Dissidence in a time of "Terrorism" - John Kiriakou
OtherWords columnist John Kiriakou is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and the winner of the 2015 PEN Center USA First Amendment award. OtherWords.org.
When the government hired me in 1988, it was widely understood that if the National Security Agency intercepted the communications of an American citizen even accidentally heads would roll. Congress had to be informed, an investigation would be launched, and the intercept had to be purged from the system.
Today, the NSA has an enormous facility in Utah big enough to save copies of every email, text message, and phone conversation made by every American for the next 500 years. You can bet they intend to.
I dont know about you, but I dont want my government trampling my civil liberties like this.
Still, people sometimes ask me why they should care if the authorities read their email or listen to their phone calls. I have nothing to hide, they say, so why should I worry about it? (Much more at above link)
After reading the article, I realized that a friend sending me a significant quote probably made by Karl Rove was all the more chilling:
from Daily Kos posts on 9/11 --
The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off.* "That's not the way the world really works anymore." He continued "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that realityjudiciously, as you willwe'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
*Rove speaking/paraphrased. Wiki 2, clarification:
The source of the term is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, The New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, "Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush," quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush (later attributed to Karl Rove )
The vested interests to utilize propaganda to bring the citizens of all of Europe into a conflict that enriched the bankers and the arms dealers. Foreign ministers, who were allied with the bankers, certainly did little, if not outright nothing, to persuade the heads of European nations not to go to war.
I doubt very much they had some 100 year game plan. Greed doesn't work that way.
It was quite helpful that the military generals on all sides decided to treat this war that was basically "infantry fought" as though it were all a cavalry campaign. Not only that, but the citizens in all nations were told that it would all be over by the Christmas holidays of 1914.
Within a year, the generals knew they were wrong, but they couldn't then go about fighting the war in a better way, because first they would have to admit their stupidity. To do that would have meant they would be held accountable for most of the deaths that took place the first year.
Second year of war, same as the first.
Third year of the war, same a the second. And so on, until finally Germany did the decent thing and surrender.
Instead of being thanked for submitting to a surrender, the German people were then pushed into a financial settlement, that would have kept the nation of Germany in debt until the early 1980's.
The fact that most European bankers and foreign ministers were Jewish, and the fact that genetics theory became ascendant during the Nineteen Twenties -- both these factors paved the way for Hitler and his party to take over Germany. (Never mind that the whole genetics argument was a ruse. For instance, we all can determine that here in the USA, our government ministers and bankers of all faiths are willing to put the citizenry into harm's way via needless and endless wars - so genetics should not have been used in this manner.)
So then once Hitler and his band of thugs was in place, you have World War II, during which some fifty million people were killed.
Quite a while ago, Nixon began saying that the world had experienced World War III during all the endless and brutal wars of the USA and Soviet Russia. This War involved of course, our Vietnam war and then Russia's excursion into Afghanistan. With Vietnam War de-stabilizing the area, we then had the Cambodian holocaust. And our governmental ministers, officials and bankers all liked having our nation involved in the wars against the people of Central America, during the 1980's, so the World War III activities continued.
Whether the Egyptian, Syrian situation is part of this World War III period all (and expansion) depends on whether or not Israel is directly attacked. Should that happen, it could well become a thermonuclear war of unprecedented terror, and few of us would be left to debate if the war was "III" or "IV."
This extremely important fact - the Number One concern of many meteorologists and geologists is the volcano-ization possibilities spread out across the planet.
Whenever any of the major volcanoes wake up, they indicate various significant differences in the scenario of Global Warming. When ever a volcano goes off in the Southern Hemisphere, the likelihood of cooling the planet significantly goes up greatly. (Note the volcanic explosion back in the early 1990's that resulted in a significant drop in global temperature.)
At the risk of being called "aery faery" I would say that it looks like Gaia is wanting to take care of itself.
Currently the volcano that I live quite close to, Mt Konocti, here in Northern Calif., is now considered enough of a threat that there are US Geological Society sensors installed on various places on its shoulders. These sensors mean that should the volcano go active, residents of Lake County would have close to six months worth of warning to get out.
This a marks a huge difference in how Mt Konocti was viewed back in October of 2005 when we moved here.
Back then, we were told that the likelihood of it becoming active was extremely remote. Then its "sister volcano" unexpectedly went off down in Chile, and so "our" volcano is no longer considered to be quite so dormant.
If Yellowstone goes up, then we would have a scenario similar to an extreme nuclear winter event.
All this could happen in eight months, or a year, or ten years or two hundred years. The number of volcanoes that could impact the cooling effects on Global "Warming" go up each and every month as there are so many reports of "dormant" volcanoes suddenly needing a different (and greater) consideration.
But then, the American Red Cross used the Lake and Napa County catastrophic fires to raise tons of money -why should they dispense it - the "precious" is theirs to keep in their pocketses!
Storiess in our local Record Bee illustrate that some fire victims are living in tents that are near a creek. Should the expected winter El Nino rains arrive, they will be in an even worse situation.
These are people with few resources, no income available, little in the way of food. A local woman comes in and helps collect dirty laundry and then returns it to the owners - and once in a while, someone makes a stink about the lack of Red Cross involvement, so they will show up with some sandwiches.
This organization needs to be audited from top to toe. It acted the same way with same callous disregard some 12 years ago after the devastating Pomona area fires in Southern California.
But Mainstream Media will never investigate the ARC, as they are smart enough to run big time ad campaigns. Networks would not want to lose that revenue. The networks like and promote the ARC so much that when the fires were still burning, they continually had the small banners at the foot of news stories reminding people to donate to the ARC.
Why, when our own military can go ahead and ignore the US Civil Code, which prohibits experiments on people, then I guess the new environmental policy is "Anything Goes!"
What is happening is that in the forests of the Northwest, the Navy will be flying a type of airplane known as "Growlers" that will emit microwaves to be aimed at various pieces of equipment.
At first, the policy was to be that if people were seen in the area to be impacted, then the military would move its operations to another location, but now it looks like people will be forced out of the forest while these experiments occur. As far as birds, reptiles like snakes and frogs, and small animals, there are many assurances that all will be well.
Some websites state that fifteen minutes of exposure to this type of microwave blast would cause damage to the eyes, due to the high power that these blasts possess.
As Truthout previously reported, if it gets its way, the Navy would utilizing the electronic attack aircraft that specialize in radar jamming - in 2,900 training exercises over wilderness, communities and cities across the Olympic Peninsula for 260 days per year, with exercises lasting up to 16 hours per day. Naval surface fleet ships will also be participating by homing in on ground-based emitters - a topic that was never discussed in the Navy's environmental assessment.
Local residents found out bits and pieces about these exercises, in a scatter shot approach. here is one article printed up locally:
And here are some pertinent comments:
So in short, they are setting up a microwave on steroids that will cook animals, insects, birds, vegetation, & humans in the area!
· Sep 28, 2014 11:50am
Brian Higgins · Mate at Edison Chouest Offshore, Ltd.
Sounds like dinner! smile emoticon
· Sep 29, 2014 10:52pm
in the WILDLIFE area !! absolutely UNACCEPTABLE !!
Like · Reply · 2 · Oct 6, 2014 10:25am
Barbara Walberg · Works at Staying Happy
The fact that notices were published in newspapers outside the impacted areas & not published in the areas involved where residents NEED to be informed, is a huge red flag! It's obvious that something sneaky is going on here. I believe the environmental assessment is very flawed. I feel the impact this involves, may be much more than we are being led to believe. Why does this have to be done here on the peninsula? Why can't these exercises be conducted in safer areas on remote federal lands rather than putting all involved at risk here? I am interested in knowing where the Makah, Quileute, Hoh & Quinault Tribes stand on this issue & the impact involved on "their" peninsula. Yes, I said "their" peninsula, although it's been shared for years. "They" ARE the history of this beautiful land we all love. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD OF THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. Many I've spoken to have no idea of this at all & people need to be informed, to unite & stand up for what's right.
Like · Reply · 19 · Sep 28, 2014 12:05pm
Michelle Diamond Simpson · Owner at Sappho's Garden
I have calls and messages to the Makah and Quileute tribes. These folks do not know anything about this.
Like · Reply · 14 · Sep 28, 2014 1:02pm
Davey Schmidt · University of Washington
Agree, especially since not everyone subscribes to the PDN since they started charging money to read it online.
Like · Reply · 2 · Sep 28, 2014 2:54pm
Jacqueline Donna Hunter · Olympia, Washington
I agree are we gunny pigs to see how we react to this as the whales in the ocean their brains explode with the sounds of the loud sonar
Like · Reply · 3 · Oct 5, 2014 8:59am
Joanne Adah Kempthorne
That's NOT COOL! !!!!
Like · Reply · 4 · Sep 28, 2014 12:26pm
Debra D'Angelo · Seattle University Graduate School 1990
It doesn't make sense that an 11 million dollar project is a few trucks and jets with low frequency radiation. This is a HUGE experiment with a progressive plan of expansion... and long term outcomes are unknown. When will it end? How will we be notified of changes from radiation to sonar to repetitive sound? Will RF's be intensified? Who is identifying wildlife and monitoring? We have the power to NOT issue permits. It is easy to resolve. Not on Olympic National Forest Land. Why the NAVY? I bet subs and shoreline are involved...
Like · Reply · 12 · Sep 28, 2014 1:30pm
they get this equipment set up and the navy gets a foot in the door they will never leave,your way of life and all life forms in the area will suffer a slow sick death ,this has to be stopped before it starts are you too will be living in "sustainable development/smartgrowth" area,forced to eat corporate food and "visit nature" in some fenced off "green area"
Like · Reply · 3 · Oct 6, 2014 10:54am
Jarrod Paul Bramson · Port Townsend, Washington
Can we get a petition going? Would that even help stop this from happening?
Like · Reply · 10 · Sep 28, 2014 1:42pm
Pat Moore · Grossmont College
Yes, please get a petition going!
Like · Reply · 4 · Sep 29, 2014 11:06pm
Pat Moore if you can find a way to let the indian nations in that area know that might be very beneficial for you all out there to join forces .you have a city council ?get a mayor involved ,the First nations tribal councils,your relatives.put together a huge letter of concern and get people to print it out or write their own and mail them to every local newspaper you can find.the gov agencies are useless,been trying to save this habitat for 4 years,public exposure is the way.take lots of pictures right now because if they get away with this you need to show the public the loss of life . all ...See More
Like · Reply · 5 · Oct 6, 2014 10:41am
Like · Reply · Oct 31, 2014 9:44pm
If the Navy gets a foothold on our public lands in this area... we will never get them back again; this is how it starts!
Also, how do you like the idea of hiking, camping, hunting, etc... being approached and asked to leave? Can't we even get away to nature anymore without being harassed?
Please don't let this happen!
Like · Reply · 16 · Sep 28, 2014 1:51pm
Brian Higgins · Mate at Edison Chouest Offshore, Ltd.
Agreed. I get told on a regular basis that I cant have my dog in the outdoors. All those liberals have regulated the outdoors to the point where I cant even enjoy them anymore.
Like · Reply · 3 · Sep 29, 2014 10:55pm
its happening everywhere.go knocking on doors,notify the tribes in the area ,gov agencies are useless and counterproductive,make noise,do it fast ,get letter writing campaigns going nonstop to all the editors of every local paper in a 200 mile radius.call a major newspaper,local tv stations,SCREAM !!
Debra D'Angelo · Seattle University Graduate School 1990
Like · Reply · 2 · Sep 28, 2014 1:53pm
Michelle Diamond Simpson · Owner at Sappho's Garden
It is really great to get a petition started but if you are the person that created this could you include the emitters that they want to install permanently. Also, if you read the Forest Service SOPA they are starting this next month, not 2015. An error was made in either the dates in the Forest Service paperwork, or by the Navy spokesperson. I am trying to verify the timing.
Carol Turner · Bennington College
What about small animals and birds? Expendable?????
Like · Reply · 3 · Sep 28, 2014 4:21pm
Someone explain to me please why Sites 3, 4, and 15 seem to be right on the Forest/Park border? It's not that I am okay with this in the Forest, but with the rules so stringent in the Park, it's odd that this is okay with them right on the border.
Like · Reply · 2 · Sep 28, 2014 5:23pm
Michelle Diamond Simpson · Owner at Sappho's Garden
The Navy expanded their practice range toward the end of last year (on the ocean). They are allowed to practice in environmentally sensitive areas. NOAA issues permits to them allowing them to take (kill) a certain amount of sea critters. This, on land expansion, has been planned for awhile, they just managed to keep it on the "down low" until now.
Like · Reply · 3 · Sep 29, 2014 6:46am
Illegal electro-magnetic warfare above Northwest National Forests
As Truthout previously reported, if it gets its way, the Navy would be flying Growler jets - electronic attack aircraft that specialize in radar jamming - in 2,900 training exercises over wilderness, communities and cities across the Olympic Peninsula for 260 days per year, with exercises lasting up to 16 hours per day. Naval surface fleet ships will also be participating by homing in on ground-based emitters - a topic that was never discussed in the Navy's environmental assessment.
Dozens of naval EA-18G Growler supersonic jet warplanes will fly as low as 1,200 feet above the ground in some areas in order to conduct war games with 14 mobile towers on the ground in national forests. Medical doctors, scientific reports and even the Navy's own documents show that enough electromagnetic radiation will be emitted to be capable of damaging human eye tissue, causing breast cancer, causing childhood leukemia and damaging human fetuses, let alone impacting wildlife in the area. The Navy has denied that these impacts will occur.
Medical doctors also told Truthout that noise from the Navy's jets is a major health risk.
I just got home from a friend's 93rd Birthday party to find out that my wonderful friend, Lynnette Shaw finally had her years of being kicked around by the Federal Government to be over and done with.
Lynnette was one of a handful of activists that put together the wording for Proposition 215, which made medicinal cannabis legal inside the state of California. In 1996, this proposition was approved by a majority of California voters and then the state legislature wrote up Prop 420. The wording of Prop 420, although it did not totally align with the spirit of Prop 215, did come close.
And at that point, medicinal cannabis clinics began to spring up all over the state of California. At that time, people were not using the substance so much for ending cancerous growths, but for help with wasting away, that was the result of either AIDS or else various cancer treatment. People eagerly became members of these clinics and began enjoying a return to health.
And as someone whose heart was dead set on opening a medicinal cannabis distribution center to help out the people of Marin County, Lynnette's story should have started and pretty much ended there. She opened up the first medicinal cannabis clinic in Fairfax, the first center to open up inside the state.
Her clinic served as a model for many of the other clinics. But Janet Reno and Bill Clinton had their eye on her. She was audited by the Federal government numerous times, always to pass with flying colors. But despite her ability to stay within the parameters of an ever changing situation, she eventually was served papers demanding that she cease and desist in operating the clinic. These papers were signed by Bill Clinton and Janet Reno. (Clinton was at that time the President of these United States, while Reno was serving as the Attorney General.)
She learned at that point as long as she either counter sued or employed other strategies, the clinic could remain open.At one point she ran for lieutenant governor, as it is not possible to openly hassle someone running for office.
But eventually the Big Guns got their way. The clinic was shut down, and she was issued the injunction ht prohibited her from working inside her clinic or any clinic anywhere inside the USA. Since by this point, she had as the major accomplishment on her resume her being the owner, operator and chief CEo of the Marin Medical Marijuana Alliance, there was not any other job that paid well that she was suited for.
Also the government ordered her to pay restitution to them, for whatever complicated reasons I now forget.
Not only that, but the Feds did something to her that they have done to NO OTHER SINGLE
CITIZEN OF THE USA, not even to major cartel drug kingpins - they zeroed out her Social Security earnings. Since the majority of her earnings in her lifetime had come to her as the owner/operator of the med marijuana clinic, the government claimed that all the monies she had earned and all the monies she had paid into her social Security Fund were ill begotten through an illegal career of drug dealing.
Her savings account with ten thousand dollars was taken as was her car. She managed to hold on to the home she lived in due to it being part of an inheritance. But without a source of income, she was facing its loss in foreclosure.
However, last year, The US Congress voted in a piece of law, Bill 538, which stipulated that the US Department of Justice could not utilize any federal monies to prosecute, oppress or hassle either individual states or any human individuals. So Shaw decided to seek judicial relief and to have a case heard before a Fed judge to establish that the entire case against her, and all the stipulations, including the prohibition of her right to work int he medicinal marijuana field, (or even as an ice cream store clerk for that matter, as any earnings she received the DOJ would seize) were, are and always would be indeed totally illegal stipulations and that all prohibitions and discrimination that had been thrown her way were to be dissolved.
This happened over the summer. Her paperwork was filed, by her Santa Rosa attorney, Greg Anton. An the matter was assigned to Judge Breyer, who is the brother to the US Supreme Court Breyer.
Then the only thing that Shaw could do was wait. Cynic that I am, I figured that Breyer would be paid off by Big Pharma. There is one reason and one reason alone that that the Big Pharmaceutical corporations are not standing on the side of normal citizens when they use this substance for relief of their wasting away, for dissolution of their tumors, for balancing their blood. When even the US National Institute of Heath comes out and states that cannabis has anti-cancer properties, why are the big Pharmaceutical companies not beating a path to Shaw's doors, asking for her to assist them in moving from radiation and chemo to the actually effective medicine that is easy to grow and that is nature's best compound for total relief from illness.
But instead, the vultures at Big Pharma went tearing down her door and destroying her clinic, and ruining her life! (And additionally, making it difficult for people in Marin County to obtain Medicinal Marijuana.)
So anyway the last few months have been Shaw waiting in astate of suspended animation. I learned to keep my mouth shut - to my way of thinking, since there is no single law that makes it necessary for a judge to rule on such a legal situation in a timely fashion, I expected Brayer to drag his feet.
Imagine my surprise when Shaw called me two weeks ago to say that Breyeer wa going through the defendant's paperwork and was trying to determine the validity of the defendant's statement. (The defendant being the US Justice Department.
One of the things the DOJ claimed in their reply to Shaw's deposition was that the US Congress had NOT stipulated that the DOJ must cease its persecution, prosecution and hassling of individuals. The DOJ asserted that Congress left them those abilities and that they could use Fed monies to do any activities they needed to undertake for the purpose of stopping individuals from growing or distributing medicinal cannabis inside the state.
The DOJ insisted that they were prohibited only from suing the state of California itself, not the individual citizens and that the wording of Bill 538 proved that this was the intent of Congress when they wrote up and voted on 538..
But Shaw's attorney brought in a deposition from one of the US Senators that had written 538. And he either wrote and or phoned Breyer nd laid out that it was illegal for the DOJ to undertake any prosecution or harassment of US citizens, not just the state, but citizens.
In other words, DOJ - you were fucking liars and you lied to a Federal Judge!
So by last Tuesday, the rebuttal to the DOJ's lies was there in Breyer's lap.
And today, oh Glory Be, Judge Breyer remained an honest man, free from the corruption of the Big Pharmaceutical industries. He issued his determination that the DOJ has no authority over Shaw, and that it never had authority over Shaw.
Her seized bank account monies will be returned. Her Social Security payments will have to be reimbursed into a Social security fund with her name on it. Ditto the seized car, or one of similar make and model.
And she is as of this afternoon free to work in any clinic anywhere in this state or any of the other states, for the rest of her LIFE.
Congratulations, my friend. I am so happy that the Fates have finally smiled on you. All your wisdom, patience exuberance and above all concern for the sick and suffering - all of that good karma has finally paid off.
As a middling aged woman who never even took more than $ 50,000 a yr for her full time handling and operation of the clinic in Fairfax (while other clinic operators make at least twice that) she is vindicated, and in her vindication, so are we all!
And a hearty round of applause, at least from my household, to her attorney, Greg Anton!
"Respect not suspect" is what countless sophisticated cheaters tell their spouses and lovers. "I am going to talk a different talk and walk a different walk. Don't focus on the past, dearie, I am yours now."
How many times have we women heard that one?
Of course, it is a most natural stance for Ms Clinton, who put up with decades of such abuse from her own spouse. Yet for whatever reason, she was (and is) still considered a "feminist" despite her spouse's behavior intimidating interns barely out of their teens.
My household is comprised of two humans who' re both writers.
Some of the writing we have created goes all the way back to the days of Wordstar files.
One of the things we now depend on is our Memeo "Tetra" byte storage and back up unit.
Over the years, as our personal and business related files have come to comprise over 6 gigs of memory, with M's music and film projects compiling a hundred times more, such a device is of great use.
But here is what is happening:
(Sorry this is so long, but don't know how to quickly and concisely explain it.)
Let's say that two years ago, I hooked the backup unit to the computer that was being used at that time. I find on the Backup Unit (Which our computer considers to be "J" part of My Computer) the folder I want, called "MAF'sBakup2009." That folder contains some 420 megs worth of info. Some of the sub folders are related to computer programs, but many of the sub folders are personal writings and information, etc.
So let's say that say the time that this folder had been put on the "J" device, it had numerous sub folders. Many of them labelled things like "Slam Poetry" or "Stolen Election2004." After those folders were installed onto the "J" device so many years back, I double checked to make sure that the files that I thought should be there were there. They were.
And so two years ago, when searching for a piece of Slam Poetry, I could find it by looking in that subfolder, which Memeo had faithfully preserved.
As time went on, over the last two years, I could transfer the personal files we were needing to a computer we were using, and all the files would transfer.
But as of the last three months, when I attempt to transfer the Big Folder called MAF'sBakup2009, when I click into that folder to find the sub folders - I end up shocked! Only the sub folders representing computer programs are there. So Adobe Illustrator Seven is there, and many other program folders. But the personal folders are not there!
I am talking about hundreds of sub folders!
This does not seem to matter as far as what model, make of computer or OS that I am using.
It is occurring on the one year old Toshiba with Windows Seven that Mark was given as a gift. Today, the last computer to be so badly affected is my old XP that has been upgraded to only use Linux. I could get the personal files on that computer even two months ago, but recently, less than two weeks ago, there was an upgrade to the Linux program and now I cannot!
What is going on? IS THIS A VIRUS, or what?
Any suggestions, ideas or information would be appreciated.
On Sunday Sept 13, at 7Am, I unexpectedly woke up to a huge and threatening sounding pounding on my front door.
In somewhat of a dream state, as I had stayed up until Three Am preparing for a women's festival, I staggered to the door, only to find a young woman I assumed was a local volunteer.
She announced, "Hey, You! The fire is coming our way. Grab up Mark and the animals and get in your car and get out."
The woman then came over and gave me a very grounding hug. Then came the realization that this woman was Jessica, a neighbor who had not spoken to me in three years over a minor but unbearably long lasting dispute.
Above me, the sky was dirty grey and the smoke stench was unbearable. My house is right under a rather towering hillside, limiting my field of vision, so for all I knew the fire that Jessica spoke of was imminent.
In twenty minutes, I did round up my spouse, the three cats, and the dog. Soon I safely put the tetra hard drive back up device into the car, so that the records of twelve years of our running a publishing business would go along with us. I had the HD from my computer, so my short stories and poetry and song writing would also go along. Meanwhile Mark got his meds, and some clothes and his guitar. (Later he would remark, "Honey, why didn't you take your guitar." And I quipped back, "Ya know, the Prius when filled with three cat carriers and a dog is not that big -- if I took my guitar, I would have had to leave you!"
During the twenty minutes we were packing, my landlord, who usually is in the SF Bay Area, well, he showed up to tell us that he could help us for a few minutes. He couldn't stay long - he had guests at their summer home a mile from us and needed to get them out. I was impressed with his looking out for us, but the only thing I could think of was that he drive his big truck into the driveway of my next door neighbors and honk the horn, and if no response, then go up and ring their bell. His doing that meant I could maybe grab some clothes and other items.
The Fire Marshall also came along, and since I hadn't seen the neighbors, I asked he do the same thing. It was more than likely that they were away, since they are always out and about on a Sunday morning, often before 7Am. But I didn't want to leave without ascertaining their house was indeed empty. (And luckily, they don't have any pets.)
Soon we were inside a long procession of cars, pickups and SUV's leaving the Clearlake Riviera neighborhood. It was very orderly.
Once safely out of the area where we were told the fire would hit, we ended up staying with a close friend in her beautiful Upper Lake home. (And four acres for my dog to enjoy!) She was the most gracious host, and our every need and wish was answered by her devotion to us. I now consider her a candidate for sainthood, as she is normally a very private person.
Here are some random thoughts:
If you have experienced your cat experiencing a catastrophe -- one thing you might find surprising about our cats last Sunday - they came in the house the moment I opened the door to find out why my neighbor was banging on my door. They had been out all night, and I put them on the living room couch, and get this! They sat perfectly still on the couch while I went downstairs into the basement and got out the cat carriers and brought them back up to the couch so they could be evacuated with us!
Such uncat-like behavior - What you usually hear about are behaviours of cats threatened by smoke hiding under beds and refusing to come out.
So that is how we were able to bring them along.
Being an evacuee during the computer age means once you have shelter inside a structure with Wi fi, you can plug in the laptop and gain info. We tried to ignore Facebook - too many rumors from local people who thought they knew this or that. We also mostly ignored the radio for the same reason. We did plug into the National Weather website, as the main thing about fire is that it is all wind directed. You can be half a mile from a major fire, but if your property remains "upwind" of the fire, your property can remain unscathed.
We also turned to Cal Fire's website, which remained our main source of news.
Over the hours, we tried to be occupied with small daily chores and chit chatting with our host inside our "new home." The animals needed a great deal of our time, as they were anxious and upset. A lot of phone calls and emails needed to be made. Especially to people who were worried about us, and to those connected to us by business and might not know that we were not able to fulfill any business obligations until we were back in our house, etc.
On Monday night, we went to the Blue Wing Saloon, in Upper Lake and had a rather extravagant dinner while listening to a fabulous blues band. We felt good patronizing this place, as this restaurant is managed and owned by a man who had lowered the prices on his hotel fees to anyone impacted by the fire! (Many hoteliers had raised their prices immediately upon hearing of how many people were displaced!) We also utilized the occasion to treat our host to a good meal out. (She had been preparing many delicious meals for us, and Mark and I worried that we were tiring her out.)
As normally budget conscious people I was amazed how the fact that our world was perhaps ending meant we loosened the purse strings. I also put my diet out the window for the duration.
Tuesday we were allowed some twenty minutes back into our home to gather items we needed but had not gotten to bring with us. We were escorted in and out by Cal Fire personnel, in part to prevent us from either returning to the house to live, or in case we might be looters posing as evacuees. (However, no one asked for our ID!)
Anyway, all day Wednesday, I called and called the Cal Fire local line to see if we could go home. And during dinner tonight at one of our favorite fast food places "Jimmy's" where the best Mediterranean food you can imagine is served - I finally got through to them. (Line was overwhelmed all day. it would ring once or twice and then it would cut out.)
But at 6Pm I finally got through and the young enthused fire volunteer told me in a very perky voice we could go home! (Few words have ever sounded as good!)
It turned out we could have gone home as early as 10Am on Wednesday - we just didn't know it.
Several tragic tales Mark heard while he was at the local gym: one of them involving a man who is devoted herbalist and who has extensive plants and seeds for healing, many of them from the Amazon, plus much research and documentation of what to use for different ailments and who has proven this or that. So his place went up in smoke and he lost his entire seed bank, and all the writing etc. Many herbalogists will truly miss this loss.
Also a 72 year old woman with MS died in the fire on Saturday on Cobb Mountain. So far this is the only human fatality, in both this and the Rocky Ridge fire that consumed some 75,000 acres earlier in July. Apparently the family had hired someone to only work until 3Pm. And this hired helper left at that time, not knowing that the fire would be racing down the hill twenty minutes later, killing her client.
Much blame being assigned to the care giver, not only by herself but by the press. Even the BBC!
Since this has been one of my career paths, I am rather outraged by people's insensitivity over this. For one thing, it is totally irresponsible for a family to not have full time care for a total invalid, at least they should have that full time care during a fire season like this one.
Or they should move the person out of the area to live with them, rather than leaving her in the remote areas of Lake County.
Now also let me make this point: I am certainly not advocating that a caregiver can look at a clock and say, "Well, the fire is headed your way, but too bad for you, I get to go home as my shift is ending." But this is not at all what happened.
We had a sudden wind storm Saturday, the first wind storm in over nine weeks, which is not typical. During most summers, we always have had quite a few windstorms, but luckily we have not had them this summer. During the entire two and a half or three weeks of the Rocky fire, the wind was always under 8 miles an hour. (Otherwise, as bad as it was, it would have been much much worse.) Close to the fire, there were reports of winds as high as 45 miles an hour, but those were winds inside the fire, generated by the fire, and not the overall wind velocity.
Anyway, Saturday's blaze was first noticed around 1:30 Pm, and the wind storm hit about an hour later. Without that burst of wind, the fire would not have traveled at such a rate as to engulf that home without any advance notice. But as it was, the caregiver knew only that there was a fire in the area, and the disabled client had refused to evacuate when some of her friends came by and asked her to leave with them.
This lady was so incapacitated by MS that she was dead weight, so even had the caregiver stayed the extra twenty minutes, I don't know if she could have gotten her out of the home. It is more than likely that then they both would have died.
The other thing is -- this whole area has been so overwhelmed by fire for so much of the
summer that we are all have had moments when we are all blase about it right now. Try and imagine that you have spent your whole summer staying close to home or close to your invalid client because "Maybe the wind will shift and maybe there will be a wind storm." But it doesn't materialize and you start feeling total relief. (I had felt such relief from the moment the Rocky Ridge fire was put out all the way up to 7Am on Sunday morning.)
People who know the caregiver say she is devastated over the client's death. But the press should not allow themselves to run a muck and add to the woman's guilt. Care takers have a rough enough time of it, and the added peculiar situation this caregiver faced is not something that most journalists would ever encounter.
It is also hard for people in a city environment to understand the rural experience. If your neighbor needs to be taken out of her home away from calamity and you live in New York City, you can go across the condo's hallway and ask your neighbor. Here we are separated from our neighbors by acres of nothing.
Mark and I often jokingly tell relatives and friends in big cities that our neighbors are the deer, the squirrels, the birds, possums and skunk. Only it really is not a joke. But try to get a blue jay to flutter down and help you in an emergency and good luck! You will need it.
So the caregiver had no one else to go to to say, "Well, I am leaving for the day - make sure she gets out if for some reason the situation gets worse."
I am feeling so much sympathy for her, and cannot imagine the guilt she feels and the weight of the press analyzing the situation and pointing blame at her.
Anyway, for 72 hours the idea that our house was perhaps gone forever was cause of tremendous anxiety. Right now, to be back in my familiar space, with all the little things in place when I was imagining them all to be lost - I cannot explain the gratitude that I am experiencing right now. Throughout those 72 hours, we heard terrible rumors - that this or that landmark near our home was facing a firestorm, or that an arsonist had been at work using a flare to start a new fire in our community near my home. (This last "rumor" may be true; but I haven't yet gotten a source related to a fire official to explain if it was true or rumor.)
And the icing on the cake is that today it rained. It actually rained rather hard for a bit and maybe those of us in fire country can indeed relax for a while.
Another bit of happiness - the community has pulled together in a big big way. Many restaurants are offering free meals to those who have lost their homes, and even those who are only "evacuees." (Some evacuees did not have time to get their wallets or credit cards, so even some affluent people are without a means to pay.) People are volunteering at the Kelseyville Lions' club, gathering up food donations and helping to get it to those who need it. They are up at the Moose Lodge in Clearlake. They are running the Episcopal Thrift store in Lakeport, where gorgeous and wonderful clothing is given for free to the newly needy. Numerous animal rescue types are gathering up animal carriers to take to the shelters where the evacuees now live, so people with pets can relax a bit.
I will later tonight be posting a list of organizations to donate to, as I feel these local organizations are much better at helping than the Red Cross.
Profile InformationName: Carol
Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Northern California
Home country: USA
Current location: Office chair
Member since: Sun May 15, 2005, 01:28 PM
Number of posts: 32,324
About truedelphiI joined DU following the election melt down that produced the second George the Lesser Term of Office. I am outraged by war, by out-sourcing of jobs, by Corporate control of both parties, and enheartened by my fellow citizens who are bravely part of "Occupy!"
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