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Some interesting Q poll numbers here. Bernie and the Democrats are doing okay in Michigan and Pennsylvania at the moment, but not as well in Wisconsin. I’m understanding why they are holding their convention in Milwaukee, where the black turnout was historically low in 2016. They really need to turn things around in Wisconsin, and Bernie clobbered HRC there because of his trade policy platform.
That was a fun debate last night, and yeah Bloomberg took some hits.  But don’t assume his campaign is over.  He has plenty of money and time to smooth it over and he’ll probably do better on Tuesday.
Warren did pretty well for herself.  We’ll see if it translates into results.

From Ed Denson:

Well, friends, the Measure S lawsuit decision has come down. I heard about it around 2:15 this afternoon from my co-counsel, Fred Fletcher. I suppose that now that the decision is released, I should phone Netflix and see if they want to follow up on the footage they shot of Fred and I filing the suit way long ago.

I’m sure you remember the basis for the suit. Right? We’ll let me refresh your memory a bit. In the legalization delirium the county put Measure S on the 2016 ballot. All the growers were running around saying, legalize it, tax me, make pot part of norml American life. The wise members of the Board of Supervisors heard the outcry of the people, and they drafted Measure S as a tax on legal commercial cannabis. Frankly it didn’t sound like much of a tax. $1 a square foot for outdoor growing. But it was a real tax, $1 a square foot wasn’t much but it was enough to show that pot had come out of the shadows into the mainstream of our society. So, it passed, it passed by about 62% if I recall properly. We were ecstatic. A dream held for so many years had come true, and a bright tomorrow awaited all the family growers at the end of so many winding dirt roads in the hills. No more helicopters, no more vandalism by the cops, growers could hold their heads up and become Rotarians.

I’m a lawyer, and made a career out of defending busted pot growers. Suddenly there were essentially no busted pot growers. What to do? I started helping unbusted pot growers get licensed. (And many thanks to Paul Gallegos for nudging me into it.) So I was cheerfully giving advice in late 2017 about Measure S, among other things, and some detail slipped my mind. So I went to the internet and found the county code for the Measure S tax. It wasn’t anything like what I remembered, and it wasn’t anything like what I was advising people it was. It was much less favorable to growers, all sorts of stuff seemed different. Well, I’m getting up in years. Perhaps I had had a senior moment. Still something bothered me because I had such a clear idea of what the Measure S tax was and how it worked. That clarity is not typical of senior moments.

As time went by I poked around, and one day I found the original text of Measure S, just like it was on the ballot we all voted for (I did, how ‘bout you?) And lo and behold the original text was just as I remembered it. I wasn’t having a senior moment, someone had changed the text after the vote.
I thought about that for a while, and found the date the changes were made (mid-year 2017) by the Board of Supervisors. Only Supervisor Ryan voiced any concern about changing what the voters had approved, and that concern was fleeting. He voted to make the changes, along with the other Supes.

Can they do that? I wondered. So in some spare time I poked around again, and sure enough the answer was no. In fact it was NO! I mentioned what had happened to a few other lawyers I encountered in the cannabis bar, in various counties, and they all agreed. The Board of Supervisors cannot change a tax after the voters have approved it. Huh, I thought. Someone ought to sue them. Certainly not me. I’ve never done a civil suit except a few asset forfeiture cases, and I don’t know how to write them. Well, someone will see this opportunity to benefit the people of the county and seize it. Wrong. Some felt that if they sued they’d get on the wrong side of the county government with unspecified bad results. Others distrusted the honor of the courts, sort of “the judges are all in the pockets of the Board” so the suit will never get anywhere. Some probably thought such a suit will never make any money, it’s a waste of time.

Then I found Fred Fletcher and he liked the suit and became my co-counsel. Most importantly, he knew how to write civil suits and he wrote up a beauty. I tinkered with the language a bit, but fundamentally it was his authorship. About this time Netflix came to town to do their Murder Mountain “documentary.” It must have been mid 2018. They came to film me (I got about 15 seconds of screen time) and got excited about the suit. Their film crew came and filmed the filing. The press was there too. But lawsuits move slowly and they had a film to get out, so all their lawsuit film ended up on the cutting room floor, as they say. Actually , probably in storage somewhere. The press went off to cover other stories.

Criminal law moves slowly. My longest case took 4 years. That was exceptional, but 1 or 2 years is not. That’s the Indie 500 compared with Civil Law cases which are glacial. So, autumn turned to winter, 2018 turned to 2019, and 2019 to 2020 and still the suit was in the courts. Gradually, over time, people stopped asking about it. I did get an email from county counsel of another county recently asking about it, “did the county settle” they asked. “No,” I said, “we’re finished arguing the case and now we’re awaiting the judge’s opinion. It’ll probably take a few more months.”

Wrong. Fled Fletcher called me around 2:15 today. He found a copy of the judge’s opinion in his box at the courthouse. “And?”, I said. “And we won,” he said. It turns out we won 3 of the 5 points at issue. The judge said that the county could not change the person taxed from the grower to the property owner, and they could not change the area taxed from the cultivation area to the area on the county permit, and they could not charge anything to people who had a permit but didn’t grow.

On the other hand, although the ballot measure said the tax was biennial, (spell check didn’t know the word, it means collected every 2 years) that was what we in the law call a “scrivenor’s error” (spell check didn’t know that one either) for biannually (twice a year), and although the ballot measure said that to be taxed you had to be cultivating in compliance with local, state, and federal law, no voter could have believed that the tax would be held up until federal legalization. Had we prevailed on the federal issue, no one would have owed any tax at all. As the law stands with this decision, some people have been wrongfully taxed, others have been rightfully taxed. The wrongfully taxed should get refunds, with interest, I think.

However, the story may not be at its end yet. The county has a period of time in which to appeal, and who knows we may be headed for the US Supreme court sometime in the 2020s. If it’s going that way I plan on living long enough to see it happen.

So, good night, friends. May you dream big and your dreams come true. Sleep well.

There is a lot of debate right now about whether social democracy is democratic socialism, and whether there is such a thing as a “mixed economy.” Private market advocates and Marxist socialists agree with each other – if it’s not government owning the means of production it’s not socialism.
But the term social democracy arose from the socialist movement and was used at least as far back as Fourier in the 1820s, predating Marxist theory and the much misunderstood phrase “the dictatorship of the proletariat” debated intensely by Lenin and Karl “the Renegade” Kautsky as the Third International broke away from the Second as the latter adopted transition to socialism through reform rather than violent revolution.
The first party to adopt the name “Social Democratic” was the precursor to the German SPD in the latter half of the 19th century – long before the Kautsky/Lenin debate.
Marxism is but one variant of socialism, which has been termed “cooperative communalism,” “economic democracy,” and other concepts which simply view socialism as the process of organizing an economy under cooperative rather than strictly competitive principles.
The fact is, most of the Euro-socialist countries have government-owned industries, and some are even a hybrid in which citizens can buy shares though the government retains a controlling interest number of shares.
But it’s really pointless to have the discussion if you don’t read up on the history of the terms and the evolution of the concepts. The social democrats have always regarded themselves as socialists – that’s why term has the word “social” in it. The social democratic and labor parties remain members of the Socialist (Second) International.
I’ve searched for a good concise history of the terms, and Commonweal, the liberal Catholic magazine which was one of the few to stand up to McCarthyism, has the best I’ve found so far which isn’t a treatise.

For each of the viable and semi-viable Democratic candidates, whom do you think would be the best VP to help win the general election? Yes, I know that there is more to a VP choice, but try to focus on the election question alone.

Here are my suggestions.

Bernie Sanders – Amy Klobuchar
Pete Buttiegieg – Sherrod Brown
Amy Klobuchar – Corey Booker
Elizabeth Warren – Sherrod Brown
Joe Biden – Kamala Harris
Mike Bloomberg – someone black

From: The David “Gypsy” Chain Memorial Scholarship Committee

Meet Anne Rants, Humboldt State University freshman and the first recipient of the David “Gypsy” Chain Memorial Scholarship, Thursday, February 20, at the HSU Library “Fishbowl” (Library Room 209), 4:30 to 5:30. Refreshments will be served.

The scholarship was established in memory of 24-year-old forest defender David “Gypsy” Chain, who was killed in 1998 during a forest defense action to save old growth redwood forest about to be logged by Pacific Lumber Company. Friends, family, and supporters have remembered Gypsy with contributions to the scholarship fund since 2018.

The next scholarship will be awarded to a Humboldt area high school senior who will attend HSU or College of the Redwoods, or to a first-year (continuing) student at HSU or CR, who is dedicated to protecting our region’s forests or natural environment through scholarship, community organizing, or other activities. The scholarship is administered by the Humboldt Area Foundation with advice from a volunteer committee.

Read about the scholarship and Gypsy’s legacy at

Students interested in the scholarship may apply online through Humboldt Area Foundation’s scholarship website

Applications and supporting material must be submitted by March 16, 2020. For help with the application procedure contact Elena Keltz (, 707-267-9920) or Craig Woods (,

Community members may donate to the scholarship fund at wfn=David+Nathan+%22Gypsy%22+Chain+Memorial+Scholarship+Fund or by mail to Humboldt Area Foundation David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain Memorial Scholarship Fund, 363 Indianola Rd, Bayside, CA 95524.

Anne Rants 1

Letter from Anne Rants

about herself and the David Gypsy Chain Memorial Scholarship

October 2019


My name is Anne Marie Rants and I am a descendant of the Karuk, Shasta, and Aleutian tribes. I am in my first year at Humboldt State University and I am majoring in Child Development. I am extremely passionate about how information can be transferred to future generations including traditional ecological knowledge. In places I have visited, Native Americans are seen of people of the past. I want children to grow up being proud to be Native American and to be taught in the best culturally fit ways as possible. I believe new groups of children will guide in this direction, just as I am now.

Being an educator is not the only thing that I am passionate about. I believe in taking action, and working to make changes in not only my own community, but to other communities as well. During summers, I worked alongside my mother, a local fisheries biologist, creating safe habitats for fish. I also have participated in cultural burning and written an article in a newsletter on why that is important for our forests. Oftentimes people talk about respect as it applies to people, not taking into account that the land needs to be respected as well. The University of Washington Salmon Ecological Field Course that I attended this summer, where I conducted a speech on why watershed issues are so important to indigenous communities really made me realize the value of watersheds to everyone, and education is my next step in protecting and respecting my own home.

I have had these and many opportunities presented to me in my adolescent years, including an exchange in which I went to Chile and spoke about Indigenous water rights. Talking about issues close to home, and my family gives me so much purpose through times that are full of struggle. It means so much to me to be the recipient of the Gypsy Chain Memorial Scholarship because by the end of my senior year I became frustrated on how I was going to pay for college. It means so much to my family and I that I am able to focus on my academic career and have financial support, as well as the huge moral support that the Gypsy Chain Memorial Scholarship gives.

I feel thankful and honored that there are people out there that want to memorialize Gypsy and his passion as a forest protector. I think that people so often do not realize the role of an activist. The whole first word in activist is “ACT.” We often talk about issues like climate change and forest protection but do not take action, because we do not know where to start on issues that seem hopeless. Listening to indigenous environmental views and taking action NEEDS to happen. So I would like to thank Gypsy, and all the people who made this scholarship possible, for giving me aid as well as hope.



The short version –because most LGBTQ vote politics more than identity. Similar reasons why African American voters took little interest in Harris, Booker, or Patrick.

If you haven’t used up your free New York Times articles this month, you can watch the returns come in there.


Want to read something sad?  From the TPM liveblog:

“The first and only guests so far to walk in and have a drink at Biden’s NH primary night party: members of the American Political Items Collectors. Two of them are Biden supporters (one is feeling iffy about him now).”

The photo is even more sad.  Biden left NH early today to fly to South Carolina.  I think he’s probably done.


If Warren comes in 4th tonight, and it looks like she may, she is also done.


With 6 percent of the vote in, so far Bernie is killing it!


5:05 – Yang just dropped out.


5:20:  There are three moderates splitting more votes than the progressives, which seem to have left Warren and Yang and settled on Bernie.

5:21:  As soon as I typed that more results came in.  The progressives have more votes now, but it’s pretty even.


5:34 – Bennett just dropped out.  Warren is giving her speech and closing up for the night.

She is at 12 percent right now statewide.  She needs 15 percent to qualify for the statewide batch of delegates.


5:40:  MSNBC is projecting that neither Warren or Biden will receive any delegates, either at the state level or in either of the congressional districts.


Sanders is the projected winner with Mayor Pete just behind by about 3 or 4 thousand votes.  Each of them collects 9 delegates.  The remaining six go to Klobuchar who is about to buy a huge television ad time in Nevada.  Neither Warren or Biden received any delegates.  Biden is hoping for a big win in South Carolina, but he’ll be going into it with two spectacular losses, and maybe 3 after Nevada this weekend.  When your product is “electibility,” you need to perform better than that.  Probably didn’t help that the first thing he said in the NH debate was that he was going to lose NH.  Yeah, you’re supposed to do what you can to suppress expectations, but that was overkill.

It’s all about who you know and what tribe you’re in.

And when there are no checks and balances, the sky’s the limit.

And each time I have witnessed a near head-on collision from someone trying to turn left from Broadway south bound.

Please take note if you missed the memo – you can no longer turn onto Henderson from Broadway!

No evidence of that in any of these polls. The Gallup disapproval poll appears to have been an outlier and Rasmussen is where it’s been at for three years now. But the Q poll results are even more interesting in that they have moved towards the Democrats.
I’m thinking that people really wanted evidence presented at the “trial.”
Yeah, yeah, “the polls said that Clinton was going to win the election in 2016.”  Only, they didn’t.
Addendum:  Turns out Josh Marshal agrees with me.  The rest of the media will probably take a few days to catch up.


February 2020
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