Wednesday September 28, 2016

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So, here’s the thing, pretty soon there will be Halloween and all the little munchkins will be knocking at our doors looking for treats. always fun in Sierra County. Then comes Thanksgiving and then Christmas and Holiday gatherings. A wonderful time of year for most folks and for some a little more difficult to enjoy the season. The Western Sierra Food Bank provides Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter food baskets to those who need a little help in western Sierra County. The food bank relies on contributions from the community. Non perishable food can be donated and also money contributions as the baskets contain perishable food purchased for the special holidays. Please contact Bette Jo and Frank Lang at 289-3644 or foekej@gmail.com or mail your donation to WSFB, POB 302, Downieville, CA 95936 and thank you so much.

I think Sierra County was glued to their tv sets on Monday evening for the first 2016 Presidential Debate. The town of Downieville was very quiet for those two hours. I guess we all saw it and we all know what we think. If you didn’t see it and don’t know what to think, ask me I’ll be happy to share my thinks.

Meanwhile here in Sierra County we have two candidates for public office, Jim Reed and Rob Rowen,  Jim is running for Congress and Rob is running for State Senate. The seats are now held by Doug LaMalfa and Ted Gaines. The problem with the current office holders is the Districts are large enough that we are just a fly in their ointment and so the issues that really affect us are not as important to them.  We have the chance here to elect two representatives who come from us, backgrounds like us and live with the same issues as us rural frontier type people. This is the time to not look at the party, look at the man, voting for Jim Reed and Rob Rowen is a vote for us.  And of course Don Russell attended the Candidates night in Loyalton and has a lot more information and more to say as to why Jim and Rob are made for Sierra County.

Be sure to check out On The Shelf this week, it reveals how we can access much through online avenues though the Library.  Dianne is Pondering again, Carrie has lots of tips we need, Carol’s Movies, the guest columnists this week are Tom Hastings, Robert Koehler, Lawrence Wittner and Kevin Martin, more than interesting reading, stuff we really need to know for humanity’s future. I do encourage you to get a print subscription to the Mountain Messenger because Don, Jill and Milly go to many more meetings than me, have lots of information, even some facts, and between the two of us, well actually there are three in the county, so add in the Sierra Booster in Loyalton and everything that is unfit to be print will be available to your brain’s thinking about things cap. And of course if you want someone else to think for you be sure to read Resilient Sierra where Laurenc now resides mostly.

The photo this week was taken by Don Yegge, beginning of Fall in the great Sierra Valley.

Mountain Messenger (nothing new) 9/28/16

Featured

Everyone needs to be nice to Jill this week. Milly has been giving her a bad time and she has been a little distraught, so be nice, bring her some chocolate, don’t yell at her and tell her she is your favorite person.

As for Don, he’s doing ok, you know how Don is, you never really know if it is okay to address him directly and you always know to not look him in the eye. Just kind of bow and back out of the room is the best tactic. I heard that Irene has to say, “sir, may I speak?” prior to initiating a conversation. Actually that is difficult to believe, I mean anyone who knows Irene knows she would be the one in charge, but then we are referring to Don so who really knows. I don’t know.

I wish I had some really good news to tell you about anything, but I just can’t think of anything in particular or even in general so that’s about it for now.

9/28/16 A while back Don Russell and Bill Copren sat down together to discuss the possibility of being friends, however it appears they could not tolerate sitting across from each other hence the odd seating arrangement.

9/28/16 A while back Don Russell and Bill Copren sat down together to discuss the possibility of being friends, however it appears they could not tolerate sitting across from each other hence the odd seating arrangement.

messenger-subcribe-2016Send anything you need published to Jill, the secretary for Milly, the CEO and most important person in the office, at yesdearyousuck@yahoo.com or you may call directly to 530 289-3262 and talk to Don, (and suggest he give a raise to Jill, Milly’s secretary). For a subscription: send in as below or call 530 289-3262 with credit card in hand.. Write to Don Russell at mtnmess@cwo.com and tell him you subscribed because you read about it on Sierra County Prospect…..

Anne Clements Clark Eldred 9/28/16

Anne Eldred

Anne Eldred

Anne Clements Clark Eldred, 84, of Sierraville, Calif., died Monday, September 19, 2016 after a long illness. She had a deep and abiding love for the Sierra Valley, the place she called home for half her life.

Anne was born and raised in Hollywood, Calif., the only child of Thomas and Lydia Clements. She earned degrees in archaeology and music at the University of Southern California. One of her great joys was singing as a soloist in several choirs, and she was deeply involved with the Girl Scouts of America for many years.

During her years in Sierra County, Anne served on the school board and the planning commission, bringing tremendous passion to each and working zealously to maintain the beauty and well being of the valley she loved. She was a dedicated volunteer with the Sierra County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, allowing her to combine her love of horses with her desire to help others. She conducted archaeological work in the Sierra Valley to help document and preserve the heritage of local tribes. She also was a member of the Sierra County Historical Society, and worked for several years as a tour guide at the Kentucky Mine, introducing countless visitors to the history of the area.

Anne was a woman of diverse and wide-ranging interests that included geology, politics, birding, the Bear Dance, turquoise jewelry, Los Dos, and dark chocolate, among others. In her later years, to the surprise of her family, Anne became a devoted fan of the San Francisco Giants. She never missed a chance to watch or listen to their games, and was delighted by their numerous recent World Series triumphs.

Anne is survived by her six children, Gene Clark (Sara), Robin Dawson (Curt), Gwyneth Van Buskirk (Bruce), Jon Clark (Martha), Thomas Clark (Tania), and Jay Clark, and four grandchildren. She also leaves behind some dear friends and her beloved furry companions, Crystal and Smokey.

The Celebration of Life will be held November  5th  at 1pm at the Sierraville School. In lieu of flowers, donations in Anne’s memory can be made to the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center, 10121 Pine Avenue, Truckee, CA 96161.

Juan Gives Thanks 9/28/16

On Tuesday September 20 while Downieville EMS Supervisor Jacie Epperson was returning from Grass Valley after her husband Don’s physical therapy appointment  meandering aimlessly through the Indian Valley area she inadvertently meandered into a drowning incident in the No Yuba River near Rocky Rest Campground. A very fortunate thing for Juan M. Ramirez who was here with his wife from Columbia visiting his sister who lives at the Ananda Village near No San Juan.

Jacie recognized the situation as critical and called Downieville VFD Dispatch on her fire department radio. Downieville Ambulance and fire department members including Sierra 1A Frank Lang responded to the scene. Juan’s family had managed to get him out of the river and start CPR and he regained consciousness, his condition was considered not good and a helicopter was ordered and he spent the next three days at the Roseville Sutter Hospital before release.

On Monday Juan and his family came to Downieville to present a card and their thanks to the Downieville Fire Department for helping to save his life.

Jacie Epperson, Juan Ramirez and wife, Juan's sister and Chief Lee Brown pose at the Firehouse, Frank Lang not pictured.

Jacie Epperson, Juan Ramirez and wife, Juan’s sister and Chief Lee Brown pose at the Firehouse, Frank Lang not pictured.

Almost Incomprehensible 9/28/16

Lawrence Wittner

Lawrence Wittner

Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending? – by Lawrence S. Wittner

In early September 2016, Donald Trump announced his plan for a vast expansion of the U.S. military, including 90,000 new soldiers for the Army, nearly 75 new ships for the Navy, and dozens of new fighter aircraft for the Air Force. Although the cost of this increase would be substantial–about $90 billion per year–it would be covered, the GOP presidential candidate said, by cutting wasteful government spending.

But where, exactly, is the waste? In fiscal 2015, the federal government engaged in $1.1 trillion of discretionary spending, but relatively small amounts went for things like education (6 percent), veterans’ benefits (6 percent), energy and the environment (4 percent), and transportation (2 percent). The biggest item, by far, in the U.S. budget was military spending: roughly $600 billion (54 percent). If military spending were increased to $690 billion and other areas were cut to fund this increase, the military would receive roughly 63 percent of the U.S. government’s discretionary spending.

Well, you might say, maybe it’s worth it. After all, the armed forces defend the United States from enemy attack. But, in fact, the U.S. government already has far more powerful military forces than any other country. China, the world’s #2 military power, spends only about a third of what the United States does on the military. Russia spends about a ninth. There are, of course, occasional terrorist attacks within American borders. But the vast and expensive U.S. military machine–in the form of missiles, fighter planes, battleships, and bombers–is simply not effective against this kind of danger.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Defense certainly leads the way in wasteful behavior. As William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Project of the Center for International Policy, points out, “the military waste machine is running full speed ahead.” There are the helicopter gears worth $500 each purchased by the Army at $8,000 each, the $2.7 billion spent “on an air surveillance balloon that doesn’t work,” and “the accumulation of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons components that will never be used.” Private companies like Halliburton profited handsomely from Pentagon contracts for their projects in Afghanistan, such as “a multimillion-dollar `highway to nowhere,’” a $43 million gas station in nowhere, a $25 million `state of the art’ headquarters for the U.S. military in Helmand Province . . . that no one ever used, and the payment of actual salaries to countless thousands of no ones aptly labeled `ghost soldiers.’” Last year, Pro Publica created an interactive graphic revealing $17 billion in wasteful U.S. spending uncovered by the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction.

Not surprisingly, as Hartung reports, the Pentagon functions without an auditing system. Although, a quarter century ago, Congress mandated that the Pentagon audit itself, it has never managed to do so. Thus, the Defense Department doesn’t know how much equipment it has purchased, how much it has been overcharged, or how many contractors it employs. The Project on Government Oversight maintains that the Pentagon has spent about $6 billion thus far on “fixing” its audit problem. But it has done so, Hartung notes, “with no solution in sight.”

The story of the F-35 jet fighter shows how easily U.S. military spending gets out of hand. Back in 2001, when the cost of this aircraft-building program was considered astronomical, the initial estimate was $233 billion. Today, the price tag has more than quadrupled, with estimates ranging from $1.1 trillion to $1.4 trillion, making it the most expensive weapon in human history. The planes reportedly cost $135 million each, and even the pilots’ helmets run $400,000 apiece. Moreover, the planes remain unusable. Although the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Air Force recently declared their versions of the F-35 combat ready, the Pentagon’s top testing official blasted that assertion in a 16-page memo, deriding them as thoroughly unsuitable for combat. The planes, he reported, had “outstanding performance deficiencies.” His assessment was reinforced in mid-September 2016, when the Air Force grounded 10 of its first F-35 fighters due to problems with their cooling lines.

U.S. wars, of course, are particularly expensive, as they require the deployment of large military forces and hardware to far-flung places, chew up very costly military equipment, and necessitate veterans’ benefits for the survivors. Taking these and other factors into account, a recent study at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs put the cost to U.S. taxpayers of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at nearly $5 trillion thus far. According to the report’s author, Neta Crawford, this figure is “so large as to be almost incomprehensible.”

Even without war, another military expense is likely to create a U.S. budgetary crisis over the course of the next 30 years: $1 trillion for the rebuilding of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, plus the construction of new nuclear missiles, nuclear submarines, and nuclear-armed aircraft. Aside from the vast cost, an obvious problem with this expenditure is that these weapons will either never be used or, if they are used, will destroy the world.

Wasted money, wasted lives, or maybe both. That’s the promise of increased military spending.

Dr. Lawrence Wittner, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is a satirical novel about university corporatization and rebellion, What’s Going On at UAardvark?

Loyalton City Council 9/28/16

The seven candidates for the Loyalton City Council are seated below at a Candidates Night in Loyalton. Carla Wells works for the Senior Center, Jason Van Daam, father of three, Nancy Rogers a proprietor of a saw shop, Brooks Mitchell, retired teacher, former Sierra County Supervisor and current Council member, Genelle Wentz a manager at Leonard’s Store and Kristin Gallegos, daughter of former County Supervisor Lenny Gallegos. The city council is going to have a rough year ahead of them facing a dismal shortfall and unpaid CalPers benefits to the State. It is possible I am wrong about all of the above, however you can find out the real facts by reading this weeks issue of The Mountain Messenger. Don Russell actually went to the Candidates night and the City Council meetings and has much more interesting information.

9/28/16 Seven candidates are running for the Loyalton City Council.

9/28/16 Seven candidates are running for the Loyalton City Council. Photo by Sierra Booster

Environmental Abuse TNF 9/28/16

greenhorn-creekEnvironmental Abuse of Greenhorn Creek Prompts Stronger Enforcement

The Tahoe National Forest (NF) is implementing the next phase of its strategy to address the environmental damage to the Greenhorn Creek area on the Yuba River Ranger District; enforcement through ticketing.

Identified in 2008 as an area of concern due to the public’s use and misuse, the Forest Service had identified the area and began to actively engage the local community and forest visitors in educating them on why there was a need to address the environmental impacts occurring.

According to Yuba River District Ranger Karen Hayden, an Environmental Impact Statement that was part of the 2010 Forest Motorized Travel Management analysis showed the foothill yellow-legged frog living in Greenhorn Creek and the surrounding area. The species is currently listed as a Forest Service Sensitive Species and California Species of Special Concern. Based on the 2010 environmental analysis, the concern for impacts to sensitive species, and preserving the water quality, a decision was made to close the area to motor vehicles.

In 2014, the Forest published its Motor Vehicle Use Maps, which clearly established Greenhorn Creek area as a non-motorized vehicle use area. However, the use of the Buckeye Road crossing was permitted.

However, efforts to educate the public have not proved effective. It seems to have had little impact on the activities that still occur there. Tahoe NF Off-Highway Vehicles Use

Program Manager Joe Chavez pointed out, “The amount of trash still showing up is disheartening. Burned and abandoned vehicles and trailers, discarded household appliances used for target practice, abandoned campfires, litter, garbage, and recyclables are still a problem.”

The next phase is enforcement.

Law Enforcement and Forest Protection Officers have increased surveillance and patrolling. “We want the public to know that in order to protect natural resources, the Forest Service will not hesitate to issue tickets to violators,” stated Hayden.

Hayden said the public is still welcome to recreate in the area. “They can park within the Buckeye Road crossing area defined by the arrangement of boulders,” she said

On the Shelf 9/28/16

on-the-shelfIssue 2016 – 12
Online Opportunities at the Library
The Plumas County Library (of which the Downieville Library is a station, along with the libraries in Alleghany, Loyalton, and Sierra City) provides some online services free to its patrons. In order to access these services, all you need is a library card, which, if you have a local address in Sierra County, can be obtained at one of the library stations. Here’s what’s available (through Plumas County Library’s website: http://plumascounty.us/index.aspx?nid=546):

Zinio: access to digital magazines, with availability on Mac’s, PC’s, and mobile devices. The above weblink will bring you to the library’s online services page. Click on “Zinio”, which will open up a new window. Click on “Create New Account” at the top right of the page, and a small window will open that will ask for your library card number (this is why you need to get a library card first). Follow the instructions, and soon you will have established an account with your e-mail address and password. You are now in business; so, back on the Zinio page, click on the “Browse Magazines” button, and the whole selection of available online magazines will open up to you. You can search by the magazine title, or by genres, which now include: architecture; art & photo; automotive; boating & aviation; bridal; business & finance; children; computers & technology; crafts; computers & technology; crafts; current affairs; cycling; entertainment; family & parenting; food & cooking; games; health & fitness; hobbies; home & garden; lifestyle; literary; men; motorcycles; music; off-road; outdoor; pets & animals; religion & spirituality; science & nature; sports; teen; travel; women. There are two ways to read the magazines: (1) check out magazines and read them instantly on your desktop or mobile browser; or, (2) check out and download magazines through mobile apps. You can also sign up for weekly e-mail reminders about your favorite magazines. There is no limit to the number of magazines you can check out, and you can keep them in your account as long as you wish (no “return” date).

Overdrive: access e-books and/or audiobooks onto your desktop computer, laptop, or mobile device. Again, using the above weblink to Plumas County Library’s online services, click on “Overdrive”, which will open up a new window, entitled “Library to Go”. Clicking on the “Sign In” button at the upper right of the page will open up a window, where you will be asked to type in the library’s name (Plumas County Library). This, in turn, will open up a box asking for your library card number (remember, this is why you came to the library to get a card in the first place), after which you click on the “Sign In” button. Now the various e-books and audiobooks are open to you. You can request by book title, or you search among the available categories: all fiction; all nonfiction; biography & autobiography; business & careers; literature; mystery & thriller; romance; science fiction & fantasy. In addition, under Juvenile & Teen e-books and audiobooks are found these categories: all juvenile fiction; all juvenile nonfiction; all teen fiction; all teen nonfiction. You can borrow up to four titles at a time, with the lending period varying from title to title. You can also place four title on hold at a time, and will receive an e-mail notification when those titles become available (you then have four days to borrow the title, before the hold is cancelled). Furthermore, it is possible to renew a title, when the lending period has expired.

Zip book request: readers of this column will know that books, not currently present in the Downieville Library, can be requested through the Plumas County Library system. However, sometimes books are not available there, either. If that is the case, there is another way that books can be found, using the Zip book request system. Let your local library know of the book that you wish to read. The librarian will send a Zip request, which will result in the book being purchased, and sent directly to your mailing address. (Please let the Downieville Library know when it arrives.) When you have finished reading the book, you bring it to the library, and it will be sent on to the Plumas County Library for cataloging and adding to its collection. (We’ve already done this at least once, so we know that the system works).

Book Share Review Group
A reminder: the next gathering of the Book Share & Review Group will take place at the Downieville Library on Tuesday, October 25, 1:00 PM. Come and share what you’ve been reading — or just come to listen to what others have read. Either way, you will be most welcome!

Carol’s Movie Too 9/28/16

poster227x227After a long and explosive life in munitions, involving a number of the seminal moments and phenomena of the 20th century, including the Spanish Civil War, the Atomic Bomb, and Cold War espionage, Allan Karlsson finds himself – on his 100th birthday – stuck in a tranquil Swedish nursing home. Determined to escape the monotony, he hops out a window and kicks off a hilarious and unexpected comic-adventure by way of a stolen briefcase, a roughneck biker gang, and an escaped circus elephant named Sonya. Adapted from the runaway international best-seller, THE 100-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED is a charming, globe-trotting riff on world history and the highest-grossing Swedish film

Finger on the Button 9/28/16

Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin

Whose Finger? On What Button?  – by Kevin Martin

Through a combination of denial, lack of empathy, fear-mongering, security jargon and political dysfunction, the question of what to do about nuclear weapons, which threaten all life on Earth, is one few Americans wrestle with very often. Nor do most voters consider it a top priority in their decisions at the ballot box.

In this election, however, Donald Trump’s lack of government experience, disdain for concrete policy positions and flippant manner have many questioning whether he can be trusted with this finger on the nuclear button. Trump himself has fed these concerns, as reportedly he asked, three times, during a private high-level briefing on nuclear weapons policy why a president can’t use nukes.

I don’t want Mr. Trump’s finger on the nuclear trigger. Nor do I want Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein or anyone else (including the leaders of the eight other nuclear weapons states) to have the power to unilaterally decide the fate of life on our planet by “pushing the nuclear button” (there’s no button or trigger, it’s a clumsy metaphor but works well enough to be widely understood).

Put aside momentarily the specter of rendering the planet a smoldering, radioactive sarcophagus where any few remaining humans would envy the dead, or the vanquishing of most other plant and animal species that had no say in their destruction. Even a “limited” nuclear war, employing the relatively small arsenals of India and Pakistan in a regional conflagration, could cause global famine on top of the deaths of hundreds of millions of innocent people.

How is it acceptable or legitimate for anyone to have the power to decide whether our civilization continues, or whether other species survive? We shouldn’t trust anyone with this power. Human beings are far too fallible.

Unfortunately we have ceded too much power to alleged experts. The mumbo jumbo jargon of the Dr. Strangeloves in the Pentagon, National Nuclear Security Agency, nuclear laboratories and weapons contractors – “deterrence,” “stability,” “security” and the like, obfuscates reality and intentionally disempowers the populace, though they work for us. Our taxes pay their salaries.

Take “deterrence,” a very serious sounding and widely accepted term. What it really means is “basing your country’s security on the threat to incinerate tens or hundreds of millions of women, children and men who live in another country and who never did anything to us.” Does that sound like a good way to provide for a country’s “security?” Especially when other countries have a similar “monkey see, monkey do” (with apologies to monkeys, who aren’t so foolish) posture, and thus base their “security” on the threat of incinerating the United States?

There have been far too many close calls, detailed most recently by author Eric Schlosser in a forthcoming documentary Command and Control and his 2013 book of the same title, where mistaken readings of tense political situations or technological glitches nearly led to catastrophe.

Perhaps the scariest event occurred 33 years ago this month. On September 26, 1983, Stanislov Petrov, a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Forces correctly (and under what must have been immense pressure) determined a report that five U.S. nuclear missiles were heading toward the Soviet Union was a false alarm, thus staving off a Soviet “launch on warning” attack on the U.S. Appropriately, a 2014 film about Petrov is called The Man Who Saved the World.

While Petrov deserves credit for sparing humanity, we should take no comfort that this and other incidents that could have led to calamity were averted, often by luck more than anything else, especially since the U.S. and Russia still have thousands of warheads on hair-trigger alert. Compounding the problem, the U.S. plans to spend about one trillion dollars over the next 30 years on overhauling our entire nuclear weapons complex. Predictably, every other nuclear state has followed suit in announcing similar plans.

Harvard University Professor Elaine Scarry, in her 2014 book Thermonuclear Monarchy, poses a simple challenge, namely that vesting one person (in the United States, the president) with decision-making authority to launch a nuclear attack that would likely end life as we know it completely subverts our nominal democracy.

The obvious solution – let’s be democratic about this. Take the nuclear trigger away from everyone. Eliminate nuclear weapons worldwide, as the vast majority of the world’s people favor (76% worldwide, 77% in the U.S., according to a 2008 WorldPublicOpinion.org poll conducted in 21 countries). Perhaps Trump, with his unorthodox campaign, has provided an unwitting service, a wake-up call to end the illegitimate, unearned trust we give our presidents, prime ministers and potentates with respect to nuclear weapons.

Kevin Martin, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Executive Director of Peace Action, the country’s largest grassroots peace and disarmament organization with more than 200,000 supporters nationwide.

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