History Podcasts

Which forts did the British keep in the Northwest Territory after the American Revolution?

Which forts did the British keep in the Northwest Territory after the American Revolution?

At the end of the American Revolution, Britain ceded the Northwest Territory to the US as one of the terms of the Treaty of Paris.

I stumbled across a very interesting statement on Wikipedia that says:

Despite the treaty, the British kept forts and policies there that supported the Natives in the Northwest Territories. President George Washington directed the United States Army to halt the hostilities between the Natives and settlers and enforce U.S. sovereignty over the territory.

What forts did the British keep in the Northwest Territory?

(And did the United States then seize British-controlled forts by force of arms?)

Great Britain retained six forts in the Great Lakes region after the Treaty of Paris. They remained in British hands until the United States acquired them peacefully through diplomatic means.

The ones located within the Northwest Territory were:

  • Fort Miamis, near where Anthony Wayne's expedition defeated Britain's native allies.
  • Fort Mackinac, as @CGCampbell mentioned
  • Fort Lernoult, aka Fort Detroit, and later renamed Fort Shelby

In addition, Britain controlled these forts in modern New York:

All of these forts were ceded to the United States by the Jay Treaty in 1796. However, several of them were reoccupied by British troops during the War of 1812.

Mutiny in the Trenches

Sandy drove the hired wagon from Glen Ellen down to Valhalla with his mare and Billy Crowder’s roan, Apache, trailing. There he buried his friend under a live oak in the $25 casket he’d bought in San Francisco. The only personal effects that Billy had were his saddle, bedroll, three books, and some papers including some letters from a sister in Nevada. He reckoned the saddle and Apache rightly belonged to this sister and at any rate she needed to be notified that Billy was gone. So after he’d filled in the grave he decided to put a low cairn over Billy and while he did this in his mind composed the letter to this sister. He wrote the letter as soon as he washed up as he knew his thinking would become thick with the drink which that hard day demanded.

A reply arrived two weeks later with the news that the sister would arrive the following Saturday. Sandy met Miss Agnes Clemens at the SP Depot. Although she was the only passenger on the platform he would have recognized her in a crowd as she bore a remarkable resemblance to Billy.

“Missus Clemens, Sandy Vestegaard.”

“Yes, Mister Vestegaard. It’s nice of you to meet me. Thank you, sir and it’s Miss Clemens, and please, just call me Agnes.

“Sandy, please. No. No trouble, ma’am. I know it’s a sad business and I wanted for things to be as easy for you as possible. Billy was dear to me too. I’d me most pleased if you’d stay with us out at Valhalla. There is a small hotel in town but ….”

“That’s good. Yes, thank you, Mister…uh Sandy.”

The 45 minute ride to Valhalla was quiet save the sounds of the buggy. While she looked so much like a younger version of Billy unlike him she was quiet and laconic. At Valhalla after she was settled in to the little guest cottage, he walked her up a slope to the grave site.

“I’ll leave you here, Agnes – I reckon you can find your way back to the ranch house?”

That night she ate with Sandy and his grandfather Lars who carried the dinner with stories about Valhalla. The next day, Sunday, a cold front blew in from the coast bringing rain. Juanita, the cook, built a fire in the great room where Sandy found Agnes reading after he came in from the morning ride around. He fetched an oilskin and escorted her to the stable for a look see at Apache.

Apache, upon seeing Agnes, flared its nostrils and pawed with his right forefoot. The horse eyed the woman bobbing its head. Caressing his mane she rubbed her cheek against the horse’s mouth as Apache inhaled the scent which was to him rich with familiarity.

“Aw, he loved this horse. After he came back from France this was his only friend for the longest time.”

That evening Agnes Clemens’ soft words before the fire unfolded the story of Billy’s life before Sandy had known him.

“Billy’s name is not Crowder, no it’s Billy Clemens – Clemens –just like me. He had a good reason to change his name and I’ll get around to that. He was 13 years older than me. We were both born on a scrubby, bone dry homestead near Fire, Montana. Daddy had to hire out cowboyin’ so much he never had time to build up our place. And Mama, well, Mama was given to terrible fits and daddy had her put in the asylum. From the time he was nine Billy did all the fencin’ and tending of whatever stock we had. He learned to ride from Charlie Sanchez, an old Cheyenne who knew every horse trick in the book. Truth be told old Charlie was more a father to us than Daddy. Daddy had a mean streak, specially with Billy and ‘specially when he was drinkin’ which was all the time. So when war in France heated up Billy went up to Canada to join the cavalry up there. The Army sent him over to New Brunswick for training then sent him to France on a ship called the Western Star. He had him a time over there. Some of it was downright horrible but not all of it. But he got himself into some serious trouble. Serious enough to hide under a changed name.

Shortly before Billy Clemens’unit embarked the troop ship WESTERN STAR a hastily converted cargo hull, a cable from the French Foreign Ministry had assured the War Department in Ottawa that horses would be furnished once the Canadian troops were on French soil. With no shipboard facilities for the horses, his cavalry unit embarked without their mounts Major Dunbar, the commanding officer, anticipated accepting 80 to 100 French remounts if not dockside, then perhaps at nearby St. Nazaire or Nantes. However once in France no one high or low knew of any promised horses. Every available horse had long since been conscripted and most of those had been lost at the front. The French Army was suffering staggering losses, losses not in the thousands or even the tens of thousands, but in the hundreds of thousands. All was confusion and trouble.

Billy Clemens was in trouble himself when the WESTERN STAR docked at the mouth of the Loire. Two days earlier the cargo ship’s captain had ordered all 2000 troopers topside after a periscope had been sighted. The destroyer escorting the three cargo/troop ships led the zig zag course changes and rolled off half a dozen of the experimental depth charges the Royal Navy had furnished the Western Star’s escort just before leaving Halifax. Huddled topside in a cold rain for two hours, Billy’s squad happily shared six berry pies which he had stolen from the galley. Soon after the ship had tied up and Major Dunbar met with his French counterparts. Horses? Remounts? They knew nothing of this promise of horses. How many men could the good Canadian Major provide for immediate replacements .Replacement infantrymen were urgently needed at the front. Could the Major contribute 100 men? No matter that they were cavalrymen, dear Major – surely you have men who will fight, non? Please Major, help us in the urgent matter – if not 100 men then 50, if not 50 then 10… surely there would volunteers, non?…Soon after the Major returned on board. Billy was summoned before his lieutenant and offered a choice: he could face a war-time courts-martial and probably receive a harsh sentence, or he could “volunteer” as to serve in a mixed company of Canadian, Australian and black Senegalese infantrymen being sent as replacements to the front, a place called Chemin des Dames near the Aisne River where they would serve under French officers and non-coms. With the Canadian, Australian, and a French African troop ships having just docked at Saint-Nazaire, the haste in the assemblage of these raw foreign troops for transport to the front belied the confidence of France’s situation.

This mélange assembled at the Gare de Saint-Nazaire and boarded three rail cars in a confused order which mixed the English speakers and the French Speaking Senegalese packed together like steers at the railhead back home.

Firstly, I hope that his letter finds you safe and well in Reno. I was overjoyed to get your letter the same day we boarded ship for the crossing. That you have left father’s very mean surrounds is a grand relief. Whatever your circumstance is there in Nevada it must be better than suffering Pa’s demons. The bank foreclosed on Pa over $22 he couldn’t come up with, so no matter what, there won’t be no goin’ back. Anyways Reno sounds like a swell place and I hope your friend Miss Grace has found you a good job like she said. As your older brother I will worry bout you although less now that you are away from that very,very mean situation.

Just now I am in a warehouse for barrels near a town called Laon. Crossing the ocean was something. A couple of thousand soldiers and about 1990 of ‘em sick to their stomachs for the first few days. Alls I can really say is the Atlantic Ocean is mighty big. Just before we got to France I lifted a whole tray of pies from the ship’s galley so as to cheer up my mates, got caught, and for that little prank I am no longer cavalry but in some kind of international infantry unit serving with Australian, African and French soldiers. We were six long days riding in cattle cars, half the time being shunted off the line and sent out to forage.

France is both beautiful and hideous. It’s mile after mile after mile of the most beautiful little farms and little villages cleaner than any place I ever seen in America. Flowers everywhere. Girls are lovely but more shy than our gals. One of my mates is a negro. A NEGRO! Agnes, a negro African from Senegal. It amazed me to hear a negro could speak French and truthfully I am pleased we are on the same team. He’s Mohamud Ba , a good man who always has a smile and who is coal black and 6’6” tall and he is teaching me to parlez-vous the lingo. French people do not look down on niggers as Americans do, which is right and good. When we ask farmers for food they generally load us up with the best bread, eggs, cabbages and sometimes even a sausage. They may stare at Mohamud’s inky skin but they have no qualms about shaking hands and even givin’ kisses on his cheeks and are always sure to express their gratitude and offer prayers for our safety. I never seen niggers except as objects of pity, them bein’ so wretched and hardly any that can read or write. But when I look at these Sengalese soldiers I see men who speak some of em four languages and can read and write too. And serving here for a solder, put me beside my pal Mohamud and he’s clearly ten times the man I am. If I ever get him to horse them odds will even up. But for now he is my friend and a great teacher. I will never see niggers the same way again. These French are swell people, Agnes. I reckon everyone in France has lost someone in this war and everywhere you see men who have lost a limb or who have been blinded or gassed begging in front of churches in tattered uniforms. It’s pitiful. There is, of course, much rancor against the Germans, but that’s probably superficial, an even greater hatred is directed toward the war itself. I’ve seen farmers pass jugs of water and bread to German prisoners being marched back from the front. These long lines of prisoners are another pitiful thing to witness. They’re as weary, filthy, tattered and beaten down as the French. Excepting the officers, just about everyone, soldiers and civilians, are flummoxed as to why there is no end. The politicians and generals bear the brunt of guilt, damn their hides. The war’s like a thousand pound bull on a rampage. Too big and mean be stopped and it would not be stopped til it just drops from exhaustion. Everyone is so weary as is this little candle which is fading, so I’ll close as the French do, au revoir – votre frère Billy. Take care of yourself and please write as often as you can and let me know your situation. Know that your brother loves you, dear sister. – Billy

Billy folded the letter’s thin paper and softly placed it his tunic’s pocket. In the morning he would give it to the wine seller across the way whom he’d talked with earlier. He’d give the man a couple of francs and rely on the international post, avoiding the army censors who would be certain to eviscerate its contents. They would be moving to the front the next evening. His company was bivouacked in a cooperage which was also a warehouse for barrels. The place had a rich, pleasant aroma of fresh cut oak , candle wax ,and tobacco. Now late into the evening most of the men lay awake in the dark, sleep impossible for most. Here and there the light of a candle or cigarette glowed. The men had subdivided into messes of four, five, or six mates who had foraged together on the way from Nantes to Laon. Billy’s back was propped on his bedroll which lay against a stack of candle cases. He rolled a smoke, lighting it then blew out the flame of the candle stub. Mohamud who lay next to him, invisible in the dark, coughed softly and Billy passed the cigarette to share with him.

“You try fo’ some sleep, eh? Now ees good to rest. Tomorrow ees no gonna be fight. We only weel jus’ arrive. Zee fight maybe next day. So now zee time for sleep, Billy.”

After he stubbed out the cigarette, he took off his boots, lay his head on his bedroll and slept.

In the morning he and his mess mates struck out to forage. They had been told that there was always food in the trenches, but foraging had already inserted itself into their routine and they wanted a food reserve. He sought out the wine seller to pass the letter for his sister. The old man took the letter and the two francs but insisted on giving Billy two bottles of red wine with his blessing. Mohamud returned with a pot of marmalade, and the others with tobacco. In the afternoon they formed up to receive great coats, pouches of rifle ammunition, bayonets, and gas masks. There was confusion with the ammunition and bayonets because of the differences of calibers among the mélange, now officially named La Compagnie d’infanterie Internationale. A French quartermaster cleverly set up three stations for exchanges while French sergeants demonstrated donning gas masks. Billy was able to get suitable ammunition but could not find the right bayonet for his rifle. One of the old coopers fashioned for him a set of two rings tightened by thumb screws. The man refused the offer of a few francs, saying only that he was proud to assist and that it warmed his heart to think that German blood might purify and temper his craftsmanship. The convoy of trucks that would carry them to the front arrived at sunset discharging over one hundred wounded. La Compagnie which had formed ranks to board the trucks now assisted in carrying the wounded into the stables beside the warehouse where an operating theatre and field hospital was being assembled. There were cries of pain, groans, and screams as stretcher bearers lay bloodied bodies on the straw within the horse stalls. The din reminded Billy of the crazy house in Boise where they’d taken his mama to live. Once the wounded were arranged for triage the noise subsided to whimpers and groans as the French medics passed among the men affixing paper tags to each. Then the sergeants’ whistles shrieked and La Compagnie boarded the trucks for the front. Billy’s last memory of the cooperage was smelling wafts of ether from the warehouse as he kicked a wet wad of bloody bandages from the floor of truck heading to the front.

Nearing the front, through the rain, the sounds and flashes of artillery could be heard and seen from the dark interior of the canvas covered trucks and within of men their brains’ amygdalas thrummed signaling a release of adrenlin, livers released glucose into systems, hearts beat faster, some hands and legs shook uncontrollably, perspiration assumed the sour smell of fear, and here and there was the smell of shit. As the trucks entered the staging area the sounds of angry men yelling and the shrieks of the military police whistles could be heard above the rain and distant artillery. As the trucks rolled to their stops and even before all the men had alighted, the trucks were besieged by a press of bleeding bandaged walking wounded, shoving, one another clamoring to board the trucks. These were blind lines of the gassed. There were maybe a hundred groups of ten or 15 bandaged men each led by an ambulatory wounded still sighted. These trucks that had uncomfortably borne 100 of the Compagnie were the hoped for salvation of more than a thousand wounded awaiting evacuation in the mud and rain of the rear trench. As his unit was marched into the trench system he turned to see a score of blind men flailing fists and kicking, fighting, some falling in the mud, crawling for a place on a truck as medics scurried among them blowing whistles and shouting curses. From the distance the struggling blind men in the mud put Billy’s mind to an image of maggots writhing on a carcass.

As they passed through the trenches hands reached from bleary eyed and filthy soldiers. ‘’Tabac ? Rien à manger?″ Although the trenches were covered by planking and tin, all was mud flashes from the nearby artillery rattled the tin and incoming German shells shook the ground. Eventually they reached a series of buttressed dug out chambers leading off the main trench in which oil lanterns and candles lit faces and sometimes a table for a wireless or maps or wine bottles. Into such a dugout Billy and his group of 12 were billeted with a weary dozen French soldiers, survivors of a company of 88 riflemen. A young French Lieutenant and his sergeant briefly addressed the men, advising them to try to get some rest, that there was to be a push at daybreak just after rations issue. A couple of the men tried to make jokes, but the bravado, if noble, was thin, more an annoyance than a comfort. The French riflemen immediately accosted La Companie for not only tobacco, but for news. “Had we heard of mutinies?” Yes we had heard of mutinies among the Russians and that they were quitting war. “Non, non -Mutineries. y a-t-il journaux histoires de mutinerie, ici en France?” They told of the rumors rampant throughout the trenches of whole divisions quitting the fight by simply refusing to march into the slaughter. Two days earlier a gas attack against the Germans had gone bad when the wind shifted and over a thousand French had been killed and blinded. Now the mutiny was the chief topic of talk in every unit. .The officers there in Aise had become nervous and threatened arrests of anyone speaking the word mutiny. Scores had been arrested and faced courts-martial.

In a corner with his mess mates Billy uncorked one of the bottles of wine and they sat quietly around a candle, each to his own thoughts. The Australian Thomas Flint, a communist, related how the Russians were probably the vanguard of what would eventually happen here. This war is for the damned toffs, the capitalists, and mates, they don’t care how many boys die out there so long as the profits keep rollin’ in. How much you reckon one of them shells for the big guns cost? More ‘n you or I will make in a year and they don’t mind sendin a thousand a day over there to Belgium or Germany. And it’s the same with those blokes in Germany – them lads we’re facin’ is just like us, doin’ and dyin’ for the factory owners and politicians and the bloody Kaiser. I say bully for the Russians and the sooner they’re rid of their king the better. ‘King and Country’ yeah it sounds sweet to the ear, but I say ‘ave a look at what we’ve seen the past two days and then tell me ‘King and Country.’ I say to hell with all kings and to hell with all countries, workers of the world unite and to hell with toffs. That’s the way I sees it.” Billy found himself in accord. “Maybe it’s just that I’m tired,” he thought, “but out here Flint makes sense. “

These young men had not though themselves disillusioned by what war was they had known was rough but none had anticipated the filth, the confusion, and the extent of the suffering. Billy’s mind’s eye, like the others, had pictured units of smartly uniformed troops pouring out of the trenches with war whoops and fixed bayonets. Victory celebrations with mademoiselles laden with bouquets and wine. But now the vision of the bleeding, blinded men fighting one another like a frenzy of sharks loomed indelibly. The trench they were in had been the foremost two weeks earlier. The French had managed the advance by means of heavy artillery barrages and had pushed the Germans northward. Two months earlier this trench had been the German front trench. Thousands of Germans and Frenchmen had been killed or wounded in this contest for less than the length of three football fields. The wine finished, he tried to sleep. Later in the night he heard a rustling sound and looked at the dirt wall above Mo’s sleeping head. He lit a match and there in a niche it had dug out sat an immense rat gnawing on the knuckles of a protruding hand that had been buried in the mud. The rat showed no fear of the light nor the man. This sight so disgusted Billy he waited quietly for a minute or so then impaled the offending rat with his bayonet, wondering like a Cheyenne or Comanche, if this were a good sign before battle.

Before dawn hard biscuits were passed out. Men were dispatched to fill canteens. A corporal led them to the latrine pits with the age old military dictum to void the bowels before battle. Then just as the sun began to break it began. The big French howitzers hurled an incredible barrage of hundreds of rounds of high explosive and exploding canister shells toward the German line. The shells screamed over the trenches exploding close enough for dirt and debris to pepper the entrenched men who formed a line of men nearly a mile long. Assault ladders had been placed at intervals with palliasses thrown over the barbed wire coils at crossing points. La Compagnie would be in the third and final wave over the top. Billy stood in the file between Mohamud and the ruddy faced Australian Thomas Flint. Flint rolled a smoke which he shared while Billy fixed his bayonet onto the Enfield’s muzzle. The men wore their great coats to ward off the damp cold of the morning but as much with the slight hope that the thickness of the coat could stop or slow a German bullet or bayonet. With the signal for the first wave, French corporals and sergeants pushed and shoved their men toward the ladders.

The barrage continued as the men of the first wave in nervous readiness stamped their feet. Some touched crucifixes or rosaries as their lips moved in prayer. Now the lieutenants and sergeants moved up an down the line ostensibly checking bayonets and ammunition pouches but with bleak cautions: “When the man besides you falls, do not stop, keep moving forward keep those muzzles up until your sure of your target use the bayonet don’t stop at the first trench, keep going, our artillery will have cleared the trenches do not attempt to return – you’ll be shot if you do – better to die by Fritz’s bullet with honor than France’s with shame. Remember use the bayonet. Wait for the whistle! Wait!” Just before the whistles sounded the majors, captains, and lieutenants standing at intervals drew and cocked their pistols threatening to shoot stragglers. When the barrage ceased sergeants up and down the lines sounded the attack and the men began to rise from the trenches into the no-man’s land for the 100 yard crossing to the German positions. The first to leave were perhaps 40 yards forward when the staccato chatter of two Maxim guns began. The German gunners had cross fire positions covering the entire area between the trenches. French soldiers fell like rows of dominoes or so many stalks of wheat meeting the sweep of the scythe’s blade. The remaining half of the first wave faltered. Some falling down, digging with their hands for cover, some throwing down their weapons, running back toward our trench only to be cut down by the cross-fire. Now the whistles sounded for the second wave, and they, having witnessed the complete extermination of the first wave in a space of 20 seconds became reluctant to enter the slaughter and refusing first with strong gestures then shouts that set up a clamor with the throwing down the assault ladders. The officers screamed at the men who pushed and shoved their ways against the officers some of whom attempted to use sidearms but who were disarmed. There was scuffling up and down the trenches between officers and men of the second and third waves.

The chaos Billy was like cattle a stampede Billy had once seen at a Montana railhead. Mohamud’s face opened to a grand smile, “I zink we are save, Billy.” as he and the rest of La Compaigne joined the surge to the rear. Now the cries were, Mutinerie! Révolte de masse, mes frères!”

There was really nowhere to go other than the dugouts from where they’d spent the night but the confusion in the forward trench had spread through the vast complex and it took the rest of the morning the men of La Compaigne to move past the latrine pits to the dugouts. That afternoon the entire army was roused with each unit being read the riot act. The 125 who had been arrested would face courts-martial within a week. The penalty was well known. The attack would be resumed. Resistors would be shot on site. The Army at Laise would not shame France!

A sound akin to the buzzing of hornets spread through the ranks that afternoon as tens of thousands of soldiers collectively decided to end the war. A few officers and non-coms in accord rose to lead this resistance and face the General Staff with the senselessness and disregard for humanity and were arrested. Four of these officers, a major, a captain, and two lieutenants were arrested and summarily court-martialed and before representatives of each unit were executed the next morning in the rain before a firing squad. Someone set afire the farmhouse used by the General Staff and thousands of men began marching away from the trenches south towards Paris. Speeches were given proclaiming that “We shall stay together as brothers, others will join, wisdom will prevail and this war can die! Our enemy is as weary of the war as we and will follow suit. Come brothers, come with us. End this war!”

Billy and Thomas Flint joined the march south. As the mass of men progressed they noticed that whenever they met a cross road, groups of resistors left. “Lookee here, Flint, “ Billy said, “this ain’t gonna work. These Frenchmen, look at ‘em. There like fleas hoppin’ off a dog’s back. Nah, this ain’t gonna work, what these fellahs really want is to go home. Aw shit, this is beat before it’s even started.” So he and Flint decided to return to the trenches rather than risk charges of desertion. Halfway back to the rear trenches they were surrounded by mounted military police and arrested.

They were confined with other prisoners in outdoor pens of fence wire topped with barbed wire overseen by guard towers. These were standard pens used to temporarily house German prisoners of war prior to transport south. In each pen a canvas sheet stretched to provide the only shelter. 44 Flint and Billy were the interrogated by a French officer on the day following the arrests. Two days later they were court-martialed neither young man understanding one tenth of the procedings. However pronouncement the death sentence for desertion in the face of the enemy was clearly understood. The executions were to occur the following morning. After the trial the two were returned to the pens. That night an English speaking French priest visited them to hear confessions. Flint was furious. “I’m not of your papist persuasion, no I am not – and I sure as hell don’t have nuthin’ to confess – aside from wishin’ for a thick steak, a cold beer, and a piece of sweet quiff– so you can save your Roman mumbo jumbo for these other blokes.” Billy likewise declined without rancor, simply waving away the well-meaning cleric after the priest promised to mail the boy’s final letter. How anyone could excuse the barbarity he’d witnessed by a prayer or a sprinkling of water or oil. . The smell of cordite and the splash of blood that he understood.

I hope that this finds you in better stead than me. That Reno has opened for you a new and better life and that you are happy. I think you should write the bank in Montana and see if there is any legal for you. Could you send them the $22? But my bet is they have legal title by now and maybe have even sold Pa’s ranch. It’s sweet to think it would go to you on accounta all that you and me endured out there. Without Pa it’s a good piece of this green earth.

Coming over here has been something, Agnes. I never knew the world was so big or beautiful or so downright ugly for that matter. For that knowledge I am grateful. It pains me to relate the events leading up to tomorrow so I’ll make this simple. We were sent to the front at for an attack called Aise Offensive. At the start of the attack about two thousand French soldiers were killed in less than a minute. The rest of the army then refused to fight. Some of us was arrested, me included. Now I’m to be shot by a firing squad in the morning. How I came to deserve death is beyond me. Please remember that I left this world thinking of you, thinking how most folks is good people – that includes the French and the Germans, and the Negroes. Whenever you see a nigger, Agnes, please remember that your brother held a black African negro dear to his heart and the best friend he ever had. And know that the very worst thing in this world is war which draws cruelty and craziness from the depths of hell in great abundance. When you have a son, please name him Billy and don’t never let him go soldiering. Your loving brother, Billy.

An hour after the midnight change of watch, Billy heard his named whispered. It was in the dark of the moon and he could see nothing.

“Billy, you and Flint- over here shhhhhh. I come for to save, non? Ha ha.”

At the corner furthest from the guard tower was Mohamud quietly working wire cutters down the fence. Billy and Flint squeezed through and followed Mohamud back to the dugout. There the other members of La Compagnie Internationale hugged and shook hands with the two. The were give a bundles of hard tack, civilian clothes , and over $200 in francs their mates had collected.

“Some deese French help us too. The ‘ave a truck waitin’ for you now. You go to Paris, dey will ‘elp you find a ship to America and to Australia. Non?

Flint piped up, “Non, find me a train to Russia, said Flint. I don’t mind a fight, but I wanna fight for the worker.”

Billy clasped the big Senegalese and kissed both of his cheeks. “God bless you Mohamud, mon frère. God bless you, you most excellent man.”

PTE (Private Proficient) Thomas Flint, Royal Australian Army Medical Corps and PVT Billy L. Clemens, Canadian Expeditionary Forces, convicted of desertion in the face of the enemy and escape from lawful confinement joined the list of approximately 700,000 soldiers of the French Army. There due to the staggering numbers of desertions, the public attitude towards the deserters and the government, no active pursuit was engaged by the government of France after the Armistice. Both men, however, remained on their own countries’ rolls as deserters and fugitives from justice.

Both men arrived in Paris two days after leaving the front. The Communist League of Paris undertook Thomas Flint’s protection and ultimate transportation to St. Petersburg where he joined the Red Army as a medic. In 1918 in the Vladavostok campaign he was arrested and charged with espionage. He froze to death in a Red Army prison compound.

Billy Clemens in Paris quickly found refuge among a small group of American deserters. Monsieur Eric Fleureau was owner a company the furnished cord wood and charcoal to Parisianne brasseries employed several of these men as wood cutters and charcoal burners at a camp outside Paris where they lived communally in a small house. On weekends he attended the free classes given by the SFIO, the French Socialist party. Billy was charmed by not only Paris but his boss’s 18 year old daughter Marie Fleureau, whom he married in March of 1919. Sadly, Marie died of typhoid fever in the summer of 1919. With her death went the enchantment of Paris. In October he landed in Montreal, a stowaway aboard the EMPRESS OF FRANCE. Hopping freights on the Canadian National, the Canadian Pacific railroads he made his way to San Francisco. With help from contacts in the Socialist Labor Party in San Francisco he assumed a new identity as Billy Crowder to evade deportation to Canada as a deserter. In the Central Valley he resumed his life as a cowboy until his death in the bombing of the IWW meeting near Glen Ellen.

Two months after their meeting, Sandy Vestergaard and Agnes Clemens were married at Valhalla. Their first child born the next year was christened Billy Clemens Vestergaard.

First published in “Tales of Old”, Issue №67 (podcast)

Worser and Worser

Discovery of the 40 year old box was unsettling. The box had been forwarded from the APO address to his folks address in Dowajac. His mother had died first and then earlier this year his father. With his friend Alison’s help they’d had been closing the house, readying it for sale when they found the box in his dad’s gun cabinet. Alison carefully lifted each item, inspecting it and passing it to him as she told him what it was: “… a paperback God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, here’s three cans of ‘Danske Bacon’ with blue and red labels, and there’s a whole bunch of packets of Fizzies. They’re all faded and colorless. Here’s something called Shell No Pest Strip—ughh stinks yuk. Hey Robert, this is a small dog collar. It.s gotta tag that reads Sea Rat.” Through the half inch thick lens of his left eye Robert Merriman squinted at the box again at then at the letter dated 4 May 1970. He picked it up, held it to his cheek, smelled it and had Alison read it not once but three times. He could feel the thump of his heart and now that slight tremor returned to his left hand. How could this be?

This place has gone crazy!. Hundreds of students have been demonstrating and last night they set fire to the ROTC building. Jesus Christ, first the My Lai Massacre and now we find out Nixon’s sending missions into Cambodia. Tell Digger Boy he’s right, “This shit gets worser and worser.” Fucking National Guard on campus, can you believe that? Jesus H. Christ. After I mail this care package I’m going to take some pictures of the National Guard. I’ll borrow another Digger Boy-ism “Fuck de National Guard!”Here are a few things to bring a little comfort. I wish I could be there with you. Is that silly? I think fondly of you every day and hope for a time the worry will vanish. The picture is last summer at the Lake. That’s my dad next to me. By early this summer you will be you next to me. My love to you and to Sea Rat. Aloha my dearest, Jeannie

My Eternal Jeannie. Within this span of 40 plus years not many days have ended without loving thoughts of you. Princess Nadia and her beloved Tchaikovsky–whose closest approach was to have passed one time in carriages, yet lovers for decades bonded only by letters and imagination. Isn’t it ironic that words can scarcely do justice to the potency of such an abstract, ethereal love, conceived, nurtured, and sustained in the mind from a few thousand words written in letters a lifetime ago?…

He had to sit. How can this be? Someone, someone so crucially important, who disappeared from your life over 40 years ago suddenly comes crashing through the atmosphere like a meteor? How can this be? His memory extracted and replayed its earliest images of Jeannie. 1969 BinhBaIsland, Republic of Viet Nam. Stanley Vincent’s snapshot of Jeannie, his sister at graduation from a CatholicHigh school. standing beside a jolly old nun in rimless glasses. The picture lay on the table in their hootch. The girl’s slightly shaded face and her posture reminded Robert of Ingrid Bergman’s “Joan of Arc.” That snapshot that was the beginning.

“Umm, what a fine lookin’ sister, Stan.”

“Yeah, that’s Jeannie – she’s a looker all right—and the smartest of all of us. She’s at sophomore in college now. Two days later he asked if he could write her.

Dear Miss Vincent – Jeannie – Stan’s sister,

Robert Merriman here, your brother Stan’s pard (see enclosed photo)‘Dinky dau’ and ‘numbah ten’ are negative expressions so commonly applied to just about everything around us. Not, however, that photo of you standing with Sister Flashy Eyewear. So I asked Stan for your address. thinking you might like an occasional note from the front, I guess I could corroborate Stan’s lies but I’ll spin my own, The distance between Stane’s perspective and mine is so w i d e as to afford an opportunity for a parallel view, ergo depth.

A little about myself. In my corner weighing in at 180 lbs is Me, 25 years old, 6’ tall from Dowagac, Michigan, graduate of U of Michigan (BS Biology), RO
TC and OCS, now Lieutenant junior grade, United States Naval Reserve currently Swift Boat officer in charge.. The enclosed snapshot is offered as proof. As just about everyone else around me, I smoke, I drink, and I use despicable language. But I like dogs (see photo) and kids (broiled with BBQ sauce) and generally strive for congeniality.

Viet Nam. I’ve been in country four months, now. Most folks serving here see everything Vietnamese as ‘dinky dau’, or ‘numbah ten’ I don’t. This is a beautiful country of sweet, tough, little people the majority of whom are frightened victims suffering in their own homes.. Then I could say just about the same for ourselves except that we’re big people and we’re not in our homes, we’re in theirs. Still, I do not know why we are over here fighting. If you know, please advise.

Enough. I would be very pleased to hear from you Jeannie Vincent.

Sincerely, Robert Merriman

Yes, sir. Your invitation to parallel viewing is irresistible and your letters welcome. First let me thank you, Lieutenant, for your service. . That said, now I’m going to think of you as Robert. Okay?

Stan says nice things about you. We are grateful that he has a good friend over there – please keep each other safe.

Here at the starting line, I ask myself who might you think I am – with only two sources, Stan and a snapshot? Your mention of the h.s. graduation photo with Sister Francis, she of the ‘flashy eyewear’ gives cause to consider the inferences you may have drawn. Ummm…Good Catholic girl’s school = good Catholic girl? Maybe. Maybe not. Now regarding Stan –. Yes I love him because he’s my brother but pals? Never been. I am the smarter, younger sister who never missed an opportunity to prove him wrong or to show him up and believe me, dumbass provided plenty of opportunities. Stan the team quarterback I the class valedictorian. You know how people do reverse anthropomorphisms – well Stan would be, in my opinion, one of those cape buffalos one sees in African documentaries – big, good looking, strong, fearless and stupid. No match for a swift, intelligent leopard. So– a wise lieutenant would discount any perceived intelligence from Stan. Your mind’s eye, well, I might trust, Stan’s I do not. Capite? As to the nice Catholic girl image. Well I’m a sophomore at co-ed school. Here, as in Viet Nam, drink, smoke, and despicable language abound. Other vices remain unmentioned. This is where we nascent beings test our first freedom. Some of my peers plunge head first into the deep end. I’m still sitting on the edge, testing the water with my toes while enjoying the show at the other end of the pool.

Robert, please give me some specifics. Just what are those qualities that make the Vietnamese sweet? Describe where you live and your routine –don’t leave out colors and smells. How does fear manifest itself? With you? Other Americans? Vietnamese? I am very curious. This war has me confused and as yet I am unable to justify U.S. involvement. I do not believe that attack on those destroyers happened no, and I think the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution is a sham, a fiction to gull Congress and the public. But then there’s the specter of the Domino Theory. I just don’t know.

Having you to write feels good. I look forward to your next. Stay safe.

P.S. Puppy’s name, please.

Robert, elated by the letter, read it any time he was alone. He hastened to answer Jeannie but felt it wiser to wait a few days, first to organize thoughts, thoughts which would clarify and would hopefully impress her, and secondly to not appear rash. When Stan probed for information, Robert politely demurred and tried to convey that the letter was ho hum. Because he imagined a hint of passion in Jeannie’s letter he warned himself that the situation had all the elements to become a Greek tragedy. He had once read a scholarly article in a psychology journal by a Harvard psychiatrist which evaluated the success of male-female relationships based on initial contacts. The thrust of the piece concerned the effects geographic distance and the number of incidents of face-to-face contacts on male-female relationships. The article was illustrated with a simple drawing of a plane across a fulcrum, a see-saw. The ideal was shown as a level plane. The closer the couple were geographically and the frequency they could encounter one another in person the greater the occurrences of binding relationships. To Robert his end of that see-saw touched the ground in far away Asia Jeannie’s up in the antipodes of the United States. He might not admit it to himself but he knew what he wanted was for this very pretty girl in America to love him. Sure, it was only natural. He was in Nam in a world that deprived men of the kind of companionship most desired. Sure Madam Bang’s in the Ville could provide the quick mercy fuck, but that was hardly more than masturbation, and at least masturbation you didn’t get the clap. His crew’s nemesis was the clap. Digger Boy his Radarman, had scored the clap three times. Robert told him if he didn’t start wearing a rubber the Navy could fuck him over. “What dey gonna do, Lt. Send my ass to Nam? Fuck de Navy.” Two sailors who would stay free of the clap were Benton and Hodges whom everyone called Benson and Hedges. Gay. Benton the squadron corpsman whom everyone depended on and universally liked and Hedges, gunner’s mate on Robert’s crew. They were settled and probably the most proficient men in the squadron. Hedges could place 50 cal. rounds or an 81 mm. mortar down an enemy’s shirt pocket. Discreet but nonetheless queer. And nobody gave a shit. Combat has that way of liberalizing. Nothing changes the rules and attitudes as sharply as being under fire, your survival dependant on your crew. Robert thought that with Benson or Hedges Jeannie’s letter would be different wouldn’t it? Her letter would be seen as an academic exercise. Maybe they’d be right. Maybe that’s the safest way, the way to protect the heart. So though he was decided on not letting his emotions run free, the words ‘feel good and ‘warm regards’ reverberated. He knew also that Stan was a braggadocio and given to spinning war stories. The essence of combat was for Robert nearly impossible to convey. He’d tried to keep a journal from his first patrol but after his second fire fight had abandoned trying to clarify. He could write the necessary military logs and action reports required, that was simple enough. “At 0130, 12 June — at the mouth of the Ba Sac River (coordinates) encountered and sunk two sampans attempting to place submerged mines. Four enemy dead. Mines detonated by 50 cal. fire.” Or “18 June — came under RPG fire from high rock formation on beach four meters n. TinhVahVillage. Returned fire with twin .50’s and two HE 40mm grenades. 2 dead VC . Russian 7.39 mm. rifle destroyed.” No, he had not the will nor the ability to clearly capture those impingements on human limits. And though the memories of actions remained clear there existed a sacred, arcane quality to them which rendered non participants . Robert felt that anyone not engaged in a specific firefight incapable and undeserving in the sharing the of its sensory details. The terrible essence of killing was, for him, ineffable.

Many thanks for a fine letter—your assessments of my take on the photo and Stan-Speak – impressive. My routine. We are a squadron of four boats. Stan, as am I, is OinC of a Swift Boat. Maybe he’s already informed you of what we do which is to patrol coastal waters and some rivers searching out the enemy up and down the coast. Were you to poll the men in my crew for reactions to the war –boredom would be an almost universal response. No one talks about whether the war is right or wrong. One just slips into automatic and does. In a sense it’s feast and famine. On patrol high octane adrenalin pumps in overdrive The limbic system is boss. Guys who appear smooth and calm are good actors. We make three 300 400 mile patrols per month. When not underway we’re here at Binh Ba Island doing upkeep on the boat, drinking, smoking, and blaspheming the tropical atmosphere. Our facility here on Binh Ba was originally a French Foreign Legion post, then a Japanese naval base and detention facility, then a French Foreign Legion post again and now it’s our turn. two long piers are shared with Vietnamese Navy Junk Force Division Three (two Yabuta boats—junks with American diesel engines that the Vietnamese try very successfully to abuse) . With hot food and showers it’s reasonably comfortable here. On patrol comfort is scarce. Our squadron of four boats is supported here by a repair shop, galley, sick bay, barracks for the base types and four hootches for the boat crews, and of course, a club. Each crew has it’s own hootch- Quonset hut. Ah but this must be boring to you – it’s boring to me. Time here is dull time. Men here confront that boredom with beer and pot and movies. Once a week a deuce and a half (truck) makes the run to an army post 17 miles away. There the enlisted can visit the nearby“Ville”for pleasures of the flesh. The enclosed photo is my boat’s crew. Next to me is Digger Boy Jones our Radarman, then Gunner’s Mate Hodges, Quartermaster McWhirr, Engineman Holly and Boatswain’s Mate Collins. There’s no better crew—anywhere.

Part of my training for this assignment was a six weeks course at Defense Language Institute’s school in Coronado studying Vietnamese. I arrived in country with a rudimentary working vocabulary which I’ve managed to build on. This has been invaluable. I visit the little fishing village here on the island and have made two friends with whom I enjoy noi-chuyan or conversation. We squat on our haunches by the little carpenter shop and chat over beers and Orange Crush brought in to us from the Army PX at Cam Ranh Bay. Than is the carpenter and the teacher at the tiny village school and Tach a fisherman. It’s a clean place and I love its smell, a combination of wood smoke and Elephant soap. Take away that good smelling soap and for tens of thousands of years this is the way all mankind has lived, in a functioning little group smelling of wood smoke. And just to wax not too idyllic – probably with war or the threat of war always in the offing. For now this village, these people, the elegance of simplicity, these are the parts of Nam that I wish to remember. But then I’ve been in country for only 124 days.

Though I know so little of you, I feel a pleasant draw to our writing. So what of your world, Jeannie? The University. Your routine, I suspect, has little boredom or frequent retreats to flight or fight situations. Please tell me what you’re reading and something about your days, your pals, your classes. What’s unique there? So very much looking forward to your letter,

Affectionately, Robert

P.S. Puppy’s name is C-Rat or as I prefer Sea Rat.

Jeannie, like Robert, anticipated the reply checking her mailbox twice daily, then one day on her way to a chemistry lab she picked up Robert’s letter but delayed opening it. She wanted to be alone in a place where she could read it undisturbed. The lab assignment that day was an easy procedure to collect three gasses from acids then analyze them in a gas chromatograph. During the long wait for a turn at the chromatograph her thoughts concerned Robert. What did he expect from exchanges of letter? Given the situation, those boys over there no doubt fantasized and would be prone to jump to conclusions. She would have to take care with her words and did not want to mislead Robert. Could she manage the enthusiasm she felt? It was clear that he was intelligent. And handsome too. Actually she had seen him in two pictures that Stan had sent home. Stan liked him. Good. But then Stan liked anyone who paid him any attention– his slutty girl friends and his stupid pal Eric. For now her wish was simply that the correspondence would continue. Wait and see. Still, the unread letter in her purse quickened her pulse the same way coffee did in the morning. When at last she read his letter in her dorm room she felt a surge of warmth for him, or maybe for the soldier in him. His candor led Jeannie to believe Robert. She did not believe all of the things that her brother Stan wrote because he had always puffed up his image. And Robert showed a concern for the men around him and for the Vietnamese. Knowing one man whom she could perceive as honest was a boon and important. Returning to the letter several times in the following days she found herself wanting more of him and when she sat down on Sunday afternoon the letter she wrote had already been written in her mind. It was easy.

My routine? Classes every day with labs twice a week. I’m here on an academic scholarship and am a more serious student than many of my peers I love learning. I’m pre med, and will be a doctor eventually, what kind of doctor—to be determined. I consider myself equally right and left brained and love history and English as much as organic chemistry and biology. I spend much time in study and I don’t play as much as my friends though not to say I want for a little fun now and then. Just now I am reading for pleasure Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You Mr. Rosewater , I go to the free campus movie now and then, and when I can get away I go sailing with a friend who has a 22’ Laser. I get outdoors every chance I can and run two miles on the track here four times a week, usually in the cool of night. My pals? I guess I’m pretty damned solitary but I am friends with an Icelandic girl. We usually eat together. On long holidays it’s home to see the folks. You ask what’s unique here. I like to think it’s that it’s a peculiar ambiance, hard to define – but friendly, free, and conducive to inquiry and experimentation. What could be better when you’re 19years old?.

Last week about 200 students held an antiwar demonstration on campus. Lots of hand made signs, posters, draft card burnings, and speeches from the steps of the Library’ (where I just about live).but not enough real action for TV coverage. Down in Washington its different – larger, organized, demonstrations attracting big attention.

I like reading about the men, your crew so tell me more and I’m particularly interested in the Vietnamese in your nearby village. Might not there be VC among them? What, besides beer and Orange Crush, do you have for them and what have they for you? How do your men relate to the civilians? How does antiwar sentiment here and abroad, affect you? Everything you’ve written is of much interest, please continue those wonderful descriptions and if we are to get to know one another we should share a few opinions. Don’t waffle. I won’t. I’m against the fucking war. You have a talent for writing. And hey–are those pleasures of the flesh just for the enlisted men? Officers are celibate? I don’t even believe that.

Will Sea Rat get a visa to come home with you? I know you have access to beer and Orange Crush – let me know if there’s anything I can send you in a care package.

A big hello to Stan and stay as safe as you can. Fondest wishes, Jeannie

P.S. The enclosed picture with the rain and wind was taken on the campus walkway the taller girl with me in Gretta, my Icelandic pal.

On the same morning Robert had mailed his letter Jeannie, his boat left to carry a small team of Army Rangers up the CanBocRiver. The PCF lay at the mouth of the river until dark, then proceeded six kilometers upriver where the team disembarked on its ambush mission. Robert’s orders were to wait for the team’s return then depart immediately for Binh Ba. It was always dangerous to anchor upriver even with the boat at darken ship snugged in against the bank its stern line secured to protective foliage, bow headed downstream, ready for quick departure.. The team left the boat at midnight expecting to be back aboard by 2:00AM. The crew wanted to be well underway before the 3AM moonrise and 3:45AM flood tide. Not until 3:15 did the Rangers appear carrying one of their own who had been badly wounded.

“Hurry up, skipper, gotta di di mau outta here as fast as you can. Those fuckers are bearin’ down.” Light machine gun fire from the shore peppered the water and hull as the twin diesels rumbled to life as the moon broke over the tree line. The PCF throttled up to full speed in mid channel able to navigate by light of the full moon. Collins broke out compresses and bandages from the first aid box for the wounded ranger and now for McWhirr who had taken a hit to his shoulder and lay propped against the grenade launcher. Hedges manned one of the .50s, Holley the other returning fire. The wounded ranger lay on the afterdeck with one soldier cradling his head as another held a compress against a belly wound. Digger Boy passed the PRC76’s handset to Robert who radioed the coordinates at the mouth of the river for helo evacuation.”Dustoff ‘ll be at the mouth of the river, Lieutenant. Helo should be the beach in ten.:”

Rounding a bend in the river with only half a click distance to mouth of the Can Boc the boat came under small arms fire from both banks. Robert had been standing aft near the wounded sergeant when the bullet hit, spinning him around and knocking him hard him against the port gunwale with a bullet in the left cheek of his ass. McWhirr at the helm pushed the throttles to full speed as Hedges and Holly strafed the river banks. On the radio Digger Boy advised the inbound Angel to that there would now be three wounded.

Robert lay on his stomach in the officers’ ward at the Nha Trang field hospital holding the snapshot of Jeannie and the Icelandic girl. Stan had sent Robert’s mail and a quart of Wild Turkey up to Nha Trang with one of his crew. The Viet Cong bullet extracted from his left cheek rested at last in a plastic pill vial on the night stand by his hospital bed, it’s mission accomplished. After a five day course of antibiotics and daily changes of dressings he’d be discharged and return to Binh Ba and his crew. While he had the down time he planned to write Jeannie. His emotions vacillated wildly: getting shot had ripped the fabric of conviviality and comradeship that sustains the military and the acid of war had seeped in the wounded Ranger had died on the helo. McWhirr was heading Stateside with a completely fucked up shoulder. Again his crew had faced death up close, and the crew had responded correctly, hadn’t panicked and had returned fire while piloting the boat and the embarked rangers to safety. Too, Jeannie was a boost. He loved the picture of her against the rain and he dwelt on the words she’d closed the letter with “Fondest wishes.” Then again maybe “fondest wishes” meant no more than “Yours truly” or “Sincerely.” thought Robert The pain killers, they’ve got my thinking suppressed. Fuck if I know” In Nha Trang he would buy Jeannie an Au Dzai silk suit, a couple of bars of Elephant Soap and one of those conical bamboo hats peasants wear and mail to her. After lights out he watched moths beat themselves against the soft lit exit sign.

When Jeannie learned from her brother Stan’s letter, that Robert had been wounded and was in hospital she felt an immediate heaviness from her shoulders down to her feet and sat heavily in the chair at her dorm desk. Now she did not care to manage her feelings. It was as though she too had, in part, been wounded, but then drew herself inward thinking it selfish and puerile to think so. But her heart ached for him and at the utter realization that his situation no matter how cavalierly his words masked it was war: not a movie war but brutal, painful, deadly war. Two days later she received Robert’s letter from the hospital in Nha Trang.

I hope this finds you well and happy. I am up in Nha Trang for a few days and will return to Binh Ba on Friday. This is a beautiful place with beaches of snow white sand. It’d probably be the Riviera of the South China Sea were it not for minor impediments like war, poverty, and Communism.

Thanks for the offer to send a care package. Yes – the following items would be ever so welcome – canned bacon, Fizzies, Shell No Pest Strips, a flea collar for Sea Rat, and maybe another picture or two of you. If you’ve finished the Kurt Vonnegut book, throw that in too, and some cross word puzzles. Any or all would be appreciated. I have sent you a small package from Nha Trang – with no idea of when it might arrive. Who doesn’t like a surprise?

Allow me to confess that I’ve been down for a while. No it’s not all beer and skittles. Sometimes the façade drops and then it isn’t sunshine that comes in, it’s shit.

Like you I am against the fucking war, all war, yes, I’m against all war so the stark reality of being an action figure on the politicians’ game board sometimes gets sickening. So there are these brief intervals when truth comes a’ knockin’ and the crisp uniforms, stars, bars, and marching bands are swept aside for filth, and shit, blood, pus, burnt flesh and hair, and maggots, and vomit, and the entire distance to the offing is one stinking suppurating wound that nauseates until you open that third or fourth beer or take another hit or what the fuck. Maybe it’ll be something as innocuous as a good hot meal or a funny joke, you wait and hope for that magic button of the moment that’ll come along to restore that ever untruthful lying sack of shit façade we crave like some stupefying pain killer.

Aw shit – now look at what I’ve gone and done. Well, Jeannie if you’ve got any pals in those demonstrations, ask ‘em to keep it up. The rest of the world seems to know we’ve got no legitimate business here. Even Canada – our best nation pal, Canada– has cargo ships in and out of Haiphong. Enough negative, lemme look for that key to the sunshine locker, ah here it is, eureka.…. Happily, I’ll return to Binh Ba tomorrow, back with my crew and Sea Rat.

Very Warmest Regards, Robert

Why no mention of his wound? Stan’s letter had gone into such detail. Jeannie reckoned that Robert’s grim blood and guts paragraph had been his strange way of conveying the event. By the time she received this letter she had lain awake each night, sometimes under sway of her natural feelings of compassion and tenderness but also analyzing possible effects. She imagined holding him, of his laying with his head in her lap, holding hands, kissing. Robert’s wound had become a catalyst that bonded her feelings to him as surely as a covalent bonding of two elements in the chem lab. Perhaps the Navy would send him home. Maybe he’s slipped into a serious bout of depression, the letter made that seem likely. Didn’t the stress of war sometimes turn men into jerks? No, she thought, he’s too intelligent and self-controlled. But, she thought, how would I know?….

On Thursday Robert was discharged from the Field Hospital with a fresh uniform, battle helmet, and a vial of pain killers. At midnight an Army deuce and half headed south and carried Robert and a half dozen other men. The benches down each side of the canvas covered truck sat up on the sand bags which covered the truck’s bed. Two other passengers, like Robert, had been discharged from the Field Hospital and were in new helmets and carried olive drab ditty bags with their meds and files. In the dark the men bounced up and down as they smoked and joked about the fat-assed Army major riding in the truck’s cab and their newly issued utilities which smelled of moth balls. Three men sat on each side leaning forward so that sometimes their helmets touched. But Robert’s helmet was higher than the others because he sat on the inflatable rubber doughnut the hospital had issued. Just before sunrise as the truck passed through an old Michelin rubber plantation a sniper’s bullet tore through the canvas grazing Robert’s helmet. He had not secured the chin strap so the force of the bullet spun the helmet around and for a moment Robert thought that he had been hit and was blinded.“Fuckin assholes,” someone shouted. “Aw shit, another ‘one shot Charlie.’ Fucker’s half way back to his village by now.” “Anyway nice souvenir, huh dai wi?” When enough light came through the rear of the truck Robert passed the dented helmet around, smiling. But inside he was not smiling. His ass throbbed, the temperature of his war had just risen another degree and he thought to himself that it was a good thing he’d taken a dump before boarding the deuce and half

because he just might have shit himself. “Digger Boy’s right,” he thought, “this shit gets worser and worser.”

Back with his crew his spirits lifted and he was busy. The crew had done a good job with the repairs. Seven bullet holes had been patched, and the hull repainted. Holley had caught an R&R flight to Bankok. Robert did the paperwork recommending Hodges, Holley McWhirr and Digger Boy for Bronze Stars. At quarters the next day the Commander, Officer in Charge of the Squadron, pinned on Robert’s Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Robert’s heartbeat raced at each mail call, anticipating Jeannie’s letter. He assumed that Stan would have made a big deal out of this and with no small sense of guilt Robert hoped that Jeannie’s heart strings would have been tweeked. When the letter came it was light, a single page. “Oh shit, he thought, it’s over before it’s begun.” He walked to the shady spot at the rear of the armory, sat against a tree to read.

I’m not a prayer, but all my wishes are being beamed to that sweet wounded ass of yours. Stan wrote about the firefight. PLEASE let me know that you’re okay. I don’t know what to say until I know you’re fit. Hurry. I think of you constantly, with love, Jeannie

As if a band of angels lifted him, his heart soared. Eight words “I think of you constantly, with love.”

That afternoon he sent the crew into the village for beer and mercy fucks so he could have the solitude needed to compose his letter.

Do not worry. I am fine, no shit. My wound is pretty well healed, there should be no lasting effects, save a little scar. Thank you for your concern. I’m sure Stan blew things out of proportion. Would Stan do that?

When I received your letter this morning I went into a quick downer because the envelope was so light. I knew it was a single page and I thought, “This is the brush off.” Sigh. Well like the song could have said ‘the goin’ down was worth the comin’ up.’ I have been thinking of you so much. My head tells me, “slow down let things unfold naturally,” but my heart tells me, “things are happening naturally. Face it, cowboy You like Jeannie and she likes you.” There I’ve said it. Those few exchanges we’ve had seem so revelatory, honest, and warm and I am indeed drawn to you, Jeannie with the light brown hair. If I am off base, you must let me know because I’m pretty sure I want to love you.”

With love aplenty, Robert

Now Jeannie was compelled to write to Robert nearly every day. Her brother Stan, his tour in Viet Nam finished, had been reassigned to Guam. Only Robert represented Viet Nam now. The high point of each day was the opening of her post box at the campus post office. The presence or absence of a letter dictated how the day would unfold. He too wrote to her at every opportunity. She allowed her heart’s love to flow freely in kind words about him, descriptions of dreams she’d had, and even scenarios of a future together. While she continued to diligently pursue her studies every other facet of her life at the university was subordinated by Robert. Through his letters and thoughts she had fallen in love the swift boat lieutenant in Viet Nam. As her friends relished the abundant sex, drugs, and activism her energies went only to her studies and to Robert.

Try this on for size, love. When your spring semester concludes, you hop on a big silver bird and meet me in Hawaii where I’ll have arranged my R and R. Your air fare will be no problem – there’s scarcely anywhere to spend money where I am. I know this to be a delicate situation – particularly for your parents – so for their sake I am willing for us to marry – though I would prefer that to happen later when I’m over and done with the fucking war. Be frank with your response to this. I do so love you.

. Good news – our boats will now have only minimal missions up rivers now that the PBR’s (patrol boat riverine)are plentiful. The general feeling has long been that further inland the unluckier. The PBR’s are smaller and built for rivers – we’re now primarily coastal patrol.

We’ll have more frequent long patrols interdicting shipping along the coast as Nixon wants to apply pressure before the Paris Peace talks get rolling. What a fuck story. So I don’t know how that will affect the frequency of mail service. God I love always getting a letter or two at every mail call. I love you, beautiful one. I’ll see you in my dreams.

Their letters, now intense expressons of love, became an almost daily occurrence , the thrill each one evoked took the passionate couple to that high level plateau of ecstasy all lovers crave. But with the extraordinary events of 4 May 1970 these blossoms would fall.

On the forth of May Robert’s boat hit a mine placed in the channel leading to a diving barge they’d intended to moor against The explosion killed Digger Boy and Hodges. Robert and the remaining crew were seriously wounded and evacuated to the Army hospital in Saigon. In June Robert, still in a coma, was airlifted to TriplerNavalHospital in Hawaii for a series of surgeries which restored minimal vision to his left eye and saved an arm from amputation. Legally blind and crippled he was discharged that summer.

Now 40 years later he closed the care package box and placing his tear stained face an inch away from the box gazed for a final time at the return address Jeannie Vincent, R7 Dorm, Kent State University, Ohio.

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Where does a church board chair find resources to develop his or her leadership abilities in fulfilling this important role? Dr. Larry Perkins is offering a series of three webinars January – March 2013 that will give you significant help in understanding your role and offering practical wisdom to facilitate your service.

The three webinars will be held on January 31, February 28, and March 28, 2013 from 6:30 – 7:30pm (PST). Each webinar will address a key aspect of the governance world in which a church board chair serves and leads. You can register for these three seminars (they are a package) by going to www.churchboardchair.ca/webinar/, completing the registration and payment.

The focus of these webinars is on the work of the church board chair. The first considers governance within a congregational reality the second reviews the constituencies, work domains, and core principles and practices which church board chairs need to understand and the third investigates the chair’s role as leader of the strategic ministry leadership team within a congregation.

Space is limited to ten participants. The cost for all three webinars is $45. This must be paid to complete registration. You might be advised as board chair to invite your lead pastor to join with you as you participate. There is no additional fee for this.

At www.churchboardchair.ca you will find information about Dr. Perkins, many resources to help you as church board chair, and a description of the technical requirements your computer must have in order to participate, using Adobe Connect. You are also required to use a head microphone because the built-in microphones pick up too much background noise.

MCT: Friday, April 26, 2019

WARM TEMPERATURES can be expected across interior areas through the weekend, with windy conditions at the coast. High pressure will keep northwest California rain-free through the week ahead, with a gradual cooling trend through the early part of the week over the interior. (National Weather Service)

The Fort Bragg Police Department is requesting the public’s assistance in locating Duane Lawrence.

Duane was last heard from on January 29, 2019 when he called family from the Fort Bragg area. Lawrence was considered to be transient, and he is suspected to have been camping in the Fort Bragg area prior to his disappearance. Lawrence is described as approximately 5 feet, 9 inches tall and approximately 180 pounds. When Lawrence was last contacted he had short brown thinning hair and a full grey beard. Lawrence may or may not be wearing glasses. Please see the photos below for further reference.

Anyone with any information related to where Lawrence may have been camping, or any information as to Lawrence’s whereabouts should contact Sergeant O’Neal at (707) 961- 2800 ext. 120 or by e-mail at [email protected] Anonymous tips may be left at anonymous Crime Tip Hotline at (707) 961-3049.


Meatloaf and music at senior lunch on Thursday, May 2. Bootjack 5 (Dean Titus, Chris Rossi, Susan Clark, Rod Dewitt & Sue Marcott) will be performing during lunchtime. Soups on at 12 sharp!

Surprising things happen at the courthouse. You may leave a crowded courtroom, to make room for a jury being picked in the morning, and come back in the afternoon, expecting the trial of “The One and Only” (as he styles himself in his Letters to the Editor) Michael France to have finally gotten underway, only to find your neighbor in the dock, and a waiter from Denny’s on the stand. Later, you learn that One-and-Only’s lawyer, a public defender, has declared a “conflict of interest” at the last moment, ending the trial, and the case devolved on down to the Alternate Public Defender, Lewis Finch, who will need several more months to prepare the case for trial.

Having just witnessed another jury trial evaporate at the last moment (the tragic and appalling case of “The Cardiologist Who Gunned Down His Neighbor’s Sleeping Dogs”), you (again, I’m referring to myself, for the sake of modesty, in the second-person, as a lowly hack should) resolve to be content with whatever you can get.

In this case, it was Michael Grunwald, a salty old Boatswain’s (pronounced Bosun’s) Mate, fighting cancer from extended exposure to Agent Orange. His ship, a fuel tanker, resupplied aircraft carriers in the Tonkin Gulf and Cam Ranh Bay with JP-4 and the carcinogenic defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

Mr. Grunwald has an obstreperous manner, to put it mildly, as we shall soon see, and I often have overheard him berating people I don’t know for transgressions, real or imagined, that I am equally ignorant of. But his voice is of that somewhat shockingly loud and harsh nautical kind that can be heard from the sally port of a refueling tanker to the bridge of an aircraft carrier in a gale-force wind.

By way of disclosure, I admit that Grunwald has, once or twice, come over to my place for an evening of Texas Hold ‘Em, Seven Card Stud and Five Card Draw. On one occasion we saw in the rosy-fingered dawn, as the chips fell back and forth, fore and aft, Lady Luck being as impartial as the tides.

On another memorable occasion we won a round of drinks in a game of pool against a couple of Russian gents at the Forest Club. That is the extent of my acquaintanceship with him.

When I entered the courtroom, the first witness, a Mr. Helm, was just finishing up. Grunwald was standing and pacing about, using a cane, an indulgence the court had granted that had to do with Grunwald’s health. His lawyer, Daniel Moss of the Office of the Public Defender, had just said he had no further questions, when Grunwald stamped the floor with his cane and shouted, “I do! I want to ask him about…”

Judge Keith Faulder runs a pretty tight ship. His Honor has pretty much abandoned his former jocularity, his penchant for puns, and the all around good-humor he was so noted for as a highly successful lawyer. His court clerk is none other than Bonnie Miller, the Sergeant Major of Clerks, and his bailiff is Deputy Mark McNelly, a meticulously squared-away officer whose martial bearing reinforces his polite manner. As Judge Faulder cut Grunwald off in mid-sentence, Bailiff McNelly came to his feet and advanced a few paces into the balliwick.

“Mr. Grunwald,” Faulder said, “You will address the court only through your lawyer, Mr. Moss. If you need more time to consult with your lawyer, you can have it. But you cannot and will not ask the witness any questions yourself. Understood?”

If you can believe Grunwald’s sea stories about his adventures in places like Subic Bay and Olongapo City (in the Philippines, where my older brother, incidentally, was stationed with the Armed Forces Police), then he almost certainly would have had some experience with what, in the Navy, is called “Captain’s Mast,” under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is somewhat similar to a preliminary hearing, though conducted with more discipline than a civilian would think appropriate.

Once Grunwald grasped how Faulder’s court was run (a USN Captain would have looked on approvingly, and I speak from the authority of having attended courts-martial for marines accused of murdering their officers), he behaved himself accordingly.

Mr. Helm left the stand, cautiously skirting around the cantankerous old seadog Grunwald, and Officer Brett Chapman of the Ukiah PD was called.

Officer Chapman stated that he’d been dispatched to Denny’s to investigate a disturbance at about 1:05 in the morning of February 23rd. On arrival, Chapman was told by Helm that Grunwald had become rude and confrontational over a cup of coffee. Helm had said he thought Grunwald was going to assault him with the cup or throw the coffee on him. Other customers told a similar story. When Chapman tried to speak with Grunwald “he was very confrontational. He told me – excuse the language – ‘shut the fuck up’.”

Meanwhile, Officer Kevin Murray had procured a signed citizen’s arrest warrant from Mr. Helm. When given this, Officer Chapman then arrested Grunwald and placed him in the back of the patrol car. As Chapman was finishing up his paperwork, Grunwald yelled, “You’re going to die tomorrow – I’m going to see to it.”

When Chapman turned to ask if that was a threat, Grunwald said it was not only a threat, it was “a promise.”

This brutally stupid remark was the basis of count one, PC 69, attempting to prevent an officer from the performance of his duties.

But on cross-examination, we learned that Grunwald had been what you might call egalitarian in his insults, abusing the other officers with equal venom, and flicking verbal acid on one and all. To his meager reserves of credit, Grunwald hung his head and contemplated what a fool he’d been.

Had this happened while he was in the Navy, his Captain would have busted him down to E-1 and turned him ashore at Da Nang to burn barrels of shit for the Marines.

Mr. Moss argued that Grunwald was at the time incapable of carrying out the threat. “He was just an angry person acting out, as he has been doing all day. As to the charges in count two, calling someone gay is not fighting words now, like it used to be, society has progressed, and to punish Mr. Grunwald for calling Mr. Helm a faggot would do more harm to free speech than it would do any good for gay rights. Looking at count three, I don’t believe Mr. Grunwald actually challenged anyone to a fight. And as to count four, I don’t believe my client used force or a threat of force to ur, uh, uh, prevent Mr. Helm from exercising his civil right [to be gay]. He may have said some offensive things but I don’t think that proves anything.”

Judge Faulder said, “I do find sufficient evidence to hold the defendant to answer on count one. The statement he made to the officer is unequivocal. And when asked if it’s a threat he says it’s not only a threat but a promise. As to count two, I find sufficient evidence that he intended it [calling Helm a “faggot”] to cause a violent reaction, and he said it for that purpose. As for count three, I find insufficient evidence to support the charge. Count four: It was clear Mr. Grunwald was bullying Mr. Helm, but the requirements are that he use force or threat of force, and I don’t see that he has.”

Moss then argued to have the two felonies reduced to misdemeanors and Faulder denied the 17-b. motion to do that, although Moss may renew it at a later time.

The other case against Grunwald was called but Grunwald wanted a smoke break, and this was granted. On the way back to the courtroom I mentioned to Grunwald, “You sure got yourself into a lot of trouble in a hurry.”

“Yeah,” he answered glumly. “Didn’t I though…”

The next charge was “Gassing An Officer” and I had to ask Deputy Will Robison what that even meant. Robison showed me a line in his report: “The throwing of urine or feces, or any mixture thereof, onto an officer or any other person.” I’m rarely at a loss for words, but could think of nothing to say.

Deputy DA Tom Geddes called his first witness, the victim of the, well, gassing, Corrections Officer Isaac Sanchez, who said he knew Grunwald as someone who had been in custody at the jail multiple times. On this occasion, he had come to the cell where Grunwald was being held while awaiting booking to give him a drink of Gatorade. Grunwald passed his cup through the slot in the door, and after Sanchez filled it, Grunwald reached out through the slot with his other hand and “threw something on me,” Sanchez said. “On my uniform pants from the belt down. “He [Grunwald] made the statement, ‘It’s piss’.”

Sanchez: “He smiled [somewhat triumphantly, no doubt] about it.”

Geddes: “Have you known Mr. Grunwald to use excrement?”

Sanchez: “Yes, he uses toilet paper to draw on the walls with it.”

Moss: “Mr. Grunwald was in a ‘safety’ cell?”

Geddes: “Objection. Relevance.”

Moss: “And he was there because he is psychologically disturbed?”

Moss: “And within a day or two he’d been doing artwork with his feces?”

Moss: “And he’d done the same or similar artwork during previous incarcerations?”

At this point I resolved to be more discriminating in the people I invited over for poker games. And the same for those I picked for a pool partner.

Moss: “What did you do with your clothing [the pants soiled with urine]?”

Moss: “Were any chemical tests done on the clothing?”

DDA Geddes called Deputy Robison who had been summoned to the jail to investigate the March 3rd gassing incident. Grunwald told Robison he threw the piss on Sanchez because Sanchez didn’t bring the Gatorade in a timely manner.

On cross-examination, there was a long back-and-forth as to whether the substance thrown on the officer could have been Gatorade, rather than urine, and whether Grunwald’s later claim that the puddle of urine on the floor outside the cell was there because he’d peed there. But the standard flavor of Gatorade served at the jail was shown to be orange, and it had an orange color, so that angle of defense faded away.

Faulder: “There’s sufficient evidence to find that a felony gassing occurred" and arraignment on the information was set for May 7th at 9:00.

Lee Van Zant of the Veteran’s Administration gave Grunwald a ride back to the trailer park, and he hailed me in his nautical voice as they drove by, but I don’t think I’ll have him over for a poker game any time soon. Agent Orange appears to have completely unhinged the salty old seadog.

COMPARING Beto O'Rourke, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Reminder! The Boonville Farmers’ Market is back and will open with festivities on Friday, May 3rd from 4:00-7:00 p.m. in the parking lot of the new Disco Ranch, formerly Aquarelle (14025 Highway 128). Come for local food, dinner, music and other local products! Cal Fresh’s EBT Market Match program will be available. More info? Call Lama at 489-5034 or check for updates at www.avfoodshed.com.


Hello (and Good bye!), from Anderson Valley Community Farm.

It is fast approaching 8 years to the day since I moved into the farm and began this endeavor. While I can not say it has been a total failure of the goal to produce high quality local food for the local community, it has not proven profitable enough to sustain. It has been bumpy, wild, and maybe a bit out of control… but I truly don't regret the insane commitment that has been required.

I want to thank everyone who helped and supported me and to the few people totally dedicated to supporting local farmers. (Wilders and Goodells especially…and certainly in remembrance of Regine and her serious support of my project.)

I'm also calling out for help:

Outgoing Clean-up Work Party

This Sunday, April 28. 10AM-4PM.

Lunch and refreshments provided.

Come say goodbye bye to Tim (moving to the far away land of Willits), and help him leave the place cleaner than he found it.

Call or email with questions:

I am going to sincerely miss this quirky community. I will almost certainly resume farming soon on the ranch I am moving to. Adios, it's been real, love ya, stay in touch.

JAMES MARMON reminds me of myself in the obsession department. Mine is the unresolved Bari Bombing case. DA Eyster waves me away like I'm some kind of giant mosquito when I try to talk him into looking into it. "Hah! Are you kidding?" he says. No, I'm not. If I were a cop I'd be deeply interested in it if for no other reason than professional curiosity. And almost all the site prep has been done. Note to all you high end crooks out there: If you're going to commit a complicated crime like car bombing your ex-wife, do it here and you not only won't be caught, nobody will be interested. (Even the vaunted FBI managed not to see the obvious in this one. Of course they couldn't see the obvious because…. Well, I see I've cleared the room again, but interested persons are directed to the Bari file on the ava website for the particulars.

MARMON undoubtedly knows more welfare law than anybody running Mendo's Helping Pro bureaucracies, not that we're ever talking Rhodes Scholar material when we're talking Mendo. But it's his obsessiveness that puts people off. Except me because I understand, James, I do. If you pay attention to Marmon he's mostly correct. For instance, among today's communiques the big guy says, "Last fiscal year only 18 out of 2081 mental health crisis assessments were conducted in the jail, which resulted in overwhelming the local hospital ERs. The handful of Laura's Law and mental health court participants are only a fraction of those needing services… Allman [Sheriff Allman] claims that up to 80% of inmates incarcerated are prescribed psychotropic medications. By law, services in jails have to be at the same level given in the community. A bunch of Department Heads sitting around ‘ain't gettin er done.’ Had the same bunch actually talked solutions, people would be doing a lot better. Listen to your Behavioral Health Advisory Board (BHAB)."

I EDITED out the personal attacks, amusing as they are, and I don't think Allman put the figure of mentally ill inmates at 80 percent. The figure is lower than that but still high enough that we should all be troubled by it because all these people get out and live among us. (80 percent probably have drug probs, but aren't 5150 sober.) If Marmon would take it down a couple of notches and tone down the abuse, the donut drones (hah!) would still ignore him, but the more responsible Supervisors might begin to pay attention. One of his basic points is irrefutable: Our privatized mental health system, which we pay over $20 million (million!) a year for (over $20 million a year!) is not only NOT getting the job done, but Mr. and Mrs. Schrader, the private owners of the system, are unaccountable to anyone, least of all the enabling County CEO Carmel Angelo and, so far, the Supervisors.

MARMON, on the money, literally, right here: "The Adult ASO mental health contract comes up for renewal next month, the third. year without an RFP going out for those services. McCowen suggested that this year they just roll out one contract for both Adult and Children’s care in one package in order to bypass any fair bidding process. I wonder if the new supervisors are going to put their blinders on and not ask the big question: WHERE’S THE MONEY? before they push the “YES” button. If anyone cares to remember, Kemper recommended that both Adult and Children contracts go out to bid. It never happened "

Previous Board Actions. (June 7, 2016)

“March 1, 2016: The Board of Supervisors discussed the Summary of Recommendations Implementation Plan associated with the Kemper Consulting Group mental health services review and the County’s proposed Request for Proposals (RFP) process and timelines”

“March 15, 2016: The Board of Supervisors accepted the update regarding the Kemper Consulting Group mental health services review and update on the activities regarding mental health services, which included finalizing a contract with Redwood Quality Management Company (RQMC) for transitional mental health services to be presented to the Board review and approval on April 5, 2016 additionally, the Board approved proceeding with Kemper Consulting on developing the adult mental health services transition plan and processes and timelines for the RFP for adult mental health services, with the target implementation of a new contract for related services no earlier than July 1, 2017.”

PS: Please, someone explain to Gjerde [Supervisor Gjerde] that just because RQMC/RCS are doing more crisis assessments then ever before it doesn't mean they’re doing a wonderful job in fact it means quite the opposite. Those are bad numbers Dan, you don't want those going up, it indicates that pre-crisis services are insufficient.

MYSTERY BANNER spotted in Ukiah: "Big Picture Ukiah." It's near city hall, so…. And your virtue signal of the day, posted on the window of the preferred transportation of the virtuous, a Subaru, "I hope something good happens to you today."

JIM DUNBAR has died at age 89.

Not all that long ago he was NorCal's premier radio talk show man. Dunbar and Ted Weigand moved the daily morning chat briskly along, combining informed discussion with real wit. Compared to the screamers these days — with the exception of the wonderful and always listenable Pat Thurston — AM radio went radically downhill post-Dunbar.

(HISTORICAL ASIDE, re Ms. Thurston: When she was at KSRO out of Sonoma County, hers was the area's most listened to show north of Frisco, but when she dared host the beast of Boonville a few times to discuss, among other things, the Bari Bombing case, she was fired. The presumed bomber's father, a Santa Barbara oil man name of Sweeney, who'd also worked in the Nixon administration — the apple didn't fall far from that tree — was a close friend of KSRO's owner, and Pat was history. But not for long. KGO, recognizing talent when they heard it, signed her up and she's been lighting up their airwaves ever since. I've always felt bad about Ms. Thurston's unfortunate KSRO interlude because it was my presence on her show that got her sacked. With only a few audio exceptions, the Bari case could not be discussed any place dominated by the Bari Cult, and the great speakers of truth dominated KMUD, KZYX (of course) and KPFA, except for the latter station's true free speech stalwart, Larry Bensky. My experience, lo these many years, has been that the true danger to open expression has always come from the pseudo-left, not the political right, at least in NorCal. The political right media dominate around here because what passes for a left only rolls for their speech, and their speech is more mantra-like when it's true and seldom interesting even when it is true. Trump is president because of the lib-left, not in spite of it.

THE INLAND MENDO pseudo-left appeared at last week's meeting of the Supervisors to lobby the board for a full-time job for one of them, probably Alicia Little Tree. Miss Tree and her dreary posse are going to save us from Global Warming! And get paid to do it, thanks to their sponsor, John McCowen, who also gives them free rent at their 106 Standley Street headquarters. If this bold scam gets more than McCowen's vote, even by Mendo's subterranean standards, the county will have achieved a new low. The fact that it's even being considered while the county's line workers continue without their promised raises is disgraceful.

"AIRBNB MOVES IN. Is the startup killing its destination cities?" That's the title over a story in the current New Yorker.

Although it's about tourism strangling Barcelona it would also apply to Mendocino County where a large number of houses are put aside for tourists, thus causing rent inflation in every community. My old homestead, for example, has gone B&B but used to be home to an average of ten local persons.

THE BAR at Lizzby's is open this weekend just in time for our annual BeerFest. Located at the site of the legendary Boonville Lodge, at one time among the most exciting watering holes in the Western United States, post-Lodge the bar was upgraded by Tom Towey with the installation of an art piece plank and kindred up-market accoutrements, all of which have been inherited by the current proprietors of Lizzby's Restaurant. Adding a beautiful bar to fine Mexican food enhances The Boonville Experience, Mendocino County's most happening community.

DUDES AND DUDETTES GALORE! Boonville's annual Beer Fest kicks off Saturday at the Boonville Fairgrounds. Mostly young people, for the price of admission, can pound down as much beer as they can hold from an array of micro-breweries, staggering off in late afternoon to their camp sites spread throughout the Anderson Valley. Considering the pure number of drunks — between 5 and 7 thousand of them — the Fest has always been a peaceful event, primarily because a big hunk of the dudes and dudettes camp right on the Fairgrounds where there is also an array of food available.

WATCHING the Russians goose step a welcome to North Korea's portly Rocket Man on the television news, I threw my eyes heavenward and silently begged the deities to permanently shelve it. Any place you see it bad things are built in. And just prior to Rocket Man waddling off his specially secure train, an advance guard of frenetic attendants frantically cleansed the train's exit ramps. Most pathetic of all was one attendant running full bore down the street with a folding chair in case Rocket Man needed to plunk his bulk down. Prediction of the obvious type: Putin and Rocket Man will sign an agreement obligating Russia to defend North Korea as North Korea de-nukes, outflanking our President Bluster, although Orange Man deserves credit for putting the de-nuke process in motion.

OF COURSE you've noted that the mainstream media and the lib-lab talking heads are virtually orgasmic that the "moderate" Biden has stepped forward to save the Republic from Bernie and Ocasio-Cortez. Some of you old, old timers may recall that Red Skelton bit where the comedian took off on politicians of the Biden type. "My friends, and you are my friends…"

I'M CONSISTENTLY SURPRISED at how many otherwise seemingly intelligent people consider Biden a plausible character. Biden's so transparently phony, so obviously wears the face of a man capable of anything that… Well, again, look who's president.

THE MOUTH of the Navarro has nearly closed. Already. And we're still in April. Meaning it won't blast open until the winter rains.

BOONVILLE'S BOXCAR BOARDWALK features AbraKaDebra Bodywork

One hour sessions in the fragrant surroundings of Boxcar Bodywork. Call for your appointment today: 707/357-3068

Flexible hours. Are you injured? Chronic pain?

DOPE, Laz of Willits comments:

Let me be blunt here, many of the growers who are crying foul now are the same people who never paid a dime of tax on ‘the product’ for years if not decades. Lots of new pickups were bought, expensive vacations, fancy girls with all the trimmings. Not all of them, but a good percentage. The gravy train is over, now it’s a job with responsibilities, fees, taxes and lots of hard work. No longer can a grower afford to pay upwards of $300 bucks a pound to a trimmer, or buy the $10k trimmer machine. The big money has ended for the little guy…

And then you have this Flow Kana bunch, giving fancy pants tours and mixers to all the county big shots…buying up the small growers, buying out ‘Real Goods,’ etc. etc, etc. Very impressive to the county elites I’m sure.

Then there’s this ‘Archway Properties’ group, they’re building one of the biggest indoor grows in this part of the state. Refurbished to suit by the son of millionaires, who two years ago raged against the whole idea of marijuana in the county, let alone the old Remco site in his downtown Willits.

But all this said, it still doesn’t make what the county is doing right. The county’s part in this thing is stupid, uninformed, illiterate, and incompetent. And now they raise the price of poker, not to bring in revenue for them, this is about getting those troublesome little growers out of the way for the big money boys to roll in and take over.

This increase, in my opinion, is to “weed”… out the troublesome independent growers. The guy presenting this, a county man, said it all, it’s hard to drive up those dirt roads and to know all the landmarks, it’s hard on the vehicles, etc. etc. Total bullshit, it’s the job and they knew going in what this was going to be. It’s no different than building inspectors who drive up those lonely dirt roads looking to inspect a modest home or a millionaire’s retreat. Back in the day, there was a good chance a county car driving around unannounced could stumble into something they didn’t want, with less than friendly armed people to deal with. Legalization may have helped that issue a bit unless you hit a tweaker camp, then all bets are off…

No, this about less work for the county, more presentable people to deal with, well-funded operations and hopefully more revenue, $2.5mil in the hole and counting, what a crew.

The big money is already here, Google Flow Kana, I got 111,000 hits in 0.36 seconds. What’s that tell you? The Canadians are here, SoCal is here, New York is here. A few boutique types may hang on, but the majority are toast. In today’s markets, you have to be a true entrepreneur with heavy sugar backing you. Sorry folks, those seats are all taken…


with writer/producer Robert Mailer Anderson

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 7:30pm Vogue Theatre (3290 Sacramento Street, SF)

RSVP: https://sffilm.org/event/windows-on-the-world/ using promo code AAB526

Winner 2019 Sedona Film Festival: “Best Humanitarian Film”

Winner 2019 Method Fest: "Best Screenplay,” “Best Supporting Actor” (Edward James Olmos), “Best Director” (Michael Olmos)

Official Selection: Phoenix Film Festival, Boston International Film Festival, Cine Las Americas, Mendocino Film Festival.

In your April 17th issue on page 3 there was full page Christian screed that was not shown to be advertisement. I did not know that the AVA is a religious periodical. I take issue with you on three counts: First, that Jesus is not even the real name of that man.

Second, that it is disputed by modern historians as to whether that man even lived at all.

Thirdly the belief that any human being can die and come back to life is nothing but a shared delusion. There were about 500 of his friends and followers at his death and not one of them was a witness to his coming out of that cave.

Further, the resurrection is a borrowed concept, since there were a number of religions around before Christianity that had as a article of faith the concept of resurrection The word Lord was used by the Canaanites to refer to Ba'al used by the Buddhists to refer to Buddha used by the Jains to refer to Mahavira and by the Aztecs to refer to their deities.'

Also, the screed ends with "Redemption is Beautiful."' This assumes that there is a being from whom redemption is offered. That would be a god, and since all of the gods believed in prior to Yahweh we now see as myths, it is totally reasonable to see the Currently believed in god as just that, a myth.

I have subscribed to your paper for over 20 years and, as an atheist, was sorely troubled to see that on page 3. Was it an omission to not label it an advertisement or is it now the editorial policy of your paper to proselytize for a particular religion?

Lee Simon In Virginia, the cradle of religious freedom

ED REPLY: Lee, Lee, Lee. I must say I'm shocked you've objected to our tribute to THE GREATEST LIBERAL WHO EVER LIVED! Did Mohammed throw the money changers out of the temple? Buddha? Krishna? No! They threw the money changers INTO the temple. No, sir, you can put this newspaper down, four-square, for the Prince of Peace!

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) is pleased to announce that it has begun to issue NARCAN® (Naloxone HCI) nasal spray dosage units to its employees as part of their assigned personal protective equipment. MCSO's goal is in protecting the public and officers from opioid overdoses. Access to naloxone is now considered vital in the U.S. The Center for Disease Control. The California Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard reports Mendocino County ranking, per capita, 3rd in all opioid overdose deaths.

Narcan nasal spray units are widely known to reverse opioid overdose situations in adults and children. Each nasal spray device contains a four milligram dose, according to the manufacturer. Naloxone Hydrochloride, more commonly known by the brand name NARCAN®, blocks the life-threatening effects of opioid overdose (both medications and narcotics) including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, or loss of consciousness. The antidote can reverse the effects of an overdose for up to an hour, but anyone who administers the overdose reversal medication in a non-medical setting is advised to seek emergency medical help right away. The spray units can also be used by Public Safety Professionals who are unknowingly or accidentally exposed to potentially fatal amounts of fentanyl from skin absorption or inhalation. The issuance of the Narcan nasal units, thus far, have been to employees assigned to the Field Services Division and the Mendocino County Jail medical staff. Employees are required to attend a user training prior to being issued the medication. Sheriff Thomas D. Allman would like to thank the Mendocino County HHSA Public Health for providing the Narcan nasal units to the Sheriff's Office free of charge as part of the Free Narcan Grant from the California Department of Public Health.

On 04-24-2019 at approximately 7:54 PM Mendocino County Deputies were dispatched to suspicious circumstances at a fast food restaurant in the town of Laytonville, California. Witnesses on scene reported a male subject, later identified as Billy Nelson, 38, of Vacaville was seen attempting to open vehicle doors at the location.

While Deputies were responding to the location, they received a “Be On The Lookout” (BOLO) for a stolen 2014 white colored Toyota Tacoma pickup truck which had been broadcast by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). The listed vehicle was reported stolen from a parking lot approximately 100 yards north of the fast food restaurant where the suspicious circumstance call for service originated. Deputies spoke to witnesses at the restaurant and viewed a cellular phone video obtained by a witness of Nelson attempting to open vehicle doors at the restaurant. Nelson was last seen walking in the direction where CHP had reported the listed stolen vehicle. Deputies contacted the CHP and learned a friend of the victim had borrowed the listed vehicle to drive to the fast food restaurant to pick up dinner for himself and the victim. The victim’s friend left the vehicle parked just outside the restaurant with the engine running. While waiting to pick up his food order, he observed Nelson get into the listed vehicle and drive away. Deputies searched the area for the stolen vehicle and eventually located it parked unoccupied at the intersection of Cahto Drive and Reservation Road in Laytonville. Deputies received information that Nelson was at a local bar at the 44900 block of North Highway 101 in Laytonville. Deputies responded to the location and contacted Nelson. Deputies noted Nelson was the same subject they had seen in the cellular phone video showing him attempting to open vehicle doors. Deputies developed probable cause during the contact to establish Nelson had stolen the reported stolen vehicle and drove it to the location where it was located/recovered. The stolen vehicle was returned to the owner and CHP turned over the investigation to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies. Nelson was placed under arrest for theft of motor vehicle and transported to the Mendocino County Jail for listed charge where he was booked and to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.


MSP was forwarded this letter that was sent to the local newspaper (doubt it will ever appear though), the Redwood Coast Senior Center Board of Directors, Area Agency on Aging, Adult Protective Services & the Mendocino County District Attorney:

It was suggested to me by officers of the Fort Bragg Police Department that I write you to inquire why Jill Rexroad had me placed under citizen’s arrest by the Fort Bragg Police Department. As I was not in violation of any posted guidelines for the Senior Center, nor did I ever threaten, use violence or vulgarity or steal anything, I would like to know the LEGAL reason for my arrest.

I am also curious that as the Senior Center operates on government funding, as does the Caspar Community Center, why a defibrillator and a CPR kit has not been provided for - especially after one man there dropped dead of a coronary.

The Caspar Community Center has a defibrillator they obtained with their government grants. But it appears that new furniture for the office takes precedence for government grant money over the purchase of a defibrillator.

I am also curious why there is a person there employed for computer support but the computer room has been closed for months.

As there are many seniors who do not have a computer and rely on the Senior Center computers for business and family communication why the computer room has been closed for months.”

Felix Von Steiner, somewhere in cyberspace

CATCH OF THE DAY, April 25, 2019

Aguirre, Alvarado-Cruz, Garcia-Cruz, Harris

EDWARD AGUIRRE, Ukiah. Drugs or alcohol in jail.

JAIRO ALVARADO-CRUZ, Ukiah. Pot cultivation of more than 25 plants, alteration of firearm ID, pot possession for sale, controlled substance for sale, armed with firearm in commission of felony.

JONATHAN GARCIA-CRUZ, Ukiah. Marijuana activity-employment of minor.

SAMUEL HARRIS, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Failure to appear.

Herriot, Lodarski, Nelson, Owens

JAMES HERRIOT JR., Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse, robbery, false imprisonment, county parole violation.

STANISLAUS LODARSKI, Fort Bragg. Failure to appear.

BILLY NELSON, Vacaville/Laytonville. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent.

WILLIAM OWENS, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.

Palacios, Rey, Yonkers

JOHN PALACIOS, Redwood Valley. Probation revocation.

ANDRES REY, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Suspended license, failure to appear.

JENNIFER YONKERS, Fort Bragg. Trespassing, vandalism.


by Alexander Cockburn (August 2008)

“Change” and “hope” are not words one associates with Senator Joe Biden, a man so ripely symbolic of everything that is unchanging and hopeless about our political system that a computer simulation of the corporate-political paradigm senator in Congress would turn out “Biden” in a nano-second.

The first duty of any senator from Delaware is to do the bidding of the banks and large corporations which use the tiny state as a drop box and legal sanctuary. Biden has never failed his masters in this primary task. Find any bill that sticks it to the ordinary folk on behalf of the Money Power and you’ll likely detect Biden’s hand at work. The bankruptcy act of 2005 was just one sample. In concert with his fellow corporate serf, Senator Tom Carper, Biden blocked all efforts to hinder bankrupt corporations from fleeing from their real locations to the legal sanctuary of Delaware. Since Obama is himself a corporate serf and from day one in the US senate has been attentive to the same masters that employ Biden, the ticket is well balanced, the seesaw with Obama at one end and Biden at the other dead-level on the fulcrum of corporate capital.

Another shining moment in Biden’s progress in the current presidential term was his conduct in the hearings on Judge Alito’s nomination to the US Supreme Court. From the opening moments of the Judiciary Committee’s sessions in January, 2006, it became clear that Alito faced no serious opposition. On that first ludicrous morning Senator Pat Leahy sank his head into his hands, shaking it in unbelieving despair as Biden blathered out a self-serving and inane monologue lasting a full twenty minutes before he even asked Alito one question. In his allotted half hour Biden managed to pose only five questions, all of them ineptly phrased. He did pose two questions about Alito’s membership of a racist society at Princeton, but had already undercut them in his monologue by calling Alito “a man of integrity”, not once but twice, and further trivialized the interrogation by reaching under the dais to pull out a Princeton cap and put it on.

In all, Biden rambled for 4,000 words, leaving Alito time only to put together less than 1,000. A Delaware newspaper made deadly fun of him for his awful performance, eliciting the revealing confession from Biden that “I made a mistake. I should have gone straight to my question. I was trying to put him at ease.”

Biden is a notorious flapjaw. His vanity deludes him into believing that every word that drops from his mouth is minted in the golden currency of Pericles. Vanity is the most conspicuous characteristic of US Senators en bloc, nourished by deferential acolytes and often expressed in loutish sexual advances to staffers, interns and the like. On more than one occasion CounterPunch’s editors have listened to vivid accounts by the recipient of just such advances, this staffer of another senator being accosted by Biden in the well of the senate in the week immediately following his first wife’s fatal car accident.

His “experience” in foreign affairs consists in absolute fidelity to the conventions of cold war liberalism, the efficient elder brother of raffish “neo-conservatism.” Here again the ticket is well balanced, since Senator Obama has, within a very brief time-frame, exhibited great fidelity to the same creed.

Obama opposed the launching of the US attack on Iraq in 2003. He was not yet in the US Senate, but having arrived there in 2005 he has since voted unhesitatingly for all appropriations of the vast sums required for the war’s prosecution. Biden himself voted enthusiastically for the attack, declaring in the Senate debate in October, 2002, in a speech excavated and sent to us by Sam Husseini:

“I do not believe this is a rush to war. I believe it is a march to peace and security. I believe that failure to overwhelmingly support this resolution is likely to enhance the prospects that war will occur. … [Saddam Hussein] possesses chemical and biological weapons and is seeking nuclear weapons. … For four years now, he has prevented United Nations inspectors from uncovering those weapons…

“The terms of surrender dictated by the United Nations require him to declare and destroy his weapons of mass destruction programs. He has not done so. …

“Many predicted the administration would refuse to give the weapons inspectors one last chance to disarm. …

“Mr. President, President Bush did not lash out precipitously after 9/11. He did not snub the U.N. or our allies. He did not dismiss a new inspection regime. He did not ignore the Congress. At each pivotal moment, he has chosen a course of moderation and deliberation. …

“For two decades, Saddam Hussein has relentlessly pursued weapons of mass destruction. There is a broad agreement that he retains chemical and biological weapons, the means to manufacture those weapons and modified Scud missiles, and that he is actively seeking a nuclear capability. …

“We must be clear with the American people that we are committing to Iraq for the long haul not just the day after, but the decade after…. [Biden confided to his colleagues that this would be a long fight, but was still for it.] I am absolutely confident the President will not take us to war alone. I am absolutely confident we will enhance his ability to get the world to be with us by us voting for this resolution.”

In step with his futile bid for the Democratic nomination, Biden changed his mind on the war, and part of his mandate will be to shore up the credentials of the Democratic ticket as being composed of “responsible” helmsmen of Empire, stressing that any diminution of the US presence in Iraq will be measured and thus extremely slow, balanced by all the usual imperial ventures elsewhere around the globe.

Why did Obama choose Biden? One important constituency pressing for Biden was no doubt the Israel lobby inside the Democratic Party. Obama, no matter how fervent his proclamations of support for Israel, has always been viewed with some suspicion by the lobby. For half the lifespan of the state of Israel, Biden has proved himself its unswerving acolyte in the senate.

And Obama picked Biden for the same reason Michael Dukakis chose Senator Lloyd Bentsen in 1988: the marriage of youth and experience, so reassuring to uncertain voters but most of all to the elites, that nothing dangerous or unusual will discommode business as usual. Another parallel would be Kennedy’s pick of Lyndon Johnson in 1960, LBJ being a political rival and a seasoned senator. Kennedy and Johnson didn’t like each other, and surely after Biden’s racist remarks about “clean” blacks, Obama cannot greatly care for Biden. It seems he would have preferred Chris Dodd but the latter was disqualified because of his VIP loans from Countrywide.


Should we call this time the days of unhappy motoring? The wheels may be falling off the nation, but they remain on the automobile.

It is the age of Autosaurus Destructus:

The beasts began to multiply, and soon there were more of them than the buffalo and the horses, and they spread far and wide. They were faster than the deer and the mountain lion, and people recklessly used them to kill others.

People enjoyed riding the docile creatures and went to many distant places in great comfort with hardly a complaint from the beast. Often they would race the beasts for their own pleasure and profit.

In great numbers, they cut many well worn paths across continents with their endless roaming and herd instinct. At times, people became their slaves, and at other times They were corralled into camps and sold as beasts of burden themselves.

But they didn’t mind much since the people dug the ground and they were always fed. And sometimes the people went about their own business in the belly of the beast, under its tough outer skin.

Then one day the food ran out, and the people stampeded in chaos and confusion, unable to feed the beasts and the beasts began to starve. Some could no longer fly. The beasts were abandoned and the people could not move about and would soon die. Some people chose death inside the beast, their skeletons now encaged, partners ’till the bitter end.

It was a fabulous, fleeting, foolish age, a wonderful, woe begetting, wanton age.

But it wasn’t really an age, it was more like a moment. It was the Moment that Dinocars Ruined the Earth.

TICKETS FOR MENDOCINO WOMEN'S CHOIR are available at Silver & Stone in Mendo or Harvest Market in Ft. Bragg. Performances are Thursday May 2, Friday May 3, Saturday May 4, each at 7:30 pm. Sunday matinee at 2:30 pm.

Contrary to what David Roderick argued in his letter, we have reached a limit to immigration where any further mass influx will simply be ecologically, economically, socially and culturally unsustainable.

We have perhaps hundreds of thousands of American citizens who are homeless, unemployed and underemployed, as we clearly see every day on the streets of Sonoma County and throughout the nation.

The duty of our federal, state and local governments and elected officials is to ensure and protect the interests of such people, which they have failed to do consistently over several decades.

Advances in science and technology are rapidly eliminating the need for human labor in many industries and occupations across the board, and this process is expected to accelerate in the decades ahead.


What is the most surprising thing I’ve learned about the tiny house movement? My answer might surprise folks who get a daily dose of tiny houses through social media and reality television.

These representations often convey aspects of the movement that are individualistic, such as people building a house by themselves or hankering to live off grid in the middle of the woods. Such stories are consistent with neoliberal ideals of self-sufficiency and isolating oneself from the larger world.

While these may be some people’s experiences with tiny house building and living, they are not the only, or the most important ones. Instead, what I’ve learned from tiny house residents, builders, advocates and leaders, as well as trying out tiny house living with my family, is that what really matters is what a tiny house can help facilitate.

On an individual level, that can mean downsizing (moving from a larger space to a much smaller one), debt reduction, increased savings, downshifting (the ability to work fewer hours in unfulfilling work in order to take part in meaningful work and activities), and creating meaning outside of shopping and consuming. But, on a more collective and structure-challenging level, tiny houses can champion community-building, counter poverty and housing insecurity, and even offer a challenge to capitalist industries that threaten peoples communities and way of life.

Community building

Tiny houses necessitate interdependence with others and champion novel community building exercises. A tiny house cannot be all things to its inhabitants. And this, I would argue, is actually a good thing! Big houses with only a few inhabitants often have all sorts of bells and whistles— home gyms, home theatres, extensive libraries—so there is no need to be out in community.

We have a culture that celebrates independence and likens needing others to a personal flaw or weakness. But going to our local YMCA, cinema, or public library, means that we are out in our communities, breaking down walls and building relationships with others. This is an important way to counter feelings of isolation, alienation, fear of strangers, and all sorts of other feelings common as people retreat deeper into their own private dwellings.

Countering poverty and housing insecurity

Tiny houses are also countering poverty and housing insecurity. Just look at Detroit, Michigan and what executive director Reverend Faith Fowler and the folks at CASS Community Social Services have achieved in a city with major issues with poverty and a lack of decent affordable housing. They are building tiny houses and offering them to people with low incomes and those who were formerly homeless.

More than building houses, they are creating community as they offer residents an important way out of housing insecurity and poverty. The CASS Tiny Homes Program builds small houses on foundations.

The decision to build the tiny houses on foundations rather than wheels was deliberate. Many of the residents have faced severe housing insecurity and may have had themselves and all their belongings thrown from a home they’ve lost. A foundation speaks to permanence and the chance to be a part of a community. After seven years of paying the bills associated with the house (at a rate $1 per square foot per month), the resident owns their home outright. Imagine the power of home ownership for people who have lived with housing insecurity, sometimes for their entire lives. This program, and the tiny homes in it, are providing the possibility of a pathway out of poverty.

Tiny houses as social protest

The Secwepemc Nation in British Columbia has taken the idea of tiny houses built on wheels and are using them to create a peaceful and physical barrier to the proposed Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline through their territory. The pipeline is to carry crude oil from Edmonton, Alberta, to Burnaby, British Columbia and threatens the waterways, fish and animals, as well as the land that is the ancestral home of the Secwepemc peoples.

Thinking about necessities of life, such as safe drinking water, a clean environment, and decent housing should take priority over building more pipelines that will simply continue to fuel overproduction, overconsumption, and waste. More than simply a physical barrier, the tiny houses and the solar panels that power them demonstrate that we need to create opportunities for living sustainably.

For the Secwepemc people, clean water and protecting home, in the broadest sense possible, takes precedent over unsustainable energy production and transportation and clearly relates to reimaging community in its broadest sense.

Tiny Homes = Big Changes

We have a myriad of social problems that we currently face: alienation, housing insecurity and homelessness, extractive industries threatening indigenous communities, and climate change threatening our very existence on the planet. I’m not suggesting that tiny houses are going to fix all of the problems we face, but rather that we need to be searching for and be open to creative ways to challenge these problems.

The “tiny” solutions outlined above challenge us to live lives that are rich in meaning and experiences, and help promote community-building and the very survival of our planet. Ultimately, they are demonstrating how we can champion home in its broadest and most significant sense.

(Tracey Harris is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Cape Breton University in Nova Scotia, Canada. She is the author of The Tiny House Movement: Challenging Our Consumer Culture (Lexington Books: 2018).)


Creating Co-ops, Collectives & Community Organizations to build the economy for our common good. Special guests Emily Kawano, Founder US Solidarity Economy Network, Co-director of Wellspring Cooperatives, & Keith Taylor, UC Davis Cooperative Extension Specialist, Community Cooperative Organizations. With a grand opening presentation of The Economy for the Common Good of Mendocino County Map. Presented by the Grassroots Institute. For more info contact Carrie Durkee

Dear Friend for the Common Good

Please help us create a vibrant, equitable and sustainable future for Mendocino County. On April 29 at 6 PM at the Caspar Community Center, we will publicly launch our map of the Economy for the Common Good of Mendocino County. This is the culmination of a two-year effort by many people from all parts of Mendocino County to identify, research and interview the institutions of Mendocino County that work to solve seemingly intractable, systemic problems in our world.

We are excited that our mentor on this project, Emily Kawano, the founder of the U.S Solidarity Economy Network and the co-director of the Wellspring Cooperatives in Western Massachusetts, will be here. She will join UC Davis Community Development Advisor Keith Taylor, who headlined the recent Mendocino County Economic Summit, for a round-table discussion on creating co-ops, collectives & community organizations. We would love to have your participation in this discussion to expand our Economy for the Common Good.

After that discussion we will present our initial digital map of the Economy for the Common Good of Mendocino County with information centers for the over fifty organizations that are presently on the map. We have another 150 organizations that have been nominated to be on the map and know that there are many more that would be a welcome addition. This endeavor will be an ongoing project with many possibilities for networking, additions and expansions.

Let us now if you have any questions or need any more information on this event. You can also go to grassroots-institute.org http://grassroots-institute.org/.

We look forward to an informative and creative evening for the future of Mendocino County and beyond.

Moscow Mitch is Upset

Everyone knows that Trump can't countenance discussions of improving election security and counteracting Russian meddling. The benign explanation is that Trump is still suffering butthurt from his victory in 2016 and believes that any discussion of Russian meddling and interference taints his win. The less-benign explanation is that Trump is Putin's asset and his doing everything he covertly can to make life easier for his handler. [1]

Whether McConnell is so unpatriotic that he is willfully closing his eyes to Russian interference because it benefits his party or he is willfully closing his eyes to Russian interference because he is doing Trump's bidding is an open question. In either event, the result is the same.
[1] That article is sarcastic. But sarcasm has to be rooted in the truth in order to have its sting.


Is it beyond belief that Putin set up the Epstein ring in order to gather kompromat on as many politicians and billionaires as he could? It would explain a lot of odd behavior from the last few years.

But perhaps Putin is too moral for that.

Fergus has seen the polling and knows that he may lose the 2020 election, and is trying to recreate every little thing that got him there in 2016, which may or may not work.
He's not about to let go of the most reliable ally he had in 2016, but hasn't really considered what it might be like in a political world without the guardrails preventing foreign intervention, particularly after the fights he has picked with China, which is run by vicious fuckers who are every bit as capable of destabilizing an election as Russia.
Mitch is simply a political operative who will do anything at all to amass power for his party, and doesn't give a rat's ass what it looks like.
Just say "Merrick Garland" under your breath and you'll know how Mitch needs to be dealt with.
I'm not generally a vindictive person, but I really want to see the look on Mitch's face when he loses the majority in the senate.
He's an evil man.


re: DAN GJERDE: Let’s catch up. See you at my website.

His website says “Each week, year after year, Dan invests substantial time connecting you with County news and services…In addition, Dan routinely shares County news on his Dan Gjerde 4th District Supervisor page…”

His “Dan Gjerde 4th District Supervisor” facebook page that he provides a link to consists of some photographs he posted in September 2011, nothing until a new cover photo was added in March of 2012 and then nothing until October of this year. Who would consider that to be routinely sharing County news on his page? The flurry of recent activity, out of character for the 4th district supervisor, is only because he has competition for his seat. It’s the same m.o. used when he was on the Fort Bragg City Council.

“DEAD STANDING TREES! Mendocino Redwood Company is still breaking the law! They have not removed the dead standing trees. When you or I break the law, we are either arrested or cited and have to go to court. ”

In Comptche everyone is a law breaker, and only a few committing criminal offenses are arrested or cited and have to go to court. It has been that way for as long as I can remember. The rule is don’t turn in your neighbor, because your neighbor can also find a reason to turn in you.

List of site sources >>>