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Mendocino County Today: Sunday 6/23/24

Warm Interior | Spirit Runners | Palace Status | Royal Pets | Local Events | Transformed Bowels | Community Lunch | Rainbow II | Volunteers Needed | One Murder | Yesterday's Catch | No Cells | Jack Flash | Marco Radio | Hate Vegans | Why Drink | Lifetime Incandescence | Bama Memories | Insane Universe | Penn Interview | Death Valley | Tax Plan | Cognitive Test | Debate Tips | Head Bump | Go Girl | Levity | Taibbi & Kirn | Celestial Voices | Peace Deal | Fire & Ice | NYT Stories | Help Yourself | Red Lines | Natural Advice

INTERIOR WARM AND DRY conditions continue through Tuesday while marine stratus dampens coastal temperatures. An upper level disturbance mid-week will allow for relatively cooler temperatures through Thursday. Warming trend returns for this weekend into next week. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): 48F with clear skies at 5am. The fog remains nearby so you know never know. Our forecast is for mostly clear skies with some fog at times. I do not see any significant wind mentioned.


AIM Spirit Runners made it to Ukiah after their 500 mile run from Round House to Round House starting in the Sierra's. I was totally honored to help give them their certificates along with Priest of the Redwood Valley Rancheria. They stood with us in the past for protecting sacred sites being desecrated by Cal Trans in the construction of the Willits Highway ByPass.

One of the young men all of nine or so now gifted me with a beautiful pine needle basket he made. My heart is filled with love and joy for being a friend of these spiritual earth warriors.


by Justine Frederiksen

Prompted by questions from an audience member, city staff gave the Ukiah City Council an update on the status of the Palace Hotel Wednesday, though few new details were shared.

“There is no additional update, this is an administerial process on a privately owned property,” Deputy City Manager Shannon Riley told the board during its June 19 meeting, after Council member Mari Rodin asked that staff respond to the public comments by resident Pinky Kushner, who asked whether the building was in escrow and who owned the building, and requested that the Palace Hotel be put on a City Council meeting agenda to allow for “a full and open discussion” on the matter.

“The building permit application for demolition came in under the building owner’s name, Jitu Ishwar, so our understanding is that that is still the property’s owner,” Riley continued, describing any change of ownership as “a real estate transaction between private parties, so we don’t have additional details about that.”

As for the status of the building’s potential demolition, City Manager Sage Sangiacomo said the owner of the building had “submitted a demolition permit and the permit has been approved, (but) there are outstanding submittals that we have yet to receive before they can proceed, but those are relatively typical.”

Sangiacomo described the owner of the building as “currently vetting those (remaining) issues and vetting contractors, so we will certainly continue to engage. Our goal is to get to a successful outcome that deals with the health and safety issue that the public and the council have noticed.”

In terms of putting the matter before the board, Council member Doug Crane asked if there were “any items that are before the council now, in terms of decisions or discussions to hold on this topic?”

When Riley said there were not, Crane asked what might necessitate such a discussion, and Riley said she had “no good answer to that hypothetical question, (only that) there really isn’t a decision point for the council at this point.”

However, Sangiacomo noted that “noncompliance would be such (a trigger). If we saw that there wasn’t reasonable attempts and progress to deal with the health and safety issues, staff has tools in place (to respond) if needed. But so far, there have been reasonable efforts.

“And remember, the Palace hotel issue has been going on for multiple decades, and the fact that within a seven-month time frame we are where we are today, that’s really fast,” he added, noting that, “I think that ensuring that there’s due diligence in this very critical part is absolutely reasonable.”

Crane then further explained that “part of the reasons why I’m asking is that several community members have asked, ‘so when (will it be time) to decide they’re not going to perform (the tasks needed)?’ So it’s something that needs to be on our minds.”

“It does, and it is on our minds,” said Sangiacomo, explaining that with another winter approaching, having the structure degrade even further in wet weather “may not be acceptable, and we will have to ensure we engage with ownership to ensure we get results.”

(Ukiah Daily Journal)


Kate and William are the royal guests at the Ukiah Shelter! They are 6 month old German Shepherd Dogs, weighing in at an aristocratic 45 pounds. Both dogs walk politely on-leash and are playful and friendly, like all good puppies. And both dogs will benefit from basic training and socialization. German Shepherd Dogs are loyal, watchful, courageous and intelligent, and generally excel at canine obedience and agility. So if you like to interact and work with your dog, come to the Ukiah Shelter and meet Kate and William.

To see all of our canine and feline guests, and for information about our services, programs, and events, visit: Join us every first Saturday of the month for our Meet The Dogs Adoption Event at the shelter.

We're on Facebook at:

For information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.




Warmest spiritual greetings,

Spent the afternoon at the Mendocino County Library in sunny Ukiah, California, on a public computer, watching the New York City Hari Nam group chanting in Union Square. Actually chanted with them in the subway last time there, which always results in a glorious interaction with the public, that is hurrying en masse to their next subway car connection. In the midst of the rush-push crush of humanity, the gentle Hare Krishna chanters repeat the maha mantra and play mrdanga drums, cartels (finger symbols), and the harmonium, with subway riders stopping to join in the dancing and singing. We collectively transformed the frenetic bowels of the NYC subway into a festive, colorful, blissful alternative, if only for a couple of hours.

Left the Ukiah public library at closing time, and picked up some more hydrating beverages to stock up the refrigerator at the Royal Motel room that I'm booked into until August 5th. Am prepared for the heat wave. Frigidaire unit is on, set for 72 degrees. Extra yoghurt in the fridge. Bag of ice in the freezer compartment. Purchased another gallon of Crystal Geyser alpine spring water. Plenty of canned fruit and bananas. Not quite tropical, but headed in that direction. Will somehow ride out the global summer hell and get news updates on the new ASUSX515 personal computer.

Meanwhile, I am making all of the dental appointments, and am also changing banks on Monday. The local savings bank suggested that I need a different kind of bank. Am presently at a "savings bank". Looks like I need a "spending bank". Got a Monday morning appointment at Chase.

I keep getting questions via email as to what I plan to do after my paid motel stay ends on August 5th. Okay, I don't know! Am directing the mind to live in the present moment, and not freak out worrying about going outside and dying in the heat. Am continuously chanting the mahamantra to remain in a spiritually unified condition, and that is what I am doing about my present and future survival in the United States of America.

Read the NY Times newspaper today, oh boy! Planet earth is falling apart, and when is the global nuclear exchange going to begin anyway? Isn't it hot enough here?

Craig Louis Stehr


by Brad Wiley

To begin, let me report that after submitting the previous Rainbow story to the Advertiser, it occurred to me that I had not asked the interviewee the origins of his pseudonymous moniker. One windless spring day over half a century ago “Rob” and a bunch of Berkeley friends were enjoying mescaline up on Grizzly Peak’s Tilden Park above the UC campus. Rob was lying on his back at the base of a large boulder wriggling in ecstasy at a drove of tiny rainbows flowing across the rock. Part of the ecstasy included seeing his nearby companion writhing as ecstatically as he was. “Aha, a great shared hallucination.” But then with disappointment he noticed that some of the rainbows were also flowing across his personal gemstone wrist bracelet; nope, not a shared vision. But his nearby writhing friend comforted Rob with, “it’s cool, man, you’re the rainbow maker.”

1972 found Rainbow ensconced in a new neighborhood centered around the old mill flat where Mountain View Road crosses Rancheria Creek, about five miles west of Boonville. “The Bear Tribe’s,” members included “Cloud,” formerly Brad Moss, a founder of the Kate Wolf music festival, “Crazy Wolf,” who allegedly crashed a hippie Seder and became Elijah for a night, River Jeff and Betty Boop, Kathy Macdonald, still in the Valley, Gail Deutsch, later a Buddhist monk, and Doc, a veteran Vietnam War medic who also shared his midwife skills with mothers and their kids around The Valley.

Rainbow reports that he and his Tribal peers rarely went to town back then, they were afraid their various antiquated cars and trucks would break down on Mountain View before reaching Boonville; and they felt treated like “outsiders” by the local “straight” culture. One time in town Rainbow was told. “It’ll be ten years before you’re not a ‘newcomer,’ and you’ll never be an ‘oldtimer’.”

But after some five years of survival isolation at the millsite, Rainbow began cautiously coming down to town in Boonville. The issue was money; he needed an income to help support his communal life style. He and his comrades had in previous summers driven all the way to Winters and even Vacaville to pick apricots, apples, pears and plums. During the harvest season, which began in mid-June for Winters apricots, they would camp in an orchard in a tipi with their communal goat, “Tootie” who provided fresh milk. Along with their modest wages, they would also harvest some of the fruit to can and dry for winter home consumption.

The first Anderson Valley employment Rainbow found was at a vineyard north of downtown Boonville, probably the B.J. Carney Pole Company place, now part of Roederer Estate’s empire. The vineyard crew was all Mexican immigrants speaking no English… And Rainbow.

The crew boss, Balthazar, did speak English and also became Rainbow’s mentor in the craft of ditch-digging. Rainbow had never handled a trenching shovel in his previous lives, and Balthazar taught him how to power the tool efficiently to ditch trenches for the vineyard irrigation system. Your reporter can personally attest that ditch-digging for eight hours on a hot day in May isn’t the most interesting kind of ag labor, and Boonville typically is seven degrees warmer than my vineyard site in Navarro.

So after a couple of months of ag labor, Rainbow found a more rewarding job that also shaped his professional career. Home building contractor John Burroughs hired Rainbow as a journeyman carpenter. John had a John Dewey approach to coaching an apprentice, no lecturing, just grab a hammer and a nail and sink it, you’ll learn by trial and error. And if you asked, he’d give you some retrospective advice about improving your work. I worked for John on a number of home building and restoration projects on my place and personally prefer that trial-and-error approach to learning any new manual skill.

Historic fact error. Rainbow, with advice and assistance from Willis Tucker, at a cost of $60 cash, built this elaborate two-story home, materials salvaged from an abandoned chicken coop, bent nails, and redwood split stuff for the roof shakes.

John Burroughs was not afraid to hire “hippies” as part of his construction crew, and on the job Rainbow began making friends with back-to-the-landers from around The Valley. Among his new friends were, for example, Hammond Hemble who had migrated to California around the same time as Rainbow from a middle class family in Saluda, South Carolina and ended up in Anderson Valley via the Haight-Ashbury.

Like Rainbow, Hammond was also a skilled carpenter/home builder who while working for Burroughs also took on other construction jobs around The Valley. Rainbow and Hammond became a team. A very memorable Team job was for Eddy Carsey: “Eddy had bought 300 acres on Greenwood Road (Philo) across from the Margaret LeVann’s Hagemann Ranch, the acreage surveyed by Valley Old-Timer and timber scaler Jack June. Hammond had become a licensed contractor and Eddy had the plans and he picked a spot for a two story, two bedroom house. And so they went to work. The crew had the home framed and sided when these guys from PG&E with maps and compasses showed up surveying for the spur line to bring electricity to the new home. According to their maps they said the construction was on someone else’s property.

PG&E was right, though Eddy tried all kinds of rebuttals on them. Finally he and the construction crew chainsawed the house into moveable pieces and hauled it down the road where Eddy had a smaller property and where Hammond and Rainbow got to build the house for a second time.

Not long after completion of the Carsey home, Hammond, his wife Tracy, and son Merlin, found themselves discouraged by the overcrowded winery and vineyard-dominated Valley culture and headed north, ending up building and living on a houseboat, the largest most elegant one on Lake Shasta.

As he began to spend more time in the Anderson Valley community, Rainbow also found himself embarked on another mission important to his ambition to live successfully in a small rural agricultural community. That is, to find a surrogate father to educate him in the skills and behavior that would allow him live comfortably in what he still considered a “redneck” environment. Adrian Newton was a retired logger, born in 1903, at Melbourne Station along the Albion Branch of the Northwest Pacific railroad. Adrian had moved to Boonville when the Melbourne mill shut down in the 1950s and lived in a small cottage on Lambert Lane.

Rainbow’s description of Adrian’s interest in knowing and tutoring him reminded me of a similar experience I had with my mentor about country living on the land skills, Bill Witherell, the neighbor/uncle-figure I wrote stories about several years ago. My sense is that both my mentor Bill and Adrian enjoyed being a pedagogical father figure and through engagement with a young “hippie” could learn something about the urban, middle class world Rainbow and I had migrated from to Anderson Valley.

And so Adrian became friends with Rainbow and other longhairs, boys and girls. Rainbow reports Adrian became a confessor and counselor to them all, often about the boy- and girlfriend problems. For Rainbow he became more, a “surrogate father figure” in lieu of the absent aloof Dad he grew up around until his dad passed.

More important though were the craft skills Adrian taught Rainbow. Most rewarding, for example, he showed Rainbow how to make “split stuff” out of old growth redwood salvage logs that used to lie along the streams and logging roads all over Anderson Valley. On a day’s expedition they might drive out along Rancheria Creek, Adrian providing the choker, wedges, hatchets and mauls to make a finished product, Rainbow provided the labor dragging a chunk of tree out of a stream, up onto a flat spot, where Adrian would teach him how to make grape stakes or fence posts.

I know from experience as Bill Witherell’s student that making splitstuff was a fun, gratifying activity that made more money when you sold the finished product than picking fruit or grapes would, and made me feel more like a skilled- rather than a mass-production woodsworker.

In the late 1970s, Rainbow and a group of his theatrically inspired friends around the Valley began to imagine staging a public “clown show” featuring a band, songs, magic, skits and so forth. In fact they had already done some of their acts at kid’s birthday parties, and other private events. They had also arranged some public events in places like the Fairgrounds Apple Hall, the Portuguese Hall in Mendocino and at the Sonoma County fairgrounds in Santa Rosa.

Besides Rainbow, the troupe included Doc, the Vietnam War veteran medic, back in The Valley from working professionally with travelling circuses all over America; Henry Hill, Professor Dubious with his squirrel-tailed false mustache, a prestidigitationally talented magician; Henry’s partner, Lady Rainbow, the Queen of Mystery, dancing gracefully/wildly with Jabrowski, a puppet, billed as the world’s greatest dancer.

Lynne Archambault was “Polka Dot,” the group’s musician, playing either keyboard or accordion, slide whistle and kazoo. The rest of the ensemble included a varying cast of characters according to who wandered into rehearsals. The troupe named itself One Less Clown.

The One less Clown troupe. Can the reader figure who is who? Hint: Prof Dubious is right front.

A wonderfully ideal place for a live public performance the troupe believed was the Anderson Valley Grange hall on the corner of Prather Ranch south of Philo. Built in 1939, by the 1970s the Grange building had become a social center for Valley oldtimers. Potluck dinners sponsored by elders like The Cecil Gowans, Smoky and Charmian Blattner, Alma Maddux and sister-in-law Alda Rooks, and such. A previous theaetre\troupe had staged a one-night duet one-act plays at the Grange Hall around 1980.

The old Grange building lay fore-and-aft to Highway 128. It looked a lot like an old country church with no steeple. Its exterior and interior invited an audience inside to see a show, as they featured two wide steps across the building’s front, welcoming double doors, a nave-like single room heated in winter by a huge barrel stove, and a building-wide stage proscenium arch at the rear with, I believe, a curtain.

A member of the troupe approached Grange officers to rent the building to put on a show in. One winter evening with the stove roaring One Less Clown presented a one-night performance at the Old Grange. The place was packed, the audience spilling out the front doors, and at the evening’s end the audience went wild, cheering the performers’ bows forever, then loitering in the building and out on the front steps celebrating the production for an hour.

Then one hot afternoon the summer after the show, the historic Anderson Valley Grange building burned to the ground, cause unknown. Another tragic loss of a historic Valley public venue.

(Next: The evolution of the Variety Show and reflections on Rainbow’s life in Anderson Valley so far.)


Help support our Olde Time 4th of July event this July 4, 12-4pm at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville.

If you haven't been before, it is an absolutely delightful family event with a kid's parade, balloon toss, tug-o-war, bounce house, face painting, watermelon eating contest, delicious BBQ, local beer and wine, a cake auction & more!

We still need more volunteers for the following:

Cake Auction: Want to bake a cake?

Parade: Love helping celebrate kids' creativity?

Bouncehouse: Experienced in keeping kids safe?

Face Painting: Need a creative outlet?

If interested, send me a text, or call (415) 713-3833. It Takes A Valley!

This year, the Olde Time 4th of July event will again be a collaborative event benefiting our local AV Firefighters, AV Elder Home, AV Skate Park, and AVUSD Wellness Committee's “Fresh Food” program.


by Bruce Anderson (December, 2005)

Two days after the September 11th everyone will always remember, a lithe 39-year-old ex-Marine named Donald Perez took $200 out of his savings and headed north for Mendocino County. Perez was on the road in anticipation of another sexual romp with an 18-year-old Fort Bragg man child named August Stuckey.

By 10am Friday, September 14th, Perez was dead, his slumped remains sagging from an alder in a brushy margin separating the Noyo River from the A&W logging road. What was left of him was very near the first bridge over the river before the road gradually climbs east into the forested hills separating the Mendocino Coast from Willits and Highway 101 some 30 miles away.

The dead man was 525 miles from his rented room in Santa Ana, one mile from the Fort Bragg Police Department, and 19 feet from the rutted pavement of the heavily traveled recreation and logging road.

Donald Perez would be pinioned to his last tree between the road and river for more than three weeks, and he might still be there if August Stuckey hadn't talked about it in front of another young Fort Bragg man named Michael Johnson.

It was an implausibly beautiful place to die that perfect early fall morning, at a junction of river and forest on a day made for life, not death. It was also an implausible place for all that happened there because even in bad weather that section of the road and its old bridge is humming with traffic, much of it on foot or by bicycle with kayakers, a frequent sight on the adjacent Noyo. There's almost always someone around day and night, the area also being a convenient nocturnal party site. It's not a place that rational criminals would choose to do all they did to Donald Perez.

But somehow, in a prolonged series of murderous events mostly occurring on the bridge itself, Perez had been carjacked, robbed, hit over the head with a rock, dragged down off the bridge and along the road west towards Fort Bragg, then forced east back into the brush, duct-taped to a tree, and probably stabbed in the throat.

And not a soul saw or heard any part of this death dance.

The pathology report from UC Davis indicates that the "larval infestation" discovered in the area of Perez's throat was most likely attracted to the "purge of fluids" that drain from the nose upon death. But, the report cautions, "Trauma to the neck is not supported. Degree of decomposition in these areas does not confirm the presence of such trauma. Arms overhead and binding of wrists offers the possibility of asphyxiation through respiratory fatigue. Entirely conceivable that the death may not have involved any form of trauma whatsoever but was caused by abandonment. Conclusion, cause of death unknown."

If Perez had simply been duct-taped to the tree, he was near enough to the road that his grunts and moans would soon have been heard by one of the innumerable persons who pass by at all hours. But, it seems likely, Perez didn't have time to either be discovered alive or suffocate because one of his three abductors likely drove a K-bar knife into his throat soon after he was taped to the tree.

Three young Fort Bragg men, August Stuckey, 18, Aaron Channel, 20, and Tai Abreu, 19, were arrested three weeks later when August Stuckey led police to Perez's remains after telling the police that he, Channel and Abreu caused Perez to be where he was — duct-taped dead.

None of the three alleged murderers had criminal records, none were known to be violent. The one common denominator they did have was their general estrangement from the society they'd inherited. Their school days had been difficult, and they were now adrift as young adults. All three had been bullied and harassed by schoolmates, all three did poorly in formal school settings, but all three tested at the gifted and talented level of natural intelligence. Stuckey had always been a special ed case, Tai Abreu, at the urging of Fort Bragg school officials, had been declared unmanageable by the schools and packed off to a children's institution by age 12, and Aaron Channel had dropped out on his own after bouncing from Fort Bragg's educational banquet to Mendocino's, at one point leaving school as a 16-year-old to make his way to Oklahoma to meet a girl he'd met on-line.

When the three young men were arrested, Stuckey told multiple stories about what had happened. Abreu told two versions of Perez's last hour. Channel said nothing at all. Both Stuckey's and Abreu's stories exempted themselves from the murder part of Perez's abduction and robbery.

Although only one of these improbable thugs cut Perez's throat, it is fair to say that none of the three were overly concerned with their victim's welfare before, during or after his death.

The murder began on August 28th of 2001 when August Stuckey, stranded in Sacramento, e-mailed Perez asking Perez for money to get back to Fort Bragg. Stuckey would later say he'd fled to Sacramento because another uneven young Fort Bragg man named Shane Merritt was threatening to kill him because Merritt believed Stuckey had stolen sound equipment from him.

It seems that Perez wired Stuckey the bus fare back to Fort Bragg because the next day Perez was in Fort Bragg where he and Stuckey spent a presumably priapic three days at the Seabird Motel. A few days before their Seabird interlude, Stuckey and Perez had exchanged steamy e-mails featuring photos of Perez with his penis at present arms. Stuckey e-mailed Perez his phone number and directions to Fort Bragg.

Stuckey would later claim that he and Perez had often met at the College of the Redwoods where Stuckey, a talented artist, drew chaste portraits of Perez for small amounts of money. However, the only renderings of Perez found among Stuckey's belongs were internet photos of Perez in the nude that Perez had taken of himself. That Perez required directions to Fort Bragg to meet Stuckey means Perez was unfamiliar with the Mendocino Coast prior to the fateful August of 2001.

Perez was murdered because he made the fatal mistake of returning to Fort Bragg for what he anticipated as another round of sex with Stuckey, but Stuckey had already decided to rob Perez and then kill him. Abreu and Channel apparently became involved in Stuckey's insane scheme out of a wildly misplaced but affectionate loyalty to Stuckey. Abreu would tell investigators that Channel feared Stuckey would "fuck it up" on his own.

As it turned out, it took all three of them to "fuck it up."

The three conspirators devised a hazy plan for Stuckey to persuade Perez to drive out the A&W road on the pretext that the A&W road was a shortcut from the coast to inland Willits and Highway 101. Once Perez was three or four miles out in the woods, Channel and Abreu would jump out of the bushes and help Stuckey rob Perez. Perez had told his roommate and his landlady back in Santa Ana that he was headed for Washington State, hence his desire to get back on 101 to proceed north. Always a secretive man, Perez didn't say why he was going to Washington, if indeed he was going there.

Once Perez and Stuckey were out in the woods east of town, the three amigos plotted, Stuckey would feign car sickness to get Perez to stop his truck, but Stuckey and Perez were late arriving, not getting to the A&W road until around 9am. Victim and escort had been expected earlier. Channel and Abreu had tired of waiting and were walking back towards Fort Bragg when Perez and Stuckey drove up.

Perez was dead twenty minutes later.

Abreu now says his modified story about what happened is untrue, but it does tend to corroborate Stuckey's fluid versions of Perez's death. It also buttresses the account of Michael Johnson, the Fort Bragg youth who eventually went to the police to say he'd heard his three friends talking about the murder while the four of them were smoking pot in Johnson's backyard.

Johnson told police that August Stuckey had told Johnson, "We killed a guy," and that the "guy deserved to die." Johnson said he asked Aaron Channel why he did it. Channel, Johnson said, replied that he was just helping a friend who was going to do it anyway and would probably mess it up. Johnson recalled that Channel thought murder had occurred "around September 18th." He said his three friends told him that they poured alcohol on the floor of the truck to make the cops think Perez had gotten drunk and had wandered out in the woods and gotten lost. Johnson claimed that August Stuckey had asked him about how he might cook up some home made napalm and go back out to Perez's body to completely destroy it. Johnson told police he remembered Tai Abreu borrowing a shovel from Johnson's house on Livingston Street that Johnson shared with his mother to "bury something," speculating that the "something" was cameras stolen from Perez. And, Johnson told the police, when he asked his three pot pals how they knew "the guy" was dead, Channel reportedly said, "He gurgled, that's how we knew he was dead."

The same day Johnson came to the police with the news that his three friends had murdered someone, Stuckey, before leading police to Perez's corpse, was telling investigators that Channel and Abreu had forced him into a scheme to rob Perez or they'd harm Stuckey's sister. Stuckey said he'd only been involved out of fear for his sister's welfare, and he certainly wasn't down in the bushes when Perez died.

Investigators immediately went to Stuckey's sister, Candace, then a student at Mendocino High School, to see if Candace might confirm the most important element of her brother's story — his involvement.

Candace said she'd "rather be taking her chemistry test," but, yes, her brother August had told her how a couple of friends of his had taken a man out into the woods, robbed him and cut his throat. Candace tearfully said her brother often lied to her but she was sure he was telling the truth this time. Candace told the police that the two friends of her brother's who had done the killing were Tai Abreu and Aaron Channel. Candace said Abreu and Channel had threatened to rape and kill her if August didn't help them rob Perez. Candace said her brother had been tortured by Channel and Abreu into going along with the scheme.

Both Abreu's and Stuckey's accounts always exempted themselves from responsibility for the murder. They both said they were up on the road when Perez got it in the throat with the K-bar knife. They both admitted that they were part of the plan to rob Perez and that Aaron Channel was the third person involved.

Abreu would later claim that his confession to detective Kevin Bailey was not only untrue but falsely obtained because his request for an attorney had been ignored. Channel would subsequently admit that he was involved well after Perez was dead, and Stuckey would say he was involved but hadn't used the K-bar military knife he wore on his belt to stab anyone.

In all the three weeks Perez's corpse was wrapped to the tree by the Noyo, nobody saw his remains, nobody smelled his remains, no dog barked at his remains, when all anybody had to do was look off the side of the road and there he was, sagging to earth between the road and the river.

The police, finally directed to what was left of Perez by Stuckey, seemed as surprised at the body's proximity to the busy road as they were at the improbability of the site as a murder scene.

"We responded out the A&W Logging Road approximately one mile where we met deputies and search and rescue personnel. Lt. Miller directed us to a location just west of the first bridge on the logging road. We looked off the road and observed a male adult hanging by his hands, which were tied around a tree."

Perez's wallet, containing his driver's license, his credit cards, and his ATM card, was found undisturbed in his trousers.

"Considering it happened during daylight hours," detective Bailey would say, "to say that they were lucky to get away with all that right there is an understatement. Not only is it a pretty popular place — we have County employees who walk that road on a daily basis — for his remains to be maybe 20 feet off the roadway and not be discovered is amazing. There's nothing in the vehicle to indicate that he was killed in the vehicle. If they'd killed him some other place then transported him in the vehicle there would have been some trace evidence in the vehicle. They were very lucky."

Although gay groups would immediately demand that the three be charged with a hate crime because Perez was gay, the sexual motive didn't seem to have been a factor; Stuckey was gay and Abreu actively bi-sexual. Channel was heterosexual and not known to be intolerant of gays or anybody else. The sexually ecumenical hijackers, it seems, just wanted Perez's property, which consisted of two hundred dollars in cash, a hand held 8 millimeter camera, a 35 millimeter camcorder, camera lenses, four canisters of film, a battery charger for the camcorder, and music cd's including Nirvana and Suicidal Tendencies, all of it buried in Abreu's green duffel bag.

Stuckey's multiple accounts, scattered as they were, confirmed that the police had the right three persons responsible for Perez's death. Abreu's and Stuckey's accounts confirmed the information brought to the police by Michael Johnson, a drug buddy of the three young hijackers and an occasional sex partner of Stuckey's. But it was Abreu's confession to detective Kevin Bailey of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department that would send all three to state prison, Abreu for life without the possibility of parole.

A wiry, restless young man who always seems in motion, Abreu sat in the stark interview room of the county jail complex in Ukiah the afternoon of October 9th waiting for detective Bailey. As he waited, the tightly wrapped young man sang fragments of a love song to himself, rhythmically accompanying himself by slapping his hands on the interview desk. Abreu would always insist that he'd been up on the road as lookout man when Stuckey and Channel killed Perez down in the bushes. They did the murder part of the crime, not him.

If Tai Abreu had known he was about to put himself in prison for the rest of his life, if he'd known that the law says he was as guilty as whomever it was stabbed Perez in the throat, if he'd known that detective Bailey was not his friend, not some kind of surrogate daddy, but only a cop doing his job, if only he'd had the lawyer present he'd asked for, Tai might have saved himself. But he was young and dumb, and nobody was on his side, least of all the lawyer he finally got after it was too late.

It took Tai Abreu an hour to put himself in prison for the rest of his life.

The Rest of the Story…

Part 2, The Interview, The Victim

Part 3, Mendo Justice Gets the Case

Part 4, Who Are These Kids?

Part 5, The Raps and the Wrap Up

CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, June 22

Delossantos, Griffith, Jones

ANGELINA DELOSSANTOS, Willits. Failure to appear.

SHANNAH GRIFFITH, Ukiah. Failure to appear, resisting.

RYAN JONES, Willits. Domestic battery, disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.

Lopez, Morris, Munoz

ELOY LOPEZ-RUBIO, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

DENA MORRIS, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

ORLANDO MUNOZ, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs, paraphernalia, failure to appear, probation revocation.

Parkin, Parmely, Warner

COLE PARKIN, Ukiah. County parole violation.

JACOB PARMELY, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, parole violation.

MALISSA WARNER, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.



Recently the US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, who is the father of two young children, speaking on PBS NewsHour said that he has decided to not allow them to have cells until after they finish junior high school.

Children learn to use cell phones soon enough, and can become productive adults if we trust our schools to help parents make their own rules for cell phone usage. Schools are places for growing up, social interaction, learning to become good team members, as well as learning English, math and science. I taught before cell phones were invented; yet I remember that good classroom learning requires creative, dedicated teachers as well as attentive students. I applaud schools who ask students to be “cell phone free.” They must leave them in a locker or office; they get them back as they leave the campus.

Frank Baumgardner, III

Santa Rosa

MEMO OF THE AIR: The big black and white game.

"I know that you can't see the counterfactual. Perhaps the stressed-out person you know isn't convincing when they recommend the calming effects of lavender or exercise. But what you don't observe is the maniac they would be without their remedies." -Sasha Chapin

Here's the recording of last night's (Friday 2024-06-21) 8-hour Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and (and, for the first hour, also 89.3fm KAKX Mendocino):

Coming shows can feature your story or dream or poem or essay or kvetch or whatever. Just email it to me. Or include it in a reply to this post. Or send me a link to your writing project and I'll take it from there and read it on the air. That's what I'm here for.

Besides all that, at you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together, such as:

A drunken jealous hot-headed boy set the object of his unrequited affections' family's cars, tree, and inadvertently himself on fire with gasoline. This is security video from across the street. (via Fark)

Opulent late-1800s Gypsy caravans.

This gives me the same keening feeling as video of Dolores O'Riordan singing Zombie. I mean, you're looking at someone rare and special and amazing when she was on top of the mountain with lightning coming out of her head. I'm ready to accept that Dolores O'Riordan took her own life because of crushing depression, and Jim Morrison's death might have come from sheer carelessness; he almost died of a stupid amount of drugs and alcohol a hundred times, but I think Janice Joplin and Jimi Hendrix were murdered. I've read all about them. I'm not an expert, and I wasn't there, but that's the way to bet.

And five useful coils.

Marco McClean,,


by Farley Elliott

An eye-catching new billboard is turning heads near one of the busiest intersections in Los Angeles. The maroon and yellow ad, complete with a large red siren light and a lawyerly type in a suit, asks a question that seems to demand attention: “Injured by a vegan?”

What exactly does it mean to be “injured by a vegan”? And who is the guy in the suit with the smug face? Odd California billboards that ask as many questions as they answer are nothing new, but this one turns up the heat a bit more than the rest, offering offended parties a phone number to call: 866-HATEVEGANS.

The new ad seems to have quietly appeared on Highland Avenue sometime over the past two weeks, and can still be seen just south of the Hollywood Bowl music venue and north of iconic Hollywood and Highland — one of LA’s most heavily touristed intersections. There are other, larger billboards around town too, plus a few radio and television commercials floating around the LA airwaves at the moment. Ostensibly the ad is like many other legitimate lawyer billboards — this one touting a firm named Loudermilk & Associates — but the company’s website and the quirky look of the billboard itself point to something much sillier at play.

And, indeed, the ad is not actually an earnest call for aggrieved meat-eaters to stage some sort of class-action lawsuit against the general idea of veganism. The Loudermilk & Associates website is fully built out with faux testimonials, a fake biography page of associates and tongue-in-cheek statements like this: “Vegans are smug, joyless martyrs & they want you to suffer, too.”

It doesn’t take much clicking around — or watching the company’s lo-fi YouTube commercials — to spot the spoof. The entire campaign is the product of Eat Differently, a vegan advocacy group whose “mission is to inspire the world to eat plants, not animals.” Once the curious check out the website, per a June 3 news release from Eat Differently, they are “greeted by pro-vegan messaging such as the health benefits of eating a diet of plants, not animals, along with the positive effects on the planet and the welfare of the animals.”

While the current marketing campaign doesn’t quite have the same celebrity cachet as Netflix’s recent lawyer billboard spoofs for the film “Hit Man,” featuring movie star Glen Powell, LA’s new Hate Vegans ads certainly have proven to be an eyebrow raiser in a city already bursting with billboards.

Evening, guys, nothing personal.. but I drink to make other people more interesting. Capiche?

― Ernest Hemingway


I had a co-worker that sat down and did the math to figure out exactly how many light bulbs he needed to buy to last the rest of his life.

He then went out and bought them before the light bulb ban went into effect.

He hates LED lights and fluorescent lights with a purple passion.

REGGIE JACKSON at Rickwood Field on Thursday.

Here's what Reggie Jackson had to say as he reflected on the toughness of returning to Birmingham and Rickwood:

“Coming back here is not easy. The racism when I played here, the difficulty of going through different places where we traveled. Fortunately, I had a manager and I had players on the team that helped me get through it. But I wouldn't wish it on anybody. People said to me, today I spoke and said, Do you think you're a better person, do you think you won when you played here and conquered?, I said, you know, I would never want to do it again. I walked into restaurants and they would point at me and say, ‘the n----- can't eat here.’ I would go to a hotel and they say ‘the n----- can't stay here.’ We went to Charlie Finley's country club for a welcome home dinner and they pointed me out with the N word. Finley marched the whole team out, finally they let me in there. He said, ‘We're going to go to the diner and eat hamburgers; we'll go where we're wanted’.”


by Maureen Dowd

Don’t mellow my harsh, dude.

I was coming to talk to Sean Penn, the notorious Hollywood hothead who helped launch the word “dude” into the American bloodstream when he played stoner surfer Jeff Spicoli in the 1982 classic “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

I was nervous because the Times photographer was already inside the Spanish-style ranch house with Penn, who has a history of throwing punches at paparazzi. I hurried past Penn’s three surfboards and silver Airstream in the front yard, half expecting to see the un-pacific denizen of the Pacific Coast wrestling on the floor with the photographer.

Nah. Penn, in dark T-shirt, Columbia utility pants and sneakers, was charming, trailed by his adoring dogs, a golden retriever and a German shepherd rescue puppy.

When I joked that I was relieved to see him treating the photographer sweetly, he laughed. “When I did my 23andMe,” he said, “I thought I might be part Hopi because they don’t like to be photographed.”

Penn, a lifelong Malibu resident, pointed in the direction of his old grade school in the days of a more rural Malibu. He said he gets up at 5:30 a.m. and goes, barefoot, out to his wood shop. “I even forget to smoke for five hours.”

As it turns out, Penn has finally mellowed.

At 63, the weathered, tattooed rebel with many causes is a certified humanitarian — riding the crest into dangerous crises around the globe and saving lives in New Orleans and Haiti after disasters — and a crusading documentarian. He started out making the documentary “Superpower,” thinking it would be a story of how Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian, ascended to Ukraine’s presidency. But then Vladimir Putin pounced.

Penn ignored the warning of his friend Robert O’Brien, a national security adviser for former President Donald Trump, to “get the heck out of there,” and interviewed Zelensky in his bunker, hours after the invasion started. He also went to the front lines to dramatize for Americans the story of a young country protecting its democracy against an oppressor, to persuade them to help.

In 2013, Penn executed a rescue of Jacob Ostreicher, an American businessman rotting in a Bolivian prison after what Penn called a “corrupt prosecution.”

He went all Batman again when the Covid vaccines became available. His organization, CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort), set up a huge vaccine administration site outside Dodger Stadium.

Penn, still wiry but now sporting a shock of natural white hair with the sides shaved — a do he has for a Paul Thomas Anderson movie with Leonardo DiCaprio — took me on a tour of his house. On prominent display is a painting by Hunter Biden called “The Map,” the black outline of a head with colorful, detailed brushstrokes all around it. It’s a gift from the president’s son. Hunter, his wife, Melissa, and their son, Beau, had been over the night before.

Hunter painted it, Penn said, when he was “in pieces” and trying “to put the pieces back together.” Penn could relate.

He said the two met in 2022 when Penn gave a speech in honor of U2 at the Kennedy Center Honors. He had read an interview with Hunter, the first “since the chips were rolling down, and I was really taken with him and I told him.” Then last fall, after a screening of his Ukraine film with big shots on Capitol Hill, Penn had dinner with his friend Representative Eric Swalwell of California, who suggested he look up Hunter in Malibu.

“I had no idea he lived down here,” said Penn, adding dryly: “I thought he was off in some judicial-focused place that we see on TV.” He called Hunter “a very, very insightful guy.”

Penn also showed me the pump and hoses he keeps next to the pool. He has been en garde since the Malibu house he had shared with Madonna burned down in 1993.

We did the interview in his man cave, where he likes to serve vodka and talk about the world with his friends. There’s a cozy circle of blue chairs and a sofa and a plywood coffee table Penn made. The walls are chockablock with pictures and letters, including one from his friend Marlon Brando. There’s also a photo of Brando marching for civil rights.

The beach house is not your typical professionally decorated movie star manse. Penn has hung up photos of friends and his kids, actors Dylan, 33, and Hopper, 30, with his ex-wife Robin Wright; watercolors by Jack Nicholson; medals that belonged to his dad, Leo Penn, who flew 37 missions in World War II and got shot down twice; and paintings by his mother, Eileen, an artist and actress, and Hopper. He has a series of head shots above the fireplace of his brother Chris Penn, the actor, who died in 2006. There are vintage posters of the movies of his father, an actor and director who was blacklisted (turned in by Clifford Odets).

And there’s a picture of Andriy Pilshchikov, known as “Juice” and the “Ghost of Kyiv,” a member of a unit defending Ukraine from the air. The charismatic pilot, who was killed in a training accident, was featured in Penn’s documentary.

There are several clocks set to different times around the world, including Ukrainian time.

The room is wreathed in smoke, as Penn alternates between chain-smoking American Spirits and noodling around his mouth with a dental pick. In the bathroom, he displays pictures of his friends smoking, including Dennis Hopper and Harry Dean Stanton and, justifying his cigarette addiction, the Charles Bukowski quote “Find what you love and let it kill you.”

The peppery Penn knows a lot of people don’t like him “out of the gate.” He also knows people do not want to be lectured on global ills — and hectored for donations — by celebrities. He knows a lot of fans and fellow artists think he’s a show-off and he should just focus on fulfilling his early promise as one of the great American actors and hone his talent as a director, and stop dancing on the world stage with leaders, dictators (Hugo Chávez and Raúl Castro) and even one infamous drug lord (El Chapo, whom he interviewed for Rolling Stone in a wild adventure Penn later conceded was a failure because it failed to spark a conversation on America’s drug policies).

Penn has been mocked and satirized for some of his escapades, but his friend Bill Maher says he’s the “real deal” in a town full of “phonies.”

“Sean could search the rest of his life for a script that was even half as interesting as his real life and he’d never find it,” Maher told me. “The rowboat during Katrina, the political prisoners he’s gotten sprung from jail, the years of personally going to Haiti and unloading the food and supplies and getting it to the people. John and Yoko were ‘activists’? Why, they spent a week in bed once? Please, if you look up ‘walking the walk’ in the dictionary, it’s Sean’s picture.

“I didn’t want to get the Covid vaccine, but when I did, it was Sean’s organization that had the whole city coming to the parking lot at Dodger Stadium!”

Doug Brinkley, the presidential historian who worked side by side with Penn during Katrina and went on humanitarian missions to Venezuela, Cuba and Haiti, called his friend “the rebel shaking the rafters on behalf of the underdog.”

He added that what’s easy to forget about Penn, given how serious his pursuits are, is how much fun he can be. “There is no better raconteur around,” Brinkley said. “There is never a dull moment around Sean. He is all forward motion.”

Penn wasn’t at the splashy Hollywood fund-raiser for President Biden, hosted by George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jimmy Kimmel. But he was photographed walking barefoot out of the White House state dinner for President William Ruto of Kenya last month. (He’s not a tuxedo type, and his dress shoes pinched.)

“Hunter invited me,” Penn said, noting that he was happy for the chance to talk to Ruto about how Kenyan peacekeeping troops could combat the gangs that have overrun Haiti. He told me that violence-ravaged Sudan will be the next country his organization tries to help.

But Penn did not press the president on any of his causes.

“I left the president alone because there were opportunities for that when everyone is not tapping his shoulder,” the actor said. He thinks Biden should “take it slow” in the campaign, leaning into an elder statesman role, doing fireside-chat kind of talks, not getting into nasty spats with Trump but giving the nation a sense that red and blue can be united.

He showed me a medallion with the CORE motto: “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and blood is slippery.”

Of Trump, he said dismissively: “He’s shameful as an art and as a way of life.”

Penn said that the more time he spent in Ukraine, the more he was able to accept people with different political views in our fractured country. He went on Sean Hannity’s show in 2022 to push support of Ukraine, even though Hannity had named him an “enemy of the state” in 2007, back when Penn was lambasting the Bush administration for its Iraq debacle. Penn also did a panel in 2022 with the Fox News anchor Bret Baier and O’Brien at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, Calif.

Ukrainians also have political divisions, Penn told me, but he was blown away by their “unbreakable” unity in the face of tragedy.

“It’s like breathing a different kind of air there,” he said. “I really had a sensation of what I’ve been missing here. It’s really abnormal what we’re doing.”

Penn escaped more and more into his gonzo journalism and global swashbuckling because he was disillusioned with Hollywood.

“I went 15 years miserable on sets,” he said. “‘Milk’ was the last time I had a good time.” That 2008 movie about the murder of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected public official in California, earned Penn his second Oscar. (His first was for “Mystic River” in 2003.)

At the time, he got credit for being a straight man playing a gay one; but now there is sometimes an outcry when straight actors get cast as gay characters. I wondered if he could even play Milk now.

“No,” he replied. “It could not happen in a time like this. It’s a time of tremendous overreach. It’s a timid and artless policy toward the human imagination.”

He vigorously rubbed his face to show how he felt on sets, even with good actors and producers, as if he was trying to rub out the experience.

“I feel like an actor who is playing a leading role and is a known actor and is being paid well has a leadership position on a film and you’ve got to show up with energy and be a bodyguard for the director in some way,” he said. “I was faking my way through that stuff and that was exhausting. Mostly what I thought was just, ‘What time is it? When are we going to get off?’

“I was sure it was done, but I didn’t know how I was going to keep my house running or travel freely or things like that if I stopped.”

Then his friend and neighbor (and fellow talented nepo baby) Dakota Johnson dropped by with an indie script, “Daddio,” by Christy Hall, who was also going to direct. It featured only two actors, an enigmatic young woman who gets in a cab at J.F.K. Airport with a driver who’s a street philosopher raised in a hardscrabble Hell’s Kitchen.

“I felt like this could be a pleasant experience and that’s gonna matter to me now, maybe more than in the past,” Penn said.

The first-time director recalled on the third day of shooting that she got a message Penn wanted to see her. “My heart was pounding,” she said. “He just looked at me and said, ‘Am I giving you everything that you’re looking for?’ I was so blown away by it. For someone of his caliber to care so much about a tiny, little indie two-hander.”

“He’s quite known for being tough and intimidating,” Johnson said, “but there’s a sweet boy in there.”

“There’s a real tenderness in him,” she added.

The driver and passenger engage in erotic taxicab confessions about their personal lives, with Penn’s character sharing some blunt observations. He warns Johnson’s character, a computer programmer coming back from a visit to her small hometown in Oklahoma, sexting with her famous, married boyfriend, that men don’t like to hear the word “love” from their mistresses because the L-word is “not their function.” He notes that “men, we want to look good for other men” and that, for men, “looking like a family man is more important than being one.”

Penn said that when guys come over to his man cave, they make the same sort of blunt judgments about relationships with women that Hall’s cabdriver does. Penn’s own feeling is that some feminists still want to be feminine, and some men are “getting feminized.” He thinks dating is getting more transactional for both men and women.

I wondered if Penn, who has been formally coupled and uncoupled with three women — first Madonna, then Robin Wright and, briefly, the Australian actress Leila George, the daughter of Greta Scacchi and Vincent D’Onofrio — and dated several other celebrities, had improvised from his own vivid experiences. (Jewel, an ex girlfriend, called him “a fantastic flirt.”)

He said he just said the dialogue as it was written.

He said that he once loved drama in romance. But now, even if he’s madly in love with someone, he said, if there’s any unnecessary drama and visits from “the trauma gods,” his feelings evaporate, like they never existed.

“I look at my dogs and say, ‘Hey, it’s us again.’”

He has experienced a fair number of relationships where “the first thing I see in the morning are eyes wondering what I’m going to do to make them happy that day. Rarely reciprocated,” he said.

“On one of my marriages, the background noise of life was a ‘Housewives of Beverly Hills’ or another thing called ‘Love Island,’” he said. “Not even being in the room — I’m not saying this to be cute — I was dying. I felt my heart, my brain shrinking. It was an assault.”

He sees his “friends in the female department” — “beautiful, wonderful people, wonderful with their partners or wonderful on their own” — who show him that relationships don’t have to be dramatic or draining.

He’s not in a serious relationship now and feels “thrilled every day.”

“I’m just free,” he said. “If I’m going to be in a relationship, I’m still going to be free, or I’m not going to be in it, and I’m not going to be hurting. I don’t sense I’ll have my heart broken by romance again.”

Speaking of which, I wondered, what was the truth about the epic fights that devoured his turbulent marriage to Madonna?

“I had a freaking SWAT team come into my house,” he said, sipping his Diet Coke. Madonna told the police she was worried because there were guns in the house. “I said: ‘I’m not coming out. I’m going to finish my breakfast.’ The next thing I knew, windows were being broken all around the house and they came in.” Then, he added, “they had me in handcuffs.”

He said he belatedly realized there were stories circulating that he had “trussed her up like a turkey. I didn’t know what ‘trussed up’ meant, first.” He said he was dating one woman who confronted him the morning after “a lovely night” when he was on the back porch smoking a cigarette. “She’s looking at me like I killed her dog,” he said, asking him “about this hitting Madonna in the head with a baseball bat.”

“I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about,” he said. “Now I think it’s fair to say that I’m not the biggest guy in the world. But if I hit Mike Tyson in the head with a baseball bat, he’s going to the hospital.”

Madonna herself cleared up the matter in 2015. When the director Lee Daniels defended the star of his show “Empire,” Terrence Howard, saying that Howard’s admission that he had hit his wife was no different from what Penn had done, Penn sued Daniels for $10 million, charging defamation.

Madonna provided an affidavit, saying that the baseball-bat and “tied me up” rumors were false and that Penn had never struck her.

“Not only did we win the case,” Penn said about the settlement, “but Daniels wrote a public letter and he had to contribute to CORE.”

About Madonna, Penn says simply: “She’s someone I love.” He said he worked with her on raising funds for Haiti and she recently agreed to do “a really terrific” video for a peace summit about Ukraine.

“It turns out it’s a lot quicker to repair a friendship after divorce if there are not kids involved,” he said. “It took Robin and I quite a while. There was a lot of drama.” He added: “Much more important to repair it if there are kids involved, but no easy swing, right?”

Funnily enough, given how much time he spends helping humans, he once told The Times: “I don’t like humans. I don’t get along well with people.”

When I asked him about that quote, he chuckled and said of people, “They should suck less.”

Despite the encounter with a dread journalist, Penn was in a good mood as I left.

“Happy hour starts at 5:30,” he said with a grin.



Is Donald Trump just another pandering politician? I say this as someone who will vote for him if his opponent is Joe Biden. Trump announced he will exempt tips from tax; it’s unclear whether this exemption would apply to Social Security and Medicare taxes presently paid by employees and employers on “calculated” tip income.

The minimum wage for wait personnel is much lower, to take into account that tips make up the lion’s share of their compensation. Further, as it is, tax is only applied to 8% of the total of the checks they generate. This compares to the 15%-25% many consumers apply to the check amount, including taxes. So they are already getting a 50% exemption.

I would like to exclude the 85% of Social Security benefits from my taxable income (especially since 50% of these benefits came from my income that had already been taxed) which, incidentally, became taxable in the 1986 tax revision that also made calculated tips taxable.

When is politician largesse to get elected going to end? Apparently not under the Trump administration. If Biden weren’t even worse for the country, I wouldn’t even bother to vote.

Jim Haberkorn

Santa Rosa


by James Kunstler

“Almost every headline and what passes as ‘news’ in the United States, is a cry for help.” — Karen Kwiatkowski

Now that the gunplay and colorful flash-mobbery of Juneteenth has concluded, it’s on to next week’s big debate between the two major party candidates — if debate is even the right description for what is more like a joint press conference conducted by one candidate’s PR firm. What does the reality-starved public think it will see? Probably anything but a fair fight.

It’s hard to imagine what possessed “Joe Biden” to decide this was a good idea for him (unless he wasn’t the decider). Since we’re in an era of archetypal psychodrama, the event looks more like a ritual sacrifice. His recent public performances have been, shall we say, less than reassuring in both utterance and physical poise. He comes off as Captain Queeg meets Mr. Magoo. So, you have to wonder if some ancient tropism-of-the-mind steers him to certain destruction, egged on by those of his own faction who will benefit from his exit.

The sordid spectacle of the Alvin Bragg prosecution has backfired spectacularly as even the president’s own cheerleaders begin to perceive the frightful dishonesty of a politicized DOJ that could just as easily be turned on them. Rachel Maddow and Joy Behar rehearsed their persecution fantasies for all to see on air this week — and, of course, and as usual, it was a sheer psychological projection of what their own party has been up to for eight long years.

One supposes that “Joe Biden” will follow exactly that script next Thursday, as he accuses Mr. Trump of being “a dictator,” Adolf Hitler 2.0, seeking to use the levers of power to terrorize the defenders of democracy. It’s hard to see how he might get away with that. All Mr. Trump has to do is aver to the long list of malicious prosecutions, including the ones aimed at himself, launched lately against “JB’s” opponents. And he might throw in the regime’s lust to suppress free speech and truth itself — as in the Hunter Biden laptop monkey-business and hiding the facts around the Covid-19 fiasco.

Speaking of which, this would be the best opportunity for Mr. Trump to come clean, if he can, about his role in the mRNA vaccine roll-out that has now morphed into what looks like the biggest disaster in modern medicine. It appears obvious that, as president, Mr. Trump was buffaloed by “the experts” in a culture that worships expertise. How exactly would he have opposed the White House Coronavirus Task Force headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci? And backed by the combined forces of the CDC, the FDA, the NIAID, the NIH, and every medical board from sea to shining sea? Should he have just said, Nah, we’re not gonna do that? I don’t think so. But there won’t be a better moment, or a bigger audience, to explain how all that actually worked, and went wrong.

Since Mr. Trump’s temperament has drawn the most intense objurgation from his detractors, the easiest thing he can do in this debate is just mind his manners, and not allow himself to be baited or taunted. The roster of “Joe Biden’s” failures is so deep that all Mr. Trump has to do is remind the audience what they well-know adds up to an apparently deliberate effort to wreck the nation: the open border and the growing record of atrocious crimes committed by illegal aliens plus the immense anxiety about the intentions of jihadists and other nefarious foreigners ushered in by Homeland Security; the idiocy of our role in the Ukraine War and how easily the conflict could be concluded by willing negotiation; the cratering on-the-ground economy of goods and services (minus government hand-outs, bail-outs, subsidies, and statistical shell games); the out-of-control Deep State intel blob that is eating away at our basic liberties; the insane race-and-gender hustles aimed at sowing hatred and disordering normal modes of human relations; and much more that has been done to insult and humiliate the people of this land.

In short, the record of “Joe Biden” and the claque behind him is unequaled for demolition of our national principles, institutions, traditions, and aspirations, and if it’s not already plain to see all around you, Mr. Trump is in a position to calmly make the case next Thursday night without resorting to any histrionics. There will also be opportunities for him to use the old Muhammad Ali “Rope-a-Dope” play on “Joe Biden.” Let the old grifter start yapping “convicted felon” and Mr. Trump can offer a review of the many cash gifts from foreign entities received into Hunter Biden’s dozen or so shell corporations, with a recitation of bank records, deal memos, and testimony-under-oath already in evidence, with hearings still ongoing.

There’s also the fair chance that, despite the Adderall lighting up what’s left in his brain-pan, “Joe Biden” will quickly melt down altogether into a pathetic, gibbering zombie, spouting inanities about his Uncle Brosey amongst the cannibals, his victory over the arch-villain Corn Pop, his conquest of Mt. Everest side by side with Xi Jinping, his growing-up Latinx and Jewish in Scranton, PA, his rescuing Martin Luther King from a mob of Ku Kluxers and . . . well . . . the nabobs of the Democratic Party will finally have what they’re longing for: the excuse to dump this perfect ass of a fake president and throw the window wide open for Hillary Clinton to fly in on her leathery wings (Caw! Caw!) and lead the dwindling number of her deranged admirers to another humiliating election loss.

What does this party have to run on besides the utterly empty, mendacious battle cry about saving our democracy? It offers nothing but ruin. The debate might even spell the death of the party itself. Oh, but also don’t rule out “Joe Biden” canceling at the last moment. Reasons.



They said—take it easy…
Said—calm down…
Said—stop talkin’…
Said—shut up….
They said—sit down….
Said—bow your head…
Said—keep on cryin’, let the tears roll…

What should you do in response?

You should stand up now
Should stand right up
Hold your back straight
Hold your head high…
You should speak
Speak your mind
Speak it loudly

You should scream so loud that they must run for cover.
They will say—’You are shameless!’
When you hear that, just laugh…

They will say— ‘You have a loose character!’
When you hear that, just laugh louder…

They will say—’You are rotten!’
So just laugh, laugh even louder…

Hearing you laugh, they will shout,
‘You are a whore!’

When they say that,
just put your hands on your hips,
stand firm and say,
“Yes, yes, I am a whore!”

They will be shocked.
They will stare in disbelief.
They will wait for you to say more, much more…

The men amongst them will turn red and sweat.
The women amongst them will dream to be a whore like you.

— Taslima Nasrin

American musicians Frank Sinatra (1915 - 1998) (left) and Louis Armstrong (1901 - 1971) laugh during rehearsals for their appearance on 'The Edsel Show,' Hollywood, California, October 10, 1957. The program was broadcast live three days later. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)


Matt Taibbi: All right. Welcome to America This Week. I’m Matt Taibbi.

Walter Kirn: And I’m Walter Kirn.

Matt Taibbi: Walter, are you home now?

Walter Kirn: Yeah, I’m back in home. Back at home base, I mean. I see that the rest of the country, according to cable news, is experiencing a heat dome, dangerous heat wave, but I want the country to know that all that heat is being actually sucked out of Montana and replaced on the east coast, because it’s been in the ‘30s here at night.

Matt Taibbi: Really?

Walter Kirn: Yeah.

Matt Taibbi: That’s crazy.

Walter Kirn: Six of one, half dozen of the other. And as you reminded me just a few moments ago, climate change activists have been screwing with Stonehenge, defacing Stonehenge. And that explains to me all big wobbles in climate statistics, because the Druid gods will not be mocked. They’re the ones who control the climate. It’s not Jehovah. Jehovah is hands off as far as that goes, but-

Matt Taibbi: Do these people not watch horror movies like Poltergeist? How many ancient burial ground movies are there where you disturb the sacred whatever and you’re cursed for all… The Mummy? I don’t know. Raiders of the Lost Ark. There’s like 9,000 of these, aren’t there? You don’t do this.

Walter Kirn: Yeah. Their lack of piety toward traditional Abrahamic religion is one thing. That’s very fashionable now. But going up against pagan deities, especially when you’re trying to deal with nature, is bad juju. And I think these kids need to lay off.

Matt Taibbi: Right. Right. I didn’t think we necessarily had to go into this, but we might as well just look at a few seconds of this just, because it was so crazy.

Speaker 1: Hey!

Speaker 3: No!

Matt Taibbi: Okay. We get it, we get it.

Walter Kirn: Hollywood has done a lot to configure our image of insanity. People, their eyes bugging out, and then they see triple and everything. But that was about as insane a set of images as I’ve ever seen. Some old dude with a skull on his T-shirt using orange smoke to try to deface a druid neolithic structure. Don’t.

Matt Taibbi: To do what exactly? See, this is the thing. It’s actually kind of an interesting question. Do protest movements have to convince or persuade to be effective? And there’s this new belief that they don’t have to. And I’m not sure I understand where that comes from.

Walter Kirn: Well, when they go into the Louvre and they hit the Mona Lisa or they go to Holland and deface a Rembrandt, I can sort of trace their logic. They’re going back to the, “Old white dudes,” who are part of the European hegemonic anti-nature drive that has gotten us all in this mess, according to them. But Stonehenge-

Matt Taibbi: They were living pretty simply. The carbon emissions, I’m guessing, were kind of low back at that time.

Walter Kirn: Aren’t those people their ideal? They danced around in the moonlight, and they’re naked, polyamorous, not particularly materialistic. Shouldn’t they be forming a human chain around Stonehenge instead of-

Matt Taibbi: Right. They should be spray-painting outward on everything else.

Walter Kirn: Exactly.

Matt Taibbi: Yeah.

Walter Kirn: Hands off our Stonehenge. Instead, they’re going to the heart of their cosmic support and biting the hand that feeds them. This is Lovecraftian horror in the making. I know it.

Matt Taibbi: Right. Right. Yeah. I have trouble grasping exactly what the idea is here. Well, we don’t really have to get into it, but I just think it’s such a strange way of looking at things. It’s this whole, like, “Well, we don’t need you to understand. We’re raising awareness.” But it’s negative awareness. Bill Maher does this routine all the time about people who block traffic. Does that help a cause or not?

Walter Kirn: I think all those people we just saw are on the payroll of Exxon.

Matt Taibbi: A couple of people were suggesting that. What is it? Stop new oil, or stop oil now, or whatever it is. It’s a big oil and gas op. Just Stop Oil. Sorry.

Walter Kirn: Right.

Matt Taibbi: Yeah. It would make sense.

Walter Kirn: Follow the money. Let’s follow the money. All these people were able to take time off from the jobs they don’t actually have in order to do this, and so someone’s supporting them. And I’m just not sure who’s behind it. Big solar? Who knows?

Matt Taibbi: Yeah, who knows? So we’re going to be talking later about a short story that gets into the question of what happens to people when their ability to feel grounded in reality is shaken. And we’re reaching, really, an interesting moment in our history there because even people who are schooled in the news, who’ve spent our whole lives in media, we have no idea what’s going on now, whether the news is front running some intelligence situation or it’s the opposite, but it’s very confusing.

I think we have to back up and, I don’t know, it’s not really take a bow, but point out that last week on this very show we were discussing this new AI-driven game, or this game about AI called Haywire that was designed by In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA. And one of the cards that we showed was one called Mind Games. And it said, “An easy-to-use voice model helps create a viral video suggesting that one of the candidates may have dementia.” And in between that moment, actually it was pretty much simultaneous to when we were cutting that show, Joe Biden was over in Europe and creating a series of videos that went viral.

Speaker 4: I’m wondering if the White House is especially worried about, appears to be a pattern of …

Karine Jean-Pierre: Yeah, and I think you all have called this the cheapfakes video, and that’s exactly what they are. They are cheapfakes video. They’re done in bad faith. And some of your news organizations have been very clear, have stressed that the right-wing critics of the president have a credibility problem because the fact-checkers have repeatedly caught them pushing misinformation, disinformation. And so we see this, and this is something coming from your part of the world, calling them cheapfakes and misinformation.

And I’ll quote the Washington Post, what they wrote about this and they said-

Matt Taibbi: This is so interesting.

Karine Jean-Pierre: … Republican used misleading videos to attack Biden in a 24 hour period. And to their credit, we have a conservative Washington examiner did call them out as well, calling out the New York Post. Ironically, several recent cheapfakes actually attack the president for thanking troops, for thanking troops. That is what they’re attacking the president for. Both in Normandy this happened, and again in Italy.

And I think that it tells you everything that we need to know about how desperate Republicans are here. And instead of talking about the president’s performance-

Matt Taibbi: Here it comes.

Karine Jean-Pierre: … and what I mean by that is his legislative wins, what he’s been able to do for the American people across the country. We’re seeing these deepfakes. These manipulated videos.

Matt Taibbi: So if you’re not listening closely to what she was saying, that was a virtuoso performance in propaganda because she was taking a Washington Post story that talked about cheapfakes, which is an invented term, and we can talk about the pliability of language around all this because that’s also really interesting. Cheapfakes is just selective editing, basically. It’s like you left out part of the shot so it looks worse than maybe it really was. But it’s real, right?

Walter Kirn: Mm-hmm.

Matt Taibbi: A deepfake is something that’s digitally created. It’s like an AI-generated image that’s fake. And so she went from talking about cheapfakes, and then at the end she talks about deepfakes. And this confuses the audience into thinking that what you saw over there in Europe, where Biden was variously falling asleep or turning around and looking in the wrong direction or walking off someplace and having to be retrieved by people-

Walter Kirn: Or head-bumping the Pope.

Matt Taibbi: Right, head bumping the Pope. That those were AI-generated images. And when we saw that, we were like, “Wow, that was in the game,” that they blamed this on AI, which was kind of incredible. I don’t know. What do you think about that? About the brazenness of that White House press conference there. That was striking to me.

Walter Kirn: Well, you’re right. It was very calculated, even though it might’ve appeared to be off the cuff.

Matt Taibbi: Yeah. Not at all.

Walter Kirn: Yeah. They had this term, cheapfakes, and they allided it into the term we’re familiar with, deepfakes, for a far more serious form of deception. They professed not to have come to these conclusions themselves but only to be following the press-

Matt Taibbi: Right, which is another thing we’ve seen a lot of in the last eight years, by the way, but go ahead. Oh, actually the whole War on Terror era. Yeah.


NEW EVIDENCE US BLOCKED UKRAINE-RUSSIA PEACE DEAL, and a new Ukrainian excuse for walking away

Insider accounts and leaked documents show that Ukraine and Russia were close to a peace deal in April 2022, until "alarmed" US officials intervened. 

by Aaron Mate

Since the collapse of peace talks between Ukraine and Russia in April-May 2022, the Biden administration and establishment US media have maintained a near-total vow of silence.

Even as Russian President Vladmir Putin has directly accused the US and UK of sabotaging the negotiations in Istanbul, President Biden and his top principals have never offered a rebuttal, and no major US outlet has bothered to seek one. The lone exception was an anonymous senior administration official, who told the Wall Street Journal’s Yaroslav Trofimov that Russian complaints were “Utter bulls—.” The official added: “I know for a fact the United States didn’t pull the plug on that. We were watching it carefully.”

new article in the New York Times ends the paper of record’s self-imposed quiet. The Times has published a lengthy account of the Istanbul talks based on insider sources, including three Ukrainian negotiators, as well as leaked copies of draft treaties disclosed publicly for the first time. The Times’ reporting underscores that Ukrainian and Russian negotiators made significant progress. It also offers new evidence that the Biden administration -- notwithstanding a lone anonymous denial -- stood in the way. Yet rather than acknowledge the West’s role in blocking a peace deal, the Times offers up a dubious new excuse from the Ukrainian side for walking away...


Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

― Robert Frost


Top Israeli and U.S. Defense Officials Meet on Rafah as Tensions Rise

Netanyahu doubles down on his complaints about the supply of U.S. munitions.

A drone attack damages a ship in the Red Sea, and other news.

The Israeli military says troops tied a wounded Palestinian to a vehicle.

Israel says it is investigating a strike that killed dozens near a Red Cross office in Gaza.


by Anonymous

On 9 June, doctors across Israel received an email from Zion Hagay, the president of the Israeli Medical Association (IMA), saying that a red line had been crossed. The night before, Udi Baharav, a 71-year-old physician and volunteer wearing a high-visibility doctor’s vest, had been violently arrested during an anti-government demonstration in Tel Aviv. Video clips of the police using excessive force went viral on social media and were picked up by the press. Dr Baharav was detained for hours simply for fulfilling his duty as a doctor and providing medical care to a protester.

Professor Hagay was appalled. He notified IMA members that he had contacted the police to demand that the attack be investigated and not repeated. He informed the health minister that doctors would go on strike if no action were taken against the officers responsible. Many doctors praised Hagay’s intervention. Yet his email aroused in me and other Palestinian doctors in Israel a sense of anger: not at what he was writing now, but at what he has failed to write for months.

Medical professionals in Israel, like everyone else, have seen how the Israeli military has systematically attacked healthcare facilities in Gaza. They have heard how hospitals have been forced to shut their doors after Israel prevented fuel, oxygen, medicine, medical equipment and food from entering Gaza. They have seen the reports of F-16 fighter planes, drones and snipers killing patients and staff, of hospitals becoming battlefields and their grounds being turned into mass graves. They have witnessed how Israel has targeted ambulances and paramedics. They have read about the doctors from Gaza who have been kidnapped, imprisoned, tortured and killed in custody. But only now, with an assault on an Israeli doctor in Tel Aviv, has a red line been crossed?

Palestinian doctors and nurses in Israeli institutions have to work among warmongering colleagues who have signed petitions calling on the government to bomb hospitals in Gaza. As Palestinians, we have to be vigilant about everything we say during our coffee breaks, about every WhatsApp message we send, every social media post, while putting up with comments from our colleagues that spark a mixture of rage, fear and impotence.

I understand Hagay’s anger with the Israeli security forces and his solidarity with the doctor they attacked. But he and the IMA have remained silent as the Israeli military has killed almost five hundred medical staff in Gaza. In April, Haaretz reported that a doctor working at the Sde Teiman detention centre had written to the Israeli defence minister, health minister and attorney general documenting the conditions faced by Palestinian detainees. ‘Just this week, two prisoners had their legs amputated due to handcuff injuries, which unfortunately is a routine event,’ the doctor wrote. The IMA did not threaten to go on strike.

This week it was revealed that another Palestinian doctor died in a Shin Bet interrogation facility last November. The IMA did not comment. Meanwhile, another Israeli doctor was injured by police at a demonstration. Professor Hagy wrote to the prime minister to complain, and on Sunday the IMA will be holding an hour’s protest at medical facilities across Israel.

In January, the IMA issued a statement that ‘Israeli physicians treat people whomever they are and regardless of their actions, simply by virtue of their being human beings.’ But Hagay’s email of 9 June underscores the silence of the Israeli medical establishment in the face of the atrocities in Gaza, and illustrates how the IMA distinguishes between people. The protracted silence is evidence that, in the eyes of Israeli doctors’ main professional body, Palestinian medical staff in Gaza, like the rest of the Palestinian population, do not count.

(London Review of Books)


  1. Kathy Janes June 23, 2024

    Try opening an account at one of our local credit unions. They are low cost, mainly free for seniors and offer great service. You don’t need to switch to a corporate bank.

    • MAGA Marmon June 23, 2024

      I don’t think Craig plans on staying local. That’s most likely why the Savings Bank doesn’t meet his needs.

      MAGA Marmon

    • Craig Stehr June 23, 2024

      The head of security at SBMC suggested Chase. Lots of branches nationwide. The appointment is Monday morning to open a checking account. This will be sufficient. I mean, it’s the least important item on my earthly list. Just trying to keep the body-mind complex alive, since according to a nurse in the local ER unit: “Something wants you here!” :-))

      • MAGA Marmon June 23, 2024

        Craig, she might have meant Ukiah.

        MAGA Marmon

        • Craig Stehr June 23, 2024

          She clearly was referring to the planet earth.

  2. Jim Armstrong June 23, 2024

    How can two men who are not yet the nominees of their political parties presume to debate.
    It is the media orchestrating this, just as they alone stand to benefit from the insane campaigns that are underway and have four months to further metastasize.

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