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Mendocino County Today: Saturday, Jan 2, 2016

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VERY COLD OVERNIGHT TEMPERATURES will occur Friday night through early Saturday morning. A cold air mass will persist over northwest California through Saturday. Low temperatures will range from the middle to upper 20s to the middle 30s along the coast, and the mid teens to low 20s across inland areas. The National Weather Service in Eureka has issued a hard freeze warning, which is in effect from 1 am to 9 am Saturday. A hard freeze warning means sub-freezing temperatures are imminent or highly likely. These conditions will kill crops and other sensitive vegetation. Rain on the northcoast could start as early as Saturday and continue through Wednesday at least.

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GARCIA GRANGE New Year's Weekend Dinner & Silent Auction - Saturday, Jan 2, 3pm to 8pm.

The event is here. A great all-you-can-eat dinner with seafood gumbo, shrimp scampi, fettuccini alfredo, fresh baked cod, garlic bread, and salad. All for $30. There is a silent auction with over $4,000 in donations from local businesses and a live auction conducted by Sheriff Tom Allman with local baked goods and some special prizes. Dinner for eight with Walt and Doona Stornetta; a night of karaoke in your home presented by Arleen Peterson, and a Jerry Rice signed football. The Garcia Grange is located at Highway 1 and Crispin Road in Manchester. Crispin Road runs east from Highway 1 at mile marker 21.06. Hope to see you all.

— Gary Levenson-Palmer

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• Supervisor Dan Gjerde is expected to be Board Chair in 2016, probably the youngest board chair in Mendo history. If he does nothing else, he should remove Dan Hamburg from the Mental Health advisory board.

• Dental insurance for County employees (about 1,000 of them) costs $825,000 per year.

• Auditor Lee Kemper's audit and recommendations concerning Mendocino’s failed Mental Health system, and q and a, is scheduled for their January 12 board meeting, most likely at 1:30pm. So far no one is talking about what it will say. Hopefully, Ortner’s many critics — including most of the inland medical professionals and Sheriff Allman — will get a look at it before the Supes consider it.

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RECOMMENDED VIEWING (and reading) The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. The book is by Michael Lewis, an excellent explainer. The movie is based on the book but it's by Hollywood. Which makes the movie surprising for lots of reasons, not the least of which is its ability to take high level financial criminality and make it interesting and understandable to a mass audience. Another reason it's surprising is because it's a deeply subversive film whose message, a familiar one to AVA readers and the left generally, but one seldom heard in mass venues, is that our financial system and every other major American institution, at this point in our devolution, runs on fraud. The financial system is owned by criminals fully supported by the national government. Yes, this is the theme of the movie!

HOW OFTEN do you get this message in a mass movie? Not often, but anymore it's not a message that surprises many people as, the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami and many lesser lights put it, "Everyone, deep in their hearts, is waiting for the end of the world to come."

CAPITALISM hastens the end, and the hustlers of Wall Street, if we're lucky, hasten the end of unregulated capitalism. But given the drift of things, the multiplicity of unaddressed catastrophes, the looming fiscal crack-up is just one more disaster.

BUT WHEN PONZI-ONE went boing Wall Street got bailed out by Washington, i.e., us, and went right out and doubled down on crooked practices, thus making another round of crashes inevitable.

THE BIG SHORT does an excellent job of making it clear, or at least less fuzzy, exactly how a handful of hustlers made millions betting against the continued viability of the old Ponzo Ronzo. They bet against, as one of them put it, "America."

WHEN WE ALL started getting unsolicited credit cards in the mail and, as hilariously depicted in this wonderful movie, a pole dancer buys "five houses and a condo" with no money down and not a clue how variable interest would inevitably bankrupt her, you didn't have to be a commie radical to understand a huge crash was just down the road.

THE ONLY CAVEAT about this movie is that the putative good guys are only less bad than the bad guys, and not nearly as naively, innocently good as they're depicted. The only good guy in real life who pointed out that criminals were in charge of our financial institutions himself wound up being sued and hounded by the FBI. He only gets a mention in the film, as does the sole low level swindler who actually got some jail time.

"Everybody on Wall Street," author Lewis says, "was working with the same set of facts about subprime mortgage lending — about how subprime mortgage loans were turned into bonds and repackaged and turned into CDOs and so on and so forth. And the vast majority of the people in the markets took those facts and painted one kind of picture with it; it was a very pleasant picture. And a very small handful of people took the same facts and painted a completely different kind of picture with it. I wanted to find out, 'What is it that enables the people who bet against the market to paint that picture?' and 'Why do these people look at the world differently?' ”

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“IF YOU WANT TO ‘SHORT’ SOMETHING, you start by borrowing. Say I wanted to short IBM. I’d find somebody who owned some IBM stock, borrow from them, pay a little fee to borrow it, and then I’d turn around sell it to you with an option to buy it back if it drops below a certain point. So I don’t own it, I simply bet I’m going to buy it back from you later at a cheaper price. This is the story of the financial crisis. Wall Street organized itself around a giant bet. Hundreds of billions of dollars were bet on subprime mortgages. Most of the insider big shots of Wall Street were long, not short. They owned most of these subprime mortgage bonds. And the guys in my book and in the movie “The Big Short” saw it coming and they bet against it. Up to the very end in 2008 all the big Wall Street banks, certainly the regulators, most conventional investors, didn’t really see it coming. It was amazing. Here you have the best and the brightest, supposedly, being brought in at their high salaries with all their expertise for what? 30 years? And they commit mass suicide! The one thing a banker is supposed to do is figure out where to put capital, where to going to lend money for a good return. Yet they poured hundreds of billions of dollars into these bad loans, these “too good to be true” loans. The few people who bet the big bucks that the system was going to collapse basically bought insurance, cheap insurance, that the system was going to collapse. Say I think you’re house is going to burn down and I want to bet on it and I want to buy insurance on your house. But I don’t own the house, I’m just buying insurance because I think you’re house is going to burn down. It’s an incentive to become an arsonist.” — Michael Lewis

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JUDGING BY THE SHERIFF'S LOG, every day in Mendocino County is New Year’s eve. The annual big night in the outback might put a few more drunks on the road and a few more jubilant gunshots into the frigid night air, but the volume of police calls last night was about average.

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THE MOST ENCOURAGING rumor we've heard in a long time is that Sheriff Allman is going to propose a sales tax measure to finance a psychiatric holding facility, probably as an extension of the County Jail on Low Gap Road.

AS IT IS, the cops do ALL the heavy mental health lifting in Mendocino County. As it also is the Supervisors have obligated us all to a disastrous and disastrously failed, privatized mental health non-system from which they haven't the sense much less the political will to extract us. Enter, we hope, Sheriff Allman.

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UKIAH, Dec. 31. – 4th Quarter 2015 Non-medicinal Marijuana Prosecution Stats: The final criminal case called in the Mendocino County Superior Court for 2015 this afternoon was the case of The People of the State of California v. Richard Lamonte Ezell, a case involving allegations of illegal marijuana cultivation and possession for sale.


To resolve his case, Ezell, age 43, of Eureka, accepted a plea and sentence bargain that resulted in his being convicted of a misdemeanor on this the last day of the year. Including Thursday’s final matter, forty-nine (49) individuals charged in Mendocino County with illegal marijuana-related primary offenses had their cases resolved during the 4th and final quarter of calendar year 2015. The resulting conviction rate for the quarter was 82%. Of those 49 defendants, eight (8) individuals had all charges dismissed against them. One individual was acquitted by jury. [Sara Fraker — ed] Thirty-two (32) individuals were convicted at the misdemeanor level. Eight (8) individuals were convicted at the felony level. One of the eight felons received a local prison sentence. The 32 misdemeanants and 7 of the 8 felons are now on either supervised (formal) or court (summary) probation. All 39 are subject to warrantless search of their person and property on demand of any peace officer, as well as other terms and conditions of probation. As one term of their probation, 30 of the probationers must perform a collective 5,045 hours of community service, with monitoring of their enrollment and completion of hours by the staff of Mendo-Lake Alternative Service, Inc. (MLAS).

(DA’s press release)

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HAUL ROAD EXTENDED. A new segment of the planned 4.5 mile bluff-top trail has been opened to the public, giving dramatic vistas of the rugged coast and its encounter with the Big Blue Pacific.

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MENDO STONEHENGE. I recently saw a very interesting and somewhat astounding boulder installation on the south side of Mitchell Creek Drive. This is a link to a photo of a part of the rock garden:

Does anybody know who created it, when, and if there is a message that goes along with it? The extent of the rock walls and pillars and blocks was to large to photograph in it’s entirety with one picture.


Visit Charlotte M. Hoak Pygmy Forest:

or check us out on Facebook:

Take a pygmy forest survey:

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Minimum wage workers get a boost starting Jan. 1 when their pay rate goes up from $9 to $10 an hour.

AB 202 will require professional sports teams to classify their dance teams as employees.

AB 604 defines a hoverboard as an "electrically motorized board" which means riders must be 16 or older and wear a helmet while riding. The law also restricts use to specially designated bikeways or highways, which means hoverboards are no longer legal in public places.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife now has the backing to partner with federal agencies, non-profits, academic programs and private landowners to do whatever is necessary to conserve the butterflies. They've also been authorized to use the "best available science" to help migration efforts.

Law enforcement is expanding the successful Amber Alert program with a few new variations in 2016. The first is a 'Yellow Alert' which will go out on highway message boards with hit-and-run suspect vehicle descriptions. 'Silver Alert' which will be broadcast on highway boards when the missing person is an at-risk senior citizen or an individual with development disorders or cognitive impairment.

Introducing a ballot measure just got a lot more expensive. Before, the filing fee was $200. Now, it's $2,000.

High school exit exams are now a thing of the past. Going forward, if you're graduating 12th grade, there's no need to also pass an exit exam to get your diploma. The bill will be in effect until 2018.

Vaccines are now mandatory for all K-12 students, except for children who get a medical exemption for a serious ailment. SB 277 removes the controversial personal belief exemption for vaccines.

It's already illegal for car drivers, but if you're on a bike, it's now illegal to use a headset, earplugs or earbuds in both ears while operating your bicycle.

This year, the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act goes into effect. CalECPA requires police to get a warrant before searching your electronic devices. It will be up to a judge to decide if police have probable cause to access your devices, location information and search history.

SB 199 requires all BB guns to have special color requirements, making it easier for law enforcement to quickly see that it is not a real firearm.

Starting Jan. 1, concealed weapons are banned on college campuses.

The California Fair Pay Act is supposed to help close the pay gap between men and women. Under the Fair Pay Act, employers will have to show they compensate men and women equally for "substantially similar" work.

The new Gun Violence Restraining Order allows immediate family and law enforcement to petition the court to seize guns from an individual who may harm others or themselves. It also temporarily bans that individual from buying firearms and ammunition.

AB 40 keeps toll bridges free for pedestrians and bicyclists until 2021.

Sex ed is now mandatory, barring a parental opt-out, and has been updated to cover HIV and gender identity topics.

SB 695, a separate bill, requires high school health education to teach students about sexual consent, known informally as "yes means yes."

SB 588 allows employees to claim their back wages with the authorization of the Labor Commissioner.

AB 208 requires all slow-moving vehicles (including bicycles) to use the next available turnout to allow faster cars to get by.

(Katie Dowd. Courtesy, the San Francisco Chronicle)

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BY CONTRAST Oregon has enacted some far more progressive new laws:

Birth control: Women who want or need oral contraception will be free to head straight to their local pharmacist for a prescription — skipping costly or inconvenient doctor visits. And they'll be able to stock up for a year. Oregon, in 2015, was the first state to require all insurers to cover 12-month refills.

Sick time: Employers with 10 or more workers will have to provide five paid sick days a year. The new law preserves Portland's 2013 sick-leave measure, which applies to smaller businesses.

Pumping your own gas: Oregonians driving non-commercial vehicles will be allowed to pump their own gas — so long as they're stopped at a service station in a rural area (counties with 40,000 people or fewer) between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

"Vaping": Puffing on electronic cigarettes or other related devices inside a public place — on the job, at a bar, at a restaurant, wherever — will no longer be allowed.

"Motor voter" bill: The next time you renew your Oregon driver's license, or when one of you transplants finally signs up for one, you'll be automatically added to Oregon's roster of registered voters. (Assuming you're eligible to vote — as in, you're 18 and can prove American citizenship.)

"Ban the box": Employers will lose the ability to ask job applicants to check a box on an application form that asks whether they've been convicted of a crime. The law, seen as a means of easing recidivism by making it easier for ex-convicts to find work, will be enforced by the state Bureau of Labor and Industries.

Hidden cameras: Using a hidden camera to record someone in places where privacy is normally presumed, such as a bathroom or changing area, will become a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

Sex crimes prosecutions: Rape victims will have 12 years — instead of six — to report an attack before the statute of limitations expires. The issue was crystallized in 2015 by testimony from rape survivor Brenda Tracy.

Filming the police: Bystanders will have the explicit right to film police officers as they perform their official duties.

Same-sex marriage: The words "husband and wife" will no longer appear in state marriage statutes. They'll be replaced with "spouses in a legal marriage."

Domestic workers: Oregon's 10,000 domestic workers, many of them women and immigrants, will receive workplace rights including overtime pay, rest periods and paid personal leave.

Collecting wage claims: The Bureau of Labor and Industries will have the power to garnish someone's income when collecting on delinquent orders and judgments — without spending time asking a court's permission.

Animal abuse: Knowingly possessing video recordings that show bestiality will become a misdemeanor crime punishable by jail time or a large fine. Sexually abusing an animal will become a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

Bomb threats: If you phone in a fake bomb threat or something similar at a courthouse or public building, you'll now be committing a misdemeanor crime.

E-vehicles: Parking your non-electric vehicle in a parking space reserved for alternative-fuel vehicles will jolt you with a $250 fine.

Adoptions: Grandparents will have the right to remain in the lives of children whose parents have had their own legal rights revoked.

Social media freedom: Bosses will lose the right to force employees to use social media for work purposes or to make employment conditional on having a social media account.

Animal neglect: Police officers who see an animal suffering inside a hot vehicle will have the legal right to break in and make a rescue.

Death and cable TV: Cable companies and other telecommunications providers will have to stop charging early-termination fees when customers enter hospice. Or die.

Stoplight mercy: Bicyclists, motorcyclists and anyone else on two wheels will get to run a red light — cautiously! — if the light strands them by failing to go through a full light cycle and turn green.

(Denis C. Theriault. Courtesy,

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 1, 2016

Abernathy, Goforth, Lincoln
Abernathy, Goforth, Lincoln

LORIE ABERNATHY, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear, probation revocation.


ERIC LINCOLN, Covelo. Probation revocation.

Martinez, Meadows, Mulvhill
Martinez, Meadows, Mulvhill

JOAQUIN MARTINEZ, Redwood Valley. Metal knuckles.

ZACKARY MEADOWS, Oroville/Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, use of someone else’s ID, ammo possession by prohibited person.


Odaye, Ogden, Pechceron
Odaye, Ogden, Pechceron

TRENTON ODAYE, Ukiah. Drunk in public, vandalism.

TYRONE OGDEN, Covelo. Drunk in public, probation revocation.

ZAHIR PECHCERON, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

Rojas, C.Sanderson, J.Sanderson, Travis
Rojas, C.Sanderson, J.Sanderson, Travis

ANTHONY ROJAS, Ukiah. Dirk-dagger, appropriation of someone else’s lost property, controlled substance.

CODY SANDERSON, Laytonville. Pot possession for sale, short-barreled rifle, armed with firearm, conspiracy.

JACOB SANDERSON, Laytonville. Pot possession for sale, short-barreled rifle, armed with firearm, controlled substance, conspiracy.

MICHAEL TRAVIS, Laytonville. Domestic assault.

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“We’re convinced that all the unanticipated consequences of our brief techno-industrial orgy can be solved by… more and better technology!

How psychotic is that? “

It is not psychotic at all. It is the essence of being human to find technical answers for everything and the less science and math the easier the technical Kool-Aid deliberately pushed at Joe Six Pack goes down. Human nature is not the problem but the omitted part of the above quote is.

It is not techno-narcissm itself but this which is the problem!

“Notice that this narrative is being served up to a society now held hostage to the images on little screens, by skilled people who, more and more, act as though these screens have become the new dwelling place of reality.”

People live their lives through the flat screens and no longer have lives of their own. The images on the little screens go into the eyes and pass without critical examination straight into the brain where they are uncritically accepted. Our entire society is filling their heads with images produced by others for their consumption. Originality and critical thought are gone.

Video supplies all answers and is the prime director which tells how Americans should behave and what they believe. It solves family problems and it creates them.

There is no ‘more and more’. That is frustration talking. American cultural video saturation has been with us for fifty years. Video technology has advanced but little has changed. The only big difference now is that the choice of alternative realities one may pollute their consciousness with is now much greater. We have a culture that now has more choice as to which tower of babble they climb. Though with the passage of time video has made ignorance blossom and overall people are less educated than they used to be. More and more ignorance, that we have.

Without a whimper or a bang we moved into a future that on the surface resembles Brave New World but from a political point of view the future we moved into resembles 1984 more. We have an authoritarian ruling class which feeds deception to our people so those who rule can maintain their power and opulent lifestyles. Images now make truth and truth is no longer sought. It is remade and rebroadcast as the faux truth message changes and then it is uncritically ingested through the eyes. New images can overwrite old ones and one’s mind is not their own if they regularly ingest video. One’s reality is at the mercy of those who make video. Video replaces normal sensual experience and we can’t help trust what we see on the video screen even if we know it was deliberately manufactured for our consumption. Video is accepted as truth and man did not evolve to distrust the experience of one’s own senses.

Techno-rapture is a more appropriate description than techno-narcissm about what is happening.

Technarcissm is a real expression of the human condition and the fact that this word does not actually exist in our language shows that our culture; the most technical the world has ever seen, knows not itself.

As for all the adult children who waste their lives away allowing the realities of others to be the reality which defines who they are and what they believe, the word is pathetic. The little screens keep people living like children all their lives.

The idea that more and better technology can solve problems made by technology has been with us since the dawn of civilization. Humans accept this notion uncritically as if the message were sent over video screens but this particular notion does not require a video screen to be beamed straight into one’s mind. Man is the technical animal and it is automatic for us to find technical answers for everything.

Worship of science as a religion by the ignorant is the problem and video creates vast seas of ignorance.

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In October, The New York Times Magazine presented its readers with an unexpected question: 'Could you kill a baby Hitler?' The response to the on-line poll was closely divided, with 42% of respondents saying they would indeed take the opportunity to kill Hitler when he was a baby, if provided with a time machine. Another 30% said no, and the remainder were uncertain. But the response to the question on Twitter, where the baby-Hitler poll became a momentary sensation, was pretty much unanimous: mockery of the entire idea, and of The New York Times for asking such a futile and unanswerable question. ('Can I use another baby as a weapon?' asked one sarcastic tweet, while others suggested that it would be more humane simply to rewrite the Treaty of Versailles instead.) Clearly, the idea of changing history to eliminate Hitler and everything he made possible — Nazism, World War II, the Holocaust — has a deep appeal to our imagination; and just as clearly, the notion is seen as a not quite respectably fantasy.

— Adam Kirsch

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At this time I am stepping aside from the process of inspecting the financial and membership records of MCPB/KZYX. I do not have the interest in financial matters that others have. As for the membership rolls, I am more interested in the process than the content. Although I understand the concerns of those who believe that such an inspection is still necessary, I am going to focus instead on policies and procedures.

Implementation of the Programming Policy, including the Program Advisory Council, must be given a high priority, and should be considered when selecting a new Program Director. Any programmer who was terminated by the prior management should be given a chance to appeal the action to the Personnel Committee, a process that was stymied by the former GM and PD. And allowing members who join in January and February to vote in the spring elections is essential for good governance, and may be required under state law.

It is not too late to extend the voting eligibility deadline at the January meeting, as there is no rule against expanding membership rights retroactively. If the end of February seems unworkable at this time, please consider an extension until January 31, the same day that candidates for the board must declare. This will still allow a month to finish updating the rolls, and will satisfy those who are concerned that people might join just to vote for a specific candidate.

Thank you very much for you efforts this year to place policy over personalities. It is helping us through a great transition, including the hiring of a new General Manager. The agenda for Monday's meeting is both encouraging and ambitious. The best of luck to all of us as we work to improve public community radio in Mendocino County.

Dennis O'Brien

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El Nino Does Something It's Never Done Before. Watch Out, California.

by FishOutofWater


Nov 16, 2015

Tropical Pacific water temperatures are shockingly hot. Last week equatorial Pacific water temperatures averaged 3 degrees Celsius above normal for the first time ever in the key Nino 3.4 region. The previous weekly high Nino 3.4 value of 2.8 degrees was tied last week with Nov. 28, 1997. The Nino 3.4 region, used to measure the strength of an El Nino ranges from 170W to 120W from 5 degrees north to 5 degrees south of the equator. If temperatures continue to rise, or plateau for a few more weeks, this will be the strongest El Nino in history.

When warm water stored below the surface of the western Pacific ocean moves east along the equator it moves the earth’s tropical atmospheric convection cells with it. Responding to the eastward shift in the tropical convection, the jet stream moves south on normal on the west coast bringing heavy winter rains to California in strong El Nino years. With this year’s El Nino at record or near record strength NOAA’s CFS climate model predicts a strong southward drop of the storm track off the west coast. A very stormy winter can be expected from California, across the gulf states and up the east coast. This year’s intense jet stream pattern will bring much warmer than normal temperatures to the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.

This winter, California can expect heavy rains, floods and mudslides, but snow levels (elevation of rain snow line, not amounts) will be high because moisture flows from the tropics in an El Nino winter are warm and wet. California’s water situation will improve but ground water levels are unlikely to rebound to levels seen before the drought began. One year’s rains will not alleviate the long-term water problems caused by the record California drought but reservoir levels will rebound.

Heavy rains are forecast for California and the southeast from January through March 2016 by NOAA’s CFS model.

The extraordinary surge of heat in the equatorial Pacific continues to push from the dateline towards the Americas. Temperatures anomalies are predicted to peak over the next month by a number of climate models, but the effects of the excess oceanic heat will continue to grow in the atmosphere into the winter months. 2015 is already crushing records as the warmest year on record but 2016 may be even warmer because the peak in atmospheric temperatures is months later than the peak in sea surface temperatures.

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“I BELIEVE IN EVIDENCE. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”

― Isaac Asimov, The Roving Mind

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And if she asks you why, you can tell her that I told you

That I'm tired of castles in the air

I've got a dream I want the world to share

And castle walls just lead me to despair

Hills of forest green where the mountains touch the sky

Dream come true, I'll live there till I die

I'm asking you to say my last goodbye

The love we knew ain't worth another try

Save me from all the trouble and the pain

I know I'm weak but I can't face that girl again

Tell her the reasons why I can't remain

Perhaps she'll understand if you tell it to her plain

But how can words express the feel of sunlight in the morning

In the hills, away from city strife?

I need a country woman for my wife

I'm city born but I love the country life

For I will not be part of her cocktail generation

Partners waltz, devoid of all romance

The music plays and everyone must dance

I'm bowing out, I need a second chance

Save me from all the trouble and the pain

I know I'm weak but I can't face that girl again

Tell her the reasons why I can't remain

Perhaps she'll understand if you tell it to her plain

And if she asks you why, you can tell her that I told you

That I'm tired of castles in the air

I've got a dream I want the world to share

And castle walls just lead me to despair

— Don McLean

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THE TROUBLE WITH BERNIE: Bernie Sanders says he's a socialist, says he's an independent, and he is running as a candidate in the Democratic Party, a party which has completely bought into neoliberalism. But he has never renounced it and will never renounce it. One of the things that Bernie has pledged for which he has received condescending little pats on the back from Rachel Maddow and Katrina Vandenheuvel and the other doyennes of the liberal left is that he is not going to do any negative campaigning. How can you not do negative campaigning against a party which has implemented policies which you are theoretically at least violently opposed to? On the economy, on social welfare, on war and peace, on civil rights, and on and on. That would be the only justification in Bernie running as a Democrat — if he could wage war against the neoliberals on the campaign trail and in the debates — going after Hillary Clinton from the left in these debates in a way that she deserves to be held to account, to put on trial by her own party. If that was his goal. At this point the Democratic Party is completely unredeemable. Taking Hillary to task would have been the sole purpose in running if he were true to his proclaimed beliefs. But Bernie has pledged not to do that. It's a fundamental lack of courage. Ralph Nader never had that problem. He took a lot of crap for his campaign but he understood that that the Democratic Party itself has nothing left to it that is worthwhile from a genuine left point of view. The only way that you can force it to change is from the outside. You have to be a threat to them from the outside. Otherwise what is the incentive for them to at all ameliorate their malign neoliberal policies? There is none.

— Jeffrey St. Clair

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Happy Happy Happy

New Year's Eve greetings my fellow Americans, Although I see no magic particularly in regard to the date of December 31st, I have nevertheless brought in a box of chocolates for the Piedmont House travel hostel in Berkeley. I look forward to taking rest at the relatively early hour of 10 P.M., but for the rest of the region, the BART train will run until 3 A.M. I have not received any offers of solidarity on the east coast to return there, after continuously sending out messages stating that I am eager to get on an air plane, have some money, don't give a hoot about the annual winter weather, and am uncertain what to do about this. I don't think that a "fair weather radicalism" is going to work for me; since that would imply that there is not really any serious problem. Indeed, I am not getting any favorable responses to return to the NYC-D.C. power strip for more front line activity against the insane idiocy which we have been collectively protesting against for around 50 years, for some of us, so I sit here tonight in front of the travel hostel computer, wondering just what I am going to do. If you agree that this is insufferably stupid, go ahead and contact me. I need to give the travel hostel two more weeks worth of money on Sunday if I wish to be here longer. But then, I do not have any reason to be here any longer at all. Maybe I just don't relate to postmodernism. Happy New Year

Craig Louis Stehr


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by Ralph Nader

If only the people who engage in “road rage” would engage in “corporate rage” when they are harmed by cover-ups or hazardous products and gouging services, aloof CEOs would start getting serious about safety and fair play. With press report after press report documenting how big business stiffs millions of its consumers and workers, why is it that more of these victims do not externalize some of their inner agonies by channeling them into civic outrage?

It has happened on occasion and with good results. After Candy Lightner lost her daughter to a drunk driver, she founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in 1980 as the only way she could deal with her intense grief. Asked what her principal motivation was in building a national movement to put homicide-producing drunk drivers behind bars, she replied: “Revenge.”

Medical malpractice victims or their next of kin have started special lobbying associations to stop the attempt by the insurance companies and physician lobbies to weaken the rights of patients to have their full day in court against their negligent harm doers. They also inform the public about the need to discipline bad doctors and careless hospitals so as to reduce some of the 100,000 fatalities a year (according to the Harvard School of Public Health) from malpractice.

Jean Rexford started such a group — the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety — in 2005 to press for quality health care through the media and before the state legislature.

Joanne Doroshow, a public interest lawyer, has gathered people injured by defective products as well as negligent medical procedures to testify and lobby a callous Congress often on the verge of usurping the state courts and these vulnerable victims’ access to justice.

For the most part, however, Americans swallow their grievances and try to muddle through their disrupted lives with subdued anger. A major reason for this external passivity is that the plutocrats and oligarchs have signaled that it is futile to even try to make a challenge or a ruckus. The “you can’t fight the Big Boys” feeling starts in the schools where youngsters are given no instruction and no experience (such as learning how to use small claims courts) in pursuing their remedies when defrauded or wrongfully injured. They are scarcely educated about our courts of law and the duty and role of civil juries — rooted in the Seventh Amendment to our Constitution — in judging the facts about wrongs.

Let’s refer to some recent examples. You may have read news stories about drug companies suddenly spiking the cost of specialized drugs 100 fold or more, or “price gouging of old drugs,” in the words of Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Martin A. Makary. The era of the $1,000 pill per day has arrived.

Picture the scene – companies that have monopoly patent ownership of drugs (many based on taxpayer funded research and development) are essentially telling their customers with life-threatening diseases that they have to “pay or die” for unique drugs that are priced at more than $100,000 per patient per year, unless they have an insurance company to pay the tab. Already, those insurance companies that do pay, along with Medicaid and Medicare, are staggering under the sharp surge in costs during the past two years. A casual Congress is just starting to notice its responsibilities here.

On December 22, 2015, the New York Times reported that Fred Kellerman, a retired car salesman from Los Angeles, was receiving a drug for free for his rare neuromuscular disease. The drug improved his life dramatically.

Then he learned that a pending FDA approval, with a seven year patent monopoly, could raise the price to $100,000 per patient. There are thousands of terrified patients and families in the same situation as Mr. Kellerman. Fright needs to motivate organization. They would receive media and Congressional attention with their heartfelt stories and expressed sense of injustice.

Gilead Sciences, Inc. bought a company that had a drug to cure Hepatitis C with a 12 week regime. It started selling it for $1,000 a pill a day in 2013 or $84,000 for the full treatment. In one year, Gilead took in more than $10 billion from the drug, Sovaldi.

But in Egypt, where there are nine million people suffering from Hepatitis C, Gilead agreed with the government of that poor country to sell it for $10 a pill which is then dispensed free by the Health Ministry to ailing Egyptians.

“Do you Americans love Egyptians more than yourselves?” asked Hany Tawfil, one of the first Egyptians to take Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi), according to the New York Times, adding, “Why aren’t you putting pressure on Gilead to sell to you at a reasonable price, too?”

Good question. And why aren’t more students and recent college graduates organizing to rebel against their gouging student loans – an exploitation unheard of in other western countries? Why aren’t consumers who are being sued unlawfully by aggressive debt collectors or being crammed on their telephone bills charged for so-called services they never requested?

Short of organizing into a demanding group, why can’t more people just shout out via telephone, letter, e-mail, text message, to anyone who could do something or at least spread the word. Just a growing rumble from the people has gotten elected officials moving, including President Richard Nixon who signed wonderful bills into law that he never wanted. But he feared the rising RUMBLE FROM THE PEOPLE. Who can stop you from rumbling?

Happy New Year!

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


  1. izzy January 2, 2016

    Bigger Shorts

    With the proliferation of ETFs, it’s now possible to “short” all sorts of markets by purchasing shares in single, double, and even triple inverse funds without borrowing anything at all. And it was largely due to Slick Willy’s rollback of Glass-Steagall and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (signed into law on December 21, 2000) that turned the crooks and grafters loose on us. Remember Warren Buffet’s warning about derivatives being “financial weapons of mass destruction”? Almost no one has been held accountable, and the same monkey business still goes on. It’s currently propping the automobile market up. As a little nobody who could see it coming, I find it hard to believe the big players were all in the dark. But greed is powerful and blinding motivator, and effective propaganda is often part truth and part bullshit.

  2. Jim Hill January 2, 2016

    The Big Short
    The Mendocino County Pension plan.
    Locally endorsed and approved.
    Another 100 million “pension obligation bond” should fix it.
    What a wonderful gift we have left our children.
    Nobody cares enough to do anything about it.
    When Wall Street collapses everyone will just blame them. Nobody could have predicted the financial collapse right?
    It must be others that borrow too much.
    It must be others that deceive.
    It must be others that are to blame.
    Some day soon many county retIrees are going to be very,very sad.
    Who could have known?
    Why do we do it to ourselves and then blame others?

    Just my opinion,
    Jim Hill,
    Potter Valley

  3. james marmon January 2, 2016

    The Board of Supervisors will most likely receive a very positive report from Mr. Kemper. It’s part of the mind control project that they all seem so willing to be participants in. I think we were chosen by the CIA and Jim Jones in the 60’s for that very reason, we were an extremely gullible group of people.

    Is Ms. Angelo just another CIA Operative?

  4. Bill Pilgrim January 2, 2016

    re: The Big Short. The conditions that led to the meltdown of 2008 are happening again, only more so. The billions the Fed has been pumping into the economy, ostensibly to spur ‘growth,’ have merely overinflated stock values by nearly 200 percent. There are hundreds of TRILLIONS of unregulated derivatives floating in the “shadow” banking system. The global financial system is surfing on a colossal wave of debt that can never be repaid.
    When the next crash occurs it will make 2008 seem like a blip. Only this time there will not be a public bail-out, but the confiscation by the banks of their depositors’ funds.
    If you have accounts with one of the Too Big To Fail banks, move your money now!

  5. Mike January 2, 2016

    Re: Sheriff Allman’s psych facility:

    What level of holds will this be built for? Will there be conservatorship patients there? (Annually renewed.) Or, up to three month holds, Temporary Conservatorships?

    The fact that this type of thing is being imagined and planned is very good news.

    • james marmon January 2, 2016

      Mike, you’re asking some pretty good questions. We really need the sheriff’s plan to be extremely transparent. I for one have some trust issues moving forward and I hope this thing isn’t going down in some backroom with only a few select individuals making the decisions.

      James Marmon MSW.

      • Mike January 2, 2016

        Hopefully they will consult with a wide range of people with experience in these types of facilities. HEY, people like you (and even me….a retired licensed psychiatric technician).

        We can’t have these issues you keep highlighting carry over to this new operation. (Issues like inadequate licensed staff, and management locking out the input and knowledge of those credentialed and licensed, and having staff go against basic policies and procedures that they were TRAINED to follow, etc etc).

    • james marmon January 2, 2016

      I hope the new plan does not include putting all our conserved clients in the hands of our current Public Guardian, Bryan Lowery.

      If it does, we are doomed from the start.

  6. BB Grace January 2, 2016

    re: Allman Mental Health Facility

    Why is the Sheriff bulding a mental HEALTH facility?

    It’s disturbing to see a trend of mental HEALTH moving away from HEALTH while advancing to policing behavior by law and order rather than mental HEALTH psychiatric doctors, nurses, administrators, with University connections.

    Mendocino is fortunate to have Tom Allman, who if we had a CEO that was as well respected, appreciated and competent perhaps we wouldn’t be looking to give the job of establishing a solution for those who need help to the one person elected that the public feels confident to turn to.

    What happens if Allman builds a “behavioral adjustment lock down and Mendocino isn’t so fortunate with the next Sheriff?

    Seems to me the US is becoming one big military base, all that’s missing is revelee and taps.

    • BB Grace January 2, 2016

      • james marmon January 2, 2016

        Good call.

    • Mike January 2, 2016

      A mental health facility better hold to the best practices in the mental health field and that includes a real treatment team of licensed professionals who make the actual decisions about the course to take in each case. This is what treatment planning conferences (usually weekly) are for! These conferences entail the attendance of people from all the disciplines (docs, phd psychs, lcsw, msw, lpts, rns) and the ONLY time management attends these conferences is when there is a major security issue concerning a patient. (Or, say if there’s been a need for unusual levels of restraint and/or seclusion.)

      There’s all sorts of things to insure……this time. Seeing how things are so screwed up now in this basic service area.

      The alcoholics they keep arresting on a daily basis should be fully conserved but they don’t need to be treated in a prison like setting or a heavy handed one. Strict limits and assured security goes hand in hand with openings for the patient to test themselves by overnight passes for family visits, etc, “P-cards”(excursions by self off grounds for short periods in a day), etc. It may take some time to “earn” those privileges though.

      • BB Grace January 2, 2016

        There are some good talks on TED about mental and behaviorial health from visionaries with affordable solutions following your line of thought Mike

        • james marmon January 2, 2016

          BB Grace, I tried to bring “Rational Recovery” into Mendocino in the early 90’s. Held weekly meetings at the Library. It didn’t go well. I was told by the County that I had to have a professional degree before they would consider my program. Dan Jenkins (AODP) did all he could to shut me down and up.

          What you’re asking for is a paradigm shift in how our community actually views our clients and their treatment. Talk therapy (REBT) is pretty powerful and at the same time much safer than chemical therapy.

          James Marmon MSW

          • james marmon January 2, 2016

            One of my first college papers was a story about a mythical town where everyone was under the influence of “mind control.” The perpetrators in my story used the 12-step community to control its citizens. “Let go, let god.” Everyone became zombies except for me, the hero.

            I really have a problem with cults.

            You wouldn’t believe the look on my instructor’s face when I turned that paper in. Its a wonders I wasn’t locked up right then and there.

          • BB Grace January 2, 2016

            Yes, Waldo ;) it’s true, I am suggesting a paradigm shift in the way our community looks at mental health, behaviorial health, treatment options, and law and order, rather than thinking society needs to contain or control behavior, to enable and empower people to control their owm mental health and behavior. This appears to be the big picture, but in the meantime, society is becomming desperate when the medical part is not working (County woories about law suits and why they privatize) and looking to law and order for solutions to what is a health problem.

          • Mike January 2, 2016

            Cool storyline there.

            Yes, BB, the “health” context and framing has to be underlined in every sentence of any policy and procedure manuals created for this project and its operation. We should of course insist the facility be licensed as such, and not as some sort of adjunct to correctional facilities and their focus.

            Most of the long term clients or patients in a facility with beds for long term holds will be damaged from meth and alcohol. First order of business then is physical recovery and detox, and then the second order of business is an initial treatment focus on “feeling damn good”. Of course, without the meth or booze. (THC, btw, would be a part of the treatment program, as it was when—at the time I was last there, anyway— appropriate at Napa State Hospital in certain cases both on the penal code wards and the remaining conservatee program.) Then, a program of a daily routine of activities that are actually interesting, creative, and re-direct a person into new things and patterns. This is not rocket science.

          • Mike January 2, 2016

            So! With that treatment plan, I forgot that in those treatment conferences we would also have the input and reports from music therapists, rehab therapists, art therapists, etc. Don’t worry Board of Supervisors, we’re not really talking about a massive facility here, the payroll won’t be that bad. (or the addition of any possible future county retirees.) You’ll see the payoff over time, or the “profit” in moving in this direction.

      • BB Grace January 2, 2016

        You’re right. It’s not rocket science and WOW what a great plan you have. Had the HHSA put that in the County report WOW. We all would be WOW.

        There are private facilies. Why not develope this into a business plan? Waldo needs a job and this sounds perfect for him.

        Seriously. It is a great plan.

  7. Harvey Reading January 2, 2016

    So, if you park in a spot reserved for inefficient coal or natural gas-burning “electric” vehicles, you get a big fine? We are truly doomed. Got nooze for ya, electric car drivers. Your vehicle actually consumes more energy than a vehicle that burns fuel directly. Ever heard of the notion that electrical energy is lost through transmission, or that generators are NOT 100 percent efficient, no matter what lies the energy outfits promulgate? And for all you who tout solar and wind “farms” covering up wildlife habitat and slaughtering birds in the desert: drop dead.

    Get real, folks. If you want to do something that has a real and positive outcome, slow down your breeding. You have no RIGHT to have litters of kids.

    • Harvey Reading January 2, 2016

      Maybe he needs a course in basic population dynamics … remember, economists are NOT scientists.

      • Harvey Reading January 2, 2016

        Incidentally, the crash would have come some time ago were not farmers (plant and livestock farming) spreading oil on their lands, in the form of pesticides and fertilizers. Oil is a finite resource, something your economics prof. may not know. The only question is will we run out of oil before global warming, a result of burning fossil fuels, gets us. But, if you are like most people, you prefer to live in a dream world.

      • Harvey Reading January 2, 2016

        Just because it’s written in a book approved by the wealthy doesn’t make it so. Those idiots put a meaningless apostrophe between the n and t of aint, which is NOT ai not. At best economics is a pseudoscience. Even the Nobel outfit had problems with assigning it to the science category. In reality it’s no more than applied math, applied generally in a manner to benefit the wealthy. Besides, I see no refutation by you of my main points …

        Weren’t you one of those touting use of disposable tableware to save water a while back?

  8. Harvey Reading January 2, 2016

    Thanks, Mr. St. Clair, for stating the obvious.

  9. Jim Updegraff January 2, 2016

    Ms de Castro show your professor my letter to the Editor about over population ask how he thinks we are going to feed an additional 2.4 billion people.

    • BB Grace January 2, 2016

      We’ll distribute all that fast food from the morbid obese, charge people to toss food.

      Jokes aside: I don’t believe the world is over populated. I believe that some human populations are mismanaged and subject to geographic (natural disasters) and genetic (ebola) diseases. I’m going to assume that because population growth is an important issue to you that you are aware what populations are “exploding” and what populations are “imploding”.

      I think ISIS and the populations investing in explosions will have to figure how to feed the 2.4 billion they’re producing for their purposes.

  10. Harvey Reading January 2, 2016

    And, you have yet to refute it. People will learn the true carrying capacity of the planet for human monkeys once oil plays out, and they will learn to die in droves, everywhere on the planet, the U.S. included.

    Ever hear of cleaning utensils with sand? Or with leaves?

    Incidentally, how do you come to have such faith in economists? it might pay to read some of the history of that pseudoscience. Name me an instance when an economist applied the scientific method to economic problem solving. To be kind to them, they are sort of like statisticians, fellow non-scientists, in that they apply mathematics, also not a science, in attempts to find, or create, their answers.

    • LouisBedrock January 3, 2016

      I doubt you ever read Malthus or Engels.
      They’re far beyond your intellectual capacity.

      Anti-Malthusians claim that his prediction was wrong because he didn’t consider the effects of birth control on population. They also claim that he failed to anticipate advances in productive technology. Or they refute some of his data and his computations

      But the most important argument of Malthus is valid and deals with the consequences of an imbalance between our ability to produce food and our ability to produce children—we are far better at making babies than we are at producing food. Technology may produce short term remedies, but in the long term, human fertility will outstrip any gains.

      Human ability to produce children will always surpass our ability to provide energy for their survival.

      Malthus mentions that population must be kept in line with what the society can produce in the way of sustenance, and almost every way available to keep this population in check that has been developed so far has negative consequences.

      And population control always encounters resistance from reactionary institutions like the Catholic Church and the zombies it produces.

      • LouisBedrock January 3, 2016

        The only thing more boring than reading economists is reading Christian apologists. Origen, Augustine of Hippo, Justin Martyr are even more tedious and less intelligible than Smith, Malthus, or Mill.

        Michael Parenti, however, is a great read.

    • Harvey Reading January 3, 2016

      I’d suggest a little less reliance on economists when it comes to population dynamics. It simply aint their bag …

      • BB Grace January 3, 2016

        It is interesting whose bag depopulation is, which includes UN Agenda 21: Sustainable Development

        This vid came out when Yellen was being appointed, so it’s timming was off, but it does contain facts and who is behind depopulation using clips, vids as evidense.

        Conclusion, depopulation is on the agenda by the 1%, of and for the 99% (divided by ideologies).

      • Harvey Reading January 3, 2016

        Well, sir, Mr. Grace, for me it comes down to who’s qualified to say or do what. We have an Interior secretary who’s a commercial banker and doesn’t know diddly about conservation and fish and wildlife management, but does know how to kowtow to welfare ranchers and so-called sportsmen when it comes to the Endangered Species Act; we had a Wall Street lawyer in charge of Justice who let the bankers off with no prison time and did nothing about enforcing the Civil Rights Act against murderers. Finally, we have had two idiots in a row — just under Obama mind you, leaving his predecessors aside — running State. An economist is not someone I would turn to for ecological information, like population dynamics. I’d just as well ask a damned preacher.

      • LouisBedrock January 3, 2016

        My remark was directed to the dim-witted Ms. Castro, not to you Mr. Reading.
        Malthus was an economist and a preacher, but did get one thing right–population growth outstripping food supply.

        Neither Castro nor Grace are worth responding too. Their primary sources are
        Readers” Digest or Wikipedia level materials that educated people do not take seriously. Neither is very smart or very educated. If Mendocino County had a church that offered nightly Bingo games, neither would waste their time or ours posting drivel.

  11. Jim Updegraff January 2, 2016


    It was published in the September 30th u issue of AVA.

    Harvey: I would ask do you accept that the climate is heating up resulting in extended droughts and a rise is occurring every year in the level of the oceans. In the southern part of Iran they are in the 7th year of a drought and the underground water is almost exhausted. Do you really think with what is happening with anticipated flooding in southern Florida is not real. Given the culture and religious beliefs in third world countries where the greatest increase is i population food to food to feed tjhese people will suddenly appear.

    • Harvey Reading January 3, 2016

      Wherever did you get the notion that I don’t accept global warming as reality? And it’s driven by burning fossil fuels. Either warming, or running out of oil, will get us first. I suspect that the warming disaster will “win”, since we monkeys keep finding new ways of extracting ever more petroleum, and the energy companies have pronounced that, henceforth, fracking shall be called “horizontal drilling” …

      What bugs me is how everyone applies the terms, science and scientist, to disciplines that make little or no use of scientific method. Economics for example, is a blend of applied math (which itself is application of logic) and philosophy. Many other endeavors are as well. Similar could be said for physics, chemistry, etc.

      I used to laugh when fellow biologists would apply the term, scientist, to themselves when, in reality, much of their work, such as application of statistical sampling methodology to determine the size of a population of a particular species was technician-level work. It was simply application of findings that had been reasoned out by statisticians, using mathematics worked out by those specializing in probabilities … No scientific method involved. No controls.

  12. Jim Updegraff January 2, 2016

    Suzie: oops! typo. should be December 20th.

    • Louis S. Bedrock January 3, 2016

      “Global Footprint Network data shows that humanity uses the equivalent of 1.6 planet Earths to provide the renewable resources we use and absorb our waste. If all 7+ billion of us were to enjoy a European standard of living – which is about half the consumption of the average American – the Earth could sustainably support only about 2 billion people.”

      There are diverse opinions about what the “ideal population” of the earth would be. Most serious assessors state it would be between one and two billion people.

      There is no disagreement that the earth is presently overpopulated.

      Among the most depressing books I’ve read on the consequences of overpopulation is Mike Davis’s PLANET OF SLUMS. It’s about how many of the people of earth are living now in cities like São Paulo, Mumbai, Karachi, Lagos, to name but a few.

      COUNTDOWN: OUR LAST BEST HOPE FOR A FUTURE ON EARTH? by Alan Weisman is also recommended reading for those naive enough to believe the earth is not overpopulated. is a good site to inform oneself about the consequences of overpopulation. These consequences are already horrendous, but will grow worse if population growth is not checked and population reduced to a viable size.

    • Harvey Reading January 4, 2016

      His first answer is the correct one for an economist. If you want information on population dynamics, ask someone with a PhD in the life sciences. You seem to have an infatuation with economists.

  13. Bruce McEwen January 2, 2016


  14. Bruce McEwen January 2, 2016

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