Knock Out Their Eyes 6/12/13

Missiles over Istanbul? Or just knock-out-their-eyes tear gas?

By Tom H. Hastings

Tom Hastings

Tom Hastings

So, now that the Turkish government, under the fiats of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip “Facebook is the worst menace to society” Erdogan, is running down nonviolent protesters andshooting tear gas cannisters into their heads and permanently blinding them, should we ask John McCain what to do? Or John Kerry? These are some of the leaders of the conservatives and liberals who want to ramp up the US military aid and action in Syria because Bashar al-Assad is violent against violent insurgents and anyone else affiliated with them or nearby when his Syrian military strikes.

Oh–that’s right, Turkey is in NATO. We can’t really bomb them. We, in fact, provide them with their bombs. I’m sure we can expect more reports from yet another Muslim country in which pro-democracy demonstrators are hit with weapons marked “Made in the USA.”

Just leave it alone. The world of Islam should be answerable to the entire world, not to the US alone and not to some rogue coalition or military alliance unduly influenced by the US. Does the world of Islam need meddling from the outside? Yes, if the reformed UN comes to believe it. What is justified in the name of Islam–beheadings, stonings, ad nauseam–is as ghastly as what is justified in the name of the national interest–or the humanitarian fig leaf–of the US, at least when done by the US military. Even Islamic scholars who claim that they understand nonviolence sometimes do not. An example is Zeki Saritoprak, who authored a journal article in Muslim World in 2005 that first claims that Mohammed was nonviolent and never had a single act of violence attributed to him, and, just two sentences later, notes that the Prophet did ‘defend himself.’ Well, it’s one or the other, Dr. Saritoprak, not both.

A pax on both their houses. The US and NATO should be answerable to the entire world, not just to themselves. Like Assad, Obama and his spokespeople for drones justify killing children by noting the violence of the individuals who were the nominal targets of the strikes–which are made against them or anyone nearby. The inescapable illogic and illegality of these claims should, at some point, challenge us all to help think about how to convert our war system to a peace system.

We should be spending some serious funding on this research into improved sanctions, people power, de-escalation best practices, crowdsourcing early warning, grievance satisfaction, win-win negotiation, and other nonviolent enforcement alternatives. Humanitarian war is oxymoronic, and our solutions are not the military, even though that is by far our biggest investment. It is good money after bad and we have spent ourselves silly, a bit like the cigaret companies of the 1950s and 60s. We have a successful propaganda machine for a product–violence–that has caused and spread a cancer throughout our body politic. We will either learn to fix these problems from a broad-based, racially, religiously, and generally diverse societal democratic effort or we will see the ‘solutions’ imposed yet again by the elites so used to getting the benefits while we get the costs.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings directs PeaceVoice.

 

Carol’s Books 6/12/13

6/12/13
Carol says:
Snow White Must Die
by Nele Neuhaus
This is a mystery with a main plot, sub-plot, sub-sub plots…..and somehow it is not overwhelming.  On page 1 Tobias is released from prision for the murder of 2 teenage girls.  Friends he went to school with 10 years ago – he is now 31.  At the gate, his friend Nadia picks him up and the story goes from there.  Who really killed those girls?  Then we get into all of the sub-plots – another murder, infidelities, a kidnap or two, there is so much in this book.  And yet I was able to keep track and just had to keep reading.  I got so wound up that about half way through I had to read the end so I could get to sleep that night!   Reading the end didn’t take away from the story, either.
It all takes place in Germany and the names are not familiar, so that helped me keep who was who in my mind.  And I liked to picture it all in my mind – the town in Germany, and so on.  OK, so it took me a few chapters to figure out who was who, but it was fairly easy.  This is a good suspense novel, and it is not gory.  I can’t tell you more of the story, just the overview.  You will want to figure out who did what and what is going to happen next.  Well, you just can’t figure out what is going to happen next.  It is a lively book.  The author has woven an intricate story, easy to follow tho, and it is a good one!
Amazon says:
Release date: January 15, 2013
Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus is a tremendous new contemporary mystery series and huge international bestseller—with more than 3.5 million copies in print!

On a rainy November day police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to a mysterious traffic accident: A woman has fallen from a pedestrian bridge onto a car driving underneath. According to a witness, the woman may have been pushed. The investigation leads Pia and Oliver to a small village, and the home of the victim, Rita Cramer.

On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace. In a trial based only on circumstantial evidence, twenty-year-old Tobias Sartorius, Rita Cramer’s son, was sentenced to ten years in prison. Bodenstein and Kirchhoff discover that Tobias, after serving his sentence, has now returned to his home town. Did the attack on his mother have something to do with his return?

In the village, Pia and Oliver encounter a wall of silence. When another young girl disappears, the events of the past seem to be repeating themselves in a disastrous manner. The investigation turns into a race against time, because for the villagers it is soon clear who the perpetrator is—and this time they are determined to take matters into their own hands.

An atmospheric, character-driven and suspenseful mystery set in a small town that could be anywhere, dealing with issues of gossip, power, and keeping up appearances.

Addiction to War 6/12/13

An American Awakening to the Addiction of War

by Erin Niemela

Erin Niemela

Erin Niemela

The recent NSA revelations of widespread surveillance on American citizens should be cause for intense protest.  Surely it will be, as a day of nationwide mass action to restore the Fourth Amendment has been planned for the fourth of July. But any awake American can see that PRISM is only one sock on a long line of dirty laundry. The list of U.S. government abuses and failures to protect stretches far and wide, an alphabet soup of depravity: PRISM, NDAA, CISPA, SOPA, Patriot Act, the Monsanto Protection Act, drones, secret kill lists, Guantanamo Bay, DNA tests, Abu Ghraib, Afghan Massacre, Keystone, Tar Sands, Hanford. I’m certain you’ll think of more.

While PRISM and the rest of the gang are individually sordid, when combined they are the track marks of a far more pervasive, widespread, life-wasting problem. One that has systematically attacked not just the Fourth Amendment, but also the First, Second, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and 10th. No matter how hard we advocate for the Fourth Amendment now, others will fall so long as this substance burns through the veins of the Republic.

This is your government on war.

An unnatural, synthesized invention, war courses through Congress, city halls and the Oval Office.  Paranoia, fear, consumption, degradation, enslavement, betrayal and suffering – these are the family values of a nation on war.

Our government’s addiction consumes the domestic budget, leaving little for health, education or infrastructure. It invades privacy and creates enemies through paranoia and fear, painting its opposition as savage, barbaric, shady, and justifying oppression, enslavement, torture and murder. It desecrates the natural world, poisoning the veins of the Earth and its abundance, waging chemical warfare and extracting the resources to do so.

This addiction isolates and alienates us from the global community, our physical and spiritual connections with the human family severed by consistent betrayal and erratic abuse.  This addiction gives illegitimate power and authority to the highest bidder; toxic dealers of the military-industrial complex operate within an untraceable, uncontrollable, private Silk Road.

Looking for a fix, the U.S. government betrays us for its own benefit and that of its corporate dealers. It transforms the Edward Snowdens, Bradley Mannings and Julian Assanges into puny snitches, faced with demands for assassination, and charged with illuminating our government’s addiction and challenging pervasive denial.

We need an intervention, an American Awakening, to end the inevitable suffering of the American people – indeed, the global village – at the whims of mega users.  Want to protect the Fourth Amendment? Want to protect them all? Call for a 28th Amendment – an amendment to abolish the slavery of addiction, an amendment to abolish war.

Amendment XXVIII of the Constitution of the United States of America

Section 1.  The American people, in accordance with the promotion of international justice, peace, human rights and dignity, hereby renounce the use of organized, armed force to resolve intra- and inter-state conflict; neither war nor war-making processes shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

We can file as many class-action lawsuits as we’d like. We can repeal Citizens United, fight the NDAA, demolish Gitmo, and we should. But these sores will be replaced with new ones so long as the syringe of the military-industrial complex remains intact and full.

Section 2. Congress shall neither make nor approve war, nor approve of the use of military force, as a means for resolving intra- and inter-state conflict.

Just as we abolished slavery, another fundamentally immoral manmade institution, we can abolish the fundamentally immoral manmade institution of war, and all the harms associated thereof.

Section 3.  The United States shall neither make nor keep locations of detention for prisoners of war, and all prisoners, upon recognition, shall be released to their respective home nations or non-military, judicial courts.

On the fourth of July, our day of independence, stand up for the Fourth Amendment, but also stand up for the rest, because last week it was the Sixth, and tomorrow it’ll be the Fifth, so long as war is our drug of choice. No constitutional right is safe from the manipulative behavior of a government in denial.  We must demand a 28th Amendment – one amendment to secure them all – and declare our independence from the tyranny of addiction, from the enslavement of war.

Erin Niemela is a Master’s Candidate in the Conflict Resolution program at Portland State University and a PeaceVoice syndicated journalist.

 

Purdon Road Bridge Closure 6/12/13

PURDON ROAD BRIDGE PAINTING AND REHABILITIATION PROJECT

The County Public Works Department recently began work to rehabilitate the Purdon Road Bridge, located on the South Yuba River.  The project includes repair and replacement of some of the structural supports as well as cleaning and painting of the bridge.  Due to this construction activity, the bridge is initially scheduled for closure on Thursday, June 13th.

The 1st phase of construction includes repair of bridge structural members. This phase is expected to last approximately 3-4 weeks. During this phase the bridge will have limited access to the public only during non construction hours.

The 2nd phase of construction will include a complete abrasive blasting and repainting to restore the bridge to its original black paint color. The bridge will be entirely enclosed with a PVC shrink wrap material to protect the Yuba River and surrounding environment, and a dust collector will collect airborne emissions within the containment system. As a result of these activities, the bridge will be closed to all traffic. This entire process is expected to take approximately 4-6 weeks.

The existing parking lot and on-road parking on the south side of the bridge will be unaffected by construction activity, and access to nearby beaches and recreational trails will be open to the public. Approximately 300 feet of Purdon Road north of the bridge will be closed to the public, but pedestrian access to the river via nearby trails will be maintained adjacent to the construction site. Parking along the north side of the bridge will be available north of the road closure.

For additional information, please contact Joshua Pack, Principle Civil Engineer at joshua.pack@co.nevada.ca.us.

No Privacy for You 6/12/13

A Bad Month for Privacy Rights

By Laura L. Finley

Laura Finley

Laura Finley

Justice Louis Brandeis once called the right to privacy “the right most valued by civilized men.”  Sadly, it has become increasingly clear that, despite pronunciations about “change” and “transparency,” the Obama administration is continuing down the path so dangerously started by former President George W. Bush.

First, the Supreme Court decided that it is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment if police collect DNA from people who have merely been arrested, not convicted, of a crime. Although the Court specified that this practice, already occurring in more than half of the states, should only be done to those who are arrested for “serious” crimes, no definition of what constitutes a serious crime was provided. I wonder whether we should begin preparing ourselves simply to open our mouths whenever a police officer approaches. Whether you are rightly or wrongly arrested, your DNA from that cheek swab will go into the database and, as far as we know, remain there in perpetuity.

While defenders maintain that the practice will help exonerate innocent persons, the risks are huge. Ultimately, the power goes to police, a scary kind of power in the hands of those who do not always use it fairly. In January, President Obama signed into law the Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act, which creates grants to help states pay for the expanded DNA databases, and thus we can expect that more will indeed do so. Once again, we have put our faith in a technology at the expense of civil liberties.  Further, DNA evidence is only as good as the people collecting, maintaining and analyzing it.

Then, the Guardian broke the story that the FBI has been granted the power to obtain from Verizon information from all calls made within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries from April 25 and July 19 of this year. Supposedly a tool to keep us safe from terrorism, the authorization for this type of spying on citizens who have done absolutely nothing was granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court through the USA Patriot Act’s “business records” provision.  While actual conversations are not covered, details including the phone numbers, location, duration, time and other identifiers about the callers are included in the order. Verizon has close to 100 million customers. We also have no way of knowing whether the NSA or FBI has sought similar orders of other phone companies, as all are prohibited from disclosing.

Just days later, the Guardian revealed that the NSA has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants. Under a program called PRISM, the NSA collects our search histories, the content of our emails, file transfers, live chats and more.

These types of blanket surveillance are not only an invasion of privacy but also ineffective to do what the government claims. Someone has to analyze the tremendous amount of data collected from these records, the vast majority of which will be completely innocuous. Not a smart use of resources, I would argue.

Clearly, poet John Perry Barlow had it right: “Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds.”  Those interested in a more peaceful and just world must become even more vocal advocates for privacy, what Justice William O. Douglas called “the beginning of all freedom.”

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.

 

Downieville Lion’s Install Officers 6/12/13

6/5/13 The Downieville Lion’s Club installed the 2013-14 officers at the Old Sierra City Hotel  on Monday, June 10. Nevada City Lion Douglas Wight performed the Installation Ceremony.

Installed were President Mary Ervin, 1st VP Tom Potter, 2nd VP Julie Noll, Treasurer Ross Gordon, and Secretary Karen Galan, Immediate Past President Mike Galan was congratulated for his excellent year of service and he now serves on the Board of Directors.

Outgoing President Mike Galan, Doug Wight, Mary Ervin, Pam Gordon, Ross Gordon, Tom Potter, Julie Noll, Liz Fisher and Karen Galan

Outgoing President Mike Galan, Doug Wight, Mary Ervin, Pam Gordon, Ross Gordon, Tom Potter, Julie Noll, Liz Fisher and Karen Galan

Sierra County Sheriff Log 6/3 to 6/9/2013

SO Badge

Sierra County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Log

6/3/13

  • CHP requests ambulance for passed out driver on Hwy 395 Driver was subsequently arrested.
  • Caller reported being videotaped by another person
  • Very honest person reports he may have damaged USFS roads

6/4/13

  • Ambulance needed for elderly female in Loyalton
  • Another ambulance needed for another medical emergency
  • Single vehicle accident on Hwy 49 near Sattley with minor injuries
  • Alarm company reports medical alarm sounding in Loyalton residence

6/5/13

  • Subject was arrested on out of county warrant in Goodyears Bar
  • Illegal mining on property in Oregon Creek area near Pike
  • 9-1-1 hang up from Loyalton

6/6/13

  • Civil dispute file logged
  • Injured deer in roadway near Loyalton

6/7/13

  • Ill hiker reported on Pacific Crest Trail
  • Plumas Co reports 9-1-1 call from Loyalton
  • Injured male in Loyalton was hit with baseball bat
  • Report of open container driving in Downieville

6/8/13

  • 9-1-1 hangup call from Loyalton
  • Audible alarm sounding in Downieville
  • Abandoned vehicle in Loyalton will be towed
  • Two vehicles collided in Sierraville with no injuries
  • Mountain biker crashed on Packer Saddle
  • Broken window and stolen copper pipes in Sierra City
  • Male subject sleeping in highway near Sierraville
  • Welfare check on juvenile needed in Loyalton
  • Abandoned animals at vacant house in Loyalton
  • Arrest on out of county warrant in Loyalton
  • Vehicle parked illegally in the middle of Main St, Downieville

6/9/13

  • Pickup 50 feet down ravine on Dog Valley Rd, Verdi 
  • Two injured deer on Hwy 49 near Sierraville
  • Three baby birds fell from nest in Downieville
  • Rattlesnake bite to mountain biker near Downieville
  • Two at large canines chasing cattle near Loyalton
  • Bear breaking into residence in Downieville
  • Mining claim feud near LaPorte involves bringing out a firearm
  • Motorists blocking road for emergency vehicles
  • Lightning strike near Stampede Lake area
  • Canine attacking smaller canine in Loyalton
  • Non injury accident in Sierraville
  • Stranded canine on highway transported to owner in Sierraville
  • Lightning strike fire reported near Chicoot
  • Chanting to himself man came out of woods with gun
  • Shots were fired at raccoons attacking dog in Loyalton

 

Sabena’s Journey to Kenya

Sabena Lodhi, daughter of local business owners, Naseem and Humayoon Lodhi, will be traveling to Kenya, Africa, later this month.  Sabena will be volunteering in the town of Ngong, which is an outskirt suburb of Nairobi, where, she will be working with ten-to-sixteen year old students.  She will be teaching general education courses, such as History, Art, and Health Education.  She will also be teaching Women’s Education to those affected by HIV and AIDS.  This program includes counseling and education development, as well as empowering women with skill-training in both trade work and business management.  When asked what she is looking forward to, Sabena said, “Experiencing third culture and seeing the smiles on babies.”

Sabena will be volunteering abroad for six weeks, starting at the end of June, through an organization called International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ).  IVHQ formed in early 2007, with the intention of making volunteering in developing countries safe, affordable, and a high quality experience.  Through first-hand volunteering, Sabena will be able to take her knowledge and expertise to this developing country, while bringing understanding and knowledge of a different culture back home.

A fundraiser is being held to raise funds for books, school supplies, and other school necessities.  The event is being held on Tuesday, June 18, 6:00 pm at Two Rivers Café.  The cost is $13 per person for an Indian Style Buffet Dinner, including soft drinks (beer and wine is extra).  Both meat and vegetarian dishes will be available.  Please come and join in the fun, ask questions, and support Sabena on her journey to spread hope, knowledge, and love to Kenyan families.  There is also a website where you can donate to Sabena’s cause, and read, in her own words, about the things she hopes to give and gain: http://www.gofundme.com/sabenalodhi

Support My Journey To Kenya

Join us for an Indian Style Buffet Dinner. All Proceeds will go towards books, school supplies, and any other necessities for the local schools in Kenya. My goal is to spread love, hope, and knowledge to those in need and view a different perspective on life through the eyes of Kenyan families.

Much Love and Gratitude,

Sabena Lodhi

Date: June 18, 2013

Time: 6 pm

Place: Two Rivers Café

Cost: $13 per person (includes soft drink. Beer and Wine Extra)

Welfare or Education? 6/12/13

Corporate Welfare or Education?  America’s Public University System

By Lawrence S. Wittner

Lawrence S. Wittner

Lawrence S. Wittner

Should a public university be transformed into a corporate welfare project?  That’s the key question surrounding “Tax-Free NY,” a new plan zealously promoted by New York State’s Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo, with nation-wide implications.

Under the provisions of his Tax-Free NY scheme, most of the 64 campuses of the State University of New York (SUNY), some private colleges, and zones adjacent to SUNY campuses would be thrown open to private businesses that would be exempted from state taxes on sales, property, the income of their owners, and the income of their employees for a period of 10 years.  According to the governor, this creation of tax-free havens for private, profit-making companies is designed to create economic development and jobs, especially in upstate New York.

Joined by businessmen, politicians, and top SUNY administrators, Cuomo has embarked on a full court press for his plan.  Tax-Free NY, he announced, was “a game-changing initiative that will transform SUNY campuses and university communities across the state.”  Conceding that these tax-free zones wouldn’t work without a dramatic “culture shift” in the SUNY system, Cuomo argued that faculty would have to “get interested and participate in entrepreneurial activities.”  As he declared in mid-May, the situation was “delicate, because academics are academics. . . .  But you can be a great academic and you can be entrepreneurial, and I would argue you’d be a better academic if you were actually entrepreneurial.”

In fact, the commercialization of American college and university life has been advancing steadily in recent years.  Thousands of U.S. students are paid by businesses to market products on their campuses, large numbers of university presidents serve on one or more corporate boards, administrators sport new titles such as Kmart Chair of Marketing and BankAmerica Dean, and for-profit universities now dot the American landscape.  Indeed, some universities run their own industrial parks, venture capital funds, and joint business-university research centers.

Even so, Tax-Free NY appears to be an important milestone in the corporatization of higher education, for SUNY is the nation’s largest public university system.  Only a few years ago, New York State law prohibited businesses from operating on SUNY campuses.  But that barrier has been swept away, and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher is now a leading cheerleader for Tax-Free NY.

SUNY’s faculty and staff, on the other hand, have a greater stake in preserving the university’s traditional role of education and the advancement of knowledge.  United University Professions (UUP), the union that represents 35,000 faculty and other professional staff on SUNY campuses, has been disturbed for years by the state government’s abandonment of its legal commitment to fund public higher education.  Over a four-year period, SUNY lost nearly $700 million in state support through budget cuts, and state funding has remained flat over the past year.  Today, nearly 75 percent of the university’s operating budget comes from ever-rising tuition and fees.  A decade ago, the state covered 75 percent of SUNY’s budget.

Naturally, then, UUP has promised to fight against this latest assault on the university. Rejecting Tax-Free NY, it argues that any available space on SUNY’s campuses should be dedicated to improving education through smaller class size and improved student services, that there are no assurances that business entities would support the academic mission of campuses, and that the tax-cutting plan would diminish tax revenues that could be used for public education.

Also, there is considerable doubt that Tax-Free NY will spur economic growth.  The Citizens Budget Commission, a business-backed group, has reported that New York State already spends about $7 billion annually to foster economic development without any evidence that this funding has been productive.  The Alliance for a Greater New York, a group with a liberal orientation, has noted that, in the past year, the state gave away $490 million to businesses for projects through its Industrial Development Agencies.  Of these projects, half failed to create any jobs and another quarter lost a total of 17,000 jobs.  Criticizing Tax-Free NY,Crain’s New York Business, a leading commercial publication, stated that “history tells us these kinds of strategies don’t work.”  During the administration of Republican George Pataki, “the state created Empire Zones . . . with special tax breaks and incentives. . . .  No area ever showed any real economic gains.  They were eventually phased out when it became clear they had achieved virtually nothing.”  In addition, these economic development programs were riddled with abuse and fraud by unscrupulous companies.

As a result, significant criticism of the governor’s plan has begun to emerge.  The small Conservative Party — a key ally of the Republican Party — formally denounced Tax-Free NY, arguing that “government should not be deciding what businesses receive government handouts that give them advantages over other businesses.”  Journalists asked the governor what would stop the favored companies from simply packing up and leaving after their decade of tax breaks.  According to the president of the Civil Service Employees Association: “The governor doesn’t get the fact that more corporate welfare is no answer to New York’s economic challenges.”

Why, then, despite the obvious limitations of Tax-Free NY, is the governor promoting it so vigorously?  One reason, some observers contend, is that Cuomo is a very ambitious man, with his eyes on a run for the White House.  Determined to win re-election by a huge margin, he needs to strengthen his sagging appeal in upstate New York to do so.  In addition, Cuomo has been closely allied with the state’s corporate leaders, who have poured millions of dollars into promoting his pro-business agenda.  Championing tax cuts to business helps cement this alliance.

Ironically, it’s quite possible that the governor could spur economic growth and job creation if he just reversed his proposal.  Instead of throwing more tax dollars at profit-making businesses while starving public education, he could channel that same money into the SUNY system.  In this fashion, he would help build the kind of university that, through its intellectual excellence, would foster advanced scientific experimentation, economic innovation, and a highly-educated workforce.  But that’s not at all his plan. Corporations, politicians, and educators across the country are watching closely.

Dr. Lawrence Wittner (http://lawrenceswittner.com) is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany and writes for PeaceVoice.  His latest book is “What’s Going On at UAardvark?” – a satire on the corporatization of higher education.]

 

A Little Leak 6/12/13

More leaks in the faulty national security debate – and how to fix them

By Patrick T. Hiller

Patrick T. Hiller

Patrick T. Hiller

A little leak can be quickly fixed by stuffing it or wrapping it. Large leaks, however, often require more structural repairs or completely different solutions. Bradley Manning’s and just days ago Edward Snowden’s leaking of classified information demonstrates just how big our structural repairs need to be. What they exposed are further indicators of the faulty framework of the national security debate. In other words, a poorly designed security construct is collapsing. We discuss the acts of those individuals on a sliding scale from “nominate them for the Nobel Peace Prize” to “try them for treason” – I opt for the first. Distracted by character debate, however, we are missing opportunities to engage in more meaningful discussions about the faulty structures they exposed.

We are operating out of the perpetual fear that evil is out there to eradicate the United States of America. The government’s guiding foreign policy principle is to keep the American people safe (http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy), and in doing so the military and intelligence agencies are overstepping legal and ethical boundaries in an outdated understanding of security. While very few would argue against the need of security – in fact it is a shared basic human need for everyone – we are constantly missing opportunities as a nation to re-define security.

Security, particularly national security, unfortunately is defined in relation to military power and its global projection. A fact worth repeating is that we are spending as much as the world’s next 15 countries on our defense (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute). It is too much and it does not serve our national defense. Our country is not under attack. There is no clash of civilizations or a battle between American freedom versus the perceived darkness of an Islamist world.

For the sake of having the security discussion let us look at the war on terror and the perpetual terrorist threats which led us into two real wars and are driving the current security conversations. The most recent leak of confidential governmental information was that of Edward Snowden, a computer analyst working for the private government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. He revealed the existence of PRISM, a clandestine electronic American national security surveillance program designed to identify terrorists. More than that, PRISM appears to be highly invasive of the privacy of all citizens in an unprecedented collection of data, the full extent yet to be revealed. Instead of resorting to science fiction surveillance tactics out of George Orwell’s novel 1984 through PRISM and “pre-crime” enforcements tactics out of Steven Spielberg’s film Minority Report through drone strikes, we have an opportunity to resort to real science in our responses to terrorism. The bottom line is that we now understand patterns and dynamics of violence and ways of constructive conflict transformation. And quite frankly, the strategies and tactics employed by our government are not constructive pathways toward eliminating terrorism.

Scientists studying the causes and consequences of war offer multiple nonviolent responses to terrorism which are part of an evolving global system of peace. Effective nonviolence, international adjudication, conflict resolution, peace education, indigenous rights, smart sanctions, non-governmental organizations and effective humanitarian work, peaceful interpretation of religious scriptures or human rights are just a few real trends accompanied by proven approaches to move them forward. John Paul Lederach, a pioneer in the peace and conflict studies field who teaches at the University of Notre Dame, suggests that nonviolent responses to terrorism should be based on engagement rather than isolation – particularly of civil society. Those strategies allow for solutions over the mid-term and long-term which are more likely to address the root causes of the grievances. Imagine the new horizons that would open up.

A talented computer analyst like Edward Snowden would not need to fear for his future and life for acting out of his conscience and could be put to work on creating sophisticated early warning violence prevention networks. Our aeronautical engineers could design, manufacture and program drones for tornado warnings, disaster relief or atmospheric research. Then we don’t need to have discussions about the perpetual war on terror, drone strikes, Guantanamo Bay, or the manufactured fear of an established Islamist state. Then we are indeed strengthening an evolving global peace system, which is not based on utopian thinking but based on numerous trends of constructive conflict transformation, social change and global collaboration.

As to security, we can re-define security as a more positive role for the United States in the world rather than constantly preparing for war and going to war in the name of freedom. That is not only patriotic and demonstrates love for our country, it addresses the human need for security of all.

Patrick. T. Hiller, Ph.D., Hood River, OR, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a Conflict Transformation scholar, professor and Director of the War Prevention Initiative of the Jubitz Family Foundation.

Wednesday June 5, 2013

Gosh, here it is June. Why am I continuously surprised when another month rolls around? We are almost half way through the year and starting on the way to winter snows. You won’t know that this weekend when it will be hot, hot, hot and I will be in the thick of the Valley heat at my youngest grandson’s high school graduation. What a mile stone. Certainly there will be college graduations, and I’m hoping one or all of my three grandsons will be married and eventually I will have great-grandchildren… that will be exciting… wait a minute… this is making me sound very old… well old is as old does.. but the point is, many families across the nation will be celebrating graduations this weekend and I wish all the new graduates the best with love, joy and laughter in their future.

It is fire season already, very dry, very hot, be very careful and thank our local fire department and sheriff office members who are busy all year long but in the summer with lots of visitors and many ways to need emergency response are busy to the max. Be nice to everyone and don’t let the heat get you. Watch out for rattlesnakes, many have been spotted around the County.

This week the photo is by Don Costa at Mike and Karen Galan’s  serving their Cherry Tree in Downieville to the bear. All our favorite columns are here, over on the right.

Board of Supervisors June 4, 2013

6/5/13

Sierra County Board of Supervisors

Sierra County Board of Supervisors

Chair of the Sierra County Board of Supervisors Scott Schlefstein called the meeting to order at 0900. After the Pledge of Allegiance, Roll Call and Agenda approval the Public Comment Opportunity for items not on the agenda was met with silence.

Committee Reports and Announcements included a report by Supervisor Lee Adams on the Finance Committee meeting and the tough issues facing the county. They met with the CCP folks and also recommended approval of the Preliminary Budget on today’s agenda.

Department Managers report was given by Director of Public Works and Planning, Tim Beals who said they were still waiting on the Department of Fish and Game (I reminded him it is now Fish and Wildlife, we don’t have to kill everything) for their stamp of approval on the Sierra Brooks Water System. Beals also informed the Board they are waiting for USFS to make a decision on Title II funds as Prop 40 projects have been completed on the east side of the county however the Alleghany, Downieville, and Sierra City parks and Kentucky Mine water are still waiting. Then the USFS update didn’t happen as no one from the USFS appeared.

Item 1 through 5 began with Health and Human Service Director Janice Maddox continuing her complex reasons for the inability to provide the Sierra County Summer County Youth Programs  although she has written another letter with complex and confusing questions  to the State asking whether the State Alcohol and Drug Program  will allow use of State SAP funds for the summer recreation programs.

Maddox’s husband, Auditor/Treasurer/Tax Collector/Risk Manager/Personnel Director Van Maddox has written his letter to the Board stating that with “what he knows” he cannot verify that state and federal funds are spent in accordance with laws, regulations and agreements… so his office can not sign off on contracts or issue checks… so it appears that what Maddox wants Maddox gets…. which Maddox is the question…

The final decision appears to be the County will not be providing any kind of summer recreation program for the youth of Sierra County.

Here's the students that will be most affected by the Supes decision to slash funding for WC…one last hurrah hike in Lakes Basin for students from Loyalton Middle School...

Somewhat ironic to find a photo of kids having one last hurrah hike in Lakes Basin for students on their last week of school… no recreation for them this summer……

Item 2 is an Agreement between Tahoe Adventures Company and Sierra County to provide services for the 2013 SC Wilderness Challeng Program contingent on approval of use of State SAP funds. There is no agreement as there is no funding source.

Item 3 is a proposal to schedule a Bd of Supes Health and Social Services Standing Committee meeting to discuss Mental Health billing and funding: Governor Brown’s proposal to Sierra County 1991 realignment funding currently utilized to fund mandated services; and issues related to H&S lease for office space located in Loyalton on Front St.  Yep, they will do this as according to Director J. Maddox they need to have a venue to keep board updated in a formal way because there is an agreement with the City of Loyalton to sell a building and spit the profits and this needs to be rethunk. It is a huge issue. Supervisor Beard agreed to set something up.

Item 4 is authorization to recruit and fill a vacant Case Manager I/II position in the Department of Mental Health.  This Item was pulled by Director J. Maddox.

Item 5 a letter opposing redirection of Sierra County 1991 realignment dollars. Supervisor Adams said CSAC is adamantly opposed to this and Sierra County needs to take a strong stance and he moved to authorize Chair Scott Schlefstein to sign the letter. It was approved.

Item 5G was pulled off the consent agenda  It was about a Lease Agreement for office space for the Fiscal Year of 2013-14 with Richard and Sharon Elorza and The County of Sierra. Supervisor Adams suggested this was about leases countywide, Adams specifically discussed the Sierraville School lease. According to County Counsel either party has the right to terminate with 30 day notice. Director Beals said the entire school is leased to the county with the exception of the modular and the school district has agreed any rental income from the modular will be available to the County for upkeep and maintenance of the main building.

Item 6 County Assessor and Information Manager Laura Marshall requested funding to increase the county internet line from 3 MB to 6 MB (a good idea). It was approved unanimously by the Board. A big selling point was the ability to train county personnel with Webinars which is much less costly than having to travel out of county for seminars. The increased MB will double the cost but is within the budget and not going to need extra funds.

Item 7  A Resolution requested by  County Auditor/Treasurer/Tax Collector/Risk Manager/Personnel Director Van Maddox makes one wonder if he wants to add the title of Chief Scrooge when contemplating his request to close county offices to the Public (that’s us, the voters and service users and parents of summer recreation kids) one day a week. After much debate and back and forth discussion as to what problems this will cause for people needing to get service from the county offices and after Auditor/Treasurer/Tax Collector/Risk Manager/Personnel Director Van Maddox said if someone absolutely needed assistance he would open the door and help them as he wouldn’t want to bother the employees who actually have to do the work. Seemed odd to me, considering the disparity in pay between an employee and the department head as to who’s time costs the most…. but hey, I am just a constituent, what do I know. So the final word was yes, to avoid confusion and for consistency every county department must close their doors to the public (us) one day a week and that day will be Thursday.

Item 8 A Resolution setting the County and special revenue funds preliminary budget for fiscal year 2013/14 requested by Scrooge Maddox. This went on for quite some time. Supposedly the prelim would be good at least through July and August but who knows what will happen and we need time to decide which street lights really need to be lit.

Director Tim Beals discussed the county Roads Budget suggesting the lack of SRS  funding could put us below the safe and secure standard of service. The rollover funds on paper make the budget balance but no one has any idea what will really happen and what will be the function and place of the Road Dept if it can no longer support itself. Supervisor Adams moved to approve the paper “fake” prelim budget until we find the real truth about the fake rollover.

The Board of Supervisors adjourned to then adjourn as the County Service Areas Board.

County Service Area Board issues were approved

and then the County Board of Supervisors reconvened and:

Item 12 Discussion/adoption of Resolution approving proposed solid waste budget for Fiscal Year 2013-14 request by Public Works and Transportation Director Tim Beals. A long discussion was involved as to how much the Solid Waste fee should be increased. Finally settling on an amount that would increase the fee from the current $231 to $265 per year, it was not voted on and will come back to the June 18 meeting.

Item 13 Review of recommendations of Public Works, Road, and Solid Waste Committeee meeting pertaining to Solid Waste.  with a) direction on dispersed recreational waste generated on national forest lands. and b) discussion and direction to staff with regard to recommendation on the tourist bin at Bassett’s OHV station.

Director Tim Beals brought up the unique way the USFS and other recreational users deal with waste as there are no bins established near campgrounds and trails and the county containers are used not only by tourists and visitors but by seasonal and even full time residents who are “too lazy or too cheap” (stated one Supervisor) to drive to a transfer station or to pay for Trash hauler. Meanwhile bags are being checked and there was a discussion as to how to deal with residents who are filling county sidewalk containers with household waste. Some supervisors wanted to just go for it and have them cited for illegal disposal and some supervisors just wanted a friendly chat. It was pointed out that we are all paying the costs of those who refuse to dispose of their waste properly. But here is the warning…. Names will be taken and your waste DNA will be tracked.

Item 14 Amazingly the Resolution modifying the Fiscal Year 2010 Homeland Security Grant expenditures is back.. And once again it was approved…

Item 15 Resolution authorizing changes to the approved personnel chart to add the series of permit technician and authorization to advertise and fill the upcoming vacancy in Planning and Building Department was approved.

Item 16. Chair Schlefstein appoints Rebecca Kincaid to the SC Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board with everyone’s approval.

Item 17 County Counsel James Curtis presents 2nd reading and adoption of an ordinance amending portions of Part 3 of the Sierra County Code pertaining to changes to pay dates; PERS retirement provisions ofr employees; base station designations; designation of County holidays; and the drug testing policy. It was approved.

Item 18 Modification of Agreement No 2010-086 with NorCal EMS for EMS services withing Sierra County designating Northern California EMS, Inc as the local EMS agency was approved.

Item 19 (Wow an employee friendly thing) Resolution authorizing Extra Help Employees participation in County Health Insurance. ( I think the Affordable Health Act requires them to do this). Oh Guess What… it was pulled by County Counsel to amend some things… I knew it was too good to be true.

Item 20 is a Closed session (We never know what they are doing.)

Jim Branhamof the Sierra Nevada Conservancy

Jim Branhamof the Sierra Nevada Conservancy

Item 21 is Sierra Nevada Conservancy by Jim Branham in regard to investments in Sierra County.  A clear concise overview of what the SNC does for Sierra County was given by Mr. Branham and if you go to their website here Sierra Nevada Conservancy you will learn as much as I did, they appear to be doing a good job and bringing money into the county via grant funding.

22. Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship with regard to current activities and projets within and around Sierra County, Including update on economic benefits of outdoor recreation. A heart felt presentation was given by Downieville’s own Greg Williams who discussed how many communities were benefitting from downhill biking and that if the County of Sierra and business folks would step up to the plate to promote and increase our trails we would all be in the money. Learn more about SBTS here Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship

Mr. Wayne DeLisle preparing for his turn at the Podium

Mr. Wayne DeLisle preparing for his turn at the Podium

23. Our favorite constituent Wayne DeLisle appeals the Solid Waste Assessment Fees on two of his properties in Pike. Unfortunately Mr. DeLisle wasn’t feeling well as he has had some recent health issues and asked that his appeal be continued for 90 days. Assessor Laura Marshall said that Mr. DeLisle had the right to his appeal and the Board voted unanimously to approve the continuation for 90 days.

Item 16a The best for last of course. An Addendum to the Agenda was the last item heard. There was a discussion/direction/approval for the assignment of emergency service radios to the members of the Board of Supervisors requested by Chair Scott Schlefstein. Apparently at a meeting of the various emergency services in and surrounding Sierra County communications during an emergency was discussed and Chair Schlefstein brought back the idea that emergency radios were necessary for the Supervisors. Despite objections from Supervisor Lee Adams, who has served 4 terms as County Sheriff and prior to that as a Deputy for Sierra County, some Supervisors thought this was a good idea. Schlefstein felt he needs a radio in case someone asks him a question during an emergency, he needs to answer it. Also it would be a good idea to have a radio during a personal emergency (recently, according to Schlefstein Sheriff Evans had an accident while riding motorcycles with his son and had to use his radio to call for help) which of course made me think I want a radio too… what if a rattlesnake bites me or my friend Tom when we are out walking, we need radios, and what about you, yes you, the reader, you might need to call for help, you should have a radio…. but wait I am digressing here. Anyhow Scott thinks he really needs a radio even though he won’t use it and he understands the Chain of Command and Incident Command System and he won’t tell anyone what to do over the radio. He knows better, so he says. So at any rate by a vote of 3 to 2 with Supervisors Adams and Roen voting no, radios will be purchased at $1,200. each and given to the three Supervisors, Schlefstein, Beard and Huebner … life just isn’t fair.

 

The Mountain Messenger (real paper news) 6/5/13

6/5/13

Don Russell, Editor of the Mountain Messenger often uses any method possible to sell advertising and subscriptions to California’s Oldest Weekly Newspaper. Many people fall for his spiel and he then has to continue writing his pithy articles filled with words he passes off as news. Several steps above Fox News and not quite to the standard of the New York Times, many famous people read the Messenger. If you are famous, and read the Messenger please let me know because then I can make a list. Don is not willing to divulge the names of his famous readers.

6/5/13 When all else fails, Editor Don Russell attempts his sexy come hither look in an attempt to sell more subscriptions. It usually works, and then he just has some explaining to do to Irene.....

6/5/13 When all else fails, Editor Don Russell attempts his sexy come hither look in an attempt to sell more subscriptions. It usually works, and then he just has some explaining to do to Irene…..

Send anything you need published to Jill at yesdearyousuck@yahoo.com  Of course you may call directly to 530 289-3262 and talk to Don, (and suggest he give a raise to Jill) or the machine. Keep jobs in Sierra County read the Mess.

For a subscription: send in as below or call 530 289-3262 with credit card in hand.. Tell Don, you subscribed because you read about it on Sierra County Prospect…..

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