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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, Dec 27, 2015

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The half-inch of rain did nothing to raise the level of the Navarro River Christmas Eve - although MSP is still getting inquiries whether CA-128 is 'open" (it was closed for less than 24 hours).


The level of the river was 6.24' this morning @ 7:15 am and the discharge was 730 cubic feet of water per second.

The "crest" from the most recent rain raised the river level to 7.37' @ 12:15 am Christmas morning and it dropped from there.

(Courtesy, MendocinoSportsPlus)

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by Alexander Cockburn

“Happy Holidays”. Can we please deep-six this trite “non-denominational” greeting, designed to alert the world that those uttering the salutation “Happy Holidays” are sensitive people aware that the recipients of the greeting might not be Christians, might be Kwanzans, or Jews or Muslims who have a low opinion of J. Christ and no desire to celebrate his birthday. The Muslims think Christ was not divine and the Jewish sacred writings say likewise, and that for the sin of getting ideas above his station JC is being pickled in excrement for all eternity.

But my Jewish friends say “Happy Hanukah”, with no nonsense about saying “Happy Holidays” out of sensitivity to the fact that the festival of Hanukah derives from the Maccabbees’ triumph over the bestial forces of Hellenism in 165 B.C., said Hellenism being in its neo-Platonic guise one of the central components of the Christian religion. An irony is that there’s no mention of Hanukah in the Torah, but only in the Books of the Maccabees, an annexe to the Bible.

My friend and neighbor Joe Paff tells me he heard Oregon Public Radio harshly criticize Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for daring to utter the forbidden phrase “Merry Christmas”, even though he immediately made haste to light a menorah to show that his “Merry Christmas” wasn’t an eruption of ur-Schwarzenegger, an overture to a volley of Sieg Heils and Aryan paeans to Wotan.

When I lived in an apartment building on the Upper West side of New York, throughout December our elevator rang with jovial cries of Happy Hanukah and Merry Christmas, and Margot Adler who lived in the apartment right next to me wasn’t put out, even though she was a boisterous Wiccan and reserved her enthusiasms for the festival of Beltane, which I vaguely remember involved dancing round some sort of a Maypole. One time Margot, a radio broadcaster of the first quality, was up for a big job at NPR but lost out because an NPR big shot was worried about being trashed in the New York Post for hiring a Witch (though a witch who was White in every sense of the term).

So, hear it from a unbaptised, unconfirmed Protestant/atheist, born out of wedlock, albeit raised in a Christo-Commie environment, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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I have spent the past two weeks working round the clock finalizing the book(s) for my Dead Rock Star art show at Beyond Baroque. The project ended up being deeply personal. I poured my heart and guts into it. I spent two years doing the drawings, and I wrote letters to each dead rock star which ended up being a kind of memoir, history through reflections on music.

After many near sleepless nights, the book is complete and available for sale. You can order directly from me for a signed copy or buy straight from Lulu AT THIS LINK.

The book ended up being a collection of my art as well as a memoir written in letters. The cost is $45 plus shipping. The handmade Dead Rock Stars + book which will be hand-bound in a hand-screened crimson silk cover and which will include the Rock Moleskine as well as color drawings and outtakes and odd sizes will be available by January 10 for my opening. The estimated price will be $100 and there will only be 25 books made ever, and I'm keeping three for myself and my kid and one goes to my collaborator Walter Bartholomew. Let me know if you want to advance order a copy of the handmade art object book.

In the meanwhile, please order my fine art print softcover catalog/memoir of Dead Rock Stars! You can email me to order a signed copy, or you can order directly from Lulu. Also please share the link and help me promote sales! THANK YOU!


PS: Someone just asked if I get paid more from direct sales or Lulu. The answer is direct sales plus you get a signed copy!


Kim Nicolini

PS: Also please see the attached cover of the book and poster for the show with details on the opening. If you're in Venice CA on Jan 10 please come! I'll be giving two readings. Thanks again!

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REUTERS REPORTS that the Islamic State on Saturday released an audio message – purportedly featuring the voice of its reclusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – that says the Caliphate is "doing well" despite air strikes by Russia and the U.S.-led coalition. "Be confident that God will grant victory to those who worship him, and hear the good news that our state is doing well. The more intense the war against it, the purer it becomes and the tougher it gets," the message said. The message, which was posted on a Twitter account that has published ISIS statements previously, has not been verified.

WITH EVERY AIR STRIKE, x-number of young people commit to Isis. You kill my family, I kill yours. Hardly a new concept in war psychology but one our Pentagon hasn't yet grasped.

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Dear Editor:

Increasingly many states rather than refer juveniles to Juvenile Court the kids are being tried as adults. A practice which I call legal lynching of juveniles. Many of these kids if found guilty are sentenced to life terms without parole. In looking at the number of inmates serving juvenile life sentences without parole per 100,000 residents the national average is 0.719. Louisiana is the top state with 247 lifers or 5.31% of 100,000 residents and of the these inmates 199 or 81% were black.

In looking at other states the whites were usually a small percentage with the majority either black, Hispanic or other. In California there were 288 lifers of which many were minorities. In 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that life without parole was unconstitutional. States are dealing with the ruling in different ways. Of course, rather than life, the juvenile can receive a long term of many years. One factor that disturbs me is the failure of editorial boards of newspapers to speak out against this legal lynching of children. In Sacramento County our previous district attorney and the current one have a penchant to try kids, many who are minorities, in adult court. The editorial board of our local paper, the Sacramento Bee, doesn't seem concerned about sending kids to adult prisons for long term sentences.

In peace and love,

Jim Updegraff


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THE AMERICAN RED CROSS recently announced that it will allocate more than $500,000 to help support Valley Fire recovery efforts. At least 75 percent of that money will go those that need the most assistance. The rest will pay the salary and operating expenses of a new recovery manager yet to be hired. Senior Disaster Program Manager Mike Conroy says they’re looking for community members who have unmet needs, such as those who lost their house and didn’t have insurance. In addition to financial assistance the Red Cross will be providing help with building permits and other needs.

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John Ross Speaks to Independent Journalists

Edited by Norman Stockwell and Cristalyne Bell

John Ross was a man who lived as he chose and wrote it as he damned well pleased. A reporter with a cause in the time-honored leftwing American tradition of John Reed and I.F. Stone, Ross chose to live most of his life in Mexico in a kind of exile from his native United States. He documented the last half century from the perspective of that country's callejones, its ejidos and pueblos, and we have been enriched by his effort. Ross was a political outlaw of the utmost integrity, and this book, Rebel Reporting, is the maximum legacy of a man who fought injustice all his life with poetry, and with passion. There are some pearls of true wisdom here for the next generation, and for that handful of reporters who may choose to be defiant and brave, and to live like John Ross.
—Jon Lee Anderson, Guerrillas: Journeys in the Insurgent World and Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life

John Ross was Jack Kerouac, Hunter Thompson, Roque Dalton and Che Guevara all rolled up together, but most of all he was himself, observer and participant at once, listening carefully to the poorest, challenging hypocrisy wherever he detected it oozing from the mouths of the powerful. John’s spirit permeated the stories he covered so thoroughly that his writing dazzled like that of no other reporter I know. The inimitable, take-no-prisoners voice of John Ross rings clear on every page of this book. In writing a primer for the rebel reporter, John Ross has written a primer for life.
—Mary Jo McConahay, Maya Roads: One Woman's Journey Among the People of the Rainforest and Ricochet: Two women war reporters and a friendship under fire

[John’s] state of self-exile gave him a huge gift, that of imagining and describing the potential truth of things beyond the rational boundaries of journalism. His Tonatiuh's People [1998] is one of the greatest political novels I ever read, with abiding insights into the soul of a writer and a revolution.
—Tom Hayden, Writings for a Democratic Society: The Tom Hayden Reader and editor of The Zapatista Reader

John Ross was uncompromising in his dedication to the poor, the downtrodden and the victims of empire. He was not welcome on the television talk show circuit frequented by journalistic elites and political players, nor was he invited to the cocktail parties of the rich and powerful. He was always most at home among the people in the slums and barrios of the world. John Ross was the personification of the peoples' reporter, a troubadour for justice who chose to cast his lot of conscience with those who have the will to live and the heart to resist against all odds. Simply put, John Ross was the Robin Hood of journalism.
—Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army and Dirty Wars

About the Book:

John Ross believed that journalism is not a profession, but rather a moral obligation. His bottom up investigative reporting made him an ally to the underrepresented and an enemy to the overrepresented. This book outlines the basic responsibilities of a journalist and provides instructions on how to document injustices and poetically pitch stories to audiences in order to create change in society. When Ross passed away many said he was the last of a dying breed, but this book passes on his creative knowledge as a poet, and journalist to inspire a new generation of reporters.

978-0-7618-6660-2 • Paperback • December 2015 • $19.99


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These lectures were first delivered to a classroom of students at San Francisco’s New College in the Fall of 2006. It was here that Ross developed the concept for a series of talks that he later took on tour around the United States, delivering them in various forms to students at universities and community colleges. The lectures have been edited only slightly for publication, and sometimes refer to events and places that were surrounding Ross as he first delivered them in San Francisco’s Mission District.


OK class, this seminar is called “rebel journalism” just in case you wandered into the wrong room. What is “rebel journalism” anyway? Just some catchy scam to sucker in young and not so young media studies grad students at eccentric, overpriced institutes of higher learning?

Is rebel journalism “journalism about rebellion”? You bet your booty. That’s the content of rebel journalism. Rebel journalism advocates rebellion; in fact good rebel journalism incites rebellion.

So who is a rebel journalist? Well, hang on, I don’t know about this “journalist” stuff. It sounds snooty. I call myself a reporter; it’s a lot closer to the street.

But is a rebel reporter just one who covers rebellion? That seems to depend upon which side of the barricade you wind up on. A lot of hotshot corporate reporters — Rob Collier, the San Francisco Chronicle’s foreign editor is one — covered the Contra rebellion in Nicaragua from the side of the Contras.

A good rebel reporter doesn’t just take notes on rebellion. A good rebel reporter incites rebellion, makes people angry, encourages organization, offers them hope that another world is possible. A rebel reporter is a participant in rebellion or resistance or revolution or whatever you want to call the struggle for social change. Like the Zapatistas, our words are our weapons.

So who are some rebel reporters? I spoke about Josh Wolf. By the time he’s out, Josh will have served more time in prison than any other U.S. reporter who has ever gone to jail for refusing to turn over his or her sources. The previous record — 168 days — is held by a Houston-based reporter who refused to reveal her sources on a murder story.

Judith Miller, who ran 11 mendacious front-page stories in the New York Times “documenting” Saddam Hussein’s fictitious Weapons of Mass Destruction and provided public justification for the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, only did 85 days, and not for war crimes either. It was because she balked at finking out a neo-con pal who had outed Joe Wilson’s wife as a CIA operative. You ask what’s wrong with outing a CIA operative? Nothing. It’s an act of rebel reporting, in fact. The only ethical act Judith Miller ever perpetrated.

Anyway, Josh has a lot of time on his hands these days and jail is not such a bad place to report from. I did my first English-language story from Terminal Island Federal Penitentiary doing a year on a draft beef back in 1964. “What To Do in Jail” it was titled, a kind of primer for imprisoned activists.

Someone who had been in jail at the School of Americas protests in Fort Benning for a couple of months told me recently, “Jail is like visiting a poor country.” Almost everyone there is poor and has a story to tell. When rebel reporters go to jail, they should consider themselves foreign correspondents.

What burns me up about Josh Wolf is that reporters refuse to accept him as a real reporter. To these J-School “Richie Riches,” Josh is some post-adolescent anarchist punk blogger, anything but a member of their elite profession. We will talk about J-School at length down the pike.

An excerpt from the forthcoming (December 2015) book: REBEL REPORTING: John Ross Speaks to Independent Journalists. Co-edited by Cristalyne Bell and Norman Stockwell. ©Hamilton Books/Rowman-Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7618-6660-2. Used by permission.

Book release party for REBEL REPORTING, and celebration of the life of John Ross on the fifth anniversary of his passing. Join co-editors Norman Stockwell and Cristalyne Bell, with special guests Tim Redmond, former editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian and journalist Mary Jo McConahay, author of Maya Roads: One Woman’s Journey Among the People of the Rainforest.

La Boheme Cafe
3318 24th Street at Mission: the heart of the Mission
Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016
4-7 p.m. PST
For more information: <>

PS. Also, we now have a website at

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COMPUTERS AND CASH WERE STOLEN from two homes in Ukiah last week. According to the Ukiah Police Department, a woman in the 100 block of Marlene Street reported that when she left her home, she had $260 on her kitchen counter. When she came home, however, she said the cash was missing, as well as a laptop and an iPad. An officer found that one of her doors appeared to have been pried open. The same day another caller said she returned hope to find her laptop and several other items missing.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 26, 2015

Ashby, Calvo, Causey
Ashby, Calvo, Causey

KRYSTAL ASHBY, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

DAVID CALVO, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

QUENTIN CAUSEY, Upper Lake/Ukiah. DUI-drugs.

Davis, Kennedy, Rivera
Davis, Kennedy, Rivera

KAILEB DAVIS, Stockton/Ukiah. Possession of drug injection device.

ROSCO KENNEDY, Ukiah. DUI-drugs, probation revocation.

JAVIER RIVERA, Ukiah. DUI, no license.

Schafer, Underwood, Wilson, Zeher
Schafer, Underwood, Wilson, Zeher

BELINDA SCHAFER, Ukiah. Drunk in public.

ROY UNDERWOOD, Fort Bragg. Burglary.

SEAN WILSON, Willits. Vandalism, probation revocation.

JANICE ZEHER, Ukiah. Possession of controlled substance, meth for sale, paraphernalia, hashish, under influence.

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by Shepherd Bliss

Poet Robert Bly, now 89 years old, is a radical, by which I mean he returns to the roots. Haydn Reiss has captured him in his new, moving film “Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy.”

Watching the film was a trip down my memory’s lane, dating back to meeting the National Book Award-winning poet in the sixties. I was in boot camp training at Ft. Riley, Kansas, home of the Army’s First Division, the Big Red One. I intended to follow our family tradition, which gave our name to Ft. Bliss, Texas. I was on my way to the American War on Vietnam.

Bly and others in the group Writers Against War, including poet Allen Ginsberg, came to Kansas with their poetic, prophetic message. They initiated my doubts about America’s War. Bly spoke from military experience, having served in the Navy during World War II.

I eventually resigned my officer’s commission, accepting the consequences, which included alienation from my family. Robert possibly saved my life, and certainly my soul, if I had gone to war those 50 years ago. I have enough of what is described as “Post Traumatic Stress” and “moral injury” from having been raised on military forts.

Bly has been a life-long radical, which this film documents. His deep roots are Norwegian, farmland, Mid-Western, Minnesotan, and Lutheran. Bly is an uncle figure to many. He provides an image of a deep, nurturing, strong masculinity, distinct from the rigid military model under which I was raised. His male model was militant yet caring; it emboldened my courage to reject war-making.

“Why don’t we lift our voices and cry over what is happening today,” Bly lamented during the first American War against Iraq. I echo this today, as the U.S. continues to widen its war-making.

Robert Bly has made a big difference in the lives of many. He brought a contentious, creative presence into his prophetic work. A big man, he has a Viking-like quality.

Bly brought the reverent, oral tradition of taking a poem into your heart and soul, memorizing it, and reciting it, to the delight of thousands. He wrote his own great poems, as well as essays, edited books, and supported peers and young poets and writers. He translated Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, who appears in the film, and many other lesser-known poets, expanding their readerships. Many poets and writers attest to Bly’s importance in this film.

Bly helped create contexts within which people could grow, including the Great Mother Conferences and men’s gatherings in the woods. Bly did not agree with one of my Neruda translations, which I did not change to please him. My Spanish is better than his. I think that he appreciated my standing up for my translation.

Among my friends was Elissa Melamed, who wrote the book Mirror, Mirror: The Terror of Not Being Young, which is about the double standard of aging. When they were in college, Bly invited her out on a date. She accepted. That date was to go to a firing range.

The first of many Bly’s gatherings that I attended were the Great Mother Conferences, where he honored mythology and the feminine. His co-teachers included novelist Ursula Le Guin and Gioia Timpanelli, often called the “dean of American storytelling.”

Robert was not an easy man in the decades that I had regular contact with him. He loved a good conflict. We argued, as I did with his key collaborators--the psychologist James Hillman and the drumming Irish-American storyteller Michael Meade. They engaged in spirited, friendly male banter. My arguments with them were often about gender.

Few American poets have sold many books or become famous during their lives. Bly’s best-selling book Iron John, an analysis of a Grimm Brothers story, brought him fame. Bly often taught from mythology and ancient stories. I first met the noted mythologist Joseph Campbell at a Bly forest gathering.

Bly invited me to teach with him and others at a men’s conferences in the Mendocino Woodlands. I came prepared, not only with words, but with buddies—-Capt. Ray Gatchalian, a green beret medic in my vets group, San Francisco artist Doug von Koss, and Larry Stefl, a musician with The Sons of Orpheus.

I anticipated that Robert would challenge me. When he did, Doug and Ray merely stood up at my side. They did not need to say anything. Much of male intimacy is side-by-side, as well as covering someone’s back. Larry played Black Orpheus on the guitar and led the room in singing (scatting) along. Strengthened by their firm masculine presence, I continued. I do not remember what the issue, the challenge, or my response to Bly were on that day. What I do remember is Ray, Doug, and Larry backing me up.

“Wake up” has been one of Bly’s essential poetic, spiritual, and political messages. “Don’t go back to sleep,” he would quote the 13th century Sufi poet Rumi, whom he translated and brought forward into American culture. Bly calls us “to disappear into the wild.” He translated the great Spanish poet Antonio Machado, who ends a poem with the words “what have you done with the garden entrusted to you?”

Hayden has made previous films that include Bly, including “Every War Has Two Losers,” about poet and conscientious objector William Stafford, and “Rumi: Poet of the Heart.”

(Shepherd Bliss {} has operated the Kokopelli Farm in Northern California since 1992, contributed to 24 books, and recently retired from college teaching.)

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I once asked a true Taoist sage a question and his only response was ‘don’t ask me about the future’. That statement resonates with me personally when I read forecasts and predictions. That a lifelong student of the I-Ching, and one who actually embodied/understood its principles via the visceral methodologies of Pa Qua Chang, would downplay his own ability to predict the future, well, it gave me and still gives me pause regarding predictions. (I also received a gift of his calligraphy via a third party and when I took it to a Chinese scholar to have it translated he literally started crying. It was in ‘old Chinese’ and referenced the Cultural Revolution and the eternal nature of destructive and violent barbarians. Strangely, I noticed one day that his calligraphy was missing. I often wonder if a “friend” stole it or it just mysteriously left. I had more or less left the structured organizational aspects of that lineage and wonder if the disappearance of the calligraphy was simply a reciprocal energetic manifestation. After all, the author had the ability to cause strange events to happen’ when writing talismans, or so the rumor went.)

The big moves the small; the small changes the big. From the promontory perch of distanced perspective a “prognosticator” might be able to catch a glimpse of the “big moving the small”. But he will be too far removed to witness the ‘small changing the big’. Alas, if able to perceive the ‘small changing the big’ he will be too deep in the forest to see the ‘big moving the small’.

Predicting the future is always compromised by the limited perceptual capacities of human beings.

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SANTA ROSA HAS LAUNCHED A NEW PROGRAM that buys one-way bus and plane tickets for homeless people who want to get back home. Jennielynn Holmes, director of housing and shelter for Catholic Charities, says sometimes getting people home to a more supportive environment is all they need to get off the street. Since the pilot program began in August, Catholic Charities has spent $1,630 to send six people away from Sonoma County, one by airplane and the rest by Greyhound bus. Supporters of the program say it is more cost-effective and humane to help homeless people return home instead of paying to provide them with local housing, health care and myriad other public services.

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Dear Editoria,

Vis. “Stop the Klamath Agreements” (December 15, 2015 -

The importance of the dam removal commitment cannot be overstated, and the pernicious trickery of FERC, SWRCB, PacificCorps, Buffeteers and bountymen knows no honor.

But I’m selfishly concerned — the tribes engaging in this battle for biospheric sanity have established a body of knowledge [1] that is recognized by the US EPA, Cal EPA, Northern Coastal Region Water Quality Control Board, [2] academicians and scientists world wide, that is all but ignored here in Lake County, California.

With similar dam management issues (Lake Pillsbury and Clear Lake — not to mention the long-longed-for Lakeport Lake, in Scotts Valley) and two “moderately” impaired (but extremely critical) groundwater basins, Lake County leaders maintain a straight face while claiming our water resource issues are "just not that big a deal.”

It’s "not that big a deal" that our surface water supplies are becoming noticeably prone to toxicity from naturally-occurring cyanobacteria, water purveyors are not required to monitor for these toxins or treat the water to remove them (both herculian tasks, apparently), and that calling attention to the potentially harmful conditions so as to safeguard children and pets is contraindicated by the marketing-minded ministers of the public weal.

Rather than have Clear Lake's fish tissue tested, as performed by the tribes dependent on the Klamath River, our advisors — one of whom now sits on your North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, by the way — support the position that signage itself is harmful.

If this deal goes down, the pirates win, the people lose. It’s not a battle to take lightly for any of us in the Northern Coastal Counties biodiversity region, and fragile forest-river-watersheds. And it’s the only one that even comes close to forcing the dismantling of the eco-supremacy system that exploits life for profit. Please keep us posted.

Betsy Cawn

Lake County

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Reviewed by Godfrey Cheshire

Michael Moore’s surprising and extraordinarily winning “Where to Invade Next” will almost surely cast his detractors at Fox News and similar sinkholes into consternation. They get lots of mileage out of painting Moore as a far-left provocateur who’s all about “running America down.” But his new film is all about building America up, in some amazingly novel and thought-provoking ways. In my view, it’s one of the most genuinely, and valuably, patriotic films any American has ever made.

It comes billed not as a documentary but a comedy, and the first joke is its hilariously misleading title. You think it anticipates a stern, leftist denunciation of American foreign policy. Instead, Moore tells us the Joint Chiefs of Staff invited him to Washington, DC, to confess that all their wars since “the big one” have been disastrous and ask his advice. He responds by offering himself up as a one-man army who will “invade countries populated by Caucasians whose names I can mostly pronounce, take the things we need from them, and bring them back home to the United States of America.”

So, wearing his trademark baseball cap and literally wrapped in the flag, he sets off across the Atlantic searching out peoples to conquer who have things America needs. Yes, he knows all of these countries have their own share of problems. But he’s come, he says, “to pick the flowers, not the weeds.” And what a bouquet he assembles.

First stop is Italy, where he wonders why “Italians always look like they just had sex.” He finds some reasons for that happy glow in talking to a 30ish couple -- he’s a cop, she works for a clothing company -- who start enumerating all the paid vacation time they get. The basic portion, decreed by law, is four weeks, but when you add in government holidays and such, it comes closer to eight. They use all this time to vacation in places like Miami and Zanzibar, so there’s more than just sex (though we guess there’s plenty of that too) to explain their radiant tans and satisfied smiles.

After hearing about these citizens’ five months paid maternity leave, Moore invades two Italian companies -- one makes the famous Ducati motorcycles -- where he expresses mock-disbelief that such largesse could be good for business. But the CEOs of both firms genially argue that it is. Workers getting such benefits -- and being allowed two-hour lunches where they can have home-cooked meals -- makes for a healthier, happier and more productive work force, they say. A union representative notes that these gains have been hard-won and still require struggle. But the picture of an industrial situation where all sides seem to define success as cooperation, health and la dolce vita leads Moore to plant the Stars and Stripes on one factory floor, claiming the idea for the USA.

Before considering the other countries he visits, it’s worth noting that all of this works so well not only because of the ideas presented but also because Moore is such a masterful comic storyteller and skilled polemicist. The film has a very definite point of view, of course; that’s what sets it apart from the bland pseudo-objectivity of our corporate news media. But Moore is clever enough to avoid preaching to the choir by also voicing the doubts and skepticism that Americans of other political persuasions would have.

After Italy, several episodes focus on different aspects of education. In France, he visits a provincial elementary school where the students’ hour-long lunches look like they come from a top Parisian restaurant; this is not only cheaper than the crap American kids are fed, the chef tells him, it’s also educational since it teaches about food and healthy eating. In Finland, one of the film’s most startling segments, Moore learns that until a couple of decades ago, student performance was about as lame America’s still is. Then the Finns decided to revolutionize their educational system. The reforms included eliminating homework and standardized testing and giving students more autonomy and free time. The result: Finland is now number one in educational rankings.

In Slovenia, Moore inspects a system where a college education is essentially free, even for Americans who have begun to flock there, unable to afford the exorbitant costs at home. In Germany, the filmmaker’s look at health care and benefits for middle-class citizens elides into the part of the film that’s most likely to draw the ire of American right-wingers, since it concerns how not just education but public policy in general decrees remembering and understanding the Holocaust. Moore says he comes from “a great country that was born in genocide and built on the backs of slaves,” and wonders whether such recognition of historical sins might actually benefit the U.S. too.

Two other countries prompt questions of crime and punishment. In Norway, Moore investigates a prison system where rehabilitation rather than punishment is the goal, even maximum security lock-ups are tailored to that end, and the maximum sentence is 23 years (the country now has one of the world’s lowest murder rates). In Portugal, he hears that eliminating all penalties for drug use and treating it as a health-care issue instead has resulted in decreased use. He also listens as three Portuguese cops talk movingly about how concern for “human dignity” is the most important part of their training.

Two underlying themes of the film, people power and women’s empowerment, converge in the film’s final two segments. In Tunisia (the only non-European and only Muslim country visited), he hears how, after the country’s 2011 revolution, the new Islamist government tried to keep a guarantee of equal rights for women out of the constitution, but bowed to include it after a massive popular uprising. And in Iceland, Moore learns that the only financial company that escaped the country’s massive financial meltdown was one founded and run by women, which leads into a discussion of the transformative benefits that have come with women gaining positions of power in government and business. Meanwhile, Iceland also differed from the U.S. in sending many of their financial bad boys to prison -- an idea that the lead prosecutor says was modeled on America’s prosecution of malefactors in the savings and loan scandal.

That’s the kicker here. As he investigates one potentially useful idea after another, Moore keeps discovering that many originated in the U.S. Thus he’s not stealing from foreigners but reclaiming remedies that once belonged to us.

Anyone who travels abroad a lot inevitably reflects that, due to many factors, Americans are very insular, knowing far less about other countries than they know about us. Better national media and education might mitigate this, but in the meantime, Michael Moore has done thinking Americans a great service by opening several fascinating windows on the world. One of his most accomplished and entertaining films, “Where to Invade Next” is rich in ideas that deserve to be discussed by liberals, conservatives and everyone else on the political spectrum in the upcoming election year. Optimistic and affirmative, it rests on one challenging but invaluable idea: we can do better.


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by Ralph Nader

The US has some big problems that require bold solutions. Unfortunately, books about solutions to our society’s problems are often given short shrift by reviewers or languish on our bookshelves. As I often say, this country has more problems than it deserves and more solutions than it uses. Now comes S. David Freeman.

In 1974 David Freeman, an energy engineer and lawyer, wrote much of and directed all of the research for the book, A Time to Choose: America’s Energy Future, a comprehensive early inquiry into America’s energy crisis. A Time to Choose offered ideas galore about how our country could use efficiency and conservation to benefit the environment and the economy and ushered in a new era of energy efficiency.

Freeman has also run several giant utilities including the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), the New York Power Authority (PASNY) and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). After seven years at the TVA, he spent the next thirty advocating for and implementing environmentally sound and consumer friendly changes in energy policy. Mr. Freeman has been an innovator and leading authority on energy and environmental matters for a long time and knows what he’s talking about, so when he speaks up about energy policy we should listen.

In January of 2016, in collaboration with his coauthor, Leah Y. Parks, he will publish a new and important book about our energy future: All-Electric America: A Climate Solution and the Hopeful Future. The book is scathing but optimistic, and manages to be bold while remaining pragmatic. Drawing on their combined years of experience, Freeman and Parks make the case for addressing the dangers of climate change with some concrete steps to counter our current downward spiral. Mr. Freeman argues that we will soon be able to power all of our energy needs with electricity generated completely by renewable energy as well as with increased energy efficiency in heating, cooling, lighting, transportation and our electric grid. The authors point out that:

Transforming our entire energy infrastructure to run on renewable energy by the year 2050 will require a larger effort than solely switching out our current electricity capacity. Investments in coal mining, oil and gas drilling and building new large coal, gas, and nuclear plants will give way to a massive increase in the construction of solar and wind power plants.

It comes as no surprise that this book rejects the indiscriminate “all of the above” approach (coal, oil, gas, nuclear, solar and conservation) to generating energy and argues that we have a leadership gap when it comes to developing a clean, safe and efficient energy policy that can boost our economy:

Rapid progress toward an all-renewables future is being stymied not by lack of technology, or even by cost or market demand, but by lack of vision on the part of our political and business leaders, and lobbying and persuasive advertising by the oil, gas, coal, and nuclear industries.

President Obama, environmentally minded political leaders and most of the major environmental organizations have been promoting both the “green revolution” and the “brown surge,” supporting both renewables and the continued use of fossil fuels. They have failed to hammer home the message that a completely renewable future will be lower in cost, as well as necessity if we are to halt global warming, much less propose programs to make it happen. This is despite the fact that a long-sought bipartisan goal of U.S. energy policy has been to achieve energy independence. An all-renewable supply is the best way to do so.

By reducing emissions by 3 percent each year, the authors argue we would be capable of achieving a zero-emissions society in 35 years. The book manages to reconcile its lofty goals with sensible policy prescriptions. Big items on the agenda put forth in this book include:

Outlawing the building of new fossil-fueled electric power plants;

Creating a Federal Green Bank, which provides loan guarantees (not loans) for the financing of railroad electrification and for the construction of renewable electricity power plants;

Requiring that all new homes and buildings be Green House Gas (GHG) -free and existing buildings be retrofitted to zero GHG at time of sale or within fifteen years; and

Requiring all major auto, truck and bus manufacturers to reduce GHG emissions of vehicles by 3 percent each year, through a combination of improvements in mileage and lower GHG emissions.

The authors also note that big energy companies and their campaign contributions from the fossil fuel and nuclear industries have stifled sound, sustainable energy policies but how, with a little focused “civic energy” we can motivate industry and utility companies to adopt cleaner practices and policies that can make 3 percent annual emissions reductions not only feasible, but profitable.

The authors also challenge the notion that nuclear power and natural gas will eliminate our climate change woes and argue that renewables are a better financial bet for the consumer than oil, coal, natural gas or nuclear power for several reasons:

Nuclear power is a poor economic risk, requiring full government (taxpayer) loan guarantees, and also because no private insurance is available for an accident that causes billions of dollars of damage.

There are no fuel costs for solar and wind maintenance and it is thus virtually inflation-proof.

Renewable costs are going down while the price of oil fluctuates with an upward trend. The future price of natural gas is most likely to go up.

The savings in the indirect cost of renewables over coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power are profound. Some indirect costs include damages from environmental contamination, climate change, health expenses, managing the risks of nuclear power and military commitments—including deployments and even wars to safeguard oil from the Middle East.

When All-Electric America comes out in January of 2016 you will have a chance to make yourself knowledgeable about the real avenues available to us to transform our energy infrastructure for present and future generations by moving toward a new renewable energy economy with far more jobs, health, efficiency and security benefits than there are in relying on hydrocarbons and radioactive atoms.

See David Freeman on the need for government mandates to move our energy policies forward.

To listen to my interview with David Freeman, visit

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! (Courtesy,

* * *


by Dan Bacher

The Yurok Tribe, the largest Indian Tribe in California with over 6,000 members, has banned genetically engineered salmon and all Genetically Engineered Organisms (GEOs) on their reservation on the Klamath River in the state's northwest region.

The Yurok ban comes in the wake of the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision on November 19 to approve genetically engineered salmon, dubbed "Frankenfish," as being fit for human consumption, in spite of massive public opposition to the decision by fishermen, Tribes, environmental organizations and public interest organizations. (

On December 10, 2015, the Yurok Tribal Council unanimously voted to enact the Yurok Tribe Genetically Engineered Organism (“GEO”) Ordinance. The vote took place after several months of committee drafting and opportunity for public comment, according to a news release from the Tribe and Northern California Tribal Court Coalition (NCTCC).

This ordinance is apparently the first of its kind in the U.S. to address the FDA's approval of AquaBounty Technologies’ application for AquAdvantage Salmon, an Atlantic salmon that reaches market size more quickly than non-GE farm-raised Atlantic salmon, as well as all GMOs.

"The Tribal GEO Ordinance prohibits the propagation, raising, growing, spawning, incubating, or releasing genetically engineered organisms (such as growing GMO crops or releasing genetically engineered salmon) within the Tribe’s territory and declares the Yurok Reservation to be a GMO-free zone. While other Tribes, such as the Dine’ (Navajo) Nation, have declared GMO-free zones by resolution, this ordinance appears to be the first of its kind in the nation," the Tribe said.

"On April 11, 2013, the Yurok Tribe enacted a resolution opposing genetically engineered salmon, and then secured a grant from the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) to support the Tribe’s work in continuing to protect its ancestral lands, including: waters, traditional learning and teaching systems, seeds, animal-based foods, medicinal plants, salmon, sacred places, and the health and well-being of the Tribe’s families and villages. GMO farms, whether they are cultivating fish or for fresh produce, have a huge, negative impact on watersheds the world over," the Tribe stated.

"The Yurok People have managed and relied upon the abundance of salmon on the Klamath River since time immemorial. The Tribe has a vital interest in the viability and survival of the wild, native Klamath River salmon species and all other traditional food resources," the release said.

James Dunlap, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe, said, "The Yurok People have the responsibility to care for our natural world, including the plants and animals we use for our foods and medicines.This Ordinance is a necessary step to protect our food sovereignty and to ensure the spiritual, cultural and physical health of the Yurok People. GMO food production systems, which are inherently dependent on the overuse of herbicides, pesticides and antibiotics, are not our best interest."

The Ordinance allows for enforcement of violations through the Yurok Tribal Court. Yurok Chief Judge Abby Abinanti stated, 'It is the inherent sovereign right of the Yurok People to grow plants from natural traditional seeds and to sustainably harvest plants, salmon and other fish, animals, and other life-giving foods and medicines, in order to sustain our families and communities as we have successfully done since time immemorial; our Court will enforce any violations of these inherent, and now codified, rights."

The Yurok Tribe is working with other Tribes in a regional collaborative as part of the Northern California Tribal Court Coalition (NCTCC), and the Tribe and NCTCC are co-hosting an Indigenous Food Sovereignty Summit in Klamath in the spring of 2016.

A signed copy of the ordinance can be found on NCTCC’s website:

The Tribal Council passed the ordinance at a critical time for West Coast salmon and steelhead. The Klamath River, located on the Tribe's homeland, is plagued by massive algal blooms, exacerbated by agricultural runoff and antiquated hydroelectric dams, that turn the river toxic each summer.

The Tribe is working with other Tribes, environmentalists, fishing groups and elected officials to remove four dams on the Klamath River to restore the river's salmon, steelhead and other fish populations. The Tribe in September withdrew from the controversial Klamath Agreements and in December announced it "strongly opposes" draft legislation from US Representative Greg Walden of Oregon to address Klamath River Basin water issues. (

The Klamath's salmon and other fish populations are also threatened by Jerry Brown's California Water Fix to build the Delta Tunnels. The massive tunnels proposed for construction under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, would export water to corporate agribusiness interests, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and other extreme oil extraction methods in Kern County.

A large proportion of the water of the Trinity River, the Klamath's largest tributary, is diverted from Trinity Reservoir to the the Sacramento River basin via Whiskeytown Reservoir to irrigate almonds, pistachios and other crops on drainage impaired land in the Westlands Water District on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The giant tunnels would imperil Chinook salmon, coho salmon, steelhead and lamprey populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers, as well as hastening the extinction of Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, Sacramento splittail and green sturgeon populations.

* * *


"You folks may not be aware that until 1992 the Science Center of Iowa contained the only fully functional transparent toilet in the Northern Hemisphere. And there she is. Ain't she a beaut? Who wants to try her out? No takers? All right, suit yourself. Now, if you'll step this way--"

Hi, Marco here. At you'll find the recording of last night’s (Xmas 2015-12-25) KNYO Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show ready to download and keep or just play with one click.

Further, at there are many worthwhile but not necessarily radio-useful items that I found while putting the show together. Here are just a few:

Star Wars without Star Wars.

Photographs of Penn Station in the 1950s. My favorite: the woman in glasses and a white glove, asleep in her train seat.

Test yourself for evil. It turns out that I'm "infrequently vile", showing 3 of 10 for Machiavellianism, 5 of ten for narcissism, but only 2 of 10 for psychopathy, so I guess that's good.

And Danny MacAskill's latest bicycle video! Vertiginous, impossible, terrifying, thrilling.

Marco McClean

* * *


Dance of Eternal Luminosity

Took friends yesterday to SF cathedral

Following it with Christmas feast-lunch

A bay window view at The Franciscan

Mussels & shrimp platter, sea bass & wine


Am paid up through January 2nd @ Berkeley

Piedmont House. Sent out emails to say

That I'm available for creative living

In America...Occupy Nirvana, Earth First!


"What are we waiting for?", he asks again

Where's a housing base on NYC-DC power strip

And why is there always a blank space regarding

Our logistics? What kinda revolution is this?


The full realization of the inherent emptiness

Of all phenomena is just the dance of eternal

Luminosity! Okay all of you "divine anarchists"

What time & place for smartmob beast encircling?


If not us, who? If not now, when? No joke, how

Else would you prefer to begin a brand new year?

So email me when you get out of the hot tub, and

Where's my go-to place for the east coast sunrise?

Craig Louis Stehr

San Francisco


  1. Mike December 27, 2015

    Craig Christmas:

    “Sent out emails to say

    That I’m available for creative living

    In America…Occupy Nirvana, Earth First!

    “What are we waiting for?”, he asks again

    Where’s a housing base on NYC-DC power strip

    And why is there always a blank space regarding

    Our logistics? What kinda revolution is this?

    The full realization of the inherent emptiness

    Of all phenomena is just the dance of eternal

    Luminosity! Okay all of you “divine anarchists”

    What time & place for smartmob beast encircling?”


    There doesn’t appear to be hybrid politico/spiritual movements today of that type you (Craig) are looking for. That I know of anyway. Closest we had maybe were the Yippies, who relied on performance theater to impact the body politic.

    Maybe this could be your focus? Creating and presenting such a vehicle for “action”? I’ve noticed there are some dharma people looking to somehow get involved in today’s political dance.

    At this point, I stand with Ramana Maharshi. Re: politics. Sure, he had that big poster of Ghandi over his bed, but he said the greatest service anyone could provide was their own Realization.

    Insofar as politics goes, and bringing in that point Ramana made, creative performance art is your best bet. Be not only the Peaceful Deity that rises to greet the Trumpian Wrathful Deity, but also (and mainly)That which contains both forces. Taking to the streets with performance art is the way to go. Adopt the stye of the wandering bhakti troubadours of the South Asian cultures, who performed skits in the streets, sang, danced, and in general addressed and impacted things in that way.

  2. Bill Pilgrim December 27, 2015

    re: Robert Bly. Not only does he express political values in his verse, but spiritual, as well. Bly is one of the few poets I know of who can beautifully and seamlessly blend commentary on our current social/political dystopia with a sense of the underlying spiritual values that inform what is beautiful and good about human nature.
    If he lived in Japan he’d be a “national treasure.”
    But living in the US he’s ignored by mainstream culture, as are most artists who address real issues.

    • Mike December 27, 2015

      “If he lived in Japan he’d be a “national treasure.”
      But living in the US he’s ignored by mainstream culture, as are most artists who address real issues.”

      Literary artists of his time generally were reclusive and their creative output accessible in sheltered bookstores and maybe small coffeehouse readings. Today a literary artist has so many potential ways to put their stuff out there, like say making a youtube video that goes viral..

      In some major urban centers, there’s something of a revival of street performers. With creative messaging (on the primal and “deep” things).

      Probably the best way for artists of all stripes to make an impact is to just get out where the people are gathered, and going about their daily business, and like artists from other places and times, go out and sing, dance, and put on skits. Today, anything done locally can be made to go viral…..AND, anything created and expressed by reclusive artists can likewise easily go viral.

      BTW, this time around, let’s nominate a Horse for President instead of a Pig. Cops won’t be able to catch the horse…..and, eat it. The unfortunate fate of Yippie Nominee for President in 1968, The Honorable Pegasus.

  3. Mike December 27, 2015

    Re; Fire Recovery

    I have started uploading pictures of the scenes of restoration to a flickr album, with much more to follow. May take a followup trip real soon to add Middletown, Cobb and Hoberg, and the Harbin areas. And, add pics of those scenes also.

    The pics so far uploaded include those of the grounds for The AVA’s favorite Lake County spiritual sanctuary, which was hit hard but with the inner core of buildings strangely surviving. :-)

    • BB Grace December 27, 2015

      The black bark is shuddering, yet even at this time of year, life is renewing. Thank you for sharing the photographs.

  4. Rick Weddle December 27, 2015

    re: ‘…war psychology…our Pentagon hasn’t grasped yet…’…

    It is widely known, even at the Pentagon, that bombing a population (1)mightily and righteously pisses off surviving targets and bystanders alike, and (2) UNITES them despite their local and ancient differences against those bombing them. This principle was brought home with a vengeance on 9-11…witness the blind lashing-out, unilateral response from our own wounded nation. They aren’t bombing for the motives they profess, whatever those bogus ‘objectives’ might be…it’s a live trade-show, a massive, war-criminal marketing ploy. How self-defined and custom-located do you want your cash cow? You can burn astronomical amounts of petro-products just coming and going making war to secure petro-products, and charge Everybody six ways from Sunday…in multiple locations…

    And, Virginia, when it comes to profits, there is no bigger game in town…yet.

    Beat that.

  5. Jim Updegraff December 27, 2015

    Dear Alexander Cockburn – Happy Holidays!!

    • Harvey Reading December 27, 2015

      Most likely he won’t get your message …

      • Mike December 27, 2015

        True, he probably didn’t read it here……typing in a box is a ridiculously slow medium for astral residents. Why wait for that to be posted when Mr. Cockburn likely heard Jim’s thoughts, the instant they bubbled up and formed this greeting.

        • Harvey Reading December 28, 2015

          You have personal experience of the phenomenon you descibed?

  6. Jim Updegraff December 27, 2015

    My Quaker ancestors never celebrated Christmas or any other holiday – every day is the Lord’s day. They also didn’t sing, dance. or go watch a play. I still follow some of these practices. I really am not into the Christmas thing.

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