Wednesday December 28, 2016

NEWSFLASH FROM CAROL – I saw Sally at the dump today. She said they are open Saturday, CLOSED SUNDAY. Not open Monday, as they were this week. Thought you may want to post this info.

Golly Gee, Gosh, this is the last issue of 2016, next week will be 2017 and the beat goes on…. So if you are thinking about making a donation to a worthy cause before the year end Sierra Frontier Medical Resources, Inc is the non profit working with local emergency medical responders to bring consistent Advanced Life Support (ALS) with an ultimate goal of 24 HR Urgent, Emergency & Primary care back to the west side of Sierra County. Your tax deductible donation would be so appreciated.

Joyce White let us know there is Senior lunch tomorrow (29th) at the Downieville Community Hall and there will be New Years Eve Bingo at the hall on Saturday the 31st. Doors open at 7pm and games start at 8…Bring a snack to share if you want.

More good news, I was told by Rebecca at the Mountain Messenger that subscription prices are not being raised for 2017, so you can start or renew your subscription at the same low price and if you renew for two years you are cinching the deal for longer.

This week we have our usual suspects Carrie’s Corner, On The Shelf, Sheriff”s Log, local and state news our guest columnists John LaForge,  Mel Gurtov,  Cuautli Verastegui, Robert Koehler, Lawrence Wittner,  It has been a rough couple of months to find anything positive to write about politically and I really wish I could be positive about our future. I am worried but somewhere deep down I have believe our system will work that Donald Trump will turn into a good President, that the whole legislative, judicial. and executive branches of governement come together and make sure we don’t drive ourselves off the cliff. I thought about only publishing upbeat stuff this week but you know it doesn’t hurt to think about things and figure out how to work towards a better world than what we have now, as Americans we really do have it good compared to the many other countries, but then there are some countries who have figured out how to prioritize education, health care and living wages for all, we can do that we just need to think a little bigger.

The photo this week came from You know you’re from Sierra County if you remember… Jim Yeoman posted it and although we are not sure who took the photo it was taken in 2013, it could have been this morning that is how cold it is today.

Generous Spirit 12/28/16

WESTERN SIERRA FOOD BANK, INC
P.O. BOX 254
DOWNIEVILLE, CA 95936

December 27, 2016

Dear Editor:

The Western Sierra Food Bank, Inc. volunteers who made –up and delivered 105 food baskets at Christmas time would like to thank all of the people who so generously contributed funds to Western Sierra Food Bank The funds included private donors; people who attended Sierra City’s Holiday Potluck; Sierra City’s Community Church service and Kyle Bosworth, as a Boy Scout project, who set up food collection boxes within the communities.

The generous spirit of all those who gave provided more than funds and food as they also provide a better quality of health and caring to our appreciative community members.

Also, food baskets are available to those in need throughout the year. Please contact Bette Jo or Frank Lang if a need arises. The phone number is: (530) 289-3644.

Sincerely,   Bette Jo Lang, Chairperson

Hurricanes of Hate 12/28/16

Cuautli Verastegui

Standing against the hurricanes of hate – by Cuautli Verastegui

My name is Cuautli Verastegui, and if there’s one aspect of life I understand, it’s conflict; my first name is Nahuatl or Aztec, and my last name is Spanish, representing a history of bloodshed; my mother is a devout Christian, and my father is an Atheist; and, I live in a world where people’s quest for power results in death and suffering.

But I don’t want my name associated with conflict, with killing, with war. I want my name associated with peace. Instead of thinking of the bloodshed amongst the Native Americans and the Spaniards, I want my name associated with the wonderful Latin culture that has flourished from this history, with the fact that love triumphs over everything. Instead of thinking of the fighting amongst my parents’ peoples, I like to think of the four loving children they created. Instead of thinking of how rich, powerful people are corrupt, I want to think about how a simple personal choice can change all of that. I want my name to represent the peace, love, and beauty that can be reached on this earth, even if our pasts are haunted by the opposite.

We’ve all heard this narrative before. We all know that peace is good and that war, violence, and oppression is bad. Because at the end of the day, all everyone wants is to have the right to live life: to smile, to laugh, to be happy, and to enjoy watching our loved ones do the same.

But I’m scared to act. I’m smart enough, white enough, and charismatic enough to live a good life in this deeply flawed nation. However, I’m brown enough to feel the fear this campaign season and election has blown in like a bad wind.

A president-elect who supports deporting 11 million immigrants and dividing two countries by a wall, as a Hispanic, I cannot support that; a president-elect who supports institutionalized racism with stop and frisk; as a minority, I cannot support that; a president who wants to place a ban on Muslim Immigrants, gropes women and only cares about their appearance, does not support LGBTQ rights, the list goes on and on, as a decent citizen, I cannot support those ideas nor the impulses that drive them.

I’m here to tell you that I’ve found courage. This courage comes from deep within. From a source that’s never ending, and its seeds will sprout hope.

When I was four, I lived in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. If you’ve never been there, there’s a lot of dust. Occasionally, huge windstorms would sweep the dust across the city, making it unsafe to breathe outside. But when you’re four you have no consciousness of safety, only your mother does, and she’d keep us playing inside. However, one day I got an idea. What if my older brother Ricky and I didn’t go outside to play, but went outside to stop the sandstorms? It was just like the stories of Moses parting the Red Sea my mother had read to me. The logic was sound to any four-year-old. And so, that’s what my brother and I did. We went outside and yelled at the wind, “Para!” And we did stop the wind that day, it seemed to us. Of course it picked up because it was putting up a good fight. However, when the wind did pick up, we’d simply yell louder, stronger, and somehow more courageously.

Until today, I have never had more courage then when I was four yelling at the wind to stop.

Now, I am sitting in a computer lab—hoping that this story, this message, these words, this idea that I have carried with me for 15 years will transfer to you. Because words can be powerful. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words is an action, even if it is small?

I’m here to tell you that I will begin to hold a sign reading: “An Advertisement For Peace.” This is my way, a small action but only a beginning, to saturate the world with Peace.

The question is, when that moment comes when you know how to contribute to a peaceful change, what will you do? Will your fears overwhelm you? Or will you act?

We can stop this wind. We can find the courage. We will be loud. We will get louder, until our voices are heard, and we are met with actions not simply promises and words.

Cuautli Verastegui, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a university student leader of Students United for Nonviolence.

Cruise with Lou 12/28/16

Celtic Thunder Cruise  will set sail from Miami Florida and cruise to Roatan and Cozumel, Mexico on CARNIVAL SENSATION. Will spend a day in Roatan with Celtic Thunder for a beach party!

Everyone will be able to see two Celtic Thunder Shows, Celtic Thunder solo shows. Some of the guests are Gaelic Rhythm, Sandra O’Hara and the ever-so-funny Ritchie Hayes.

There will be and “day before” hotel in Miami where we can meet all fellow “cruisers”. The hotel will be announced soon. Lots of questions so be patient, details will follow throughout December. No prices have been posted yet.

So, there you go! Mark that calendar, get that passport ready and start packing. We have been on two previous cruises with the boys and had a blast. Don’t be a scrooge, come join the fun!

Lou

Forget “Never Again” 12/28/16

John LaForge

What Part of “Never Again” Does Mr. Trump Not Understand? – by John LaForge

Asked last year whether he would require American Muslims to register in a database Donald Trump said he “would certainly implement that — absolutely.” During a Nov. 16 appearance on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show, former Trump spokesman Carl Higbie said a registry of Muslims would be “legal” and that “We did it during World War II with the Japanese.”

“You’re not suggesting that we go back to Japanese internment camps are you?” Kelly asked. “I’m not proposing that at all,” Higbie said, “But I’m just saying there is precedent for it.” To this Kelly declared: “You can’t be citing Japanese internment camps as precedent for anything the president-elect is going to do.”

But of course he could, because Mr. Trump appears to win support by boastfully saying and doing anything that produces a roar from the mob — crowing about sexual assault, torture, shooting people in the face, bombing civilians, deporting millions — no matter how unlawful, bigoted, sexist, hateful or dishonest it sounds.

The so-called “precedent” includes the bitter irony that many imprisoned Japanese-Americans had sons in the military fighting against fascism in Germany and Italy. Muslim-Americans likewise have thousands of children in the US armed forces. Yet Khizr and Ghazala Kahn, the parents of Humayun Khan–an Army Captain who died in a car bombing in Iraq in 2004–were viciously belittled by Trump, using the same bigotry with which he attacked Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel, absurdly calling him “Mexican.”

News coverage of Higbie’s Muslim registry “precedent” balloon neglected to mention that arresting 3-11 million undocumented immigrants (Trump calls this whole class “Mexicans”) would also require a mass police-state internment program like the WWII crimes visited upon Japanese-Americans. The media also ignored the fact that the US government has officially memorialized an apology for the WWII mass arrests and detentions, and has erected a monumental promise never to do any such a thing again.

“The Lessons Learned Must Remain As A Grave Reminder Of What We Must Not Allow To Happen Again To Any Group.”

The National Japanese American Memorial, in Washington, DC, pledges never to repeat this overtly racist chapter of American history. The national media’s ignorance or omission of this national monument is partly understandable. It’s not noted on any of the DC tour maps I consulted. The memorial is a permanent reminder of the shameful arrest and imprisonment-without-cause of more than 120,000 Japanese-American civilians. What’s more, for a city like Washington, which is crowded with mostly self-congratulatory monuments, the internment memorial is a vanishingly rare, direct and unambiguous admission of wrongdoing by the government.

Inscribed in the memorial’s elegant marble pedestals are President Reagan’s words: “Here We Admit A Wrong. Here We Affirm Our Commitment As A Nation To Equal Justice Under The Law.” Also carved in stone is this pledge from the late Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii: “The Lessons Learned Must Remain As A Grave Reminder Of What We Must Not Allow To Happen Again To Any Group.” In 1988, Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act which apologizes on behalf of the government and declares that the mass arrests were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” This sounds familiar.

In The Underside of American History, historian Roger Daniels writes about early 1942 that: “Racist feelings were intensified by wild rumors of sabotage and espionage, and a variety of groups demanded the expulsion of Japanese-Americans from the West Coast.” The US Army and the War Relocation Authority forces then used house raids to detain and ship 120,313 Japanese-Americans to hastily-built, barbed wire-circled prison camps — many built in the desert.

Today’s advocates of Trump’s “database of Muslim residents” should consult the 1983 federal commission on the mass detentions of World War II. It found there was “no military necessity for the mass imprisonment of the Japanese Americans and that a grave injustice had been done.”

The US started down this road immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, when more than 2,000 people in the country were arrested in secret. The Justice Department refused then to issue a list of names or the number of those incarcerated, arguing that “national security interest” outweighed the public’s right to know. During these secret arrests, US Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., visited the Krome detention center near Miami and found it astonishing that “…the Immigration and Naturalization Service is fixated on detaining and rounding up countless Arab-Americans without any justification.”

But Trump would rather we forget US history, ignore Reagan’s apology, and break Senator Inouye’s promise. Today’s wartime hysteria, fueled by Trump’s baseless accusations against immigrants, helps some ignore our history, especially if it is ugly, and consider repeating it even if we’ve promised “never again.”

John LaForge, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and is co-editor with Arianne Peterson of Nuclear Heartland, Revised: A Guide to the 450 Land-Based Missiles of the United States.

CEO Retirement Inequities 12/28/16

Lawrence Wittner

The Scandal of Vast Inequality in Retirement Pay – by Lawrence Wittner

Cato the Elder, a Roman senator and historian, once remarked: “Cessation of work is not accompanied by cessation of expenses.” For centuries, retirees have been aware of this unfortunate fact, which led them to demand and, in many cases, secure old age pensions to help provide financial security during their “golden years.” But as indicated in a recently-released report by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the financial security of retiring corporate CEOs is far, far greater than the financial security of average Americans.

According to the extensively researched IPS report, A Tale of Two Retirements, 100 corporate CEOs possess company retirement funds totaling $4.7 billion―an amount equivalent to the entire retirement savings of 41 percent of U.S. families (50 million families, including 116 million Americans). The retirement funds of these 100 CEOs are also equivalent to those of 75 percent of Latino families, of 59 percent of African-American families, of 55 percent of female-headed households, and of 44 percent of white working class households.

Indeed, the top 100 CEO nest eggs, if averaged, would generate a $253,088 monthly retirement check to these 100 individuals for the rest of their lives. By contrast, workers who had 401(k) pension plans at the end of 2013 had only enough in these plans to pay them an average monthly benefit of $101. Of course, these were the lucky ones. Among workers 56 to 61 years old, 39 percent had no employer-sponsored retirement plan at all, and would likely depend on Social Security, which pays an average of $1,239 per month, for retirement security.

Of course, these are only averages. When one looks at individuals, the contrasts are even starker. Glenn Renwick, the Progressive Insurance Company’s CEO who retired in 2016, receives a monthly retirement check from his company for $1,035,733. Among Walmart’s 1.5 million employees, fewer than two-thirds have a company-sponsored retirement plan and, if they do, it will pay them, on average, only $131 per month. But Walmart’s CEO, Doug McMillon can expect to receive at least $360,000 per month―more than 2,700 times the amount a typical Walmart worker with a 401(k) account can expect. And there’s also CEO David Cote of Honeywell―a company that has locked out its workers from its factories in Green Island, NY and South Bend, IN for seven months for rejecting a contract that eliminated workers’ pensions―who receives a monthly retirement check from the company for $908,712.

Or take the case of John Hammergreen, CEO of the McKesson corporation, a drug wholesaling giant. A few months after Hammergreen arrived at McKesson in 1996, the company froze its employee pension fund, closing it to workers who came there in 1997. Even so, the company launched a lavish Executive Benefit Retirement Account that enriched Hammergreen’s pension with an average of $22,000 a day for the next 20 years. Thus, today he receives a monthly retirement check from the company for $782,339.

Things were not always like this. From 1946 to 1980, a combination of union action and government policy led to the expansion of pension benefits for American workers. By 1980, 46 percent of private sector workers were covered by defined benefit pensions. But, in the following decades, declining union strength, corporate attacks on pension funds, and government action resulted in a severe erosion of worker retirement security. By 2011, only 18 percent of private sector workers were covered by defined benefit plans.

As demonstrated by the authors of the IPS report, the growth of economic inequality in retirement provisions resulted from rigging things in favor of CEOS through new rules for pensions, taxes, and executive compensation. “Since more than half of compensation is now tied to the company’s stock price,” the authors note, “CEOs have a powerful personal incentive for slashing worker retirement benefits in order to boost the short-term bottom line. Every dollar not spent on employee retiree security is money in the CEO’s pocket.”

Although changes in public policy could close the widening pension gap, such changes do not seem likely to occur while a zealously pro-corporate party controls the White House, Congress, and the courts. Indeed, as the authors point out, thanks to the shielding of enormous CEO income in tax-deferred accounts, Fortune 500 CEOs will see very substantial gains in their retirement checks if President Trump succeeds in implementing his plan to slash the top marginal income tax rate.

It’s possible that, in the long run, the rising tide of retirement insecurity will spark a revolt challenging the severe economic inequality between corporate CEOs and their American workers. Until then, however, it’s tempting to propose updating Jonathan Swift’s eighteenth century satirical suggestion, made in A Modest Proposal, that poverty among the poor might be alleviated by selling their babies as food for the rich. Perhaps, in twenty-first century America, retirement insecurity might be alleviated by selling elderly workers to the corporate rich, who could use them for the burgers sold by their fast food companies.

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?

Havens of Safety 12/28/16

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Urges “Safe Haven” Designation for California’s 10,500 Public Schools

Tom Torlakson

SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today released a letter encouraging all California public schools to be declared “safe havens” for students and their parents and to remind families about existing laws that protect students’ records from questions about immigration status.
“Unfortunately, since the presidential election, reports of bullying, harassment, and intimidation of K-12 students based on immigration status, religious, or ethnic identification are on the rise,” Torlakson said in the letter distributed to county and school district superintendents, charter school administrators, and principals.
“As State Superintendent of Public Instruction, safety is my top priority. And my strongest commitment to you, your students, and their families is that schools remain safe places to learn. California serves more than 6.2 million kindergarten through twelfth grade students with the most diverse population in the nation.”
The letter encourages all parents and guardians to fully participate in their school communities. Engaged parents play a key role in helping students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college, Torlakson said.
The California Department of Education (CDE) will continue to provide local educational agencies (LEAs) with guidelines about existing laws that protect student records, including the 1984 Plyler v. Doe U.S. Supreme Court decision that requires schools to enroll all eligible children regardless of immigration status.
Schools must verify a student’s age and residency, but they have extensive flexibility in what documents are used and do not need to use pertaining to immigration status. No records can be released to law enforcement without a parent’s written permission, a court order, or subpoena. Schools should not collect or maintain any documents pertaining to immigration status, Torlakson said.
Some California schools districts, including the Los Angeles Unified School District and Sacramento City Unified School District, have declared themselves safe havens and let their communities know they will maintain a welcoming environment for all students and parents.
The full letter is available on the California Department of Education (CDE) Public Schools Remain Safe Havens

The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit the California Department of Education’s Web site 

CA Democrat Delegates 12/28/16

CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATS INVITED TO SELECT DELEGATES TO STATE CONVENTION

SACRAMENTO – All California Democrats are invited to elect delegates to guide the California Democratic Party! Whether you want change in the CDP or appreciate the way the CDP operates now, this is your opportunity to make your voice heard.

The California Democratic Party is convening Assembly District Meetings (ADEM) to select delegates in each of the state’s 80 Assembly Districts on Saturday January 7 or Sunday January 8, 2017.

The Assembly District 1 election will be held on January 7 starting at 12:30 at the Off Center Stage theater, 315 Richardson St, in Grass Valley and at the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local, 900 Locust St, in Redding. Two simultaneous elections are scheduled due to weather considerations and to encourage participation in our very large district which includes Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Sierra, Shasta, Siskiyou and portions of Butte and Placer Counties.

The Assembly District Election Meeting (ADEM) delegates are roughly one-third of the governing body of the California Democratic Party which is also known as the Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC). The DSCC is made up of approximately 3,200 members. Together these delegates vote and conduct business at the yearly State Conventions, including the elections of CDP Officers, the election of up to 25 State Party Regional Directors, CA Democratic Party legislative endorsements, ballot propositions, CDP Resolutions and the California State Party Platform.

Each of the 80 Assembly Districts will elect 14 people (seven women and seven men) to be members of the Democratic State Central Committee Delegation for the 2017-2019 term. These 14 people will represent their Assembly District for both the 2017 and 2018 State Conventions.

While the filing period has closed to run as a delegate candidate, all AD1 Democrats are encouraged to participate by meeting and voting for their candidates of choice. The ADEM is conducted as a caucus so Democrats must vote in person; mail or proxy balloting is not allowed. The list of candidates, specific times and locations of all the election meetings will be final on January 2. This information will be posted at http://www.cadem.org/our-party or you may call the California Democratic Party headquarters at 916.503.7302, or email emma@cadem.org.

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