- Black Oak Books
- NYer Fiction
- Record Jackpot
- Outlaw Ford
- DA Love
- Bypass Plan
- Angry Crackers
- Yesterday's Catch
- Police Reports
- Ace Nesch
- Mudslide Fear
- Prez Clinton
- Vocabulary Test
- MRC Ad
- Talmage Sterilizations
- Rancher Rebels
- Truthtelling Courage
- Peyton's Non-story
- Tunnels Budget
- Marco Radio
BLACK OAK BOOKS, Berkeley, is closing. I read the bad news in this morning's Chronicle. The store's owner, Gary Cornell, made the pre-internet Black Oak a major Bay Area cultural hub, cultural as in book-based culture. And he sold the mighty AVA, one of about 20 Bay Area book stores that sold the paper. We're down to five anymore, and only one in the East Bay, Walden Pond Books. I remember when lots of us thought the book world was crumbling when Moe's installed an elevator, and now the book stores themselves are disappearing, and the wider culture seems dumber by the day. I know I'm not the only book person who feels more and more a stranger in a strange land, a strange land whose culture holds little interest for him apart from the occasional movie. Riots and bookstores were the only reason I ever went to Berkeley. With Black Oak gone, and being too old to riot, there's no reason for this wheeze to go there anymore.
WHAT CAN I SAY about journalism? It has the greatest virtue and the greatest evil. It is the first thing the dictator controls. It is the mother of literature and the perpetrator of crap. In many cases it is the only history we have and yet it is the tool of the worst men. But over a long period of time and because it is the product of so many men, it is perhaps the purest thing we have. Honesty has a way of creeping in even when it was not intended. — John Steinbeck
JESUS SAVE US from New Yorker fiction. A story in the current edition begins, "She visits others. Before they're up, dawn, she walks to the lake, listening to Bach, the first clavichord exercise…" And so on and on and on. The rest of the mag? We get stories about Saudi Arabia's female lawyers, a rock climber, a museum's “conservation methods,” and a long piece about a Hollywood mogul. The book review about the origins of the John Birch Society is actually interesting.
CHECK YOUR NUMBERS! The winning numbers — disclosed live on television and online — were 16-19-32-34-57 and the Powerball number 13. All six numbers must be correct to win, although the first five can be in any order. Texas state lottery spokeswoman Kelly Cripe said it was too early to know if any winning tickets were sold. Powerball announced the six winning numbers for a record jackpot of nearly $950 million on Saturday, setting off a scramble among hopeful lottery players across the country to check if they held a lucky ticket. Cripe said the estimated size of the jackpot reached $949.8 million, the largest lottery prize in US history. Earlier in the day, the Multi-State Lottery Association had said the jackpot was $900 million. The record jackpot lured an unprecedented frenzy of purchases. If no one matches all the numbers on Saturday night, the next drawing is expected to soar to an unbelievable $1.3 billion.
Book Review by Scott Peterson
I’m no avid reader these days. But years ago, I enjoyed the writings of authors like Michener, McMurtry and L’Amour. Before the Internet came along. Those dudes were gifted. Doing something your computer can’t. Try reading Lonesome Dove sometime. Without smelling a campfire. I dare you.
For locals like me, Outlaw Ford is cursed. The author is a neighbor, so it can’t be any good. Right? That’s what I thought. For the first paragraph anyway. Then I started smelling a campfire. And couldn’t put it down.
This novel has a pretty snappy pace. Even for lazy readers like me. It’s done with short paragraphs. Rich with Western colloquialisms. With an interesting story to boot. My only complaint was the 44 broken paragraphs. Until I figured out why they were there.
Malcolm Macdonald’s family has been here for generations. According to local lore, an ancestor of his was a survivor of the Frolic. One of half a dozen crewmen who stayed behind to salvage the ship’s treasure — $500,000 in gold. Rumored to be buried within spitting distance of Wilbur Hot Springs. Which is exactly where Macdonald’s clever cryptogram leads. In 44 broken paragraphs.
Treasure map or not, Outlaw Ford will take you away. This is an E-ticket ride folks. And easily worth the $15 price tag. If you can beat the treasure hunters to it.
THANKS DAVE & PAUL
To the Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal:
I’m writing to express appreciation to Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster and Assistant District Attorney Paul Sequeira for their invaluable contributions to obtaining justice in Humboldt County.
With the approval of District Attorney Eyster, Assistant District Attorney Sequeira recently prosecuted a double homicide and double attempted murder case here in Humboldt County. The jury convicted the defendant on all counts. Mr. Sequeira’s work on the case was widely recognized as masterful and much appreciated by the families of the victims.
Mr. Sequeira’s handling of the case came about when District Attorney Eyster recognized a shortage of human resources in the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and raised the possibility of Mr. Sequeira’s participation. Because of my knowledge of Mr. Sequeira’s ability, I readily accepted this generous offer.
I believe the collaborative approach to criminal justice that Mr. Eyster and Mr. Sequeira have demonstrated in this case has enhanced public safety in Humboldt County and on a larger scale that clearly includes Mendocino County. It also makes clear to me that Mr. Eyster has cultivated an excellent, hardworking team of prosecutors in Mendocino County, a team willing to take on additional work so that one of California’s top prosecutors could be shared in a time of need with a neighboring county. I look forward to building such capacity in the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and to being in a position to share skilled prosecutors with Mendocino County if ever needed.
Thank you very much, Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster and Assistant District Attorney Paul Sequeira.
Maggie Fleming, Humboldt County district attorney
FROM CALTRANS DISTRICT 1:
Concept Of A 'Willits Bypass' Goes Back 59 Years...
THE OPPRESSED WHITE MEN OF THE WEST
“A militia group that is protesting the U.S. government has taken over a wildlife refuge in Oregon. Of course you can understand why they’re angry. It’s really not easy being a white man in Oregon.”---Conan O'Brien
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 9, 2016
ERIK BAKARICH, Albion. Failure to appear.
WILLIAM BARRY, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)
KAIDEN BORUM, Vallejo/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
LEONA DELAPENA, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
JESUS GARCIA-SANDOVAL, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
ANDREA GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Vandalism.
CHARLES HENSLEY, Ukiah. Drunk in public. (Frequent flyer.)
MATTHEW PAQUET, Willits. Parole violation, false ID.
JOSHUA ROGERS, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation.
ZACHARIA ROZEK, Redwood Valley. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.
MATTHEW STEVENS, Ukiah. Under influence, probation revocation.
EDDIE TYSON, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
NEW YEAR’S WEEK ON UKIAH STREETS
(Ukiah Police Department Press Releases)
ON DECEMBER 30TH at about 11:30 am, a UPD officer was dispatched to multiple subjects on the north side of JC Penney, loitering and panhandling. Upon arrival the officer contacted Michael Donahe age 61, who was known from prior law enforcement contacts. Donahe appeared extremely intoxicated and a records check revealed that he was on probation with a term of no direct or indirect contact with the Pear Tree Shopping Center. Donahe was placed under arrest for being drunk in public and violation of his probation. After his arrest Donahe complained of pain in his leg and was transported to UVMC. In the ER Donahe was treated and medically cleared for jail. Donahe was booked into county jail on the violations.
ON DECEMBER 31ST at about 12:39 am, a UPD officer on active patrol in the 300 block of South Dora Street, observed a subject he recognized as Anthony Rojas, seated on the front steps of a residence. The officer was aware that UPD officers had responded to this same residence on several occasions for suspicious persons trespassing on the property, and the officer knew that Rojas did not reside at the residence. As the officer approached Rojas, he immediately noticed what appeared to be a knife handle protruding from his jacket pocket. A search of Rojas revealed that Rojas was carrying a meat-cleaver style knife and a screwdriver-size chisel. Rojas also had another person’s ID and a Motel 6 payroll check on his person, which was suspected to be stolen. The officer contacted the possible victim at Motel 6, and she reported that a few days prior her vehicle had been burglarized at night while parked at her work. Rojas was arrested and charged with possession of a dangerous weapon and misappropriation of found or stolen property. During a search of Rojas at jail he was found to have a suspected controlled substance hidden in his left sock and was additionally charged with this violation.
ON JANUARY 1ST at about 3:13am, a UPD officer was dispatched to the 900 block of North Oak Street to investigate a vandalism in progress. Upon arrival the officer could hear and see someone hitting a fence on the property, breaking fence boards.
The officer contacted Trenton Odaye age 23 of Ukiah, who appeared extremely intoxicated. The victims of the residence were contacted and did not know Odaye or why he was damaging their fence. Odaye was placed under arrest for vandalism and drunk in public, then booked into county jail.
ON JANUARY 2ND at about 12:24 pm, an officer was inside Quiznos when he was contacted by a female who appeared frantic. The female told the officer that there was a man out back who had ripped a tree out of the ground and was swinging it around and yelling at people passing by. The officer went out the rear of Quiznos, and observed a small thin tree and branches that were lying on the sidewalk in front of the World Gym. South of the gym was a male subject who was agitated, yelling and taking the clothing off of his upper body. Upon contact by the officer the subject calmed down. The male subject was identified as Michael Beers age 37 of Ukiah. As the officer spoke with Beers he noticed Beers was intoxicated, and he found evidence [sic] linking Beers to the vandalism. Beers was placed under arrest for being drunk in public and vandalism, then booked him into county jail.
ON JANUARY 3RD, at about 4:34 AM, Ukiah Police Officers observed a wanted male subject, identified as 25 year old, Lonnie Hesser of no fixed address, at a local motel in the 1300 block of North State Street. Upon seeing Ukiah Police Officers, Hesser fled into a nearby motel room where he was subsequently apprehended. During this time, Officers observed what they believed to be stolen property from several recent burglaries. Ukiah Police Department Detectives were summoned and subsequently served a search warrant at the location regarding the stolen property. During this time, stolen property in connection with at least seven recent burglaries within the City of Ukiah and County of Mendocino was located inside the motel room. In addition to this, Hesser was also identified as having committed at least two of these burglaries, one of which included over $10,000 in jewelry. Hesser was booked into the Jail with bail set at $110,000. Citizens are welcome to contact Ukiah Police Department, Detective Division to determine if any of the property located belongs to them. In addition, anyone with information regarding this investigation or recent burglaries having occurred within the City of Ukiah may contact the Ukiah Police Department at (707) 463-6262.
BARASH, NOT NESCH
Letter to the Editor
On December 31, 2015, The Fort Bragg Advocate published a letter to the supervisors from Ace Barash MD of Howard Hospital that begins “I speak on behalf of Mendocino County physicians and health professionals in addressing the current system of providing mental health care.” This letter was signed by 60 health professionals, 50 of them physicians. An employee at the Fort Bragg Advocate removed Ace Barash’s name as the author of the letter and inserted my name instead.
I emailed Chris Calder about the error and he said, “Sorry, Sonya. We will make the correction.” The January 7 edition of the paper did make the correction. How often do employees do this and what happens to them for an error of this kind?
AS WINTER RAINS POUNDED LAKE COUNTY this week, Scotty Allen slogged through muddy water amid charred stumps and debris left by the devastating Valley Fire trying to shore up what’s left of his property on Cobb Mountain.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Why would any young person want any Clinton or Bush in the White House? I see the headlines, about Hillary bringing out her “secret weapon”, Bill, and I think “Really?”. When was Bill last in office? Sixteen years is ancient history to younger voters. Bernie is more popular than anyone wants to let on. I do believe that the Democratic establishment doesn’t want him, just as bad as the Republicans don’t want Trump, though.
oy vey iz mir
el pendejo supremo
THIS PAID AD is appearing in the Lake County Record-Bee, Lake County's "newspaper of record."
THE TEXT OF THIS AD can be read here:
TALMAGE AS STERILIZATION CENTER
I'd heard this about Talmage as gossip but have never seen any other reference to it until now.
That Time The United States Sterilized 60,000 Of Its Citizens
RANCHER REBELS: THE RISE OF THE WISE USE MOVEMENT
by Jeffrey St. Clair and James Ridgeway
Out in the high desert of Nevada’s basin and range country, down roads with names like the Extraterrestrial Highway that run off into the sky, and where the hardscrabble rancher and the miner still call the shots, a full-scale insurrection was born.
You drive through this sagebrush landscape for miles and never see another car. Then, suddenly, you come across a man sitting by the side of the road, staring off into the distance of a bombing test range, watching for the latest incarnation of the Stealth bomber or maybe a UFO. This is Edward Abbey country, home to loners and drifters, people on the lam, desert anarchists.
In the corner of a Tonopah coffee shop, called the Station, next door to the incessant cacophony of a casino, where old ladies play the slots and men gather in clouds of ambient smoke around the roulette wheels, sat Wayne Hage, a top icon of the Sagebrush Rebels. Three years after his death in 2006, Hage remains a heroic figure for Western traditionalists in their fight against the evil doers in Washington and the environmentalist menace.
Here at the Station House, Hage sat, day after day, drinking bottomless cups of bitter cowboy coffee and looking out the window at the rusting remnants of mining derricks strewn across the town. Trucks thundered past, and in the sky, the odd Japanese tourist teetered precariously with his camera from a hot air balloon that carried him past the wonders of the old mining world, being celebrated at the annual Jim Baker Days, a weeklong drunkfest in honor of the miner who, the story goes, discovered Tonopah’s silver load when his mule kicked at him and dislodged some rocks that glistened in the sun.
Wayne Hage was the man to see if you really wanted to know what motivated the Wise Use Movement’s battle against environmentalists and the federal government. Hage was reluctant to meet on this blistering day in early June. He said he’d been hammered by the press too often, especially by the liberal press with an ax to grind against the Wise Users.
The Wise Use Movement consists of more than a thousand local organizations across the country, representing roughly three million people — people who fear the infringement of their property rights, mostly by what they see as oppressive federal government regulations. These are Palin people – rural, gun-packing Christians.
Some of these groups are simply out for money: they want the federal government to pay them considerable sums in exchange for changing traditional uses of their property that have run afoul of federal laws or even in exchange for cutbacks in the commercial use of public lands or resources. Custom and culture, they call it.
Other Wise Use groups have congealed as a political force to demand unrestricted access to federal lands, whether it be to log, run cattle, or for less than environmentally friendly recreational pursuits, such as off-road motorcycling or snowmobiling.
Corporate America has also invested heavily in certain factions of the Wise Use movement, using them as a grassroots stalking horse in their efforts to the preserve the archaic system of laws and regulations that allow them heavily subsidized entry to the natural wealth of the public domain. With the active help of Republicans in congress and a weak, conflict-averse executive branch, the big transnationals are intensifying their efforts to exploit the land, notably through the revival of gold mining and wide-spread oil and gas drilling.
The federal lands are at the center of a growing political struggle over the concept of property rights. Making up one-third of the nation, the public domain is by federal agencies, such as the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, and encompasses what remains of the nation’s valuable minerals, old growth forests, native grasslands and the extremely valuable oil and gas reserves — from the Rocky Mountain Front to the outer continental shelf.
Although shown as a lush green on road maps, much of this territory has been grotesquely transformed over the last half century by big companies into kind of industrial wasteland, consisting of atomic and other bombing ranges, ammo dumps, military and energy facilities, strip mines, clearcuts, dammed, dredged and scoured rivers, and leaching mounds of cyanide. Still, though victim to decades of abuse and neglect, the public lands also hold the last remnants of wild America, its salmon and trout, elk, grizzlies, spotted owls and wolves, its ancient forests, deserts and mountains — the American wilderness.
The Wise Use movement has created a profile of its enemy. They see themselves as being engaged in a high-stakes chess game with the elite legions of the environmental movement, who are covertly carrying out a sinister master plan, a vast socialist experiment to depopulate the rural West. As evidence they point to the Wildlands Project and to quotes from various greens calling for a 50 percent reduction in North America’s population by the year 2100. The Wise Use movement often suggests that the real goal of the environmental movement is to clear rural Westerners off the land, so the West can be turned into an “eco-theme park” for the pleasures of vacationing suburbanites.
In order to advance their socialist agenda, the Wise Users argue, environmental infiltrated the federal government. Under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the thinking goes, embedded key leaders into powerful positions inside the EPA, Interior and Agriculture Departments, and then, acting through their positions on government regulatory bodies, the environmentalists have set out to first reduce and then eliminate all grazing and logging on public lands and sharply curtail mining by driving up the cost of doing business.
Furthermore, Wayne Hage argued, through the Endangered Species Act, environmentalists have covertly turned fights over such seemingly innocent creatures as the coho salmon, northern spotted owl and gray wolf into national symbols of a broad land use planning instrument, a kind of bureaucratic club wielded against rural landowners.
Occupying a ranking position on the Wise Use movement’s enemies list is former Clinton Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, who initiated the National Biological Survey in 1993 — known in the ominous parlance of the Wise Use movement as the NBS. “The NBS is fascist, man, it’s socialist,” proclaimed Chuck Cushman, head of the American Land Rights Association, based in Battle Ground, Washington. “These guys map your property with infrared satellite photos, looking for plants, you know, then they can actually come on your property without your permission. If they find one of those plants, you know you’re screwed worse than if they found dope.”
But, of course, in the minds of many of these Sagebrush populists, the real menace lies not with the environmentalists, but with the political and financial powers that prop them up. It is the big East Coast foundations who now provide the principle financing of the big green organizations that are pulling the strings. And who is behind these foundations? The Rockefellers, the Pews, the Mellons and other titanic American families made rich through the Standard Oil trust and the like. Through their securities portfolios, naturally, these foundations are interlocked with the multinational corporations that run the world, and who eye the public estate as a source of cheap wealth when times get hard. And thus it is, according to Hage and his followers, that the small rancher in the Interior West is driven off the land by Forest Service and BLM rangers who are nothing more or less than federal agents of the Rockefellers.
“It’s not some deep dark conspiracy,” Hage told us in 1994. “The information is out there for anyone to see. Most people don’t pay attention to economics. And when they do, they say, ‘My god, it’s one of those conspiracy theories.’ No, it isn’t. It’s just the record. So you have the environmental movement as a stalking-horse, used to carry out the transfer of property rights of individuals over to the hands of government and multinational corporations, which serve the interest of the old nobility under the monarchists. And look at who owns these damn gold mines out here in Nevada … foreign corporations.”
In 1991, Hage’s cattle were impounded and sold off by Forest Service agents after the rancher blatantly overgrazed his allotment on the Toiyabe National Forest in central Nevada. Hage promptly closed down his cattle operation and filed a $24 million suit against the Forest Service in federal claims court. The suit, which became a cause celebre for the property rights movement, alleged that the seizure amounted to a “taking” of his property rights.
Hage wrote a manifesto titled Storm Over Rangelands, which presented his historical overview of the political economic of the western United States. Hage and his book have become part of a carefully crafted legend that occupies center stage in the Wise Use movement.
According to Hage’s interpretation of western history, the public lands were always meant to be sold off to private ownership — and even though they never were, the actual ownership at the end of the 20th century has become a mélange of various tangled interests, both public and private: the so-called split estate. In fact, Hage argued, there’s no such thing as “public” lands. Of course, that didn’t stop the government from expropriating them, nationalizing the lands over and over again.
As an example of this kind of thought lurking in the shadows of American history, Hage pointed to the career of Carl Schurz, Interior Secretary under President Rutherford B. Hayes. Hage wrote in Storm Over Rangelands that “Schurz’s efforts to prevent the establishment of private property rights on the public lands may have sprung from his socialist background. Schurz was a controversial German immigrant who had fought along with Karl Marx in the Revolution of 1848, came to America, was elected senator from Missouri and supported the radical Republican’s reconstruction plans.”
So, argued Hage, with the nation deeply in debt after the Civil War, the European banking houses, led by the Rothschilds, conspired with the federal government to use the western lands as collateral against repayment of the war debt. The government reneged on the Spanish land grants and sent the cavalry out to kill off the Indians, who had real and justifiable land claims, to clear away any obstacles to this loan repayment scheme. The European financial interests joined forces with the big East Coast families to build the railroads, control the new towns and farms and, through the American Cattle Trust, turn the livestock business into a huge monopoly.
It was, after all, that great hero of environmentalism, geologist Clarence King, explorer of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the father of the Smithsonian Institution and Geological Survey, the very father of federal science, who secretly sent his geology students from Ivy League schools to rustle cattle for his own profit on the western plains during summer vacation, abetting his huge cattle operation.
As time went on, according to Hage’s history, western lands were set aside through the conservation movement, starting with Yellowstone National Park, then Yosemite. These shrines to conservation were, according to Hageian theory, part of a vast project of “nationalization,” the equivalent, Hage wrote, of the “crown lands” in England.
Hage also contemptuously cites how the Taylor Grazing Act, which organized and regulated public land grazing during the 1930s, “created the collateral base for funding of Roosevelt’s New Deal.” According to Hage similar expansions of federal authority over western lands coincided with the Vietnam War (Wilderness Act).
Hage was one of the leaders of a group called Stewards of the Range, headquartered in Boise, Idaho, and founded by Hage’s attorney Mark Pollot, a former assistant secretary of the Interior under James Watt during the early Reagan years. During his tenure at Interior, Pollot authored Executive Order 12630, which required the federal government to attest that all federal agencies compensated landowners if federal regulations or actions infringed on property rights. Pollot’s group, Stewards of the Range, became a legal battering ram in the ranchers’ running resistance against federal authority, backing, for example, Cliff Gardner’s willful trespass of his cattle on lands of the Humboldt National Forest in the Ruby Mountains of Nevada.
* * *
A thousand miles north in the posh Seattle suburb of Bellevue, Washington, are the offices of the group that published Hage’s manifesto: the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. The group is run by Ron Arnold, the man who coined the term “eco-terrorism,” and his business partner Alan Gottlieb. Together they served as the field managers and media packagers for the property rights movement.
Arnold was a former draftsman for Boeing, a public relations man for different companies, a writer and film-maker, while Gottlieb made his money (lots of it, too) from direct mail operations for Republican candidates, and most significantly, from gun groups, including the Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Bear Arms. Gottlieb also published a magazine called Women and Guns.
The Wise Use movement is a significant popular grouping. “There are 1200 to 1500 groups we can identify,” said Arnold. “Few of these groups ever got any real money from big corporations. Neither are they especially aligned with small business. In fact, probably a third of our members are housewives.” Altogether, Arnold and Gottlieb estimated that there are as many as three million people on their mailing list.
Much of the Wise Use movement has a strong, though peculiar, libertarian bent. “There’s a strain that runs through it that is upset with government interfering in their lives,” said Gottlieb. “Not just libertarian or conservative, but an awful lot of people who are to the left of center and they are very upset with the government telling them what to do.”
These people are the proto-tea-baggers, a strange mix of populists, anarchists and libertarians. “It’s a diverse collective,” Arnold said. “For example, I’m pro-abortion and Alan is not. I’m for legalization of marijuana. We never got into immigration. We did try to see if there was a bridge between the Wise Use groups and the gun movement. But, no. Wise Use people pretty much support gun right. But it doesn’t work the other way around. Gun rights people don’t do much for the property rights movement. And that’s the part that pisses me off.”
Even though the Wise Use movement may attract people from diverse political and ideological heritages, it was also lustily embraced (and some might say co-opted) by Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey’s anti-government revolution of the 1990s. Today the Wise Use movement nestles among the rightwing organizations and tendencies of the post-Bush Republican party on Capitol Hill and in statehouses across the south and the mountain West. But it can be an uneasy alliance.
It is a world that Ron Arnold knows very well. During the early 1980s, Arnold was brought in by Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation to write a glowing authorized biography of James Watt, then viewed by the media and most of America as a kind of neo-fascist, born again lunatic from Wyoming.
Watt, of course, was the messiah of the Sagebrush Rebellion, the precursor of the Wise Use movement, which helped put Ronald Reagan in the White House. Once installed Reagan began talking about privatization of public lands and Watt soon had people thinking he would sell them off to the highest bidder.
But, according to Arnold, shortly after Watt took over at Interior, he told the more radical factions of the Sagebrush Rebels (folks like Wayne Hage) to knock it off. Privatization was scrapped,” Arnold recalled, “because Watt and the others discovered that you can’t sell off what you don’t own. If you try to auction off pieces of ‘public’ property, you can’t do it because the ownership is split. There are so many stratifications you could never figure out who really owned what. So notions of ownership looked more and more like a commons than a capital asset.”
Among many in the Wise Use movement, however, there is a deeper feeling of betrayal associated with Watt’s abbreviated tenure, a belief that Watt came to be entranced by the corridors of power, that he was seduced by the sense of control he had over the public lands. As an example of this, hard core rebels like Hage pointed to the “good neighbor policy,” developed by Watt, which allowed the governors of the western states to work with the Interior Department in developing policy for federal lands, a gutless retreat from the core principles of private property rights.
The administration of George W. Bush also proved to be a disappointment to the aspirations of the Wise Use ultras. While giving lip service to the Wise Users, his Interior Department, headed by Watt protegé Gale Norton, rapidly began cutting one sweatheart deal after another with the big oil and gas companies and mining operations and the property rights agenda stalled once again on the doorstep of power.
* * *
Until the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the Wise Use movement was building a great deal of political momentum. Then suddenly it had to backpedal furiously to get away from both the militia and county supremacy movements, which threatened to drag them onto the dangerous edges of the anarchist right.
Political investigators, such as Tarso Ramos and David Helvarg, linked some elements of the Wise Use movement to both the racist Posse Commitatus and the militias. Ramos and Helvarg highlighted the role some of the Wise User leaders have played in the National Federal Lands Conference, headquartered in Bountiful, Utah. Ron Arnold, for example, once served on the board of advisors of the Conference and Wayne Hage served as its former president. The Conference was a leading force behind the county supremacy movement in the West.
More to the point, the Conference enthusiastically endorsed the creation of the militia movement in its October 1994 newsletter, urging interested individuals to get in touch with, among others, MOM, the Militia of Montana. The article argued that militias are needed to defend states from an overbearing federal government poised to enforce “seizure orders which can be enacted with the stroke of a bureaucratic pen,” plunging the nation into “an absolute, marital law mode of repression.”
Arnold bristled at questions about the Conference, saying he cut all association with it years ago. He had a right to be concerned. With this one article, investigators, journalists and opponents of the Wise Use movement have been able to tar them as little more than a collection of pistol-packing whackos, aligned with the most paranoid and dangerous elements of the far right.
A version of this article was published by the Village Voice.
Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch and author of Born Under a Bad Sky. James Ridgeway is a journalist living in Washington, DC. Courtesy, CounterPunch.org)
THE PRICE OF COURAGE
by Almudena Grandes
(Translated by Louis Bedrock)
Memory has nothing to do with the past. Memory is a fundamental tool for constructing the present of a society, an essential requirement for dealing with the future.
On the night of November 10th, 1989, a group of armed soldiers entered by force the house of the Jesuit community at the Central American University José Simeón Cañas of San Salvador. They were members of the so called Atlácatl Battalion founded in 1980 at the Military School of The Americas, created through the initiative of the army of the United States of America with its headquarters in Panama. The Atlácatl Battalion, named in honor of a legendary Cusclateco warrior whose existence has never been confirmed, it rose up with a bloody and well-deserved criminal reputation during the civil war that lashed El Salvador throughout the eighties.
The battalion’s greatest military achievement, its most famous victory, was its murder in cold blood of six Jesuits: five Spaniards and one Salvadoran, professors at the university; plus two women—a woman who cleaned and cooked for the Jesuits and her sixteen year old daughter after they had decided to stay at the house that night to sleep because they were afraid to return home while fighting was still raging between the army and the guerillas in the center of the city.
The Jesuits of UCA, exponents of the Theology of Liberation in Central America, had been formally threatened with death since the 12th of March in 1977. The rector of the university, Ignacio Ellacuría, a prestigious theologian, an intellectual respected on two continents, a native Biscayan but naturalized Salvadorian, had been in Spain at that time. He could have stayed there, but returned to El Salvador in 1988 to continue working for peace by acting as a mediator between the guerillas and President Alfredo Cristiani who was a personal friend of his as had been Óscar Romero, metropolitan archbishop of San Salvador, who fought for human rights until he was killed by a bullet while he was celebrating mass in 1980.
All of this is history. The soldiers arrived. Ellacuría went out to meet them and begged them to just kill him. They did. Then they murdered his companions: one, two, three, four, five, more men; then they murdered a woman; and they murdered her daughter, who was little more than a child. The murderers planted false evidence to incriminate the guerillas before running off.
Almost all of them began dying afterward, one by one, so they couldn’t live to regret their actions and tell anyone what they had done.
All of this is history, and since the material authors no longer existed, there was never a trial in El Salvador.
However memory has nothing to do with the past, but rather the present. In the last few years, my friend Jorge Galán has written a novel about the murder of the Jesuits, about the curse of violence that is still destroying El Salvador, about the impunity of the intellectual authors of that crime, high-ranking officers that gave the order and have continued living their placid lives of privilege without ever having to pay for what they did. It was published in November just a few weeks ago. It is a book as valiant as its characters because the author is valiant; because he feels that he couldn’t honor the memory of Ignacio Ellacuría, of Joaquin López y López, of Armando López, of Ignacio Martin-Baró, o Segundo Montes, of Juan Ramón Moreno, except through the truth, through the courage that that cost them, and cost Elba Ramos and her daughter Celina, their lives.
It was published in November just a few weeks ago. Immediately afterwards, Jorge Galán has become a character in his novel. More than twenty-five years after that crime, the social networks boil over with threats of death written with the same words, the same adjectives that Ellacuría and his companions received then. A few days ago, as he was leaving his home, a car stopped at his side and the driver called him by name, told him that he knew where he lived, opened his jacket and showed him a pistol.
Now, Jorge is in Madrid. He has come to seek political asylum and does not know how much longer before he has to return to his country, that little country that he never wanted to leave despite the many opportunities he had to do so and from which he has been expelled by the shadow of murderers. This has been the price of his decency.
But memory is the key to the present.
There is no future without memory and Jorge knows it.
WHY THEY PARDON PEYTON
by Dave Zirin
In 2015, 80 of the top 100 watched sports shows in the United States were National Football League games, and frankly it’s surprising that the number isn’t higher. Yet despite this immense popularity, most of the players are unknown when the helmets come off. This is because the NFL’s brutally unsentimental marketing strategy has always been to promote teams, not players. You cannot market the individual when any play may be your last.
Amid this faceless warrior class, there is one star whose commercial power rises above all others: Peyton Manning. The 39-year-old quarterback is not only a ubiquitous pitchman, selling life insurance, cars, and an industrial solvent called “Papa John’s Pizza.” He is also ratings gold for the NFL. That’s what happens when you are a second-generation, four-time MVP with 20 years in the national spotlight. When Peyton joined the Denver Broncos in 2012, they not only transformed into instant Super Bowl contenders, they also became America’s Team: the most popular franchise in the country, besting the polarizing (hateable) teams in Dallas, Pittsburgh, and New England.
The financial power of Peyton Manning means that he operates by a different, deeply corrosive set of media rules than any other player. This was seen starkly last weekend. Peyton has been embroiled in a scandal over whether he used human growth hormones to aid his comeback from the four neck surgeries that left him weak as a kitten, unable to even grip a football. The Al Jazeera English news network released a documentary called The Dark Side of Sports that posited that HGH was delivered to Manning’s home from an “anti-aging clinic” called the Guyer Institute in the name of his wife, Ashley Manning. Al Jazeera had an intern from Guyer, the cinematically named Charlie Sly, say this while being surreptitiously recorded. Sly has since recanted, but Al Jazeera claims a second confidential source as well. Two other athletes named in the documentary, baseball players Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman, are now suing Al Jazeera for defamation, so the truth is coming. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about PEDs and sports, it’s that stories change mighty fast when perjury and prison loom.
As for Peyton, he emerged in a red-faced rage, denying everything except that “private” packages were in fact delivered from the Guyer Institute to Ashley Manning. He even hired former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer to mount the PR counterattack against Al Jazeera English. Yes, Ari Fleischer: a man who once was part of an administration that “accidentally” bombed and killed Al Jazeera journalists during the Iraq War and who drafted banal memos about waging literal war on the news network would now be throwing rhetorical bombs at the news network in the court of public opinion.
The story has a great many questions, and we should all take a wait-and-see approach to this before affixing a scarlet HGH to Manning’s chest, but one thing is undeniably certain: It’s news. That’s why it was so bizarre on Sunday when Peyton emerged from the bench to lead the Broncos to victory and the announcers, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, did not mention the HGH story once. They did not mention it as a possible source of distraction. They did not even mention it as a story they found to be disreputable. It simply did not exist. As Nantz said the next day to sports-radio host Mike Francesa, “Why would we? If we talk about [the documentary] we would only continue to breathe life into a story that on all levels is a non-story.”
The Manning “non-story” is not the only thing Jim Nantz kept to himself on Sunday. As Michael O’Keeffe reported in the New York Daily News, Nantz is repped by powerful broadcasting agent Sandy Montag, who has also helped facilitate a plethora of Peyton’s commercial deals. Nantz even has appeared in ads with Peyton Manning to hawk Papa John’s Pizza as well as Sony products. And — just to make it super-cozy — Montag helped launch Ari Fleischer’s sports public-relations firm a decade ago when Fleischer took his golden parachute out of the Bush administration. In an e-mail to the Daily News, Fleischer wrote, “I didn’t even know Sandy represented Nantz and in all cases, I haven’t asked Sandy to do anything on this.” Believe Ari Fleischer if you choose, but the last time many trusted this man, we ended up with George W. Bush in that damn flight suit.
In addition to Nantz choosing to make this story unspoken, every broadcaster on ESPN’s NFL show said with a straight face that there is no way Peyton could have used HGH — despite throwing a record 55 TD passes at age 37 just over a year removed from being unable to grip a ball — because he was so forceful in his denials. That’s simply not a rationale that should be uttered publicly in the wake of a plethora of athletes — Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, Rafael Palmeiro — looking more sincere than Lincoln at Gettysburg while telling us that they did not use.
Personally, I don’t care whether or not Peyton used HGH. I actually think that if it is done in a regulated manner under the care of a medical professional, he should use. Especially after four neck surgeries. What matters to me is the absence of journalistic standards at play. As bizarre as it sounds, the work of Jim Nantz matters because his work helps shape our view of a sport that has a profound effect on a host of real-life issues, from the public funding of stadiums, to violence against women, to how we understand masculinity, and, perhaps most perniciously and particularly, how we talk about race.
Here is where these journalistic double standards start to matter. Peyton Manning is a commercial leviathan not only because he has had a storied Hall of Fame career but because he is a white, All-American superstar from a prominent family in a league that is 70 percent black. This double standard also means Peyton has far more to lose than other NFL players whose PED peccadillos usually merit a yawn. But it also creates a view of criminality where Peyton Manning carries an assumption of innocence that other players do not. This was seen starkly a year ago, when discussion raged about the nexus of violence against women, sexual assault, and football. During the repeated rundowns that sports networks did of this history, you never — seriously, never— heard the name Peyton Manning.
When Peyton was a junior star at Tennessee, he was accused of sitting on the face of a female athletic trainer, bare-assed, spread wide. Peyton in his book claimed he was just “mooning” a track athlete, also there for physical therapy, and the trainer, whom he described as having “a vulgar mouth,” took offense. (At least he didn’t call her a “strumpet.”)
But Peyton’s actions were serious enough that the “vulgar-mouthed” woman in question immediately reported the incident to the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Knoxville. The track star Peyton claimed to be joking with wrote Peyton a letter in 2002 saying, according to USA Today, “You might as well maintain some dignity and admit what happened…. do the right thing here.” The trainer, who later received her doctorate, then lost a subsequent job as a program director at Florida Southern College after Peyton wrote about the “mooning” in his memoir. To top it off, in 2005, he broke their court-ordered confidentiality agreement by talking about the incident on ESPN. It’s ugly stuff, and it sure as hell runs against the “Peyton can do no wrong/Nationwide jingle” pitchman so valuable to the league.
But just because Peyton Manning is a commodity being protected by the NFL and the media doesn’t mean we have to buy what he’s selling. In fact, it would probably be healthier if we didn’t, beyond the benefits of avoiding the digestive anguish of Papa John’s. I don’t know how the Al Jazeera/HGH story will turn out. But I do know that this is far from the “non-story” that Jim Nantz claims. In fact, Nantz’s silence only confirms it as a narrative worth following in the months to come.
GOVERNOR BROWN’S BUDGET DOES INCLUDE $3.6 MILLION FOR DELTA TUNNELS
In a media teleconference on January 7, three Brown administration officials claimed that no money in the $122.6 billion General Fund budget for 2016-17 unveiled by Governor Jerry Brown would be used to implement the Delta Tunnels under the “California Water Fix.”
In response to a reporter’s question about whether any budget money would be used for the Delta Tunnels, John Laird, California Natural Resources Secretary said, “California Eco Restore has been separated from the California Water Fix,” the conveyance plan.
Likewise, Mark Cowin, Director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), affirmed, “There’s no money in the budget to advance the study of the California Water Fix or tunnels as you call it. Those activities are funded entirely by the state and federal water project contractors that benefit from the project.”
Chuck Bonham, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director, noted that money allocated from the state’s cap-and-trade (carbon trading) program would be used restore wetlands through the California Eco Restore program. “This program has nothing to do with the proposal to modernize conveyance infrastructure,” said Bonham.
However, Restore the Delta (RTD) disagreed strongly with administration officials’ contentions that no budget money would be used to fund the controversial conveyance project, pointing out the budget released today does include $3.6 million for the Delta Tunnels (California Water Fix).
“The money would come out of the General Fund to the Delta Stewardship Council and is intended to incorporate the Delta Water Tunnels conveyance project into the Delta Plan,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta (RTD)
“The Delta Plan was originally written for incorporation of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) a plan that failed to meet Federal guidelines for water quality and fishery standards. The new plan for the Delta Tunnels (WaterFix) has already received a failing grade from the Federal EPA. The separated out and reduced conservation effort is now called ‘EcoRestore,’” she said.
She said the language at issue is located on page 107 in the budget summary pdf:
“Update of the Delta Plan—An increase of $3.6 million General Fund for the Delta Stewardship Council to implement the Delta Science Plan and incorporate the WaterFix Delta conveyance project into the Delta Plan.” (http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/FullBudgetSummary.pdf)
Laird, Cowin and Bonham apparently failed to read this language — which very clearly states that the $3.6 million will be used “incorporate the WaterFix Delta conveyance project into the Delta Plan.”
Barrigan-Parrilla emphasized that the “WaterFix” has not received any of the state or federal permits required to begin construction.
“The Governor is rushing the permitting process at the California State Water Resources Control Board despite the fact that the best available science needed to evaluate these permits is now more than 20 years old. The Bay-Delta Water Quality control plan is now 7535 days overdue,” she stated.
Barrigan-Parrilla reminded Californians that the Governor promised Californians that no money from Proposition 1, the Governor’s controversial water bond passed in November 2014, would be used for the tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
“Now the Governor’s budget is calling for $3.6 million for the Delta Stewardship Council to include the tunnels into the Delta Plan from these same bond funds that have been put into the General Fund. He has broken his promise to taxpayers,” she said.
It’s easy to see why the Governor broke his promise to the taxpayers when you consider the $21.8 million that Big Money interests, including corporate agribusiness groups, billionaires, timber barons, Big Oil, the tobacco industry, and the California Chamber of Commerce, dumped into the Proposition 1 campaign. There is no doubt that these wealthy corporate interests are expecting a big return for their “investment,” including the construction of the tunnels, in California’s play-to-pay politic system. For more information, read my article on the East Bay Express website: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2015/04/29/why-governor-brown-broke-his-prop-1-promise-big-money-interests-dumped-218-million-into-the-prop-1-campaign
“Governor Brown wants to waste more taxpayer money to prop up a hugely controversial project that was supposed to be paid for by the water exporters,” she said. “It’s time for the madness to end. Let’s redirect available funding to projects that will make California water more resilient to climate change and extended droughts.”
“Water recycling, urban water conservation, groundwater recharging, and storm water capture are all projects that are desperately needed, as we see by the massive flooding in Southern California today. The tunnels fail to address those opportunities. The Delta Tunnels are a 20th Century fix to a 21st Century problem,” Barrigan-Parrilla concluded.
The tunnels would divert massive quantities of Sacramento River water for export to corporate agribusiness interests irrigating drainage-impaired land on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting environmentally destructive fracking and other extreme oil extraction methods in Kern County.
The tunnels would hasten the extinction of imperiled Sacramento River Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species, as well as imperil the salmon and steelhead populations on the Trinity and Klamath rivers.
Unfortunately, some species may become extinct even before Brown has a chance to build his “legacy” project, the Delta Tunnels, due to abysmal state and federal government water management policies.
Fish species ranging from endangered Delta smelt to striped bass continued to plummet to record low population levels in 2015, according to the annual fall midwater trawl survey results released by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) on December 18.
Only 6 Delta smelt, an endangered species that once numbered in the millions and was the most abundant fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, were collected at the index stations in the estuary this fall. The 2015 index (7), a relative number of abundance, “is the lowest in history,” said Sara Finstad, an environmental scientist for the CDFW’s Bay Delta Region.
Likewise, longfin smelt, a cousin of the Delta smelt, declined to the lowest abundance index (4) in the history of the survey. Only 3 longfin smelt were collected at the index stations throughout the three-month period. For more information, go to: http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/1/4/1466156/-Delta-Smelt-and-other-fish-species-plummet-to-record-low-levels
ENOUGH ASTRONAUT BLOOD TO LAST THE WINTER.
“There never was a war that was not inward.” --Marianne Moore
Hi, Marco here.
At http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find the recording of last night’s (2016-01-08) KNYO Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show ready to download and keep or just play with one click.
Further, at http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com there are many worthwhile but not necessarily radio-useful items that I found while putting the show together. Here are just a few:
An old man burns his memories on a twig fire in the snow. https://vimeo.com/143957655
Art that is a walk-through freeze-frame of the result of two people (or creatures) made of thousands of keys (and yarn for blood), each creature exploding out of its own wheeled rowboat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GolS9Db3BMM
Tangled god-goddess family trees. Useful for fans of the various flavors of /Stargate/, which over the course of nearly twenty years of teevee shows and three films provides an alien character for each one of them and more. (My favorite is Thor, who turns out to be a Roswell-style Gray.) http://tinyurl.com/px44c48
Rockets blasting off. Freeze at 1:28 to clearly see the thrust diamonds in the exhaust. https://vimeo.com/150281471