Don’t let the stars get in your eyes

I generally don’t comment on the work of my  fellow columnists at The Union–heck, we get enough comments from the readers–but I can’t resist replying to Hilary Hodge’s column in today’s edition about the California Democratic Party convention.

Hodge, a first-time participant, recounted that she was impressed with the activity and energy she encountered, but found fault with some aspects of the media’s coverage of the event. Specifically, she wrote that:

“The big news out of the convention was the chair’s race.  Mainstream media reported the big story, framing the narrative with the tired idea that the race was about tradition vs. progress. From my experience, the division narrative is a lie.”

The race for state chairman pitted Eric Bauman, the candidate of establishment Democrats, against Kimberly Ellis, a relative unknown who was considered an outsider. Ellis lost the race by 62 votes, a result that didn’t set well with her or her supporters. Maybe that’s why they booed Bauman when he gave his acceptance speech.

Backers of Bernie Sanders felt they were mistreated during last year’s primary race by a party establishment that had already anointed Hillary Clinton as the party’s candidate (they were right) and that resentment is still evident today.

RoseAnn DeMoro, head of the California Nurses Association and a long-time Sanders backer, said before the start of the state convention that the party establishment is in “absolute crisis and denial” for refusing to move farther to the left.

Then there’s ex-Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who told the convention, “There are some who have never been in the trenches, in the fight for social and economic justice. These Davos Democrats fly over the homes of Californians left behind–have never been in their living rooms.”

Perhaps alluding to the state’s limousine liberals who bankrolled Clinton’s campaign, Villaraigosa said the party needs to prioritize the needs of bus riders over Tesla drivers. (Ouch!)

It is true that the media is always looking for a good fight and there are always dissidents to be found in anything as diverse as a political party, but the tension at the Democratic convention was real and shows the party still hasn’t figured out how to regroup in time for the mid-term elections.

If I was a Republican, I’d feel better about my chances in the mid-terms. If I was a delegate to the convention, I’d get the stars out of my eyes and focus on the real need for the party to come up with a united approach that resonates with blue-collar workers who abandoned the party last November.

 

Posted in Bernie Sanders, Democratic Party, Media, Politics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Wonders will never cease

Jeff “Podunk” Pelline, who has had nothing nice to say about The Union since management showed him the door several years ago, actually gave the newspaper credit for beating YubaNet with the story that ex-Supervisor Terry Lamphier’s no-contest plea to porn charges has been dismissed by a judge.

Why didn’t YubaNet have the story? Because nobody sent them a press release! LOL.

Posted in Jeff Pelline, Media, The Union newspaper, YubaNet | 3 Comments

Conspiracy theories are alive and thriving at Ruminations

The boys over at Rebane’s Ruminations are all excited over the possibility that a murdered member of the staff of the Democratic National Committee may have leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks, and was killed in retaliation. Even the good doctor is apparently buying into this.

Seth Rich, who had worked for the DNC for about a year, was killed while on a late night walk in Washington, D.C., last summer. The investigation is still open, but DC police suspect it was a botched robbery. But the alt right drum beaters ascribe a more sinister motive to his death.

The speculation started last August when Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks who is well-known for his probity and honesty, said whistle blowers who supply information to Wikileaks take significant risks, and pointed to Rich’s death as an example. But when pressed by an interviewer, he wouldn’t say whether Rich was Wikileak’s source of the DNC emails.

Then came Rod Wheeler, a private detective whose a regular on Fox News, who told Fox’s D.C. affiliate there was “tangible evidence” Rich communicated with Wikileaks before his death. When pressed by CNN the next day, Wheeler said he had “no evidence” about such contact and “only learned about the possible existence of such evidence” through a reporter from Fox News.

Now we have Kim Dotcom, a fugitive from justice, claiming he hooked up with Rich to leak the emails to Wikileaks. In case you’re not familiar with Mr. Dotcom, he was the operator of the Megaupload pirating site before he was busted a couple of years ago in New Zealand. He is currently fighting extradition to the U.S., where he faces 13 charges of racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud that could get him 20 years in prison.

So there you have it: Two fugitives from justice and a detective who can’t get his story straight, but none of that bothers the conspiracy buffs over at Ruminations, where they know a cover-up when they see one.

Don Bessee, who is expected to provide a level-headed approach to the cultivation of marijuana in this county (wink, wink), is on-board with the latest revelations and local conspiracy enthusiast Russ Steele seems particularly excited over Dotcom’s claims, but then we’ve heard this before.

Steele was all over the claims that Hillary Clinton suffered from Parkinson’s disease (apparently not true), that Obama wiretapped Trump (Trump’s Justice Department can’t find the evidence Steele has), and now he’s willing to believe a fugitive from justice.

Steele claims to be a big booster of STEM education and concerned about the intellectual rot in our institutions of higher learning. If he wants an example of intellectual rot, all Steele has to do is read his own comments and those of his fellow conspirators.

THIS JUST IN: The zaniness never stops at Ruminations. Todd Juvinall is claiming that John F. Kennedy was assassinated by his own supporters. I’ll bet he also thinks Watergate was a hoax. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Todd inhaled way too much sawdust for his own good.

Posted in George Rebane, Todd Juvinall, Uncategorized | Tagged | 6 Comments

With fans like George Rebane, I don’t need any critics

Conservative blogger George Rebane took to KVMR last week and The Union today to fire away at a column I wrote last week criticizing the Board of Supervisors for adding two anti-pot advocates to the committee that’s supposed to develop pot cultivation guidelines for the county.

In the column (http://www.theunion.com/opinion/nevada-county-conservatives-are-fighting-another-battle-they-cant-win/), I suggested that the little drama that unfolded in the supervisors’ chambers was an example of how conservatives refuse to accept the legalization of marijuana and the fact that Nevada County will be at the epicenter of this societal change in  California.

Rebane didn’t find anything to like in the column, claiming I mocked local conservatives for no good reason, and failed to understand that a more balanced approach to the committee’s work will insure cultivation rules that everybody can live with. He also objected to my criticism of the addition of well-known anti-pot foe Don Bessee to the committee.

Rebane had his blinders firmly in place when he wrote that criticism. First there was Supervisor Ed Scofield, who was concerned there were no anti-pot types among the 14 people selected for the committee. “Who always speaks on the other side?” Scofield asked. “You may not like him, but it is Don Bessee.”

Then there’s Rebane’s fellow traveler, Wade Freedle, who declared that while conservatives lost the battle to impose strict marijuana cultivation rules, the war against pot continues. Scofield and Freedle don’t sound like they’re willing to compromise.

Rebane also suggests I tried to link the notorious Scopes monkey trial to local opposition to pot, “thereby also demeaning the intellectual level of his readers. Opposing the legalization of MJ is not the same as accepting evolution as the organizing theory of life on earth.”

That’s a stretch that is bound the leave permanent marks. I wrote that the residents of Dayton, Tenn., still won’t accept the validity of the theory of evolution 92 years after the trial, and can sympathize with local residents who won’t accept the fact that recreational pot is a reality.

In an addendum to his comments on KVMR that appeared on his blog, Rebane provided some insight into how the local political game is played. Bob Hren, chair of the Nevada County Republican Party, wrote Scofield to complain about the makeup of the committee, and copied Rebane. Scofield, the go-to guy on the board for the anti-pot cause, then copied Rebane on his response to Hren. Apparently, Rebane is the consigliere of local conservative politics.

But he also wrote the following: “Lest anyone get the wrong idea, I am a fan of George Boardman and consider him the more erudite local exponent of liberal causes…The above is only a critique of the rhetorical methodology he brought to bear in the county’s cannabis controversy…”

At least he didn’t call me a Progressive. I’m too much of a capitalist to be a Progressive.

Posted in Drugs, George Rebane, Nevada County Board of Supervisors, Nevada County Republican Party, Politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You can’t stay on message with a loose cannon in the West Wing

Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and other cheerleaders for the Trump administration sprang to the defense of the president after the fired FBI Director James Comey, pointing out that he acted on a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

They came to that conclusion because that was the story being put out by Vice President Mike Pence, counselor Kellyanne Conway, and press secretary Sean Spicer. “It’s on (Rosenstein),” Spicer memorably said.

Except it was all a lie, as we learned when Trump told Lester Holt of NBC that he was going to fire Comey regardless of Rosenstein’s recommendation because the FBI director was a “show boat” (apparently only one is allowed in the Trump administration) and that the FBI was in disarray. Trump admitted Russia was on his mind when he made the decision.

Assistant press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders then poured more fuel on the fire by claiming that FBI employees had lost confidence in Comey and that the Russian collusion investigation was just a minor matter in the bureau. Both claims were contradicted by acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

Comey was fired after reports started circulating that the FBI was ramping up the investigation, Comey was getting daily instead of weekly briefings on the probe, and that he requested more money to expand the investigation.

Trump apparently blew a gasket and demanded that Comey be fired immediately. He wasn’t willing to wait until Comey got back to Washington, and couldn’t be bothered to phone him at the FBI’s Los Angeles office, where he was visiting when he heard the news. Anybody who thinks the firing wasn’t over the Russian investigation has been drinking the Kool-Aid.

The irony here is that Trump was within his rights to fire Comey–all he had to do was say he no longer had confidence in Comey’s ability to do the job. Instead, the big thinkers in The White House tried to pin the deed on Rosenstein, igniting a furor they didn’t need.

The backlash buried a very positive achievement for the administration: Getting China to loosen restrictions on American imports. But this is the sort of thing that happens when you have an entry-level presidency.

SPIN THIS:  Trump met earlier this week with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador to the U.S., an event that excluded the media. The only outsider present was an official Russian government photographer, or so the Trumpies were told.

As it turned out, he was a photographer for TASS, the Russian government news agency, and they were the only ones to distributed pictures of the meeting to media around the world. In other words, the Russians got to spin the meeting.

What a bunch of amateurs.

Posted in Donald Trump, Government, Politics, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

No rebuttal necessary

The following letter appeared in today’s edition of The Union:

In reading George Boardman’s column, he equates “safe space” to mean “idea-free zones staffed by thought police…where the enemy is…a thought that deviates from progressive.” Wow.

George, it has been a loooong time since you sat on a campus bench, I guess.

Shirley Fenile, Grass Valley

The following article appeared in today’s edition of The Sacramento Bee:

Two Fresno State students are suing a professor in federal court for erasing anti-abortion messages they wrote in chalk on campus earlier this month, claiming their free speech rights were violated.

Video footage shows Greg Thacher, a professor of public health, scrubbing the chalk message with his shoe and instructing other students to do the same. Thacher claimed that the messages would only be allowed in a designated “free speech zone” on campus.

Posted in Media, Progressives | Leave a comment

Rebane or Boardman? Podunk’s acolyte is confused

Not Rebane

Jeff “Podunk” Pelline is teeing off on fellow blogger George Rebane over his criticism of The Union columnist Hilary Hodge, but the critique seems to be too subtle for one of his loyalists, Annie Fox.

George Rebane

Ms. Fox, an acolyte of Nevada City’s biggest Progressive thinker, seems to be confused when she writes “Hilary is a much better writer than bored georgeman and I detect some envy on his behalf because a nice lady writes better than he.”

I’ll ignore her failure to write a simple declarative sentence and her poor reading comprehension, and merely point out that I’m the guy with hair on my head instead of my face.

Posted in --George Boardman, George Rebane, Jeff Pelline, Uncategorized | 2 Comments