Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Spirit of Sacramento Riverboat Sinks in Delta

Image result for Spirit of Sacramento

Fisherman Mario Cipriaso said Sunday morning, he saw something you don't see very often.
"I was fishing a point, and you can hear the metal cracking, making al that noise, and I looked up, and I saw it was sinking. Then it rolled over, and capsized," Cipriaso said.
Just after midnight Sunday, the Coast Guard received a call saying the "Spirit of Sacramento"- an 87 foot paddle wheel boat - was sinking near Bethel Island, in Contra Costa County.
"You just smell diesel. And it was like, man this is bad," Cipriaso said.
The "Spirit of Sacramento" once shared the screen with John Wayne in the 1955 film, "Blood Alley." After its Hollywood career, the boat lived a second life as tourist boat in Old Sacramento. Many locals were hoping the boat would be turned into a bed and breakfast or a restaurant. However, those dreams along with the boat, are now under water.
"It was beautiful. I just needed a lot of cleaning and a little bit of work. But it was still feasible. Ya, it's a shame," owner of the Rusty Porthole bar, Robert Brunham said.
Image for the news resultFishermen said the boat had just changed hands after being sold in an auction for just $1,000. They said the new owner was trying to move it across the Delta, when it started to sink.
"I guess it may have caught it. Maybe ripped a hole in the back. I can only assume," Cipriaso said.
The Coast Guard tried salvaging it, until it finally flipped over. The biggest issue now is the fuel leaking into the river. The vessel may be carrying up to 600 gallons of diesel and some have already spotted the concern.
"How will they get it out with all that diesel? Because the tides were coming back in so it pushed all the diesel out," Cipriaso said.
The Coast Guard is working with other state and local agencies on a plan to deal with the environmental threat.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Proposal To Eradicate California Delta Bass Withdrawn

Published By OutdoorsFIRST Media
Published August 25, 2016

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA), along with a coalition of leaders in the recreational fishing and boating community, are pleased to announce that striped and black (largemouth and smallmouth) bass, important sportfish species in California, won't be targeted for eradication as invasive species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its tributaries.

Petition number 2016-011, which called for changes to recreational fishing size and bag limits for these species, was withdrawn by the petitioners who championed the species eradication, before its scheduled review by the California Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The opposing coalition, composed of the American Sportfishing Association, B.A.S.S., California Sportfishing League, Coastal Conservation Association California, Coastside Fishing Club, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, Fishing League Worldwide, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Water4Fish, sent a joint letter opposing the petition.

"Our coalition had science on our side and we were able to show the Fish and Wildlife Commission that all fish need water and this was simply a water grab that sought to make striped bass and largemouth and smallmouth bass the scapegoats for the status of salmon stocks," said ASA Government Affairs Vice President Scott Gudes.

Representing millions of sportsmen and women nationwide, including tens of thousands in California, the coalition engaged their supporters who sent a clear message to the Commission that this was a water issue, not a fish issue.

"This is a real victory for anglers. But we need to be vigilant. No doubt the agricultural industry that pushed this proposal will be back. Anglers need to stay unified," concluded Gudes.

The Coalition for Sustainable Delta, California Chamber of Commerce, California Farm Bureau Federation, Kern County Water Agency, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Northern California Water Association, San Joaquin Tributaries Authority, Southern California Water Committee, State Water Contractors and Western Growers were the petitioners.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Veteran Takes His Own Life After VA Turns Him Away

76-Year-Old Veteran Takes His Own Life in Hospital Parking Lot After VA Turns Him Away

On Sunday afternoon, 76-year-old Navy vet Peter Kaisen took his own life in the parking lot of a New York VA hospital.
The grandfather's suicide comes at a time when the Department of Veterans Affairs has been facing years of scrutiny over administrative delays and healthcare practices alike, asRT America reports.
As information continues to emerge, the circumstances surrounding Kaisen's death only serve to make the tragic situation even more agonizing.
Image Credit: Screenshot/YouTube
Peter Kaisen. Image Credit: Screenshot/YouTube
Two hospital workers -- who spoke to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity -- say that Kaisen had come to Long Island's Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Sunday seeking "an emergency-room physician for reasons related to his mental health."
As one worker put it:
“He went to the E.R. and was denied service. And then he went to his car and shot himself.”
The workers added that "someone dropped the ball” and that the hospital -- where Kaisen had been a patient -- "should not have turned him away."
However, Christopher Goodman -- a spokesperson for the hospital -- has countered this claim, saying that "there was no indication Kaisen had shown up at the ER prior to his suicide."
In May, the same facility came under fire after it was forced to cancel the surgeries of more than 100 veterans when black particles began spitting out of the air vents in its operating rooms.
Kaisen, who served in the Navy from 1958 to 1962, also served as an officer with the Long Beach Police Department in the 60s, during which time he was severely injured in a car accident. He had reportedly been on "constant medication" ever since.
Thomas Farley, a friend of Kaisen for 40 years, spoke on the grieving family's behalf:
"He went there for help with depression. That was his last hope, and he didn't get any help."
Farley adds that he hopes his friend's death "can be used as an example to make things better," and hopefully "can save someone else’s life."
As the grandfather's suicide occurred on federal property, the FBI has launched an investigation into the matter, though they note that they've uncovered "nothing criminal at this time."
The Department of Veterans Affairs notes that 22 veterans commit suicide each day.
Kaisen -- described as "a family man" who loved NASCAR and animals -- leaves behind three daughters and seven grandchildren.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Clinton And The Mena Cover-up


The Mena Coverup
Updated March 3, 1999 12:01 a.m. ET
By Micah Morrison, a Wall Street Journal editorial page writer.
MENA, Ark. -- What do Bill Clinton and Oliver North have in common, along with the Arkansas State Police and the Central Intelligence Agency? All probably wish they had never heard of Mena.
President Clinton was asked at his Oct. 7 press conference about Mena, a small town and airport in the wilds of Western Arkansas. Sarah McClendon, a longtime Washington curmudgeon renowned for her off-the-wall questions, wove a query around the charge that a base in Mena was "set up by Oliver North and the CIA" in the 1980s and used to "bring in planeload after planeload of cocaine" for sale in the U.S., with the profits then used to buy weapons for the Contras. Was he told as Arkansas governor? she asked.
inRead invented by Teads
"No," the president replied, "they didn't tell me anything about it." The alleged events "were primarily a matter for federal jurisdiction. The state really had next to nothing to do with it. The local prosecutor did conduct an investigation based on what was in the jurisdiction of state law. The rest of it was under the jurisdiction of the United States Attorneys who were appointed successively by previous administrations. We had nothing -- zero -- to do with it."
It was Mr. Clinton's lengthiest remark on the murky affair since it surfaced nearly a decade ago, in the middle of his long tenure as governor of Arkansas. And while the president may be correct to suggest that Mena is an even bigger problem for previous Republican administrations, he was wrong on just about every other count. The state of Arkansas had plenty to do with Mena, and Mr. Clinton left many unanswered questions behind when he moved to Washington.
Anyone who thinks that Mena is not serious should speak to William Duncan, a former Internal Revenue Service investigator who, together with Arkansas State Police Investigator Russell Welch, has fought a bitter 10-year battle to bring the matter to light. They pinned their hopes on nine separate state and federal probes. All failed.
"The Mena investigations were never supposed to see the light of day," says Mr. Duncan, now an investigator with the Medicaid Fraud Division of the office of Arkansas Attorney General Winston Bryant. "Investigations were interfered with and covered up, and the justice system was subverted."
The mysteries of Mena, detailed on this page on June 29, center on the activities of a drug-smuggler-turned-informant named Adler Berriman "Barry" Seal. Mr. Seal began operating at Mena Intermountain Regional Airport in 1981. At the height of his career, according to Mr. Welch, Mr. Seal was importing as much as 1,000 pounds of cocaine a month.
By 1984, Mr. Seal was an informant for the Drug Enforcement Agency and flew at least one sting operation to Nicaragua for the CIA, a mission known to have drawn the attention of Mr. North. By 1986, Mr. Seal was dead, gunned down by Colombian hitmen in Baton Rouge, La. Eight months after Mr. Seal's murder, his cargo plane, which had been based at Mena, was shot down over Nicaragua with Eugene Hasenfus and a load of Contra supplies aboard.
According to Mr. Duncan and others, Mr. Clinton's allies in state government worked to suppress Mena investigations. In 1990, for example, when Mr. Bryant made Mena an issue in the race for attorney general, Clinton aide Betsey Wright warned the candidate "to stay away" from the issue, according to a CBS Evening News investigative report. Ms. Wright denies the report. Yet once in office, and after a few feints in the direction of an investigation, Mr. Bryant stopped looking into Mena.
Documents obtained by the Journal show that as Gov. Clinton's quest for the presidency gathered steam in 1992, his Arkansas allies took increasing interest in Mena. Marie Miller, then director of the Medicaid Fraud Division, wrote in an April 1992 memo to her files that she told Mr. Duncan of the attorney general's "wish to sever any ties to the Mena matter because of the implication that the AG might be
investigating the governor's connection." The memo says the instructions were pursuant to a conversation with Mr. Bryant's chief deputy, Royce Griffin. In an interview, Mr. Duncan said Mr. Griffin put him under "intense pressure" regarding Mena.
Another memo, from Mr. Duncan to several high-ranking members of the attorney general's staff in March 1992, notes that Mr. Duncan was instructed "to remove all files concerning the Mena investigation from the attorney general's office." At the time, several Arkansas newspapers were known to be preparing Freedom of Information Act requests aimed at Gov. Clinton's administration.
A spokesman for Mr. Bryant, Lawrence Graves, said yesterday that he was not aware of the missing files or of pressure exerted on Mr. Duncan. In Arkansas, Mr. Graves said, the attorney general "does not have authority" to pursue criminal cases.
From February to May 1992, Mr. Duncan was involved in a series of meetings aimed at deciding how to use a $25,000 federal grant obtained by then-Rep. Bill Alexander for the Mena investigation. In a November 1991 letter to Arkansas State Police Commander Tommy Goodwin, Mr. Alexander urged that, at the current "critical stage" in the Mena investigation, the money be used to briefly assign Mr. Duncan to the Arkansas State Police to pursue the case full time with State Police Investigator Welch and to prepare "a steady flow of information" for Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, who had received some Mena files from Mr. Bryant.
According to Mr. Duncan's notes on the meetings, Mr. Clinton's aides closely tracked the negotiations over what to do with the money. Mr. Duncan says a May 7, 1992, meeting with Col. Goodwin was interrupted by a phone call from the governor, though he does not know what was discussed. The grant, however, was never used. Col. Goodwin told CBS that the money was returned "because we didn't have anything to spend it on."
In 1988, local authorities suffered a similar setback after Charles Black, a Mena-area prosecutor, approached Gov. Clinton with a request for funds for a Mena investigation. "He said he would get on it and would get a man back to me," Mr. Black told CBS. "I never heard back."
In 1990, Mr. Duncan informed Col. Goodwin about Clinton supporter Dan Lasater, who had been convicted of drug charges. "I told Tommy Goodwin that I'd received allegations of a Lasater connection to Mena," Mr. Duncan said.
The charge, that Barry Seal had used Mr. Lasater's bond business to launder drug money, was raised by a man named Terry Reed. Mr. Reed and journalist John Cummings recently published a book -- "Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA" -- charging that Mr. Clinton, Mr. North and others engaged in a massive conspiracy to smuggle cocaine, export weapons and launder money. While much of the book rests on slim evidence and already published sources, the Lasater-Seal connection is new. (Thomas Mars, Mr. Lasater's attorney, said yesterday that his client "has never had a connection" with Mr. Seal.) But when Mr. Duncan tried to check out the allegations, his probe went nowhere, stalled from lack of funds and bureaucratic hostility.
Not all of the hostility came from the state level. When Messrs. Duncan and Welch built a money-laundering case in 1985 against Mr. Seal's associates, the U.S. Attorneys in the case "directly interfered with the process," Mr. Duncan said. "Subpoenas were not issued, witnesses were discredited, interviews with witnesses were interrupted, and the wrong charges were brought before the grand jury."
One grand jury member was so outraged by the prosecutors' actions that she broke the grand-jury secrecy covenant. Not only had the case been blatantly mishandled, she later told a congressional investigator, but many jurors felt "there was some type of government intervention," according to a transcript of the statement obtained by the Journal. "Something is being covered up."
In 1987, Mr. Duncan was asked to testify before a House subcommittee on crime. Two days before his testimony, he says, IRS attorneys working with the U.S. Attorney for Western Arkansas reinterpreted Rule 6(e), the grand-jury secrecy law, forcing the exclusion of much of Mr. Duncan's planned testimony and evidence. Mr. Duncan also charges that a senior IRS attorney tried to force him to commit perjury by directing him to say he had no knowledge of a claim by Mr. Seal that a large bribe had been paid to Attorney General Edwin Meese. Mr. Duncan says he didn't make much of the drug dealer's claim, but did know about it; he refused to lie to Congress.
Mr. Duncan, distressed by the IRS's handling of Mena, resigned in 1989. Meanwhile, the affair was sputtering through four federal forums, including a General Accounting Office probe derailed by the National Security Council. At one particularly low point, Mr. Duncan, then briefly a Mena investigator for a House subcommittee, was arrested on Capitol Hill on a bogus weapons charge that was held over his head for nine months, then dismissed. His prized career in law enforcement in ruins, he found his way back to Arkansas and began to pick up the pieces.
Mr. Duncan does not consider President Clinton a political enemy. Indeed, he feels close to the president -- a fellow Arkansan who shares the same birthday -- and thinks Mena may turn out to be far more troublesome for GOP figures such as Mr. North than any Arkansas players.
These days, Mr. Duncan struggles to keep hope alive. "I'm just a simple Arkansan who takes patriotism very seriously," he says. "We are losing confidence in our system. But I still believe that somewhere, somehow, there is some committee or institution that can issue subpoenas, get on the money trail, find out what happened and restore a bit of faith in the system."

(Kevin Coney 1988-89 Murdered Six Ark. people who came forward with info about the
Gregory Collins death of 2 teens near the Mena operations. All killed
Kieth McKaskle before testifying. Stabbed, shotgunned or burned.
Jeff Rhodes Local detective, John Brown, reportedly solved the
Richard Winters case and gave findings to FBI which sat on them.
Jordan Ketelson According to Brown, "We Know who killed these kids.
The reason this case has been stopped ... is because it
tracks to Bill Clinton being involved in the cover-up".
Kevin Ives 08/87 Murdered Two Bryant, Ark teens who saw too much of the Mena
Don Henry air drops. Found on train tracks. Initial report said
they fell asleep and was made by a state coroner
appointed by Bill Clinton. Parents protested and after
months, had the boys exumed and re-examined. Cause
of death then changed to murder, the boys having been
stabbed and skulls crushed before the train arrived.)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Stockton Mayor Charged With Providing Alcohol to Minors

Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva was charged Thursday with providing alcohol to minors last summer — an act authorities said came during a strip poker game at a camp for underprivileged children run by the mayor.
He was arrested at his Stockton youth camp at Silver Lake in Amador County, KCRA reports.
Silva, 42, was charged with eavesdropping, contributing to the delinquency or a minor, providing alcohol to a minor and cruelty to a child by endangering health, his lawyer, Mark Reichel, told The Associated Press.
The charges revolve around Silva’s involvement in a strip poker game, the Stockton Record reported, citing information from the Amador County District Attorney’s Office.
Here’s more from KCRA:
The incidents for which Silva is being charged happened between Aug. 5 and Aug. 9, 2015, at the Stockton Silver Lake Camp, according to the Amador County District Attorney.
The arrest stems from a September 2015 FBI investigation where Silva’s cellphone was seized by Homeland Security investigators at San Francisco International Airport as he got off a flight from China.
One of the clips on Silva’s phone contained audio of several people during a strip poker game in Silva’s bedroom at the camp, the Amador County district attorney said. One of the participants was 16 years old.
The district attorney said the audio revealed that participants in the poker game did not want to be recorded.
Witnesses stated that Silva supplied alcohol to a number of underage counselors at the camp as well, according to the Amador County district attorney.
Silva was free on bail and Reichel said he will plead not guilty.
Prosecutors and sheriff’s officials did not return calls from the AP seeking further details.
Allen Sawyer, another attorney for Silva, told the AP his client will be allowed to return to the summer camp to finish the season.
“He absolutely denies these charges, he’s angry and he’s going to fight it,” Sawyer said. “But his biggest concern right now is not to disrupt the at-risk youth up at the camp.”
Silva is seeking a second term in November as mayor of the river port city of 300,000 people.
Before Silva was charged, the Stockton Police Officers’ Association endorsed his opponent, Michael Tubbs, citing his commitment to cooperation with police in establishing good practices, the Stockton Record reported.
The charges came a week after the newspaper reported that a gun stolen from Silva’s home during a burglary was linked to the killing of 13-year-old Rayshawn Harris in Stockton early last year. The mayor is accused of not reporting the gun as missing until a month after the boy was killed.
Reichel said Silva had nothing to do with the killing and was simply the victim of a crime when his gun was taken.
The Associated Press contributed to this post.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Delta Tunnels: Restoring An Estuary by Diverting Its Water?

By: Dan Bacher

July 28, 2016 - After covering fish, water, and environmental justice issues in California and the West for over 30 years as an investigative journalist, I’ve concluded that the California Water Fix, the new name for the Delta Tunnels, is the most environmentally devastating public works project I've ever encountered.

I’ve published hundreds of articles about the Delta Tunnels, Governor Jerry Brown's plan to divert Sacramento River water 30 miles under the California Delta to facilitate its export to corporate agribusiness and Southern California water agencies, in a wide array of publications. 

In my reporting, I’ve covered many aspects of the controversial plan. These include:

• How the project won’t create one drop of new water while spending up to $67 billion of taxpayer and ratepayer’s money.

• How the project’s former point man Jerry Meral, in a moment of candor in 2013, claimed the Delta “cannot be saved,” after years of promoting the peripheral canal and tunnels as the solution to the co-equal goals of water supply reliability.

• How the reports of scientific panels, ranging from the Delta Independence Science Board to federal EPA scientists, that have given the alleged “science” of the tunnels project a failing grade.

• How the project won’t help Californians during the drought, fund innovative water conservation, storm water capture, or water recycling projects that are desperately needed. 

• How the plan will push endangered fish species, such as Delta and longfin smelt, winter Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead and green sturgeon, over the abyss of extinction, while failing to address the state's long-term water supply needs. 

• How the project will devastate not only San Francisco Bay and Delta fisheries, but recreational, commercial and subsistence fisheries up and down the West Coast; the salmon fishery alone is worth $1.5 billion annually.

• How the tunnels will also imperil the salmon, steelhead and other fish populations on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers that are an integral part of the culture and livelihoods of the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley tribes.

• How the tunnels would devastate the Delta’s $5.2 billion agricultural economy and $750 million recreation and tourism economy.

• How the Winnemem Wintu Tribe and other California Indian Tribes have been excluded or marginalized in the Delta Tunnels process. 

• How documents for the tunnels projects, in an overt case of environmental injustice, have not been translated into Spanish and other languages, as required under an array of state and federal laws. 

• How the current petition before the State Water Resources Control Board and all of the previous plans, EIRs and documents of the plan have failed to address other alternatives, such as the Environmental Water Caucus’ Sustainable Water Plan for California, for achieving the dual goals of ecosystem restoration and water supply.

I’ve also covered the lack of scoping meetings for the new plan; lack of details regarding financing, addition of 8,000 new pages for public comment on top of the existing 40,000 pages that were previously submitted by the state and federal governments last year; and the lack of a cost-benefits analysis.

But in the many hours I’ve spent covering the California WaterFix and its predecessors, there’s one terminal flaw with the project that stands out among all others: the false assumption the project is based upon.

The Water Fix is based on the absurd contention that taking up to 9,000 cubic feet per second of water from the Sacramento River at the new points of diversion, as requested in the petition by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to the State Water Resources Control Board, will somehow “restore” the Delta ecosystem.

I am not aware of a single project in US or world history where the construction of a project that takes more water out of a river or estuary has resulted in the restoration of that river or estuary.

Based on this untenable premise and all of the flaws that thousands of Californians have uncovered about the project, I am strongly urging the State Water Resources Control Board to reject the petition of DWR and Reclamation requesting permits for new water diversion intakes on the Sacramento River and water quality certification under the Clean Water Act. These are essential permits required before the Delta Tunnels could be constructed.

The California Water Fix is a massive water grab for corporate agribusiness interests and Southern California water agencies, subsidized by the taxpayers, that must not be allowed to go forward.