Press "Enter" to skip to content

Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Nov 15, 2015

* * *


by Barry Lando

“Is France Ripe for an Authoritarian Regime?”

What is remarkable about that Op Ed piece in the conservative Le Figaro newspaper, is that it was written not in the wake of today’s horrific terrorist attacks in Paris—but the day before.

As I write, it is still unclear how many have been killed in the French capital — the reported total has reached at least 140 – but there is no question that the massacre could have a devastating impact on France’s already very shaky democratic institutions.

According to the Le Figaro, when asked by IFOP, a respected French poling agency, if they would accept a non-democratic form of government to bring necessary reforms to France, 67% of the French said they would opt for a government of non-elected technocrats. 40% percent said they would back a non-elected authoritarian regime.

Again, that survey was carried out the day before the bloody carnage in Paris. People may have poured out into the streets in an impressive show of unity earlier this year in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings, but that moment of attempted racial harmony was brief and the situation has been fraying ever since.

There is no question to my mind that in the wake of these Friday the 13th horrors in Paris, the great majority of French would back the most Draconian of measures (just as Americans reacted following 9/11). France has the largest Muslim population of any country in Europe, and the danger of a fatal fracture — driven by hatred and suspicion and fear — is very, very real.

The next moves are up to President François Hollande, which is not at all reassuring.

Since he took office, he has been totally incapable of coping with France’s huge and varied problems. He is one of the most unpopular French president’s ever.

And now he faces his greatest challenge.

For France, and its peoples, these are very perilous times.

(Barry Lando is a former producer for 60 Minutes. He is the author of The Watchman’s File. He can be reached at: or through his website. Courtesy,


* * *


Rick Weddle: re: the ongoing terror deal with ISIS…

Stated by many observers and some policy-makers is the growing conviction that we’ll be ‘fighting ISIS from now on…

This is a damned odd version of job-security, isn’t it? Please recall that it takes a Huge Amount of effort and resources to engage in hostile actions immediately, with further untold costs waiting down the road. Also recall, please, that this ISIS outfit did not even exist until ‘we’ (American corpirate warlords) provided the items in their recipe, lit the blaze under it, then started stirring it up with our famous Big Stick…ISIS is a creature of criminal American commercial interests, resulting directly from U.S. ‘policy’ directed by and for those corpirations. Thank Halliburton; Bechtel; ‘Defense’ budgets; Exxon/Mobil…you know, the ones making all the cash and prizes.

Harvey Reading: Re: PARIS UNDER ATTACK!

What a surprise. Seems to me that the frogs, along with the limeys, have been delighted to be part of the “team”, led by the U.S., that has brought death and chaos to the Middle East. Those two “allies” of ours couldn’t wait until the smoke had cleared to divvy up Libya’s oil … though that hasn’t worked out so well for them has it, given that they created another failed state? And, didn’t the frogs make it illegal for women believers in Islam to wear their traditional veil? So, horrid though the acts may be in Paris, it’s hard to conclude that they were completely without justification. The old saw about what goes around comes around somehow enters my mind, all the blather issuing from the corporate media, which includes NPR/PBS, aside.

Louis Bedrock: For fuck’s sake, Harvey, over 200 hundred innocent people are dead: murdered by fanatics. Many more are injured—some seriously. Unless you believe in original sin that is passed from generation to generation, you cannot say or imply “they had it coming”.

The people who died are not the persecutors of Captain Dreyfus, the traitors who formed the Vichy government and allied themselves with the Nazis, the colonizers who brutalized North Africa, or who joined the unholy alliance that has wreaked chaos in Irak, Libya, and Syria: they were people like you and me out having a good time on a Friday night.

I have wonderful memories of Paris; of the friends I hung out with during my first trip to Europe—mainly students, who teased me about my horrible French, but did their best to help me speak it; of great food, wonderful museums, and a humane city where everything seemed to work well.

Years later, I spent one of the best weeks of my life there with the woman I was in love with at the time after rendezvousing with her in the patio in the back of Notre Dame.

Listening to the BBC and seeing the images posted on the sites of The Guardian and El País, I recalled the wonderful times I spent in Paris, the friends I made there, the many attractions of the city. And it has saddened me and sickened me.

Right now I cannot philosophize about chickens coming home to roost anymore than I could during the attacks on NYC, London, or Madrid. These are people like us. My heart is with them.

Bill Pilgrim: How about the several hundred innocent people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen who have been incinerated or blown to bits by our Reaper drones simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time?
…Even wedding parties, fer cryin’ out loud!
The US and its NATO vassals have sown a wind, and shall reap a whirlwind.

Reading: And how many innocent dead were left behind when the U.S. attacked the hospital in Afghanistan? Where was your howling, your concern over innocent lives being lost then? Where was it when the U.S. blew up wedding parties? When it attacked Iraq based on a total pack of lies? When it destroyed Libya? Give me a break. You seem to be of the crowd that only gets concerned when “western” lives are lost. Thank goodness I’m old and won’t have to put up with the likes of your kind for much longer.

Steve Heilig: Right on, Mr. Bedrock (re response to Harvey Reading).

And so this is probably as good a time as any to say what I’ve thought for a long time – Mr. Reading comments constantly here, apparently believing he is some sort of authority on anything and everything, even though he most often has nothing much to add other than old-timer’s crankiness. Perhaps he might consider taking some extended “time out” and ponder that, among some of my fellow AVA-ers, his name just elicits rolling of the eyes. And this old saw as well: “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Bedrock: Thank you, Mr. Heilig. I’m a cranky old man myself. There have been times when I’ve read my own posts and wished I had followed the good advice you give at the end of your post.

In this case, humanity trumps cynicism and grumpiness. One cannot listen to the news, or first hand accounts of witnesses, or cries of the victims–or look at the images of devastation and death, without feeling anguish and despair.

To dismiss this atrocity as a justifiable consequence of France’s foreign policy is deranged.

Reading: You might try your own advice …

Heilig: Deal; I appear here or in the paper an average of about once a month. Try that, and more readers than I will thank you.

Bruce Anderson: Intellectually, I think Harv is simply expressing what will be the “left’s” collective opinion — that the West brought it on ourselves. Whatever one’s opinion on the WHY of it, they’re here, and now that they’re here they’ve got to be rolled back fast and hard. How that can be done will be the argument. Call me a fascist, but I’ve always thought it was suicidal of France to allow naturalized French Islamic citizens to go back and forth between the battlefronts in the Middle East. Ditto for the Brits and the other countries of Europe that permit these commutes. It should go without saying that the crackpot mullahs preaching war on the West should have gotten the toss yesterday. The fanatic wing of Islam is small and without popular support among most Muslims. They’ve imposed themselves by force on the people in the territories they control in Iraq and Syria. They can be destroyed, and probably fairly easily by multi-national special forces while the West purges our countries of their small bases of support. By the way, in all the media coverage of this most recent atrocity, has a single major media yet invited a Muslim to explain (again) that ISIL, Al Qaeda etc. do not represent Islam?

* * *



* * *

CATCH OF THE DAY, November 14, 2015

Akin, Cady, Davidson
Akin, Cady, Davidson

KURT AKIN, Redwood Valley. Domestic assault.

WILLIAM CADY, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

JOY DAVIDSON, Fort Bragg. Use of offensive words in a public place likely to provoke violent reaction.

Dunsing, George, Hensley, Killebrew
Dunsing, George, Hensley, Killebrew

NICKOLAS DUNSING, Calpella. Petty theft.


CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)

KYLE KILLEBREW, Ukiah. Fugitive from justice.

Laws, Peters, Pierce
Laws, Peters, Pierce

NICOLE LAWS, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

MONIQUE PETERS, Covelo. Pot sale-furnish-transport, possession of controlled substance, evasion.

LONNIE PIERCE, Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.

Sahl, Terkelsen, Wilburn, Wood
Sahl, Terkelsen, Wilburn, Wood

MICHAEL SAHL, Anchor Bay. Domestic battery, suspended license, probation revocation.

RYAN TERKELSEN, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.

ANTHONY WILBURN, Covelo. Community supervision violation.

JOSHUA WOOD, Laytonville. Vehicle theft.

* * *

(EXPANDED COMMENTARY on the County’s Pension Funding Situation)

FARM BUREAU STALWART TED STEPHENS sits on the Mendocino County Employees Retirement Association (MCERA) Board of Directors. Stephens is one of three public members appointed by the Board of Supervisors. Five of the members are current County employees who will one day draw a retirement check from the system they are managing, including Supervisor Gjerde, Treasurer-Tax Collector Shari Schapmire, and three County employees elected by their peers. The ninth member is retired Treasurer-Tax Collector Tim Knudsen who was elected by the retired employees and who draws down a fat retirement check from the system every month. Former Supervisor and newly annointed Point Arena City Manager Richard Shoemaker also sits on the Board as an alternate to Knudsen.

THE RETIREMENT BOARD represents the ultimate conflict of interest since six of the nine voting members are in line to get a check from the retirement system when they retire. Except for Supervisor Gjerde the self-interested members of the retirement board are auto votes for anything that will inflate their personal retirement benefits. Retired Treasurer Knudsen, the architect of the so-called "excess earnings" that allowed him to divert upwards of $50 million dollars from the retirement fund to pay retiree health insurance is merely the most prominent of the foxes guarding the retirement board chickens. Knudsen's primary function on the retirement board is to make sure the financial skeletons stay securely locked in the closet.

THE EXCESS EARNINGS SCAM worked like this: if the retirement fund met its "assumed rate of return" (8% + 1% for a contingency reserve) every dollar above that amount was diverted to a retiree health insurance account. It seemed like a great way for the Board of Retirement to give themselves (and all other County employees) a nice little benefit at no cost to themselves. And the Board of Supervisors could appear to be conferring a benefit without making a draw on the General Fund. So the retirement fund was shackled with a 9% cap on earnings in good years, but had to absord unlimited losses in bad years. And with most of the fund invested in the Wall Street Ponzi scheme, it was only a matter of time until the bad years hit. In 1996 and again in 2002 the County issued Pension Obligation Bonds in a futile effort to bail out the retirement fund.

BUT EVEN IN BAD YEARS, Knudsen kept writing checks out of the retiree health insurance account. By about 2004 all the phony "excess earnings" had been spent and the account was tapped out. But Knudsen came up with a double phony baloney theory of excess earnings and kept writing checks. The original excess earnings policy was ludicrous, but apparently legal. The alternative method of calculating excess earnings was criminal and would have continued to this day if retirement board gadfly John Dickerson hadn't blown the whistle on the rolling scam. But considerable damage had already been done. Dickerson's pointed attacks on the obvious mismanagement of the retirement fund didn't win him any friends among local government types. But Dickerson was also joined by Ted Stephens, an independent investment adviser, and John Sakowicz who claims to have been a high flying wall street hedge fund guru.

THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, on narrow 3-2 votes, appointed Stephens, and then Sakowicz, to the Board of Retirement. Sakowicz, who had been a harsh critic, calling for the indictment of Knudsen and his cohort, former County Auditor-Controller Dennis Huey, soon became a complacent lap dog, lavishing praise on Knudsen, traveling to numerous conferences at taxpayer expense and rubber stamping almost everything put in front of him. Stephens, a very sophisticated and credentialed numbers guy, stayed true to his original mission to get to the bottom of the mismangement of the retirement fund. Stephens (and Supervisor Gjerde) are just about the only ones who ever spend time delving into the numbers and asking questions that make their colleagues squirm.

STEPHENS, A LIBERTARIAN KIND OF GUY, is obviously frustrated working within a system where the rules, much to the detriment of the people paying the bills, are all rigged in favor of the beneficiaries. Much of the damage has already been done, and given the set-up, not much can be done about it. But the main frustration is that the unfunded liability continues to increase even though the economy/stock market has been on the upswing for the past five years.

STEPHENS OCCASIONALLY UPDATES his friends at the Farm Bureau with a recounting of his latest frustrations which recently centered on the decision of the current retirement administrator to cancel the regularly scheduled October meeting on short notice because there "wasn't much to talk about." Stephens complained to the Farm Bureau types that the administrator, on the job less than a year, had quickly adapted to the Mendo Board of Retirement culture of "no accountability." Stephens went on to complain to his Farm Bureau buddies "I have about 20 items that could and should be discussed (and have tried, to no avail, to get 'excess earnings' policy on the agenda for five years!)

JOHN DICKERSON, Stephens’ mentor, picked up the cudgel in advance of last Thursday's Board of Retirement meeting and urged the Farm Bureau types who just don’t like government pensions as a matter of principle to show up and support the beleaguered Stephens. Dickerson went on at length about Stephens' valiant, but futile, efforts to get the Board of Retirement to talk about "excess earnings" and fix things so it "will never happen here again."

THE ONLY PROB with Stephens and Dickerson complaining about Stephens' inability to get the excess earnings policy on the agenda is that it isn't true. Excess earnings, re-christened with the sanitized name of "Undistributed Earnings" were included on the agenda on September 16, 2015. The "Undistributed Earnings" policy adopted by the Board in 2010 provided that undistributed (excess) earnings could be spent for any lawful purpose (including retiree health insurance) only if the retirement fund was 100% funded. Current funding hovers around the 70% mark. Stephens was appointed to the Board of Retirement about five years ago, not long after the original policy on excess earnings was adopted.

BASED ON A SERIES of improbable assumptions, including the long term viability of the Wall Street Ponzi, the retirement fund could be fully funded in only 20 or 30 years. Which means there is no chance of diverting excess earnings for any purpose for the foreseeable future. But just to make sure, on September 16 the Board of Retirement revised the policy to say that even if the system is 100% funded, all undistributed earnings will be held "as a reserve against future ecomonic downturns." The problem being that on-going economic downturns will likely prevent the retirement system from ever being 100% funded.

WE ARE TOLD THAT excess earnings have been discussed many times over the last five years but given that they don't exist, and according to policy, can't be spent, even if they did, the Board did not view the issue with any particular urgency. But excess earnings was on the agenda on September 16, and Ted Stephens himself made the motion to amend the policy. And barely over a month later wrote a lengthy diatribe complaining that he "tried, to no avail" to get the policy on the agenda for 5 years.

STEPHENS, probably encouraged by Dickerson, seems to have stepped off the rhetorical deep end on this one. Dickerson, who sounded the alarm about the retirement system, but who gets some of his facts wrong, and has been unable to offer any solutions, is easily dismissed as an ax grinding idealogue. And if Stephens obsession with the subject has reduced his impact on his fellow board members. But Stephens can be forgiven since he has had to endure nearly five years of close quarter meetings with the likes of Knudsen, Shoemaker and Sakowicz.

* * *

TONIGHT'S DEMOCRATIC PARTY DEBATE is between one guy, Bernie Sanders, and two moderate, Kasich-like Democrats called Clinton and O'Malley. Of all the people running for president Sanders is the only candidate addressing the realities of contemporary American life. The Republican candidates are simply a pack of clowns, one of whom, the brain surgeon, may be mentally ill. Compare Sanders, and even Hillary, to the statements of the Republican candidates, and ask yourself who should be running the country.

SANDERS at the last debate, which will be a repeat of tonight's debate: "I think most Americans understand that our country today faces a series of unprecedented crises. The middle class of this country for the last forty years has been disappearing. Millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, and yet almost all of the new income and wealth being created is going to the top one percent.

"As a result of this disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decisions, our campaign finance system is corrupt and is undermining American democracy. Millionaires and billionaires are pouring unbelievable sums of money into the political process in order to fund Super PACs and to elect candidates who represent their interests, not the interests of working people.

"Today, the scientific community is virtually unanimous: climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and we have a moral responsibility to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy and leave this planet a habitable planet for our children and our grandchildren.

"Today in America, we have more people in jail than any other country on earth. African American youth unemployment is 51 percent. Hispanic youth unemployment is 36 percent. [White youth unemployment is nearly as high, and millions of people of all races suffer underemployment and deteriorating work site conditions.] It seems to me that instead of building more jails and providing more incarceration, maybe, just maybe, we should be putting money into education and jobs for our kids.

"What this campaign is about is whether we can mobilize our people to take back our government from a handful of billionaires and create the vibrant democracy we know we can and should have."

OF COURSE. And of course Hillary, with carte blanche access to billionaire funding, already has the nomination sewed up via "superdelegates." She'll be the candidate. Bern will be up on stage with her at the convention holding her victorious arm in the air in the usual lib-lab show of solidarity. The Republicans will unite behind that crafty little psychopath, Rubio, and Rubio will defeat Hillary because a broad swathe of the libs who supported Bernie will sit out the election. I've assumed for months I'll be voting Green again.

* * *

FROM THE UKIAH POLICE DEPARTMENT: A Ukiah woman was arrested Monday after allegedly punching medical equipment while being treated at the hospital, the Ukiah Police Department reported. According to the UPD, officers responded to Ukiah Valley Medical Center shortly before 11 am on Monday, Nov. 9 when it was reported that Kelisha S. Alvarez, 26, of Ukiah, had become angry and smashed the screen of a machine that monitors heart activity and blood pressure before leaving the hospital. Officers located Alvarez in the parking lot of J.C. Penney and arrested her on suspicion of felony vandalism. She was booked into Mendocino County Jail.

THE REST OF THE KELISHA STORY. Kelisha passed Frequent Flyer status years ago. She can now be considered a Perpetual Flyer. She gets arrested so often, and often with her boyfriend, Scotty Willis, also a Perpetual Flyer, because no agency will assume responsibility for them and because our jive, revolving door Superior Court simply processes them endlessly on through the local justice system.

Alvarez, Willis
Alvarez, Willis

The Ukiah Police Department and Sheriff Allman are Scotty and Kelisha's de facto caretakers. If Kelisha is new to you, you should know that she is very large, very strong and quite agile. She is also prone to violence, as in the above episode, which is not her first in the hospital venue. Kelisha and Scotty like to watch tv in the emergency room and are otherwise unhoused, making their home in the culverts of feeder streams to the Russian River. Supervisor McCowen is probably on a first name basis with them, as is the Ukiah Police Department. Mendocino County's privatized Mental Health apparatus says the troubled and troublesome pair should be the responsibility of the Regional Center in Lake County. The Regional Center says they are the responsibility of Mental Health Department. They have become the full-time responsibility of the police, and are likely to become more or less permanent residents of an expanded mental health capacity proposed by Sheriff Allman at the County Jail. At the present time in our retro but allegedly "progressive" county the only people thinking realistically about the homeless are the police departments and Supervisor McCowen, who spends much of his free time cleaning up after the homeless in the Ukiah Valley.

* * *


* * *

INTERESTING RUMOR circulating in Fort Bragg's helping circles that a top helper has helped herself to a former homeless guy, much to the physical displeasure of her husband, who has violently clashed with the new beau. Talk of restraining orders and court cases toss and turn in the turbulent wake.

* * *


The Fort Bragg football team continued its undefeated season and advanced to the second round of the North Coast Section Division 4 playoffs on Friday night, defeated visiting St. Helena 28-21.

The No. 8 Timberwolves (10-0) move on the second round to face powerhouse No. 1 seed Marin Catholic (9-1), which had a first-round bye. No. 9 St. Helena’s season is over.

“For us, there is no pressure,” Fort Bragg coach Ray Perkins said. “We will be heavy underdogs, but we are going to line up and play.”

Fort Bragg went on the road and defeated St. Helena (9-2) two weeks ago in NCL I play, 27-14.

“St. Helena is a heck of a team; their only two losses were to us,” Perkins said. “Tonight was a good battle. St. Helena did a good job on us defensively.”

Fort Bragg quarterback Kaylor Sullivan was 20-37 passing for 266 yards and three touchdowns. Brett Jacamella had receiving touchdowns of 10 and 20 yards and a 7-yard scoring run.

Fort Bragg led 14-0 at halftime but St. Helena tied it 14-14 early in the third quarter. Fort Bragg scored two more touchdowns to lead 28-14 with four minutes to play before St. Helena pulled to within seven points.

“Fort Bragg is a good team. They didn’t make any mistakes today and that was the difference,” St. Helena coach Brandon Farrell said. “We started out slowly but then stepped it up in the second half. We just don’t have the athletes to compete with Fort Bragg.”

Receiver Alfio Basile caught two long touchdown passes in the losing effort for St. Helena.

(Courtesy, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

* * *


Caltrans imploded a pier of the old Bay Bridge eastern span at 7:17 a.m. Saturday, triggering 20,000 pounds of dynamite to pulverize the upper portion of the structure.

Spouts of water shot skyward from the force of the blast, but the explosives detonated mostly below the water surface. Caltrans had placed a wooden and steel mat on top of the 80-by-140-foot concrete pier to contain the debris.

Spectators hoping to see a towering explosion may have been disappointed — the blast heaved water about 100’ above the pier, but little debris was visible other than the mat being splintered.

The six-second implosion was timed to take advantage of slack tide, limited wildlife activity and, Caltrans hoped, light traffic.

The demolition, which cost $20 million, went off without a hitch, officials said. And traffic on the Bay Bridge was closed for only five to seven minutes, causing few delays. BART briefly suspended service through the Transbay Tube but resumed running trains shortly after the implosion.

“As far as we know, everything went according to plan,” said Leah Robinson-Leach, a Caltrans spokeswoman. “We can't know everything at this point. It could take days or weeks to survey the environmental ramifications on air quality, water quality, and animals. We want to create the best methodology moving forward.”

* * *

ASSET FORFEITURE is alive and well in Mendocino County. The District Attorney has caused to be published in the Ukiah Daily Journal Legal Notices for November 3, 10, and 17 a Notice of Seizure Pursuant to Health & Safety Code Sections 11471-11488 and Notice of Intended Forfeiture Pursuant to Health & Safety Code Section 11488.4. The notice gives the date and location of twelve separate seizures between Sept. 9 and Oct. 27, with a listing of the assets seized, usually a stated amount of cash, but also including two vehicles and a motorhome. The cash has a stated value of over $200,000. Each of the vehicles is estimated to be worth $15,000 and the motorhome is estimated at $40,000 for a grand total of over $280,000.

THE LISTED PROPERTY will automatically be forfeit unless someone files an affidavit claiming the property is rightfully theirs and should not be forfeited. Every fall law enforcement from Humboldt County to Marin assigns officers to dope interdiction on Highway 101. The cops say they do not profile drug dealers, but of course they do. (Frequently they profile vehicles, more than their occupants.) In a carefully choreographed charade, the officers disclaim any intent to pull over ropey haired dudes driving rental cars or pricey SUVs. Instead, the officers always say they observed the vehicle speeding, crossing over the centerline, or so forth. Crooks are usually dumb, so a fair number of them are caught barreling down the highway without current registration, working taillights or other obvious violations. But more often they are pulled over for fitting the dope dealer profile. But dumb as they are, we doubt any dope dealers will come forward to say, in effect: "The $50,000 confiscated at milepost marker 32 in Redwood Valley was money I gave to my partner to buy 40 pounds of Mendo Mellow that I was going to distribute to the members of my medical marijuana collective at street dealer prices. I should not lose my cash just because it was seized by law enforcement in a profile stop before my partner could buy the dope, uh, I mean the medicine." And so the asset forfeiture merry-go-round rolls merrily along, financing a large chunk of Mendo law enforcement as it goes.

* * *


In the 1968 movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” a crew aboard a space station attempts to shut down the computer system named “Hal” which controls every aspect of the ships operations. Aware of this plot to terminate it Hal begins killing off the crew. I see an analogy here between Hal and the U.S. economy. The economy is in decline and because it is threatened with destruction it has become dangerous. The U.S. invaded Iraq because the life blood of our economy is oil and like the plant in the movie “Little Shop of Horrors” it is screaming “feed me!”. So lives both American and Iraqi were offered up on the altar of our economy. You want to know who rules the United States: the economy. And it has it’s own agenda unencumbered by compassion.

* * *


The best thing in life is free,

but you can give it to the birds an' bees

I need some money, need some money

Oh, yeah, what I want

Your love gimme such a thrill,

but your lovin' don't pay my bills

I need some money, need some money

Oh, yeah, what I want

I need some money, honey

I need some money right away

I need some money bad

I need some money

Oh, yeah, what I want

Money don't get ever'thing it's true

But what it don't buy, daddy, I can't use

I need money, I need money, yeah

What I want

(I need some money, honey

I need some money so bad

All o' my bills behind

I need some money right now

I know your love is good, baby)

I need some money, oh yeah

What I want

What I want

— Janie Bradford, Berry Gordy Jr.

* * *


What do the fish call Muhammad? One of his earliest disciples said that the different creatures called him by different names. He was known as Abd al-Ghaffar among the birds, Abd al-Mughis in the insect kingdom and Abd al-Rahim to the jinn. 'His name is Ahmad,' Jesus said of the one who would come after him, according to the Quran. Scholars searching for the historical Muhammad question whether that was his birth name at all. In Delhi, the theologian Abdul-Haqq Dehlavi listed more than four hundred names for him. 'I am only the son of a woman from the Quraysh, the prophet is reported to have said, 'who used to eat dry meat.'

— The Lives of Muhammad, Kecia Ali

* * *


“Foo Fighters, Natalie Portman cancel events in Paris”

* * *


* * *


Humming bird perched on

barbed wire fence,

ruby-throated, territorial,

checking me out as I check him out.

On the one side of the fence,

a red hen house,

on the other side, a vineyard

the cows in the next field over,

the ground hard,

the weeds cut down to

cut the competition for water,

the creek bed dry now for months,

the farmer irrigating his

fields from overhead,

the drone of the pump singing

me to sleep, waking me at dawn:

the soundtrack for my

hot, dry dusty life.

— Jonah Raskin

* * *


by Dan Bacher

California Governor Jerry Brown, who poses as a "climate leader" and "green hero" at climate conferences and photo opportunities across the globe amidst fawning media coverage, recently used public employees to investigate the potential for finding oil on his private land, according to the Associated Press.

Graham St. Michel, an attorney for California's Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), told AP in an email that the Governor had been compiling documents that “shed light on the fauna, flora, rock formations and geology of the area where his great- grandparents … first homesteaded in the 1870s." ( )

After Governor Jerry Brown asked government employees to assess the governor's private property, Steve Bohlen, the head of DOGGR, directed staffers to research, map and report back on any mining and oil drilling potential and history of Brown's 2,700-acre property.

Within days, DOGGR, the division of the Department of Conservation responsible for regulating oil, natural gas and geothermal resources in California, produced at no cost to the governor a 51-page historical report and geological assessment, plus a personalized satellite-imaged geological and oil and gas drilling map, according to Consumer Watchdog.

It is illegal under California law for elected officials, including Governor Brown, to use public employees and public resources for personal purposes,with a few limited exceptions.

"Isn’t it a misuse of public funds for the governor to have the state’s oil and gas agency map and survey his personal property?" asked Carmen Balber of Consumer Watch Dog in an action alert on November 9.

Gareth Lacy, a spokesman for the Governor's Office, told the Los Angeles Times that Brown "has the same right as anyone to obtain public records." ( )

"If that’s true, they should be willing to do it for you. Go to our new website,, and ask the State Oil & Gas supervisor to check out your property for oil and minerals too," said Balber.

Oil industry experts say that they have never heard of DOGGR mapping land belonging to any individual, let alone a public official. "But there isn’t much of anyone left at the agency to complain after Governor Brown spent the last few years stacking its leadership with former oil and gas industry executives," said Balber.

Balber's contention that the Brown administration is "stacking its leadership" with former oil and gas industry exposes was most recently exposed on October 9 when the Governor appointed Bill Bartling of Bakersfield, a Republican who has worked as an oil industry executive and consultant, as district deputy in the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources. ( )

"Still, the governor’s staff insists Brown didn’t get any special treatment. If that’s true, why not find out if your house is sitting on a black gold mine?" Balber quipped. "Go to our website and send an email asking for the same review Governor Brown got."

"Don’t forget to let us know how it goes," she added.

To ask for your free Jerry Brown Oil Map, go to:

Of course, for us independent journalists who have been documenting the Brown administration's complete capture by the oil industry, agribusiness and other corporate interests for the past 4-1/2 years, the latest news by the Associated Press is no surprise. Mainstream media reporting on the Brown administration's servitude to Big Oil, one of the biggest stories in California politics, is long, long overdue!

The corporate media has done a poor job to date covering the connections between fracking and other extreme oil extraction and Big Oil money and power in Sacramento. In fact, because of the neglect of this story by the LA Times and other media outlets, two of my investigative pieces exposing Big Oil's dumping of fracking wastewater and oil industry money and power are cited in Project Censored's #2 Story: "Oil Industry Illegally Dumps Fracking Wastewater," in the "Censored 2016" book that has just been published:

You won't see mainstream media coverage either of how the Los Angeles Times and the California Resources Corporation, an Occidental Petroleum spinoff, recently teamed up to create "Powering California," a Big Oil propaganda campaign website. ( )

Even worse, you won't see any mention either by the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times or other corporate media outlets of how the same Reheis-Boyd, the WSPA President, chaired the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create questionable "marine protected areas" in Southern California from 2009 to 2012 - and served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast or North Coast from 2004 to 2012.

Big Oil is the largest and most powerful corporate lobby in the state - and the Western States Petroleum Association is the largest and most powerful lobbying group. The biggest-ever gusher of Big Oil lobbying money into the state in one quarter, July 1 to September 30, 2015, resulted in the gutting or the defeat of every bill that the oil industry opposed in the last session of the State Legislature, exposing once and for all the "Big Lie" that California, the country's third largest oil producing state, is the nation's "green" leader.

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) set a new record for spending in one quarter when it spent an amazing $6,750,666.60 lobbying state officials in the third quarter of 2015 to lobby against Senate Bill 350, Senate Bill 32 and other environmental bills it opposed.

The total spent by the oil industry in the third quarter was an unprecedented $11 million to oppose Senate Bill 350, a climate change/ renewable energy bill. Because of the strong opposition to the bill by Big Oil and corporate Democrats that receive big donations from the oil industry, the bill's sponsors removed the provision mandating a 50 percent reduction in petroleum usage.

For more information about Big Oil money and power in California, go to: and

* * *

THE RECORDING OF LAST NIGHT'S (2015-11-13) KNYO MEMO OF THE AIR: Good Night Radio show is ready to download and keep or just play with one click at

I was just looking at the stats page for the weblog. This particularly interests me: the most popular posts by far are ones that have a certain kind of title. For example, the one titled Hot Israeli Army Girls, from two years ago, has got more reads (or at least clicks) than all the other hundreds of posts put together and still is read nearly daily in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Japan. The next hottest title: a line that stuck in my memory from a science fiction story I admired forty years ago in high school: Zirn Left Unguarded, the Jenghik Palace in Flames, Jon Westerly Dead. Again, Indonesia. And Belgium and Sweden.

It makes me think of Frog Hammer, the corporate branding agency Richard consults for the New Burbage Theater Festival in Slings and Arrows, a show written by Susan Coyne and Mark McKinney (who plays Richard) (yes, the Mark McKinney of Kids in the Hall). The head of Frog Hammer, a genius (or) madman, sees cause and effect relationships that aren’t there at all but that nonetheless work. The lesson I take from this? Vaguely sexually suggestive gibberish trumps all. It explains so much. Holy books, popular music, politics, package design...

Anyway, also at you'll find thousands and thousands of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless interesting things to see and do and learn about, such as:

"As for the co-pilot, the crash changed him."

Three minutes of Michael Jackson on hand-cranked barrel organ.

"Hello my child. We send you your Chocolate Lombard by the aircraft to India."

And the Donald Trump lorem ipsum generator. Just click on his compellingly punchable face. And again. And again.

Marco McClean


  1. Charles Brandenburg November 15, 2015

    I know Blackbird well, what a bunch of shit. Forage my ass.

    • Judy Valadao November 15, 2015

      He must be doing exactly what he wants to be doing it says he chooses this way of life.

      • Charles Brandenburg November 16, 2015

        He’s a transient Alcoholic who forages out of dumpsters.

  2. Lazarus November 15, 2015

    I suspect the terrorism seen in Paris is only a piece in the puzzle. I unfortunately believe the terrorist will resurface soon, perhaps in this country, but for sure somewhere in the West. Call me a “student of the obvious”, go right ahead… The thoughts of the US bringing it on itself, at this point that is irrelevant, the dead are just dead…

  3. Betsy Cawn November 15, 2015

    Somebody please tell me the statutory code or local ordinance that makes this an offense: “Use of offensive words in a public place likely to provoke violent reaction”?
    What ever happened to “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? How plebeian and prosaic were the deployed locutions, one wonders, that could arouse the social sanction of arrest? Heaven forfend!

    • Mark Scaramella November 15, 2015

      Betsy, I am not a lawyer but I know where the penal code is for disturbing the peace.
      (I don’t think this is new.)
      “415. Any of the following persons shall be punished by imprisonment
      in the county jail for a period of not more than 90 days, a fine of
      not more than four hundred dollars ($400), or both such imprisonment
      and fine:
      (1) Any person who unlawfully fights in a public place or
      challenges another person in a public place to fight.
      (2) Any person who maliciously and willfully disturbs another
      person by loud and unreasonable noise.
      (3) Any person who uses offensive words in a public place which
      are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction.”
      PS. Note the “maliciously and willfully” part of #2. This is what the cops cited when they declined to respond to wind fan noise complaints over the last few years. They point out that bad as the fans are, they are not willfully and maliciously disturbing the sleep of the entire Valley. They just don’t care. But not caring is not a crime.

      • james marmon November 15, 2015

        In Mendo government, just asking questions is considered disturbing the peace.

  4. Bill Pilgrim November 15, 2015

    RE: Paris attack comments. There are people who have something to say, and people who have to say something.
    To denigrate the “we brought it on ourselves” argument as simply the go-to position of the collective Left is to deny one the the principle Laws of Life that governs our existence: The Law of Cause and Effect (also known as the Law of Karma, the Law of Action and Reaction.) It is the underpinning of The Golden Rule, and has been annunciated in one form or another by all the world’s religious and spiritual traditions.
    The CIA has another term for it: Blowback.
    There will be no end to this vicious circle of action and reaction until the Western powers stop trying to remake the Middle East and North Africa into subservient vassal states happy to watch their resources vacuumed into the insatiable maw of international (Western) consumerism, and blithely indifferent to Israel’s annexation and ethnic cleansing of the entire area of Palestine.

  5. Mike November 15, 2015

    “JOY DAVIDSON, Fort Bragg. Use of offensive words in a public place likely to provoke violent reaction.”

    Now, this is moving rapidly into Rod Serling’s turf! Look at the pic of Joy. The petulant posturing of her mouth. Reddish hair. Eyes’ squinted.

    She’s The Donald’s Double.

    We should probably inform the Trump campaign that there’s this problematic venue in Northern California (Fort Bragg) with an ordinance or law forbidding the expression of his usual stump speech content.

      • BB Grace November 15, 2015

        Cap that “MAYBE”, Mike.

        I believe that Democratic and Islamic socialism will work together to sucessfully eliminate most radical – voilent movements religious and secular. I can see La Penn getting a MSM blip as a “radical” reaction, fear, anger after such a violent and tragic event; However, it also appears that more Muslims are stepping up to condemn jihad against the West in a genuine attempt to assimulate, which is one reason I believe France will not be going with La Penn, rather they’ll go more liberal as did England and Spain.

  6. michael turner November 15, 2015

    In year 2015 only ignorant and likely very very old people use the terms “frogs” and “limeys”…..

    • Harvey Reading November 16, 2015

      Puppets are unworthy of “political correctness”. Those two countries ceased to exist as independent entities long ago.

  7. John Sakowicz November 15, 2015

    Bruce, Mark,

    I saw your blog post in the AVA’s “Mendocino County Today” (November 15, 2015). It seemed mean-spirited, inflammatory.


    As a member of the Retirement Board, I am — and will remain — a strong steward of MERCA and its beneficiaries. Also please know that my colleagues on the Retirement Board — without exception — are equally committed as stewards of the public trust.

    You write in the blog post that I am “a compliant lap dog”…really? I think not. I probably ask more questions during Retirement Board meetings with the possible exception of Ted Stephens, especially on investment policy issues, which is my area of expertise.

    And those “numerous conferences at taxpayer expense” which you write about in today’s blog…again, really? Many of my “conferences” were trainings given by California Association of Public Retirement System (CALPRS). The other “conferences” were trainings given by the State Association of California Retirement Systems (SACRS).

    It may interest you to know that the last SACRS training I attended was in Monterey, CA, in November of 2014…a year ago.

    And I paid for that training in Monterey out of my own pocket. I can hardly afford to do that…I have two kids in college at California Maritime Academy, CSU. Two college tuitions. But such is my commitment to training. I paid for the Monterey training out of my own pocket.

    Incidentally, I’m probably one of the best trained fiduciaries that the Mendocino County Employee Retirement Association (MCERA) has ever had. I graduated from the CALAPRS three-step trainings in pension fund management at Stanford Law School, UC Berkeley’s Haas School, and UCLA’s Anderson School.

    Finally, about my “alleged” Wall street background at a “high-flying hedge fund”…I’ll post a snapshot of my FINRA file to my website, which I’m now developing. The website, incidentally, is being developed in anticipation for a foundation grant that I hope my public affairs show on KMEC will soon be receiving. We’ll see.

    As I said…whew! What’s up, guys? Your blog post today was mean-spirited and inflammatory, but, worse, it missed the point entirely.

    And what is the point? The main point is that the Retirement Board does not set benefits policy. The Board of Supervisors sets benefits.

    The current Board of Supervisors is very responsible, very conservative, but past Boards of Supervisors committed the Mendocino County to benefits that the Retirement Board must now pay. Remember the Slavin study?

    We at the Retirement Board play the hand that we were dealt. Meaning that our unfunded pension liabilities are structural in nature.

    I would also add that almost every other public pension system in the country, and almost every public pension system at every level — federal, state, county, and municipal — are all dealing with the same structural issues. That said, MCERA is healthier than many, if not most, systems its size.

    Some larger systems, like the City of Detroit or the State of Illinois, are so grossly unfunded that they may be characterized as insolvent.

    MCERA is in good shape, especially with regard to managing our investment portfolio. The RV Kuhns Public Fund Performance Study for 2015 easily ranks MCERA in the top quarter of the 78 systems polled in the 5-year and 10-year surveys.

    See link to the 2014 study:

    I’ll mail you the 2015 RV Kuhns Study.

    Again, our investment returns — as good as they are — are not the same thing as an asset/liability study. But asset/liability studies, typically done by actuaries, are as much art, as they are science. Something as simple as using deterministic assumptions versus stochastic assumptions have big implications. Also, asset/liability studies they look outward over a 30-year or 50-year time horizon.

    MCERA is in good hands.

    — John Sakowicz

  8. LouisBedrock November 15, 2015

    An eloquent response to the claims of Mr. Scaramella and Mr. Anderson; however you’ve omitted the last two paragraphs:

    “One other thing I probably should tell you because if we don’t they’ll probably be saying this about me too, we did get something—a gift. A man down in Texas heard my wife on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And, believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was?

    It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he’d sent all the way from Texas. Black and white spotted. And we named it Checkers. And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *