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WHERE’S ASHA KREIMER?
by Mark Scaramella
Asha Kreimer went missing from the Rollerville Café outside of Point Arena under mysterious and confusing circumstances on Monday, September 21, 2015. She has not been seen or heard from since. Asha, born and raised in Australia and was 26 at the time of her disappearance, would be about 28 years old now.
The missing woman has dark, long curly hair. She is tall at about 5'10", 120-130 pounds. Asha is fairly thin with olive colored skin. She also has a strong Australian accent and a prominent red triangle tattoo on her right wrist.
The chronology of the days leading up to Asha’s disappearance are still not entirely clear and some important details of the case are under still under dispute. Police have not released anything on the case, citing privacy laws and an ongoing investigation.
What is known is that her boyfriend, a dreadlocked young white man from Albion named Jamai Gayle, and a visiting friend of Asha’s from Australia named Sally (last name unknown), took Asha to the “Access Center” in Fort Bragg Sunday evening, September 20 where she was reported to be suffering from a mental health crisis stemming from what her mother said was a bipolar disorder — but as far as is known she had not suffered any such “crisis” before.
The Access Center at the time was run by Ortner Management Group, the private, for-profit mental health contractor given responsibility for Mendocino County's publicly-funded mental health services. that has since been terminated after a chorus of complaints from cops and local doctors.
Asha had been living in Albion with Jamai Gayle for three years. She was having trouble sleeping in the days leading up to her disappearance, and had been awake for four consecutive nights and shouting “incoherently” which precipitated the trip to the Hospital.
Asha’s behavior at the Hospital was described as so odd and potentially dangerous that the Hospital staff called the Fort Bragg police. Asha resisted being restrained and was then declared 5150 (danger to self or others) by a Fort Bragg police officer.
Asha’s mother, a practicing nurse in Australia, has since spoken to the Fort Bragg police sergeant who was on the scene at the Hospital and the mental health worker who arrived at the Hospital soon after Asha was brought in. The worker told Asha’s mother he couldn’t discuss details because of Health Privacy laws. But he broke down in tears while talking to Asha’s mother about the incident at the Emergency Room. “I think he felt responsible for a bad decision. I’ve heard about incompetence there.”
The Fort Bragg cop told Asha’s mother that the scene at the Hospital was “a mess.”
Somewhere toward the end of the “mess,” Asha was released by the Ortner contractor rep, the same man who had broken down in tears, and released back to boyfriend Jamai and her young Australian friend, “Sally.”
“They did no blood workup, they made no written observations, they took no vital signs, because they said Asha refused to allow it,” her mother reported.
After another sleepless night back in Albion, the somewhat vague idea was to return to the Hospital and try for help again; that was on Monday, September 21. But Asha was in no better shape Monday morning and the Hospital experience certainly did not help her.
Preparing to go to Hospital the next morning with no clear plan, and Asha still unwell, the three young people decided to take a drive, perhaps to San Francisco where Mr. Gayle’s mother lived. On the way they stopped for breakfast at the Rollerville Café in Point Arena.
At some point during the breakfast with Jamai Gayle and Asha's friend Sally, at around 9:30am, the friend got up to go to the restroom and Asha decided to go with her. But Sally discovered that Asha had not entered the restroom and had apparently walked off. A Rollerville Café employee reportedly said Asha “seemed agitated.”
Asha was last seen barefoot in black skinny jeans and a gray hoodie behind the Café along the precipitous ocean bluffs.
Jamai Gayle said later that he and Sally searched for her until around 2pm and then returned to the Rollerville Café for the next three days asking about Asha, again with no success.
Asha had walked off without her cellphone, purse, keys and credit cards. An unconfirmed report had it that she’d been seen in the area talking on her cellphone. Her jacket was soon discovered on the trail along the cliffs to the Point Arena Lighthouse.
At first there was speculation that she may have fallen or jumped off the bluffs, but the area has been thoroughly searched and no body resembling Asha has ever been recovered. It now seems unlikely that Asha drowned.
According to one report, Asha returned to her home in Albion where she had been living with Jamai Gayle to retrieve her beloved German Shepard. It’s not clear if Jamai Gayle was there at that time, or how she may have traveled back to Albion.
Asha’s mother Jeannie Kreimer who first traveled to Mendo from Australia to spearhead the search within days of hearing that her daughter was missing, said later that she doubted the report that Asha returned for her dog — but the dog is also missing and its disappearance unexplained in any coherent manner. “It got to the point where I heard I would say at least six stories from Jamai about what happened to that dog,” said Jeannie Kreimer.
So far, Jamai Gayle has been uncooperative with Asha’s mother or the investigating officers, but has offered stories that don't make sense.
According to Jeannine Kreimer, Jamai Gayle said at one point that he didn’t take her breakdown seriously at first, dismissing it as “just acting out.”
Jeannie Kreimer says she thinks Jamai Gayle himself suffers from depression, made worse in the past by girlfriends who dropped him, and who at first glance seems like a multi-substance user/abuser.
So a fragile, vulnerable, attractive, sleep-deprived and “acting out” young woman, who had had some kind of mental breakdown was seen by a mental health worker at Coast Hospital where she gets essentially no help, compounded by her refusal to comply to efforts to restrain her, in the company of a boyfriend who is at wit’s end himself.
Asha’s mother and the police assume that Asha had had enough of her relationship with Jamai Gayle and wanted to get away from him by running away or, worse, suicide. With little sleep, distraught, in an area she was probably unfamiliar with, an unable to get help from people she might trust, and perhaps having suffered some kind of bad drug reaction on top of a likely dispute during the Rollverville Café breakfast with her boyfriend, Asha decided she didn’t want to go back to the Fort Bragg Hospital and simply walked away from it all.
Asha’s mother has now made eight trips to the U.S. from Australia searching for her daughter, looking for clues and following leads to her daughter’s disappearance. She now speculates that Asha may be suffering from amnesia, may have taken a new name, and is hiding out somewhere in marijuana country incognito, incommunicado. The amnesia theory is probably based on Asha’s failure to contact her family whom she has always been close to.
Asha’s mother says she hasn’t got much information from detectives who also cite health privacy laws and the ongoing investigation. So far, there is no evidence of foul play.
* * *
And that’s pretty much where information about the case stood — until March of this year when an enterprising young podcast host named Jordan Sims, who specializes in missing person cases, got involved. Sims’ Idaho-based podcast true-crime show has investigated several dozen missing person cases since his podcast's inception in early 2016.
In March of 2017 Ms. Sims aired two podcast episodes on the subject of Asha Kreimer’s disappearance. Part 1 was an in-depth interview with Asha’s mother. Part 2 was an even longer interview with probably the key player in Asha’s disappearance, the elusive Jamai Gayle.
In Part 1, Jeannie Kreimer describes her daughter’s background in Australia and the search she has been conducting since her disappearance. According to Jeannie, Asha’s breakdown began when Asha’s childhood friend Sally arrived in Albion for a visit. They engaged in some “heavy conversation” about their respective fathers, both of whom had died young after mental breakdowns. Asha’s father in particular, a member of US Special Forces who lived part-time in Australia after marrying Jeannie, also suffered a breakdown preceding his premature death. During the discussion with Sally about Asha’s father, Asha suddenly went catatonic and stared straight ahead, and that, her mother believes, precipitated her sleeplessness and mental descent. Asha’s mother said Asha's father had a similar break when he was about the same age as Asha.
Jeannie Kreimer has determined that her daughter was “assessed” at the Coast Hospital emergency room on the evening of September 20. In the middle of the “assessment” Asha became hostile and the police were called. Sergeant Lee and two other Fort Bragg Police officers showed up. “It took quite a while for all of this,” Jeannie Kreimer said. “They held her down and tried to put her in restraints and she tried to get away. I think they were quite rough with her,” adding that Asha, unaccustomed to rough treatment, would have been terribly frightened.
After whatever assessment was done, Asha was released back into care of Jamai and Sally with a vague expectation that they’d be back in the Fort Bragg emergency room if she didn’t get better. But, “Nobody’s been truthful with me about what happened at that Albion property,” Mrs. Kreimer said. Either way, Jeannie Kreimer doesn’t understand why Asha was released to the boyfriend. “That was a major mistake,” Jeannie said.
In her limited contact with sheriff’s investigators, Jeannie Kreimer said there were also “jurisdictional questions because Asha is an Australian citizen. “I had to report her missing to the Canberra constable. Interpol was contacted. Plus the Sheriff’s department here. But they wouldn’t give me much information. The Health Privacy laws block you every time you turn around.” At first, the police told Jeannie that Asha had probably died. “Why did they say that? Based on what? This is not helpful. I think they wanted me to go away.”
Asha did not drive, her mother said. On the Sunday night at Coast Hospital before she went missing she had been trying to get into random cars stopped on the street.
Perhaps she hitchhiked out of the area, but that’s not confirmed. “Her jacket was found up near the cliffs [near Point Arena], but we don’t know how it got there. Sally said she didn’t have a jacket in the Café.”
Jeannie Kreimer also said that Asha’s cellphone was found at her Albion home and given to Jeannie by Jamai. “But that’s not clear either. How did Jamai get it? A dishwasher at the Café said he saw Asha on the phone in Point Arena.”
It’s not clear where the cellphone is now, who has it, or if it’s been examined by police.
Jeannie Kreimer also said there were two dogs involved. Asha’s dog was German Shephard. Jamai owns a mastiff. When Jamai subsequently piled into a redwood on Highway 128, the dog with him, presumably the mastiff, was killed. Jamai was hospitalized. Asha’s German Shepard was gone when Jeannie arrived in Albion to try to talk to Jamai. “I don’t know what happened to the dog. I don’t know if she went back to get it or if it ran away or it got into a car with someone. It’s hard to imagine she got back to Albion to pick up the dog. How the dog turned up missing is another mystery.”
For a while Jeannie Kreimer thought Asha might be hiding with Humboldt pot growers. But she no longer thinks that. “Now, I just don’t know. Is she being held against her will? Is it voluntary? She might still be mentally ill. Or she might be better. The whole thing is out of character for her.”
Jeannie Kreimer says she’s gone all over the area in her several trips to the US looking for Asha and clues to her disappearance — police stations, homeless shelters, local agencies, people in the streets. She’s made up cards with photos of Asha and information and handed them out wherever she’s been — as far away as Grass Valley, Fortuna… “I’m not giving up,” she says. “I’m driven. The detectives think I’m just a neurotic mother. But her name, Asha, means ‘hope’” (in Sanskrit).
* * *
Jordan Sims’ podcast interview Part 2 with Jamai Gayle shed new light on the case, much of it new to locals because “Thin Air” isn't easy to find, and once you do find it you're in for almost two hours of interviews.
Jamai told podcaster Sims that it seemed like Sally’s arrival “coincided with her not feeling safe. … They were looking at old photos, at a picture of a house where she said she’d been molested.” Asha allegedly told Sally, ‘I made myself forget.’ Asha couldn’t get over her father’s death; she screamed about it, often. Jamai said he had not told Asha’s mother about the molestation memories and so far, although detectives have contacted Sally, there’s no confirmation of that allegation.
According to Jamai, after Asha became upset, Jamai asked Asha if she wanted to talk to someone. No answer. Jamai called the County’s Mental Health crisis hot line on Sunday afternoon when things were getting worse, but a recording said their offices were all closed until Monday and that if it gets worse they should go to the Coast Hospital emergency room.
Asha was becoming more difficult. She stopped eating and sleeping. At lunch Sunday she wouldn’t eat. She wanted to call her mom on Skype but when they got back to the house, “Asha dialed 911 and handed me the phone and said she wanted to go to Emergency Room.”
“We got to the hospital and went into a random office. They put her in a wheelchair and started to take her to the ER. But she stamped her feet on the ground and refused to go into ER. I told them she was having a mental health emergency. She stood up and froze and stepped back and fell and was caught in a chair. Then she bolted out of the ER.”
Jamai followed her a couple of blocks out to Fort Bragg’s Main street, which is also Highway One. Asha went into the street and tried to get into a passing car, but the driver refused to let her in. “Then she tried to get into a truck with a creepy guy, but then the guy saw me and drove off.”
The police arrived and picked her up, and brought her back to the ER, fighting, they strapped her to a bed as she screamed. (In fairness to the police, what else could they have done in this situation?) “It was horrible!” said Jamai. “I was in the hallway crying. I was hysterical, and I guess they thought I was in the way. They thought she was on drugs. So we were waiting for the Mental Health person to show up. Asha started screaming my neighbor’s name, ‘EDDIE! EDDIE! EDDIE killed Joy!’ Repeating that. ‘Joy’s dead! I killed Joy!’ Repeating and repeating.”
The Mental Health rep arrived and essentially told Jamai, in his version of events, “We don’t care about that.”
“I guess they thought she’d calm down when the drugs wore off. They wanted her to sign some release papers, but she just scribbled on them and refused to sign.”
Jamai said the Mental Health representative told Asha about two prior patients of his who were in very bad shape, who had slit their wrists, and he showed Asha his wrists and demonstrated and told her a very traumatic story, and then another horrible story, concluding, “These are the people you’ll be with, and then she signed the papers.”
There was some discussion of an appointment on Monday, as if Asha might be better after another night on her own. As they were leaving the hospital, Asha screamed some more about “EDDIE! I killed Joy! EDDIE EDDIE.” …
“Nothing was given to her. It was horrible treatment at the Hospital! Horrible! They did not do any drug tests or any other health tests.”
Jamai offered to take Asha to San Francisco. But first they’d have to get the dog and Sally. So they had no choice but to return to their Albion home.
“When we turned on to Albion Lane, she tried to jump out,” Jamai continued. “She didn’t want to go home. She was afraid. I offered her some Tylenol PM. She grabbed at the bottle like she might take the whole bottle. Then she grabbed a knife suggestively. I said, ‘Come on,’ and she let go of the knife.”
Asha spent another sleepless night. “She was not over her father’s death,” Jamai said, steadily exempting himself from all responsibility for his girl friend's deteriorating mental condition.
Sometime later Sunday night Asha was gone. They looked around the property for her and saw her jacket at the gate to the property. Sally and Jamai went down the road. No Asha. Then they saw her walking. They picked her up. Neighbor Eddie thought Asha was in serious trouble and told Jamai and Sally not to let Asha out of their sight.
“But we had no options. She ran off and hid again. She hid behind a tree, and then started to walk off again. I asked her why she was walking off? She replied, ‘I want to kill myself.’ Sally suggested a drive down the Coast. We agreed. Maybe she’d sleep in the car. Maybe that was a wrong decision not going back to the hospital. But it [the hospital visit] didn’t go well the first time.”
Monday morning they decided to try to drive to San Francisco to see Jamai’s mother. When they stopped at the Rollerville Café near Point Arena, Asha was still “acting weird.” She got out of the car and ran toward the ocean cliffs. Jamai said he grabbed her. She would not eat any breakfast. At one point Jamai thought she was following Sally into the detached bathroom. But when he went back to find Asha when she didn't emerge from the bathroom, he discovered Asha was gone. He and Sally searched but she was gone.
“We looked everywhere. Maybe she went across Highway One to a cow pasture and then to a trail down to the beach. We thought maybe she hopped into a passing car and took off. Sally was tired, she’s not athletic. Sally wanted to sleep. She didn’t realize there was a crisis.” (Huh? After all this drama, Sally didn't realize there was a crisis?) Jamai admits Asha could have jumped or fallen off the cliffs. But nobody would say it out loud. There were clues though: the jacket found in the direction of the ocean, her suicidal tendencies, the young woman severely depressed. “I hoped she was alive,” Jamai said.
Jamai called the police Monday afternoon after his own search of several hours for Asha. “I don’t know what they did. I saw a cop looking over the cliff like she’d jumped. They interviewed Sally. They interviewed me.”
Jamai says there’s no truth to the story that Asha returned for her dog. “Both dogs got out. I think the German Shepard went looking for her.” If she’d come back for her dog someone would have seen her, Jamai insists. There are cameras on the road in Albion. “The dogs would have barked. Even at Asha. They bark. They didn’t bark. That did not happen. It’s all just horrible.”
“I’ve never had a great relationship with Asha’s mother for some reason,” Jamai said. “I have my opinions. I don’t talk to her now. Asha’s sister called. I have Asha’s things. But they never really liked me. When I talked about the childhood trauma they did not believe me. I don’t know what they think to this day. Police didn’t take the case serioiusly. News media didn’t get it. They focused on me, not on Asha’s mental health breakdown. The stories and the social media comments lead people to believe she was fleeing a bad relationship. But no, that’s not it, it was a severe mental breakdown. There’s a difference. She was having a break down, not just fleeing me. They said I was harmful towards her. But that’s ridiculous. They made comments about my race, my education, family history…”
Jamai says the cops have not contacted him since. “The detective seems to care about the case,” he said. “But there’s not much they can do. They think she was a walk-away. But we are victims of no mental health care on the coast, so this incident was not taken seriously and this is the result. We needed a break. We had been dealing with an unstable person for a long time. I was tired. She needed rest and medication. But they scared her away from treatment. It would have been completely different if they’d handled this right.”
“She’s a private person,” said Jamai, “very dedicated, loves her family, loves her mother and sister. Very artistic. Wise for her years. A lovely person. Very thoughtful…”
At the time of the podcast Jamai still thought Asha was alive. “I think she’s on a pot farm in Mendocino County somewhere. September is the time for pot harvesting. People need trimmers. She could have been involved. I hope so. But I don’t know.”
Jordan Sims concluded her podcast interview with Jamai, "If you see her be aware that she might be difficult to approach, skittish. But please, help find Asha Kreimer."
* * *
Anyone with information related to the disappearance of Asha Kreimer is asked to call Detective Luis Espinoza at 707-463-4107 or the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Tip-line at 707-234-2100.
For more information and updates go to the “Help Find Asha Kreimer” Facebook page or her GoFundMe.com profile: https://www.gofundme.com/656da8y4
Postscript: In November of 2015 we reported that Jamai Gayle was badly injured when, westbound, he piled into a large redwood tree off Highway 128 near Navarro on Saturday, November 14, 2015 about 5pm. Gayle's dog was killed on impact. A resident of Albion, Gayle was airlifted to Santa Rosa where he was arrested in the hospital for driving under the influence. The mysterious disappearance of Gayle's girlfriend — last seen at the Rollerville Cafe near Point Arena — is under investigation by the Sheriff's Department.
ROBIN LENORE LINDSEY
Robin Lenore Lindsey, 85, passed away peacefully in her Boonville home on October 17, 2017.
Born in Missouri, Robin spent her preteen years living in Richmond and El Cerrito before moving to Ukiah. Music and drama were always of prime importance in her life and her younger years found her singing, playing piano and violin and often writing skits which she loved to act out and record on 78 records. She graduated from Ukiah High School in 1949 where she met her future husband, James Lindsey, to whom she was married for 63 years. They were both pianists and shared a love of music that lasted all their lives. With a great sense of adventure, James and Robin took their two young children to homestead in Alaska in 1963, where they lived in both Fairbanks and Valdez. Robin was an active member of her community, using her love of music to bring people together. In 1997, after 35 years in Alaska, James and Robin returned from Valdez to Boonville where they spent 20 happy years surrounded by family and friends. During the last 20 years in Boonville, she was active with the Unity Club, the local library, and the senior center. She was a life long Seventh-day Adventist, but enjoyed playing the piano for the local Methodist Church where she occasionally spoke for Sunday service. While she is predeceased by her husband, James Lucas Lindsey, and her grandson, Jeremy Lindsey Houk, she is survived by two children (Gina Marie Lindsey and David Lindsey), a grandchild (Holly Barbacovi) and two great-grandchildren (Stella and Roman Barbacovi).
ANIMAL SHELTER: We're baaack.
Salem is a 5 month old, neutered, male kitten. This charmer is sweet and affectionate. We call him a Purr Bucket! Salem will be good in any type of home, and we think he’d be a great little companion for children!
Simba is a mixed breed, 2 year old male dog, weighing in at 70 pounds. As a puppy, Simba did not get to socialize with other dogs, something every canine needs. When we took him out in our mulit-dog play group, we observed that Simba wanted to play with other dogs, but didn’t know how! We're not saying he can't be in a home with other dogs, but a meet and greet is required before adoption. Samba has a sweet heart, and was well behaved and mellow during his photo session. We are so glad that he is young enough to learn how to be a great companion and that we have the chance to help him find his true forever home.
The Ukiah Animal Shelter is located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah; adoption hours are Tuesday - Saturday 10 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesday till 6:30 pm. To view photos and bios of our adoptable dogs and cats, please us visit online at www.mendoanimalshelter.com or visit the shelter. Join us the 2nd Saturday of every month for our "Empty the Shelter" pack walk and help us get every dog out for some exercise! For more information about adoptions please call 707-467-6453.
FRANK HARTZELL NOTES:
PG&E has been told to underground wires around here for years. The risk would be drastically reduced if they just did some of that. They could also turn off power in dry season when winds are high. As a reporter I sent CPRA records request to the "State" public utilities commission, who refused to answer them and gave me the name of a PG&E person to get in touch with. I could tell you a dozen stories about the deceptions and outright lies they have perpetuated. This company needs to be sued and this probelm resolved. Perhaps there is no way the wires could be put underground like they have done in other areas and most utilities have done more of. Maybe. This is what the courts are for.
MSP NOTES that Hospitality House went trick or treating early, presenting the trick but no treat:
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “A kid asked me if he could dress up as me for Halloween. ‘Go for it,’ I said.”
BIASES. I have as many as the next guy. A photo of a harp, a harpist or the sound of harp music alerts me that wacky is up ahead. Sure enough. A photo in this morning's Chron described a "Sound Healing Symphony organized by Sound Meditation San Francisco. An usher, prayer beads draped across her chest, checked the ticket on my smartphone as another usher doused our surroundings in burnt sage. A woman with a pillow tucked between her arms chatted with a friend as they waited to be let inside the cathedral. 'It can induce orgasm,' the woman with the pillow said. Her companion nodded, sucking marijuana vapor through a silver contraption."
TURNS OUT, it's group meditation at Grace Cathedral, $25 for floor space, $150 for seats nearest the harp. The harp being only an indicator-instrument of mental deficiency, for your $25 you also get the full musical mental monte — the didgeridoo, monochord, vibraphone, Indian flutes, Tibetan bowls, chimes.
I THOUGHT of a man I once saw crawling to the altar in a Catholic church. I remember thinking, "Now there's a seriously spiritual dude. Whatever he's after, it's something big. And he isn't lazy about it." The easy over spirituality we see among the comfortably well-off fits the times. All it asks is that you show up.
* * *
IRONIC that both Halloween and Day of the Dead arose out of the human desire to remember the departed. Mexicans seem still in touch with the spirit of the remembrance, GringoLandia not at all. With us it's a candy orgy for children and a costume party for adults.
* * *
MAYBE it's just me, but I thought Trump's remark, as he doled out candy to the children of White House reporters, was pretty funny: "I didn't know the media could have such beautiful children." And how perfect is Kunstler's description of Trump as "the golden golem of greatness"?
* * *
AS ROLLING CATASTROPHES accumulate, how about Marin Catholic's football team? Why is that school still allowed to compete in football in the Marin County Athletic League against schools who have trouble anymore fielding football teams, let alone football teams assembled by the kind of people who enjoy 100-0 ball games? Every season, Marin Catholic — 7-0 already this season — pounds the crapola out of Marin's high school teams, running up undefeated seasons by hugely lopsided scores. MC doesn't get a real contest until the playoffs, dominated of course, by other Catholic schools. Why are they so successful? Recruits, and kids enrolling who know they'll be professionally prepared to play at the college level. (Cardinal Newman in Santa Rosa does the same thing, but north of the Marin County line the public schools still manage to field teams that can play with Newman.) Many of the Bay Area's Catholic schools field these assembled powerhouses. They should have their own league. Coupla years ago I watched Marin Catholic vs. Fort Bragg at Marin Catholic's college-quality football field, complete with an elevator in the home town stands. Fort Bragg came to town with a very strong team, and played MC tough for about a quarter until MC's superior overall team speed and size wore the good guys down. (Say, what happened to FB's quarterback of that year? That kid could throw!) Of course the professionalization of high school sports is nuts, and is now the only area of the high school experience where there are still real standards, but what's with the Catholics and high school sports? What's the etymology here, and how did the Catholics come to dominate Bay Area athletics at the high school level? And why do the public schools in Marin continue to lay down for them?
* * *
BECAUSE THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATION is still so vivid to us children of the sixties, many of us geezers naively expect the just-released documents will answer the big question: Was it a conspiracy? Those of us expecting some answers assume all the info about that event is still extant, hasn't been shredded, hasn't been disappeared, which it undoubtedly has. What we're going to find out is that in the month or so before Oswald shot the president, intelligence agencies of all kinds were well aware of him. How could they miss? Here's a guy who renounces his U.S. citizenship for life in Russia, which he soon tires of because the Rooskies put him to work in a factory in an outback town. Oswald then begs for re-entry with his new wife, a daughter of a KGB colonel. He comes home and immediately establishes himself as a kind of low rent, freelance secret agent, moving mysteriously around at night when he's not home beating his wife, finally taking a shot at a rightwing general as a kind of prelim to shooting Kennedy. All by itself, especially at the time, Oswald's Russian interlude would have the CIA and the FBI on his case. Big Time. As would his trips to Mexico where he talked to Cubans, Russians and American spooks. Was he on the payroll of any or all of them? That's the part we're not going to know, ever. Major murk that he was, implausible as he was, I still think Oswald acted alone. There's no evidence of a conspiracy, not that some might not surface some day.
* * *
AND BUILDING 7 was not blown up by the Mossad or the "deep state"; 911 was not an inside job; vaccination is not a government plot to murder hippie children; contrails are harmless; Bigfoot was a retired logger in an ape suit; we are not visited by entities from outer space; we are absolutely alone in the universe; the OJ jury delivered a just verdict based on the case they heard presented in court; you are not represented by anybody at any level of government.
MORE EVIDENCE the Press Democrat is not edited, this hed from Saturday's paper: Smith: Recognize this olden wedding photo spared in the fires?
LINDY PETERS WRITES (re: Fort Bragg City Council Meeting Report):
The Council action was simply to direct staff to spend time writing a CDBG grant proposal for either of two projects. This is simply a grant application. No money is guaranteed. Applications are reviewed and points are awarded for certain requirements met within the proposal. Jennifer Owen, considered a State expert when it comes to CDBG grants, advised the Council that the PFI project scored higher in the CDBG point system and had a much better chance of actually being funded. Again, Council action merely directed staff to APPLY for a CDBG grant. Plus, the sewer infrastructure is scheduled to be funded when the huge wastewater/sewer treatment $10 million project begins next year. Funding has been identified. No funding exists for the PFI project. Rex of course conveniently leaves out all these highly pertinent facts in his story.
Aid applications for tens of thousands of disaster victims, including some in the North Bay, have been ensnared in scams using stolen Social Security numbers and other personal information.
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 28, 2017
MORGAN AMMERMAN, Ukiah. Under influence, resisting.
CHRISTOPHER BRADFORD, Indianapolis, Indiana/Willits. Kidnappying for robbery or rape, first degree robbery, use of firearm, conspiracy.
JEFFREY CHENIER, Ukiah. Community supervision violation.
URIEL HERNANDEZ, Willits. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, possession of stolen vehicle.
MATTHEW HOLBERG, Hopland. Controlled substance, concealed weapon in vehicle while armed with loade gun.
DALE KLEINSORGE, Ukiah. Second degree burglary, receiving stolen property.
FRANKLIN PATTY, Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, county parole violation, probation revocation.
BRUNO PORTUGUES, San Fernando, Argentina/Laytonville. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
REBECCA RODRIGUEZ, Willits. Paraphernalia, false ID, failure to appear.
MICHAEL TAYLOR, Muncie Indiana/Willits. Kidnappying for robbery or rape, first degree robbery, use of firearm, conspiracy.
CHRISTINA TORRES, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
DIONTAE WRIGHT, Indianapolis, Indiana/Willits. Kidnapping for robbery or rape, first degree robbery, armed with firearm, conspiracy.
To the Editor:
For the next several years, as PG&E, the insurance industry, and the government play the blame game, I think I know how to prevent more than half of the loss of life and property due to fire.
We all love our trees and privacy and any home worth having includes landscaping close around our house.
When the weatherman predicts a windy spell, over say 30 m.p.h., PG&E can and should kill electric service to the area. For just less than $5,000 per home, a transfer switch next to our 200 amp reset service box would energize select outlets in the home from an inverter and deep cycle battery hookup to give us furnace heat, 6 or 8 led bulb lighting and just two amps for the fridge, TV and power for our phones.
A little gadget for $30 keeps batteries from sulfating.
If the PG&E dropout lasts too long, any old car alternator will put out 14 volts dc to recharge a battery bank without the recoil start generator noise. Trees will fall but bringing down dead electric wires or pole transformers will not start a fire. Small money to save a nice neighborhood and lives lost to a preventable fire.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I heard a millennial talk about how he was voting for Trump because he wanted to bring ‘the system down’. He figured Trump would cause so many people to get pissed off that we would have a revolution because of his outrageous behavior.
Ignorant youth. People are not starving so they have no wish to revolt. Revolt in an electronic age of surveillance is impossible. Good behavior cannot be crowd-sourced. All electing an idiot did was put an idiot in charge. For those who voted for Trump because they knew he would be the source of never-ending Washington comedy as long as he lasted there, you were right. What you did not figure in was that between the comedic antics would be long stretches of depressing ignorance. So was it worth it?
Carved pumpkins melting in the hundred degree day of an LA ‘hotober’ say no. In Seattle new growth in my garden on veggies that should now be dying say no. Winter should be coming but I am seeing new green growing as if our stratospheric forever rising stock market has infected the local weather.
We could have a killing frost. Or not, but we don’t need an science denying idiot in charge.
THE THING that most white people imagine that they can salvage from the storm of life is really, in sum, their innocence... I am afraid that most of the white people I have ever known impressed me as being in the grip of a weird nostalgia, dreaming of a vanished state of security and order, against which dream, unfailingly and unconsciously, they tested and very often lost their lives.
— James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name
A HOMELESS SURVIVAL GUIDE
by Bob Hager
The leaves in some states will be changing soon, colors of every hue — reds and yellow, brilliant orange, still a little bit of green and finally brown — will float to earth to help bring life anew.
I've traveled all over the U.S. several times over the years but, to me, no matter where, the months from October on are always the most difficult. And for the first time in a couple of decades, I'll face them alone.
I am Bob Hager, though my birth name was Robert Jackson. I've been married to my lovely wife Kathleen for 17 years, although we'd been together quite a bit longer. She passed away next to me in bed on July 7.
While we spent much of our 20 or so years together on the move, we got off a bus in Eureka on Sept. 1, 2014, looking to make this our home. We stayed in the Budget Motel for a little over a year but the city tossed us all out to the curb in September of 2016. (You might have seen us in the Journal.) We've been homeless ever since.
If you spend any time in Old Town, you probably saw us, me pushing Kat in her wheelchair, a book in her hand. In fact, if I walked around without her, nobody recognized me. We were always together. I'm now semi-patiently waiting for this thing called "survivors' benefits" from the Veterans Administration to find out if I'll be living in a tent the rest of my life. I get $422 a month for my veteran's disability benefits, which isn't enough to do much at all.
I'm staying at the Veterans Resource Center until probably January or February or March, whenever I get those survivor benefits. Then, I'll lay Kat to rest — she was cremated and I got a nice plaque. I look forward to putting her to rest so I can go visit her. The Vets center is helping me get my head and heart back together.
As the season changes, I think of Halloween and how Kat and I used to have a wonderful time. But I also know November and December are right around the corner and they'll be hard.
There are places, of course, you can go for the holidays to have the big meal but my innards just ain't in it. In my younger days, if you wanted to find me this time of year, you'd have to look in the nearest bar. I've grown older and hopefully wiser but, to me, the holidays just aren't much fun. In fact, they actually hurt. All those delicious smells, those holiday ads with all those smiling faces saying, "get this, buy that, you ain't right until your kidlets have this" — they are reminders of what you don't have, maybe things you never did.
If you get a government check, your holidays happen later. Thanksgiving comes Dec. 1 and Christmas on Jan. 2.
I'm 60 years old but I wear it well. I've now been homeless several times in my life. Over the years, I wandered in no particular direction, whichever way the wind blew. And I've learned a thing or two — enough that I've written a "poor man's survival guide," a book aimed at helping people off the streets, a few times over. I'm now working on a new edition, which is where the pointers in the list below come from. I dearly hope that this can touch at least one person's life.
Meanwhile, I wait and twiddle my thumbs in anticipation that at the end of this road, I will be back on my feet with Kat laid to rest and a roof above my head. Just a place to call my own. It doesn't have to be big or fancy, merely a comfy place with my own key.
Don't look back
You're now officially homeless. This is one of the toughest sentences you'll ever have to hear. It doesn't matter what the circumstances were that caused this tragedy, it now only matters what you're going to do about it. More and more people of late are thrust into this predicament every day. Work is getting harder to find, rent keeps getting higher, places to rent are getting fewer and harder to find. And, my friends, I really hope you have saved all your references and relationships since birth, because you will need them all.
Don't live with family or friends (if possible)
Sometimes living with friends or relatives can get you through a rough patch but try not to outstay your welcome, which sometimes doesn't take too long. And I've found from past experience that staying with either for any length of time can really stretch the limits of friendships and family ties. One can really strain a friendship, sometimes past all repair, so try not to do it often or for a long time. And if you must stay with friends, please don't bring a bunch of needless stuff with you that you might have to lug around all day.
Don't be lugging a bunch of now useless crap around. It's heavy, it doesn't do what you want it to and you've got nowhere to put it. Did I mention it's heavy? You're going to be walking a lot.
Only carry what you can fit into a backpack and maybe a duffel bag. Try not to tote around big garbage bags or a bunch of grocery bags, it sends up warnings to store owners and police and maybe somebody in worse shape than yourself. Backpacks are usually pretty cheap and relatively easy to come across. Most shelters can at least tell you where to get one. It is easier to be homeless if you're single and it costs less to get by, but be careful what friends you strike up in shelters or soup kitchens — things might just vanish while you're not looking.
Find a homeless shelter
First things first, if the town you're in doesn't have a shelter you'll probably need to move to a larger town that does. If you have a job, it might be difficult to do this transition as the town with the shelter might be some distance away and transportation problems come into play. Now if you're not employed, then moving is a must.
But that is very often easier said then done. Some shelters, well most shelters, it's a day-to-day thing. You go in the evening, eat, shower and sleep. Generally, they'll serve breakfast and send you on your way. If you have a spouse, well, things can get seriously more complicated. The women's shelter is most likely quite a ways from the men's shelter and you can only stay together if you're married with children.
Do your research
But do some checking before you just go gallivanting off to another town. If you've got internet, do some research on the towns you're thinking about moving to. Does it have soup kitchens or food pantries? Is there bus service? How many folks does the shelter hold and are there programs to help get you back on your feet?
Sometimes if you're in a warm climate, a tent and a sleeping bag will suffice but that can have its own problems, such as finding a safe, secluded spot to camp and still be close enough to stores for grub and clothes and showers. And also the ever elusive police officers. There again, if you're lugging around a bunch of stuff, you'll tend to have more unpleasant encounters.
If you have a job, keep it
If you have a steady job, by all means keep it — good work is few and far between and income is a top priority in the apartment game. Word hard and show them what you got because no money means no indoors.
Preserve your references(and your relationships)
Make sure you have your information and references of past and present work and employment history, as well as references for several years of landlords' names, numbers and possibly addresses.
When you have a steady place to live, most of the things I just mentioned tend to get forgotten or misplaced — no one really thinks about losing their home until it's too late. And sometimes you have to pack in a hurry.
If you get to read this before you're actually homeless, try to put all your important records and numbers on a flash drive. They are relatively cheap and can hold a lot of information and they take up a lot less space than a bunch of paperwork. They are also more likely to survive rough weather and all that lies ahead.
Try to wear reasonably clean clothes and take showers often. People will look at you differently if you don't look all dingy and they can't smell you a block before you get there.
The locals in town will generally get to know you at least by face since most likely they'll see you all the time, at least during business hours. Be sure to clean up after yourself and leave the spot you're at better than when you got there.
And one of the very most important rules of homelessness is don't drink. It doesn't help you or those around you if you're drinking a lot. It wastes money you really don't have to waste and people tend to get in more fights when they've been drinking. Store owners aren't going to look at you too kindly if you're toasted most of the time. "He can afford to drink but he can't afford an apartment. Hmmmm."
And do you dangdest not to panhandle or mooch money, it doesn't do you any justice and people will be a bit leery of being around you. When you're on the street, people will watch you all the time – you really need to be on your best behavior. Also, be careful who you hang with — guilt by association holds true most everywhere. If the folks you hang with tend to get into mischief, people will think you do too, whether true or not.
Whatever money you do have, use sparingly — you don't know how long it will have to last so let frugal be your name. Every penny counts. Nothing but what you need.
Churches are sometimes good places for food, clothes and even counseling, if you need it, and sometimes a shoulder to cry on can be a great help. Shelters can help you find places to get work and that is a top priority in getting back into your own place. Learn what's out there and use it. The Salvation Army, Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul are usually places you can go for various types of assistance or that can at least point you in the right direction. You can use the internet at the library. If you're a veteran, there are still more resources you'll be able to access, so find the VA.
Get an ID, a phone and a mailing address
Make sure you have a valid ID — life gets difficult real quick without it. Basically, no ID, no job; no job, no apartment. I don't think you can even go to a food pantry without proper ID. The ID thing is important. Once you get one, take a picture of it with your phone. (If you have a medical ID card, do this with it, too.)
When you get some money, get a phone (although, in some places, you can get free phones). You'll need a phone number for work and housing, as well as assistance for food stamps and the like. And keep the phone paid up — it tends to be a problem when you switch numbers all the time.
Another thing of major importance is a mailing address. You have to get mail so you have to get a mailing address. And some of the places you'll be going for services will demand something with your current mailing address on it — mail! Most shelters (I did say most) will have an address you can use or, if not, they might be able to tell you where you ca go. Usually, the shelter has a list of places where you can find necessities.
Get a bank account
Another important thing, as soon as possible, get a bank account and/or a savings account. Any money you have will just burn a hole in your pocket if you keep it with you. When you're homeless, that's one of the things that makes you feel like a real person — going into a store and buying something, anything. It's really hard to save money if it's in your pocket and you'll need every penny.
Look for work
Your next big hurdle is, of course, where to get the aforementioned money. If you're working, great, stay that way. If you aren't working, look harder. There are places to get help with resumes, applications, etc. The Job Market is a good start.
When you go for an interview, be prepared. Know what you can about the business, what they do. Have your own pen, it's not life threatening but it looks good (especially if it's a nice pen).
Dress good. No T-shirts unless that's all you have. But try to at least have a button-down shirt, good jeans — no rips, stains, odors. Shoes are whatever you have. But at least make them look as clean as possible. Don't cuss, don't make jokes, be straightforward and sure of what you have to offer. Try not to fidget.
Fill out all the application and read it through first so you'll make less mistakes. And make it neat. Check back every few days. Do several applications a day and you'll get a job. (Never ask for a "job," ask for "work!").
Someone told me once, "work as hard at getting a job as once you get it." Maybe harder.
Consider a bus pass
Depending on your location, and your finances, you might want a bus pass. They are handy, especially for job and apartment hunting. And did I mention you'll be walking a lot?
Know your surroundings
Get to know your surroundings — stores, library, neighboring towns, what neighborhoods not to go in! This is especially true if you're out on your own in a strange town. Be aware of what's going on around you. Choose your friends wisely.
Find a nice little coffee shop, maybe a Denny's or the like. It does help if you can kind of relax around a cup of joe. It kind of makes you feel like you're still part of the human race. Plus, it helps warm you up and if you get to know the staff you can learn things.
Find down time
Working all day and sleeping in a shelter at night is going to be really rough and that doesn't count all the walking around in between. Try to find places where you can spend some time and try to relax. Parks are good, by the water is nice, too. When you're walking the street all day, there's just always that feeling that you don't fit in. Find someplace where you feel safe and like you fit in a little. It doesn't matter as long as you can just kick back and unwind a bit before it all starts over again.
It's important not to over tax yourself even though you really want your own indoors. Don't put too many irons in the fire. Staying in a shelter while looking for work and housing, walking everywhere and carrying everything you own is exhausting. Working hard on getting where you're going is great but you can push yourself too hard, get stressed or hurt and find yourself in the hospital. That is definitely the wrong direction.
If you find work, stick with it
Stay with your job. Even if you don't like it, stay until you find something else. Every blessed step is going to be hard and, alas, the end is far from view. You get to the point that you just want to give up but there is no give up now unless you die.
And when you do get a job, treat yourself a little bit when you get a paycheck. We've all seen folks that have just given into the uselessness and just shuffle around town with their heads hung low, but you can't go there. Once you've gotten some money in the bank (if you've been saving most of it!) try to give yourself a gift, maybe a night in a motel and a nice meal just to let you know you're doing what you need to do and you've earned it.
Search for housing
It used to be that you're rent was about a third of your paycheck but now it's like half, maybe more. And most landlords want to know that you have at least three months rent in the bank so you'll have to save every penny you can. The longer you stay on the street the harder it is to save money but you'll have to rein yourself in (and your partner) if you want your own roof above you. The search will be harder if you have pets, too.
There are some things that might be able to assist you in this — like HUD, Section 8 and a couple of more. But these are government programs, so it will take a while and you will need all the ID and references stuff. You can also find housing listed on www.Craigslist.com, in the local newspapers and on bulletin boards around town.
When you do finally get an interview about a place, dress like you would to get a job and, really, all the same rules apply. Show up a little early. Be polite and to the point — don't start your comedy career here. But you might have to go through several interviews before you strike gold, or at least copper. Be optimistic and assertive, but that doesn't mean aggressive.
A word of caution: Be careful not to jump out of the shelter too quickly or you might find yourself back there pretty quick, too.
This isn't about lollipops and roses. Climbing off the street and into four walls of your own is going to be hard. Really hard. Sometimes, it'll feel like you'll never get comfortable again, but fear not, if you're diligent, it will (eventually) happen. All I can say is, if you put yourself into it wholeheartedly, you will succeed.
(This story by Mr. Hager first appeared in the North Coast Journal)
WHY DO I HAVE TO go backwards when everybody else who can goes on? Why does my husband and other people find that what was so satisfactory for them is not the thing for me. And if you do cure me what's going to happen to all the bitterness and unhappiness in my heart. It seems to me a sort of castration, but since I am powerless I suppose I will have to submit though I am neither young enough nor credulous enough to think that you can manufacture out of nothing something to replace the song I had.
— Zelda Fitzgerald
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
Kennedy, Krushchev & Castro
From The Nation magazine:
In October 1962, unprovoked and out of the blue, the Soviet Union (the bad guys, the aggressors) precipitated a crisis with the United States (the good guys, the victims) by attempting to install nuclear missiles in Cuba, (a “parking lot” for the missiles), 90 miles from the shores of the United States. Luckily, US intelligence discovered this provocative plan before its completion—in fact, before any nuclear warheads had arrived in Cuba, rendering their delivery vehicles (missiles, planes, and boats) useless. And so, with fearless, finely calibrated coercion, President John F. Kennedy compelled Nikita Khrushchev to back down and remove the missiles. Kennedy stood strong; he stood tall; he did not compromise; and in just 13 days, he secured an unequivocal victory for the United States over the Soviet Union. Since Kennedy’s forces had overwhelming local military superiority in the Western hemisphere, and global superiority in deliverable nuclear warheads all over the world, the crisis was not as dangerous as some made it out to be. Khrushchev had no choice. He had to capitulate or risk being destroyed and he knew it, which is why he “blinked” and Kennedy didn’t. Kennedy and Khrushchev rightly ignored the ranting of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, since his views were irrelevant to both the deployment and removal of the missiles. October 1962 was Kennedy’s finest hour, Khrushchev’s worst humiliation, and Castro’s introduction into the high-stakes game that was the Cold War, as played by the Big Boys from Washington and Moscow—a game in which a small country like Cuba was merely a bit player.
Now you’ve met the enemy.
Our research on the crisis over the past 30 years proves beyond a doubt that everything in that paragraph is dead wrong! It never happened.
What did happen? Here, also in one paragraph, is the truth about what made the Cuban missile crisis the most dangerous crisis in recorded history:
The crisis did not come out of the blue and last 13 days; US blindness toward Cuba only made it seem that way. The crisis began 18 months earlier, after the failed April 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion. Cuba, fearing an imminent full-scale US invasion, asked Russia for defensive weapons. Russia began providing nuclear weapons, and the superpower-sleepwalk toward Armageddon began. The United States was not a victim of the deployment; its threats to Cuba were an important cause of it. US intelligence assessments were atrocious: They did not predict the deployment; they did not even confirm it until the missiles in Cuba were almost ready to fire; and their conclusion that warheads for the weapons probably never reached Cuba was dead wrong. In all, 162 nuclear warheads were shipped, delivered, stored, and made ready to fire by Soviet technicians in Cuba. While Kennedy courageously and ingeniously resisted the many hawks in his administration urging him toward war, he had no plan when the missiles were discovered and was shocked at the deployment. Nobody won. Nobody lost. Nobody “blinked.” Once Kennedy and Khrushchev realized they were losing control of the crisis, they worked feverishly, collaboratively, and effectively to terminate it. But Moscow’s and Washington’s dismissal of the Cuban perspective, leading to Cuban outrage and provocative behavior, sent the crisis to within a hair’s breadth of nuclear war. Far from being a bit player, Cuba became the hinge of the world. Believing they were irrevocably doomed by an imminent US nuclear attack on the island, Fidel Castro wrote to Khrushchev urging him to launch an all-out nuclear attack on the United States ASAP, once the Americans began invading the island. The Cubans, and their Russian comrades in Cuba, prepared to nuke the US Guantánamo Bay naval base, and to use their short-range nuclear weapons against the invading US forces. Had these actions been carried out, a US nuclear response would likely have followed, and Armageddon would have commenced then and there.
Every claim in this summary statement is backed by voluminous and authoritative declassified documentation, oral testimony from top-ranking leaders during the crisis, and by the careful analyses of scholars from many disciplines! What it says happened, happened!
THE BONES OF ANCIENT KNUCKLEHEADS
"Joan fails to comprehend the nature of her personal entrapment. Her attempts to seek out false alternatives that harm her potential for true independence lead to escalating patterns of supernatural chaos and violence. The original nightmares emerged from her uneasy relationship with her boorish husband. But they also take on a sinister form of development as a result of her flirtation with a world of witchcraft which is as stifling and conformist as the deadly world she seeks escape from." -The Sun
The recording of last night's (2017-10-27) KNYO (and for the middle-end half or so, KMEC) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show is ready to download for free and enjoy at any time of the day or night, via http://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
A seven-hour show. A pretty good one, even though I somehow misplaced half an hour of material, including a story by Eleanor Cooney. There’s always next week. The novel El Sereno by Jay Frankston reached the end this show with Chapter 38. John Passyka sent a story of the giant pet owl he raised from a tiny baby. Scott Peterson, in part three of a series, expunged his demons regarding Project Sanctuary and the Anderson Valley Advertiser.
Zeke Krahlin told a story about a friendly lonely werewolf and his friendly lonely friend. Lanny Cotler called and talked about his service in Vietnam, books he wrote, movies he made, the /radio station in Willits he begat/ (KLLG). Peter Lit's diplomatic take on Jerry Philbrick's angry racist right-wing rants. Some letters about Measure B, pro and/or con. History, science, creepy snark, recipes for both disaster and what H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzies would call wunnafuru foog. It's a lot to digest.
Besides that, as usual also there you'll find a fresh batch of links to other interesting and educational goods I collected for you while putting the show together, to add to the literally zillions of wonders and amusements already there, that might not necessarily work on the radio because of being mostly visual. Such as:
The infernal cauldron (Melies, 1903).
A rundown of time travel in fiction.
A chart for design workers to help you decide: should you work for free? It's big. Move over to start at the center.
Ruben Bolling’s latest /Super-Fun-Pak Comix/.
And a compendium of Demonology and Magick.
WHY HARVARD LAW SCHOOL MATTERS: A NEW CRITIQUE
by Ralph Nader
As Harvard Law School celebrates its 200th anniversary with two days on October 26 and 27 of events attended by hundreds of alumni, some law students, led by Pete Davis (’18), are inviting the Law School to engage in extra-ordinary introspection as it looks toward its Third Century.
Mr. Davis, after two years of observation, participation, conversation and research, has produced a major report titled Our Bicentennial Crisis: A Call to Action for Harvard Law School’s Public Interest Mission. Over the past sixty years, many of the beneficial changes at the law school were jolted, driven or demanded by a small number of organized students calling for clinical education, for women and minorities to be admitted as students and faculty, for more affordability, for more realism in their legal education and for more intellectual diversity among the professors (The critical legal studies scholars obliged them up to a point). Over time, the law school administration, with faculty persuasion, responded.
The bicentennial report by Pete Davis asks important questions about the law writ large square in the context of the law school’s long declared mission statement: “to educate leaders who contribute to the advancement of justice and the well-being of society.”
Out there in the country, the rule of law and justice is relentlessly overwhelmed by concentrated, unjust power. Just consider the stark reality that our profession’s legal services are unaffordable to most Americans and, as retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has been tirelessly arguing, legal aid resources for access to justice are consistently pathetic.
But the reality of raw economic, political and technological power over a just legal order has broader consequences. From the lawlessness of Presidential war-making exercised daily abroad, to the plutocrat-shaped and dominated corporate state, to stifling the fair usage of our two pillars of private law – contracts and torts – there is an undeniable crisis outside of Harvard Law School that Davis factually and normatively contends is aided and abetted by the culture, incentives and practices at our alma mater.
The underlying moral basis of law has been supplanted by the commercial motivations and their tailored analytic skills. For most students, Harvard Law has long been a finishing school, a farm team, if you will, for lucrative corporate law practice in service to ever larger global corporations. The corporate attorneys weave strategies that mature the authoritarian corporate state (recall President Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex as one example) to undermine a weakening democratic society and support corporate supremacy.
As institutionalized lawlessness robs our country of its potential and promise, the opportunities for Harvard Law, a well-endowed, proud historic law school, to be a leading institution for justice, become ever more significant and urgent. The civic jolt, as always, comes from the rising of the deprived, denied, excluded and disrespected citizenry, from an informed and motivated student body — seeking higher estimates of their own significance in contemporary history and drawing on their forebears’ finest initiatives — and a faculty that lifts its horizons beyond its specializations and moves from knowledge to action— as a few Harvard professors have done. It helps to nourish a media that recognizes law schools as heavily underutilized but very important national resources. In short, law schools need a constant dose of demands and invitations that come from higher public expectations.
Looking at HLS 200: HLS in the World – Friday’s numerous sessions – one wonders about key subjects left out – such as corporate crime, consumer protection and the role of large corporate law firms – and who was invited and not invited to participate based on knowledge, record and something to say.
Our Bicentennial Crisis was written by Pete Davis to be discussed, analyzed and amplified by the Harvard Law School community, including its alumni, and the affected public at large, Copies will be distributed to all the law schools in the country and other civic and public organizations.
The law school administration, so historically adept at waiting out its student and alumni critics, would do well to engage with an open and sensitive mind. With Dean John Manning taking the helm, a fresh attitude, unencumbered by past decisions, can encourage constructive engagements in the coming weeks. Our country’s crises are worsening, the needs are great and the existing capacities at HLS should rise to meet, in the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., “the felt necessities of our times.”
(Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!)
This letter follows my previous letter wherein I deferred discussing increasing water problems in Peru. However, first I will discuss an article in the Guardian about a paper by the University of Melbourne that combines latest understanding on Antarctica ice and current emissions projection scenarios. The report projected coastal cities world wide could be devastated by 1.3m of sea level rise this century unless coal-generated electricity is virtually eliminated by 2050. It confirms that significant sea level rise is inevitable and requires rapid adaption that could be avoided if the world reaches its commitments made in Paris to keep global warming "well below 2C". The new paper by Alexander Nauels and colleagues used simplified physical models that allowed them to explore all known contributions to sea level rise, and pair them with the new generation of emissions scenarios which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will use in their set of reports. John Church, a leading sea level rise expert from the University of Nova Scotia told the Guardian the work of the (IPCC) was further confirmation that the world needed to prepare now for substantial sea level rises. Another report of interest was the report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a nonpartisan federal watchdog, stated that climate change already is costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars and those costs are expected to rise as devastating storms, floods, wildfires and droughts become more frequent in the coming decades. Over the past decade about $350 billion has been expended. Unfortunate the climate change deniers led by President Trump are taking us on a path that will have grave consequences for our country. As examples, Kathleen Hartnett White, Trump's pick for Environment Adviser said carbon dioxide is harmless and renewable energy is unreliable and parasitic; Nancy Beck, a chemical industry insider now shapes policy at EPA. The industry is pushing back and working with Beck to reduce controls on Asbestos, 1-Bromopropane, Carbon Tetrachloride, 1,4-Dioxane and Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster. There are numerous other actions by Trump and his fellow climate change deniers which I just don't have space to cite. I am closing off and again deferring comments on Peru and its water problems.
In peace and love,
REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST
Don't Take Any Crap From Anybody! Ever!!
Spent the afternoon sipping Trouble Coffee near San Francisco's Ocean Beach. Made a trip there to give the baristas Indian incense, which may be lit and placed outside by the peace pole. Sitting inside eating lavender shortbread and washing it down with the Matador, one of the stronger coffee choices. Looking out of the window at Judah Street, one block from where I worked at Other Avenues community food store in 1987. Remembering all of the idiotic gender related conflicts at the store, and then remembering all of the conflicts due to organizational confusion when I worked at Zen Center's Tassajara Bakery in 1979 in Cole Valley, and all of the conflicts with some of the less-than-enlightened at Integral Yoga in New York City and at Yogaville in Virginia in the mid 1990s. "Mentally meandering" all over the place as the caffeine kicks in, from the curiosity of the Catholic grade school experience to the comparatively oppressive year at Xavier High School in Cincinnati with the Jesuits, and then much later, the strange ego battles within anarchist groups in Berkeley, which were thoroughly stupid; feminism gone completely crazy! Looking out the window enjoying my Matador coffee drink this afternoon, watching the aggravating parade of thoughts about past social situations in postmodern America just crawl on through. It's amazing that I didn't pick up a piece of furniture and beat the holy fuck out of anybody. I must be enlightened.
Craig Louis Stehr