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Mendocino County Today, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017

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LITTLE DOG SAYS, “Merry Christmas to dogs and dawgs everywhere!”

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THE MAJOR ENJOYED a holiday visit at the home of Kevin Burke and Robin Quirk over the weekend. A former tenant of the ex-pat British artist and all-round good bloke, the Major got an update on Kevin’s increasingly complicated water treatment system before enjoying some jazz and conversation with several Philo friends, including former AVA contributor Stella Day, daughter of local painter/musician Bob Day and AV Elementary teacher Linnea Totten, visiting from Los Angeles. Ms. Day, a decent tennis player and fine student in her days at AV Unified, is living with her friend Olivia Allen, also an outstanding AV Unified graduate, in the LA area and is now in the process of obtaining her license as a school pyschologist. Robin Quirk spends a lot of her time these days as a nurse in San Francisco while spending her off-days in Philo.

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Public Defender Linda Thompson announced on December 6th her intention to retire, and that her last day would be June 30th, 2018. Ms. Thompson made the statement after noting my presence in the courtroom and as I took notes, she answered questions from some of the courtroom menials she has come to know over the years.

"Do you have plans?"

"Oh, yes, we'll travel and explore, my wife being so much richer than I am, you know."

"Yes, but what about your Potter Valley ranch?"

"Well, you see, it's only 378,000 acres and we feel so closed in, like."

"Yeah, I live in a Redwood Valley ranch and know just what you mean…"

"What will you do, at all, with all the free time?

At this point the judge emerged from chambers, and the press conference was hushed up by the bailiff. But I thought it a clever bit of theater, and can't help but wonder if I was being upstaged by the clerks, the bailiffs, the stenographers —?

(Bruce McEwen)

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MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Mendocino County's land of Redwoods and beautiful coastal sunsets!

The DA and his staff wish one and all a safe celebration.

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WHEN CARMEL ANGELO congratulated the Supervisors the other day for their "courage" in giving themselves raises, I sought back over the years for example of real courage from generations of boards of supervisors. Pinches took a number of lonely stands for common sense, but that's as close as I got, and even Cowboy John's were hardly of the rescue-the-kids-from-the-burning-house courage. Political courage in Mendo is non-existent, with political courage defined here as a position that could cost you your job — in many countries your life.

THE 80-YEAR-OLD Clearlake Highlands dude busted with that mammoth load of what he called Christmas gifts but the cops called dope, is an inspiration to Seniors everywhere. And his wife is twenty years younger than him so he gets another gold star for that!

ATTENTION BLACK THUGS! More than one black guy driving around in the hills of Mendocino County, the hippies go for their guns. Ditto for unknown white boys. The idea that Mendo's hill muffins are easy rips wasn't even true forty years ago, and now? Well, ask the white thugs, ask the Trevor Jackson Gang. The Muffs are ready, right Trev?


Trevor Jackson, Lewis Dishman, Daniel Sanchez, Matthew Sturges, Joshua Hanover

RECOMMENDED VIEWING; Freeway: Crack in the System. A riveting Netflicks documentary centered on a whirlwind LA cocaine distributor called Freeway Ricky Ross. According to Esquire, "Between 1982 and 1989, federal prosecutors estimated, Ross bought and resold several metric tons of cocaine," which isn't the half of it.

THE GREAT AMERICAN journalist Gary Webb was driven to suicide by a deluge of criticism for his brilliant reporting for the San Jose Mercury News that revealed, in irrefutable detail, the arrangement between the CIA and the crack cocaine devastation wrought in cities across the country to fund the counter-revolutionary Contras in Nicaragua, The Columbia School of Journalism types from the MSM, rolled out for their paymasters to claim that Webb's reporting was flawed, which it wasn't. This film is brilliantly done, again confirming that the CIA has been responsible for much internal havoc, not as much as they've wrought overseas, but plenty.

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I have no idea where this picture came from (from someone brilliant, for sure), so feel free to share.

(via Elizabeth Mitchell, Fort Bragg)

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DARK RUMOR circulating on the South Coast, a reader writes:

Howy Cwap! The word down here on the coast is that Jeanie Jackson may run for District 5 Supervisor. In case that is true and in case she gets elected, please forward my paper copy of the weekly coveted AVA to Nova Scotia.

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RUSTLERS struck at the nativity scene in Golden Gate Park and stole a 150-pound sheep. The carcass of the black-faced ewe, one of 20 sheep kept in an enclosure near Spreckles Lake during the Christmas season, was discovered yesterday by a watchman near the Pacific Rod and Gun Club at Lake Merced. "It was a very professional job of butchering," said Sergeant Joseph Galic, head of the Police Department's mounted patrol. The live nativity scene, presented nightly by the Intra-Church Lutheran Council in cooperation with the Recreation and Park Department began its annual run last week. The final performances will be held at half-hourly intervals tonight. An official of a San Francisco packing plant said the value of a full-grown ewe on the commercial market is "not over $7 or $8." (SF Chron, 28 December, 1967)

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WE ALL HAVE wonderful Christmas memories of past holidays with family and friends. These are the thoughts and sentiments of the best of our times and the happiest of our days.

But that’s not what we’re dealing with today. Beautiful Christmas memories are So Last Year. Instead, let’s take a detour through the worst of Christmases Past, as experienced by me and some friends.

First we go to Missouri, circa 1974, and we peep in on Christmas morning in a suburban living room featuring the tree, the ornaments, the family members (most of ‘em, anyway) and a young Buddy Eller.

Yes that Buddy Eller, now long gone but far from forgotten, an early champion of Ukiah’s homeless and anyone else on the outer fringes of society.

But in 1974 Buddy was simply a young man with a new wife about to celebrate Christmas with his Missouri in-laws. Everything described so far is true, but may I clarify? Yes, Buddy was recently married and it’s also true “most of” the family members were gathered around on this Christmas morning in anticipation of celebrating the holiday together.

But it was also true that Buddy and his wife had gone to a Christmas Eve party the night before, during which his wife caught the eye, and then the arm, of another man.

They left the party together, which meant Buddy was left alone, and he was still alone the following morning when he came downstairs to join his new in-laws in the living room. Warm and wonderful memories were not about to begin.

Buddy couldn’t remember what gifts he and his wandering wife had given to her parents, but he did recall sadly peeling paper off gaily wrapped packages of cookware he and she had been given. Who suffered greater embarrassment that Christmas morning, Buddy or “most of” his family? There is no right answer.

He pulled a few more ribbons and bows from boxes of skillets and sauce pans, and then everyone paused to listen as a car pulled up outside. A door slammed, the car zoomed off, and seconds later Mrs. Buddy Eller came in the front door, carrying her shoes. She went upstairs.

Buddy got nothing for Christmas that year, not even the cookware, which he said he would liked to have been able to exchange at the Sears store for a Diehard battery to put in his car, which wouldn’t start when he packed up that afternoon to go back home.

No gifts, but Christmas memories to last a lifetime.

(Tommy Wayne Kramer, Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, December 23-24, 2017

Bennett, Bouldin, Cooke

ISAIAH BENNETT, Willits. Controlled substance, probation revocation.

BROC BOULDIN, Fort Bragg. Unauthorized entry into dwelling.

SHELBEE COOKE, McKinleyville. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Curran, Diaz-Lezama, Faber

MARTIN CURRAN, Petaluma/Ukiah. Concealed dirk-dagger, controlled substance, controlled substance with loaded firearm.

JUAN DIAZ-LEZAMA, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

SCOTT FABER, Ukiah. False ID, county parole violation.

Feola, Funk, Harbour

ALICIA FEOLA, Lucerne/Ukiah. Under influence, controlled substance, paraphernalia.

MICHAEL FUNK, Penngrove/Ukiah. DUI.

NIKKE HARBOUR, Willits. Grand theft auto.

Harris, Hayes, Kopman

ALEXANDER HARRIS, Santa Rosa/Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct in lodge without owner’s consent, disorderly conduct-alcohol.

NATHANIEL HAYES, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license.


Leon, Luna, Mansfield

BRIANA LEON, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.

AUDREA LUNA, Eureka/Garberville. DUI.

ROBERT MANSFIELD, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse, protective order violation.

Mantynen, Maynard, Neil

JOSEPH MANTYNEN, Ukiah. Assault on peace officer or firefighter with semiautomatic firearm.

ANDREW MAYNARD, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

TYLER NEIL, Yorkville. DUI.

Parker, Quinones, Smith

MICHAEL PARKER, Ukiaih. Probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

PETER QUINONES, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, shoplifting, under influence, interference with police communications, receiving stolen property, probation revocation.

JENNIFER SMITH, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

Tupper, White, Young

KRISTINE TUPPER, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

TIFFANY WHITE, Willits. Petty theft, probation revocation.


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Is there a soul so desiccated by a life made barren, so squeezed dry of passion who, on passing a picket fence, does not glance around for a stick? A stick to drag along the line of pickets and make the noise that is a song. A song that is as one with the woodpecker, the drumbeat in the distance and the racing heart.

James Martin

Santa Rosa

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(Photo by Susie de Castro)

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MARIJUANA BUSINESSES are awash with cash. California wants to help get that money into banks

One of the biggest problems facing California cannabis businesses, regulators and law enforcement officials once recreational marijuana sales become legal on Jan. 1 is what to do about all the cash that is expected to change hands.

With marijuana still illegal under federal law, most marijuana businesses can’t open bank accounts or accept credit card transactions — financial services companies refuse to serve them for fear being penalized by federal regulators for handling money from drug sales. That means marijuana transactions are typically done in cash.

It's not unusual for existing medical marijuana business owners to pay their state and local taxes with duffel bags full of money. Once recreational sales begin, experts estimate marijuana will be a multibillion-dollar business, and California’s cannabis industry will be swimming in cash.

That’s a serious concern for several reasons. The cash hoards make marijuana businesses and their employees a target for robberies and other crimes. It’s harder for regulators to track cash transactions to ensure businesses are following the laws and paying their taxes. And the cash economy makes it difficult for state officials and marijuana businesses to prove they are complying with the Justice Department’s demand for strict regulations on commercial marijuana businesses, including rules to ensure marijuana isn’t sent to states where it’s still illegal and to block criminal enterprises from participating in the industry.

Banks aren’t flatly barred from serving cannabis businesses. Federal regulators issued guidance on how banks could serve state-sanctioned marijuana enterprises, and now nearly 400 banks and credit unions across the nation do so, according to the Treasury Department. But that’s less than 5% of federally charted institutions. Many banks refuse to deal with marijuana businesses because of the risk and complexities of complying with the federal guidance, as well as concerns that the Trump administration will take a harder line on marijuana.

Hoping to reduce the threat to public safety and the risk of a federal crackdown, California officials are trying to develop a new cannabis banking system — one that enables regulators to track pot transactions and gives financial institutions confidence that they won’t get in trouble for working with marijuana businesses.

The goal of the Brown administration’s proposal is to encourage a network of smaller banks to open accounts for pot shops, growers and other cannabis businesses. Those banks would be given access to state databases of cannabis businesses to make sure the ones they are serving are licensed and remain in compliance. Marijuana-related transactions handled by these smaller banks would pass through a larger “correspondent bank” that would hold accounts from banks that are doing business with marijuana firms. Special state inspectors would be based at the correspondent bank to monitor the movement of money and detect suspicious behavior.

The idea is to give banks some assurance that they can serve marijuana customers without running afoul of federal banking guidelines. As more banks serve cannabis businesses, more of the transactions will shift from cash to credit cards and electronic funds transfers. That makes the industry safer and easier to regulate, which is good for California.

In Los Angeles, City Councilman Bob Blumenfield wants marijuana businesses to go cashless for the same reasons. He has proposed requiring that any business that receives a permanent cannabis license from the city be prohibited from accepting cash payments and barred from paying taxes in cash. He argues that because cashless systems are complicated and cost more upfront than cash, retailers won’t make the leap to a cashless system voluntarily.

Blumenfield is right to push the industry toward a mostly cashless cannabis system. (No other jurisdiction in the country prohibits cash completely.) But first, Los Angeles and California need more banks and financial services companies willing to handle those cashless transactions.

Ideally, city and state officials wouldn’t be left to solve the cash dilemma on their own. More than 40 states have legalized some form of cannabis for medical or recreational use; clearly, other jurisdictions are struggling with the same problem. Members of Congress have repeatedly introduced legislation to protect banks that serve legitimate marijuana businesses, but they’ve failed to get traction in the House and Senate.

How much longer can federal leaders keep their heads in the sand? More and more states are legalizing marijuana for an increasing number of uses, and the sooner those businesses can get access to banks and financial services, the better and safer it will be for everyone.

(LA Times Editorial)

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"HOAR FROST, with Black Dog and (relatively useless) Antennae". Last New Year's Day.

(Photo by Harvey Reading)

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Some of my female co-workers used to joke about how “if a man wants to play the man has to pay” …. for dinner, drinks, show, baby sitter, taxi, hotel room, etc. The ‘pay to play’ game has gone on for centuries and is a corollary to the male mantra of “chase, challenge, conquer” for getting laid.

Ask yourself this….in an era of relative equality, if a man pays $200-500 for a night on the town with a woman, she pays for nothing, they both wanted to get laid, and the man looks at himself in the mirror the next day thinking he’s a bomb-diggity stud boy, but he’s out $$$$ while she still has her $$$$, so who REALLY got conquered here? My work was in DC with the Federal Government, and believe me, women were paid the same as men in our offices, there was no pay gap, and women were often the boss as well as the co-workers.

When women were denied college educations, good jobs, etc, there was an unfair bias against them; they were almost forced onto casting couches, but that’s mostly changed. Half of my doctors, lawyers, realtors, bankers, etc, are female and I like them. Hell, my UROLOGIST is a female and she deals with my prostate issues just fine.

It’s a sticky area with plenty of gray between the black and white cases, and as you say, context is key, context being circumstances, motive, intent, ability, ways and means, etc.

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WITH THE RECENT RELEASE of the Steven Spielberg Movie “The Post,” starring Meryl Streep as The Great Lady, which is apparently getting rave reviews from the usual shallow movie reviewers, it seems timely to look back at Alex Cockburn’s piece from shortly after her death in 2001, “She Needed Fewer Friends” to get a better picture of Ms. Graham’s publishing history.

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She Needed Fewer Friends

by Alexander Cockburn

Joe Pulitzer famously said, “A newspaper has no friends.” Looking at the massed ranks of America’s elites attending Katharine Graham’s funeral in Washington last Monday, it’s maybe churlish to recall that phrase, but it’s true. At least in political terms Mrs. Graham had way too many friends. Her newspaper had its hour when she had real enemies, when Nixon’s attorney general was screaming his famous threat and when Nixon was threatening to pull her company’s Florida tv licenses.

The twin decisions, concerning the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, that made Mrs. Graham’s name as a courageous publisher, came at precisely the moment when, in biographical terms, she was best equipped to handle pressure. She’d had eight years to overcome the initial timidities that bore down on her after Phil Graham’s suicide left her with a newspaper she resolved to run herself. The amiable but essentially conservative bipartisanship that had the notables of each incoming administration palavering happily in her dining room hadn’t yet numbed the spinal nerve of the Post as any sort of spirited journalistic enterprise.

Mrs. Graham sustained her fatal fall during an annual confab of the nation’s biggest media and e-billionaires, organized by the investment banker Herb Allen and held in Sun Valley, Idaho. In truth it was a richly symbolic setting for Mrs. Graham’s exit. Sun Valley was developed as a resort by the Harrimans, starting with the ruthless nineteenth century railroad king, E.H. Harriman. That quintessential insider, Averell Harriman, was often to be seen at Mrs. Graham’s house in Georgetown, and it was Averell who once furnished a reminder of the journalistic facts of life so trenchant that every reporter and editor should have it tacked to their walls.

Writing in 1943 to his friend James Lovett at the War Department, Harriman rasped his fury that Newsweek had dared question the efficiency of daylight bombing of Germany, a tactic devised by Lovett: “Tell Roland [Averell’s brother, then a director of Newsweek, owned by Vincent Astor, who later sold it to Phil Graham] that I am in dead earnest and will brook no compromise. I have not supported Newsweek for ten years through its grave difficulties to allow our hired men to use the magazine to express their narrow, uninformed or insidious ideas… Roland has my full authority to use any strong-arm measures he considers necessary… the other directors can be asked to resign if they do not go along.”

Did Mrs. Graham privately strong-arm her staff in this fashion? I doubt it. But editors and reporters are not slow to pick up clues as to the disposition of the person who pays the wages, and Mrs. Graham sent out plenty of those.

In late 1974, after Nixon had been tumbled, Mrs. Graham addressed the Magazine Publishers’ Association and issued a warning: “The press these days should… be rather careful about its role. We may have acquired some tendencies about over-involvement that we had better overcome. We had better not yield to the temptation to go on refighting the next war and see conspiracy and cover-up where they do not exist.” She called for a return to basics. Journalists should “stop trying to be sleuths.” In other words: The party’s over, boys and girls! It’s not our business to rock the boat.

She repeated the message in 1988 in a speech titled “Secrecy and the Press”: “We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things the general public does not need to know, and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.”

Mrs. Graham had plenty of reasons, material and spiritual, to find excessive boat-rocking distasteful. The family fortune, and the capital that bought and nourished the Post, was founded in part on Allied Chemical, the company run by her father Eugene Meyer, and perhaps because rabble-rousers had derisively taunted her as “Kepone Kate” after a bad Allied Chemical spill in the James River. I remember a hard edge in her voice when she deplored “those fucking environmentalists.” Yes, privately her language was agreeably salty.

By the early 1980s the leftish liberal Kay Graham of the late 1930s who would amiably associate as a tyro reporter with the red longshoreman leader, Harry Bridges, on the Oakland docks was very long gone. For one thing, there had been the ferocious pressmen’s strike in 1975, and the ultimately successful lockout.

Rhetorically at least Mrs. Graham would not later make the gaffe of equating the sabotage of her plant by the Pressmen’s Union with the overall disposition of the AFL-CIO, but I don’t think she ever forgave labor and that strike helped set Mrs. Graham and her newspaper on its sedately conservative course.

In the early 1980s she associated increasingly with Warren Buffett, the Nebraska investor who bought 13% of the Post’s B stock and who was then riding high as America’s most venerated stock player, and imperishably hailed in the mid-1980s by an ad man (to the New York Times) thus: “Long ago Warren identified communications companies as the bridge between the manufacturer and the consumer.” Graham became a big-picture mogul, pickling herself in the sonorous platitudes of the Brandt Commission, on which she served. Probably the most tedious (and useless) interview ever published by the Post, or any newspaper for that matter, was Mrs. Graham’s interview in Moscow about the minutiae of arms-control with General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.

Another press mogul, Lord Northcliffe, founder of Britain’s popular press, once famously advised his reporters, “Never lose your sense of the superficial,” by which he meant, “Be sprightly, make our readers sit up.” What would Northcliffe have said about what I often think of as the Post’s nadir, symbolic of what Mrs. Graham had allowed, maybe had urged to happen: the seven-part, multi-thousand word series published in January, 1992. The series launching this election year was by two of the Post’s most prominent reporters, David Broder and Bob Woodward, who “for six months followed the Vice President everywhere” and “spent an unprecedented amount of time interviewing Mr. Quayle,” discovering after these labors that the derided veeplet was a much undertestimated statesman of wise and discriminating stature.

In the early 1990s I used to get copies of letters sent to the Post’s editors and ombudsman by Julian Holmes, a Maryland resident with a career in the Navy Weapons Lab, who read the Post diligently every day, firing off often acute and pithy criticisms. In all, Holmes told me the other day from his Maine home, he sent some 130 such letters to the Post and achieved a perfect record of zero published.

Deploring the Quayle series in a letter sent to ombudsman Richard Harwood on January 22, 1992, Holmes pointed out that nowhere in the “in-depth” exam of Quayle could be found the words crime, public land, population, health care, oil, capital punishment, United Nations, Nicaragua, unemployment, homeless or AIDS. “Perhaps,” Holmes wrote, “the explanation for these obviously shallow interviews lies in the institutional philosophy of the Washington Post Company and in the kinds of writers the Post hires.” (You can see why Holmes didn’t get published in the Post.)

No need to belabor the point. The basic mistake is to call the Washington Post a liberal paper, or its late proprietor a liberal in any active sense, unless you want to disfigure the word by applying it to such of her friends as Robert McNamara. When it came to war criminals she was an equal opportunity hostess. In her salons you could meet Kissinger, an old criminal on the way down, or Richard Holbrooke, a young ‘un on the way up. The Post’s basic instincts have almost always been bad.

Former mayor Marion Barry had some pro-forma kindly words for Katharine Graham after her death but I always think that one decisive verdict on the Post’s performance in a city with a major black population came with that jury verdict acquitting Berry on the cocaine bust. Those jurors knew that the Post, along with the other Powers That Be was on the other side from Barry, and I’ve no doubt that firmed up their assessment of the evidence. In that quarter, for sure, neither the Post nor Mrs. Graham had an excessive amount of friends.

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by Ralph Nader

Imagine an app that can calculate the lies per minute (LPM) Trump subjects the American public to on a daily basis. Perhaps there should be a national contest for how many Trump lies per minute can be documented by a contestant in a given week.

When the Republican “tax cuts” reach his desk, in a bill which gives massive handouts to the rich and giant corporations at the expense of working families, Trump will envelope this even more complex tax code in a vast cloud of lies designed to reassure the working class that he daily betrays.

Senator Daniel P. Moynihan once said: “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

Trump continues to trumpet serial lies about the bill, which was changed repeatedly during the last days to cater even more to commercial interests – in an egregious display of cash register politics. Republican Congressional leaders have also made mendacity their mantra. Moreover, Senator McConnell and Speaker Ryan have kept the bill from the Democrats, who had no chance to carefully read the final draft which they were expected to vote on.

Apparently there is no Senate rule preventing the tyrannical majority from keeping the minority in the dark. Today the Senate, split 52 to 48 in favor of the Republicans, is Senator Mitch McConnell’s dictatorship. There were no public hearings on this legislation, no opportunity for the Democrats and the public to regularly read the changes in the bill and very limited debate on the Senate floor. The Republicans, having circumvented the filibuster and stretched the reconciliation procedure to include opening up the Arctic refuge to oil and gas drilling and having more people lose their health insurance.

None of this means anything to Trump, who probably hasn’t even read a memo by his advisors on the bill’s details. His close aides say he doesn’t like briefing materials. Why should he? The Deceiver in Chief need only lie his way to the signing ceremony:

“Biggest tax cuts in history.” False. “Biggest reform ever passed.” False. “Will create many beautiful jobs.” False. “Biggest middle class tax cut ever.” Totally false. Trump also lies when he says he will take a “big, big hit” to his own wealth from this tax bill. Laughably false.

Tax analysts have exhausted themselves counting the number of intricate ways the legislation elevates Trump and his family’s wealth, real estate holdings and estates. If he had any dignity, he would announce that he would not take tax cuts, directly or indirectly, before he signs the bill into law.

As Trump tries to sell the myth that he is somehow “for the little guy” and fallaciously claims the forgotten men and women of America “will never be forgotten again,” his cabinet secretaries and regulatory agency heads are working overtime to roll back health, safety and labor protections for working people. That is, of course, exactly why these agency heads were picked by Trump.

Trump’s corporatized Department of Education is getting rid of protections for students who have been preyed upon and burdened with huge amounts of debt by for-profit so-called universities (Remember the frauds perpetrated by Trump University and his $25 million settlement last year). He has corporate crime abettor, Mick Mulvaney, running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into the ground and trying to dismantle its law and order program for corporate financial crooks.

Trump brags about getting rid of “job-killing regulations,” without specifically mentioning any of them. He just keeps repeating over and over again his false claims. These regulations he wants to kill save the lives, health and safety of the American people by limiting toxic chemicals in the workplace, the consumer marketplace and the air, water and soil. He is letting defenseless Americans, including children, get sicker, be injured more and die earlier by continuing his cruel and vicious abandonment of long-considered legal safeguards. The regulations he is leaving alone are the ones providing corporate welfare, or what ideologically consistent conservatives call “crony capitalism.”

Trump heralds “clean, beautiful coal” (a wild lie about a devastating pollutant) and brags about creating 45,000 more mining jobs. Even barons of the declining coal industry know he’s trying to mislead the public.

Trump’s automatic prevarications keep coming, Tweet by Tweet. He says he is helping the little guy and then appoints his bank regulator, Keith Noreika, who helped banks avoid state laws protecting consumers and helped banks charge more fees. Mr. Noreika continues such anti-consumer practices in his new taxpayer-funded job.

In a recent front page article titled “Champion of the ‘Little Guy’? Trump’s Actions Tell Another Story,” the New York Times’ reporters asks Mike Walden, a truck driver for 30 years, what he thought. Having voted for Republicans in Ohio, Walden’s reply should trouble Trump, who is always sniffing for voter trends: “What has he done for the working man?…You don’t get elected by the working class then throw them under the bus.”

Voters who continue to believe in serial political liars are entrenching a tyranny over themselves. If we do not learn to recognize and reject such dishonesty, we will continue to enable dirty to our serious detriment.

For a comprehensive list of Trump’s constantly growing number of LPMs, see Trump’s Lies in the New York Times.

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

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THE AMBIGUITY of belonging to a generation distrustful of political highs, the historical irrelevancy of growing up convinced that the heart of darkness lay not in some error of social organization but in man's own blood. If man was bound to err, then any social organization was bound to be in error.

— Joan Didion, 1970

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by Hamed Aleaziz

Santa Monica, Mexico — In a village two hours north of Mexico City, a girl stands on the patio of her adobe home, looking out on her family’s small plot of land. Maria Mendoza-Sanchez is just 13, but on this day, as she watches her parents drive up in a rush, the path of her life is shifting.

Her 15-year-old sister has become pregnant, and her father is enraged. He steps from his truck, picks up a rope he uses to discipline horses, and barrels through the door. As her sister absorbs the lashing, Maria cries out: “Don’t hit her! She’s going to have a baby!”

Soon Maria is a target, too. “If your sister did what she did after being so quiet and responsible, what can I expect from you?” her father shouts as he hits her. Maria turns silent, knowing anything she says will frustrate the man who’d hoped to have boys to work the land, not four girls.

In their tiny village, wealth is measured in land and sheep. Maria wants more. An education, some independence. Even as the rope strikes her, she thinks: I will prove you wrong. You will see how far I go. I’m not what you think I am.

In this moment, she can’t imagine all that lies ahead but commits herself to seeking a different fate. In time, she will move north to the U.S. She will start as a sidewalk fruit vendor and house cleaner, but make her way to college, become a highly paid nurse, buy a home in Oakland, raise three daughters and a son, and save money so that they can go to college, too.

And then she will lose everything.

What is a mother without her children?

The thought consumes Maria, now an accomplished woman of 46, as she sits in a truck transporting her across the Mexican state of Hidalgo. Dark clouds fill the sky, but the landscape is familiar. She can make out Cerrito de la Cruz, the green hills that surround Santa Monica and its several hundred residents.

It’s Aug. 17, 2017. More than 30 years after her father beat her, more than 20 years since she moved north of the border, she and her husband, Eusebio Sanchez, have been deported amid President Trump’s tightening of immigration. They are on their way back to the village of her childhood. The village she resolved to leave so long ago.

To give up the life she had built was wrenching. Worse, though, is thinking about how the path she chose has led — inescapably, it seems now — to an agonizing decision: to split up her family.

Left behind in Oakland are her three daughters, ages 16, 21 and 23. They can still pursue their futures there. The oldest, Vianney, is legally protected as a “childhood arrival” to America; Melin and Elizabeth are U.S. citizens by birth.

Her youngest child, 12-year-old Jesus, has come with her and her husband to Mexico. Born a citizen, he could have stayed in Oakland, too. But a boy his age needs his mother, she reasoned. And perhaps she needs him, too.

Just days ago, Maria was still a full-time nurse and mother in a busy household. Her family was not so unusual: More than 4 million U.S. citizens younger than 18 have an undocumented parent, the U.S. census estimates, and more than a quarter of those live in California.

Maria and Eusebio had held a slim hope of staying in the U.S., thanks to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who called the removal of law-abiding parents “a travesty” that contradicted Trump’s stated goal of targeting immigrants with criminal records. But her efforts failed. There would be no last-minute reprieve.

Instead, the couple have come to embody weighty questions confronting American society: What do we expect of our immigrant communities? How do we judge their lives and the fateful decisions they’ve made? What do we owe them?

Instead, Maria finds herself packed into a truck that her younger sister uses for delivering meals of roasted sheep, or barbacoa, to clients in Mexico City. Crowded into the truck are relatives she’s used to speaking with only by phone. Behind them is a caravan of five more cars filled with dozens of others, fresh from a bittersweet reunion at the Mexico City airport.

Maria watches as Jesus takes breaks from video games on his iPhone to peer out at the countryside. Already she’s worried about him, about how he will cope in a land he’s never known, speaking a language he doesn’t know well.

The caravan makes its way into Santa Monica, down one of the few paved roads, past fields of unkempt grass, yellow wildflowers, mesquite trees, cactus and the occasional stray dog. It’s still the place she recalls from her childhood, but things, she knows, will be different.

Even her name is different here. Lupe, they call her, short for her given name, Maria Guadalupe.

The truck finally stops at the end of the dirt driveway of her parents’ bright blue home. Maria’s father has died; the livestock he raised is gone. Her mother, Juana, 69, smiles and greets her with a bouquet of flowers. She can’t quite remember the last time she held her daughter, more than two decades ago.

Inside the house, relatives and friends have prepared a breakfast of quesadillas and champurrado, a thick Mexican hot chocolate. A pink sign surrounded by balloons announces “Bienvenidos a Casa.”

“Welcome home,” Maria’s mother says, embracing her, rubbing her back and sobbing. “I’m sorry you had to come back this way. I wanted you back, but not like this.”

Maria’s path to the life she has lost is built from moments of luck, good and bad, and determination.

At age 14, she moves to Mexico City to be with an uncle, only to discover that she must care for his home and children for little pay while attending school. At 19, while an office assistant at a hospital near Santa Monica, her work with a plane crash victim leads the man’s uncle to offer her a more lucrative job at a cancer hospital in Tijuana.

After a 31-hour bus ride north, she steps into the bus station and immediately feels unsteady. No one is there to greet her. There’s no job, and she can’t afford the return trip. She checks into a cheap hotel, worried that she may soon have to sleep in a park. God, she asks, why are these things happening to me?

That night, a hotel attendant hears of her plight and tells the owner, who offers her a room indefinitely. But there’s a catch: The man, who lives in San Diego, wants her as his Tijuana mistress. The hotel worker instead helps her escape, offering her refuge with his family.

As she gains her footing, finding work as a secretary in a bank and renting an apartment, she begins to correspond with a longtime family friend from Santa Monica. In 1989, Eusebio Sanchez had crossed the border and found his way to Oakland in a bid to make a better life.

Using a tourist visa, Maria visits him repeatedly. During one visit, in 1992, she realizes she doesn’t want to leave. Later that year, she hikes through the hills near the San Diego border crossing, this time without a visa.

Like many Mexicans, she goes north for opportunity, but she also follows her heart.

In Oakland, the young couple are both invisible and recognizable.

He’s the one who waits in parking lots with other laborers in sweatshirts and blue jeans hoping to be picked up for odd jobs. When she isn’t babysitting, she’s the figure parked on Fruitvale Avenue, selling bags of cherries from her car trunk as her young daughters sit in the car. On a good day she makes $80.

They marry during a trip to Mexico and soon have two daughters. In a fateful decision, Maria gives birth to Vianney in 1994 in Mexico, wanting to be near her family in case of complications. Melin is born two years later, back in Oakland.

Acquaintances who learn of their immigration status offer to help them become legal by arranging straw marriages. Raised in a strict Catholic household, Maria can’t accept.

But in a place like the Bay Area, it’s possible to build a life without citizenship that is full, if tenuous. In 2000, while cleaning houses, Maria is offered a job at a nursing home in Alameda. With a government-assigned tax identification number, she starts as a housekeeper but earns promotion after promotion and becomes an administrative assistant. She makes $12 an hour and pays taxes.

Around 2002, Maria and Eusebio begin stepping out of the shadows. They seek to legalize their status through the immigration courts under a process called cancellation of removal. It has a high burden of proof, requiring them to show, among other things, that their removal would cause “exceptionally and extremely unusual” hardship for their U.S.-born children.

The bid is a long shot. But as their appeals work their way through a system backlogged with hundreds of thousands of cases, they provide a benefit: They are given work permits and Social Security numbers.

In their family, Maria is the backbone and Eusebio the fun dad — always joking, buying meat-filled pupusas for the kids on Saturdays and planning trips to festivals, the zoo or Lake Tahoe. He drives trucks and works in shifts staggered with his wife’s so someone’s always home.

Working the front desk of the nursing home, conversing with the elderly residents, Maria discovers her calling. She wonders how they ended up there instead of with their families, and decides she wants to help care for them.

She earns her license as a certified nursing assistant, then studies at City College of San Francisco to be a vocational nurse, all while working full-time night shifts and taking care of her children, now three after the birth of Elizabeth in 2001. Her days are long, and she sleeps as little as two hours a night.

When she gets pregnant again, there are complications. Her doctor tells her to abandon her classes for bed rest. Instead, four days a week, Maria arrives at school an hour early to park as close as possible to class and walks backward up the stairs to avoid causing contractions. Jesus is born a week after she graduates.

Soon, Maria realizes her pay is not enough; a nurse assistant can’t put four children through college making $22 an hour. So in 2011, she goes back to school at Holy Names University in Oakland to become a registered nurse. The payoff is a six-figure job at Highland Hospital, Oakland’s trauma center. It’s 2 miles and a world away from her makeshift cherry stand near Fruitvale BART Station.

Maria and Eusebio now own a three-bedroom house and three cars. They have four healthy kids, four dogs and numerous friends. But their unsettled immigration status is never far from their thoughts.

For more than a decade, the couple’s quest for citizenship moves through the courts, piling up repeated denials and appeals. Finally, in 2013, a judge orders them removed.

For two years, though, the Obama administration grants them one-year stays of deportation. In late 2014, Obama unveils a program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, which seeks to protect parents of citizens from deportation, as long as they arrived before 2010. Maria and Eusebio qualify, but opponents defeat Obama’s effort in the courts.

In 2015, federal officials tell them they no longer have to obtain stays, as the Obama administration’s move to more targeted immigration enforcement means they are not priorities for deportation.

So, twice a year, Maria and Eusebio report to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in San Francisco. The meetings take no more than 20 minutes and end with an official signing their papers, extending their work permits another six months.

For years, Maria has kept this part of her life secret, even from her children. What good will it do to tell them? she thinks. Won’t they just be anxious, as I am, and struggle in school?

On Nov. 8, 2016, Maria cries as her family watches the election returns. She has heard the new president’s disparaging words about Mexican immigrants, about building a wall and increasing deportations.

“What happened tonight is not good at all for us,” she tells her children. They comfort her, and as a group make promises to each other: We’ll be prepared and we’ll do our best. That’s all we can do.

Soon after taking office, Trump signs an executive order making nearly every undocumented immigrant a priority for removal and limiting the discretion that can be used in enforcing the law. Immigration experts point out that people like Maria and Eusebio, who are engaged with the government and not hiding, have become an easy target for boosting deportation numbers.

From Inauguration Day in January through August, immigration arrests of noncriminals will jump to more than 28,000 — nearly triple the number from the same period in 2016. Overall, removals of undocumented people picked up by ICE will rise 37 percent.

It’s not long before Maria sees news of people being deported at their immigration check-ins. Her next appointment is in a few more months. She begins working extra hours at the hospital and tells her children of the plan to split up if she and their father are deported. In May 2017, Homeland Security officials give the couple three months, until mid-August, to arrange their departure.

As her deadline to leave the U.S. approaches, Maria is invited to defy the order, to take refuge in a church for sanctuary. She declines.

Instead, for a week in August, Maria conducts media interviews in her living room, meets with Feinstein, and applies for an 11th-hour reprieve. Co-workers and others protest on her behalf outside Highland Hospital and raise nearly $22,000 for her children. But the stay is denied.

In the hours before the couple’s red-eye flight to Mexico, they, their children and a few of Maria’s nursing colleagues gather in the family’s living room to take a picture, then form a circle and pray.

“Lord God, right now I lift this family up to you!” one of the nurses cries out. “Lord God, put your hand of protection on these girls!”

At a security checkpoint at San Francisco International Airport, Maria and her husband hold each of their daughters one last time. Maria wipes away their tears, traces a cross on each, and whispers her goodbyes.

“Promise me you will take care of them and be patient with them,” she tells Vianney, adding, “We will see each other very soon.”

But Vianney knows better. She can’t leave the U.S. And for at least 10 years, her parents’ deportation order says, they can’t enter again.

At a party near Santa Monica for the christening of a family friend’s daughter, a band pumps out folk music, tables are dressed with pink linens and balloons, and children zigzag giddily throughout.

Partygoers feast on barbacoa, beer and pulque, a traditional alcohol made of the fermented sap of agave. Maria’s mother, nephew, niece and sister sit together sharing drinks and laughing at the kids.

Maria, though, sits apart, despondent. Six weeks have passed since her deportation.

“I’m missing my kids,” she says, wiping away tears. “I think about them every minute of the day.”

In Santa Monica, long days without a purpose have left her with too much time to worry. What is Vianney doing as the new head of the Oakland household? Is Elizabeth doing her homework? Are they locking the doors at night?

This tiny village is nothing like Oakland. There is a school and a church, but little else. People walk in the middle of the dusty streets, as likely to cross paths with a herd of sheep as a car.

Those in the village work in farming, or they seek labor in Mexico City or the U.S. Maria could pursue a nursing job, but the pay here is minuscule; $80 a week will do little to help her children back in Oakland.

While Maria is overwhelmed by anxiety, Eusebio has a different approach to dealing with his pain, one that sometimes frustrates his wife.

“You know, we can’t do anything,” he tells her. “I try not to think about it. You have to keep your mind focused on something else.”

“I can’t. They’re my kids,” Maria says. “It’s different. I’m the mother, I carried them, I spent the most time with them, I ran with them back and forth to hospitals, schools ...”

Eusebio nods and looks away; he doesn’t know what else to say. The deportation has strained their relationship. He spends his days caring for his elderly parents and their livestock and running errands for relatives.

For now, she lives with her family, and he with his

Even as he grasps for connections with his former life, messaging friends back in Oakland over text and Snapchat, Jesus is like a celebrity in his first weeks in Santa Monica.

At the village school, where his mother was once a student, everyone knows he’s the boy from the United States. He’s a hit with his cousins and the neighborhood girls. They all want to learn English from the American.

“Pimple. It’s pimmmple,” he instructs them.

“Piiimple,” his cousin Francisco responds.

“No! Pimmmmmple!”

But Jesus must travel even the short distance to school with a cousin, to guard against a kidnapping. A few months before he arrived, his aunt’s family was tied up at gunpoint in their home until they handed over their barbacoa delivery money. The new youngster from the U.S. is a natural target.

There are some new things, like the school’s strict dress code, that Jesus can get used to. Others are harder. His classes are all in Spanish. Often, his teacher reads a story he can’t follow, or ticks off instructions he can’t understand. He feels slow, and his grades slip far below the high marks he’s used to earning. He grows to hate Mondays.

One day in class, the teacher disciplines an unruly student by tying the boy’s hands tight to his desk. Another time, a teacher grabs scissors and cuts off a misbehaving student’s long hair.

“This teacher is crazy!” Jesus texts a friend in Oakland.

After one such incident, Jesus runs from school to his grandmother’s house. He pleads with his aunt and grandmother to tell his mother to let him leave: “Give me my passport, and send me home to my sisters!”

After a few hours and many hugs, he calms down. He knows his mother is worried about him, about whether he really belongs here. He doesn’t really want to leave, he tells Maria. He’s too worried about her.

From 2,000 miles away, Maria continues to mother her girls back in Oakland.

Over the Internet, she handles the family’s banking, pays the mortgage and other bills, and reminds her daughters to use her medical insurance before it runs out. Sometimes she goes shopping with them, using FaceTime to consult on which clothes they should buy. Or the girls prop up a phone at the dinner table so Maria can join them.

I have to be present even when my body is absent, she thinks. I’m a long-distance mother.

Her main concern is Vianney, who at 23 has been thrust into parenting Elizabeth, a sophomore in high school, and Melin, a senior at UC Santa Cruz who travels home on weekends via buses and BART.

If Vianney goes out with friends in the evening, Maria can’t sleep. Visions of a car crash or worse flash through her mind. “If something happens to you, who the heck is going to be there?” she asks her.

“It’s like I’m her now,” says Vianney, a UC Santa Cruz graduate. “I think I can do it. Thanks to her. Even though she’s gone, she’s still looking out for us.”

The first morning after her parents’ deportation she has a stack of school papers to sign — immunization records, medical releases and a form allowing her baby sister to eat lunch off campus. Maria would never have signed the last one. But Vianney sees an opportunity to establish trust, to extend an olive branch — with a warning.

“I know the tricks. Don’t pull them on me,” she tells her sister. “I invented them!”

She yells when her siblings forget to lock the front door. Once, fed up that Elizabeth has shirked her chores, she reminds her sister of her sacrifice.

“Mom told me that if you guys were giving me a hard time, you would go to Mexico with her,” Vianney scolds.

“Then do it!” Elizabeth yells.

Vianney misses her parents’ presence. Her father banging around Saturday mornings in the backyard, fixing the engine of his old truck, or rustling them all awake on Sundays for church. Her mother holding court at the kitchen table, coffee in hand, asking about everyone’s plans for the day and what they want for dinner.

“Everything is falling on my shoulders,” she says. “I feel like I’m the one who has to be strong for everyone. It gets really hard. I try to not to be sad, because if I let myself be sad, how am I going to take care of everyone else?”

n her choppy phone and Internet calls with Maria, she notices that her mother sounds more depressed each time. Some days, Maria tells her, all she does is sit and worry.

The only moments when Vianney can relax come during twice-monthly Friday night hangouts with her best friend in Hayward. They drink wine, play Nintendo, eat spring rolls and gossip. For a few hours, she feels free again, like everything is back to normal.

Vianney, who has a psychology degree, knows she needs a job, and has applied for several positions at offices and schools. The money Maria saved for them will not last forever, and they will need health insurance soon.

And then there is the matter of her own immigration status. Having been born in Mexico, she is not a U.S. citizen like her younger siblings. Instead, she is one of nearly 800,000 young people who gained legal protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created in 2012 by President Barack Obama.

In September, the Trump administration began phasing out the program, even as it urged Congress to come up with a solution for the “Dreamers.” Unless some compromise is reached, Vianney’s DACA status will expire in August.

She could be deported, too.

Maria often compares herself to a large tree, overseeing everything and taking care of everyone. But in Santa Monica she feels uprooted, exposed, not the person she was.

“That’s the thing about people who tend to be very strong so other people won’t see how broken you are in reality,” she says. “But then it comes to a time where you just break apart.”

One day at a party at her in-laws’ house, barbacoa cooks over hot coals buried in a pit in the ground in the backyard. A sign on the wall reads “#FamiliaUnida.” A special bottle of Tequila is passed around. Though Maria generally doesn’t drink, she takes a sip. The liquor feels soft on her throat, and she takes a few more sips.

As the drink hits her, Maria breaks down, crying, screaming. She tracks down Eusebio and yells at him. “Take me home now! I want to see my daughters now! Where are they? Are they OK? Do you know where they are?”

Eusebio tells his son: Get Vianney on the phone.

“Mom!” Vianney tells Maria. “I’m here! I’m here. We’re OK. Mom?”

Maria rushes out of the party, her son hustling along with her.

Jesus is her baby, her “little man,” and Maria can’t imagine life without him. Being separated from her daughters is too much already. Caring for him, making his meals, helping with homework is what gives her purpose here. She can still be a mother to one child.

Jesus knows this. When he plays with his cousins, he will take a break to find her and hug her, ask if she’s OK or if she needs something. Maybe I can distract her from her sadness , he thinks.

But for him, things in Santa Monica are only getting worse. His Spanish is a little better, but his grades are slipping. The school says Jesus must stay back a grade.

Maria now knows what she has been unable to face: Her youngest child needs to be back in America, too.

On an October night, their last together in Santa Monica, Maria and Jesus talk over dinner. Be strong, she tells him. Do your homework, eat healthy and listen to your sisters.

“I need you to promise me you’re going to be OK,” Jesus tells her. “That you’re not going to be sad and you’re not going to cry, Mom.”

But as he boards his plane the next day in Mexico City, she weeps.

Once he’s gone, she tries to stay busy. In the late fall she shuttles back and forth to the state of Puebla, three hours to the south, to care for an aunt who is sick. She makes plans to take courses at a local university to earn a specialty in intensive care. She follows news from the U.S. on Facebook, and makes arrangements for a holiday visit from Jesus and Elizabeth.

But when she’s not occupied with something else, Maria often just stares out the window of her new home.

It’s quiet here, unlike at her bustling Oakland hospital or in her old living room, where passing cars would blast music as her girls gabbed about a favorite new TV show.

She thinks about the family rituals she’s missing, like going to church most Sundays or gathering to watch “Stranger Things” on Netflix. When her younger kids go trick-or-treating on Halloween in Alameda, it’s Vianney who keeps watch nearby with the other parents.

Her children spend Thanksgiving at Feinstein’s house in San Francisco, eating with the politician who calls the Sanchez family “the epitome of the American dream.” The food was so good and the house so nice, they tell Maria later, like a five-star hotel or a palace from a movie.

“You guys deserve all these good times,” Maria tells them.

A private bill by Feinstein would grant Maria, Eusebio and Vianney permanent U.S. residency, but it has little chance of passage, despite more than 80,000 people signing a petition of support. Maria has come to accept that she won’t be able to reverse their deportations anytime soon.

A doctor tells Maria she has become depressed, and she’s not surprised to hear it. Still, she is not resigned to remaining in the village she escaped once before. Instead, as the holidays approach, she eyes another potential refuge: Canada.

I may not be able to be the mother I was before, she thinks, but what if I can get a work visa and a job as a nurse? She could make money, pay off the house. Send Elizabeth to college and Vianney to graduate school. Melin, who volunteers at Highland Hospital, could achieve her dream of going to medical school and becoming a doctor.

Maria begins looking into whether she can obtain a Canadian visa. Despite her history of living undocumented in America, her attorney is hopeful that immigration officials in Canada will understand her plight — that all she wants to do is make money to support her children. But she’d need a job offer, among other things.

Maybe, she thinks, her life’s path can shift once again. For now, she will continue to care for her family, to hold them all together, as best she can.

“OK, you guys,” she tells her four children as they talk on Thanksgiving night. “Now go to bed, dream of your beautiful dinner, get some sleep and make sure your doors are all locked. We talk tomorrow. OK, sweethearts?”

“OK,” they tell her. “Goodnight, Mom!”

(SF Chronicle)

* * *

REPORTS OF TRUMP’S SEXUAL ATTACKS on women date back at least three decades. According to former businesswoman Jessica Leeds, in 1979 she was seated next to Trump in the first-class cabin of a flight, when without a word, he began groping and kissing her. Leeds’ detailed account of her experience seems to reconfirm Trump’s own 2005 description of his sexually predatory behavior toward women.

“They served the meal. And after it was cleared, he jumped all over me and started groping me and kissing me,” Leeds told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! “And at the time, I remember thinking, ‘Why doesn’t the guy across from the aisle come to my aid? Why doesn’t the stewardess come back?’….And [he] started grasping me and pulling me and groping my breasts and trying to kiss me. But it’s when he started to put his hand up my skirt that I managed to wiggle out, because I’m not a small person. And I also managed to remember my purse and went to the back of the airplane. And that was the rest of the flight.”

Leeds goes on to describe sitting in the coach section until all other passengers had deplaned, out of fear of encountering Trump again. Like the vast majority of women who experience sexual abuse and harassment, she didn’t tell any authority figures about what had happened, figuring her allegations would be ignored or disbelieved or would damage her own career and reputation...


* * *

MEMO OF THE AIR, Dec. 23, 2017

The .gif of the magi. (Jackboots of Xmas.)

"I am the ghost of Christmas future perfect conditional subjunctive [said the spirit]. I will show you what might be to have happened had you not mended your ways."

The recording of last night's (2017-12-22) KNYO 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

Or, thanks to Hank Sims of Lost Coast Outpost, you can listen with one click:

But the recording of this 6.8-hour show is only 6.5 hours beginning to end. Impossible, you say? Hard to believe? Well. If you go to you can find out the weird truth about that, and not only that but you might learn an important lesson about the Season, the human heart, and what your purpose is on this beautiful blue Xmas ornament hanging in space like a piñata in a shooting gallery of asteroids, some barely there at all but some the size of fricking Rhode Island. And the Balloon Man. There's a feature on a man who baffles science by, like Rygel XVI in Farscape, farting helium when stressed (or squeezed).

I'm kidding. That's crazy; there's no way chemical biology can generate helium. But you will find a fresh batch of links to interesting and educational goods I put aside for you while putting the show together, to add to the many wonders and amusements there, that might not necessarily work on the radio because of being mostly visual, but are nonetheless worthwhile and real enough. Such as:

2017, the year in review, from the position of a man greeting his friend who has been out of touch because in the sea for a year. Not out to sea; literally in the sea, in his underclothes.

Rivers in Iceland.

And an hourglass made of live sheep.

Marco McClean

* * *


    • Harvey Reading December 25, 2017

      Only those who want to hear it.

      • Randy Burke December 25, 2017

        I guess “draining the swamp” includes crocs as in what a croc of shite

  1. George Hollister December 25, 2017


    I consider a lie to be an attempt by someone to say something with the intent to deliberately deceive. Speaking out of ignorance is not a lie. For the most part, Trump is not a liar, neither was Obama, neither was George W Bush. But they all said many things that were expressions of ignorance. Obama more than Bush, Trump more than Obama. Partisans call the ignorant statements lies. The striking thing about both Obama and Trump, is neither of them seems to care. The AVA very often speaks out of ignorance, too. But I don’t consider them liars, either.

    Hillary Clinton is a liar.

    Merry Christmas to everyone.

  2. Harvey Reading December 25, 2017

    “Hillary Clinton is a liar.”


  3. Michael Slaughter December 25, 2017

    Gary Webb was a martyr. The corporate rag he worked for exiled him to newspaper Siberia. He finally resigned.

    When I talked with him, not long after his original pieces hit, he was resolute, clear-eyed, and vibrant.

    Suicide? I mean, how many people do it with TWO shots to the head? Might it have been CIAside?

  4. Harvey Reading December 25, 2017


    Ah, yes, those were the days. The story brings back memories of stories of ewes and occasionally heifers, told to me, generally by ranch kids, during my Calaveras County childhood. Recountings that put McMurtry’s references to shame.


    Makes me even more ashamed of U.S. “leadership” and those who continue to enable and worship it. Exceptional? Hardly.

    • Harvey Reading December 26, 2017

      Well now, that’s right “special”. I kinda doubt its a selfie, though. Probably taken by a pro photographer, and for a rather high fee.

      Just curious, but what were you thinking of when you went to her web page, James?

  5. Harvey Reading December 25, 2017

    Well, in truth it’s not much different than living in other places. The coldest I’ve seen it here is -40. Most years we see a few days in the – 20-30 range.

    In the Mojave Desert, in the then little town of Hesperia, it would get up to 113-115 in the summer of the year I spent there, in 1979-1980. But, as they say, it was a dry heat. On the patrol boat, a 19-foot Sea Ray with a Ford 302 (far too much boat for a 1,200 surface acre reservoir, but fast and a dream to handle), I hardly noticed it, didn’t even notice I was sweating because it dried immediately. Of course I paid the price, with crepe paper skinned forearms by my mid 40s.

    The Central Valley, near or in which I lived most of my life, had its typical 95-105+ summer days, which I did notice, since the humidity was higher. And the winter high fogs there provided the most uncomfortable weather I have yet to experience. Not to mention the poisoned air. When the wind was right you could smell the rice pesticides clear out to Folsom. And who could forget (well those of us who are senile excepted) the view as one descended the western slope of the Sierra on I-80? That brown cloud hovering over a flat, hazy landscape is truly something to behold. I breathed that concoction daily for around 19 years.

    Here, the air is dry for the most part. Granted it gets cold, and when it’s down in the teens, the tens, or below zero it is a good idea to stay inside or wear adequately warm clothing, especially if there’s a breeze. Otherwise, you could die in a fairly short period of time, but then those cold, foggy days in Sac will kill you quickly, too. But I wear the same old Columbia Quad parka that I wore during the 1990s in Sac, and it keeps me warm here. And I keep a sleeping bag, blankets, etc. in both vehicles If I was to go ice fishing as I did–once–with a former neighbor, I would add an insulated oversuit and pacs to my wardrobe. That night it got down to -16. But it was fun, and I was warm.

    I don’t know if that answers your question, but it’s the best I can do. Oh, I forgot, I try not to drive when the roads are icy. I like to maintain a slow speed under those conditions but others plow on through at 70 miles per hour. Often the bodies of their cars are reflective of that practice, but I’m not an expert ice driver, nor are my reflexes what they once were.

  6. George Hollister December 25, 2017

    “And the winter high fogs there provided the most uncomfortable weather I have yet to experience.”

    Reminds me of some 1960s Christmas days in Fresno, where the lows were 33-34, and the highs 37-38. The sun was hidden all day with a layer clouds and fog. No fun to be indoors, or out.

    • Harvey Reading December 25, 2017

      Remember those thick ground fogs that would blanket the Southern Central Valley during the rainy seasons of the 60s? Sometimes the fog would reach up to the lower foothills. Often, I would leave clear sunny weather at home (almost 1800-ft. elevation) on the school bus and be enveloped in fog before we reached San Andreas (as I recall about 1000-ft. elevation). I wouldn’t see the sun again until the bus took us home in the afternoon. That would be true for days at a time. Driving in that soup was truly scary.

  7. Debra Keipp December 26, 2017

    Oh no,… Linda Thompson retiring?!?! Who next WON’T be providing adequate defenseless??

  8. james marmon December 26, 2017

    Now tell me, why wasn’t this man in Mendocino County and under Camille Schraeder’s care? When does Measure B kick in?

    Man arrested Christmas night for driving pickup into Lakeport store

    “LAKEPORT, Calif. – A man who was ruled insane in a case involving an attack on his grandmother and treated at a state mental hospital was back in custody on Christmas night after police said he drove his pickup into a downtown Lakeport store.”

    • james marmon December 26, 2017

      “For several months he has regularly parked his pickup in the downtown – including on Main Street near the Courthouse Museum, just a block over from Campos Casuals – with large cardboard signs mounted on his vehicle complaining of a conspiracy involving the FBI and the government to persecute him.

      He also has walked around the park and stood at the street corner with similar signs, the messages written in dark marker, attempting to get the attention of motorists and passersby.”

      Where he went wrong was using cardboard and a dark marker, I had my signs produced by a official sign maker on South State Street in Ukiah, much more effective.

      James Marmon

      • james marmon December 26, 2017

        I wonder if any warning signs were missed or ignored? We should have had him in Ukiah or Fort Bragg months ago.

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