Bikers riding illegally on horse trails in Park

 

Editor:

There have been more bikers seen by horseback riders on

narrow footpaths/ hoof-paths (single track trails in biker lingo) at Point Reyes National Seashore in recent weeks. Last week I noticed eight on Horse Trail and Z Ranch Trail. This must mean they are also riding trails illegally in other Park lands too. Some of the bikes we saw were riding at extreme speeds past our horses. Luckily our seasoned trail horses rode it out. As prey animals horses have an innate fear of attack from the rear.

 

Dave Schifsky, the Chief Ranger at PRNS wants to know about this so he and his team can better patrol their trails. He asks that you to file a report so he can post rangers at the area. His email is below. Trail riders do not have to confront anyone! Just report them including the time, the day and the trail name.

 

Pt Reyes National Seashore

Bear Valley Dispatch

If there is an emergency Park Dispatch number is 911

David Schifsky, Chief Ranger at Bear Valley

Email: david_schifsky@nps.gov

tel: 464- 5175

Dispatch number: tel: 464-5170 (call this first)

 

Please do not assume someone else will. Please help us all by filing a report if you see illegal bikes on trail and don’t rely on just one or two people to file the reports. We don’t want to be left up a creek without a paddle!

 

Marina Eisenzimmer

 

West Marin Sheriff’s Logs

 

Monday February 2

Marshall 7:47 p.m. Man called to report that a woman was calling him repeatedly accusing him of being involved in a hit and run. Man reportedly does not know what woman is talking about and thought that the whole thing was rather odd.

Bolinas 11:32 p.m. Woman called to report that she had given an eviction notice to her roommate and now was concerned about the vibe at home.

Tuesday February 3

Bolinas 9:28 a.m. Man called to report his concerns regarding a friend of his. Man believes she was drinking last night and possibly again this morning. Woman is reportedly now driving around town.

Point Reyes Station 11:39 a.m. Rancher reported that one of their cows was grazed by a bullet sometime last week.

Lagunitas 12:13 p.m. Landlord reported that they had served an eviction notice the other day and now was receiving threats from that person.

Nicasio 5:33 p.m. Woman reported that she had just committed a hit and run and now was being pursued by three motorcyclists. Call transferred to CHP.

Wednesday February 4

Woodacre 3:48 p.m. Woman called to report that there was some barbed wire on the ground in front of her driveway. Woman believed that someone had done this on purpose. Woman was advised to cut up the wire and throw it in her garbage/

Thursday February 5

Nicasio 6:32 a.m. A motorist reported that a young man jumped in front of their vehicle and yelled at them. Car and owner were near the Metallica ‘compound’. Man was found by deputies and quickly released as no crime was committed.

Point Reyes Station 9:43 a.m. A man was placed on an involuntary hold for being a danger to himself and/or others.

Point Reyes Station 11:28 a.m. A woman called to state that she was trying to report a hit and run to CHP and that they had hung up on her before she could make her report.

Point Reyes Station 12:01 p.m. A woman was being hostile and disruptive in waiting room. Woman was reportedly using profanities and left on her own accord. Caller instructed to call deputies back if she returned.

Lagunitas 10:11 p.m. Reporting parties son stated that he saw two ‘meth heads’ in the bushes with a metal pipe. Deputies unable to locate alleged drug abusing duo.

Friday February 6

Stinson Beach 2:10 p.m. Woman called to report that she was concerned about her husband’s welfare. Husband had gone to their weekend home and reported that there was an unknown vehicle parked in their driveway. Husband stated he would call her back after investigating. Woman had yet to hear back from him.

Woodacre 2:24 p.m. Dispatcher received a call on 911 line from someone who hung up immediately. Dispatcher could hear child screaming in the background. Deputies went to address and mom told them that one of her children had fallen and her other child called 911 in a panic. Woman was slurring her words and subsequently arrested for child endangerment.

Forest Knolls 3:10 p.m. Granddad called deputies after he tried to pick up his grandchild per the terms of court ordered visitation policy. Mom, who allegedly has mental health issues, was refusing to abide by order. Mom retained custody of child until further notice.

Lagunitas 5:12 p.m. A man trying to update his Equifax account with credit alerts became suspicious that credit protection option was possibly a scam. Extremely cautious man was advised to contact the company directly.

Saturday February 7

Point Reyes Station 8:26 a.m. Woman called 911 and refused to tell dispatcher why she was calling. Deputy answered her call and found out that someone may have intentionally bent the callers windshield wipers while she was parked at the Market. Woman had fixed her wipers but wanted deputy to know what had happened.

Bolinas 12:32 p.m. Reporting party stated that another person had pushed them and now was outside their residence. Alleged ‘pusher’ was cited for battery.

Bolinas 7:13 p.m. Renter stated that there was a discrepancy between what they had paid landlord for deposit and last month’s rent and wanted advice on how to address issue.

Sunday February 8

Inverness 7:48 p.m. Reporting party stated that there was a dog barking in the vicinity for the past few hours.

 

Coastal Health Alliance welcomes two new providers

Elizabeth O’Brien, LCSW

Coastal Health Alliance (CHA) is pleased to announce the addition of two great providers to their care teams.
Elizabeth O’Brien, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with an extensive background providing clinical services in both mental health and Community Health Center settings, joined our staff on February 9, 2015. Elizabeth comes to CHA from the Marin Community Clinics in San Rafael where she has been providing individual and group behavioral health services since 2011. Elizabeth will work closely with CHA’s primary care medical teams as an integrated behavioral health specialist to help patients develop and achieve self-management goals for improved health outcomes. Elizabeth’s position is funded by a Federal grant designed to promote innovative approaches to integrating behavioral and medical health services. She is bilingual in English and Spanish and extensively trained in the techniques of Motivational Interviewing, Problem-Solving Treatment, and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. She lives in Inverness Park with her family. “I learned a lot working over the hill, and I am grateful for the professional experience,” Elizabeth says of the years she worked at a larger health center. “I am excited to be working in my community again now in joining CHA. It feels like coming home.”
Katie Kindt, DDS
Katie Kindt, DDS, has taken over as the lead dentist for the Oral Health program and is providing general dental services on Wednesday and Friday at 60 4th Street in Point Reyes Station. Dr. Kindt has 28 years of experience providing a wide range of patient care. “Ultimately for me it’s making sure that every single person that walks through the door is treated with the utmost respect and attention to total care so that they have an experience that is enjoyable, relaxing and informative regardless of their financial status or background,” explains Dr. Kindt. She provides efficient and high-quality dentistry with a patient-centered approach. She lives in San Anselmo, and you might see her commuting to work by bicycle. Started as a pilot program in June 2014, CHA Dental plans on expanding to a full schedule by the summer of 2015 to better meet the needs of the community.

The addition of Elizabeth O’Brien and Katie Kindt fully supports CHA’s commitment to providing a “patient-centered health home” by integrating medical, dental and behavioral health services, ensuring that patients experience continuity of care, and have a secure place for all of their healthcare needs. CHA’s commitment to providing “patient centered care” means going beyond asking patients, “What is the matter with you?” to learning “What matters to you?” By finding out what matters to you, CHA is able to create treatment and wellness plans that are aligned with your own hopes, beliefs, and goals about your health and well-being. This collaborative approach leads to trusting, long-lasting relationships that optimize health and wellness.

CHA is a cohesive team of health care providers and support staff dedicated to wellness, compassion, affordability and excellence of care. They are a private, non-profit, Federally Qualified Health Center, receiving Section 330 grant funding from the federal government to provide quality health services to community members, regardless of ability to pay. CHA serves patients insured with Medicare (18.5%), Med-Cal (26%), and Private Insurance (32.5% – including Kaiser Permanente), as well as self-paying and uninsured (23%) patients.

 

Measles in Marin

“Having the right to do something does not mean it is always the right thing to do.” Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools

By Ellen Shehadeh
Linda Petersen

Americans value their freedoms. The spectrum is wide- from abortion to guns. Recently in Marin County, freedom has focused on the parents’ right to opt out of formerly required MMR immunizations for diseases like measles, mumps rubella for their children who attend public and private schools and day care centers. It has come to the fore as a once rare disease, measles, has begun to spread across the state, incubated in of all places, the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland in Orange County.

Parents in Marin County are viewed as interested and informed about health and safety issues but many view the perceived risks of vaccines to be greater than the benefits derived from them. The once perceived threat of vaccines causing autism has been laid to rest with many research studies, but for some the fear persists

The concept of “herd immunity” has become a reality for certain diseases. When a large enough proportion of people refuse vaccinations, once contained diseases can begin to disperse among the population and can again become a widespread danger to health

Measles is not necessarily a benign disease. Although is most cases it involves fever rash and discomfort, for some it can lead to pneumonia, swelling of the brain and in rare cases death.

California is among 20 states that allow parents to refuse vaccination for their children based on personal beliefs. However, a new law which took effect last year mandates that parents who request an exemption must consult with their doctor first who signs off on a form saying they have been informed of the risks of opting out. Those who claim an exemption for religious reasons do not need a doctor’s signature.

Both the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Marin County Superintendent of Schools have taken strong stands on the advisability of vaccination. In loud and clear language, Marin County Public Health Officer Matt Willis, MD, MPH issued a press release stating that “if your child is unvaccinated or cannot provide laboratory confirmation of immunity and there is a case in their school, they will be excluded from attending school for 21 days to protect themselves and to limit further spread of disease.” He further points out that it takes two weeks to develop immunity after receiving the measles vaccine

Willis does not hold to the belief that excluding unvaccinated children from school where there is no evidence of measles transmission is an effective strategy for limiting the spread of the disease.

 

Mary Jane Burke, Marin County Superintendent of Schools, made a particularly forceful statement in her press release. She believes that “while parents may have the statutory right of refusal, they do not have the ethical right to expose others to their children’s lack of protection. Having the right to do something,” she states, “does not mean it is always the right thing to do.” She also quotes a recent NY Times article that points out “before 1963 when vaccines became widespread millions of Americans were infected (with measles) annually, and 400-500 died each year.

She fully supports the recent Public Health pronouncement issued by Matt Willis.

As of January 27, 2015 there have been 68 confirmed cases of measles in California in the year 2015. Last week, according the Marin IJ, two unvaccinated children became the first reported measles cases in Marin. The same article reports that “6.45 percent of Marin’s kindergarteners are not fully vaccinated against communicable disease, with some schools showing rates of 50 percent of more.” According to the state Department of Public Health, Marin has long had the Bay Area’s highest rate of “personal belief exemptions.”

Staff of our local Coastal Health Alliance report that due to the outbreak they are experiencing “a surge of interest” in vaccinating. “Parents who were against vaccines are changing their minds and are having their children vaccinated.” Interestingly, these same parents are also being vaccinated themselves.

Those with compromised immune systems are not eligible to receive vaccinations. These same students, some who have been treated for cancer, are the most vulnerable of all. The Marin IJ did a moving story on a 6-year-old boy, Rhett Krawitt, who has fought leukemia for over 4 years and is in remission. His father is calling for the Superintendent to require all children to be vaccinated so that children like his son can benefit form herd immunity and attend school.

Even more locally Alex Porrata’s son Ezekiel Porrata Powell has just finished a year of cancer treatment. He would love to go to school but probably won’t be able to because of the risks posed by unvaccinated children. Ironically Porrata’s other child, Yolanda, contracted whooping cough at age 6 weeks and was hospitalized for 10 days. Whooping cough is another disease that was almost wiped out before the fear of vaccine allowed the disease to reemerge.

 

 

 

 

The progressive left has failed us

 

Editor:

 

As the great man once said, “it would take a heart of stone not to laugh out loud” at the full page declarations of existential angst coming from committed utopian progressives as they watch the almost two century old experiment in redistributive social justice crumble right before their eyes.

 

In an effort to explain this troubling phenomenon, techniques that became popular during the Stalinist and Maoist purges of the last century have been resurrected.

 

The indisputably neo-Marxist denizens of today’s faculty lounge have produced a spate of transparently biased academic studies seeking to prove the mental inferiority of those holding views that do not hew precisely to those of the politically correct, social justice warriors.

 

That approach has gained little traction, so now we have local speculation blaming some genetic mutation from millennia past for this otherwise inexplicable shift to the right.

 

It is never mentioned that for the last couple of centuries, the ratchet has always been turning to the progressive left, and some form of redistributive, socialist democracy is the default government all across the civilized world.

 

Yet the problem never seems to lie with the multicultural, utopian progressive political and social paradigm itself.

 

No, it is always that the human element or, at least certain less highly evolved segments of that human element who have failed the divinely inspired commitment to politically correct, environmentally hysterical, redistributive utopian progressivism, or have actively conspired to sabotage the program.

 

The simple truth is that people are turning to the common sense ideas of responsible adults, because the progressive left has had the run of the place for far too long, and has left a hell of a mess in their wake.

 

Not only do their schemes not work, they reliably produce results precisely the opposite of the original intent.

 

These unintended consequences and outright failures are becoming harder and harder to rationalize or explain away, and are being rejected despite the near saturation bombing level of indoctrination and propagandizing that flows in an endless stream from the media, academia and the political class.

 

The definition of insanity has been to keep doing the same thing, over & over again, while expecting a

different result.

From where I sit, I see exploding cigar after exploding cigar going off right in the kissers of members of a near religious cult, with little evidence that they will ever realize that the slick grifters handing them out really do not have their best interests at heart.
Paul Lesniak,
Stinson Beach

Begs to differ with Littleton’s views

 

Editor:

 

I found John Littleton’s article in the last edition of the West Marin Citizen interesting. However, I differ with his explanation of the right-wing political swing. He posits a genetic shift to what he terms “Homo dominativus” from the older “homo sapiens”. I find genetic explanations a retreat from thinking and acting about our social and political arrangements.

Genetic explanations are a form of “medicalization” of a problem and, as such, are a form of domination and, eventually, may become a form of social control and domination. Read Huxley.

John’s retreat into genetics furthermore violates Occam’s razor, the scientific axiom that of a number of explanations, the simplest, which fits the facts, is most apt to be true. John, have you considered the growth of population and the subsequent demand upon lands and resources as an alternate explanation. With this growth come growing centralization and the usurping of power from everyday life. Just a thought to add to the conversation.

 

Paul Elmore,

Marshall

Point Reyes Pilates instructor invents new office chair

Begin with chairs-2Begin Chairs
By Dan Mankin
Point Reyes Pilates instructor Maria Mankin started out with an idea to help her aging mother and ended up inventing and patenting a chair that can be used both for the office and for exercising—the Begin Chair™. Begin Chair, the only portable ball chair available with comfortable lumbar support that adjusts to the spine’s natural curves, is now being produced and sold through Balanced Body®, the leading source of mindful movement equipment, information and education.

Like many older individuals, Mankin’s mother Lina found it difficult to get up out of a chair and was unable to lie on the ground to exercise, and Mankin wanted to find a way to help her develop her core muscles to increase her well being and independence. Drawing on her background as a Pilates instructor, circus performer and creative artist, Maria created the Begin Chair, a portable ball chair that promotes healthy posture and provides the right amount of instability to activate core muscles.

According to one of Maria’s client’s Lorraine Almeida, “I found that the chair allowed me to begin exercise and strengthening, when it was difficult to exercise standing or on the floor.  I used to get out of breath quickly before the chair was used.”

As Maria began testing the Begin Chair with older adults, she soon discovered wider applications, including use as an office chair. “With increasing concerns about the health risks of sitting for hours on end, this is a great time to start sitting smarter at the office and at home,” said Mankin. “My chair is designed to help.” Studies show that sitting for long periods of time is linked to an increased risk of obesity and of dying from ailments such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The Begin Chair is a stylish, portable ball chair that comes with or without wheels, depending on whether is to be used as an office chair or exercise chair. It is made in the United States and available through Sacramento-based Balanced Body® (www.balancedbody.com), the world’s largest Pilates equipment manufacturing company. The chair is currently for sale in 106 countries.

Maria Mankin is the owner and operator of the Begin Pilates studio (www.beginpilates.com) in Point Reyes. Born and raised in Catania, Sicily, Mankin moved to the United States in 1983. She has more than 30 years of experience in bodywork and movement, from coaching soccer teams to walking the slack rope in the circus ring. A Pilates instructor for the past 15 years, she draws on her diverse background in circus arts, acrobatics, the Feldenkrais technique, the Franklin method, and a Stott Pilates certification to create a thoughtful and engaging practice for her students.

Begin Pilates is located in the Livery Building in Point Reyes and information about classes can be found at www.beginpilates.com and the phone number is 415-663-9303.

The Begin Chair can be purchased on line from Balanced Body:
www.balanced body.com.

 

 

 

Good reasons to be concerned about CA Dept. of Agriculture PEIR

Editor,

Actions speak louder than words. California Department of Agriculture states in its response in the January 29th Citizen to criticisms of its PEIR that commenters have been “misled about plans for pest prevention and management”. However, CDFA’s past actions show that there is very good reason for concern.

One glaring example is in 2007 CDFA’s aerial sprayed the city of Santa Cruz with untested chemicals for the light brown apple moth. The harmful result to people’s health was well documented at the time by a local citizen, as CDFA was completely uninterested and unresponsive to the outcry from people whose health had been affected by the spraying.

Then in 2008 CDFA planned to aerial spray toxic chemicals for the light brown apple moth over the whole Bay Area and other cities in California monthly for seven years. This was called an emergency so that no EIR would be necessary. There was a huge outcry and massive protests in many forms by the public who were aware of what had happened in Santa Cruz.

I joined the Stop the Spray movement at the time and was witness to what happened. Finally, because of public protests, demanding an EIR and lawsuits, we were able to stop them.

After all that, no spraying took place and the apple moth turned out to be no problem. This says a lot about what it’s all about. The pesticide industries are major players in this agency.

These are blatant examples of their actions in the past and warnings about what could happen again. We need laws in place that make them accountable.

The deepest concern about this plan is that it allows an arsenal of 79 toxic chemicals, some of them highly dangerous, to be used anywhere in the state, any time into the indefinite future. The state can also approve new pesticide treatments and treatment sites behind closed doors without public scrutiny or notice.

CDFA have given themselves a mandate to do what they want when they want and, without notice or input, and we wouldn’t have a way to stop the potential threat to organic farmers, to us and our environment.

Careful scrutiny of the plan has lead to the formation of a lawsuit by a 12 organizations to protect the public. Please support these lawsuits that are about giving the public a choice in the matter.

 

Link to press release for the lawsuit: http://bit.ly/cbd-suit-pr

Link to filing (53-page PDF): http://bit.ly/cal-peir-lawsuit

Donate to PANNA: http://bit.ly/donate-to-panna

To send a check:

Payable to Pesticide Action Network

Memo: CDFA PEIR litigation

Mail to: Pesticide Action Network

       1611 Telegraph Ave., Suite 1200

       Oakland CA 94612

You can donate tax-free to support our work.

 

 

Eleanor Lyman, Bolinas

 

 

 

 

What is Team Care at the Coastal Health Alliance?

By Mike Witte, M.D.
Dani Vincent, RN, approached me this week about a new patient. The man showed up at one of our health centers with a minor injury, which she tended to. He was very appreciative, but while treating him, Dani noticed, in getting his deeper story, that he had some serious issues that were more chronic. She also discovered that he was homeless, and not able to easily find a place to stay. She called Health and Human Services in Point Reyes, and got the social service team activated to help him. That day, one of their staff met him in town to help find him shelter and to get him access to services. Dani alerted me to all this so that one of the doctors in our group would know what was in progress to help this man. She also contacted one of his relatives in another state to alert them to his situation and get more information to be able to help him. She set him up with future appointments with one of our doctors to pursue helping his other problems.
Allan Zephyr, RN and Allison Cole, RN were discussing one of our very complicated patients today. They were sharing updated information regarding her care, as she had just had major orthopedic surgery and was entering a rehab hospital. She wouldn’t be able to come in for her regular visits during this time, and they wanted to consult each other regarding next steps in how to best help her from a distance while she is rehabilitating from her major surgery. They parsed out her various needs in transitioning to home: a hospital bed, in-home caregiver, nutritional needs, in-home physical therapy and occupational therapy, medication adjustments and possible side effects.
Jennifer Dow, RN and Maricela Luna, one of our many great Medical Assistants, spent their entire lunch hour, with the Health Center otherwise closed, sitting with one of our patients who had nearly passed out when she had her blood drawn. They quickly assessed her for safety, and called in a physician to evaluate her. Once they knew she was safe, they stayed with her to emotionally support her through a scary event. When she felt up to going home, fully recovered, she was very grateful for the caring support from Jen and Mari

The general practice of medicine has evolved dramatically over the past generation. Doctors in primary care—GPs, family doctors, internists and pediatricians, are continually inundated with new information and new demands on their time to help their sick patients get well and help their healthy patients stay that way. They are also being asked to screen all patients, young and old, to help prevent many common diseases.
At Coastal Health Alliance we empower each and every staff member to develop skills in listening and communication, as well as to show empathy and sincere interest for our patients’ needs. Our front office and phone team members are likely the first person that a patient will talk with when accessing the health center, and therefore play a vital role in making our patients feel welcome and supported. They set the tone for our interactions in the health center in which all staff members strive to help each patient receive “the kind of care they want, when they want it.”
We have formed four care teams made up of all our staff. Each team has a panel of patients for whom they are the primary contact. At the beginning of each clinic day, the teams each meet for 15 minutes to prepare for all patient visits that day. Beforehand, the RN on each team has identified more complex situations and addressed them to the team. The RNs and MAs (Medical Assistants) partner with the doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to help patients get their lab results, medication refills, and communicate advice to them.
This Team Care concept is in the works with us. We are just now learning this concept and identifying how to best work together as teams. And, at the center of this care is the patient. Our teams have no one leader. Different people rise up to lead different aspects of what we do. But the team would never be complete without each patient being centrally involved in decisions about her or his care. We see our roles as providing expert and appropriate tools to help the central member of our teams, each one of our patients, to reach their goals for good health.

Gentle Bodywork to resolve pain and restore health

And it’s not just for human animals

by Cathy Teague with Linda Petersen

David Willingham, a local practitioner of Bowenwork, will be teaching an introduction to Bowenwork beginning March 29 in Mill Valley, and he regularly sees clients throughout Marin and Northern California.

The Massagetherapy website explains that the Bowen Technique was developed by Thomas Ambrose Bowen of Australia in the 1960s and 1970s. The hands-on, light-touch body therapy consists of gentle rolling movements over muscle bellies and tendons to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanisms. Originally intended to help people suffering from muscular-skeletal problems, the technique has also been successful with many other adult conditions as well as ailments in children, pre-teens, and animals.

Willingham, who moved to Northern California in 1989, considers that “discovering Bowen was a miracle.” He has been practicing for more than ten years and has received accreditation for Advanced Bowen 1 and 2 from the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia. According to Willingham, some 20,000 people have received Bowen training and there are more than 700 practioners worldwide.

A Bowen session lasts from 60-90 minutes while lying on a massage table covered with a sheet or blanket. Bowen does not “treat” specific conditions but rather stimulates the body to activate its own healing mechanism. The technique is relaxing, so some people fall asleep during the session.

David says: “I am a picky person and discovering Bowen was a miracle; at times the work bounces me to places I’d never known of, so I trust it is the right thing because I’ve met some amazing people.

 

Receiving Bowen is good for all, and  I am also employed with Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy in Mill Valley as a wellness practitioner. Bowenwork is a light touch modality and people have been entrained to harder, deeper, faster bodywork, which is not how Tom Bowen approached the body when he created this modality. Once the body receives a Bowen move the body knows what to do with it. People usually throw their body into the milieu of life and want quick fixes and sure fire remedies when there is a blow out, so Bowen is one of many options, albeit a little understood one.  I wish I could invent the one-a-day magic cure all pill! For toddlers and older.”

 

Dogs and horses respond very well to soft tissue manual therapy, while cats can be a handful. Fewer sessions are usually required with animals because animals seem to receive and process the work easily and with good results.

David began Equine Bowenwork in 2005 and now offers “Equine Synchrony Bowenwork.” Using Bowenwork and hands-on touch, a horse and rider are given sessions to balance both for a more integrative and fluid experience during competition and everyday work times. Working with horses is gratifying because they respond to the Bowenwork moves quickly, and one can see results in a short time.

Equine Bowen (Bowenwork for Horses) is formally called Equine Muscle Release Therapy, known as EMRT. It is popular in the horse world, originating in Australia under the direction of Bowen trained Ali Goward, who operates the Equus College of Learning and Research in Queensland, Australia.

For additional information, contact David at david@purebowen.comor call (415)328-7894.

Photo courtesy of David Willingham

 

Double vision

 

Not because we’ve had too many glasses of wine, no. We are often frightened to speak with others about the serious issues that confront our world, because many people we meet live in odd fantasies, alternate histories, and we feel it is counterproductive to challenge their illusions. And it would be rude. Instead, we avoid the topics upon which we disagree. But this leaves us with double narratives, particularly concerning American Presidents. Both narratives cannot be true, but we live as though history was a matter of taste. You like chocolate labs; I like tabby cats, an irreconcilable difference.

Two Kennedys, the classic case

I met a fellow outside the Dance Palace once, though I’d met him one hundred times before, who told me President Kennedy was a great man who would have ended the Vietnam War had he the chance. I mentioned that JFK had authorized the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam, that he authorized bombing of South Vietnam to, among other things, destroy crops there (“we starved some folks”), that he intended to end the war, yes, “after victory” meaning killing enough people to bend the opposition to our will, as described in detail in the Pentagon Papers. This is what we did, and is never mentioned by his worshipers. But this man I spoke with had the most perfect counter-argument I have yet heard by the Kennedy devotees, and I have endured a lifetime of listening to men and women chatter psalms of the peace on earth we would have known had only JFK lived. He told me, “Well, I knew Kennedy. And he told me he didn’t do those things.” Yes, this fellow, on the street in Point Reyes, assured me that, when he was an 18 year old soldier, he had a private conversation with President Kennedy and was given the inside scoop. He may as well have claimed to have spoken to JFK’s ghost, but that I guess would be unserious.

The Mitford defense

Let’s suppose he did have the conversation he described with JFK, that he is telling the truth. I call this the Mitford Defense. Diana Mitford married the fascist Oswald Mosley in Heidelberg in 1936 and had as guest of honor at her wedding, Der Furher. When confronted at a party toward the end of her life about whether she had gotten it all wrong; whether, you know, Hitler might have not been such a great guy after all, she replied, “Well, you never knew Hitler, did you?” Case closed.

: One Gore and what could have been

Remember Bush v Gore? It comes up sometimes when I am having coffee with the bench bunch in Tomales. I hear that if only Gore had won the election (who said he didn’t) there would be no Iraq war, and long story short, everything presently wrong in the world might be right. That is a counter-factual. We don’t know what Al Gore would have done because it didn’t happen. But what we do know is that the Supreme Court made an brazen decision to hand the presidency to Bush, that there was a very strong argument to hold a full recount in Florida, and that in sum the election may have been stolen. But no one wants to pursue these issues. They just say, Al, “could’a been somebody.” If there is a miscarriage of justice, a crime, a constitutional crisis, it requires action; it makes us responsible to act. But why pursue the crime, when you can just imagine a world in which it didn’t happen, one in which the good guy won? Like the fictional JFK, we have a fictional Gore presidency, considered in every imaginary detail.

Two Obamas
One crucial problem of having a Democrat in the White House is the silence that falls upon his transgressions from the left media. I started reading Glenn Greenwald in 2010 when he was battling all of these journalists and public figures on the “left” who when Bush was president wrote all of these true and just and angry things about our Constitution being violated, about wars of aggression, of torture, of surveillance, the Patriot Act – and then – when Obama was elected, and these practices were continued, and the perpetrators uncharged, the same journalists formerly standing on the highest principals became the most craven apologists. They crawled on their bellies for Obama. For them, if Obama did anything wrong it was because it was beyond his control; if he did no good, it was because his enemies wouldn’t let him.

In a way, to have a broad popular discussion about the criminality of these elected officials and bureaucrats, the shredding of the constitution, etc., we will have to have a Republican president, not that I go so far as to advocate that. It would restore the spine and sanity of the Democratic rank and file. It is the only way many of my neighbors will allow themselves to see the world as it is, rather than the distortion they have lived with as they praised and defended Obama for the same behaviors that convinced them that Bush should be impeached, tried at the Hague, etc. It is a nasty and unrecognized irony.

The two Titos

It reminds me of a common Serbian conspiracy theory, I call “the two Titos.” The first Marshall Tito was the good man who, with his partisans, defended the Balkans from the Nazis. The second Tito was an impostor. You see Tito went to the USSR and was killed. The Soviets returned him with a fake, second Tito, who did all the bad attributed to him in the post war period. And typical of that culture, Number 2 was a Jew! This is the game Democrats play with Obama. On the campaign trail was Obama Number 1. It was the President, Obama Number 2, who betrayed us.

Two Clintons

You may have heard we are going to have another election for President in 2016. Lots of people in West Marin will initially go gaga for Hillary Clinton. Then as in 2008, if the Democratic Party nominates a different person, they will tell you they always loved that candidate, too, and go gaga again. And of course none of it matters because if nominated she will win California without you, and doesn’t need your money because she will get it from Wall Street.

I have never understood the love and admiration Clintons inspired, but I think it relates to our perception of whether there is a crisis or not. And by crisis I mean our out-look on day-to-day survival. The middle class, the poor, the climate, the wars, these are all abstractions. Survival has been reduced to watching the performance of stock market indices, to watching our portfolios. Are they appreciating in value or not? Are we getting the dividend payments or not? If the stock market is rising, as it was in the Clinton 90’s, then things are good. On that basis alone I think, many people have positive memories of Bill Clinton.
By almost any other measure, he was a disaster of a President, but only insomuch as his presidency effected those abstract categories I mentioned – the poor welfare recipient, the union worker, the displaced immigrant, the victims of his bombing of Sudan, Iraq, the Balkans, aka, who? Not anyone we have to dinner, certainly. The stock market went up; therefore, Bill Clinton is a good president.

Hilary represents that undying commitment to measure success by stock market performance. Whether or not it relates to a healthy economy, just that it makes us feel good about our investments, meaning, our ability to live in that particular style we call survival.

We ought to say, honestly, we don’t care about politics or religion, in the sense of ideas whose purpose is to change society for the better. We care about money. We are groovy rich people trying to enjoy life in West Marin, and please leave us alone. But the persistent ghost of virtue haunts us; we can’t give up the pretense; we want to feel good about ourselves. And to avoid the intolerable condition of knowing, which might compel us to do something about it, we surround ourselves with people of the exact same opinions as us. And then, since there is nothing to disagree about, we can get on uninterrupted with eating all of that delicious cheese, talking about the music we like and our recent trips, our various self-expressions, writing or painting, etc., like so many doilies draped over lumpy couch cushions, and go for a hike in our National Park. Problem solved.
To play this game of the fictive double with Hillary, the good Hillary for now, the bad Hillary later, as though she was an unknown quantity, is absurd, but let me give the last word to Glenn Greenwald, justly the hero of left-wing American journalism:
“Hillary is banal, corrupted, drained of vibrancy and passion. I mean, she’s been around forever, the Clinton circle. She’s a [expletive] hawk and like a neocon, practically. She’s surrounded by all these sleazy money types who are just corrupting everything everywhere. But she’s going to be the first female president, and women in America are going to be completely invested in her candidacy. Opposition to her is going to be depicted as misogynistic, like opposition to Obama has been depicted as racist. It’s going to be this completely symbolic messaging that’s going to overshadow the fact that she’ll do nothing but continue everything in pursuit of her own power. They’ll probably have a gay person after Hillary who’s just going to do the same thing.”

Concerning those contrary opinions, my colleague, Paul Elmore, who has pointed out the hollowing out of West Marin, tells me this makes it easier for us. He says, “Those who do not measure their politics in money, are forced to leave. And we do not have to put up with them.”

The good times roll at Perry’s pop-up

 

By Mary Olsen

 

A Louisiana themed dinner at the new Gather space at Perry’s was a big success Saturday, January 24, thanks to Chef Ed Vigil’s familiarity with the lusty, flamboyant cuisine. Ed’s wife, Dee Wagner, from New Orleans, has apparently had a delicious influence on Ed.

 

The evening began promptly at 6 pm with a plate of tasty little bites, one of which was alligator with a cornmeal crust, which was why I had signed up for the dinner. Yes, it does taste like chicken, almost exactly. Same texture, too. It shared space with a little crab pancake and a crawfish beignet, both with spicy, interesting sauces.

 

The servers for the evening, Molli Milner and Lea Hickman, were gracious and adept at serving the thirty plus patrons. Despite the awkwardness of having to go outside the deli to get to the dining space, the food was served hot from the kitchen and people at each table were all served at the same time – great teamwork.

 

A Romaine salad came next. Thinly slice Tasso Ham, a southern specialty that resembles prosciutto, corn bread croutons, smoked cheddar cheese had just the right amount of vinaigrette. The salad and the tasty bites would have made a satisfying supper for me,

 

I wasn’t prepared for the enormous red snapper that suddenly swam onto my plate. The red fish on a pink little pond of crab and shrimp sauce looked lovely. t was perfectly cooked. My only whine was that my lemon was thinly sliced so it made squeezing it difficult and messy.

 

My dining companion, Mr. Olsen, chose the Devil’s Gulch pork chop. They must have really big hogs over there at Devil’s Gulch. I’ve never seen such a huge chop in all my life. It was served with dirty rice, which looked and tasted a lot like risotto to me. And it didn’t taste dirty at all. The collard greens were also lightly and cleanly cooked, not braised all day. They retained their shiny green brightness.

 

The third choice of the evening was gumbo with chicken and sausage. No one at my table ordered it, so unfortunately I didn’t get to taste it. I asked the diners at the next table how they liked it, but no one offered me a bite. I’ll be keeping an eagle eye out for it in case Ed puts it on his weekly menu in the future. It looked gorgeous. (Ed creates a complete and different dinner every night and sends out a weekly e-mail to those who’ve signed up in the store. The meals are between $17 and $21/person. Bring your own container and get a $1 off.)

 

Our tablemates, newlyweds Elizabeth Hill and Chris Eckert, who had just returned from their wedding in New Orleans, declared their meals authentic and as wonderful as anything they had had on their honeymoon. Perhaps is was their infectious happiness that made the evening such a glowing success?

 

Dessert was warm beignets with a coffee bourbon sauce. I was more than pleasantly full so I took mine home and had them for breakfast on Sunday morning. A few minutes in the toaster oven and I was sitting at the Cafe Du Monde, beside the Mississippi, watching the River Queen load her passengers.