Mountain Messenger (surprise) 8/31/16

Jill sent me this  — “Don is in another state ( no, not of mind) this week. He flew the California coop to Detroit to visit Mommy Dearest, leaving poor little Jill at the helm, and poor, poor Gayle to suffer at the hands of that evil Milly.  Jill is thinking about throwing Don a surprise party, upon his return. That would guarantee her unemployment from the Messenger. Gayle can be Jill, Milly can be Liz. Now if she could only come up with a celebratory occasion… His birthday was in May, Christmas isn’t to be used on Don, his anniversary was used already. Bosses Day? Nah. Grumpy asshat boss day? Hmmm Or Don and Irene’s anniversary?”

I know that Don just loved the previous 50 years at the Mess celebration in 2014 (see photo below) so giving him a surprise party is one of the best ways to make him love everyone… anybody got any ideas of what we can celebrate about Don? Call Milly at 530 289-3632 or email yesdearyousuck@yahoo.com.

(BTW) – The winner of a free lunch with Don Russell was Larry Allen, who is excited about the opportunity to finally meet Don Russell in person.

Don Russell was super excited about his 50 years at the Mess surprise celebration in 2014..

8/31/16 Don Russell was super excited about his 50 years at the Mess surprise celebration in 2014.. Kathy Whitlow, a little fearful, avoids contact..

messenger subcribe 2016Send anything you need published to 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 Milly). 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…..

Wednesday August 31, 2016

Labor Day Weekend is here and so the end of summer pretty much ends in Downieville. But first have some fun in Downieville on Saturday Sept  at the first Yuba River Rib Cook-off on Main St, vendors and the great Parking Lot Sale next to the Post Office and then we will have the Labor Day Street Dance in the evening featuring Undercover  playing from 7 to 11 p.m

Sunday afternoon will be a fun time for all at the Kentucky Mine Amphitheater in Sierra City. Visit the Museum, have a tasty BBQ catered by Red Moose Cafe  at 1:30 and then enjoy the final summer concert “An Acoustic Afternoon” featuring three groups that  will certainly perform music that will satisfy one’s soul. at the Amphitheater beginning at 3:30 p.m.

That means the Fall events are starting to line up. First onboard is the  Downieville Antique Bottles & Collectibles Show Saturday September 10th  at the Downieville School Gym, One Day Show. 8:00 am – 10:00 am, Early Lookers for $10, Free admission begins at 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, .http://www.westernbitters.com

A congratulations to Nobel Grand Humbug 2016-2017 Phil Smith of Major William Downie Chapter #1849 ECV, and thanks to all the Clampers who left the town pretty spotless, we appreciate those efforts.

A couple weeks ago someone wrote and suggested I “keep my opinions to myself” and actually I’ve been trying to come up with some new opinion other than reminding readers what a dork Trump is, but don’t want to keep beating the same old horse to death, well I don’t want to beat any animal to death, that’s why I’m a vegetarian… I do eat fish, but have been questioning why I think it is okay to eat fish, I mean they have a right to life too. I do have an opinions on Climate Change… it is changing rapidly, both naturally and accelerated because of us. We are getting rid of most species (we being humans) and anything else on earth we can use up (read DeVita this week).

Just a thought here but today a fly joined my trash in the car in Downieville as I went to Ramshorn Transfer Station, it didn’t leave the car until I realized it was still onboard between Ramshorn and Goodyears Bar and I opened the window the fly was on and it was whipped outside in the wind…. which led me to wonder… here this fly went from my front porch environment in the center of town to a wilderness area with no houses around and what would this fly be thinking… like “how did I get here? was I just a victim of an alien abduction?” I often have deep thoughts while driving in the car to the Dump and back.

So there is lots of local news and information about what is going on this Labor Day weekend, photos and our regular writers are here Carrie’s Corner, Dianne Ponders, DeVita Writes, our guest editorials are by Rivera Sun, Lawrence Wittner and Andrew Moss, some new thoughts on the world, wars and elections.

The photo this week was taken by Don Yegge and is a wonderful demonstration on how to grow a Rock Garden if the rocks aren’t the priority.

Lawton & Tara Engaged ! 8/31/16

tara and lawton

Tom and Miriam Dines of Sierra City, California are happy to announce the engagement of their daughter, Tara Dines, to Lawton Lesueur, son of Lance and Bernice Lesueur of Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Tara Dines & Lawton Lesueur

Tara Dines & Lawton Lesueur

Tara is a graduate of the University of Nevada College of Health Science, and will complete a Doctorate in  Physical Therapy at Pacific University, Hillsboro, Oregon in May, 2017.
Lawton served as a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, and is a graduate of the University of Nevada College of Business. Lawton manages Clark’s Insurance in Grants Pass, Oregon.
A fall 2017 wedding will be planned.

End Endless Wars 8/31/16

Rivera Sun

Rivera Sun

The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?

by Rivera Sun

“You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake,” said Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress.

Decades of invasions, airstrikes, occupations, and conflict have left Americans staring at a disastrous rubble of our own making. War is an earthquake – a violent, destructive force unleashed. The aftershocks bring our veterans and communities to their knees as 20 veterans commit suicide each day, and PTSD cripples veterans and their families. Our tax dollars are sucked into the bottomless pit of military contractors’ pockets and we witness greedy oligarchs and politicians manipulating the nation into yet another war while the unhealed scars and wounds from past conflicts grow increasingly deeper.

The annual cycle of military holidays sets off flurries of sentimental speeches about supporting our troops. But, between the bouts of patriotic fanfare, few politicians care enough about those women and men in uniform to end the wars and bring them home, to de-escalate growing conflicts, or to demonstrate real commitment to dealing with the veterans with respect by providing adequate services, preventing homelessness, and treating PTSD and other health challenges.

In this election cycle, the citizens – left and right – need to question the militarized rhetoric of the candidates. Who is campaigning on “bringing American sons and daughters home?” Which candidates want to end wars? Who dares to stand up to the greed of the military industrial complex and call out warmongers who are just hungry for a new multibillion-dollar military contract? Blood money. Which candidates will defy the profiteering racket that takes our nation’s youth and sends them into the jaws of death in order to rake in trillions of our tax dollars that should have been spent on education and infrastructure—both of which produce far more good jobs per $billion spent than the military sector?

Who challenges inflammatory lies that drive us into conflicts around the globe? Who will publicly say that hate speech is endangering – not saving – our young people? Our men and women in the military know firsthand the vast difference between the lies and propaganda we are told versus the realities on the ground in the countries our troops are fighting in.

Which candidates will decry the rising militarism of our society, and especially in our police? Many of our veterans are deeply disturbed by these trends. For them, militarized police are a violation of the ethics they were taught. To view citizens as “potential enemy combatants” – as many police trainings currently teach – is an affront to the deep principles of loyalty and protection they believe in. Seeing tanks and assault rifles on the streets at home triggers PTSD, invokes the horrors of what they experienced, and makes them wonder what were they fighting for if war is now a reality in our streets, waged by our own police forces against our own citizens. The very freedoms they were trained to defend are constantly being violated by the actions of the police – as well as by the NSA, by legislation passed by politicians, and by the failure of corporate-controlled courts to uphold the rights of citizens.

This election cycle, pay attention to which candidates speak about ending wars, not escalating them and about smarter ways to ensure our security. Who stands up for the rights of all citizens, equally? Congressional seats are up in the air this election cycle. Beyond the presidential race, who embodies the values we wish to see put into legislation in our nation? These are the questions we need to ask as we rapidly approach Election Day. These are the questions that determine whether politicians will continue to send our young men and women into endless wars . . . or whether politicians will find the backbone to honor our troops by respecting – and radically reducing – the role militarism is expected to play within the broader context of our nation.

Author/Activist Rivera Sun, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection and other books, and the Programs Coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence.

Calpine & Sierra Valley BBQ 8/31/16

Summer is winding down, and so are we ! Time for our “last BBQ of the year”, on Sunday, Sept. 4th….our Labor Day BBQ !!
For those of you who have never been to one of out POT LUCK BBQ and ‘TOSS FOR OUR TROOPS” horse shoe tournament, here is how it goes : Festivities start at 11am., with sign-ups for the horse shoe tournament ($10…half to our troops, and half paying the first 3 places)…We need those of you interested in entering the tournament, need to be signed in no later than 12:15, at which time we “draw for partners”…its a double elimination tournament, which will start at approx. 12:30. Games go to 15 points, or 15 minutes, which ever comes first, except for the championship game, which will go to 21, and no time limit. Ringers are 3 pts., ‘leaners’ -1 pt. Any shoe that bounces off of front metal or any wall is ‘dead’…Its a fun tournament and you meet a lot on new friends !
We will also have a 50/50 drawing for our Republican Central Committee, plus raffle prizes that raise more money for our troops. Our Gold Nugget Republican Women sponsor the tournament and so far, we have raised thousands to help purchase those “track chairs” that are so great for our handy capped veterans, which we thank all of you who have supported this effort for so many years !
Like I said, the is a “pot luck”, we supply the burgers, dogs, and chicken strips….YOU…bring your favorite dish: salad, desert, snacks, side dishes, etc. and YOUR OWN DRINKS !! No need to bring chairs, as we have plenty. And most of all…… NO DOGS !!! Our 3 cats just don’t like them !
Need directions ? Call: 530-993-1182
Thanks, looking forward to seeing all of you, and, how could I forget……we DANCE ! Lots of games for the kiddo’s..bring the whole family and friends…Annie and Craig

Glaring Contrast 8/31/16

Lawrence Wittner

Lawrence Wittner

Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?

By Lawrence S. Wittner

Shortly after the Democratic Party’s platform committee concluded its deliberations this July, Bernie Sanders announced: “Thanks to the millions of people across the country who got involved in the political process . . . we now have the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party.”

Although the Sanders forces didn’t obtain all they wanted in their negotiations with the Clinton campaign, they did secure an avant garde platform. It calls for: a $15 per hour federal minimum wage; debt-free college education (including free tuition at public colleges for families with incomes under $125,000 per year); paid family leave; major financial reforms (including a financial transactions tax and revival of the Glass-Steagall Act); opposition to the TPP in all but name; a pathway toward marijuana legalization; defense of women’s and LGBTQ rights; expansion of Social Security; and the reversal of the Citizens United decision. In the area of criminal justice, it backs abolition of the death penalty, a shutdown of private prisons, and an end to racial profiling. The platform also supports important measures to fight climate change, including placing a price on carbon and empowering state and local governments to ban fracking–provisions strongly backed by leading environmentalists such as Bill McKibben. Furthermore, the platform calls for significant measures to improve public access to healthcare, such as the development of a public option for health insurance, increased funding for community health centers, and the ability to buy into Medicare after age 55.

When compared to the New Deal platforms of the Democratic Party in 1932 and 1936 or to the party’s later reformist platforms, such as that of 1964, the 2016 platform does, indeed, champion a more progressive domestic policy. When its provisions are set alongside the reactionary Republican Party platform of 2016, there could hardly be a more glaring contrast.

But what about foreign and military policy? Despite the fact that the rival Green Party has denounced the Democratic Party as a “party of war” and Hillary Clinton as a “warmonger,” the platform actually promises to “promote peace.” Although far from pacifist, it nevertheless states that “diplomacy and development” will be “especially” drawn upon “to confront global threats and ensure war is the last resort.” Along these lines, the platform supports continuing the Iran nuclear agreement, strengthening the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Discussing the struggle against ISIS, it opposes “large-scale combat deployment of American troops.” Even though the platform does not explicitly call for cuts in U.S. military spending, there are numerous statements suggesting action along those lines, such as promises to “end the waste in the defense budget,” “rid the military of outdated Cold War [weapons] systems,” “audit the Pentagon,” and “launch a high-level commission to review the role of defense contractors.” In addition, the platform calls for “further arms control measures” and, perhaps most tellingly (in light of the Obama administration’s vast nuclear weapons “modernization” plan), opposes “expansion of existing nuclear weapons programs,” adding: “To this end, we will work to reduce excessive spending on nuclear weapons-related programs that are projected to cost $1 trillion over the next 30 years.”

In short, although the Democratic Party platform is not noticeably more daring than past Democratic platforms on foreign and military policy issues, it is not particularly warlike, either. And when compared to the hawkish platform of the Republican Party and its candidate, Donald Trump―who has blithely proclaimed “I love war” and promised the substantial military buildup and action to facilitate it―the Democrats’ supposedly “warmongering” platform seems downright dovish.

A variety of leftists have either ignored the Democratic platform or disparaged it as of no consequence, arguing the Democrats will simply abandon their promises after the presidential election. But, even if this turns out to be true, which is far from certain, a political platform, like a union-negotiated contract or an international treaty, provides a written agreement―a set of standards with which progressive forces can demand compliance. As such, it can serve as an important basis for future political mobilization, in the streets and in electoral politics.

Bernie Sanders, who, for a politician, ran an unusually policy-oriented presidential campaign, was determined to make the Democratic Party’s platform reflect the progressive issues he raised. And, when the platform was finally drafted, he was remarkably successful, particularly within the realm of domestic policy but also, to some degree, in the realm of foreign and military policy. Progressives shouldn’t throw away the opportunity to publicize it and to demand its implementation.

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?

Suzi & the Bike 8/31/16

Former Downieville Schools Student, School Secretary, still the daughter of David & Carol Marshall, wife of Brandon Pangman, mother of Tanner and Mason, owner of Liz Fisher's bike and dog transporter Suzi Marshall.

8/31/16 Former Downieville Schools Student, Basketball MVP, School Secretary, still the daughter of David & Carol Marshall, wife of Brandon Pangman, mother of Tanner and Mason, current owner of Liz Fisher’s bike and dog transporter Suzi Marshall smiles for the paparazzi.

 

Dianne Ponders Parks 8/31/16

Dianne Severance

Dianne Severance

This year is the 100th anniversary of the establishment of national parks. Many of them are still pristine in beauty and a true gift to the people.

Others, however, are falling into disrepair because Congress does not allocate enough funds to keep trails open and address other maintenance problems.

The Republicans now are proposing that some of the national parks be sold off for private development. Proponents of this plan say it will address housing shortages across the country.

Baloney!

The only ones who will benefit from converting national parks into private areas are the megadevelopers, i.e., Donald Trump and his ilk.

The parks are our heritage. We the people are the owners of the parks. We support them by paying our taxes and visiting the parks, and paying whatever fees are charged to camp overnight or for a longer period.

Not surprisingly, Yosemite National Park in California took the top honor for waterfalls, with 25 percent of survey respondents picking it as their favorite. Waterfalls are a major tourist attraction at this iconic park, for good reason. Yosemite Valley’s high granite walls offer dramatic settings for falling water, and the copious snowmelt creates rushing cascades throughout the park in spring. Visitors can easily drive or take short hikes to reach some of these falls, including Sentinel Falls, Ribbon Fall, Bridalveil Falls, Vernal Falls and Yosemite Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in North America.

Many other parks have their own beauty… Yellowstone for its Old Faithful, Grand Canyon in Arizona and every other national park in the U.S. for its unique attractions.

We cannot afford to let developers like Trump, and Congress, take away our national heritage. People need to know there is a place of beauty to go to, even if it’s only a once-in-a-lifteime event. I had the privilege of seeing Acadia National Park in Maine several years ago. The seascape was amazing and refreshed my very soul.

We can only pray that many of us write or contact our representatives in Congress and tell them that to privatize the parks would be stealing from the people of America.

On The Shelf 8/31/16

on-the-shelfIssue 2016 – 11   July 29, 2016
Book Reviews
The Book Share & Review Group met at the library on Tuesday, August 23. Here are the books that were shared and reviewed:
The Spell of the Sensuous, by David Abram: the author draws on sources as diverse as the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, Balinese shamanism, Apache storytelling, and his own experience as an accomplished sleight-of-hand magician to reveal the subtle dependence of human cognition on the natural environment. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison, by Nell Bernstein: one in three U.S. children will be arrested by the time they are twenty-three, and many of them will spend time locked inside one of the horrific detention centers that are the total opposite of everything we know about how to rehabilitate young offenders. In this well-researched book, the author shows that there is no right way to lock up a child — and calls for ending the system now in place. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks: in this historical fiction novel, the author, who won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her book, March, draws upon the true-life story of the English village of Eyam, which, when beset upon by the plague in 1666, quarantined itself to prevent the disease from spreading further. In her fictional village, the story revolves around a housemaid named Anna Frith, on what she lived through when the plague struck her village, and on devastation that visits the life of the village and its villagers. (On the shelf at the Downieville Library.)
Hidden Buddhas, by Liza Dalby: according to Buddhist theology, the world is suffering through a final corrupt era called “mappo”. As mappo continues, chaos will increase until, finally, the world will end. In Japan, many believe that Miroku, Buddha of the Future, will then appear and bring about a new age of enlightenment. In her novel, the author describes how hundreds of temples in Japan keep mysterious hidden buddhas secreted away, except of rare viewing days. They are hidden because their power lies in their hiddenness; thus, they must be protected. That attempt at protection provides the basis on the story. (On the shelf at the Downieville Library.)
The Madonnas of Leningrad, by Debra Dean: Marina is a docent at the State Hermitage Museum during the 900-day siege of Leningrad by the German army during WWII. Her clear and detailed recollections of the Hermitage collection and of the war are interspersed in this novel with her current-day Alzheimer’s-impaired life in Seattle, Washington. Thus, the book compares and contrasts the daily struggles of an Alzheimer’s victim with art history and the history of WWII’s Eastern Front. (On the shelf at the Downieville Library.)
Moths, Myths, and Mosquitoes: The Eccentric Life of Harrison G. Dyar, Jr., by Marc J. Epstein: Harrison Dyar, one of the most influential biologists of the 20th century, focus his entomological career on building natural classifications of various groups of insects. However, his scientific accomplishments are a mere component of his remarkable biography, which included tunneling an entire labyrinth beneath our nation’s capital city. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
The Kitchen House, Kathleen Grissom: a work of fiction, the book is set in 1791 Virginia. Lavinia, a 7-year-old Irish orphan is set to work in the kitchen of a wealthy plantation owner, and is absorbed into the life of the kitchen house and becomes part of the family of black slaves whose fates are tied to the plantation. As she grows older, she will be torn between the life that awaits her as a white woman and the people she knows as kin. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
Neuro Tribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, by Steve Silberman: the author, a reporter for Wired, unearths the secret history of autism, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent years. Additionally, he maps out a path towards a more humane world in which people with learning differences have access to the resources they need to live happier and more meaningful lives. (Not currently in the Downieville Library.)
The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy, by Barbara Vine: when her “perfect” father dies, the daughter sets out to write a memoir of his life, only to discover that he was not who he appeared to be, at all. In this mystery novel, truths and falsehoods are convincingly interwoven, that the solution comes as a complete shock. (On the shelf at the Downieville Library.)

The next gathering of the Book Share & Review Group is Tuesday, October 25, 1:00 PM at the library.

Really Behind Election 8/31/16

Andrew Moss

Andrew Moss

What’s Really Behind the Election – by Andrew Moss

You don’t have to be a poet to breathe new possibilities into an old, familiar metaphor. Recently, for example, author and New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman took a well-worn metaphor – the “web” – and reworked it in such a way as to recast the terms of the current presidential campaigns. His take is both provocative and wrong.

In a Times column entitled, “Web People vs. Wall People” (July 27), Friedman declared that the election isn’t so much about Democrats and Republicans as it is about a struggle between what he calls “web people” and “wall people.” The wall people, Friedman argued, seek shelter from the winds of change: from new technologies that continue to replace jobs; from cultural changes brought by new immigrants settling into old neighborhoods; and from continued threats of violence echoing from terrorist attacks around the world. Seeking a sense of stability and community, they turn to a candidate like Donald Trump, who promises them barriers and walls that can shield them from change.

By contrast, “web people” embrace change and the ongoing learning necessary to flourish in a rapidly transforming world. Threatened neither by immigration nor by the kind of “open society” that is propelled by “capitalism, free markets, and open trade,” web people have the potential to help a President Hillary Clinton usher in a vibrant future.

By offering this interpretation of the current presidential contest, Friedman also presented an updated and upbeat picture of the American dream – a picture of the qualities and fearless attitudes that will help individuals succeed in a rapidly changing world. The problem, though, is that the picture doesn’t accord with the facts on the ground.

Consider, for example, an entity that can hardly be ignored in any discussion of global capitalism: Walmart. With its 1.5 million U.S. employees and 2.3 million employees worldwide, Walmart is the largest private employer in this country, and one of the largest employers in the world. It’s 11,500 stores and its e-commerce in 11 countries earned the company $482.1 billion in total revenues this year, and it commands a global production chain that manufactures billions of dollars of merchandise, particularly clothing and fashion items, through its relations with factories in such countries as Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, and Indonesia. If any company is web-like in its massive global reach, it is Walmart. But the company hardly presents a picture of an “open system.”

Recently the company raised its minimum wage in the U.S., so that part-time workers make an average of $10.58 per hour, up from from $9.48 last year. This raise came on the heels of widespread press coverage of Walmart employees receiving food stamps and other forms of government assistance in order to get by. High employee turnover, as well as pressure from political leaders and activist groups, were probably other significant factors that pushed against corporate foot-dragging. Yet even with the raise, thousands of part-time Walmart employees still struggle to get sufficient hours to pay their bills, and the new Walmart minimum scarcely comes close to the $15 an hour target seen by many as a living wage baseline today.

Walmart’s presence on the international stage is hardly more benign. With its power to shift production from one supplier to another in various countries, Walmart can drive prices and wages down without bearing direct responsibility as the employer of record. In Cambodia, for example, the Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA), an umbrella organization representing a broad coalition of trade unions and human rights organizations, reported that workers in factories supplying Walmart and other brands were being compensated at levels significantly below what constituted a living wage, i.e. a wage needed to sustain themselves and their families with the essentials of life. When Cambodian workers appealed directly to Walmart for higher wages, those appeals went unheeded, and a strike for a higher minimum wage was violently suppressed by the Cambodian government.

These facts throw into sharp relief the wealth of the Walton family, who collectively own about half the stock of the company. Their wealth amounts to $130 billion, according to Forbes, and the vast disparity evokes more the world of Dickens’ Oliver Twist than it does Friedman’s utopian vision. Some might argue that Walmart’s corporate behavior makes it an exception, albeit a massive one, to Friedman’s argument. But no matter how benign or exploitative a company may be, the evidence still points to ever-growing inequalities at both the national and global levels. We are looking at a rigged, rather than open, system.

Thomas L. Friedman may have picked an appropriate metaphor to express the global challenges facing us. But his idea about a conflict between “web people” and “wall people” simply doesn’t square with the facts. The real struggle is for dignity and rights: for democratic values and for human rights in the workplace and in civil society. This is the struggle that underlies the current election, and this is the struggle that will continue long after the last ballots are counted in November.

Andrew Moss, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is an emeritus professor at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he taught a course, “War and Peace in Literature,” for 10 years.

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