Posts By ds

TODD WALTON: Calliope of Hope



Under The Table

On Saturday February 20 at 6:30 PM, I will be at Gallery Books in Mendocino reading from the new Counterpoint Press edition of my book Buddha In A Teacup. I self-published the book seven years ago, and now the book will have a life in the larger world, so to speak. The paperback of Buddha In A Teacup from Counterpoint is beautifully designed and fits well in the hand.

Speaking of self-publishing, I just completed my first large work of fiction since finishing the four volumes of the Ida’s Place saga, and the new tome is now available from my web site. As with the Ida’s Place quartet, I present Calliope of Hope tales of the road in a handsome coil-bound photocopy edition, each copy signed and colorfully numbered by yours truly.

Calliope of Hope—tales of the road is both a collection of short stories and a novel. Any of these stories may be read as a stand-alone work, or you may read the book from start to finish and experience the stories as chapters of a novel.

Part of the inspiration for Calliope of Hope came from the late poet and translator Taylor Stoehr who was keen for me to write a companion collection to Buddha In A Teacup with a Sufi bent, which many of the stories in Calliope of Hope have, and many of the stories involve hitchhiking.

Here is the beginning of one of the stories/chapters from Calliope of Hope entitled Henry’s Expotition.

WILL PARRISH: Feds May Use Eminent Domain to Build California Dam




Early last year, four US Bureau of Reclamation officials came to Anita Lodge’s seven-acre property deep in the San Joaquin River gorge, 33 miles northeast of Fresno. They explained in careful detail the legal process by which the federal government forces people to abandon their homes to make way for new infrastructure. A childhood picture of Lodge’s mother, who is buried on the land, loomed over the kitchen table where Lodge served her guests freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

Lodge’s property would drown under three hundred feet of water if the state and federal governments construct Temperance Flat Dam, a roughly $3.3 billion undertaking sought for several decades by San Joaquin Valley agribusinesses, real estate developers, and Central Valley politicians. The 665-foot-high dam, which would be the fifth tallest in the nation, is one of several proposed water infrastructure projects that have gained popularity during the state’s epic four-year drought.

But Lodge, 59, has no interest in leaving, nor do other family members who reside just down the road. Seven generations of the Lodge and Woody families have lived on their riverfront spread, which is part of a much larger homestead that Lodge’s great, great grandparents acquired in the mid-19th century — most of which now resides in a federal wildlife reserve. For several summers in the 1950s, while Lodge’s father was building the house where she now lives, she camped out under the branches of a sprawling fig tree, listening to the roar of the river as raccoons nibbled on figs at the foot of her bed.

Whenever the government removes someone from a home, they are required to provide one of equal market value. But Lodge rejects the idea.

“How do you put a price tag on something like this?” she asked during a recent interview. “The family history is something you can’t replace.”

Bernie Hits The Street…



Thom Hartmann: If you want to win, go Progressive…



From Thom Hartmann

The big question right now is whether to call Hillary Clinton a progressive, or a “moderate.”

And then there’s the question of who is more electable in a general election: an unabashedly progressive democrat, like Bernie Sanders; or a “centrist” democrat, like Hillary Clinton.

Jonathan Capehart weighed in on the matter on Thursday morning’s edition of MSNBC Live with the claim that it will be important for Democrats to move to the center to win the general election – and he added that it will be easier for Hillary Clinton to do that.

It may be conventional wisdom that a candidate has to swing to the center to win in a general election. And that conventional wisdom has been central to the Democratic platform ever since Al From’s 1992 “bloodless coup” transformed the FDR/LBJ Democratic Party into the Clinton party of “centrist” corporatism.

But that conventional wisdom just doesn’t stand up to the scrutiny of history.

The truth is, Democrats win when voter turnout is high.

And voter turnout is high when voters have real progressive candidates to support.

Back in 2014, Democrats were devastated by the midterm election results – Republicans easily won control of the Senate and strengthened their majority in the House. In Arkansas, Republican Tom Cotton beat Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor by seven points to win a House seat; in Kentucky, Allison Lundergan Grimes lost to Mitch McConnell by over 15 points. In West Virginia, Wall Street darling and state GOP legacy Shelley Moore-Capito won the Senate seat that Democrat Jay Rockefeller had held for 30 years. Moore-Capito easily trounced West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who ran as a so-called “centrist” democrat and campaigned against many of Obama’s policies -just like Grimes had run away from Obama on guns.

Thom Hartmann: Americans Are Running Away From the Corporate Media…



From Thom Hartmann

Monday night was a great night for Bernie Sanders and his supporters. Bernie pointed out in his speech Monday night that the people of Iowa sent a profound message to the rest of the country by turning out in droves to support Bernie’s vision for a “political revolution.” He’s right – the people of Iowa have sent a profound message to the political and media establishment in this country.

So how did Bernie Sanders go from polling at around 5% in Iowa when he announced his candidacy – to only losing because of a series of coin tosses? It’s because people are actually able to hear his message – whether the establishment wants them to or not. It’s because he talks about the issues that impact the people who used to make up the middle class in this country. And, because it resonates with people who have never participated in an election – people who look at our bought-off politicians and have been disgusted with politics in America.

The truth is, Bernie Sanders wouldn’t be neck and neck with Hillary Clinton right now if people were forced to depend on the major corporate news networks. They wouldn’t even know who he is except for the fact that he’s over 70 years old and a self-described “democratic socialist.” But thanks to the internet and social media – it’s probably the first election ever that voters can completely go around the corporate media to learn about the issues that they care about – and where the candidates stand on them.

Seriously, Bernie Sanders received LESS THAN 10 minutes of coverage between CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, and ABC World News, COMBINED up until December.

GENE LOGSDON: Small Scale Farming Really Isn’t Small



The Contrary Farmer

​Economists sanctify expansion in agriculture as the way farmers survive but in the very act of saying that, they are also pointing out why farmers don’t survive. If all the land is occupied, for every farm that expands, another ceases to exist. So it would be just as accurate to say that expansion is the way farmers don’t survive. And that leaves us in a situation where, according to the statistics, as quoted in a new, soon- to- be- published book, Miraculous Abundance, some 80% of the arable land on the planet used in intensive mechanized agriculture is owned by multinational corporations. Meanwhile, the proponents of big farming continue to flaunt their challenge: “get big or get out.” When all the land is owned by one big corporation and it still doesn’t make enough of a profit to satisfy the stockholders, what then?

​As a matter of fact, small commercial farms and so-called hobby farms are on the rise again and whether or not they are profitable by today’s money standards, they are generating a lot of other economic activity which in aggregate becomes quite significant. These farmers are creating a different economic model than that of industrial production. They are successful because they really aren’t about how much money they can make but how much of what they do make they can keep in their pockets while they spend their time doing what they really want to do in life. As they proceed, they generate all sorts of other small businesses and avocations that in turn prompt more small business. The sum total amounts to big business. For example, judging from the exhibits at our county fair, looks like there are more goats on farms now than cows. And who would ever have thought that kale would become a cash crop and soul food of America?

‘Single Payer Saves Money by Saying No to the Insurance Industry’…




CounterSpin interview with Steffie Woolhandler on media attacks on single payer

Janine Jackson: A Washington Post columnist writes that we need to admit that healthcare reform’s twin goals, comprehensive universal insurance and cost control, are at odds. The New York Times reports that a single-payer system requires unpopular taxes, making it, even in the eyes of sympathetic Democrats, politically impossible. And USA Today says the US hasn’t seriously considered single payer because it would cause great disruption to the economy, result in higher taxes, and give the federal government vast new powers.

Well, those claims have some things in common: They’re all untrue, and they’ll all from 1993. It seems the story corporate media tell us about single payer—we want it, it makes a lot of sense, and it can never ever happen—hasn’t changed a great deal. For as long as that media narrative has been abroad, we’ve been checking in with our next guest about how to address it. A primary care physician for many years, Steffie Woolhandler is co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program and professor at the CUNY School of Public Health.

Welcome back to CounterSpin, Steffie Woolhandler.

Steffie Woolhandler: My pleasure.

JJ: Single payer is in headlines now because of the election, and the alternative visions for healthcare presented by Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Sanders’ proposal of a single-payer type of system makes him “exciting,” the Washington Post said, but Clinton’s attempt to “bat down hopes” about it make her “the voice of reason.” The Arizona Republic says:

The problem with Bernie Sanders’ healthcare vision isn’t the vision. His raw outline for a greatly simplified and less expensive healthcare system is excellent in theory. The problem is the politics, the reality of which battle-scarred Hillary Clinton clearly has the better grasp.

This whole head versus heart storyline isn’t really new, either, is it? What’s your initial response to it; what’s wrong with that?

SW: Well, there’s a tremendous amount of misinformation. We have real-world experience with a single-payer program in Canada. We also have some related experience with our own Medicare program; that’s kind of a partial single payer. It’s obviously not a true single payer, because there’s lots of other insurers, but it has some of the structures of single payer. And so we can look at the experience in Canada and in the United States, and find that most of these things are not true.

The Danger of Being in a Box and Why it Makes Sense When You are in it…


From Bruce Gerencser

I was a Christian for most of my life, a pastor for most of my adult life. I was a fervent believer of the faith once delivered to the saints. I believed it, practiced it, and lived it. When I was in the Christian box, it all made sense to me. Everything I read, everything I heard, and everything I experienced, reinforced the belief that I was in the right box.

God told me, the Bible told me, my friends and family told me, and the opposition of the world told me, that I was in the right box. Every once in a while I would take one step outside the box and experience a bit of “other-boxedness.”  After every foray into the world outside the Christian box, I would return to the safety of the box.

This is the way I lived my life for  five decades. Then one day, I decided to take more than one step outside of the box. I haltingly, tentatively took a few steps, staying close enough to the box that I could run back if I needed to.

Over time, I wandered farther and farther away from the box. I found all kinds of things that were not  in the box I was in. I was confronted with data, beliefs, ideologies, facts, and practices that I had never heard of. I was uncertain about what I should make of these new-found things.

I talked to fellow box-keepers about this. They cautioned me about wandering outside of the box. Nothing good happens outside of the box, Bruce. Everything we need for life and godliness is right here in the box. We even have a manual that tells us how to live in the box.

But I continued to wander outside of the box. One day, I wandered so far outside the box that I realized, for the first time, that the box sat on a steep, slippery hill. And there were other boxes too, all of them on that same slippery hill. The first time I noticed this, I quickly retreated to the safety of the box. Then one day, I found myself far outside the box. I turned around to look longingly at the box and I slipped, and before I knew it I was slipping and sliding down the slippery hill. On this day I fought and clawed my way back up the hill and I crawled back to the box. Dirty and bruised, I was safe within the box once again. The box was my salvation.

Thom Hartmann: “Groups Like Wounded Warrior Project Should Not Exist!”…



An Unprecedented Threat to Privacy…



From The Atlantic

A private company has captured 2.2 billion photos of license plates in cities throughout America. It stores them in a database, tagged with the location where they were taken. And it is selling that data.

Throughout the United States—outside private houses, apartment complexes, shopping centers, and businesses with large employee parking lots—a private corporation, Vigilant Solutions, is taking photos of cars and trucks with its vast network of unobtrusive cameras. It retains location data on each of those pictures, and sells it.It’s happening right now in nearly every major American city.The company has taken roughly 2.2 billion license-plate photos to date. Each month, it captures and permanently stores about 80 million additional geotagged images. They may well have photographed your license plate. As a result, your whereabouts at given moments in the past are permanently stored. Vigilant Solutions profits by selling access to this data (and tries to safeguard it against hackers). Your diminished privacy is their product. And the police are their customers.

The company counts 3,000 law-enforcement agencies among its clients. Thirty thousand police officers have access to its database. Do your local cops participate?

 If you’re not sure, that’s typical. To install a GPS tracking device on your car, your local police department must present a judge with a rationale that meets a Fourth Amendment test and obtain a warrant. But if it wants to query a database to see years of data on where your car was photographed at specific times, it doesn’t need a warrant––just a willingness to send some of your tax dollars to Vigilant Solutions, which insists that license plate readers are “unlike GPS devices, RFID, or other technologies that may be used to track.” Its website states that “LPR is not ubiquitous, and only captures point in time information. And the point in time information is on a vehicle, not an individual.”

But thanks to Vigilant, its competitors, and license-plate readers used by police departments themselves, the technology is becoming increasingly ubiquitous over time. And Supreme Court jurisprudence on GPS tracking suggests that repeatedly collecting data “at a moment in time” until you’ve built a police database of 2.2 billion such moments is akin to building a mosaic of information so complete and intrusive that it may violate the Constitutional rights of those subject to it.

The company dismisses the notion that advancing technology changes the privacy calculus in kind, not just degree. An executive told The Washington Post that its approach “basically replaces an old analog function—your eyeballs,” adding, “It’s the same thing as a guy holding his head out the window, looking down the block, and writing license-plate numbers down and comparing them against a list. The technology just makes things better and more productive.” By this logic, Big Brother’s network of cameras and listening devices in 1984 was merely replacing the old analog technologies of eyes and ears in a more efficient manner, and was really no different from sending around a team of alert humans.

The vast scale of Vigilant’s operations is detailed in documents obtained through public-records laws by the New York Civil Liberties Union. “Last year, we learnedthat the NYPD was hoping to enter into a multi-year contract that would give it access to the nationwide database of license plate reader data,” the civil-liberties group announced Monday in a blog post linking to the document. “Now, through a Freedom of Information Law request, the NYCLU has obtained the final versionof the $442,500 contract and the scope-of-work proposal that gives a peek into the ever-widening world of surveillance made possible by Vigilant.”

William Edelen: James Madison on Christianity…


The Contrary Minister

“During almost 15 centuries, the legal establishment of Christianity has been on trial. What have been the fruits? These are the fruits, more or less, in all places: pride and indolence in the clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity and in both clergy and laity superstition, bigotry and persecution.”

James Madison, the father of the Constitution, presented this opinion on Christianity to the General Assembly of Virginia in 1785. Madison, our fourth president, continues: “What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy.”

In Virginia, the Episcopal Church was established. In 1744 Christians of all other sects were being arrested and persecuted. Madison addressed that septic situation in these words: “That diabolical, hell conceived, principle of persecution rages, and to their eternal infamy, the clergy can furnish their quota of imps for such a business.”

In a Tiny House Village, Portland’s Homeless Find Dignity…



From YES!

As cities search for solutions to homelessness, Portland’s Dignity Village offers 60 men and women community and safety.

On a frigid January morning, a tour through Portland’s Dignity Village follows the same path its residents are required to travel. All were, or are, homeless.

Newcomers to this homeless refuge huddle in the warming station, a small portable with photos of smiling former residents and where they are required to stay during a 60-day probationary period.

They hope to graduate to a small makeshift home like Karen, a three-month resident whose boisterous laugh carries through the village.

Should it become a permanent home, they may find themselves in the position of Rick Proudfoot, a longtime resident who works in the site’s main office, keeping track of finances.

If they’re really lucky, they may end up like Lisa Larson, Dignity Village’s CEO.

“There’s a real sense of pride here, a real sense of community that you don’t find elsewhere.”

A peppy forty-something, she’s lived at Dignity Village the last six years after falling into homelessness to escape an abusive husband. She initially thought she’d stay no more than a few months. Today, Larson, who has been in her position for a year, can’t imagine living anywhere else.

“There’s a real sense of pride here, a real sense of community that you don’t find elsewhere,” she says.

A Humanist Discusses Her Path to Humanism…



From The Humanist

I WAS SIX YEARS OLD and stricken with grief over the recent death of my dearly beloved dog. Our minister dropped by to visit my mother, and I asked him to tell me how I would meet my dog again in heaven. He said I would not meet my dog in heaven, because animals have no souls and God does not allow them in. I would, however, meet all my dear relatives in heaven, and wasn’t that nice?

I was horrified. I tried to negotiate. I said I’d be willing to trade a couple of aunts and uncles for my dog, if God could perhaps make an exception for me. The minister said no. God would never haggle. At last I stamped my foot and said I thought God was mean, and I didn’t want to go to his nasty old petless heaven anyway, and I ran away crying.

My embarrassed mother made me come back and apologize, but my heart wasn’t in it. I detested the minister from that day onward. Furthermore, what I learned about God in Sunday school did little to improve my opinion of him. For instance, why would a purportedly loving and all-powerful father have to make his son die a cruel death before he got willing to forgive people? Why didn’t he just forgive them right off? And if he did agree to forgive them after the son’s death, why was he still sending people to his super-sadistic hell to suffer for all eternity? (I had a Catholic playmate who informed me that everybody in my family would go to hell anyway, because we went to the wrong church. Her parochial-school “sister” said so.)

I was a nuisance in Sunday school. I asked the teacher many questions, but I got no answers, only scoldings. I learned that questioning was evil, and that I must simply believe everything I was told, because that was God’s rule. Worst of all, I would be expected to become a cannibal and consume the actual flesh and blood of poor dead Jesus, whose gory demise was shown to us children in a life-size painting. The whole idea gave me an uncomfortable feeling of nausea.

Born on this Day: Saul Alinsky


sFrom The Freethinker

“If you think you’ve got an inside track to absolute truth, you become doctrinaire, humorless and intellectually constipated. The greatest crimes in history have been perpetrated by such religious and political and racial fanatics.”

Those words, in a Playboy interview in 1972, were spoken by the great 20th-century community organiser Saul David Alinsky, who was born on January 30, 1909, in a Chicago slum to Russian Jewish immigrant parents.

Alinsky said in the same interview that his parents “were strict orthodox; their whole life revolved around work and synagogue.”

When asked if he was a devout Jew as a boy, Alinsky responded: “I suppose I was – until I was about 12. I was brainwashed, really hooked. But then I got afraid my folks were going to try to turn me into a rabbi, so I went through some pretty rapid withdrawal symptoms and kicked the habit”

Alinsky majored in archaeology at the University of Chicago, but after two years of graduate study he dropped out to work as a criminologist for the state of Illinois. In the mid-1930s, he started working with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), and became a close friend of John L. Lewis.

Alinsky shifted from labour to community organising in 1939, focusing first on improving the impoverished slums he grew up in. In 1940, millionaire Marshall Field III provided Alinsky funds to start the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), which grew into a prominent training institute for radical community organisers across the country.

TODD WALTON: Suffering Fools


We've Traded Places Times Before

We’ve Traded Places Times Before painting by Nolan Winkler

Under The Table

“Life is a long lesson in humility.” James Barrie

My friend John Grimes, the cartoonist, recently sent me an article from the Washington Post about Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump for President of the United States. The writer of the article suggests that since both Palin and Trump are Reality Television stars, this endorsement furthers the frightening trend of American politics becoming little more than a media circus designed to numb the populous while aggrandizing the stand-ins for the despots.

But I think there is something else going on here with Trump and Palin, something much older and deeper than Reality Television, though directly connected to the televisionization of our culture and society, which has made us, more than ever before, the victims of aggressive extroverts who seem to be developmentally arrested somewhere between the ages of four and ten.

When I was in Sixth Grade, a decade or two before the introduction of Ritalin and other pharmaceuticals into mainstream-education class management, there were two kids in our class, Charlie and Amy, who were both so impulsive, loud, and disruptive, our well-meaning teacher was nearly powerless to control them. And even when Charlie and Amy were not acting out, we expected them to explode at any moment, so our classroom experience was about surviving Charlie and Amy, not about learning. Sadly, these two were not smart or creative or interesting. On the contrary, they were infantile and abusive—Trump and Palin.

Brenda Ueland: The Art of Listening…



From Brenda Upland (1891 – 1985)
Author of If You Want To Write

It is through this creative process
that we at once love and are loved

I want to write about the great and powerful thing that listening is. And how we forget it. And how we don’t listen to our children, or those we love. And least of all – which is so important, too – to those we do not love. But we should. Because listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. Think how the friends that really listen to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius as though it did us good, like ultraviolet rays.

This is the reason: When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life. You know how if a person laughs at your jokes you become funnier and funnier, and if he does not, every tiny little joke in you weakens up and dies. Well, that is the principle of it. It makes people happy and free when they are listened to. And if you are a listener, it is the secret of having a good time in society (because everybody around you becomes lively and interesting), of comforting people, of doing them good.

Who are the people, for example, to whom you go for advice? Not to the hard, practical ones who can tell you exactly what to do, but to the listeners; that is, the kindest, least censorious, least bossy people you know. It is because by pouring out your problem to them, you then know what to do about it yourself.

When we listen to people there is an alternating current that recharges us so we never get tired of each other. We are constantly being re-created.

Why Bernie Sanders Is Winning the Hearts and Minds of America…



From Common Dreams

If you’re lucky, once in your lifetime, maybe twice if you’re really lucky, you’ll get an opportunity to support a presidential candidate who speaks to your values on a very deep personal level. For me, that chance came the day Bernie Sanders announced his presidential campaign. My reason for supporting Bernie Sanders for president can be summed up in one word: authenticity.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the real deal and people feel it in their guts. We know he’s on our side. A profile in political courage and integrity, Bernie Sanders is a patriot who has been fighting for economic and social justice all his life. Finally, we have a candidate who is not only willing, but eager, to take on Wall Street, the media elites and the corrupt political establishment. This is why I joined the political revolution on Day 1 and why millions of Americans from all political stripes are Feeling the Bern.

In a remarkable November speech at Georgetown University, Bernie Sanders passionately articulated the rationale for his candidacy by saying, “We need to develop a political movement which, once again, is prepared to take on and defeat a ruling class whose greed is destroying our nation.” Sign me up.

Christian Crock: Why Are There No Miracles Anymore?


From ExChristianNet

Recently, out of curiosity, I Googled, “Why are there no miracles anymore?” I wanted to know how Christian bloggers would handle this question. I found their answers to be all over the map. And everyone is an expert, it seems, since each appeared to be absolutely certain he had the correct answer.

There were some other interesting viewpoints in their responses, as well. For example, one writer claimed the

“main miracle [the resurrection] happened and that we have been given enough evidence to believe without a miracle. After we come to grips with the fact that our unbelief is sin whether we’ve seen a miracle with our own eyes or not…”

So, we heathens aren’t just wrong because we don’t believe in the resurrection, we are sinners. Now that’s what I call leading with the fear card. You better believe, or else…

Christian bloggers’ opinions on the miracle question varied from those who agreed there are no miracles in our times to those who believed there are now more miracles than ever.

GENE LOGSDON: The Kingdom of Corn


The Contrary Farmer

You can find a stunning photo of the kingdom of corn in, of all places, the Sunday New York Times travel section Jan. 7. I stared at that photo on and off for three days, transfixed by what it silently said for all of us who know corn. In the photo, taken in rural Iowa, there’s one lonely farmhouse, surrounded by winter corn stubble as far as the camera can see. Miles in every direction of nothing—nothing — but corn stubble on low rolling hills, as forlorn a sight of human habitation as an artist could depict to me. To a corn farmer the scene probably brings more good feeling than bad because the thickness of the stubble indicates a very good crop there last year. All that stubble also indicates that little erosion will occur there over winter and as it decays and is worked into the soil, the fodder will add to the organic matter content.

But there is an ominous message in that photo too. The photographer could easily have taken a similar picture just about anywhere in Iowa where the farmhouse would be abandoned. Corn has been replacing farmsteads for fifty years at least because it looks like an easy and comparatively uncomplicated way to make money but requires constant expansion to do so, like all industrial businesses. Over the years pasture and oats and even wheat dropped out of the kingdom of corn. Grazing livestock and fences disappeared. Woodlots vanished. Crossroad and village stores closed. The number of farmers dropped precipitously.  Over 60% of the land today is owned by non-farming investors. In fact, 21% of Iowa farmland is owned by people who do not even live in Iowa. What is particularly rankling about these figures is that some 40% of that corn is grown to feed piston engines. This is a travesty especially now that gasoline is so cheap. Everyone I talk to except corn farmers themselves admits it. Ethanol from corn is not a sustainable process. It is not profitable without subsidies. But our leaders, neither Republican nor Democratic, have the moral fiber to oppose the corn kingdom because they believe that without all that corn, the farm economy of the midwest would collapse at least for awhile.

Will Parrish Goes Free…




I was in court on Friday, Jan. 23rd regarding my Willits Bypass protest case. Judge David Nelson presided this time, since Judge Behnke — who had been with me through it all — is now assigned to another courtroom.

It was, by far, the most friendly judicial proceeding I’ve ever participated in.

Judge Nelson opened by confirming with my lawyer, Omar Figueroa, a few particularities of my appearance in His Honor’s court. In Jan. 2014, Omar and I had negotiated a “deferred entry of judgment” with Assistant DA Paul Sequiera whereby I would receive two misdemeanors, with those counts of “unlawful entry” reduced to infractions after a period of two years — provided I didn’t commit any other misdemeanor offenses in that time, such as conducting another aerial blockade of Willits highway construction.

After confirming the essentials of this history, Judge Nelson promptly dismissed all charges against me. It happened so fast, and was so anti-climactic — this being after 20 court appearances spanning two and-a-half years, and hundreds of hours of contemplation on my part — that I didn’t even understand what happened until Omar explained it to me after the fact.

Judge Nelson then converted the restitution Judge Behnke had ordered me to pay a year ago — $9,460.45 — from a criminal to a civil matter. Frankly, I am not sure what the implications of this ruling are yet.

Judge Nelson then picked up a binder on his desk containing the voluminous files from my case, held it aloft, looked at me and said something to the effect of “This has been a big part of the history of your life. I’ll bet you’re glad to have it over. Good luck.”

I muttered a thanks.


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