- Storm Series
- Find Dija
- Toxic Fate
- Autumn Johnson
- Gun Protest
- Tedium Twins
- Little Dog
- Wrong Place
- Wrongful Deaths
- Cart Operators
- Food Deals
- Kyen Housing
- Yesterday's Catch
- Camel Recipe
- Tunnels Hearing
- Billy Graham
TEMPERATURES will remain slightly below normal during the next 7 days as a series of storm systems move south across the region. Showers will be likely with each system, and mountain snow may accumulate at highway pass level Sunday night into Monday. (National Weather Service)
REWARD NOW $25K FOR MISSING COVELO WOMAN
MendocinoSportsPlus received the following Wednesday: “The family of Khadijah Britton has increased the award to $25,000 for the safe return of our beautiful Dija Rose! Please give her back. One way or the other just give her back! Khadijah we are still looking for you. Don’t ever doubt how much you mean to all of us. To the people who know what happened: please get a conscience and do the right thing. Give her back! Words of Ms. Laura Betts.”
DEAL OR NO DEAL?
by Rex Gressett
If you are worried about the dioxins out on the mill site, you should be.
Mayor Lindy Peters has conceded that neither he nor the City Council had the time or got paid enough to be able to keep up with all the meetings that the administration seemed to be having regarding what to do about the toxics at the mill site.
Marie Jones, Development Director, seems puzzled that after all these years everybody is now asking her for information when the finish line is so clearly in sight.
Since the crucial meetings that are mapping our toxic fate have been conducted, as the Mayor has plainly said, it was difficult for shocked citizens at the mayor’s informal meeting last week to readily credit the strong assertion that these agencies and our own administrators are making arrangements, agreements and understandings with GP that will determine the fate of the mill and leave all existing contaminants on the site.
Outgoing City Manager Linda Ruffing noted the pivotal decision-making meeting in City Notes but did not discuss the content of the deal. The three or four civic minded folk at the meeting with the mayor were content to bask in the warmth of considerable mayoral charisma; they just could not believe that our seaside toxic legacy had been confirmed.
Later in the day, when the meeting summary itself was presented, the terrible done deal was still disbelieved.
The people of the City of Fort Bragg have been waiting for the mill site FS (Feasibility Study), a final edict from the state’s Department of Toxic Substances Control. People thought naively the feasibility study would open the discussion.
In fact, the terms of the feasibility study are being worked out now in interagency conference, and we are already screwed.
When they present the Feasibility Study to you, they won’t be asking for your opinion. They’ll be telling you, Fort Bragg, what the done deal is.
The mere suggestion that a decision has been made that precludes other options was hugely disturbing to the mayor and the four citizens who had come to his weekly meet and greet. The secrecy had been so total, the silence of our city administrators that went to the meeting so complete, and the significance to the City so shocking that outrage, disbelief and stumbling disassociation from the facts melted down productive conversation.
As the meeting participants puzzled and wondered in incredulous defensive annoyance, Marie Jones was fetched from her work at the permit counter to sort out the confusion. Just what had actually happened that day in far away Santa Rosa, Ms. Jones?
Our Development Director had attended with City Manager Linda Ruffing.
“Ha ha ha,” Ms. Jones mirthlessly chuckled. A Deal? No way. Absolutely no deal had been made. We have lots of meetings, in fact, we have them all the time. This meeting and the one subsequently in January were but two meetings among many. Why for heaven’s sake would we necessarily have to tell the City Council? Why inform the mayor?
No deal has been made, she said.
The first of two significant meetings was held November 30, 2017 at the regional headquarters of RWQCB (Regional Water Quality Control Board) in Santa Rosa.
The other more recent meeting was in January at the Department of Toxic Substances Control. In spite of many promises to release the summary of the most recent meeting, the City has not yet done so.
At the November Water Quality meeting were representatives from Department of Toxic Substances Control, Glen Young our own Fort Bragg toxic cleanup consultant, Linda Ruffing and Marie Jones from Fort Bragg City Hall. The Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), the Coastal Commission (CC), the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE), and the Department of Safety of Damns (DOSOD) — all the agencies that could possibly shoot down or at a Feasibility Study had gathered to put their heads together and make some sausage.
The meeting rolled right over the Fort Bragg City Council resolution demanding full cleanup of the mill site.
Fort Bragg, like an unloved stepchild, was ignored as the Agencies got down to business.
Georgia-Pacific, aka the Koch Brothers (in absentia) was disabused of their own idea of making the area below the dam a danger area. G-P might be trying but they were not going to wiggle out of agency jurisdiction, DOSOD (Department of Safety of Dams) bespoke. California Law assuring public access to our own beaches, intercepted the simple GP idea that we just fence off the beach. And, No, GP would not be allowed to lower the water level in the wetlands to make the dam irrelevant. Instead GP was being commanded to fix the dam and also install a barrier across Pond 8 to further sequester toxins from possible leakage onto the beach.
The Department of Toxic Substances Control took the initiative: "If contaminants are left in place in mill pond, DTSC would consider dam to be a containment structure for contamination and long-term Operations and Maintenance (O&M) would be overseen by DTSC."
In one fell stroke the carcinogenic dioxins in the mill ponds were converted into an asset. They might be toxic but they would get us a brand new dam from GP. That solved everything. GP repairs the dam, the dioxins stay, and the fences go around it. The ponds shall be restored, but not cleansed of their poisons.
The Coastal Commission representative remarked somewhat tardily that remediation is not allowed at all in wetlands anyway, only restoration.
This is all low risk, the agency people assured each other and anyway it will all be fenced off. The issue with the warning signs is a tricky one, apparently signs will not be required at Pond 8 but will be required everywhere else. Everything gets fenced. George Reinhardt’s beloved vision of day-lighting the creeks died right then, although George does not know it (far as I know). Poor guy.
According to GP the dioxins are concentrated more heavily in the proposed day-lighting area than the worst of the ponds. They will have to be fenced. GP is calling the shots.
Just imagine, I called that a deal. Whatever was I thinking? The mayor is strenuously trying to tell me that a deal is something that is on paper, it’s a contract, not a bargaining session no one knew about. I don't know if the deal will stand. Do the people or the Council have notice of what is intended for us? Will there be opportunity for resistance and defiance? Yes, there will. But I don’t see the City Council taking the lead, or even following developments.
Autumn grew up in Sacramento and Fort Bragg, graduating from Noyo High School. She was a hostess at Ledford House and also worked at Starbucks.
She loved eating junk food and listening to music - especially Justin Bieber. Spending time with her son, Aiden, was also important to her. Graduating from high school and the birth of her beautiful son were two of her proudest accomplishments.
Autumn was such a bright beacon of light. She could light up a room with just her smile. No matter how difficult life got, she just kept smiling. Autumn was beautiful, funny and quirky with a whole lot of sass. She will be forever missed by the thousands of hearts she touched.
Autumn is survived by her son, Aiden Crowningshield; her sisters, Lily Johnson and Amanda Johnson. Also surviving are her great-grandfather, Richard; grandfather, Kenneth Smith; grandmothers, Linda Smith and Peggy Johnson; mother, Kristy Johnson; father, Dan Johnson; aunts, Kim, Jen and Moo; uncle, Kenneth; cousins, Justin, Arthur and Austin; and many friends.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 11, 2018, at Caspar Community Center with a pot luck at 12 p.m. followed by services at 1 p.m.
A GoFundMe page has been set up at GoFundMe.com/gtwmn-support-for-autumn-johnsons-family.
The family would like to thank the entire community for their overwhelming love and support. A special thank you to Lamanda Walker for Meal Train and Omie Behrns for hospitality services.
Arrangements were handled by Chapel by the Sea.
TEDIUM TWINS TALK DOPE IN UKIAH
From the Office of Senator Mike McGuire:
In November 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64 legalizing recreational cannabis. California is now coming out of a prohibition era and Golden State residents are seeing the migration of North America’s largest cannabis market into the light of a regulated and legal system estimated to be worth an approximate $7 billion annually.
Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood will hold a first-of-its-kind hearing next week in Ukiah to discuss the “First 60 Days of Prop 64”. This will be one of the largest and most comprehensive events of its kind since the initiative went into effect earlier this year.
“Preparing for the implementation of Prop 64 was a massive undertaking for the State of California and local communities, and we have been committed to a transparent process,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “As we all know, the state has been ‘building the plane while it’s flying’ with the implementation of Prop 64 which is why Assemblymember Wood and I have made it a priority to bring all of the state agency, local government and business leaders together in Ukiah to provide an in-depth briefing to the North Coast.”
The hearing will be an official joint meeting of the Committee on Governance and Finance, chaired by Senator Mike McGuire and will be held at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center at 6 pm on Thursday, March 1.
“We need to make sure that regulations for smaller cannabis farms are reasonable and attainable,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood. “Without that, I am concerned that these farmers, who are an important part of the North Coast economy, won’t have an incentive to comply and may return to an underground economy that could adversely affect public safety and the environment.”
On March 1, the committee will hear testimony from leaders of state and local agencies, as well as the cannabis industry. Committee members will first hear from Mendocino County Supervisor Dan Hamburg and Ukiah Mayor Kevin Doble with welcoming remarks, after which witnesses will testify in three panels: State Agency Leaders, including Lori Ajax, Chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control (lead agency for the State of California on all; Nicholas Maduros, Executive Director of the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (responsible for all cannabis related taxes), and Richard Parrott, Director, CalCannabis Licensing with the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Local Officials from Mendocino, Humboldt, and Sonoma counties will discuss the challenges and potential opportunities ahead for local governments related to legal recreational cannabis.
CEOs and Executives from CannaCraft, FlowKana, and the California Growers Association will also be presenting on the panel “The Green Gold Rush: Will it Pan Out for California Businesses?”
The two committees consider the most significant legislation that sets the rules for California’s cannabis industry, affects local regulation of recreational cannabis, or changes its taxation. The hearing follows up on two previous Governance and Finance Committee’s hearings: “California Cannabis in a Turbulent Time,” (February, 2017) and “Preparing for California’s Green Gold Rush – Implementing Proposition 64 Taxes” (July, 2017). These hearings can be viewed online on the California State Senate’s homepage.
The hearing begins at 6 p.m. Refreshments will be provided.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “My position on gun control? Why are you laughing? Dogs think about these things, too. I'll say this, though: People watching all these years has taught me one thing — most humans are crazy as hell. No way any of 'em should have guns.”
HUMCO MARIJUANA, an on-line comment:
What it really comes down to is, Humboldt County is not the place to do legal weed. Just like it has never been the place to grow grapes. It has a great climate in some parts of the county, and little sections of ag land, but nothing close to what is needed for real agriculture. We did well when it was possible to make a living on an incredibly small patch of farm land. We made more on a tenth of an acre than many large farm operations… anyway, those days are over. It was good times, ignore the comments from the haters, but going legal is a huge waste of time and resources. Really… just think about it big picture… it ain’t gonna work.
WRONGFUL DEATHS IN HUMCO
To the Editor and Enlightened AVA Readers,
Has Humboldt County law enforcement been getting away with murder?
Over the years particularly during the reign of District Attorney Paul Gallegos, early 90s until January 1, 2015, there have been a lot of highly questionable shootings by the cops in Humboldt County.
Like Cheri Lynn Moore (2006): times-standard.com/article/zz/20080105/NEWS/801059763
Tommy McClain (September 2014): lostcoastoutpost.com/2016/nov/18/mcclain-verdict-jury-finds-officer-50-percent-negl
And the murder of Martin Cotton by Humboldt deputies in the Humboldt County jail in 2007: times-standard.com/article/zz/20110910/NEWS/110919548
Said murders by police and many others were all sanctioned by Gallegos as justified. All police shootings are allegedly investigated by Humboldt County's critical incident response team (also known as “CRIT”), including the shooting I was involved in on May 6, 2014 in my backyard in Shelter Cove ("the Cove"). To my knowledge I am the only person of recent memory to survive being attacked by the Humboldt cops.
I was arrested within 24 hours of the incident. Eight months later there was my trial. During the interim however I began to discover that CRIT had thoroughly staged the alleged crime scene by relocating (planting) most of Sergeant Kenneth Swithenbank and Deputy Bang Cao’s (deputies) spent shell casings and planting numerous other items.
Accordingly, to cover that all up, Gallegos and his cronies had to stage my December 2014 trial as well. There is no way under the particular circumstances of this case that my trial could have been staged as it was without the cooperation (collusion) of Gregory Elvine-Kreis ("Greg"), my court-appointed attorney, now judge Elvine-Kreis.
Several of the victims’ (like McLain and Cotton) families have won substantial wrongful death claims against Humboldt County. Unfortunately, said victims were never able to tell their side of the story. When I made it clear to Greg that I was dead set on testifying in my own defense Greg (aka "Maggot") threatened to drop the case. Twice!
In the past couple years I've been able to acquire some solid evidence that proves my points above. I have already begun submitting said evidence to the California courts. But it is the families of the deceased whom CRIT allegedly investigated that I really want to hear from and vice versa.
If you have been plagued by such tragedy wouldn’t you want to know the whole truth regarding your loved ones? Wouldn't you want to send an investigator or even the FBI to check out the facts, and speak with one whom the state has effectively silenced (Me!)? Please help! Find Thomas McLain and Martin Cotton’s families and facilitate the connection.
Bill Nelson CDCR ID# A7785
CTF C DW-112
P.O. Box 689
Soledad, CA 93960
PS If you decide to print this statement please send me a copy to at least know you received my plea and to "fan the flames of discontent" with the page marked to Governor Jerry Brown and one to Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye of the California Supreme Court at 350 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94102.
SNOW FENCE, Plum Island, MA (photo by William Allen)
NO PET PROJECTS PLEASE
To the Editor:
Does anyone remember Measure Y? It was the one that passed by the thinnest of margins during the last General Election to raise sales taxes in Ukiah. Our City Council assured us that this money was for fixing roads and streets, only for fixing roads and streets, and never mentioned using the money for anything else. So, what do we have so far? Well, the city created a new (highly paid) Assistant City Manager Position. The Council approved a quarter of a million dollars to perform engineering works to extend the Rail Trail from Gobbi to Talmage. (This in itself is an incredible amount of money to design a light duty path …. most of the design will be standard drawings). So, what about fixing our roads and streets? I am sure most of us have seen the obliteration work of the STOP and Limit Lines markings in a number of intersections. And surely there must be activity on Luce, Observatory, and/or State Streets…..No?
We also know the money fairy came to town recently and dropped off $1.3 million dollars to extend the Rail Trail a bit more to the north …. some call it ‘The Million Dollar Mile.’ Where did this money come from? Well it came from the state Cap & Trade program, where businesses purchase Carbon Offsets and gasoline purchasers kick in a few cents per gallon. The intended use of this money was to invest in projects that would reduce Carbon Emissions, which would stop Climate Change, and save the planet. I guess the State saw the opportunity to reduce north-south motor vehicle traffic emissions in Ukiah by promoting the use of Shopping Carts to move goods and services from one end of town to another.
Speaking of shopping cart operators, have you seen the front of the County Social Services Building lately? They have constructed a barrier (at taxpayer expense, of course) to prevent these operators from utilizing the space as a break area when they are off-duty. This is the kind of thing that is done in less developed countries when the folks who run the country don’t want to be bothered by their subjects. This, of course, will allow the operators to disperse within the community so businesses and property owners can provide shelter; garbage; and hazardous and human waste disposal services ‘free’ of charge. I know that there are people in the building who are earnestly working on good things to alleviate the shopping cart operator situation in our community. Allowing these folks to continue to use the previous space, would just give a branch of our local government a continued sense of urgency.
Bringing things around full circle, if the $1.3 million dollars, as stated in the UDJ article, was to help the environment in our community, what better way to do this than to provide a facility for all of the folks out on the streets to go and stay so they can sleep, do their laundry, receive meals, bathe, take care of their bodily functions AND receive expert professional assistance to move them back into society as productive members!
And, how about the new court house project? Now that our state government has decided that it has other more urgent spending priorities and the project will come to a grinding halt, isn’t it time for the city to tell the state that this location would be a dandy location for housing, which is our need?
Don’t you think it is time for our tax money to be spent efficiently and effectively on things that the community actually needs instead of pet projects?
FURTHER EVIDENCE, IF ANY'S NEEDED, THAT THE PRESS DEMOCRAT IS EDITED BY MORONS
(Screen grab of Santa Rosa Press Democrat on-line front page for February 22, 2018):
THE ME TOO MOVEMENT. I want to share with you my Me Too experiences, not that they amount to much, the patriarchal beast claimed, like we're too dumb to know him for the rampaging phallocrat that he is. Still, though, maybe we can like have a conversation around these issues.
CHRIST JESUS! I hate this language from therapy land and the college seminar. I'm almost grateful that young people have lost the power of coherent speech. The minority who can still talk zoom straight for grad student lingo. Really, though, I just want to tell you something that might qualify as a Me Too confession.
FIRST OFF, I can tell you that when I was young and beautiful, circa 1960 — the bloom was forever off my rose by '67 — I never had to worry for female companionship. But by '65, I had been miraculously blessed with the right woman, and we've been amiably wed ever since. If I hadn't met her I'm sure I would have gone on to a life of serial relationships, divorce court, and custody battles like most of my fellow Americans.
ANYWAY, SOME TWENTY YEARS AGO, I asked a much younger woman to meet me for coffee in Fort Bragg. Believe me, I had zero romantic interest in her, but she had inside information on a local controversy that I wanted real bad. And she had the goods. She agreed to the coffee. I was elated. Then, after agreeing, she called back and said, "I'm really not interested in seeing you," saying it in a way that implied I was carnally interested in her. I wanted to say, "If I had any less romantic interest in you, I'd be asleep." But I'll bet to this day she tells people about the time…
MORE RECENTLY, I was at a social gathering consisting of much younger people, which isn't unusual for me because I'm old and, I'll tell only you people because I'm among friends here, I have also been mercifully freed from the curse of desire. So I'm sitting off to the side listening to the Like Dudes and the Like Dudettes chatting about unlistenable music and unwatchable movies when a young-ish woman plops herself down on the floor in front of me. I'd offered her my chair, which made what soon happened doubly annoying, because when she sat down in front of me about half her ass spilled out of her harem pants, or whatever immodest garment partially covered her lower torso. I averted my eyes, and kept them averted, but I wasn't going to move. I was there first, goddammit! And I'm a Senior Citizen! After a few minutes, belatedly aware her buttocks were in an old man's face who preferred they not be there, she rose and, striding angrily away, shot me a death glare over her shoulder that said, "Shame on you, you old pervert!"
I ASK YOU, ladies and gentlemen of the online AVA jury, and I ask you because I know you are people of understanding, you tell me, did I do wrong? Should I have moved at that first glance of forbidden flesh?
FOODSHED DEADLINE APPROACHING!
We're sure by now, you've all seen our ad somewhere for our early bonus offer for the 2018 membership program. But in case you needed a friendly reminder before the next deadline passes by, here you go! Maybe you could send it along to your friends too :)
Join by March 1 and get a 10% credit.
Details of this year’s member program follows below, and our contact info is at the bottom of the advert. The member program sign-up form is available at our website, or you can buy-in this week by coming by the farm, or come to the Boonville Winter Market on Saturdays where we will be vending the next couple of weeks. Feel free also, instead, to mail a check and the membership sign-up form to us, we’ll count the post-marked date as it pertains to the offer.
This year we are again in the business of producing (with the same “values-driven, ecological farming”) and selling the same products (grass-fed lamb, pork, beef and goat, eggs, vegetables, tree-fruit, olive oil) that we have been known for the past 7 years. All of these products are available in our membership program’s new “Members-Only” farm stand, at the front of the farm on Lambert Lane, 2 blocks from downtown Boonville. We will be continuing the program we launched last year with some important improvements.
At the Farm Stand members will use a pre-purchased credit, like the “tab” at the old country store, and then go shopping with their credit, self-serve, self-checkout, no cash trades hand at the farm stand, just a receipt of the transaction. Twice per week, from March 15 to Nov. 15, members will have access to our pop-up fresh produce farm stand, at below-retail-organic prices. Our vegetables, seasonal tree fruit, olive oil, tea blends, new soap and skin care products will be laid out and the early bird will get the first pickings. We will also pack a limited number of weekly diverse vegetable boxes, for the adventurous who are committed to eating a lot of vegetables every week and don’t like having to choose which ones. Boxes will be available for pick up on the same days that the stand is open. Our frozen meat products will be available for members to pick up at the farm stand 6-days per week, with 24-hours minimum advance pre-order (email, call, or text) and can be picked up any time after February 1st.
Becoming a member of the Anderson Valley Community Farm (is easy!) and joining in our 2018 Membership Program costs just a $20 fee for the year, and the minimum credit buy-in of $100.. If you bought $400 of credit right now, you’d get $40 (10%) bonus credit. This credit can be applied to all of our farm produce including meat and including weekly vegetable boxes. You can purchase more member credit anytime in the season, bonus credit only applies to the current offer. Join our community and share in our love of food, farming, and healthy living.
Email or call us with any questions. Farmer Tim Ward’s cell phone: (831)332-5131,
Can’t afford local food?! Talk to us about work-trade or barter opportunities or haggle for a discounted membership. Don’t be shy, we get it, we’re poor too!
WORK BEGINS AT KYEN CAMPGROUND FOR FIRE SURVIVOR HOUSING
Today, February 22, 2018, at 4:30 p.m., the County of Mendocino in partnership with the FEMA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the Kyen Campground disaster housing project.
The Mendocino County Housing Task Force, in conjunction with FEMA, has negotiated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to open 75 acres at the Lake Mendocino Kyen campground for up to 70 temporary housing units to accommodate those displaced by the Redwood Complex wildfires. Primary work at the campground to add sewer, water and electric for the housing sites will begin this week.
This is the first time a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campground has been used to house disaster survivors and could pave the way for future partnerships between the agencies on disaster response.
“I’m thankful that the County team worked so diligently with our State and Federal partners to get these accommodations in place and all their hard work paid off.” Supervisor Carre Brown remarked. “Our goal is to have every displaced Mendocino County resident into temporary housing as soon as possible. This is a huge accomplishment for our Housing Task Force.”
The Kyen Campground Groundbreaking Ceremony will be open to the public. The Groundbreaking will take place at 4:30 p.m. at the Lake Mendocino Kyen Campground off of Marina Drive. From Highway 20 east, take the first right on to Marina Drive after you see Lake Mendocino on your right. Follow Marina Drive past the North Boat Ramp and Oak Grove Day-Use Area.
For more information please contact the Executive Office at (707) 463-4441.
Carmel J. Angelo
Chief Executive Officer
CATCH OF THE DAY, February 22, 2018
AARON BLACK, Fort Bragg. Domestic battery, probation revocation.
TIMMY COOPER, Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon with great bodily injury, false ID, probation revocation.
ANTONIA GONZALEZ, Ukiah. Vandalism, resisting, battery on peace officer.
KARISSAN LINCOLN-FRAZIER, Willits. Protective order violation.
JUSTIN MALUGANI, Ukiah. Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JEFFERSEN MCDONALD, Willits. Failure to appear.
CHARLES NICKERMAN, Fort Bragg. DUI, parole violation.
LUIS OLIVER, Covelo. Covelo. County parole violation.
SHERRIE PETTY, Ukiah. Forgery, conspiracy, parole violation.
GEORGIAN PHILLIPS, Covelo. Covelo. Domestic battery.
AARON PINOLA, Point Arena. Burglary, receiving stolen property.
PETER ROSE JR., Point Arena. Probation revocation.
MARK SIMPSON, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, criminal threats, protective order violation, resisting.
BAKED CAMEL (STUFFED)
Ingredients: 500 dates, 200 plover eggs, 20 two-pound carp, 4 bustards, cleaned and plucked, two sheep, one large camel, seasonings.
Dig trench. Reduce inferno to hot coals, three feet in depth. Separately hard cook eggs. Scale carp and stuff with shelled eggs and dates. Season bustards and stuff with stuffed carp. Stuff stuffed bustards into sheep and stuff sheep into camel. Singe camel. Then wrap in leaves of doum palm and bury in pit. Bake two days. Serve with rice. Serves 400.
–TC Boyle, Water Music
"WAITING FOR A FLYBY"
LIFE is never a thing of continuous bliss. There is no paradise. Fight and laugh and feel bitter and feel bliss: and fight again. Fight, fight. That is life. —DH Lawrence
THIS WILL END IT
When will it end, what will it take to end this?”
I can tell you exactly what it will take and when it will end. It will be virtually immediately after someone in body armor with an AK-47, hand grenades and otherwise armed to the teeth somehow gains access to Congress in session and goes berserk, causing an heretofore unbelievable body count. Only then will our legislators listen.
Until then, the rest of us are just collateral damage to the protection of the Second Amendment.
"WHEN A COUNTRY armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons and overwhelmed by its own exceptionalism and indispensability has political and media lunatics equating a bait-click commercial marketing scheme with Pearl Harbor, that country is a recipe for the end of the world."
— Paul Craig Roberts, "Russiaphobia Is Out Of Control"
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Nothing will be banned. This will blow over like everything else. George Clooney is involved now. Apparently he want guns banned except the ones carried by his private security detail that shadows him everywhere he goes. Last week these kids were eating laundry detergent tabs in an attempt to catch a buzz. This week, suddenly, they are the fount of all wisdom. It must be the years of practical experience combined with the superior 11th grade education.
WATER BOARD RESUMES DELTA TUNNELS HEARING TODAY, REJECTING MOTIONS BY OPPONENTS TO STOP IT
by Dan Bacher
The State Water Resources Control Board yesterday announced that the hearing on the petition by the California Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to change the point of diversions for the Delta Tunnels project will resume as scheduled today in spite of a change in the project by the state and federal governments from the twin tunnels to a two phase project.
The Board will reconvene the hearing today, February 22, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. in the Coastal Room at the CalEPA building, rejecting the pile of recent motions by cities, counties, water agencies, conservation groups, fishing groups and farming organizations to stay the hearing.
The Delta Tunnels opponents not only argued for a stay in the hearings because of a recent change in the project, but as a result of emails disclosed under California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests filed by Patrick Porgans of Porgans and Associates.
The emails obtained by Porgans revealed that Water Board officials apparently apparently violated the Board’s own ex parte rules by holding many meetings and email contacts discussing with DWR staff modeling and other technical issues associated with the tunnels permit applications.
Rather than delaying or stopping the hearing to resolve the accusations of exparte violations, the Hearing Officers only said in their letter that…” the prohibition against ex parte (i.e., "off-the-record") communications to the State Water Board Members concerning substantive and controversial procedural issues related to California WaterFix is now in effect.”
Delta Tunnels protestants responded with outrage to the today’s ruling, accusing the Water Board of discarding due process and forging ahead with the project in spite of the all of the evidence pointing to Governor Jerry Brown’s “legacy project” being disastrous for for fish, wildlife, water and the people of California.
”The State Water Resources Control Board has discarded due process, abandoned any pretense of being an independent regulatory agency, and revealed its intention to approve this disastrous project regardless of testimony and evidence,” said Bill Jennings, executive director for California Sportfishing Protection Alliance.
Likewise, Bob Wright, Friends of the River senior counsel, stated, “The State Water Resources Control Board has had two faces. With one face they told the public and protestants, no ex parte (secret and private) communications with us. With the other face, they had numerous ex parte meetings with the Department of Water Resources to secretly help DWR get approval for the diversion change they need for the water tunnels.”
“The State Water Board today has shredded the last bit of faith we had that the hearing process would be conducted fairly and equitably—that the Board would hold to a standard of conduct that would be above reproach, regardless of the decision they may make on Governor Brown’s tunnels fiasco. Clearly, they are under the thumb of Governor Brown, and no longer function in an independent manner,” concluded Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta.
During the public comment period at the last board hearing on February 8, Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More SF Bay eloquently urged the board to reject the petition required to build the California WaterFix, revealing what is at stake if the project is ever built.
“I am a signatory to the Indigenous Women of the Americas – Defenders of Mother Earth Treaty Compact 2015. We can’t live without water and neither can our non-human relatives. The WaterFix is a water theft. You cannot approve the WaterFix,” urged Plant.
”From my heart to yours, especially to the women, our babies swim in the seas of our wombs. Please protect this water and the life that lives inside of our bellies. Please protect this sacred system of life that swims in the Delta. If we don’t protect the Delta now, it’s going to be damaged beyond the capability to maintain human and non-human life. It’s up to us,” she stated.
A large number of other Delta Tunnels opponents, including representatives of Restore the Delta, North Delta Cares, Friends of the River, NRDC, Save the Delta Alliance, the Center for Biological Diversity, Sacramento Valley water districts, Delta farmers, business owners, fishing groups, San Joaquin, Sacramento and other Delta counties, the cities of Stockton and Sacramento, an array of water agencies and many other organizations filed motions to stay the Delta Tunnels evidentiary hearings.
While Jerry Brown often poses as the “resistance” to Trump, he is in fact a close collaborator with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the Trump administration on the Delta Tunnels.
Background from the Water Board: The State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) is holding a hearing to receive evidence relevant to determining whether the State Water Board should approve, subject to terms and conditions, a joint petition filed by the California Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s (Reclamation) to add three new points of diversion and/or points of rediversion of water to specified water right permits for the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project associated with the California WaterFix Project (California WaterFix). The hearing will also inform the consideration of an application for a water quality certification pursuant to Clean Water Act section 401 for California WaterFix.
To read the full hearing letter and links, go to: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/bay_delta/california_waterfix/water_right_petition.shtml
JUST IN FROM WAIKIKI
Going Forward in Paradise
Following an appointment yesterday at Kaiser Permanente/Hawaii, in which the primary care doctor advised being on a low level cholesterol diet, and then nothing further is necessary until six months hence, when more general testing would be done, the clear schedule for the remainder of the day was an afternoon at the Maui Brewing Company's incredible dining room across from Waikiki Beach. And several of their excellently crafted beers later, enjoying a guitarist performance, and lively conversation with other patrons and the staff about the finer points of brewing beer, the crowning moment was achieved consuming a rib eye steak smothered in a fantastic chimchurri sauce. Sauntered out to the Cheesecake Factory, and ordered a piece of carrot cake cheesecake and a mug of the machiatto coffee, marveling at how every night at Waikiki Beach is an evening of the fullest celebrating by an international crowd. Cabbed it back to the Plumeria Alternative Hostel on Piikoi Street, and promptly went to sleep in the comfort of my room. The following day at noon promptly, was praying for the forgiveness of sin worldwide at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church. The gospel proclaims that Jesus Christ informed everyone that we live in evil times, that we need to follow God and have everlasting life, and by all means avoid the wickedness and snares of the devil. Just made a trip to Chinatown for a bottle of Korean ginseng to uplift the physical system, and am presently at the main Honolulu Library branch sending out this report. Obviously, remaining on a path Christ centered is best, and otherwise being "lost in the world" is unworthy. Just telling it like it is. I am saying that what makes the entire situation of life on earth worthwhile, is being spiritually conscious. Do whatever you like, but remaining spiritually centered is ultimately critical. Living in Honolulu this winter has made this all very clear! ~PRAISE THE LORD~
Craig Louis Stehr
BILLY GRAHAM & THE GOSPEL OF FEAR
by Cecil Bothwell
“We are selling the greatest product on earth. Why shouldn’t we promote it as effectively as we promote a bar of soap?”
— Billy Graham, Saturday Evening Post, 1963
Billy Graham was a preacher man equally intent on saving souls and soliciting financial support for his ministry. His success at the former is not subject to proof and his success at the latter is unrivaled. He preached to millions on every ice-free continent and led many to his chosen messiah.
When Graham succumbed to various ailments this week at the age of 99 he left behind an organization that is said to have touched more people than any other Christian ministry in history, with property, assets and a name-brand worth hundreds of millions. The address lists of contributors alone comprise a mother lode for the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, now headed by his son and namesake, William Franklin Graham, III.
Graham also left behind a United States government in which religion plays a far greater role than before he intruded into politics in the 1950s. The shift from secular governance to “In God We Trust” can be laid squarely at this minister’s feet.
Graham’s message was principally one of fear: fear of a wrathful god; fear of temptation; fear of communists and socialists; fear of unions; fear of Catholics; fear of homosexuals; fear of racial integration and above all, fear of death. But as a balm for such fears, he promised listeners eternal life, which he said was readily claimed through acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s savior.
Furthermore, he assured listeners that God loved us so much that He created governments, the most blessed form being Western capitalist democracy. To make this point, he frequently quoted Romans 13, particularly the first two verses. In the New American Standard Version of the Bible, they read, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”
The question of whether this was actually the recorded word of God or a rider inserted into the bill by Roman senators with rather more worldly aims never dimmed Graham’s insistence that all governments are the work of the Almighty. Almost perversely, he even endorsed the arrest of a woman who lofted a Christian banner during his Reagan-era visit to Moscow, opting for the crack-down of “divine” authority over the civil disobedience of a believer.
Governments, he reminded his Moscow listeners, do God’s work.
Based on that Biblical mandate for all governments, Graham stood in solid opposition to the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, all but addressed to Graham, King noted, “We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’ and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was ‘illegal.’ … If today I lived in a Communist country where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I would openly advocate disobeying that country’s antireligious laws. ”
Fear is the stock in trade of most evangelists, of course, comprising the necessary setup before the pitch. As historian William Martin explained in his 1991 account of Graham’s early sermons, “… even those whose personal lives seemed rich and fulfilling must live in a world filled with terror and threat. As a direct result of sinful humanity’s rebellion against God, our streets have become jungles of terror, mugging, rape, and death. Confusion reigns on campuses as never before. Political leaders live in constant fear of the assassin’s bullet. Racial tension seems certain to unleash titanic forces of hatred and violence. Communism threatens to eradicate freedom from the face of the earth. Small nations are getting the bomb, so that global war seems inevitable. High-speed objects, apparently guided by an unknown intelligence, are coming into our atmosphere for reasons no one understands. Clearly, all signs point to the end of the present world order.
“… Graham’s basic mode of preaching in these early years was assault. … Then, when he had his listeners mentally crouching in terror, aware that all the attractively labeled escape routes—alcohol, sexual indulgence, riches, psychiatry, education, social-welfare programs, increased military might, the United Nations—led ultimately to dead ends, he held out the only compass that pointed reliably to the straight and narrow path that leads to personal happiness and lasting peace.”
Columnist and former priest James Carroll had much the same take, noting that “Graham had his finger on the pulse of American fear, and in subsequent years, anti communism occupied the nation’s soul as an avowedly religious obsession. The Red scare at home, unabashed moves toward empire abroad, the phrase ‘under God’ inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance, the scapegoating of homosexuals as ‘security risks,’ an insane accumulation of nuclear weapons, suicidal wars against postcolonial insurgencies in Asia—a set of desperate choices indeed. Through it all, Billy Graham was the high priest of the American crusade, which is why U.S. presidents uniformly sought his blessing.”
While Carroll had most of that right, the record suggests that, over and over again, it was Graham who sought presidential blessing, rather than the other way around. Letters enshrined in the presidential and Graham libraries reveal a preacher endlessly seeking official audience. As Truman said, years after his presidency, “Well, I hadn’t ought to say this, but he’s one of those counterfeits I was telling you about. He claims he’s a friend of all the presidents, but he was never a friend of mine when I was president.”
Of course, politicians have often brandished fear as well, and the twin streams of fear-based politics and fear-based religion couldn’t have been more confluent. Communist infiltrators, missile gaps and the domino effect each took their turn, as did the Evil Empire and, more recently, Saddam, Osama bin Laden and an amorphous threat of global terrorism.
In light of the Biblical endorsement of rulers, Graham supported police repression of Vietnam war protesters and civil rights marchers, opposed Martin Luther King’s tactic of civil disobedience, supported South American despots, and publicly supported every war or intervention waged by the United States from Korea forward.
Born on a prosperous dairy farm and educated at Wheaton College, Graham first gained national attention in 1949 when the publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, searching for a spiritual icon to spread his anti-communist sentiments, discovered the young preacher holding forth at a Los Angeles tent meeting. Hearst wired his editors across the nation, “puff Graham,” and he was an instant sensation.
Hearst next contacted his friend and fellow publisher Henry Luce. Their Wall Street ally, Bernard Baruch, arranged a meeting between Luce and Graham while the preacher was staying with the segregationist Governor Strom Thurmond in the official mansion in Columbia, S.Car. Luce concurred with Hearst about Graham’s marketability and Time and Life were enlisted in the job of selling the soap of salvation to the world. Time, alone, has run more than 600 stories about Graham.
The man who would become known as “the minister to presidents” offered his first military advice in 1950. On June 25, North Korean troops invaded South Korea and Graham sent Truman a telegram. “MILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS PRAYING GOD GIVE YOU WISDOM IN THIS CRISIS. STRONGLY URGE SHOWDOWN WITH COMMUNISM NOW. MORE CHRISTIANS IN SOUTHERN KOREA PER CAPITA THAN ANY PART OF WORLD. WE CANNOT LET THEM DOWN.”
It was the first time Graham encouraged a president to go to war, and with characteristic hyperbole: Korea has never topped the list of Christian-leaning nations. Subsequently, Graham gave his blessing to every conflict under every president from Truman to the second Bush, and most of the presidents, pleased to enjoy public assurance of God’s approval, made him welcome in the White House. Graham excoriated Truman for firing General Douglas MacArthur and supported the general’s plan to invade China. He went so far as to urge Nixon to bomb dikes in Vietnam—knowing that it would kill upward of a million civilians—and he claimed to have sat on the sofa next to G.H.W. Bush as the bombs began falling in the first Gulf War (though Bush’s diary version of the evening somehow excludes Graham, as does a White House video of Bush during the attack).
According to Bush’s account, in a phone call the preceding week, Graham quoted poetry that compared the President to a messiah destined to save the world, and in the next breath called Saddam the Antichrist. Bush wrote that Graham suggested it was his historical mission to destroy Saddam.
Through the years, Graham’s politics earned him some strange bedfellows. He praised Senator Joseph McCarthy and supported his assault on Constitutional rights, then scolded the Senate for censuring McCarthy for his excesses. He befriended oil men and arms manufacturers. He defended Nixon after Watergate, right up to the disgraced president’s resignation, and faced public scorn when tapes were aired that exposed the foul-mouthed President as a schemer and plotter. Nixon’s chief of staff, Bob Haldeman, reported on Graham’s denigration of Jews in his posthumously published diary—a claim Graham vehemently denied until released tapes undid him in 2002. Caught with his prejudicial pants down, Graham claimed ignorance of the hour-and-a-half long conversation in which he led the antisemite attack.
As reported by the Associated Press on March 2, 2002:
“Although I have no memory of the occasion, I deeply regret comments I apparently made in an Oval Office conversation with President Nixon . . . some 30 years ago,” Graham said in a statement released by his Texas public relations firm. “They do not reflect my views, and I sincerely apologize for any offense caused by the remarks.”
Whether or not the comments reflect Graham’s views at the time or thirty years later, it is his defense that bears much closer scrutiny. What were we to make of a preacher who insisted that his words didn’t reflect his beliefs? Were we to believe him then or later, on other matters?
Graham was a political operative, reporting to Kennedy on purported communist insurgencies in Latin America, turning over lists of activist Christians to the Republican party, conferring regularly with J. Edgar Hoover and networking with the CIA in South America and Vietnam. He was even assigned by Nixon’s operatives to talk George Wallace out of a second run for the White House.
To accomplish the latter, he phoned Wallace as he was coming out of an anesthetic stupor after one of his numerous post-assassination-attempt surgeries. While the long suffering gunshot victim asked the minister to pray for him, the minister asked him not to make a third-party bid for the presidency. “I won’t do anything to help McGovern,” Wallace replied.
There are many who would argue that the good that Graham did outweighs whatever political intrigue he embraced, and even the several wars he enthusiastically endorsed. To the extent that bringing people to Christ is of benefit to them, an untestable hypothesis, he was successful with his calls to come forward. He accrued hundreds of millions of dollars which were used to extend his ministry and thereby bring more people to “be saved,” which is self-justifying but fails as evidence of goodness.
If Christian beliefs about the hereafter prove correct, we will all presumably discover what good he accomplished, or what chance for salvation we missed, in the sweet by and by.
In talking to one of his biographers, Graham recalled his mood during his fire and brimstone declamations, “I would feel as though I had a sword, a rapier, in my hand, and I would be slashing deeper and deeper into the consciences of the people before me, cutting away straight to their very souls.”
In that regard, Graham’s largest and most lasting monument is a highway cut through Beaucatcher Mountain, blasted through a majestic land form that once bisected Asheville, N.Car. He helped convince recalcitrant landowners to permit the excavation and construction through the cut of the short stretch of Interstate highway subsequently named the Billy Graham Freeway.
Downwind residents report that the weather has permanently shifted due to the gaping mountain maw and the future of the highway that transects the city continues to be one of the most divisive issues in that southern metropolis.
“Straight to their very souls,” indeed.
In every way, Graham was the spiritual father of today’s right-wing religious leaders who so inhabit the national conversation. If he cloaked his suasion in public neutrality it was the hallmark of an era in which such intrusion was deemed unseemly. If today’s practitioners are less abashed, it is in many ways reflective of the secure foundation Graham built within Republican and conservative circles.
Graham endorsed and courted Eisenhower and compared a militaristic State of the Union speech to the Sermon on the Mount, fanned anti-Catholic flames in the Nixon-Kennedy contest, backed Johnson and then Nixon in Vietnam, lobbied for arms sales to Saudi Arabia during the Reagan years, conveyed foreign threats and entreaties for Clinton and lent his imprimateur to G.W. Bush as he declared war on terrorism from the pulpit of the National Cathedral.
Billy Graham approved of warriors and war, weapons of mass destruction (in white, Christian hands) and covert operations. He publicly declaimed the righteousness of battle with enemies of American capitalism, abetted genocide in oil-rich Ecuador and surrounds and endorsed castration as punishment for rapists. A terrible swift sword for certain, and effective no doubt, but not much there in the way of turning the other cheek.
Graham will be cordially remembered by those who found solace in his golden promises and happy homilies, but the worldly blowback from his ministry is playing out in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chechnya and Korea, the Phillipines and Colombia—everywhere governments threaten human rights and pie in the sky is offered in lieu of daily bread.
In the words of Graham’s ministerial and secular adversary, Dr. King, “I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.”
Farewell Reverend Graham. Let justice roll.