Asset Forfeiture funds. To which DA staff that there are no guidelines for State Asset Forfeiture funds. The AC asked the DA to certify that it was an appropriate use of the Forfeiture funds and requested 

“Special Fund” or Asset Forfeiture fund, but would likely not be paid under the current review team as they do not comply with County Policy #18 or #1. It appears that the DA is planning to cash those checks at the County Treasury and reimburse whoever paid the expenditure or pay the vendor directly. It appears to be an attempt to get around the AC. The past items do not appear to meet the Government Code specified allowable uses of DA’s “Special Fund” (Item 9). Which causes the AC to be concerned that the DA does not ensure that expenditures are properly allowable for certain types of funds. 

The AC has suggested language that could be added to some Claims that might assist the AC is allowing some of the Claims to be processed, but the DA refuses to consider those suggestions. 

In nearly all cases, the response is that the CEO has authorized an exemption, that the DA is an elected constitutional officer and the Auditor is trying to limit the DA's budgetary authority, or that Asset Forfeiture funds are non-County monies and not subject to County Policy. 

The Auditor-Controller is looking for a legal opinion which addresses whether the District Attorney, and/or his staff, should be required to provide supporting documentation, including Travel Authorizations, for expenditures and/or reimbursements paid with any County funds, inlcuding General Funds or Asset Forfeiture funds, is subject to County Board of Supervisors' Policies and if the Auditor-Controller can require the DA to comply with the procedures that other departments are held to, as well as GASB's generally accepted accounting principles. We would appreciate the opportunity to review your draft opinion before a final opinion is provided. 

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the information provided or if you need additional information. I can be reached at 707-234-6871 or 

Thank you for your time and assistance in these matters. 


Chamise Cubbison, Assistant Auditor-Controller 

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Pt Cabrillo Lighthouse (Kirk Vodopals)

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Dear Editor, 

I attended today’s BOS meeting, Tuesday, December 5. 

Prior to the beginning of the BOS meeting, Supervisor Mulheren left chambers to shout at a member of the public, John Sakowicz, who was set to give public comments. 

Supervisor Mulheren was so loud that people waiting for the meeting to begin, as well as the Supervisors, heard the commotion. 

Supervisor Mulheren was berating Sakowicz asking, “Why are you doing this? " and “What is your endgame?” 

She went on to say, “I am a single mother trying to take care of my family.” She stated she “was unemployed" and she needed “to make money.” In his public comments, Sakowicz pointed out the money Supervisor Mulheren received was AFTER she was sworn in as Supervisor, January 2020.

Ms. Mulheren made the choice to be a single mother. To have two children with two different men while remaining single was and is her choice. Many women are single moms.

When Ms. Mulheren was asked by Sakowicz if she had paid back a federal loan given to her, or even declared it on her Form 700, Mulheren replied “my personal finances are private." During the BOS meeting, Supervisor Mulheren repeated the same comment on the record that her personal finances are private.

My understanding in this matter is that county elected officials are required to be open about personal finances; and, that they are responsible for behavior that is above reproach. I am unclear as to why the County Counsel didn’t offer comment on this fact. Also, Supervisor Mulheren was out of line to attack a member of the public in this forum. 

Supervisor Mulheren should welcome an investigation if she has not taken government money illegally. 

I look forward to an open investigation into this matter. The public deserves the truth about the leadership in our county.


Mary Massey


ED NOTE. Ms Massey, I believe, is John Sakowicz's love interest or, perhaps, his 'dog walker,' as she once described herself.

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MacKerricher perspective (Linwood Peters)

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RIP Betty

Betty Barber, long time coastal resident, activist, and friend to many, died peacefully at home on Saturday. Buriel will take place Wed. at 11:30 at the Hillcrest Cemetery. This will be followed by a pot luck reception for her friends at her home in the Woods.

Daney Dawson <>

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Anderson Valley Community Services District

To be held via teleconference Phone # 669 900 6833 Zoom Meeting ID 845 5084 3330 Password 048078

Public comments must be submitted by 10:00am on Dec. 7th, 2023 electronically to

Thursday December 7th, 2023 at 10:30am

  • Call To Order And Roll Call:
  • Recognition Of Guests And Hearing Of Public:
  • Consent Calendar: Minutes From November 2nd, 2023
  • Changes Or Modification To This Agenda: 
  • Report On Drinking Water Project:
  • Report On Wastewater Project:
  • Public Outreach:
  • Concerns Of Members:

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Tree and Fog, Reynolds Hwy (Jeff Goll)

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Dear Community:

After careful consideration and evaluation, we made a difficult decision to discontinue our bi-monthly spaghetti dinners and we'd love for you to join us for our last dinner on Saturday, December 9 from 4 to 7 pm at Whitesboro Grange, 32510 Navarro Ridge Rd., Albion. Cost for this event is $10 for adults, $5 for children 6-12 and FREE for children under 6.

Over the years, these bi-monthly gatherings have been a source of connection, fun and support for all of us. We've cherished the times spent together sharing delicious meals and creating lasting memories. The decision to stop this event has not been made lightly and we want you to understand our reasons why. As a community organization, we continually strive to allocate our resources effectively to ensure we maximize our impact and support our core mission. The time, effort and resources dedicated to organizing the bi-monthly spaghetti dinners have become increasingly challenging to sustain. We are, however, excited to embark on some new initiatives for the Grange that both align with our mission and address current community needs. Stay tuned for more information.

In the meantime, rest assured we will continue to host our monthly pancake breakfasts held every fourth Sunday and we hope to see you all there! Our commitment to this community remains unwavering and we are grateful for the support you have shown us throughout the years. We hope you will join us in embracing some exciting new changes in 2024! Thank you again and hope to see you at our last dinner on Saturday, December 9.

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Our Mom is in her early 70s and lives in Philo on Nash Mill Road with her 3 cats. Her dementia and confusion are becoming more severe and we are looking for a woman to live in with her full time.

She loves her property, and is independent and free-spirited. She likes to go for walks, but she is no longer able to go by herself due to disorientation issues. We have other caretakers on the property to care for grounds, chickens, and other needs. We now need a caretaker to live with our Mom for her daily personal needs. She does not need or want constant attention -- much of the time will be yours.

If interested, please contact Karen Verpeet at or 510-301-6256. Please include your email address. Following an initial phone/video call, references and a background check (including fingerprinting) will be required.

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Blue Zones Project Mendocino County is thrilled to announce the addition of Michelle Hutchins to the Blue Zones Project local team. She will serve as Organization Lead, working with our local schools, worksites, restaurants, and grocery stores.

Michelle brings with her a strong background in education. After completing several degrees at Humboldt State University, including a Bachelors in Art Education in 1991 and a Masters in Computers and Technology in Education in 2002, she began her career championing for substantial changes in education. After 24 years as a teacher, university instructor, principal, and superintendent of rural schools, she ran for and was elected to Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools in 2018. Since elected, Michelle has worked tirelessly to ensure all children experience a high-quality, personalized education to prepare them to thrive in an ever-changing world.

Michelle joined the Blue Zones Project in Mendocino County because she believes in the power of small changes to the physical environment that assist individuals to make healthier choices. During her work as County Superintendent, she initiated contact with the Blue Zones Project in hopes of having the county office of education become a certified work site. Joining the Blue Zones Project is a natural fit, as she says, "Helping communities embrace their potential is what drives my work. The Blue Zones Project uses practices steeped in research that improve the overall health and economy of a community. I am excited to add to this effort."

Michelle owns a small ranch in Willits and raises goats with her husband and two children.

Her favorite Power (this week) is Move Naturally. “Because of the season, all the things we do to prepare for the weather change is an opportunity to move the body in meaningful ways. Bring attention to your work!”

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December 5, 1914 - A group of young men in Caspar organized the Sequoia Band, under the guidance of director John Murray.

This band made its public debut at the 1915 New Year’s Eve party held at the Caspar Athletic Club. Ninety club members attended the event. In addition to music and dancing, other attractions included motion pictures shown by Roy Brady, songs by Jack Casey accompanied by Mrs. J. Crawford, a piano duet by Helen and Beatrice Foster, and a recitation by Thomas Craig. A meal was served at 11:30pm, and at midnight, the New Year was ushered in by the blowing of horns and a great deal of merry-making. The Sequoia Band's music was the highlight of the evening.

For their next event, the Sequoia Band organized a benefit ball at the Caspar Athletic Club to raise money for band uniforms. The event was a huge success, attracting a large crowd that enjoyed the excellent music and a fine supper served by the ladies of Caspar. This marked the beginning of a series of successful dances, grand balls, and public concerts over the next two years.

Sequoia Band of Caspar, c. 1915. Top row L-R: Elbert Montgomery, unidentified, Juel Jensen, unidentified, Ragnar Wahlstrom, unidentified, unidentified. Front row: Lester Moody, Jack Casey, Bill Brady, unidentified, unidentified, Bill Nylander, Dave Brinzing, Henry Van Ahnen. (Gift of Vince Johnson)

At the 1916 Fourth of July celebration in Mendocino, the Sequoia Band performed at the Grindle Park dance platform (located near where the fire station on Little Lake Road is today). A free dance was offered in the afternoon, followed by an open-air ball at night (50 cents for gentlemen, ladies free). The Beacon reported that no band in Mendocino county could beat the Sequoia Band “when it comes to furnishing snappy, up-to-date dance music in perfect time and tune. The Caspar boys were one of the big hits of Mendocino’s Fourth of July celebration.”


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CATCH OF THE DAY, Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Allen, Azuola, Christopher, Hawkins

LORNA ALLEN, Willits. Controlled substance, failure to appear.

MICHAEL AZUOLA, Ukiah. Marijuana for sale, more than an ounce of pot, controlled substance for sale, loaded firearm in public, controlled substance while armed with loaded firearm, conspiracy.

EMILY CHRISTOPHER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

HAILEY HAWKINS, Fort Bragg. Grand theft-bicycles.

Hodge, Kawamura-Avina, Morrison

KIYA HODGE, Covelo. DUI, suspended license for DUI, conspiracy.

YUKI KAWAMURA-AVINA, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

JAMES MORRISON, Ukiah. Burglary, stolen property, protective order violation, probation revocation.

Parkin, Roberts, Vasquez, Williett

COLE PARKIN, Ukiah. Parole violation.

CHERI ROBERTS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs, county parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

ADAM VASQUEZ, Hopland. Controlled substance for sale.

DONALD WILLETT JR., Willits. Suspended license.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2023, 6:00 Pm Pst

This event will be held onsite at City Lights. It will also be broadcast on zoom. To experience the virtual part of the event you will need a device that can access the internet and registration is required.

Join City Lights in celebrating the late great Jack Hirschman’s 90th Birthday! – with Agneta Falk joined by Scott Bird, Dimitri Charalambou, Neeli Cherkovski, Mauro Ffortissimo, Celia Hirschman, Matt Gonzalez, devorah major, Sarah Menefee, Alejandro Murguia, and Byron Spooner.

Jack Hirschman

Jack Hirschman was a poet, translator, editor, activist, and former poet laureate of San Francisco. His powerfully eloquent voice set the tone for political poetry in this country. Since leaving a teaching career in the ’60s, Hirschman took the free exchange of poetry and politics into the streets where he was, in the words of poet Luke Breit, “America’s most important living poet.” He is the author of numerous books of poetry, plus some 45 translations from a half a dozen languages, as well as the editor of anthologies and journals. Among his many volumes of poetry are All That’s Left, Endless Threshold, Frontlines, The Arcanes, and Lyripol (City Lights, 1976).

Join us for an evening of readings and celebration.

This event is made possible by support from the City Lights Foundation. To learn more visit:

Tune in to the City Lights podcast for recordings of our recent events, and an archive of past highlights. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Stitcher.

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Dan Walters writes that one of the California Public Utilities Commission’s mandates is “providing utilities and their shareholders with profits sufficient to borrow money and attract investment capital." This is not explicitly stated in CPUC’s brochure: “California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services.”

My question regarding the newly approved 13% PG&E rate hike is why aren’t shareholders’ dividends eliminated or at least reduced? And why isn’t the CEO’s salary reduced? Why are just the people who are required to use PG&E electricity obliged to pay for everything? The CEO and shareholders should also be required to bear some of the pain.

Plus, the state’s new mandates phase out use of energy sources other than electricity (contrary to the fact that 48% of that electricity is produced from natural gas, according to a 2022 California Energy Commission Report). What a trap for California consumers at the mercy of PG&E and the CPUC.

Cinde Rubaloff


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There are probably others on this list that are dealing with this issue right not. My previous “advantage plan” SCAN, is no longer serving this area so I’ve been going thru a very stressful period of trying to replace it. Long story and it’s happening at the same time that my dear friend Kwazi is going thru what may be his last need for health care. I mentioned in yesterday’s email that he is currently at Kaiser in Santa Rosa and has just been taken off life support. He could go at any time so trying to figure out this “healthcare” issue is very difficult right now. So hope this article below can help others in understanding what we’re up against. (Mary Moore)

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Medicare Advantage Plans Disadvantage of Many Elderly and Disabled People 

For-profit Medicare Advantage program restrictions routinely result in delays and the denial of necessary health care.

by Eleanor J. Bader (

When retired veterinarian Richard Timmins went on a Medicare Advantage plan in 2016, he admits that he knew very little about Traditional Medicare (also called Original Medicare) or the more than 3,800 Medicare Advantage plans that are marketed to seniors and the disabled.

“I went to a so-called Medicare Information Session and took the recommendation of the speaker and ran with it,” Timmins told Truthout. “I did not know that he was paid a commission for every person he signed up for a plan. The issue for me was cost.”

Like other Medicare beneficiaries, Timmins knew that the standard premium for Medicare coverage — $164 per month in 2023 — would be taken out of his monthly Social Security checks. He also understood that there would be a $226 annual deductible for Part B, which covers doctor’s visits, but after that deductible was met, Traditional Medicare would pick up 80 percent of the cost of his care. What’s more, he knew that dental, optical and audiology were not covered by the plan and that he would be responsible for paying the remainder of his health care costs — 20 percent of the total — out of pocket unless he purchased a separate, costly Medigap insurance plan.

Not surprisingly, when Medicare Advantage promised broader coverage for less money — the same deduction would be taken from his Social Security check, but he would not need a supplemental Medigap plan since Medicare Advantage (sometimes referred to as Plan C) would provide coverage for most of the services that Traditional Medicare did not offer — Timmins quickly signed up. That’s when his nightmare began.

After his primary care physician noticed a lump in his ear, Timmins was told that he needed to see a dermatologist. “I have a family history of skin cancer, so I tried to make an appointment right away but was told that I needed prior approval from my insurer to see the specialist,” he said. “It took seven months to get this approval and, in that time, the growth tripled in size and became painful. I finally had surgery to remove it in 2022. Had I been on Traditional Medicare, I would have quickly seen the dermatologist and the oncologist since prior approval is not required. I would have had the lump removed when it was smaller, before it extended into the tissue.”

The experience was eye-opening for Timmins and he is now an active member of Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action. Now knowledgeable about the nuances of different Medicare plans, he is eager to share his experience and discuss why Medicare Advantage can be so deceptive and dangerous.

So, What Exactly Is Medicare Advantage?

Although thousands of different Advantage programs exist, most are run by seven private, for-profit insurance companies: Centene, Cigna, CVS-AETNA, Elevance, Humana, Molina and UnitedHealthcare. By 2023, UnitedHealthcare, which is owned by AARP, controlled 29 percent of the market; Humana controlled 18 percent and CVS-AETNA controlled 11 percent.

“The only way we can move people away from Medicare Advantage is to make Traditional Medicare stronger.”

They’ve cashed in. This year, 30.8 million people — 51 percent of those who are eligible for Medicare — are in Medicare Advantage programs, and the reason is obvious. Like Richard Timmins, most retired and disabled people need to keep costs down.

According to the National Institute on Retirement Security, Social Security is the sole source of income for 40.2 percent of retired people in the U.S. For 49.4 million retirees and their 2.6 million dependents, this means an average monthly payment of $1,837; for 7.5 million disabled people and their 1.2 million dependents, the average monthly allotment is $1,489.

Small wonder that when cheaper and seemingly more-extensive Medicare coverage is offered, people grab it. But like Timmons, they usually know little-to-nothing about the downside of the coverage.

So how did we get to this point? To understand the Medicare program’s evolution, we need to go back 58 years, to 1965, when a bill to create a publicly funded Medicare (and Medicaid) insurance plan was proposed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The bill was part of his Great Society program, and within a year of congressional passage, a wholly government-run Medicare program was providing health coverage to almost all Americans over the age of 65 — 56 percent of whom had had no coverage whatsoever before its passage. Patients with end-stage renal disease were added a year later.

But while Medicare was greeted with near-universal praise, there were always gaps in coverage, with no payment for long-term care, dental, optical or audiology services.

This is where Medicare Advantage comes in. The program was fully launched in 2003, during the administration of George W. Bush. The impetus was cost containment. According to the Be a Hero Fund, an advocacy organization founded by the late health care activist Ady Barkan to push for expanded, government-funded home care and community-based services, Bush and his supporters argued that the private sector would reduce costs by managing care more efficiently.

That has not happened.

Rachelle Kivanoski, a retired former home care administrator, told Truthout that the problem with Medicare Advantage plans, and managed care more generally, is that they are really about managing cost, not care. “People who are in reasonably good health can benefit from Medicare Advantage,” she said, “but as soon as they have greater medical needs, they see problems, including delays in receiving authorization for services or the outright denial of care.”

For example, she reports that patients who’ve had hip or knee replacements often have to wait weeks for physical therapy to be approved. “This can have an adverse impact on healing and mobility,” she explained. “In addition, Medicare Advantage plans rarely authorize home health aides and if they do, they only do so for a week or two at a time. Under Traditional Medicare, you keep receiving services until your doctor says you no longer need them. This means you don’t have to deal with constant reauthorization.”

Then there’s the issue of upcoding, a policy by which Advantage plans make patients seem sicker than they are so they are able to increase their fees — in essence, overcharging the government for services that are not being provided. The upshot? The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent agency that advises Congress about Medicare, estimates that Medicare Advantage plans collected $124 billion in overpayments between 2008 and 2023.

If you’re shocked by this, you’re not alone: Congress and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have also begun to take notice. A still-pending bipartisan bill, The No Unreasonable Payments, Coding, or Diagnoses for the Elderly Act — the No UPCODE Act — was introduced in March to amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act to ensure that reimbursement is restricted to relevant treatment.

Meanwhile, since 2022 the Department of Justice has twice levied fines against Cigna, collecting $172 million in one case and $37 million in another because of fraudulent billing. Cigna, of course, is not the only villain — all told, the DOJ collected more than $1.7 billion during fiscal year 2022 for false Medicare and Medicaid claims. Too Little, Too Late Although this sounds like a win for accountability, health care advocates say that the fines are a drop in the bucket, and that upcoding, denials of needed care and authorization delays remain ubiquitous. Deceptive ads, on TV and through direct marketing phone calls, are a particular concern, especially during the open enrollment period that comes around every autumn.

“If we do not expand Traditional Medicare coverage, private insurers and equity firms will continue to plunder the Medicare Trust Fund that workers pay into and Traditional Medicare will continue to shrink.”

Cheryl Kunis, an emeritus clinical professor of medicine at Columbia University and the director of national issues at Physicians for a National Health Program, zeroed in on advertising that uses sports figures like Joe Namath to shill for plans that make promises about amazing benefits, often at no cost to consumers. “For many retired or disabled people who are living on Social Security, the Traditional Medicare premiums for Part B doctor visits ($174.70 per month) and Part D prescription drug coverage ($55.50 per month) are significant. People are drawn into Medicare Advantage because it is cheaper,” she said, citing the premiums for 2024. “There are often no deductibles and it provides things Traditional Medicare does not, like transportation to and from medical appointments; a free Silver Sneakers gym membership; and dental, optical and hearing care. A few have no copays for primary care visits.”

At the same time, Kunis told Truthout, private equity firms and insurance companies see Medicare as a “bonanza.” She calls it “Medicarelessness,” but understands why investors and low- and moderate-income people are drawn in. “Everyone needs health care. It’s a recession-resistant industry,” she said. “But when private equity firms buy health care organizations, despite promises of greater efficiency, costs continue to rise. Private industry spends about 18 percent of its revenue on administration and overhead while Traditional Medicare spends 2 to 3 percent.”

That said, Kunis concedes that she believes Medicare Advantage is here to stay. “The only way we can move people away from Medicare Advantage is to make Traditional Medicare stronger,” she said. “This means lowering the costs to consumers and adding the ‘perks’ that Medicare Advantage offers.”

Alex Lawson is executive director of Social Security Works, a Washington, D.C.-based group working to strengthen Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and promote health care as a human right. Lawson agrees with Kunis but sees this as a David vs. Goliath struggle against a powerful adversary. “Every year the health insurance industry circulates a sign-on letter to every member of Congress asking them to affirm their love for Medicare Advantage. The signed letter is then circulated to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal body that oversees the programs. It also goes to Health and Human Services and the administration. Most years they get 400-plus signatures. This is the engine behind Medicare Advantage,” Lawson told Truthout. “The billions of taxpayer dollars that they rip off taxpayers each year are ignored, forgotten. Basically, these companies see U.S. taxpayers as a cash cow. Yes, there’s been some pick-up in the last few years to collect overpayments and improve Medicare, but we need to upend the whole business model of privatized health care.”

The government, he told Truthout, gives Advantage plans a flat fee for each person who enrolls. “They make enormous profits when they provide insurance to healthy people, but those who need care the most can die if care is delayed or denied,” he adds.

Fixing this, he says, will require both long- and short-term strategies. Short-term goals include pushing for reforms like passage of the No UPCODE Act; fining “bad actors” who overcharge for undelivered or delayed services; reining in deceptive advertisers whose promotion of Advantage plans provide a skewed and incomplete picture of coverage; and making Traditional Medicare competitive by offering the same services offered by Advantage plans.

“Right now, low- and moderate-income seniors and disabled people do not have a real choice,” Robby Stern, president of the education fund of the Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, told Truthout. “They go for Medicare Advantage because it lowers the premiums they have to pay. These private insurance companies are making money hand over fist, and the only way to level the playing field is to limit what people have to pay out of pocket for Traditional Medicare.”

If Traditional Medicare can offer the same benefits as Medicare Advantage, Stern says, “we will win the battle against privatization. But if we do not expand Traditional Medicare coverage, private insurers and equity firms will continue to plunder the Medicare Trust Fund that workers pay into and Traditional Medicare will continue to shrink.”

It’s a grim assessment.

At the same time, Stern is keeping his eye on the big picture and is simultaneously working to promote a national Medicare for All health care program. He’s not alone. A wide range of advocacy groups — People’s Action, the Center for Popular Democracy, Physicians for a National Health Program, Social Security Works, Public Citizen, National Nurses United, Be a Hero and Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action among them — are working to pass a publicly funded Medicare for All bill in Congress. The legislation currently has 14 sponsors in the Senate and more than 100 in the House.

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Everyone knows America spreads lies abroad, and lately we've even started bragging about it in print. But the #CTIFiles suggest "information warfare" is being deployed domestically

by Matt Taibbi

In March of 2022, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, the New York Times published a curious story titled “Fact and Mythmaking Blend in Ukraine’s Information War.” It seemed much-hyped episodes celebrating Ukrainian mettle on the battlefield, like the exploits of the “Ghost of Kiev” ace pilot, “may be a myth,” as the Times put it euphemistically. The paper noted with seeming approval that platforms like Twitter chose not to remove that and other tales that turned out to be not-exactly-true, like the famed “Go Fuck Yourself” send-off of Ukrainian soldiers who reportedly chose to die rather than surrender to Russians on Snake Island. 

Who cared if that story sounded just a tad too much like an R-rated version of General Anthony McAuliffe’s “Nuts” reply to Nazis demanding American surrender at Bastogne? What if that was the point, the paper wondered? 

“Why can’t we just let people believe some things?” the Times quoted one “Twitter user” as saying. “If the Russians believe it, it brings fear. If the Ukrainians believe it, it gives them hope.” The sentiment was expressed in plainer terms later in the article by former Facebook executive Alex Stamos, head of the Stanford Internet Observatory, which piloted the controversial Election Integrity Partnership social-media-monitoring project:

In exercising discretion over how unverified or false content is moderated, social media companies have decided to “pick a side,” said Alex Stamos, the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and a former head of security at Facebook.

The theme of the U.S. and its allies not only engaging in informational fakery but boasting about deceptions in public has been a constant since Russia’s invasion. NBC for instance did a story — before you check, yes, it was written by Ken Dilanian, lol — celebrating the Biden administration’s decision to “break with the past” and release “classified” intelligence even if it “wasn’t rock solid.” An example was an announcement that the Russians were considering the use of chemical weapons. 

That American officials engage in public deception is no surprise to anyone who remembers the runup to the Iraq War. Still, the eagerness of officials to admit this on TV, or in papers like the Times, and even embrace goofball terms like “false flag,” is a new development.

It’s becoming clear that deploying fake news themes as “information warfare” is a tactic American government agencies are bringing home. Last week, in a story that first broke on Public,Michael Shellenberger, Alexandra Gutentag, and myself began publishing documents provided by a whistleblower about a group called the Cyber Threat Intelligence or (CTI) League, CTIL for short. CTIL, a supposed volunteer organization named as partner in April of 2020 by Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency chief Chris Krebs, ostensibly had a narrow focus on Covid-19 “misinformation.” But the whistleblower’s documents revealed something far more ambitious, and unnerving.

It was obvious right away that the #CTIFiles Michael and I testified about before congress last week were newsworthy, quickly filling gaps in the public’s understanding of the mechanics of state-aided censorship programs. However, as was the case with the Twitter Files, more troubling themes have emerged as we’ve had more time to read through the material. In a piece published on Publicyesterday, for instance, Alex detailed the myriad guidelines in the #CTIFiles for “offensive” information operations. 

These include discrediting techniques, use of sock-puppet accounts for trolling and surveillance purposes, strategies to divide groups via infiltration, and a long list of tradecraft lunacies called “counter” actions described taxonomically in the AMITT framework pushed by CTI figures like British data scientist Sarah-Jayne Terp and Special Operations Command “technologist” Pablo Breuer.

The punch line of the upcoming #CTIFiles #4 thread is that these documents don’t merely offer instructions in the use of sockpuppets and small-scale trolling operations. They show a through-line to the much larger frauds that spread like wildfire in the legacy news landscape between 2016 and the present, chief among them the Hamilton 68 scamexposed in the Twitter Files. 

Put simply, the community of individuals who are both provably connected to fake news scandals and have ties to federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, and the FBI is just too intimate and consistent now to be a coincidence. Four federal judges have already determined that many of these agencies likely violated the First Amendment and engaged in prohibited speech suppression, but it’s past time to begin exploring the thesis that federal government agencies have informational ambitions at home that extend beyond censorship. 

Today’s thread will necessarily be limited to a small group of incidents with which Racketreaders may be familiar, but we’re learning also about white papers and military research justifying the use of fakery that are important context to the CTI story. More on that soon. 


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by James Kunstler

“We are at an inflection point, a threshold, where weak, brittle, effete personality structures are a threat to human civilization.” — JD Haltigan

If you’re troubled at all about the state of our country, and even your own small role in it, you might be asking yourself whether the people running things have any idea what they’re doing. Some of these doings happen in the metaphysical realm of finance, for instance America’s national debt ($34-trillion and going up like mad), and the death of the US dollar, along with the bonds that underwrite it. Or the game of hide-the-salami with the repo and reverse repo markets played between the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury to give the broken banking system the appearance of stability when it is actually in deepening ruin.

 Did you understand any of that? Probably not, but not because you’re dumb. It’s because all that action is meant to be incomprehensible even to people who went to grad school. The news media only amplify the mystification. The net effect is that increasingly nothing in the life of our nation is real. Every action taken is a swindle of one kind or another, a cavalcade of switcheroos aimed at zeroing out the consensus about reality.

 What trickles down from all this cosmic activity is the dwindling possibility of a fruitful life for most Americans. You cannot make a living. You can’t fix all the machines in your life or get new ones. You can’t get married because there’s no way you can fulfill your end of the contract. You search in vain for something purposeful to do. You are eventually faced with the choice: surrender to depression and hopelessness, or revolt against a ruling blob that is only good at one thing: depriving you of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

 What also trickles down from on-high is the increasing dysfunction of all the systems that evolved to serve American life on-the-ground. For instance, the supply chains that stuff the gigantic merchandise marts from sea to shining sea. The trucking industry is falling apart. The industry can’t find enough workers to load the trucks. They call them “lumpers” in the trucking biz. United Parcel Service (UPS) is hurting so badly for lumpers that they now make the drivers load and unload the brown trucks and have to pay them double overtime for it. The fruit and vegetables that have to make a truck journey thousands of miles from the sunshine lands to the icy north sit rotting in the warehouses because there aren’t enough lumpers on the loading docks — in case you’ve noticed that the produce in your supermarket is looking wilty and gross.

 All the systems that move stuff around this big country are wobbling. Many trucking and logistics companies went out of business in 2023, led by Convoy’s bankruptcy in October due to a “an unprecedented freight market collapse” and inability to get financing. UPS has not recovered from the big drop in shipping that followed the end of Covid lockdowns — 1.2-million packages per day in lost volume — nor adjusted to its new contract with the Teamsters Union, a 46 percent cost increase for drivers in the first year. UPS CEO Carol Tomé even took a pay cut: $19 million this year, down from $26 million (including stock packages) in 2021. Federal Express also saw a sharp drop in package deliveries and in September yanked its full-year profit guidance. The FedEx share price dropped 20 percent in one day. Consider, too, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations aimed at a “zero carbon emissions” goal in 2035, legislation guaranteed to first paralyze and then kill trucking in that state, including trucks delivering into and out of California. Good luck with that.

 Then there is the good US Postal Service, a crypto-public/private corporation cobbled together back in the 1970s supposedly because mail delivery was losing money. While our Constitution stipulates that the government “establish post offices and post roads” with the implied authority to carry and deliver the mail, the Constitution never said that the post office had to show a profit any more than the Army or the Navy does. These days it looks like our country is just about done with the mail business. Been to your local post office lately? Ours is looking like an old soviet DMV. . . a few part-timers on duty. . . mail delivered when they feel like it. . . an odor of rot in the building. . . . Consider that the post office is one of the few places where we citizens actually interface directly with the government’s workings. So, how does it look like it’s working to you?

 Christmas, 2023, will be a test of how all these crumbling services and wobbling business models are affecting the people who live in the outfit known as the USA. Initial reports of empty Walmarts and maxed-out credit cards don’t paint a pretty picture. The Yuletide potlatch will not look like it used to. At some point, the activity on-the-ground — or eerie absence of activity — might ordinarily be expressed in the stock indexes — but these strange days the markets seem to be hostages of some algorithm cult that operates in a mystical vacuum where nothing matters. When it gets to the point where famished Americans start eating each other to stay alive, will we see another S & P record high?


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Elderly Palestinian couple looking at the home they once lived in, now occupied by a couple from Brooklyn.

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ISRAEL’S LEADERSHIP must be assuming that the International Criminal Court will never mount a case. Many of their observations about the Palestinian people have been chilling, and their open decision-making process makes the imputation of command responsibility easier than it is in more chaotic circumstances. The Israeli minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, has declared that he has “released all restraints,” that the Israeli army is “fighting human animals and will act accordingly,” that the plan is to “eliminate everything” and that “Gaza won't return to what it was before.” 

Senior Israeli military and government officials have stated that “the emphasis is on damage and not on accuracy” and that “there will be no electricity and no water, there will only be destruction. You wanted hell, you will get hell.” 

The former head of the Israeli National Security Council, Major General Giora Eiland, has said that “creating a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a necessary means to achieve the goal” and that “Gaza will become a place where no human being can exist.” Israel's ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, has invoked the Allies’ bombing of Dresden and other German cities in the Second World War — which she claims caused 600,000 deaths—to justify Israel’s actions. The Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, has claimed that “it's an entire nation out there that is responsible. It’s not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved. It’s absolutely not true,” while Netanyahu has described the conflict as “a struggle between the children of light and the children of darkness” and invoked the biblical injunction to destroy Amalek (“Do not spare them: put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”). Such statements have a genocidal intent. 

— Conor Gearty (London Review of Books)

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by Dave Zirin

The cynicism of House Resolution 894 “strongly condemning and denouncing the drastic rise of antisemitism in the United States and around the world” is boundless. Put forward by two Jewish Republicans, Representatives David Kustoff and Max Miller, it states that the official view of the US Congress is that “anti-Zionism is antisemitism.” This is unserious, inane, and dangerous. 

Democratic Representative Jerry Nadler, also Jewish, replied to HR 894, by saying, "The resolution states that all anti-Zionism is antisemitism. That's intellectually disingenuous or factually wrong… The authors if they were at all familiar with Jewish history and culture should know about Jewish anti-Zionism that was and is expressly not anti-Semitic…. The GOP has shown themselves fundamentally unserious…[they] carefully avoided mentioning any of the obvious instances of anti-Semitism coming from their own leaders… the resolution implicitly compares some peaceful protestors with the January 6 rioters."

Good for Nadler for speaking truth in the face of Orwellian absurdity. But it’s not enough. This bill is part of a broad campaign aimed at making people feel unsafe to say that they oppose Israel’s war crimes in Gaza. If you think it is a coincidence that we are getting this “resolution” as the temporary cease-fire ends and as Israel is expanding its killing campaign into the south of Gaza, then, as my Bubbe would say, I have this bridge in Brooklyn you have to buy. If you think that the rash of stories this week where Israeli police are releasing “new information” about the Hamas killings of October 7 just as the bombings move south are also a coincidence, then maybe I could throw in the Manhattan Bridge for free.

This is a bill that will receive near unanimous support from antisemitic Republicans and Christian Zionists like Speaker of the House Mike Johnson: the people who love Israel and hate Jews. That any Democrat would link arms, or in Chuck Schumer’s case hold hands, with these people is a mark of shame.

But that’s not the only reason to oppose HR 893. We must stand against condemning anti-Zionism as antisemitism, because it will fan the fires that have many in the Jewish community fearful right now. While it’s true, as I wrote in October and as Nadler affirms,that anti-Zionism and antisemitism should never be conflated, it is also true that this kind of ham-fisted, coercive defense of Israel aids and abets antisemitism; an antisemitism that then becomes exploited and weaponized to support Benjamin Netanyahu’s martial agenda.

What Netanyahu, Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League, and Hollywood amplifiers like Juliana Margulies (three people who seem to be trying to “out-racist” one another) push is the idea that criticism and protests against Israel’s policies are inherently antisemitic and therefore need to be silenced through force of the state. Their logic threatens the Jewish community. If politically confronting Israel is branded as antisemitic, then it stands to reason for people new to this movement that to be Jewish is to be a Zionist. Netanyahu has devoted his political life to binding the fate of all Jews to the furtherance of the Israeli state. This is rank antisemitism: the assumption that to be Jewish is to support Israel’s crimes. To be clear: Anyone who attempts to bind a 5,000-year-old religion to a 150-year-old colonial project is guilty of antisemitism. They are pushing the idea that my family, merely because of our religion, supports not only the war abroad but the crackdown of critics at home.

It is naïve to think that this won’t cause blowback on the Jewish community. We are already seeing an increasing number of disturbing protests at Jewish institutions throughout the world. If the GOP and many Democrats ruthlessly push the idea that being Jewish means supporting Zionism and its current agenda, then the weight of that will fall on the shoulders of Jews outside Israel’s borders. As leftists, we forcefully oppose the idea of collective guilt or collective punishment of all Jews for Israel’s crimes. If Israel believed the same logic, thousands more Palestinian kids would be alive today.

It can’t be surprising that the GOP would be insensitive to the fallout of these kinds of declarations. Their right-wing base is a cauldron of antisemitism and their presidential candidate Donald Trump was our first president to meet with open Nazis. Netanyahu and Greenblatt have never minded this, because Trump has reserved most of his violent ire for “liberal Jews,” a group that many Zionists also hold in great contempt. With every anti-Jewish attack stoked by Trump, from Charlottesville to Pittsburgh, Netanyahu steps in to both thank Trump and say that this is proof that Jews need their own ethno-state for protection. The opposite is true. What Jews need is a mass left resistance to antisemitism and that resistance also needs to be against Zionism and for Palestinian liberation. If antisemitism is “the socialism of fools,” then Zionism is Judaism for reactionaries.

As a left, we need to fight against any hint of antisemitism in our ranks. But ridding the struggle of this scourge is our job, not the job of a Congress trying to squelch protest and dissent. Every day I am hearing from people whose employment is being threatened over Instagram posts or surreptitiously taped classroom lectures. HR 894 will fuel this suffocating reaction. We need to say no to the war on Gaza and no to the brazen neo-McCarthyism aimed at silencing critics. As Jews, we also need to be aware that our best hope against antisemitism lies in defeating Israel’s dual campaign to raze Gaza and bind our fate to those war crimes.

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THE MOMSEN LUNG, named after its inventor, Lieutenant Commander Charles "Swede" Momsen, was a pioneering device designed to provide emergency escape for submariners in the event of a submarine being submerged. This invention played a crucial role in submarine rescue operations.

Seaman A.L. Rosenkotter aboard the submarine V-5, later named USS Narwhal, demonstrates the use of the Momsen Lung and the after escape hatch aboard the sub in July 1930. US Navy

Developed in the 1930s, the Momsen Lung was a self-contained, free-ascendancy, buoyant ascent device. It consisted of a rubberized canvas hood with a mouthpiece, connected to a canister filled with calcium hydroxide (also known as soda lime). In the event of a submarine being trapped underwater, submariners would put on the Momsen Lung, bite down on the mouthpiece, and exhale. The exhaled carbon dioxide would react with the calcium hydroxide, producing calcium carbonate and releasing oxygen. This process allowed the submariner to breathe in fresh oxygen while slowly ascending to the surface.

After the Squalus sank off the coast of New Hampshire, the development of the Momsen Lung played a key role in enabling trapped crew members to escape from the sunken submarine. The successful use of Momsen Lung was used only one time in practice, during WW2.

While the Momsen Lung represented an important advancement in submarine escape technology at the time, subsequent developments, such as the introduction of more sophisticated submarine rescue systems, have largely replaced its usage. However, Momsen's contributions to submarine safety and rescue operations remain significant in naval history.

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Many of us buy into the idea that the U.S. Empire and Western Civilization is in the process of collapsing. This is not necessarily a fast or linear process, and the art of surviving and adapting usually keeps the nimble too busy to declare a point or event where the sky actually fell.

But, the sky does fall. Just like it did for the Romans, the Church, the Confederacy, the Nazis, and so on. Just like it will for the American Empire. The end of the era of cheap energy will usher new systems of civilization on a much smaller scale. So the news of today is not so hopeless or grim. It’s confirmation that the process of collapse and rebirth is working as it must.

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Dr. McClelland didn't see the back wound because doctors were working on Kennedy while he was lying on his back.

Note that the wound in Kennedy's back is lower than the wound in his throat, which means there were shooters behind and in front of the president. 

— Rob Anderson (District5Diary)

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by Alex Simon

The story of longtime Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper’s lone MLB home run has long been a part of Bay Area lore, even if he hit it for Cleveland.

Every year on Aug. 29, the clip of the second baseman’s only home run is played on NBC Sports Bay Area, and it’s usually brought up that his longtime broadcast partner and friend Mike Krukow hit five career homers despite being a pitcher. The Giants have even given out a bobblehead of Kuiper in his red Cleveland uniform from the night of the homer.

This week, both Krukow and Kuiper are finalists for the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award, given annually to honor excellence in broadcasting. And while some of the most diehard Giants fans might think they know everything about their beloved duo, there are some things that have remained mostly secret.

One of those things? Kuiper actually hit two homers in a Giants uniform. They just happened in games that didn’t count. The first came in 1984, when the Giants played an exhibition game at Stanford.

The second? That came a full decade later … inside San Quentin State Prison. 

This is the story of how Kuiper, Krukow and a team of Giants Fantasy Campers went inside the walls of one of the most famous active prisons in the world for a day to play some baseball.

Back in 1993, Rev. Earl Smith was serving as both the chaplain for the San Francisco Giants and for San Quentin when he got the idea to build a baseball field inside the prison walls. In his memoir “Death Row Chaplain,” Smith wrote that he hoped baseball could be used as a vehicle to cool the prison’s racial tensions and be a key part of the rehabilitation process. 

Smith and some of the inmates built the field in nine months, he wrote. After holding tryouts in the summer of 1994, Smith sought out an opponent for the newly formed baseball team, which he called the Pirates. But finding a group willing to go inside the infamous facility proved challenging.

“It probably didn’t help that visiting players were informed by guards at the arrival gate that the [prison] administration wouldn’t negotiate for their release in a hostage situation,” Smith wrote.

Smith was close with then-KNBR host Ralph Barbieri, who brought Smith on to his radio show one day to discuss the San Quentin team, and advocate for an opponent. 

As luck would have it, Kuiper happened to be listening to the airwaves that day and immediately had an idea. Both Kuiper and Krukow had coached a few times at Giants Fantasy Camp, an annual weeklong baseball-playing experience where regular citizens can pay to get a taste of the big league life. 

It is through those camps that Kruk and Kuip met Kristen Collishaw, who was the Giants’ program coordinator at the time and had been running Fantasy Camp for a few years. This is where the story gets personal: Collishaw is also my godmother, and Kruk and Kuip have also known both of my parents, Michael and Angie Simon, through Fantasy Camps over the years. (Yes, both — my mother played college softball at Cal Poly and played at several Fantasy Camps. That’s a story for another time.) 

“There were always enough guys, and women like your mom, that were good enough that if you put the good ones together, you could put together a pretty good team,” Kuiper told me in a phone interview last month.

To pitch his idea, Kuiper called Collishaw, who was known by her maiden name Lichau at the time. She recalled to SFGATE that she was on board right away with the idea that the Fantasy Campers should be the ones to face off with the San Quentin Pirates. It “didn’t even probably take three days” to get a team together to head up to Marin County to play, she said; the group included Giants chief legal officer Jack Bair, my father, and Krukow and Kuiper as coaches. (One notable person declined: My mother, who was pregnant at the time, with me.)

By the time the scheduled game came around, actual MLB games were on hold. On Aug. 12, 1994, the players went on strike to push back against the owners’ desires to implement a salary cap. After a month without a breakthrough, MLB canceled its postseason and World Series on Sept. 14.

It meant that the San Quentin game on Oct. 8 was suddenly the only ballgame in town, a note that was mentioned in write-ups of the game in both the Marin Independent Journal newspaper and in San Quentin’s prison news outlet, the San Quentin News. (My father exchanged letters with the prison journalist shortly after the game to get his write-up, and still has a copy to this day.)

For many of the Fantasy Campers, it was the first time they had ever stepped foot inside of a prison or jail. That wasn’t the case for Krukow, whose father was a captain in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. 

“I had some expectation as to what I was going to get,” Krukow told me last week. “But all of those things did not prepare me for what we actually got.”

What they got was entry through the large iron doors into the oldest prison in California, one that predates the Civil War. “It took a little while to feel like we were playing a baseball game and you just weren’t in the prison,” said Michael Simon, aka my dad. “It’s a very haunting place.”

Krukow added, “You could feel the ghosts, there’s no doubt about it.”

Kuiper said seeing the ballpark, complete with a well-manicured field and a set of bleachers, “took my breath away, because when you think of a prison, you don’t think of a baseball park.”

Barbieri, the KNBR host, coached the Pirates, and Krukow and Kuiper coached the Giants. Collishaw and another female Giants employee were also in attendance. Collishaw told me that she didn’t think anything of her presence in the maximum-security men’s prison until the guards gave the two women white painter’s suits to wear in an attempt to downplay their femininity.

“Once we got in the yard and were sitting on the bench, we realized there was a reason they didn’t want us in anything girly,” Collishaw told SFGATE.

The game began after an inmate played the national anthem on an electric guitar; Independent Journal reporter Dave Albee wrote the musician “did his best Jimi Hendrix impression.” Smith’s memoir lays out the ground rules at San Quentin’s ballpark: Any fly ball that landed in the Native American reservation in right-center was an automatic home run. The “wall” in center field was actually just an orange traffic cone. And the umpires for the day were going to be clearly biased in favor of one team, because they were also inmates.

The game itself was mostly a normal baseball game — though Smith wrote that it was interrupted twice by emergency sirens that prompted everyone to drop to the ground. 

Bair, who was pitching for the Giants, took a measured approach. He had previously interned for the public defender’s office in Dallas, Texas, and thus had been inside a correctional facility plenty of times before, he told me. That knowledge helped shape his pitching plan for the day. 

“I didn’t want to hit somebody. I had it in my head, ‘You just don’t throw inside.’ I didn’t trust my control well enough to pitch high and tight,” said Bair, who allowed one run in his one inning of work. “I was really trying to throw the ball over the plate or on the outside of the plate and keep it low — which is probably not a bad strategy for pitching, anyway.”

My dad still has the box score, which he dug out for me last month. It shows the teams trading runs in the early innings before the Pirates took the lead thanks to a two-run third and three more runs in the sixth. The Giants made it close in the eighth with two runs to cut it to 7-4 before my dad took the mound for his lone inning of pitching, dancing around two errors to keep it a three-run game headed to the ninth.

That’s when Kuiper went to the plate to pinch-hit. It had been nearly a decade since Kuiper’s last MLB game, and he’d famously ended a 12-year MLB career with just one homer. (Because his two-run bomb at Stanford came in an exhibition game, it didn’t count in his official career total, though it was memorialized in the next day’s San Francisco Chronicle and in a Sports Illustrated piece on Kuiper’s lack of power a month later.)

More than 10 years later, Kuiper was back in a Giants uniform, this time in a prison. He was on the receiving end of some chirping from the inmates, whom Kuiper said “certainly knew I only hit one home run.” Kuiper said he looked for a pitch inside and “cheated like crazy.” 

On the swing, he “got both cheeks into it,” according to Krukow, to send it over the right field wall for a homer.

“It was awesome,” Krukow told SFGATE. “If you know Kuip, you can’t even be in awe. You kind of come to expect that kind of stuff from him.”

Krukow pinch-hit after Kuiper, but he struck out. He remembers the Pirates pitcher being ecstatic over getting him to strike three.

“You’d have thought he’d closed out the last out of the World Series,” Krukow said. “It meant more to him, to that team, to have struck out an ex-big leaguer. It was amazing how much that whole day affected these guys in such a positive way.”

The next two batters after Krukow grounded out, ending the game as a 7-5 win for the home team.

The game was the first of many that the San Quentin Pirates would play against teams from outside the prison walls, with Smith writing they would eventually play up to 40 games a year. The team eventually changed its name to the Giants when the MLB team donated some uniforms, a name that has stuck to this day. 

That first game, though, still stands out. Whenever my family drove by the prison, my father would tell me about the two games he played inside the walls. When I asked him about it again for this story, he called the experience “eye-opening and thought-provoking.”

Even for Krukow and Kuiper, who each had decades of big league experience, the day they spent inside San Quentin playing the sport they love is a day they cherish. 

“That ballpark and this team was their life,” Krukow said. “It was really unbelievable to see how baseball affected these guys. You never expect to find a team that loves the game more than you do. And I honestly could say that this game of baseball meant more to them than it did any of us. It was their life.”

Kuiper added, “Everybody, win, lose or draw, had an experience that would be one of their most unique experiences of their life if they truly love baseball. I remember driving home thinking, ‘You know what? This was a great day’.”


* * *

VAUGHN COSTINE LOVE was born on December 5, 2023 in Dayton, TN, 1907. 

He played college football but was injured in his final year. He moved to New York in 1929. He worked as a coal miner, coffee barista, and an actor with the Federal Theater Project. He joined the CPUSA and the AFL. Vaughn (left, kneeling) arrived in Spain on March 13, 1937. He served with ALB and became an officer after Brunete. He was WIA twice: at Teurel in January 1938 and at Ebro in August in 1938. He returned to the US on December 20, 1938. He later served in the US Army during WWII.

He shares a birthday with Patrick Roosevelt, who is also pictured in the second image (behind the machine gun).

Donate to ALBA in honor of Vaughn or another volunteer who fought fascism in Spain:

* * *


by Larry Bensky

Mews Flat, London. Semi-deserted Hostel, Belle-Isle, France. Environmentally “correct” B & B, Vermont. Converted Castle, Vallo de Nera, Italy. Hillside room, Molyvos, Greece. Small apartment, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Hotel room, Ceuta, Morocco.

I can no longer travel further than Oakland from my Berkeley home, and even within Oakland and Berkeley I frequent fewer than half a dozen places.

So I will, alas, never revisit the many stations where Train LMB paused in the past.

But I now can be there in memory via the imperfect instrument that what’s left of my mind has become.

Sometimes my memory starts up involuntarily while doing, or recovering from doing, exercises (leg lifts) that doctors and other health professionals have advised me to do.

Can’t say why the mews flat in London came to mind first. It was two small rooms above a converted horse and carriage garage in a fashionable neighborhood. The garage was rented to someone I never met who announced their presence daily by noisily opening and closing the garage doors beneath us. Then starting a car motor whose noxious fumes penetrated upward.

Across the street from the eight mews flats around the cobblestone courtyard where hooves once clattered was “the local.” A pub (public house) where “licensed” alcoholic liquids were sold. And homemade food was served.

I was one of the first in the pub every morning. It had a roaring fireplace; any such source of creature comfort after the deadly privations of the World War Two years, very fresh in the collective memory, was welcome.

In London I remember only Winter. My young artistic/literary community was composed almost entirely of people from the British Isles, provisioned in tweed garments and waterproof shoes. The wartime mantra of “mustn’t grumble” was still ingrained against shortages of food and fuel.

Gas and electricity were purchased in each housing unit. The art of staying alive required a constant supply of coins - “thrupenny bits” - to feed the household utility meters.

If you didn’t “feed” them, the hot water in your shower would be immediately cut off. Or your tea kettle wouldn’t boil.

Another way of staying warm was to stay in bed, under thick quilts and/or next to the body, or bodies, of humans. I had found by accident, such a human who had body, quilts, and bed.

Moreover the bed wasn’t just a bed. It was “the” bed, featured in the 1954 French film “The Bed. How did a large prop bed make it “across the pond” from Paris to London? My bedmate told me it arrived as part of a settlement between French and British film production companies. She was a typist at such a company.

She could have been much more, but in those years “girls” were restricted to the lowest rung on the jobs ladder. My “girl” had highly ranked degrees in literature from prestigious Oxbridge universities. (She introduced me to Thackeray and Yeats and Jane Austin.) Her pay was ludicrously low, however. So she was paid with a bed.

As part of the deal she had done what she had to do, which was an implicit part of such arrangements. Share the bed in late afternoons with a married superior.

Word got around about the bed. And about the superior. Nobody shamed her or blamed her. Or him. That’s just the way things were.

So our crowd descended on the mews flat, minus “superiors,” armed with the ultimate privilege, never talked about. We were alive!

To drink, to smoke (mostly cigarettes, still) to talk about politics. Anarchists, trotskyites, Marxist-Leninists, Third World Liberationists, sex and gender activists, animal rights stalwarts, teased and taunted constantly before laughing and roaring (have you ever heard an Englishman bellow?) off into the night.

Parties in our little flat couldn’t get too loud or run too late, however, because the mews neighbors were all older than us. They’d been through the war, they had lost friends, neighbors, close relatives , some just a few miles from Belgravia where we now lived They seemed to have high tolerance for noisy, boozy youngsters.

But they had their limits, and we knew what they were. So at a certain hour we stumbled across the street to the local for a few more smoky, inebriated hours.

I’ve lost touch with everyone from that crowd. Though I recently did find one retired professor of physics and exchanged e-mails with him. He’s still married to the same woman he was with at mews flat time. Now they’re grandparents many times over.

Sorry, George Bernard Shaw, youth is not, in my experience, always wasted on the young. Mine wasn’t.

My mews flat and the time it brings to mind proves that to me. And all the things and people I experienced in the other places I mention in paragraph one above, and in so many other places, too , prove it, too!

(Larry Bensky welcomes hearing from readers.

* * *

BILL KIMBERLIN: Can you identify this car? Only a few were made.


  1. Mazie Malone December 6, 2023

    So much corruption in this little backwoods mecca…
    Integrity seems to be left in the dust!



  2. BRICK IN THE WALL December 6, 2023

    Oh wow, the AVA comes through again with news about herbicides on a trail to the deplorable actions of the Sups board of denying her required “day in court”. I voted for that lady, as I voted for Eyster ( back around 2010, he gave me a piece of candy while marching through the Boonville parade, and he defended Bobby Beacon on a trespassing dispute by some corporate yuppies). So I thought he was on my side or ice versa. But if he wanted to hold training, he should have considered the effect that the resultant lawsuit would have. Dear AVA could you provide some write ins for DA ? Know you got the guys for districts, but Eyster, Antle, have to go. Taxes? Gladly paid, but if not for the AVA, as we have the ICO here on the South Coast (a lib lab, Lilly white production) I would not have a clue as to what is really happening in this vast county we call home. Thank you Bruce, Mark, and Mike K. AND OF COURSE , LING

  3. Me December 6, 2023

    I believe Ms Cubbison left DOT and first worked in the CEO office before moving to the Auditor office.

  4. jim barstow December 6, 2023

    Another useful-free content day from Kunstler. Everything is falling apart because of the party in power. No mention of tax cuts in the deficit. No mention of the trucking companies who made record profits during covid and fueled the over expansion. No mention of the Trump Postmaster General who fueled the decline in the post office.

    There is a line between writing with a viewpoint and propaganda and he is well over it.

    • Chuck Dunbar December 6, 2023

      I agree with all you note, Jim. I gave up reading this guy, at the suggestion of others here, a good while ago. Just dishonest, non-factual BS mean to stir-up the populace. I disagree with Bruce that he’s good writer, or that he’s thoughtful or has any value as an honest reporter at all–it’s trash writing.

      • Bruce McEwen December 6, 2023

        Here’s the false prophet back in 2017:

        “And now the rather pathetic false promises of President Trump, the whole MAGA (Make America Great Again) thing, is unraveling at exactly the same time that the financialized economy is entering its moment of final catastrophic phase-change. The monuments to wealth — especially the stock and bond portfolios and the presumed value of real estate investments — will surrender to a process you might call price-discovery-from-Hell, revealing their worth to be somewhere between little and nothing. The accumulated monstrous debts of persons, corporations, and sovereign societies, will be suddenly, shockingly, absolutely, and self-evidently unpayable, and the securities represented by them will be sucked into the kind of vortices of time/space depicted in movies about mummies and astronauts. And all of a sudden the avatars of that wealth will see their lives turn to shit just like moiling, Budweiser-gulping, oxycontin-addled deplorables in the flat, boring, parking lot wastelands of our ruined drive-in Utopia saw their lives rendered into a brown-and-yellow slurry draining clockwise down the toilet of history.”

        Have any of JHK’s prophecies come to pass?

      • Stephen Rosenthal December 6, 2023

        Didn’t take me long to discover the fraud that is Kunstler and I haven’t read him in many years since. I believe I was at the forefront of imploring Chuck to make better use of his time by abandoning the ongoing Kunstler bs. The Editor stubbornly and repeatedly proclaims him to be funny and a good writer; I respectfully and vehemently disagree, but to each his own.

        Today, as I scrolled past, I noticed a blatant lie, to wit, that FedEx stock tanked after dropping 20% in a day. Truth be told, that was a Covid blip that many companies suffered. FedEx is trading near its 52 week and all-time highs, as is the Dow and many other stocks.

        I’m quite confident I’d find other Kunstler fabrications in today’s article, but I have better things to do than read it to prove my point.

    • BRICK IN THE WALL December 6, 2023

      ⁰Read “world made by hand” by Kuntsler to get an idea of where we are headed.

      • Bruce McEwen December 6, 2023

        I have read it, a Nineteenth Century fantasy wherein JHK’s alter ego hero rides tall in the saddle like in a John Houston movie, and a pretty hippy chick takes him to her bed with homemade patchwork quilts, how quaint…

    • peter boudoures December 6, 2023

      It’s tough for white collar guys to see the issues from any perspective but their own. The trucking industry is becoming more regulated and expensive to operate and just because they made large profits during covid like everyone else doesn’t means it’s stable.

  5. John Sakowicz December 6, 2023

    To the Board of Supervisors:

    In response to my remarks, made during Public Comment, yesterday, 12/5/2023, during the Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, Supervisor Mulheren stated on the record that, and I’m paraphrasing, “My private finances are none of Mr. Sakowicz’s business.”

    Nothing could be further from the truth. I am a member of the public, and Mulheren is a publicly elected constitutional officer in California, and, as such, all of her finances are a matter of public record. This includes government grants and loans.

    FORM 700

    Every elected official and public employee who makes or influences governmental decisions in California is required to submit a Statement of Economic Interest, also known as the Form 700. The Form 700 provides transparency and ensures accountability in two ways:

    It provides necessary information to the public about an official’s personal financial interests to ensure that officials are making decisions in the best interest of the public and not enhancing their personal finances.

    It serves as a reminder to the public official of potential conflicts of interest so the official can abstain from making or participating in governmental decisions that are deemed conflicts of interest.
    Also, under the Act and Commission regulations, Form 700s may require Additional Schedules:

    Schedule A-1 for Stocks, Bonds, and in Business Entities (Ownership Interest Is Less than 10%)
    Schedule A-2 for Investments, Income, and Assets of Business Entities/Trusts (Ownership Interest Is 10% or Greater)
    Schedule B for Interests in Real Property (Including Rentals)
    Schedule C for Income, Loans and Business Positions (Exempting Only Credit Card and Other Revolving Debt)
    Schedule D for Income — Gifts
    Schedule E for Travel Payments, Advances, Reimbursements.


    Persons who fail to timely file their complete and accurate Form 700 may be referred to the FPPC’s Enforcement Division (and, in some cases, to the Attorney General or district attorney) for investigation and possible prosecution. In addition to the late filing penalties, a fine of up to $5,000 per violation may be imposed.


    Form 700 is a public document. Public access must be provided.

    Statements of Economic Interests are public documents. The filing officer must permit any member of the public to inspect and receive a copy of any statement.

    Statements must be available as soon as possible during the agency’s regular business hours, but in any event not later than the second business day after the statement is received. Access to the Form 700 is not subject to the Public Records Act procedures.

    No conditions may be placed on persons seeking access to the forms.

    No information or identification may be required from persons seeking access.

    Reproduction fees of no more than 10 cents per page may be charged.


    In her outburst before the BOS meeting — an outburst that was heard by the public and videotaped by at least one person — Mulheren further alleged that, and I’m paraphrasing, “Why pick on me? I’m a single mom just trying to support my family.”

    In truth, Mulheren is a not a needy single mother. The $20,100 in COVID Prime Grants and COVID SBA Loan that Mulheren received were all received by Mulheren after she was sworn in in January 2020. Mulheren makes an annual salary of $97,000 plus a generous benefits package.

    In truth, Mulheren recently bought a house in Ukiah.

    In truth, Mulheren plays the “victim card” when confronted with her behaviors.


    Also, in her outbursts before the BOS meeting that was heard by the public and videotaped by at least one person, Mulheren kept asking me, and I’m paraphrasing, “Why are you doing this to me? What is your endgame?” She repeated herself three times.

    When I insisted that I was simply a concerned citizen concerned about integrity in government, Mulheren only repeated herself in a louder voice.

    Finally, I urged Mulheren to be honest with investigators from the GAO, California’s FPPC, and Mendocino County’s County Counsel, Elections Commissioner, and District Attorney, and I ended the conversation.


    Along with the requirement to file accurate and complete Form 700s, Mulheren may now be required to explain how Mulheren Marketing was able to secure $20,100 in COVID Prime Grants and a COVID SBA Loan through a shell company that has no assets, no revenues, no employees, and no clients.

    By her own admission, Mulheren is a social influencer who “markets” her self-avowed authority, knowledge, position, and relationship with her digital audience. She shares “tips” for small businesses in the Ukiah Valley.

    Apparently, Mulheren only cuts and pastes these tips from other sources and posts it to her own social media. In other words, there Mulheren Marketing is not a viable business. It is a shell organized to apply for government grants and loans.

    Mulheren’s only real “client” may her own daughter, Kasie Gray, who received a COVID Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) Grant in the amount of $11,468 on 6/29/2020 under the guise of being an “independent contractor”.

    Again, I urge the Board to undertake its own investigation into Supervisor Mulheren’s ethical lapses.

    John Sakowicz

    • Mike J December 6, 2023

      Mulheren Marketing does NOT appear to be a shell company, by definition an inactive biz fronting for something else. I studied the activity of MM at the Facebook page for this effort and saw specific solicitation to provide social media help to promote local businesses for a fee around $250. I have no awareness of her clients, if any, but I can remember her staging outdoor dining to help downtown restaurants during COVID, which seems to in line line with a marketing business activity. Since COVID limited most businesses from actually operating, this would obviously impact a marketing business. Which, again, in her case was an active effort that would be affected negatively by the widespread closing of businesses.

      Conflict of interest risks? Read this:

      She can legally have this business and serve as a BOS rep.

      • Joseph Turri December 6, 2023

        Seems simple enough, get the Form 700 and see if it was filled out properly…….
        Either THE END or THE BEGINING of THE STORY…

        • Mike J December 6, 2023

          I see JS accusing her of fraud based on his belief her marketing company is a shell company. It clearly isn’t. It is or was an active effort.

        • Mike J December 6, 2023

          I just got through looking at one of her 700s online. Filed 2020. The marketing biz valued in the $10,000 to $100,000 range and her vice president position with Ukiah Custom Cabinets, a company with similar range and for her a very low gross income if I read the next box below correctly.
          The marketing biz started in 2019.

          • Marmon December 6, 2023

            Mikey, I hear she’s still single, are you working that? That Cabinet shop has been a shell company forever. Remember when dad tried to claim the shop as his home in order to run for office in that district.


          • Joseph Turri December 6, 2023

            So was the money from the $20,100 in COVID Prime Grants and a COVID SBA Loan disclosed on her Form 700?

            Should be a simple YES or NO.

            • Mike J December 6, 2023

              The forms for 2016 and 2020 (dated March) are the only ones showing up on a Google search. The relief money was received after she was sworn in, 2021 (according to dates JS said in his BOS public comment)

              The FPPC after her 2020 election fined her and her daughter (campaign treasurer) $254 for failing to adequately itemize expenditures on one of the quarterly campaign statement filings.

              • Bruce McEwen December 6, 2023

                Sack 0”Witz: “he has the reputation to be a close, griping, squeezing fellow; and that when his bags are full, he is often needy; yet when the fit takes him, as fast as he gets, he lets it fly.”

                —Dean Swift

  6. Kirk Vodopals December 6, 2023

    How come all of the cries for a cease fire and rescuing the Palestinian civilians never mention releasing hostages? I know this discussions are on-going and I know that the American liberal viewpoint rightly characterized Israel as the brutalizer now, but not mentioning the hostages in all of these cries of victimhood seems ludicrous… on both sides

    • Marmon December 6, 2023

      The remaining hostages are probably dead or have been seriously abused.


      • Harvey Reading December 6, 2023

        How many have the Zionist savages slaughtered and tortured since they took over Palestine, with the blessing of the guilt-ridden “civilized” west, since the end of the second war of the world?

      • Kirk Vodopals December 6, 2023

        Yes, some of which by Israeli bombs

        • Marmon December 6, 2023

          Give it a rest Kirk. That talking point is getting old. It that was the case don’t you think Hamas would be exploiting that lie?


          • Kirk Vodopals December 6, 2023

            I suggest you listen to the press conference from the freed Israeli hostages Mr. Marmon. Then, after that, please tell me why a gentile from Lake County is such a fervent supporter of Israel.

            • Kirk Vodopals December 6, 2023

              While you’re at it , check out Charbu Darbu by the Israeli by Ness Ve Stilla on YouTube.

            • Marmon December 6, 2023

              I was born and raised in Ukiah, spent at least 40+ years living in Mendocino County.


            • Sarah Kennedy Owen December 6, 2023

              Whoa there. “Gentile”? Are you playing the race card here? “Jews” are mostly like the rest of us now, and especially American “Jews”, who do not even practice Judaism seriously any more, much less any extreme form of the religion. But even if they did, how does that separate them from “gentiles”? Things continue to get nastier on the AVA, which is why I am no longer too interested in it. What a waste of talent and hard work, to allow this kind of attitude to tarnish the reputation of the AVA. In fact, it makes me want to cry. I am a “gentile” 100% (and take no pride in it because I find the term offensive and misleading: for example, I am Buddhist, not Christian, so does that cancel my “gentile” membership?) but I see myself as no different from other people, whether Black, Hispanic , Native American, Jewish etc. Why are you bringing back a word that has so much anger, hatred and stupidity behind it? It is shameful, ignorant, and backwards.

              • Kirk Vodopals December 6, 2023

                My apologies. I use the term only in the sense of non-Jew. I assumed it’s meaning to be benign. I’m just curious as to why so many American Christians support Israel, particularly during times of war. I’m assuming it’s based on religious beliefs, mostly fundamental holy war stuff…. And, by the way, I don’t find the AVA offensive in general.

    • Marshall Newman December 6, 2023

      Agreed. At the very beginning of this conflict, Israel should have insisted on release of all hostages as the condition for ending its military action. It is important to remember that Hamas started this conflict. Hamas also – by release of the hostages and the surrender of its leadership – has the means to end it. Sadly, Hamas is perfectly happy to hide behind the civilians of Gaza and let them die by the thousands.

  7. Nathan Duffy December 6, 2023

    Zionism indeed feeds antisemitism just as antisemitism creates the entire rationale of Zionism. Its a cynical effin ideology, pure trauma if you ask me, indicative of a people who have given up on humanity entirely. To me that’s the opposite of Judaism which preaches Tikkun Olam which is to heal the world, and to greet and honour the stranger among other noble objectives. I think the principle critique of Zionism is its blasphemy and betrayal of the entire Judaic Tradition. There was a rich critique of Zionism that existed from its inception from the 19th into the 20th century. Then the extreme tragedy of the Holocaust bolstered and empowered this extreme ideology of Zionism which found its Triumph and recognition in the modern nation state of Israel. Zionism should be viewed for what it is, the absolute worst of outcomes, the failure to get along or exist in the world with others, fleeing from the world or really a vain attempt to go back in time. This must be the epic Tragedy of Tragedies. Just wow!!!

    • Sarah Kennedy Owen December 6, 2023

      Excuse me, are you American? Take a look at American policies against Native Americans. We also did not have such a great record regarding Jews before and during WWII. Be careful how and who you judge. If Israel is or has committed war crimes, look at the leader, not the people. It’s the same with the Palestinians, in that the Hamas leadership is to blame for the hideous crimes (which really are war crimes) they have committed against Israelis. If you think the Palestinian Hamas is a legitimate or humane organization, you have a serious problem.

      • Kirk Vodopals December 6, 2023

        Your aggressive response is offensive to me

        • Sarah Kennedy Owen December 6, 2023

          I was responding to Nathan Dufy, not you, but since you relate it to yourself, let me reiterate: you ask why American Christians identify with/support Israel: I can’t answer that because I think it is a very broad generalization that has no real bearing on the issue. Maybe it is a fairly complicated political issue that can’t be full explained on this website. However, my extremely sketchy knowledge of Christian beliefs tells me that Jesus said something like “Let those who are without fault cast the first stone”. Diatribes against the Israelis and Jews seem to me to go against that saying. Especially looking at all of the possible “genocide” committed by the U.S. and before that, the colonies, and before that Cromwell in England (“nits make lice”, referring to the slaughter of Celtic Scots and Irish). This cannot excuse war crimes by Israel (under Netanyahu) against Palestinians or vice versa, Hamas against Israelis but it can be an education in restraint against those involved.

          • Kirk Vodopals December 6, 2023

            To be clear, my statements were towards the state of Israel, specifically the government of Mr. Netanyahu, not the entire Jewish people.
            I feel similarly to my own government

          • Nathan Duffy December 7, 2023

            Naaah, the Jewish Prison (re; Jean Daniel) is waaaay more unique and fatalistic than what Americans find themselves in. Refer to the editors discourse on race, we have achieved leaps & bounds. Apartheid Israel, not so much. Are you a convert or something???

      • Bruce Anderson December 6, 2023

        The Israeli Likud, in a parliamentary system like Israel’s, represents the fascist right of Israel, teamed up with other fascist parties. The next election in Israel will get all of them the heave-ho.

  8. Lee Edmundson December 6, 2023

    To Bruce McEwen: it’s John Huston, not Houston.
    To Larry Bensky: “Youth is wasted on the young” is attributed to Oscar Wilde, not George Bernard Shaw.
    The the Editor and Major and other writers/readers of and for the AVA: I find James Kuntsler’s writings/musings entertaining and somewhat enlightening. I mentally substitute Trump for Biden and suddenly his commentary usually makes rather complete sense.

    On a different note: What Israel is perpetrating in Gaza is borderline genocide. The statistics prove it. 1200 Israelis slaughtered in the bloodthirsty Hamas attack October 7th. Over 19,000 Gazans slaughtered (thus far) in the Israeli counter attack (over 70% of whom are women and children). With no end in sight. Yes, Genocide. Plain and simple
    Bebe is stumbling along the same path W. Bush trod: War on Hamas is not different from W’s War on Terror. Hard fact: one cannot eradicate an Idea. For every Hamas militant killed — 5000 estimated out of 60,000 thus far — 2 or 3 more will join their ranks. Then what? Now What?
    Egypt and Jordan will not accept Gazan refugees. Palestinians are (still) a stateless people. The West Bank “settlers” (I would call them “Squatters”) force resident Palestinians to live in an apartheid territory.
    My recommended remedy? Total cease fire contingent upon the full release of Hamas captives. Removal of Israeli squatters from all West Bank territory. Return to 1967 borders. (of course, this idea risks a civil war between the squatters and Israel).
    Complete demilitarization of Gaza and the West Bank. Negotiations for a two-state solution.
    Pie-in-the sky? You bet. But their honestly is no other outcome for the conflict. Nakba is to the Palestinians what the Holocast is to Jews. Time to settle their differences. Peacefully.
    Strongly suggest reading “Lawrence and Aaronsohn” by Ronald Florence. Their was a peace in this region once. Their may be again, but only if our leaders are bold. Towards a lasting peace.
    ‘Nuf said

  9. John Sakowicz December 6, 2023

    Mike J.,

    Nice try, buddy.

    Mulheren says her business, Mulheren Marketing is “valued” in the $10,000 to $100,000 range, but, in fact, that is an arbitrary value. For Maureen Mulheren’s purposes — using the business as a shell — the value could be any dollar number.

    More to the point, Mulheren Marketing has no revenues, no assets, no employees, no clients. You can’t fake revenues, assets, employees, and clients.

    It would be like Bruce Anderson saying that The Anderson Valley Advertiser is worth in the $10 million to $100 million range. Bullshit. A better measure of value would be the AVA’s subscription revenues, advertising revenues, number of hard copy subscribers, number of online subscribers.

    If Bruce really wanted to drill down to the AVA’s value, he would disclose information on the number of readers/advertisers acquired and lost over time, readership’s growth or decline, a reader’s/advertiser’s lifetime value, and other data. This approach links the value of the newspaper’s readers/advertisers to the overall value of the newspaper, with the term “reader-and-advertiser-based corporate valuation” being used to describe such efforts.

    In the above example, the underlying model of reader/advertiser acquisition and retention does not adequately reflect the empirical realities associated with these subscriber and advertiser behaviors, and the associated valuation models do not meet the standards of finance professionals. My point is that business valuation is a hard exercise.

    Get my drift, Mike J?

    Business valuation is empirical. It’s not guesswork.

    “The Mo You Don’t Know” simply made up a number and put it in a blank on the Form 700.

    There was nothing “empirical” about Mo’s valuation. She just made shit up. Then she used Mulheren Marketing as a shell to get COVID PRIME Grants and a COVID SBA Loan. Nifty trick.

    I would love to see the financial statements for Mulheren Marketing. I bet they’re non-existent, or, at best, very sketchy.

    Mulheren is not alone in inflating business valuation. Business valuation fraud is the reason why Donald Trump lost his case in New York.

    Business valuation fraud is a lender’s biggest risk. Banks have forensic accountants to sniff the fraudsters out.

    Also, business valuation fraud is one of the biggest risks for governments agencies that make grants. For Mulheren Marketing, it paid off…for now. Her fraud has been reported to both the U.S. GAO and California’s FPPC.

    Regarding, Ukiah Custom Cabinets, that’s her father’s business.

    Maybe Mulheren Marketing can do a hostile takeover of Ukiah Custom Cabinets. Stay tuned.

    Bottom line? It’s appalling that Mulheren got three PRIME Grants and an SBA Loan while drawing $97,000 in salary, plus benefits, as a sitting member of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.

    Voters take note: Character is the real issue.

    John Sakowicz

    • Mike J December 6, 2023

      Hate to tell you this but the box for her to check this was identifying a 10,000 to 100,000 range. It’s not her identifying this, it’s what’s on the form.
      She started a marketing business in April 2019. By spring of 2020 most (non essential) businesses had to close, obviously cutting off potential clients for her to serve. The minimum fee for her services seems to be a $250 fee. Judging by the notices on the MMarketing Facebook page, she would be the employee creating an online presence promoting a business. Assets would exist too…like her laptop! So, having read the definition for a shell company, I think you are mistaken in characterizing her biz as such.
      She got the money after being sworn in? Of course! The period her biz would be affected were the immediately prior 2020 months when the shutdowns were in force.

  10. Michael Koepf December 6, 2023

    “As a left, we need to fight against any hint of antisemitism in our ranks.” And, this is how we do it. We don’t hate Jews, we hate Zionists most of whom are Jews. See, how easy is that in our left wing, topsy-turvy, semantic world.? Others too are good with words. Recall “Final Solution” for genocide.

    • Bruce Anderson December 6, 2023

      What exactly are you saying, Colonel?

      • Lee Edmundson December 6, 2023

        Yeah, Michael, what are you trying to say here?
        I myself am not antisemitic (point of fact, both Jews and Arabs are Semitic people historically and linguistically).
        Nor am I anti-semantic. Words have meaning(s), hence power. It’s wise to use them well, and specifically.
        So, again, what are you trying to convey here?
        Gimme something of a hint, huh?

        • Bruce McEwen December 6, 2023

          Woke up, Lee. When the colonel admired to complicity in assassination plots (a soldier in civies; therefore a spy) a few weeks before The Bloody Seventh of October… then almost simultaneously the former VP Pence says the Special Forces are on ground… I have heard several corroborating murmurs in the mainstream white noise that the green berets were at large on the battlefield…

  11. Jim Armstrong December 6, 2023

    And neither Kuip nor Kruk won the Ford Frick.

    • Me December 6, 2023

      I thought Bugatti too. The long hood is the tell. My grandfather built/restored a Bugatti. Bright red. Was so much fun to drive!

  12. Norm Thurston December 6, 2023

    Without going too deep into the weeds, there is a difference between a “Medicare Advantage Plan”, and basic Medicare coupled with a “Medicare Supplement Plan” purchased through an insurance agent such as the one offered to AARP members from United Health Care. Anyone considering either option should discuss it with an independent insurance agent.

  13. Mazie Malone December 6, 2023

    Anyone needing help to weed through Medicare and all the secondary supplemental choices should Contact HICAP!!! They will help you figure it out….

    You are welcome !!!


    • Bruce McEwen December 6, 2023

      Thank the fates I have the VA and don’t have to worry about the shyster ads on TV for Medicare Advantage and all the related paperwork and expenses—as to the horrors afoot in the Middle East, I have to keep reminding myself that the majority of Israelis voted for Netanyahu; just as the majority of Palestinians voted for Hamas, so each belligerent party is getting just what it asked for on both sides of that ancient hatred.

      • Mazie Malone December 6, 2023

        Well luckily I am not at that age yet that I have to weed through it…..thank goodness

        Nothing I hate more than BS and interrogations haha I mean paperwork…

        But I am at the age where AARP wants me….




        • Bruce McEwen December 6, 2023

          Mazie, you amaze me. If I knew my emojis from my eejits I’d give you one of those cute little curtsies, with the hands steepled, like Hindu temple dancers do…bless you, Ms Malone.

          • Mazie Malone December 6, 2023

            Haha well that’s something. thank you….. !!!





            Happy Holidays…..☃️🕯️


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