- Driving Drunks
- Ernesto's Service
- Livable Towns
- Pumps Pumping
- Mendo Matriarchy
- Corporate State
- Catch of the Day
- Cop Cameras
- Growth Limits
- President Sanders
- Navarro Inn Day
- Teen Readers
- 4th Dimension
- Why Pay
- Castro's Painkillers
TERRIBLE HEAD-ON IN PHILO Saturday night about 10:30pm near the Madrones when a 1999 Chevy Cavalier crossed the yellow line and collided with a 1998 Subaru. Both parties required extrication from their vehicles by the Jaws of Life operated by the Anderson Valley Volunteers. The as yet unidentified 36-year old Ukiah man, Stephen Hunter, driving the Chevy Cavalier was flown via Calstar helicopter to Enlow Hospital in Chico with major injuries including a broken femur. The 26-year old male driver of the Subaru, Colter Millehrer, a resident of Corvallis, Oregon, was transported via ground ambulance to Ukiah Valley Medical Center with major injuries, also including a broken femur. Both drivers were drunk.
THE MAN who caused this accident, Hunter, was lurching drunk at Saturday night's big band concert at the Philo Grange. At least one concertgoer said the guy had lunged off into the night with a band member's trumpet.
ERNESTO CONTRERAS was only 19 and had just completed a successful first year in college when his car unaccountably left the road near Philo two weeks ago and struck a tree, killing Ernesto instantly. Services were held last Thursday at Saint Elizabeth Seton's Catholic Church, Philo, a church much too small to contain the many people who turned out to mourn the loss of a hugely popular and promising young man.
IT'S A FACT, if an uncomfortable fact, that the Anderson Valley remains racially divided. Ernesto's services were confirmation. Many Anglos who knew Ernesto wanted to attend his memorial but had no idea of where and when it would be. That information was mostly circulated privately and in Spanish. Maybe it will take another decade of ethnic co-habitation in the Anderson Valley to create something resembling a real community.
AS AN INTEGRATIONAL START, however, we do have bi-ethnic Zumba, a bi-ethnic Health Center and the encouragingly bi-ethnic Mosswood Market.
FOR THE PURE heck of it, I like to write back to junk e-mail. I'm surprised how many write back. Monday morning began with one that said the "Top 100 Most Livable Small Towns in America Announced." I asked if Boonville was on the list. Some guy wrote back to say no, but Sebastopol was among the top hundred. Last time I was out there Sebastopol seemed to be slurbing in all directions and not anymore livably distinguishable from any other place. If you have the dough, Healdsburg is still coherent and livable but that's about it for SoCo. Boonville has its amenities but property here is now almost as expensive as Healdsburg and rents here are impossible. For pure livability I'd say Fort Bragg is the most all-round attractive community in Mendocino County, although I like Point Arena for pure wackiness and Covelo for a rare combination of beauty and life on the edge, as you might call the random mayhem characteristic of the place.
IT COMES UP OFTEN. "Don't you know how divisive it is to always be ragging on the wineries?" Excuse me, but the grape juggernaut's drawing off water from public streams in the fourth year of a drought is a psycho-social problem? I know the fuzzy-warms out there dream of a day we'll all wear uniforms of organic hemp and dance down the streets hugging each other, but in the mean time it's probably a good idea not to kill off what's left of the natural world.
LOGGING NEVER DID THIS MUCH BAD
by David Severn
As mentioned elsewhere in the paper, a shiny new 10hp water pump showed up on Indian Creek below the Balo Winery a week or two ago. The electric panel freshly installed with it has an inspection tag with the name "Mullins" attached. Timothy Mullins is Mr. Balo. At the same site Balo has a long standing separate pump. (He also has a water right to Anderson Creek behind his famous horse barn on Anderson Valley Way.)
At first, since Balo had removed the intake piping on the new pump, it seemed like the installation was for later use when and if more rain comes down. But late afternoon on Wednesday May 27 I got a call from an Indian Creek neighbor that the pump was pumping. My inspection found that the pump had now been enclosed in a padlocked box, the suction pipe re-installed and the pump humming away. Since no one was at Balo for me to complain to I assumed it would be pumping all night.
At 5:45 the next morning I confirmed that the pump was still running and it was verified by a Balo farm hand showing up for work that the water was going next door to Roederer property called Domaine Anderson (formerly Jim Ball Vineyard). I went home and when I could rouse them I talked with two people at CA State Water Resources Control Board and our local Fish and Wildlife guy, Mark White. I also called Roederer padrone, Arnaud Weyrich, and left an emotional message of my outrage at his blatant disregard for riverine ecology.
Water Board staff informed me that both Mullins and Roederer had licensed water rights that allowed them to take water from May 1 through Nov. 1 — no reasonable regulated limits, no river flow rate requirements, no special drought provisions in place. "Why can they do this during the low-flow dry months?" I asked. The reply: "It's agriculture. That's when they need the water."
I was also told by the Water Board rep that if I or Fish and Wildlife could show an "impact on the public trust resource" they would investigate further. On that Thursday morning the USGS Navarro River gauge was showing a very low 4.1 cfs flow rate and documented that the previous record low for the same date was in 1977 at a rate of 10 cfs. Wouldn't that in itself be an impact? Shouldn't all of the river water dependent life forms be included in "public trust resources"?
With many Anderson Valley vineyards pumping basically unregulated out of the Navarro watershed, aren’t they all cumulatively adding to the impact on a public trust resource? Balo's original pump is pumping, Roederer is pumping; whoever now owns Corby is pumping; Wentzel is probably pumping, Husch has a pump in the water and is probably pumping; Cakebread along Anderson Creek is probably pumping; that other vineyard at the end of AV Way is probably pumping, Goldeneye has pumping apparatus in place. And how many more am I missing? My God, doesn't anybody in charge care?
Using electric kwh readings, Roederer's take over three days was probably three acre-feet (about a million gallons). Corby over the past month has taken probably 6 acre-feet of water (two million gallons). If Balo's is going 24 hours a day that taking must be significant. We are talking about a lot of water here.
* * *
Addendum - new info from Water Board. There are 10 water diversion rights on Indian Creek, there are 36 water diversion rights on the Navarro River and there are 44 water diversion rights on Anderson Creek.
But back to Thursday, the 28th of May. By mid-afternoon my curiosity called me to the Indian Creek pump site. There I found Tom Hartlip, vineyard manager for Roederer at Scharffenberger. I've know Tom since back in my Vine Watch days and have always found him to be open and friendly. He said he was waiting for Fish and Wildlife to show up for a temporary shutdown of the still pumping system.
I was grateful to hear that F&W was actually investigating. While we talked, two F&W agents in separate vehicles showed up but said they had other business further out Indian Creek and would be back. Then two Hispanic farm workers showed up and started to work on the pumping system. They told Tom they had orders to pull the apparatus and stop pumping pending completion of the F&W investigation. This was news to Tom but he called the boss and verified its truth. I hope this is not a statement that will get Tom in trouble, but he told me that he thought they probably had enough water and might not re-initiate the pumping this season. I probably didn't need to but I kept the emotional Yahoo! to myself.
Monday afternoon I had the pleasure of talking with Nancy Smith of the The Nature Conservancy. She told me that they are working with Roederer to get the diversion rights changed so that Roederer can pump and store during the winter when there is more water available. The process is quite complicated she said, and requires long term studies and the use of "real science." "Who's paying?" I asked. "We are," was the answer, thus indicating that the wine industry in the form of French owned Roederer Estates is gaining yet another free subsidy. You are aware, I hope, that the government actually subsidizes those lovely frost fans that lull us awake some spring nights.
I'm getting a tad older and creakier and would like to connect with a younger person who loves the River as I do and who would like to visit with her (the River) on a fairly regular basis to check her vital signs and make sure things are going OK. There are a number of Valley residents that would appreciate your efforts and I guarantee she has a lot to give you in exchange.
FORT BRAGG, like all Mendocino County government, is run by smart, capable women. Say what you will about Linda Ruffing, she's no dummy. Our smartest judge is Ann Moorman. County CEO Carmel Angelo runs the whole show at the County level. Almost everywhere you look in County government, a woman is running things. The innumerable nonprofits? The schools? All women in the power slots except for Galletti at County Schools, the best job in the County, which pays more than a hundred grand a year, plus a range of perks, for literally doing nothing. Pseudo Public Radio? Cross Mary Aigner at your peril, boys, which accounts for the denatured behavior of KZYX's male staff. The station's rubber-stamp (latex-stamp?) board of directors is mostly female with, it seems to me, strong fascist tendencies given their meeting behavior. Which, except for the fascism, is fine with me. But the beef I have is with these apparently mommy-starved men sitting on all these public boards. These boys are elected to make decisions, but they roll right over for the unelected women they are supposed to be supervising. They'd roll over for men with as much alacrity, I'd suppose, given that the roll over is the way of public discourse anymore. Everyone is just so doggone nice! But we happen to have a unmistakeable Mendo Matriarchy and a lot of "liberal" or "feminized" men who seem to really, really, really miss their mommies to where you sit there watching the meetings, thinking to yourself, "What's wrong with these people? They all look and talk like they've been meatballed." I can't even remember the last time a supervisor, for instance, brought up an important matter on his little old lonesome. Mommy would probably not approve.
FORT BRAGG, as is evident from watching the meetings, Ms. Ruffing is driving the bus while Mayor Turner, who reminds me of Mr. Peepers, the narcoleptic Hammerstrom and the barely visible Dietz, who seems to shrink during meetings, simply ratify whatever Ruffing has handed them. Ditto for the Supervisors and Carmel Angelo. She writes the agenda, the Supes stagger through it, wasting much of their meeting time issuing fatuous proclamations, listening to self-serving reports from their administrators and congratulating everyone (except for Beth Bosk) who appears at the mike on their all-round wonderfulness.
by Fred Gardner
The Warriors' great Klay Thompson pumped as if to shoot. Trevor Ariza (6' 7", 225 lbs) leaped to block the shot, but Thompson stayed bent down instead of rising up and Ariza's left knee clipped him behind the right ear. Thompson fell to the floor in pain. He was taken to the locker room, woozy, with a laceration behind his ear. The Warriors medical staff "could not find evidence of a concussion" and sent him back out to report for action. But as he sat on the bench, blood started trickling from behind his ear, down his neck, and he returned to the locker room for stitches. He was not put back in the game. The statement issued by the team afterwards said: no concussion.
This is from Jeff Faraudo’s coverage of the episode in the Oakland Tribune May 28 (the day after the game):
“Warriors owner Joe Lacob kept a good thought after watching the play unfold.
"’I didn't think it was very serious,’ Lacob said. ‘I figured he just got a knee to the head or something.'"
Joe Lacob was sitting about 20 feet away, on his courtside throne. He saw the encounter, probably heard the crack of kneecap on cranium. He saw Thompson fall, saw how concerned his teammates were, how he needed help to get up and stagger away...
The classic line elucidating the boss's twisted empathy for "his" athlete, spoken as the beaten boxer stands by bloody and swollen, is: “he never laid a glove on us." Joe Lacob’s “He just got a knee to the head or something” has a similar ring, but it lacks the irony and empathy expressed by Blinkie Palermo.
Thompson was woozy and vomiting the night after he just got a knee to the head or something, and next day a concussion was diagnosed. "No timetable for his return," reported the Trib.
The owner's credo should be engraved into a bronze sculpture of Thompson lying on his back outside the stadium that Team Lacob will be financing construction of in San Francisco (because Oakland isn't classy enough for them): "He just got a knee to the head or something."
Relax, pot people, this will get around to your issue in due course. Fire one up.
One day in 2011 there appeared on a public school wall in Alameda some corporate logos and a big sign proclaiming "Joe Lacob Court."
It didn't seem right that the island city was providing free advertising to two corporations — the Bank of America and the Golden State Warriors — and to their narcissistic co-owner. I asked school board member, Neil Tam if it was legal to use public school facilities to fill the minds of children and passersby on Lincoln Boulevard with favorable thoughts about commercial brands? He said he would look into it.
The Warriors had paid for two new baskets (with cool glass backboards), fresh asphalt and a paint job. That might warrant a thank-you letter from the mayor and a photo op, but the Warriors got a billboard-sized sign on a busy thoroughfare, which stayed up for two years conveying the message that Joe Lacob and his company provide resources for our kids... I rode past it almost every day and wondered how many tickets the Warriors were providing to city officials? And how much a billboard like that would cost on Webster Street, where billboards are allowed... I never called an ad agency to inquire.
Corporate advertising at Haight Elementary School is just a wee, small step towards the privatization of what we, the people, own in common. Much bigger steps towards privatization are being made all around the world all the time. In Alameda, the power to privatize — or defend the commons — resides with a five-person city council. The politicians who let the Warriors use a public school wall for ad space was in a hurry to privatize the decommissioned Alameda Naval Air Station — some 2,000 acres on San Francisco Bay that we, the people, still hold title to. Fortunately, the clique running the city got overconfident and last November they lost their majority.
Team Lacob is moving the Warriors from Oakland to classier San Francisco. Mayor Ed Lee, another priss, has already welcomed them "home" — as if the Warriors didn't come from Philly.
Paying off the Politicians
Although the Alameda Sun didn't protest the sign proclaiming "Joe Lacob Court," co-editor Dennis Evanosky more than made up for it in March of this year with a detailed piece describing the freebies provided to an Alameda politician by Your Golden State Warriors and other corporate entities. This piece is must reading for anyone seriously interested in the California legislature's efforts to regulate the medical marijuana industry because its focus is on Rob Bonta — formerly Alameda's vice mayor, now an Assemblyman and author of AB 1324. And it identifies a formidable enemy we didn't even know we had.
Here's Evanovsky in the Sun:
Bonta’s statement shows that Alameda’s representative in the Assembly and the city’s former vice-mayor listed items that include $400 worth of Golden State Warriors tickets from Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan. Chan represents Alameda on the Board of Supervisors. While Bonta was enjoying the game a Jumbotron message appeared to let his fellow spectators know he was in the house. The Warrior Community Foundation picked up the $250 tab for the message.
Bonta attended more Warrior games in 2014, one compliments of the Warriors themselves and another of Shawn Wilson, who served as former Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai Bitker’s chief of staff. Wilson paid for a pair of Warriors’ tickets for Bonta.
Bonta also enjoyed a Bruno Mars concert on Wilson’s dime. Wilson had ties to Alliance Campaign Strategies. The company lists former councilwoman Lena Tam as a past client along with Bonta and Jeff Cambra. Cambra ran an unsuccessful campaign for City Council in 2012.
Bonta also used "gift" tickets to attend a San Francisco ‘49ers game, compliments of United Airlines, and an Oakland Athletics game with the A’s paying the tab. Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan gave Bonta $314.60 worth of tickets to hear Miley Cyrus belt out "Party in the U.S.A." and "We Can’t Stop" up close and personal.
The political-campaign management firm of Duffy & Capitolo sprung for a photo shoot for the Assemblyman at a cost of $200.
Bonta also received sizable gifts from Yale Law School ($996.57); the California Dental Association ($1,889.19) — Bonta shares a seat on the Committee on Appropriations with Jim Wood, the only practicing dentist in the Assembly; and the Filipino organization Gawad Kalinga USA ($1,250).
Bonta listed his most sizable gift at $2,290. He stated that, in return, he "made a speech and participated in a panel" — boiler-plate language that allows lawmakers to skirt the $390 limit on gifts.
"Various exceptions to the gift limit may apply if the official travels to give a speech, or travels on behalf of a government agency or nonprofit organization for a governmental purpose," the California Fair Practices Commission states.
Bonta failed to mention (he was not required to) that he was among more than 24 lawmakers Independent Voter Project (IVP), a San Diego nonprofit, jetted to Hawaii for a weeklong excursion last November. IVP purports to educate citizens and energize "decline-to-state" voters to participate in public dialogue and elections. IVP paid an average of $2,500 to fete each lawmaker at the Hawaiian junket in 2013.
The annual conferences have become an "unwelcome tradition," Sarah Swanbeck, a legislative affairs representative of California Common Cause told Los Angeles Times reporter Thomas McGreevey. Common Cause has called for stricter limits — even a ban — on such conferences.
In a November 2012 story about the junkets that year, journalist Derrick W. Roach wrote that "IVP is the parent organization of a web of subsidiary organizations with officers and directors who are anything but independent."
According to McGreevey, IVP has accepted money from 24 interest groups, each ponying up as much as $7,500. His research showed interest groups that contribute money to IVP to help the nonprofit pay for the trips to Hawaii include:
- The California Cable and Telecommunications Association, whose members include Comcast
- The California Correctional Peace Officers Association, which represents the state’s prison guards
- The California Distributors Association, which represents distributors of tobacco and other products to grocery and convenient stores
- Occidental Petroleum, the state’s largest oil and natural gas producer
- The Western State Petroleum Association that, according to its website is currently opposing "any California legislation or regulatory mandates designed to force a 50 percent reduction in the amount of gasoline and diesel California consumers and businesses use by 2030"
- The drug firm Eli Lilly whose website says the company is committed to participating in the political process
- The Altria tobacco firm (which is Phillip Morris Tobacco rebranded), a tobacco company that recently introduced its own e-cigarette.
As a non-profit, IVP is not required to disclose the identity of any of its funding sources. The Internal Revenue Service only requires that the organization disclose its total income. Last October, just a month before Bonta’s trip to Hawaii, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation that would have required nonprofits like IVP doing business in California to disclose their funding sources.
Roach writes that "it is estimated that for every four dollars spent in politics, one dollar now goes through nonprofit organizations, which are not required to disclose donor identities."
In other words, the big corporations are bribing politicians at every level of government. The corruption is total and systemic. Pot partisans know that law enforcement is invariably joined by The League of Cities in lobbying for the rollback of Proposition 215. Why does the League of Cities care so much about upholding marijuana prohibition? Like the "Independent Voter Project," the League of Cities is a neutral-sounding mechanism through which the corporate state sustains itself.
Tim Heart Joe
Sportswriters tend to be obsequious — they crave access to the press box and the locker room and the clubhouse (the finest catering money can buy) and rides on the team plane. But Tim Kawakami's front page paean to Joe Lacob in the May 31 Oakland Tribune is an embarassment.
Has the Oakland Trib no pride? Joe Lacob is moving the team to 'Frisco. For this the Oakland media thanks him? Which side (of the bay) are you on? Maybe the callousness of Lacob's comment about Klay Thompson called for some prompt image burnishing. "Joe Lacob's labors" consisted of hiring two men who know basketball — Bob Myers and Jerry West. The word "labors" was chosen purposefully by Kawakami and/or the editor who wrote the headline. It upholds the myth that the owner's wealth and power is actually deserved.
Lacob told Kawakami that he would take the microphone again at center court when the Warriors won the championship. Makes you want to root for Kyrie and LeBron. Too bad the Cavaliers didn't keep Anthony Wiggins. And LeBron (the real coach, obviously) might have helped young Anthony Bennett reach his potential.
Add Valley Look-alikes: Cavs coach (in name only) Dave Blatt and Russ head (for real) Vladimir Putin.
CATCH OF THE DAY, June 1, 2015
JUANITA BORREGO, Hopland. Possession of controlled substance and paraphernalia.
FRANCISCO CHAVEZ, Fontana/Boonville. DUI (third conviction)
MICHAEL DONAHE SR., Ukiah. Drunk in public, Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
CLINTON DURANT, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.
LEON GIBSON, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
JACK HAYWARD III, Boonville. DUI.
RAYMOND JONES, Willits. Vehicle theft, assault with deadly weapon not a gun,
RICHARD LAMBETH, Ukiah. Receiving stolen property.
SHAWN LINDEBOOM, Ukiah. Domestic assault, probation revocation.
PEDRO MENDOZA, Ukiah. No license.
DANIEL NUNEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
DARIN SHIPLEY, Scotia/Covelo. DUI.
ASHLEY TAYLOR, Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
ROBERT WHITE, Redwood Valley. Court order violation.
LOCAL COPS WITH BODY CAMERAS?
by James Kunstler
If there is a Pulitzer Booby Prize for stupidity, waste no time in awarding it to The New York Times’ Monday feature, The Unrealized Horrors of Population Explosion. The former “newspaper of record” wants us to assume now that the sky’s the limit for human activity on the planet earth. Problemo cancelled. The article and accompanying video was actually prepared by a staff of 23 journalists. Give the Times another award for rounding up so many credentialed idiots for one job.
Apart from just dumping on Stanford U. biologist Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb (1968), this foolish “crisis report” strenuously overlooks virtually every blossoming fiasco around the world. This must be what comes of viewing the world through your cell phone.
One main contention in the story is that the problem of feeding an exponentially growing population was already solved by the plant scientist Norman Borlaug’s “Green Revolution,” which gave the world hybridized high-yielding grain crops. Wrong. The “Green Revolution” was much more about converting fossil fuels into food. What happens to the hypothetically even larger world population when that’s not possible anymore? And did any of the 23 journalists notice that the world now has enormous additional problems with water depletion and soil degradation? Or that reckless genetic modification is now required to keep the grain production stats up?
No, they didn’t notice because the Times is firmly in the camp of techno-narcissism, the belief that the diminishing returns, unanticipated consequences, and over-investments in technology can be “solved” by layering on more technology — an idea whose first cousin is the wish to solve global over-indebtedness by generating more debt. Anyone seeking to understand why the public conversation about our pressing problems is so dumb, seek no further than this article, which explains it all.
Climate change, for instance, is only mentioned once in passing, as though it was just another trashy celebrity sighted at a “hot” new restaurant in the Meatpacking District. Also left out of the picture are the particulars of peak oil (laughed at regularly by the Times, which proclaimed the US “Saudi America” some time back), degradation of the ocean and the stock of creatures that live there, loss of forests, the political instability of whole regions that can’t support exploded populations, and the desperate migrations of people fleeing these desolate zones.
As averred to above, the Times also has no idea about the relation of finance to resources. The banking problems we see all over the world are a direct expression of the limits to growth, specifically the limits to debt creation. We can’t continue to borrow from the future to pay for our comforts and conveniences today because we have no real conviction that these debts can ever be repaid. We certainly wish we could, and the central bankers running the money system would like to pretend that we could by making negligible the cost of borrowing money and engaging in pervasive accounting fraud. But that has only served to cripple the operation of markets and pervert the meaning of interest rates — and, really, as a final result, to destroy any sense of consequence among the people running things everywhere.
The crackup of that financial system will be the signal failure of the collapse of the current economic regime. The financial system is the most fragile of all the systems we depend on (though the others do not lack fragility). This is the reason, by the way, that oil prices are so low, despite the fact that the cost of producing oil has never been higher. The oil customers are going broke even faster than the oil producers. Does anybody doubt that the standard of living in the USA is falling, despite all our cell phone apps?
The basic fact of the matter is that the energy bonanza of the past 200-odd years produced a matrix of complex systems, as well as a hypertrophy in human population. These complex systems — banking, agri-biz, hop-scotching industrialization, global commerce, Eds & Meds, Happy Motoring, commercial aviation, suburbia — have all reached their limits to growth, and those limits are expressing themselves in growing global disorder and universal bankruptcy. Do the authors of The New York Times report think that the oil distribution situation is stable?
There were two terror bombings in Saudi Arabia the past two weeks. Did anyone notice the significance of that? Or that the May 29th incident was against a Shiite mosque, or that the Shia population of Saudi Arabia is concentrated in the eastern province of the kingdom where nearly all of the oil production is concentrated? (Or that the newly failed state of neighboring Yemen is about 40 percent Shiite?) Have any of the 23 genius-level reporters at The New York Times tried to calculate what it would mean to the humming global economy if Arabian oil came off the market for only a few weeks?
Paul Ehrlich was right, just a little off in his timing and in explicating with precision the unanticipated consequences of limitless growth. But isn’t it in the nature of things unanticipated that they generally are not?
(Kunstler’s new World Made By Hand novel is now available! Kunstler skewers everything from kitsch to greed, prejudice, bloodshed, and brainwashing in this wily, funny, rip-roaring, and profoundly provocative page- turner, leaving no doubt that the prescriptive yet devilishly satiric A World Made by Hand series will continue.” — Booklist)
WILL BERNIE SANDERS TAKE ON HILLARY?
Bernie: Don't Back Down
by Ralph Nader
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is off and running after his formal announcement for the presidency this past Tuesday before 5,000 cheering supporters in Burlington, Vermont. He is starting from the region that launched the American Revolution and he is promising to “begin a political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally,” with “the support of millions of people throughout this country.”
He will take on the corporate plutocracy and its servile political oligarchy with numerous assets. In his long, scandal-free elective career, from Mayor of Burlington to the House of Representatives to the U.S. Senate, Sanders can match his progressive rhetoric with a consistent voting record.
He has a large number of progressive supporters who are not “Ready for Hillary” because of her corporatism and militarism. This will assure his ability to raise at least $20 million, mostly in small donations, by the end of this year. He is probably near $5 million by now. This level of contributors can fund a competitive grassroots campaign drive, especially since he will be running as a Democrat – to get into the Party’s six primary debates – and won’t have to expend money and time getting on each state’s ballot.
Moreover, if you read the positions he has taken – summarized in his Burlington campaign speech – you can conclude that they already have majoritarian support in this country. Sanders’ “Agenda for America” is an outline of some key issues our country faces, complete with concrete facts to back up Sanders’ stances. The other candidates prefer to campaign with abstractions and to avoid detailed solutions to our country’s problems.
Sanders stands for a national program to repair and renovate America’s public facilities with thirteen million well-paying jobs that cannot be exported to China. He opposes the corporate-managed trade supremacy over domestic protections of workers, consumers and the environment that circumvent our open court system with literally secret tribunals. He has been a longtime challenger of the price-gouging taxpayer-subsidized pharmaceutical industry. He is advocating for a $15 an hour minimum wage “over the next few years.” He wants tuition-free college educations, full Medicare for all with free choice of doctor and hospital, “paid sick leave and guaranteed vacation time for all” – some of what Western Europe has had for decades!
He pressed for the breakup of the too big to fail banks, calling them, along with conservative columnist George Will, “too big to exist” and an end to “huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry,” and while this “billionaire class” continues “sending our jobs to China while millions are looking for work.”
So far so good, but Bernie Sanders is not without his vulnerabilities. He can be too easily dismissed by the corporate mass media as a gadfly going nowhere, as was recent Democratic presidential candidate, former Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Sanders must ensure that his speeches stay fresh and current, while touching on regional issues that vary, depending on where he is speaking, to avoid being tedious to the dittohead press that doesn’t apply the same standards of repetitive tedium to the mainstream front runners.
His case has to be based not just on current public needs but that the American people, as workers and taxpayers, have already paid for these public needs and have been swindled out of these long-overdue reforms. For many, material income, adjusted for inflation, stalled in the early nineteen seventies and the vast amount of the gains from growth and productivity since then have gone to the top five percent, especially to the top one percent of the wealthiest.
Furthermore, Sanders needs to give visibility to the massive, preventable silent violence afflicting innocent undefended Americans. These include occupational trauma and disease, hospital-induced infections and medical malpractice, deadly side effects of overused or dangerous medicines, toxic, cancer-producing pollution, and product defects. He needs to show that he is ready to tackle the cycle of poverty, where the poor pay more and die earlier. All this amounts to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths annually, along with larger numbers of preventable sickness and injuries. Many children are included in these victims of such societal conditions and others, including the continuing problem with the food industry marketing junk food and drinks directly to children.
We eagerly await his proposals for the structural shift of power from the few to the many workers, consumers, small taxpayers and voters.
Sanders’ will have a number of people and organizations bidding for his time to give him their opinions on any number of matters. He must remember to welcome advice with an open mind. Many of his political supporters have stuck with him for decades; it will be highly beneficial for him to listen to them. According to eyewitness accounts, he is not a good listener. The late Senator Paul Wellstone provided a fine example of how to network with citizen groups for the common good. As a presidential candidate he should follow the example of Wellstone.
The nagging problem facing the Vermont Senator is the dilemma of how to compete with and challenge Hillary Clinton. Thus far, he has said that he has “never run a negative political ad” and that he respects his former fellow Senatorial colleague. Progressives may not like negative ads, but they do want a candidate who clearly articulates differences with other candidates in direct ways that draw voters away from those competitors. Assuming he is reallyrunning to win.
Sanders has to take on Hillary Clinton and the other candidates with the issues that matter – the ones that truly show the difference between their voting records and assumed positions, especially her illegal, disastrous, brute force (think Libya) foreign/military policy. Her record favors Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. He also has to, in his way, convince Democratic and Independent voters, not only that he will be good for America but that on many issues Hillary will not support shifting power and control of wealth, income and our commonwealth from the Plutocratic few to the many.
As it stands, Hillary is fully prepared to humor “my friend Bernie”, offer abstract agreement, and then sideline him.
(Ralph Nader’s latest book is: Unstoppable: the Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.)
SNAK, YAK & WRITE BACK
Friday, June 19th 3:30-4:30 pm & every Friday in July & August
The Ukiah Library is hosting: Snak, Yak & Write Back is a book discussion & writing group where teens & tweens chat about their recent or favorite reads. We share suggestions for what to read next, & also experiment with various writing exercises like creating erasures or blackout poems. Our next meeting is Friday, June 19th at 3:30pm. Beginning in July, we will meet weekly on Fridays at 3:30 as part of our Teen Summer Reading Program! Snacks will be provided.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Ukiah Valley Library.
You can also follow District Teens on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ukiahlibrarydistrictteens to stay informed about teen events at the library.
NOW IN THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE…
To all operatives from the 4th dimension: Please know that I am in Philadelphia, staying on the upper floor of the Apple Hostel near Penn's Landing, in an area called the "Old City Cultural District". Took a walk in the light rain to Chinatown, ducked into the Noodle Bar on Race Street for a nosh, then became fairly lost for awhile, ending up at a frozen yogurt place; needed some sweets to snap out of the Amtrak trip lag of this morning. Will most likely eschew the evening ghost tour and pub crawl, and instead crawl into my upper bunk bed, preferring to arise early tomorrow morning. Have paid in advance for a week here. I've no idea at all what is going to happen in the next five minutes. ~End of Message~
Craig Louis Stehr
TOMMY CASTRO & THE PAINKILLERS
to perform FIRST concert at Sundays in the Park concerts Sunday June 14th
Ukiah, CA. -On Sunday, June 14th in Todd Grove Park at 6:00pm Fowler Auto & Truck Center, The City of Ukiah, KWNE-FM and MAX 93.5 are proud to present the first concert of the 24th annual Sundays in the Park concert series featuring the Electric Vein-Popping Blues of Tommy Castro & The Painkillers.
“He can do no wrong…soulful, heartfelt vocals and exquisite, stellar guitar. An inspired blend of blues, R&B, soul and roadhouse rock” –Blues Revue
“I’m always moving forward, going outside of my wheelhouse, listening to new music and incorporating new ideas,” says award-winning guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Tommy Castro. “The contemporary blues scene is full of fresh, new sounds. It’s an exciting time.”
Castro is famed for his signature brand of tough, rocking rhythm and blues, thrilling fans around the world with his incendiary live performances. With his turbo-charged new Alligator Records album, The Devil You Know, Castro strips his music down to its raw essence as he rockets into the next phase of his storied career. After years of playing guitar-driven blues and R&B backed by a tight horn section, Castro introduced The Painkillers live in 2012, creating a lean, mean four-piece lineup, with the drum chair now held by David Tucker.
Born in San Jose, California in 1955, Tommy Castro first picked up a guitar at age 10. He came under the spell of Eric Clapton, Elvin Bishop, Mike Bloomfield and other blues rock players early on. As he got older, Castro moved forward by investigating the past, falling in love with the blues guitar work of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Elmore James and singers like Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and James Brown. By his late 20s he was playing in a variety of San Francisco-area blues and soul bands.
Castro joined Warner Brothers artists The Dynatones in the late 1980s. The much-loved band had a huge fan base and toured the U.S. constantly. He honed his chops with the group on the road for two years, performing live all across the country and sharing stages with major artists like Carla Thomas and Albert King. He formed The Tommy Castro Band in 1991 and won the Bay Area Music Award for Best Club Band in both 1993 and 1994. With his local fan base quickly expanding, he released his debut album in 1996 on Blind Pig. The album won the 1997 Bay Area Music Award for Outstanding Blues Album, and Castro also took the award for Outstanding Blues Musician that same year. He began touring nationally, picking up new fans everywhere he went.
In the mid-1990s The Tommy Castro Band served as the house band for three seasons on NBC Television’s Comedy Showcase (airing right after Saturday Night Live), bringing him in front of millions of viewers every week. During the 1990s and into the 2000s, Castro released a series of critically acclaimed CDs for Blind Pig, Telarc and 33rd Street Records as well as one on his own Heart And Soul label, and began years of year-round, relentless touring, continuing to this day. In 2001 and 2002 the legendary B.B. King asked Castro to open his summer concert tours. Castro received an open invitation to join the King Of The Blues on stage for the nightly finale.
Castro’s 2009 Alligator debut, Hard Believer, was anchored by his inspired vocal delivery, masterful horn arrangements and expert guitar work. On the strength of the album and subsequent touring, Castro won four 2010 Blues Music Awards including, for the second time in his career, the coveted B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year Award (the very highest award a blues performer can receive). His song Hard Believer (co-written with Bonnie Hayes, who co-produced The Devil You Know), took first place in the blues category of the 2012 International Songwriting Competition.