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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Nov 30, 2014

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A READER WRITES: “According to the National Weather Service, Boonville got nearly 0.40 inches of rain Friday and early Saturday morning. However, over roughly the same time period, Navarro River flow — according to the United State Geological Survey — dropped from just over 100 cubic feet per second to approximately 35 cubic feet per second, with most of the drop taking place near midnight over two or three hours. Sounds like a gauge problem, but we likely will never know.”

THE NAVARRO is still plugged at the mouth, so it could be that the recent rains measured slower because they simply joined the back-up. Beats me, too, though.


(Friday): Rainfall and some relentless pounding from high surf should breach the massive sand bar at the mouth of the Navarro River shortly — if it hasn't already. High tide today was 3:11 pm (4.87 feet) and the sand bar was taking a beating. Although the river is backed up and has flooded the parking lot closing Navarro State Beach the past several days, the USGS river level gauge is only at 2.97' — nearly 20 feet below flood stage.

We haven't made it down to take photos, but we're fairly confident the massive sand bar clogging up the mouth of the Navarro River has finally been breached through a combination of additional rainfall and pounding surf. It was at its bursting point shortly after high tide Friday and from the charts, looks like it finally cut through the enormous sand bar just before midnight last night.

Here's visual confirmation of the "breach" in the massive sand bar at the mouth of the Navarro River. The USGS river gauge (posted earlier) showed the sand bar finally gave way just before midnight Friday. And this breach looks so big one might think it was dynamited! The river needed a good cleansing with all the summer algae build-up. Roll on mighty Navarro, roll on...


CHRIS SKYHAWK REPORTS: Was open when I went past Saturday afternoon around 4PM. Pretty weak outflow, but if it keeps raining...let's hope.

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ASKING RANDOM VISITORS about the apparently done-deal new County Courthouse, most respond, “What new courthouse?” The one no one wants except the judges; the one that replaces the perfectly serviceable existing County Courthouse; the one that will sit at the foot of West Perkins in Ukiah where rush hour traffic already backs up; the architecturally hideous one certain to be a version of the visually squalid (and already abandoned) Willits courthouse; the new courthouse consisting only of courtrooms, meaning all ancillary court services will have to scuttle back and forth along two long country blocks; the new courthouse accepted as a done deal by the supervisors and the Ukiah City Council; the new courthouse that is supposed to serve the entire County but is proceeding as if only the judges and Ukiah are involved. And so on.

FEW COUNTY RESIDENTS are aware of the inexorable advance of this massive boondoggle, and the few who are, including a supervisor, say stuff like, “Well, golly, it's a state mandated and funded thing so how could we stop it?”

IF THE SUPERVISORS and the County's various elected bodies came out against it, it might be stopped, but there is no elected anybody who even seems to care. The people driving the new courthouse bus are the local judges (more and more regal by the day in their privileged assumptions) and the state's office of judges, an even more monarchically-inclined bureacuracy funded by fines and other public revenue streams. Google the new courthouses they've built recently, the one in Placer County for instance. That's what we're going to get here.


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IF YOU'RE TEMPTED to go see Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), I suggest you not bother. I thought it was awful, but then I only last for about 20 minutes before the big screen. The idea of the thing is kind of interesting — the interior life of a guy who's been a big movie star and now he isn't — but it came off, to this lowbrow anyway — as too precious with too much time spent on unpleasant, uninteresting people. The pretentious title should have been the tipoff that I was in for a couple of hours of high pseud, but I missed the hint. Of course the Chron liked it, which was another missed signal that Birdman was certain to be a bummer.

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This was before anyone was tattooed,

But everyone wanted one. I wanted love tattooed

across my ass, because I was in love.

I wanted a love emblem, but love is not engraved.

I don't know what love is. Nobody does.

I was in love with someone I had just met,

with women I didn't know,

with figures dancing in the midafternoon haze,

shadows, engravings, flowers.

Someone was in love with me. I could sense it.

Love croaked at me from the trees when I went outside.

— Crawdad Nelson

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PETIT TETON FARM'S MOTTO is "We grow it. We can it." We want you to know that our commercial kitchen is filled with a unique selection of gift ideas in the form of farm-made fare from sweets to savories, meals to sides, all produced locally on our farm from fresh produce grown by us. We would welcome your visit to the farm just four miles south of Boonville at 18601 Hwy 128. Email: for hours or check out our website: or just drop in when the OPEN sign is up.

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(Mendocino Sports Plus’s Paul McCarthy writes):

If you don't look at the Mendocino District Attorney's Facebook page (they only have 460 "likes"), perhaps you should.

The DA's office has been posting about the recent voter approved Proposition 47 - the so-called “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.”

Now who wouldn't vote for something called that ?

It's like voting for "free puppies, apple pie & pony rides" for everyone.

But actually, the only thing "free" are many career criminals (presently inmates in state prison) who are petitioning the courts to be "free" when their felonies are reduced to misdemeanors - and that's without post release "parole" or supervision..

Mendocino just had five state prisoners released and there are more in the pipeline.

Here's an interesting "sparring session between the DA's office and a defense attorney on Thanksgiving on Proposition 47:

First there was this viewer comment on the DA page: “Five cases? Thats it? In Sonoma County there are at least 30-40 cases a week being handled in this fashion. And to think, a great majority of these heroin and meth users and thieves are still able to work in schools, daycare facilities, care for the elderly, hell they can even serve as a juror. Horrible proposition that was passed by voters who were misled thinking this was going to help fund schools…lock your doors.’

MENDOCINO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: “No. The five cases discussed were just the five cases reviewed yesterday afternoon (NOV 25). To date, the MCDA has received 60 petitions seeking P47 relief since the first was received on November 17th. The 60 figure does not include the felony-to-misdemeanor reductions, modifications of formal (meaning supervised) probation to informal (meaning unsupervised) probation, and resentencings being handled on a case-by-case basis without the filing of a P47 petition on active cases when called on already scheduled court dates.”

DEFENSE ATTY BOB MARSHALL— “In November, 2014, Proposition 47 received a 71.3% yes vote in Mendocino County, a higher rate than the statewide result of 59.6%. The District Attorney ran unopposed in June, 2014. In 2018, I wonder which of those decisions they will rethink.”

MENDOCINO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: “Perhaps some may scratch their heads as to why a criminal defense attorney working in Chico decides on Thanksgiving to comment on voting patterns in Mendocino County. Did he see an opportunity for free publicity or did he feel compelled to do so for some political reason? As in every county across the state, there continues to be after-the-fact commentary relating to the pros and cons of P47. In Butte County, Mr. Marshall is quoted in the press as saying that P47 “is the biggest change to felony sentencing in the state since determinate sentencing was introduced in the 1970s. It affects more people than the 2011 prison realignment, which wasn’t retroactive like Proposition 47.” So is that a good thing? You decide. Did the voters realize that voting for “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools” would have the impact of entirely revamping California's felony sentencing laws? Again, you decide. On the flip side, the Butte County DA of 26 years, Mike Ramsey — who also ran unopposed in 2014 — said in the same article that he “continues to believe Proposition 47 is detrimental to public safety and expects to see an increase in rates of theft and drug addiction. He said it was demoralizing to see a defendant with 41 prior felony convictions have his offenses reduced to misdemeanors.” Is DA Ramsey wrong in his beliefs or for speaking out to educate his constituents? It's your call.”

ATTY BOB MARSHALL: “Mr. Eyster could eliminate his compulsion to scratch his head by checking with the Mendocino County defense bar or his own staff. I only saw his Facebook post because several of them reposted it. He would learn that I formerly worked for the Mendocino County Public Defender's office and still have professional relationships with many lawyers in the Ukiah area. Of course, I've never met Mr. Eyster, either. He wasn't practicing criminal law in Mendocino County seven years ago when I moved back to Chico (and ceased to be a registered voter in Mendocino County). Why did I feel compelled to reply? Because I find his scare tactics offensive. If he thinks I'm going to get some valuable publicity from responding to his Facebook post, he's delusional.”

MENDOCINO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: “There have been no indications that DA Eyster is delusional and it is unfortunate that you've never had the honor of meeting him. He's pretty down-to-earth and promotes transparency in the local criminal justice system like never before seen in this county. As far back as 1984 when he started as a prosecutor in Ukiah, DA Eyster has taken his job of protecting the safety of all local residents to heart. Now as to your thoughts from afar — they are hyperbole. Why be upset that factual information is being shared by an elected official with his constituents? Why try to characterize those facts from afar in ways they are not? So here's the deal — we'll be happy to promptly remove anything we previously posted about the five P47-eligible defendants if you, Mr. Marshall, can point out where that information is factually wrong.”

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Nov 29, 2014

COLIN CUNLIFFE, Covelo. Pot cultivation, processing.

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(45% of Sonoma/Mendo invasions cited are in Mendo.)

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ONLINE COMMENT OF THE DAY: Of course, Bay Area is no Ferguson, MO. However, here in the Bay Area, the answer to the question “would a cop stop a white (Asian) teenager jay-walking in the middle of the street at noon?” is “undeniably yes.” I have two white teenage kids, who've been stopped by the police for less than that. One of them was running down the street at 8am, and ducked into an alley right before the cop. Who found it suspicious, so he stopped her and questioned. She explained that she was being late for school, and that's why she was running and had to take a shortcut. She showed her school id, and that was the end of it. This and other incidents are not about the race — they are about the age. From time to time even bright teenagers do incredibly stupid things, and cops know this better than anyone else. The difference is that I am grateful to the cop, because I appreciate an extra set of eyes watching my kids when I'm not there. While many posters here describe similar interactions of their kids with cops in terms of “antagonize” and “harass.” If that's how you feel about the police, do you seriously think that any talk (or TALK) with your teenager will be helpful? Or is it more likely to instill a mixture of fear and loathing, amplified by the typical teenage pigheadedness? That's where it all starts — with the parents. Before blaming the cop, look in the mirror.

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I AM THE KIND OF PERSON who would not be in the least surprised if, in the very middle of my Presidency, I were to be summoned and led off to stand trial before some shadowy tribunal, or taken straight to a quarry… Nor would I be surprised if I were to suddenly hear the reveille and wake up in my prison cell, and then, with great bemusement, proceed to tell my fellow prisoners everything that had happened to me in the past six months… The lower I am, the more proper my place seems; and the higher I am, the stronger my suspicion that there has been some mistake. — Vaclav Havel

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Hymns of the Pilgrim Conquest

by David Yearsley

Edward Winslow’s Good Newes from New-England published in 1624 in London begins its account in November of 1621. There is no word of the first Thanksgiving. That didn’t happen until 1623 and was a day of devout prayer and penance rather than one of festive celebration and culinary surfeit.

The Good Newes begins not with happy feasting by natives and newcomers, but with the threat of war: “the Great people of Nanohigganset, which are reported to be many thousands strong, began to breath forth many threats against us; the common talke of our neighbour Indians on all sides was of the preparation they made to come against us.” Rather than bringing gifts of “Indian Corne,” oysters, turkey, and venison, the natives are filling their quivers with new arrows.

Squanto, whom Winslow calls Tisquantum, figures prominently in the account.

Winslow doesn’t mention that Squanto had been taken back to England in 1605 by Captain George Weymouth. In London he was cultivated as an interpreter and guide for the exploration and exploitation of New England by Sir Ferdinando Gorges, owner of the Plymouth Company. After several crossings of the Atlantic, Squanto had come back to what would become Massachusetts only in 1619, the year before the Pilgrim’s arrival on his native shores.

Winslow, who would go on to serve several terms as Governor of the Plymouth Colony in the 1630s before returning permanently to England to join Oliver Cromwell’s puritanical government, refers to Squanto merely as an “Interpreter” and doesn’t trust him at all, seeing the native’s main motive as self-aggrandizement—“to make himself great in the eyes of his Country men, by meanes of his neerenesse and favour with us.” Tisquantum was not a sower of corn but of dissent and intrigue, a spreader of rumor not organic fertilizer: “So that he might possesse his Countrymen with the greater feare of us, and so consequently of himself, [Tisquantum] told [the Indians] wee had the plague buried in our store-house, which at our pleasure wee could send forth to what place or people wee should, and desstroy them therewith, though wee stirred not from home.” In fact, Tisquantum’s intelligence was top quality: the illegal immigrants from across the big water were indeed in possession of biological weapons of mass destruction. Winslow’s Good Newes is very bad news for the locals and for people across the continent.

As Squanto’s turbulent life ends in 1623, apparently beset by the plague of smallpox Winslow denies having stockpiled, he has just been engaging in further negotiations between the Pilgrims and natives. Winslow reports Squanto’s death without the least bit of sympathy, as if he got what he deserved: “God strucke Tisquantum with sicknesse, in so much as hee there died.” Others maintain Squanto was poisoned by Wampanoags distrustful of his uncomfortably close relations with the white people.

Winslow played a crucial role in establishing the foothold for the European Giant that would subsequently stride across the continent. He was chief delegate in treatying with the natives after the arrival in Plymouth in December of 1620, and had ample opportunity to observe the natives at close hand. Indeed, Good Newes purports to be an account not just of warfare and subterfuge, but of local customs.

Winslow was quite interested in music, and his may be the first ethnomusicological observations made by a “New American.” He remarks on the “musicall notes” of the natives’ burial and mourning customs; these songs seem strange to him, but he does not dismiss them as ugly. Indeed, Winslow registers the central importance of singing for the natives, remarking that in their religious meetings they would “sing, daunce, feast, give thanks, and hang up Garlands and other things.” Over these first few decades, the natives continued to give thanks, though they had increasingly less to be thankful for.

Before leaving for America by way of England, the Pilgrims had bidden farewell in July of 1620 to the English congregation of Separatists in Leiden, in The Netherlands, where the Pilgrims had lived for more than a decade. Writing in his Hypocrisie Unmasked of 1646, Winslow recalled:

“They that stayed at Leiden feasted us that were to go [to America] at our pastor’s house, [it] being large; where we refreshed ourselves, after tears, with singing of Psalms, making joyful melody in our hearts as well as with the voice, there being many of our congregation very expert in music; and indeed it was the sweetest melody that ever mine ears heard.”

“Sweet” is not a word that Winslow applies to the music he heard after arriving in America, but his own reports suggest real interest in it, just as other accounts portray the fascination of Native Americans with the new music arriving from Europe.

The most resonant of these comes from another Englishman and from the other side of the continent: Sir Francis Drake on the California Coast in 1579.

Drake bought a consort of viol players and trumpeters on his voyage around the world. That he made space for such musicians in the close quarters of the Golden Hinde demonstrates how important music was not only for his own spirits, but also as a psychological weapon in inter-cultural relations and warfare: the intricacy of English polyphony was a sign to captured Spaniards asked to dine with Drake that high standards obtained even at the outer reaches of the globe. To the Indians it was a magical music from another world, a sign of things to come.

Finding their way ashore north of present day San Francisco in the lagoon now known as Drake’s Bay inside Points Reyes, Drake and his men were met by Miwok women inflicting “unnaturall violence against themselves, crying and shreeking piteously, tearing their flesh with their nailes from their cheeks.” They seem to have thought that the pale ghosts of their ancestors had come back from the sea. As the nephew of the English seaman, also named Sir Francis Drake, put it in his The World Encompassed, an account of the voyage published a half century after its completion, the men of the Golden Hinde then “fell to prayers, and by signes of lifting up our eyes & hands to heaven, signified unto them the God whom we did serve, and whom they ought to worship.”

The devotional music of the Englishmen enthralled the Miwoks: “In the time of which prayers, singing of psalms, and reading of certain chapters in the Bible, they sate very attentively. Yea they took such pleasure in our singing of psalmes, that whensoever they resorted to us, their first request was commonly this, Gnaah, by which they intreated that we should sing.” That Gnaah was probably an attempt by the Miwoks to evoke the nasal English singing of the period. Ironically, the psalms — the music of the newly Chosen People and the central Protestant contribution to communal religious singing — were first heard in the Americas on the Pacific Coast, as if offering up a prelude to Manifest Destiny at its terminus almost three centuries in advance of its fulfillment.

It was a French religious refugee in seventeenth-century Switzerland who composed the central melody for the European conquest of North America. In the mid-1540s Louis Bourgeois joined John Calvin in Geneva where together they compiled the Geneva Psalter. Bourgeois’ melody for the 100th psalm in Calvin’s French translation would become the most famous of all Protestant hymns. Commonly known as Old 100th in reference to its placement in that seminal collection of Reformation song, the melody is used every Sunday across the world as the Protestant Doxology: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” It is the hymn of Thanksgiving, not only in the general sense, but also across four centuries of European domination of this continent.

When the Puritans landed in Plymouth in November of 1620, they had with them copies of The Book of Psalmes published in 1612 in Amsterdam and “Englished” by another refugee, Henry Ainsworth, who had printed the volume for use by the fugitive congregations in Holland. Ainsworth’s translation of the 100th psalm is closer to John Calvin than the general words of thanks sung to the modern Doxology:

Showt to Jehovah, al the earth;

Serv ye Jehovah with gladness;

Before Him come with singing mirth;

Know that Jehovah He God is.

The key phrase is “al the earth,” though little did this small band of Puritans know that, if not all the world, then a good part of it would indeed be subjugated, or more likely destroyed, by their Godly mission. The truest attitudes of the Pilgrims towards their new land could be heard in the psalms they sang and which continued to serve as the music of American conquest.

Louis Bourgeois had not only compiled and probably written many of the tunes in the Geneva Psalter, but he also wrote simple four-part polyphonic settings of 50 of these melodies. Winslow’s claim that many of the soon-to-be Pilgrims were “expert in music” might suggest that they were capable of this kind of music-making, though the reference only to “melody” would more likely indicate that the Pilgrim’s followed the standard practice of psalm-singing in the Netherlands, in which only the melody was delivered.

Like others before and since, from Plato to the Taliban, the Pilgrims took seriously the power of music, both its uplifting potential and its dangerous capacity to lubricate the spirit for sin. In this they followed John Calvin himself, who in his preface to the Psalter of 1543, acknowledged music as a viable means of recreation and pleasure, but cautioned that one “ought to be the more careful not to abuse it, for fear of soiling and contaminating it … It should not be allowed to give free rein to dissolution, or to make ourselves effeminate in disordered delights, and that it should not become the instrument of lasciviousness nor of any shamelessness.”

Echoing Calvin, Winslow’s fascination with the native music of Massachusetts appears colored by his own titillation at hearing songs of error and sin.

Across the eighteenth and into the nineteenth centuries, the Pilgrims tenuous landing and establishment of a colony remained embedded in the narrative of American nation-building not at Thanksgiving, itself a nineteenth-century reinvention, but at the commemoration of the Landing at Plymouth, celebrated on December 22nd in New England and beyond. A Broadsheet from 1800 from these pre-Christmas celebrations, demonstrates that mutual respect between natives and colonizers was not part of Pilgrim pageantry.

The central hymn of the 1800 commemorations of the Landing at Plymouth was, as always, “Old Hundred.” The text adapts the old Pilgrim psalm to new purposes of Manifest Destiny.

Hail, Pilgrim Fathers of our race!

With grateful hearts, your toils we trace;

Again this Votive Day returns,

And finds us bending o’er your urns.

Jehovah’s arm prepar’d the road;

The Heathen vanish’d at his nod:

He gave his Vine a lasting root;

He load its goodly boughs with fruit.

The hills are cover’d with its shade;

Its thousand shoots like cedars spread:

Its branches to the sea expand,

And reach to broad Superior’s strand.

Of Peace and Truth the gladsome ray

Smiles in our skies and cheers the day;

And a new Empire’s splendent wheels

Roll o’er the tops of western hills.

The voices of the Pilgrims can be heard in that melody and in its chilling, updated words. In them, too, one can sense the attentive ghosts of the Native Americans listening still.

(David Yearsley is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Bach’s Feet. He can be reached at

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by Steve Heilig

The Marley estate plans to use Bob Marley's name or image on a vast array of products, from Marley coffee (the slogan: 'Stir it Up') to soccer balls, bedsheets, and a Grand Theft Auto-ish video game. 'He worked out', daughter Cedella says. 'Great abs. He would make a great action hero'," —Rolling Stone, 2009

"Marley Marijuana"? What's next, Mandela Mac-and-Cheese? Ghandi Granola? Lennon Lint-Remover? Dylan Diapers? MLK Menswear?

Probably, and hopefully, not, as the surviving families of those icons seem to have some taste, restraint, ethics, and just plain good judgment -- not to mention respect for the person who made their name famous.

For many years, I had the privilege and pleasure of working backstage at music festivals, especially "world music" and reggae events. Meeting many musical stars, even heroes, was almost always a joy. One-on-one, protected from paparazzi and such, these artists were almost always polite, humble, friendly and even grateful to be well-cared for before and after their stage time.

There were exceptions, of course. One year we had a few of the children of reggae legend Bob Marley appearing, and they traveled with bodyguards - totally unnecessary backstage - and big egos. Sitting with another reggae legend, who had been a longtime friend of Bob Marley, we watched one junior Marley walking along with a pushy bodyguard ahead of him warning "Artist coming through" and I asked what he thought of it all. "If Bob were here now, he'd have those boys over his knee" replied the star, shaking his head.

I've long wondered about that remark. Bob Marley's family legacy has been a very mixed one. One can quibble about the music his children have made, but the legal history is a real shame. In-fighting and money-grabbing seems to have been the norm in the decades after Marley died intestate. While the details in many such cases are fuzzy, one thing is certain - it's not likely what Bob Marley would have wanted.

Now comes the latest attempt to cash in on his image - "Marley Natural" marijuana, a "brand" that was announced in November, garnering worldwide media attention - as no doubt intended.

Is this a "natural' fit? Of course Bob Marley smoked cannabis. But would he want his name on it, as part of advertising for a profiteering product? Would he partner with business interests who had nothing to do with reggae, Jamaica, the Rastafarian faith, or anything else Marley was associated with or devoted to? I'd bet no - as would many others who knew him. Marley was renowned for his indifference to money and his generosity on handing out cash to most anybody who asked. If any business endeavor would be suitable in his name, it would surely be a charitable one.

And so, disgusted by the news of this new "product roll-out," I sent an op-ed to the Jamaica Gleaner, Marley's home nation's leading newspaper, suggesting that if they must market cannabis, they devote the proceeds to charities Bob Marley would have endorsed - and then was surprised to see the Gleaner printed it, in their Sunday edition.

The reaction, at least as measured by the many emails I have received and the comments online, has mostly been along the lines of "Right on!" and "Don't hold your breath that they will heed any such message." Which is probably true, but, well, it just seemed to me that somebody had to say it out loud. The comments saying "They can do whatever they damn well please with their name and money" only confirmed for me the need to raise some questions.

Here is the op-ed (retitled and Anglicized by the post-colonial Gleaner):

Are the Marleys high?

Shame on family for peddling patriarch as brand

An Open Letter to the Marley Family

Dear Rita, Cedella, and Rohan Marley:

Congratulations on last week's very visible launch of your forthcoming Marley Natural brand of marijuana. As no doubt intended, you received worldwide media coverage.

But I am also compelled to ask: Have you no shame?

Don't get me wrong. As a longtime reggae fanatic and journalist, I have long revered Bob Marley's music and messages. I went to his concerts and even met him once - where I was in awe of his presence. The BEAT magazine, a leading world music journal and my primary publisher for many years, devoted entire issues to him every year.

Collectively, we, too, loved the man. And as for cannabis, I, too, favour legalisation and have even contributed to major medical policy papers advocating that - if carefully done.

But contrary to what Cedella has told the press, Bob Marley is not a brand. The businessmen you have partnered with to sell cannabis make no bones about their motivations - money, and money only. They are what Bob Marley referred to as "pure Babylon."

As you know, herb to him was a sacrament, not just another product to be marketed for profit by capitalists. Anti-herb drug warriors are already using your product launch as an example of Big Cannabis practices that will prove that marijuana should remain illegal. I strongly believe that rather than smiling about this latest attempt to cash in on his image, your father/husband is spinning in his grave.

You may have a way to redeem this looming debacle, however. Back in 2005, Stephen Davis, who knew Bob Marley and wrote one of the best books about him, penned a scathing open letter to him in The BEAT magazine. Davis lamented the infighting, greed, and scandal that ensued among your family after his death, and asked, very pointedly:

"Where is the Bob Marley Hospital for the Poor that should be operating in Spanish Town? Where is the Bob Marley Orphanage that should be the pride of St Ann's Bay? What about the Bob Marley Home for the Aged in Negril, or the Bob Marley Early Childcare Centre in Sligoville and Port Antonio? These non-existent institutions don't exist because your family has other priorities, which seem to be mostly themselves."

So here is your challenge, and your opportunity - which should be a relatively easy one to fulfill, as I very much doubt any of you are truly in need of more money. I note that there is a Healing of the Nation page on your new product website - which is so far blank. If you will now make a public, binding pledge to devote all profits from Marley cannabis to an independent, audited foundation that will provide the sort of essential human services Davis proposed, Bob Marley might indeed smile from beyond. Otherwise, many of us who remember his message will continue to believe that his family is defiling his memory.

And finally, in the same edition of the magazine where Mr Davis' open letter appeared, there was a 1936 speech by Emperor Haile Selassie, whom Bob Marley himself revered, of course. Its title: 'God and history will remember your judgment'. I humbly suggest you think about that before you attempt to cash in again on the name you have been so fortunate to inherit.

Sincerely, Steve Heilig, San Francisco

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Neoliberal Ruin for Us, Corporate Welfare for Them

by Dan Bacher

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is asking people to not step foot in a Walmart today in solidarity with the workers of the retail giant who are now striking for better wages and working conditions.

I won’t step foot in a Walmart for that reason and a multitude of other reasons including the following:

  1. Walmart funds corporate “environmental” NGOs that support neo-liberal environmental policies including fake “marine protected areas” and “catch shares” programs that devastate fishing families around the world. Don’t support any group, such as the Nature Conservancy, Ocean Conservancy and EDF, that receives Walton Family Foundation money! If you’re an angler, why support anti-fishing groups by buying garbage at Walmart?
  2. Walmart funds the school privatization “charter school” movement, awarding behests to organizations run and promoted by corrupt politicians like Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and his wife Michelle Rhee.
  3. Walmart drives sustainable, family-owned businesses out of communities around the world, replacing local businesses with its ugly, junk-filled mega-stores.
  4. Walmart underpays and badly treats its workers, as documented in numerous reports.
  5. Walmart is one of the biggest corporate welfare queens on the planet, urging its employees to apply for government assistance because of the low salaries and paltry benefits it provides its workers.

Walmart is a notorious corporate polluter, practicing unsustainable practices around the world, and is known for building its giant stores in once-pristine areas with no regard for fish, wildlife and the evironment.

In fact, as hordes of shoppers swarm megastores on Black Friday, a developer is plotting to pave over the most unique piece of unprotected wilderness left in Miami to make way for yet another Wal-Mart, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

“This development deal may be one of the ugliest ever,” the Center stated. “An irreplaceable forest that’s a biological refuge for many endangered species, this land was given for free to the University of Miami from the federal government. Instead of working to preserve it, the university sold out to a developer. If the Wal-Mart developer gets its way, irreplaceable wildland will be lost forever to yet another sprawling shopping center.”

In summary, every cent you spend at a Walmart is a cent spent to drive a nail into your own back. Why drive a knife into your own back?

Walmart is a living manifestation of corporate evil and greed – people who shop there are in effect voting against themselves and their own self interest!

I have written numerous investigative pieces on Walmart and the Walton Family greenwashing. In one of my latest pieces, an analysis of environmental grants that the Walton Family Foundation gave to conservation organizations in 2013 reveals that NGOs supporting Proposition 1, Governor Jerry Brown’s water bond that passed in November, received $9,234,866 in grants while opponents of the controversial measure received none.

The Walton Family Foundation grant recipients, including the Nature Conservancy, Audubon Society, Ocean Conservancy, American Rivers and other corporate “environmental” NGOs, allied with corporate agribusiness, the oil industry, Big Tobacco, the timber industry, billionaires, Stewart Resnick of Paramount Farms and a rogue’s gallery of some of the worst corporate interests on the planet to fund the biggest dam building project in recent California history!

Groups that really care about the environment and fish and wildlife restoration won’t take a cent from the Walton Family Foundation and Walmart because the grants are designed to greenwash the corporation’s terrible environmental policies and further the Walton Family’s neo-liberal economic and environmental agenda.

The Walton Family Foundation is governed by the descendants of Sam and Helen Walton, the founders of Walmart.

“The Walton Family Foundation continues a philanthropic vision begun by Walmart founders Sam and Helen Walton,” according to the Foundation website. “Across diverse areas of giving that include education reform, freshwater and marine conservation and community and economic development, Walton family members carry forward the timeless Walton value of creating opportunity so that individuals and communities can live better in today’s world.”

The foundation forgot to ask the Walmart workers suffering from low wages and poor working conditions, the fishing families and indigenous communities screwed by neo-liberal “catch shares” and “marine protected areas” funded by Walton Family Foundation money, the mom and pop operations driven out of business by Walmart, and the taxpayers forced to subsidize the Walton’s corporate welfare program what they think about the “timeless Walton value of creating opportunity so that individuals and communities can live better in today’s world!”

For more information, go to here.

To find a Black Friday protest at a Walmart near you, go to: ‪#‎WalmartStrikers

(Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento. He can be reached at: Dan Bacher

One Comment

  1. Rick Weddle November 30, 2014

    Early Thanksgivings were, we can be sure, not what Norman Rockwell might have slathered on canvas. How would you have reacted, as a First Nations member, seeing armed, diseased, ghostly strangers slogging ashore in your neighborhood? Had the native peoples of N. America then had any comprehensive immigration laws in place, a lot of this Unsettling by the ‘settlers’ might have been avoided. Whatever noise the newcomers made with their dulcimers and tambourines kinda took second chair to the Colt .44’s ‘winning of the West.’ And the Manufactured Destiny deal is still ringing ever louder in the ears of our world. Not saying this to put too sweet a face on it, but to point out that listening – to music or other tongues – hasn’t been the strong suit of we Euro-folk for some time.

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