Wednesday May 24, 2017

IMPORTANT IMPORTANT – Jill’s health and well being depends on this…. Thursday June 8th is the Class of 2017 Graduation issue…. don’t forget to place your congrats ads with Jill, she would like to be finished in time to prepare for her wonderful spectacular beautiful daughter Megan’s graduation so she is offering a $1.25 discount to anyone who gets their graduation ad into her between Friday May 26th and Monday June 5th and says Scribbler. So plan your ads and call Jill at 530 289-3262 or email (and yes that is her real email, just accept it and use it)… one can always use the if you must but refer it to Jill’s discount offer.

Happy Happy Birthday Patty G. you better be having fun!!!!

Don’t miss Kentucky Mine Museums Season Opening this Saturday May 27th from Noon till 4 p.m. free tours, Magic Show, Music and more…

Don’t forget 2017 Annual Plumas/Sierra County Picnic SATURDAY, JUNE 3 9AM TO 4PM At the Plumas Sierra County Fairgrounds 2017 Picnic Poster

Check out the Readers Digest Nicest Place in America then add more to the nomination by adding Goodyears Bar, Sierra City, Alleghany, Pike City, Loyalton, Sierraville, Calpine any place in Sierra County at nominations for the nicest place we live in.

Be sure to read Patrick Hiller’s column this week about Trump’s deal with the Saudis.

It makes me shudder whenever I write Trump’s name without the “President” title, after all I did write immediately after the election the Office of the President of the United States deserves respect regardless what man or woman sits in the Oval Office in the White House and I feel bad that I can no longer believe this man, Trump, deserves any respect. That said, it is difficult but  I am trying to keep expecting him to do and be the President we  need and can respect.

And of course there are always ways to remind ourselves to expect the best in others, I’ve come to believe throughout 76 years that one gets what one expects.

Expect the best and do your part to be the best. Be a helper, join your local fire department, be a volunteer, no matter, your age, your health, your financial situation, you can always find a way to be a helper, to do your best. We need you more today than ever, and yes, I am talking to you.


This week we have Carrie’s Corner, Others, lots of local news and events, of course articles by Patrick Hiller, Bob Koehler and Mel Gurtov.

The photo this week is by Paul Guffin in Downieville it wasn’t taken this year but I really like how it demonstrates the joys of living on the Downie River views.

Looking for Fair Volunteers 5/24/17


The California State Fair will be held at Cal Expo in Sacramento on Friday, July 14th through Sunday, July 30th. I am looking for volunteers to staff the exhibit during the fair. The fair hours are Monday-Thursday 11am to 10pm and Friday-Sunday 10am to 10pm. Each volunteer will get a free admission to the fair, as well as a parking pass. I encourage you to get several people together and go for the whole day and take turns staffing. That will give everyone an opportunity to see the other activities and events at the fair. You can also do a half day early or late shift, if that fits better into your schedule. Either way, please let me know as soon as possible if you can help with staffing, as the deadline to submit paperwork to the state fair officials is May 25th. My phone number in Sierra City is 862-1173 and my email address is

I want to thank you for your support and dedication in bringing out the best of Sierra County! Mary Ervin, Counties Exhibit Coordinator For Sierra County

TNF Bowman Rd Closure 5/24/17

Tahoe National Forest Modifies Bowman Road Closure

NEVADA CITY, Calif. – In a continuing effort to provide vehicular access to the Tahoe National Forest, while also providing for public safety, the Forest has moved the Bowman Road closure from the intersection with Highway 20 to the intersection with Forest Service Road 14 (Grouse Ridge Lookout Road). The Road had been closed due to storm damage, including a large sinkhole. Initial repairs have made the road passable; however, uneven surfaces still warrant caution while driving the newly opened section of road.

Snow, ice and debris are inhibiting access to some Tahoe National Forest roads and additional road damage is still being revealed. The Forest has seen extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure from this year’s winter storms. Unsafe conditions, damaged roads, as well as snow and debris have resulted in the need to close some roads to public use. Closed roads will reopen once they are repaired and deemed safe for travel.

Those with a valid permit from the U.S. Forest Service are authorized to use these roads, as are any Federal, State or local officers or members of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of official duty.

For more Tahoe National Forest information, go to


Lou is Back (online anyway) 5/24/17

Okay Folks,  After 10 days without internet, I’m back on-line. DISHNETWORK is no longer my friend. Long and expensive story. Non-the-less, I’ am back and ready to share this crazy move. Can you say STRESS? Not to worry, it’s over until August. Oh boy, get to do it again! It will be done differently in August. Anyway.

I’ am now a resident of Nevada, officially! As promised, I told most of you that I would be sharing my new address(s) once I get here. Address(s), you ask? Yep. Here is how it is going to work. I’ am renting an apartment in Virginia City from friends Pam and Russ Brandon. Pam is originally from Downieville back when gold was discovered. (sorry Pam, it’s your turn now). So, Pam offered one of their rentals to me while the house in Dayton is being built. It’s on a quiet street on the south end of town. The only traffic is a occiasional car and herds of wild horses. Oh, and once in awhile a deer. In fact, on Saturday it was so nice outside, I brought my chair out in the front yard. As I was sitting there, Wilbur, Maybelle, Aunt Hilda and little Flo came up the street grazing on the green grass near the front yard. I took some photo’s of the brood as they ate breakfast. Little Flo, I’ am sure, is just a young’n as she is still wobbly on her feet.

So, just thought I would share some thoughts of Virginia City as you all uggg. Similar to Downieville, but a little smaller. As some of you know, I walk in the morning fairly early. As I walk around town there is a quiet hum as the business’ are getting ready to open up. I waive as some folks are leaving for work in other towns. I’ am sure they are friendly folk as they waive with all their fingers. The birds are are scurrying getting themselves fed and the occasional herd of horses grazing about not worrying about this crazy human walking about. Every few houses, I’ am greeted by a bark from a dog and a wagging tail. They seem to be happy as I can see they are smiling as I walk past. The town is very quiet until the top of the hour when the bells toll from St. Mary’s In The Mountian Catholic church indicating the time. What a beautiful sound. It really does take you back to that time.

I have found that the 6000 foot elevation makes a huge difference while I walk. Especially walking UP the street/hill. I got a phone call the other day as I walked up the hill near Pam and Russ’ place. The caller wanted to know if I needed 9-1-1 as I was huffing and puffing unable to talk. Obviously I made it, but I need to pace myself.

I really enjoy taking a close look at the old Victorians as I walk past. It’s funny how different the places look walking in each direction. When you all come to visit, I would recommend doing a slow walk around town to enjoy the sights. Like Downieville, there is so much history preserved here. I’ am sure I haven’t even seen half of it. Again, come spend some time, maybe a day or two and really take in the sights. The Fourth Ward School has been preserved and is worth viewing. As are many of the old homes/mansions of the day. Maybe sometime before August, we can organize a overnight trip for all of you to come a take a tour of the area. I’ am sure Pam might be willing to act as tour guide. (sorry Pam, don’t raise the rent) Just keep in mind, Monday’s are not good as Pam has to get her order in for the Hardware store. Don’t you just love how I wrangled Pam into this one? She will probably evicted me. So, you all let me know and I will see what we can do to pull this off.

Speaking of things to do, You all should mark your calendar’s for Saturday, September 30th. I plan on having a Celtic Thunder/Housewarming party that day. Might be fun to plan on spending the night (not at my place) and making a weekend of Celtic Thunder’s new CD/DVD and maybe touring Carson City or Virginia City, or whatever. I will send out more details as September approaches. Stay Tuned!

Speaking of Celtic Thunder. There is still room on the ship/cruise/boat in November.

So, the brain is beginning to slip a little. Therefore, it is time to quit Blah, Blah, Blahing and take a break. You have the important stuff. It’s up to you now. I want to hear from you’all.

I’m so happy I have internet again!!!!!!

Mrs. Clemo, can you make sure Mrs. Seley gets a copy of this email? Or she’ll have a cow.

Ms. White and Mr. Funk, we need to talk about your days. Let me know.

Jim Johnston, keep buying those scratchers. We don’t want Cassie going out of business.

And Niles Bosworth, be nice to your mother. She brought you into this world, she can take you out.Just say’n.

Kyle, Niles, Sara and Barbara, thank you for your amazing help moving. Your all awesome!

Everyone that was at my “little” party in April, Thank you all!

Darcy, Joyce and Granny, Your the best! Thanks for all that work! Amazing!

Okay enough. Will see you all very soon.

“Horse Dodger Lou”

Pets in Hot Cars 5/24/17

Do not leave me in a hot car!!! Even if the windows open!! Show me you love me….

Animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paw pads. If you see a dog left alone in a hot car, take down the car’s color, model, make, and license plate number, call the Sheriff’s office in Downieville at 530 289-3700 and stay with the vehicle until the SO arrives, if the situation is dire CA law says “when conditions are too hot or too cold, or if the animal is not left proper sustenance or ventilation, the animal could be at risk for serious injuries or even death. As a result, it is illegal to leave a pet unattended in a motor vehicle under California Penal Code Section 597.7 PC.”

Sierra County Sheriff Tim Standley said, “this is a perfect time of the year to bring this issue to light. Here is what California Law says about leaving an animal in a unattended vehicle.”  Pets in hot vehicle flyer

California Penal Code Section 597.7

(a) No person shall leave or confine an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.

(b) Unless the animal suffers great bodily injury, a first conviction for violation of this section is punishable by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) per animal.  If the animal suffers great bodily injury, a violation of this section is punishable by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both a fine and imprisonment.  Any subsequent violation of this section, regardless of injury to the animal, is also punishable by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both a fine and imprisonment.

Extremely Hazardous River 5/24/17

Extremely Hazardous River Conditions at the South Yuba River

High River flows caused by Sierra snowmelt has made swimming or recreating near the shoreline of the South Yuba River extremely hazardous.

Due to a record setting Sierra snowpack and unseasonal warm temperatures, the South Yuba River is running faster and colder than we have seen in many years. Areas that appear to be safe may have dangerous undertow currents. Wearing life jackets and closely supervising small children are strongly advised.

Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children ages 1 to 14 years and the fifth leading cause for people of all ages. (CDC.“Drowning risks in Natural Water Settings.” 6/13/2012)

For the latest information on river conditions, please check the Department of Water Resources website.

CalTrans District 3 Heroes 5/24/17

Caltrans District 3 Employees Awarded California’s Medal of Valor
Extraordinary Acts of Heroism Above & Beyond the Normal Call of Duty

James Anderson, Kenneth Myers and Rodney Walker

MARYSVILLE – Three Caltrans District 3 employees of the Whitmore Maintenance Station on Interstate 80 who showed courage in the face of danger were presented with the Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor Award at a ceremony Tuesday at the California Highway Patrol Academy in West Sacramento.

“These men are true heroes,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “Every day our maintenance employees risk their lives to perform their duties, but these men didn’t think twice about diving into action to save others.”

Whitmore Maintenance Equipment Operator II James Anderson earned his Silver Medal of Valor Award for responding to an emergency dispatch call on January 29, 2016. Anderson jumped into an icy fast-flowing creek to aid the rescue of a woman trapped in a pickup truck that had rolled off Interstate 80 in the Sierra, landing upside down in the water.

Caltrans Equipment Operator II Kenneth Myers earned his Governor’s Silver Medal of Valor Award for grabbing Anderson’s belt as Anderson and other rescuers were slipping downstream into the current, which would take them into a culvert pipe that runs under Interstate 80.

Caltrans Maintenance Supervisor Rodney Walker earned his Silver Medal of Valor Award for relieving the soaked, frozen and exhausted men who extracted the woman from the truck. He helped get her out of the water and carried her up the steep, slippery embankment to safety.

The State Employee Medal of Valor Award is the highest honor California bestows on its public servants. Governor Edmund G. Brown Sr. presented the first awards in 1959. Since then, nearly 600 state employees have earned that honor for displaying bravery, courage and selflessness in the face of danger. (pictured l. to r. are Kenneth Myers, Rodney Walker and James Anderson)

As always, Caltrans urges motorists to be “Be Work Zone Alert” and to “Slow for the Cone Zone.” Caltrans District 3 issues traffic updates on Twitter @D3PIO and on Facebook at CaltransDistrict 3.

Trucking Assn Winners 5/24/17

California Trucking Association Announces Winners of the 2017 California Truck Driving Championships First place winners will compete at the national championships in
Orlando, FL this August

SACRAMENTO – This last weekend (May 20-21), more than 200 California truck drivers participated in the California Trucking Association’s (CTA) 69th Annual Northern California Regional Competition and the State Finals of the Truck Driving Championships. The event was held at the McClellan Business Park in Sacramento.
“CTA is proud to sponsor this event, which highlights the hard work of truckers throughout the state. This event is recognized as one of the top driver-recognition programs and celebrates our industry’s commitment to safety,” said Shawn Yadon, CTA’s CEO. “Because contestants must have a clean record in order to participate, this event inspires thousands of drivers to operate accident-free, which keeps California roads safe.”
The California Professional Truck Driving Championships are organized to recognize and promote safe driving and professionalism in the transportation industry. This competitive event is designed to give drivers a chance to test their job skills under standardized conditions using vehicles that are the tools of their trade. Truck driving championships afford a safe, accurate check of the driver’s ability to handle his or her commercial motor vehicle during a series of highly skilled events.
These champions will be competing for California at the American Trucking Association’s National Step Van & Truck Driving Championships, August 8-12, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.
Greg Ryan (Red Bluff) of Walmart Transportation won the Grand Champion Award and Tim Benefield (West Sacramento) of Oak Harbor Freight Lines won Rookie of the Year.
Division winners were also named. Those who placed first in their divisions will also be competing in Orlando in August:
3 – Axle
First Place: Daniel Nguyen XPO Logistics, Orange
Second Place: Joe Guzman, Oak Harbor Freight Lines
Third Place: Francisco Lopez, FedEx Freight
4 – Axle
First Place: Tim Benefield, Oak Harbor Freight Lines, West Sacramento
Second Place: Kris Knalson, YRC Freight
Third Place: David Marquez, FedEx Freight
5 – Axle
First Place: Greg Ryan, Walmart, Red Bluff
Second Place: Dan Bagwell, Safeway
Third Place: Joaquin Cuadras, McLane
First Place: Sebastian Mora, Williams Tank Lines, Stockton
Second Place: Fernando Espino, XPO Logistics
Third Place: J. Bernal Jr., JB Hunt
Package Van
First Place: David Costa, FedEx Ground, Anaheim
Second Place: Harmit Sarwan, FedEx Ground
Third Place: Eric Damon, FedEx Express
First Place: Rob Kressley, Walmart, Porterville
Second Place: Casey Swim, KKW Trucking
Third Place: David Firestone, JB Hunt
Straight Truck
First Place: Gary Cordova, FedEx Freight, Inc. Fresno
Second Place: Thomas Clark, XPO Logistics
Third Place: Jaime Gutierrez, Oak Harbor
First Place: Joe Addison, Safeway, Tracy
Second Place: Blaine Speer, Walmart
Third Place: Bobby Royal, Safeway
First Place: Michel Elledge, Reddaway, Stockton
Second Place: Richard Camarda, ABF Freight
Third Place: Darrell Ogg, Apex Bulk

About the California Trucking Association
The California Trucking Association has been serving the commercial motor carrier industry in California, and the companies that provide products and services to the trucking industry, for 82 years. A critical and vital component of California’s economy, 78 percent of California communities depend solely on trucks to deliver their goods. Our carrier membership ranges from individual owner-operators, to small for-hire fleets, to the largest national and international carriers. Allied members of the California Trucking Association range from businesses involved with truck and trailer sales, parts and service, insurance, legal services and all other businesses that support the trucking industry.

The California Trucking Association promotes leadership in the California motor carrier industry, advocates sound transportation policies to all levels of government, and works to maintain a safe, environmentally responsible and efficient California transportation goods movement system.

Cecilia Benedicta Kuhn 1956 – 2017

Cecilia Benedicta Kuhn

Cecilia Benedicta Kuhn, 61, finally made her peace with mortality at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital on May 4. It was not a negotiated settlement: for better or for worse she butted heads with death until the last hour. Finally, she succumbed to the complications of cancer.
Born in Sacramento but raised Arkansas, in 1974 Cecilia married George Henningson and graduated from Central High in Little Rock. The young couple soon moved to Houston for work, but four years later, in 1978, Cecilia migrated alone by Greyhound bus to San Francisco.
Supporting herself in the Bay Area with temporary clerical jobs (her shorthand, typing, and copy editing skills were extraordinary) Cecilia also frequented the nascent punk rock scene. Already an excellent pianist, guitarist, and singer, she heard an all female band needed a drummer, took some drumming lessons and signed on, spending several years of episodic touring through North America and Europe with Frightwig.
But the life of touring is hard, and rock star fame elusive. In early 1988 Cecilia landed a one year contract, subsequently renewed annually for almost a decade, with PG&E. At PG&E, she met and partnered with Carl Butz, the man who would become her husband in 2006.
In the City, Cecilia was always pining for a place in the country. In 1994 she and Carl bought a cabin near Downieville. Moving to that mountain town in 1997, it was a couple of years before they were able to occupy their rustic, off-grid abode on a year-round basis. Cecilia could begin several years of gardening, sewing, reading, composing songs, and, not surprisingly, entertaining her new locality with musical performances. She had added the accordion to her repertoire during the late 1990s and she was to sing at a variety of venues, either solo or in concert with other local musicians between 2000 and 2010.
Well known in Bay Area musical circles, Cecilia kept that aspect of her life private from most in the mountains. But music came with her. We remember with great fondness the rather spontaneous and eclectic gatherings at Tom’s Bakery on Friday evenings where she would perform. Soon she teamed with Pete Prince, John Johnsen and Brandt Larsen to become area regulars.
The lure of a decent retirement sent her to work for the Plumas National Forest in 2005. In early 2006, she took a position administering transportation projects for the Sierra County Planning Department. She was living the dream: a job with benefits in Downieville. A year later the Sierra County Superior Court stole her away with a better offer. She became the clerk responsible for overseeing all the paperwork involved with civil cases heard by Sierra County judges. In her capacity as ‘Officer of the Court’ from 2007 through her illness-forced retirement in 2015, she gained the respect and admiration from all who she assisted.
Predeceased by her parents, Robert Kuhn and Sally Cooper, Cecilia’s survivors include her sisters Pam Lewis and Barbara Bakarich in Sacramento, numerous nieces and nephews around the U.S., and her husband Carl Butz.
Donations in Cecilia’s honor could be made to any organization dedicated to the cause of promoting the interests of women and bringing down the patriarchy. Memorial celebrations of Cecilia’s life are being planned in both Downieville and San Francisco. The times and locations for these events will be published when they become finalized.

Eagle Lake Fuelwood Closed 5/24/17

Eagle Lake Ranger District-Zone V Remains Closed for Fuelwood Cutting

SUSANVILLE, Calif., May 10, 2017 –Lassen National Forest woodcutters are reminded that the Eagle Lake Ranger District Zone V (Zone 5) remains closed to all fuelwood cutting. Until the closure is lifted, anyone found cutting wood or opening roads within Zone V may be cited and charged for damages.

The annual closure which went into effect on December 31, 2016 will remain until forest conditions improve enough that the potential impacts of rutting and road damage are highly unlikely. Depending upon conditions, Zone V could re-open in late May or early June. When the closure is lifted the public will be notified.

Although the Eagle Lake Ranger District is closed to firewood cutting, both the Almanor and Hat Creek Districts of the Lassen National Forest remain open to woodcutting. Forest visitors are asked to be cautious and careful when out driving in the national forest, as they can expect to encounter saturated road driving conditions at higher elevation sites well into the spring season. People driving around the forest need to use good judgement.

“We have had a couple of instances where vehicles have got stuck because drivers failed to recognize the saturated and soft road conditions.” Said Small Sales Officer Rickie Crowther. “Road damage repair is extremely costly. Individuals who damage forest roads could be liable for the cost of repair and also risk being cited by law enforcement if they create resource damage.”

For specific information regarding road conditions and woodcutting, forest visitors should call the nearest ranger station to obtain the most current forest road and recreation area access conditions.

Eagle Lake Ranger District: (530) 257-4188
Almanor Ranger District: (530) 258-2141
Hat Creek Ranger District: (530) 336-5521

Imperiled Democracy 5/24/17

Our Imperiled Democracy – by Mel Gurtov

Mel Gurtov

Ambitious national political leaders invariably face a problem: how to get things done in the face of competing interests and institutional rules. Democratic leaders generally learn how to accommodate those interests, respect the rules, and understand that accountability is the essence of democracy. They work within the system because for all its flaws, the system works. Autocrats regard competing interests and rules of operation with disdain. Impatient to achieve their ends, they bully opponents, limit accountability and transparency, and seek to become the sole source of authority. Donald Trump seems to be leaning toward the latter approach.

Trump’s problem, as is now obvious, is that he can’t move his agenda as he had hoped. Being president, he recently said, isn’t so easy. His critics keep reminding him that he hasn’t done much in his first 100 days. He thought he could run the American empire the way he runs the Trump empire—in other words, without backtalk, transparency, or accountability. What is so worrisome is Trump’s notion of where the problem lies. For him, it’s democracy under a constitutional system, which he lately is describing as “archaic.” In an interview with Fox News, Trump expressed disappointment with congressional Republicans, but blamed the constitutional checks and balances for his legislative failures. “It’s a very rough system,” he said. “It’s an archaic system. . . . It’s really a bad thing for the country.” He assails judges who countermand his orders. Imagine, said Jeff Sessions: one judge “sitting on an island in the Pacific” can obstruct the chief executive!

The simple fact for Trump is that he can’t automatically get what he wants. The Democrats, the judges, and the press keep standing in his way. And they’re able to do that by relying on “archaic” rules and principles, such as the independence of the judiciary, a free and obstreperous press, and the filibuster. As Trump’s agenda continues to fail, we can expect that he will attack all these institutions even more often and vigorously than before. The theme of the press as “enemy of the people” and publisher of “fake news” will be repeated many times more. Judges in the Ninth Circuit Court and elsewhere who turn back Trump’s assault on immigration will have to be changed, perhaps along with the organization of the court system. The mainstream press will have to be sidelined and when possible silenced. Reince Priebus mentioned the possibility of using libel laws to do so—and even said the administration is “looking at” changing the First Amendment to legitimize suing the media. The other day, Trump’s reelection committee demanded that its video for showing on CNN display “fake news” when the video came to CNN and other mainstream media. CNN refused, with support from NBC, CBS, and ABC, and the campaign committee shouted “censorship.”

These are the sorts of things autocrats do. Trump’s praise (and envy?) of Putin, Xi, el-Sisi, Erdogan, Duterte, and other authoritarian leaders is well known. He may not like certain of their policies, but he admires strongman rule—the way these men “manage” dissent, push through policies, intimidate legislatures and courts. Even Kim Jong-un draws admiration—a “smart cookie” whom he would be “honored” to meet, Trump says, because Kim was able to fend off challenges to his power. It’s a moment ripe for Steve Bannon, who has been out of sight of late but is still lurking around. Some observers see his continuing influence on specific policies, such as immigration and trade. But the bigger threat Bannon poses is to the American way of governing by power sharing and competing interests. Trump’s frustrations are fodder for Bannon, who would like nothing better than to dismantle the state and concentrate enormous power in the White House.

All the above words were written before Trump fired James Comey, the FBI director—a brutal and alarming way to try to scuttle the FBI’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Trump and Sessions will now be able to appoint a fellow traveler, so to speak, and while that act will not end Senate and House investigations of Russiagate, it will seriously limit what they can hope to accomplish. Unless the Democrats can find several Republicans who are willing to put full-court pressure on the justice department, there will be no independent prosecutor or special panel. So much for checks and balances.

Here’s the bottom line: the presidency of Donald J. Trump is repugnant and damaging to the proper functioning of democratic processes. Although we progressives can mock Trump all we want (for now), he continues to undermine our system of government and brings us closer to the pure demagoguery he so admires. We citizens must find ways to stop his grasp for greater power. We need profiles in courage.

Mel Gurtov, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University.

Not the Disease 5/24/17

Hostage to the rules of espionage – by Robert C. Koehler

Robert Koehler

“Trump emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria” . . . and “emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russia.”

Welcome to the last paragraph of a Washington Post story the other day, a loose fragment of news, a homeless child, a cynical trigger. This is the story in which we learn that “President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week” and the let’s-be-friends comment was part of the official White House statement about the meeting, the point of which was to dismiss the Post’s allegations as false.

And indeed, the statement comes wrapped in cynicism, as though our proto-fascist, race-baiting, bomb-happy president carries the world’s hope for peace in his heart. Nonetheless, I feel the need to rescue this paragraph from the rest of the Post’s story, which details the latest manifestation of Russiagate in Trumpville.

The president, apparently in a moment of reckless, “off-script” conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, allegedly tossed some classified data — which came to us via an ally (Israel, according to the New York Times) and so was supposed to be handled with ultra-secrecy — into the evening’s festivities: “I get great intel,” he said to the Russians, an unnamed official who was present told the Post. “I have people brief me on great intel every day.”

And another Trumpboast dominates the news for several days. The story amounted to this, as the Post explains: “Under the rules of espionage, governments — and even individual agencies — are given significant control over whether and how the information they gather is disseminated, even after it has been shared. Violating that practice undercuts trust considered essential to sharing secrets.”

So, OK, the president was boasting like a college sophomore after his fourth beer and, in the process, he violated “the rules of espionage.” That’s the story. For several days, it came blasting at us with the intensity of a firehose. It was reported with the urgency of Armageddon, which is how every Trump story is reported. And then it passes and we move on to the next one.

My point is that there’s a lot more urgency here than there is news. The story is about the rules of the national and global security state — which, please be clear, is not the same thing as national and global security. The story does not penetrate into the world of secrets those rules guard, or address the crucial need to resolve the planet’s hemorrhaging military conflicts. Rather, it stays on the surface of the matter, yammering that a rule has been violated. And the rule is presented as objective reality.

And suddenly I find myself careening backwards in time: The Bush administration has launched its war on terror and is preparing to invade Iraq and the mainstream coverage of this is sheer public relations for the invasion, completely dismissing the global opposition that has erupted across the planet. Fifteen years later, nothing has changed. The war and its subsequent ebb and flow of surges, the rise of terrorism, the collapse of the Middle East, the global flood of refugees — all of this is covered with a shrug, in a contextual void. And the planners and supporters of the invasion — the war-on-terrorists — remain securely in power, alarmed, apparently, about only one recent occurrence: the election of Donald Trump.

In the Post story, the only window on the larger reality in which we live is in that last paragraph, when a White House statement talks about “building a better relationship” between the United States and Russia. Such a statement has potentially world-changing consequences . . . except, alas, it’s not reported as news.

I’m not saying I believe Trump has the will or intelligence to advance the cause of global peace — or even much of an interest in anything beyond his own ego — but I am saying, if the media want to hold him accountable, they should do so in relation to the cause of peace, not the rules of espionage.

But, of course, neither George Bush nor Barack Obama — nor any American president — have ever been held accountable to the cause of peace, which is a remarkable fact to contemplate.

Another memory comes to mind. In the summer of 2004, I got a fundraising call from a member of the John Kerry presidential campaign; when I pushed him on where Kerry stood on the occupation of Iraq — needing to hear some indication he was against it — the caller eventually hung up on me in frustration. I was so troubled by this I called Kerry’s central campaign headquarters, where a spokesman expounded a point of view that I called at the time “Wolfowitz lite.”

“The antiwar voice, the soul of John Kerry’s support and a prime source of his funding . . . is totally shut out of this campaign,” I wrote.

And this voice is still shut out, but as a consolation prize we get to be spectators in our own democracy. As Chris Hedges writes:

“Forget the firing of James Comey. Forget the paralysis in Congress. Forget the idiocy of a press that covers our descent into tyranny as if it were a sports contest between corporate Republicans and corporate Democrats or a reality show starring our maniacal president and the idiots that surround him. Forget the noise. The crisis we face is not embodied in the public images of the politicians that run our dysfunctional government. The crisis we face is the result of a four-decade-long, slow-motion corporate coup that has rendered the citizen impotent. . . . Trump is the symptom, not the disease.”

So far the media have shown little curiosity beyond the symptom. I fear it’s because their benefactor is the disease.

Robert Koehler, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a Chicago award-winning journalist and editor.

Carol’s Movies 5/24/17

Carol Marshall

Infinitely Polar Bear-  is a 2014 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Maya Forbes, and starring Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, and Ashley Aufderheide. The film premiered in competition at the 30th Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2014.[4] The film was released on June 19, 2015, by Sony Pictures Classics.

Carol Says: This is not a movie about Polar bears. It is about a woman raising her 2 daughters and needing to return to get her MBA. She has to leave the two daughters with her ex-husband who is bipolar. This is a drama and one of us thought the ending was OK, and the other was not happy with the ending. Watching the bipolar father and the two daughters having to live with the dysfunction – because he would not take his medication – was a little hard.

So, I cannot say to be sure to watch this movie because it is hard to watch. And I do not understand the mother’s decision at the end, and a few other decisions made. It is like they are trying to make a hard situation took better than it is. There are some funny moments – key word is: moments.

 La La Land is a 2016 American romantic musical film written and directed by Damien Chazelle, and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. The film’s title refers both to the city of Los Angeles and to the idiom for being out of touch with reality.

Carol Say: I like musicals and I like the dancing . Until tonight, I had not seen a musical I did not like . Of course my all time favorite was “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (made in the1950’s?)

So I guess that brings me to tonight’s review , which I am sorry to say, is not favorable for “La La Land”. The first number starts out fun . But for me , after that point, the movie just did not grab me . I think the music was good but there was just something lacking that did not pull me into the movie or particularly caring about what happened to the characters. In fact., I stopped watching the movie . I decided to watch “House Hunters International” and enjoyed that much more .

Beautiful Sierra Valley 5/24/17

Spring has sprung in the beautiful Sierra Valley. The camas lillies are coming alive with a sea of purple, and the lilacs are blooming. Which might inspire you to plant some veggies or flowers of your own in the coming weeks. Don’t miss the Sierraville Fire Department’s annual Memorial Day weekend plant sale held in honor of Mazie Carnell. Mark your calendar and plan to come on down. Details are below.

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