I’m ‘Cousin Elmo’

Chances are radio broadcasting’s done with me — so I feel free now to share my little secret: I’m ‘Cousin Elmo.’

As a young disc jockey in the latter part of the 70’s, I thought it disingenuous to learn that some of the talented people I worked with in the radio biz, used ‘fake names.’ Later I realized it was simply a hold-over from the golden days of Hollywood, where actors’ used ‘stage names.’

That’s tradition for you.

About a decade or so into my ‘so-called’ career, as it were, a program director decided I should use the moniker, ‘Tom Cook.’ However, during my first air-shift alone, I couldn’t for the life of me recall that name – so I stuck with my real name.

Looking back, that may have been a mistake as for years I used a make-believe character by the name of ‘Cousin Elmo,’ as my foil. He could say things considered politically incorrect and I, of course, would repeat them.

A strong opinion’s always been a dangerous thing in a public forum.

Today, I often use ‘Cousin Elmo’ – this fake persona — to say shit that might otherwise get me kicked off social media permanently. The amazing thing is that ‘Cousin Elmo’s’ comments are often more popular than anything I have to say under my real name.

I think I’m jealous of the guy!

The New Human Rights’ Sheriff at the U.N.

While in my 20’s I had the misfortune of being involved in a U.N. Peacekeeping mission that cost several hundred lives of Marines and soldiers. Since then I’ve learned not to trust the organizations.

In fact, many U.S. Marines I know refused to wear the U.N. blue or its badge. A lot of us were threatened with severe disciplinary measures including the possibility of court-martial because of our refusal.

un patch

At least we weren’t made to wear the fiber-glass U.N. blue piss-pots when in the field. And while I still have my patch, I did try to keep the badge I was issued thinking that it would one less ‘flashing’ some other poor-assed Jarhead would be forced to wear.

And when I say ‘learned,’ I mean I studied the flow chart of the United Nations, watching it grow into a monstrous bureaucratic giant that couldn’t “wipes its ass with both hands if it had too.”

Now this — which is jus’ being reported: In June Saudi Arabia was elected as the new head of the Consultative Group of the United Nations Human Rights Council. What a crock of bull-shit.

Why?

The Asian Arab nation has been consistently criticized for its human rights record. In addition to state-sanctioned beheadings, Saudi Arabia arbitrarily arrests, tries, and convicts peaceful dissidents; permits floggings and limb amputations as punishments for many crimes; and uses anti-terror regulations to criminalize most forms of criticism of the government.

In addition to this, Saudi Arabia bans women from getting driver’s licenses; dictates that women wear loose-fitting clothing and cover their heads in public; requires women to get ‘male permission’ to work or travel; and uses capital punishment (beheading) for people who “blaspheme” Islam.

I feel it necessary to mention the ‘beheading,’ twice – because if anything screams ‘humane,’ it’s the loss of one’s head to a heavy sword in public.

In fact, Saudi Arabia has one of the “worst of the worst” in the world when it comes its to human rights records, alongside nations like North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and Somalia. And yet, that ‘Mutha of a Brother’ in the White House says nothing and it leaves me sick to think this is the sort of leadership we’ve fallen for in the U.S.

A Sense of Change

I might be spending what could be my final day of this year sitting in our backyard under the shade of our Aspen tree. The nights are growing colder and the days shorter, announcing winter is on its way.

Nostalgia always fills my heart when I know the season is about to pass. I’m not speaking of a date on the calendar, rather the turning of the leaves, the geese in their v-shaped formations winging southward and the winds which have changed their direction.

Even the dogs show the telltale approach of summer’s end and the amplified shortness of autumn’s day, as they spread out at my feet, enjoying what is left of the sunshine. It isn’t hard to notice how quickly their fur is beginning to fill-in, projection from the onslaught of heavy snows and freezing temperatures.

To soon the trees and the grass and the flowers in our garden shall find their winter’s sleep along with the wild beasts and I’ll wonder – why can’t I simply hibernate, too?

Fame V. Riches

Since childhood, I have sought fame, to be known and publicly recognized for my talents. Yet as I’ve slipped beyond the midway point of my life’s expectancy, I’ve learn that I’ve had it all wrong.

I should have sought riches, which are far more than money or material things and do not fade away with time. While some cash is nice to have, it is family and all the memories incorporated with that I now find most important.

From the handshake of one’s father, to the kiss on the cheek from your mother, to the clap on the back of a brother, nothing in life sustains the inner self like those cherished memories. To seeing a baby sister for the first time to holding another baby sister for the first time, the shortness of life adds to these easily and often overlooked events.

Once shared, not even times passing can dissolve the reflection locked into one’s mind. Yes, mental defect can cause the reflective ability of the mind to fail – but it cannot erase what has already happened, only in the end of time shall that be accomplished.

Yes, I write as if I were a dead man-walking, as in the end of all, we are: dead in the body, but not in our soul or the spirit which binds the two. Those belong to the Author of our lives and time immemorial.

So, let me seek the riches and not the fame. I’m already well-known beyond this earthly plain as you are too, now let’s store up riches for heaven’s sake.

One-liners

Much of my life can be boiled down to one-liners; some humorous, others serious. All in all, this is a sad state of being.

First and foremost is: “Only the mediocre are always at their best.” It’s an apt description of me as I’ve always been a ‘mediocre man.’

For years I’ve never really had to try. Much of my life’s activities have come naturally to me and I’ve never once tried to be best at whatever has come my way.

Second is, “Luck is the residue of piss-poor planning.” I’ve been fortunate enough not to have to create a list of steps to get from one point in life to the next and thus, I’ve openly contributed to my meritocracy.

Lastly – “When you stop to think, don’t forget to start again.” For me this has to do with resting on my laurels, something that is a real danger to the person who thinks of themselves with high regard.

In my final analysis, there is very little in my life that I can say, “I did because I…” Rather, everything that I’ve done worth noting has been done because something ‘happened’ to force me in one direction or another.

Maybe I’m alone in this, perhaps I am not. No one I know is admitting to anything.

Choose Wisely

In the 1989 movie, “Raider’s of the Last Crusade,” the bad guy Walter Donovan takes a jewel encrusted goblet, and thinking it’s the one Jesus drank from on the night he was betrayed, drinks from it. He quickly regretted having done so, because he died a hideous death immediately afterwards.

It’s said that life imitates art, so it should be of no surprise that following Pope Francis’ speech to a joint session of Congress, Pennsylvania’ Democratic Congressman Ben Brady, a Catholic, rushed up to the lectern and stole the Pope’s glass of water. He took this modern-day Holy Grail to his office and drank from it as did his wife, Debra, and two staffers.

The congressman also invited Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania into his office, where Casey, his wife, and Casey’s mother dipped their fingers into the water. Brady saved the rest to bless his four grandchildren and his great-granddaughter, all of which is creepy if you ask me.

As the ‘Guardian of the Holy Grail’ from the movie told Indiana Jones: “You must choose. But choose wisely, for as the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail will take it from you.”

No Rules. Jus’ Write

For years my mantra about this blogging thing had been, “No rules. Jus’ write.” I stole that slogan from the restaurant ‘Outback,’ whose tagline is “No rules, just right.”

Then as I continued to write, I realized I did have rules – and it suddenly appeared hypocritical of me to proclaim a ‘no rules’ statement. Slowly, now I am attempting to return to that old idea because I jus’ wanna write without hindrance. I also want to encourage you to write, too.

Many people worry that they are ‘no good’ at writing and this keeps them from sharing their personal stories. I believe that everyone has stories to tell if they’d jus’ take the time to reflect on their entire life. This leads to another situation that I find in need of addressing: it is okay to ‘brag’ on oneself and on your family.

So now it’s time to sit down at the computer keyboard, the typewriter or a blank piece of paper and write freely about whatever the hell you wanna write about. It’s time that you and I let others know what it is that we’ve lived through and observed and that our lives are  full of unique experiences and thoughts and that our feelings really matter.

What a gift each of us has been given within this opportunity and what a shame if we don’t unwrap it.

Domesticating the U.S. Passport

The 2005 REAL ID Act has long reminded me of those old 1950 and 60s film noir spy movies where an Eastern Bloc KGB/Gestapo-type official would ask for papers to make certain the protagonist had the ‘right permissions’ to travel and the suspense would build because they didn’t. Well, that scenario is coming to pass in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Beginning in 2016, travelers from four U.S. states and a U.S. territory won’t be able to use their driver’s licenses as ID to board domestic airline flights. This is because Louisiana, Minnesota, American Samoa, New Hampshire and New York haven’t yet issued state ID cards that meet the federal guideline set forth by the act.

If you’re from one of these states, ‘acceptable’ IDs include passports and passport cards, permanent residency cards, U.S. military IDs, and Department of Homeland Security trusted traveler cards like Global Entry and NEXUS. However 38-percent of all Americans don’t have a passport and the numbers grow from there.

The Transportation Safety Administration will also accept Enhanced Driver’s Licenses, the kind used to replace passports for travel to and from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. And of the non-compliant states, only New York and Minnesota issue enhanced licenses.

This is crazy, considering states are now issuing drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens.

Rebranding ‘Deniers and Skeptics’

While it is called a ‘guide,’ the Associated Press Stylebook is often taken as the ‘bible’ in the newsroom when it comes to how to write an article. Here’s the complete entry regarding ‘global warming:’

“The terms global warming and climate change can be used interchangeably. Climate change is more accurate scientifically to describe the various effects of greenhouse gases on the world because it includes extreme weather, storms and changes in rainfall patterns, ocean acidification and sea level. But global warming as a term is more common and understandable to the public.

Though some public officials and laymen and only a few climate scientists disagree, the world’s scientific organizations say that the world’s climate is changing because of the buildup of heat-trapping gases, especially carbon dioxide, from the burning of coal, oil and gas. This is supported by more than 90 percent of the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

In a joint publication in 2014, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of the United Kingdom stated: “Human activities – especially the burning of fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Revolution – have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations by about 40 percent, with more than half the increase occurring since 1970. Since 1900, the global average surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit). This has been accompanied by warming of the ocean, a rise in sea level, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and many other associated climate effects. Much of this warming has occurred in the last four decades.

To describe those who don’t accept climate science or dispute the world is warming from man-made forces, use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science. Avoid use of skeptics or deniers.”

Obviously, the AP Stylebook can now be used as a reference when it comes to citing global warming sources.

My Open Letter to the Pope

To His Most Holiness, Pope Francis:

While I respect your opinion on church matters as that is truly your business, I disagree with your supposition that the ‘over-use’ of ‘air-conditioning’ is ‘harmful.’ Furthermore, most of your views on capitalism’s based on Marxism and is incompatible with the mind of Christ as taught in the New Testament.

With all due respect to your Holiness’s office, had I wished to live as an Argentinean, I would have moved to Argentina. Your native country’s 2001 default on $93 billion in sovereign debt and later currency devaluation caused Argentina’s GDP dropped by 11 percent.

Unemployment doubled to more than 20 percent and inflation rose dramatically. The peso lost nearly 70 percent of its value and basic foodstuffs became scarce and hospitals ran short of essential drugs.

It is true that your country’s debt swaps in 2005 and 2010 brought over 90 percent of the country’s debt out of default, but bondholders lost nearly two-thirds of the face value of their holdings. U.S. federal courts eventually awarded private creditors with the full terms of their bond contracts in 2013, but your governments continued refusal to pay, led to another default in 2014.

And please believe when I say that living through this nation’s so-called recovery from the Great Recession by using Marxist ideal’s on capitalism has been no picnic. People from all walks of life have suffered and continue to suffer monumentally.

So, instead of railing against air conditioning and capitalism, you should be using your position to battle radical Islam and ISIS/ISIL, by saving lives that continue to be extinguished. That is the real threat the world faces.

Finally, enjoy your visit here to the United States of America. I’m certain that you’ll find her people to be mostly warm and inviting.

You stay in my prayers as asked for.

Sincerely yours,
Tom Darby

Pentagon Admits Allies Raping Children

Sexual abuse of children, especially young boys, has been a problem in Afghanistan for centuries and now our U.S. military’s being instructed not to intervene. This policy of non-intervention’s intended to maintain good relations with the Afghan police and militia units being training.

It also reflects a hesitance to impose cultural values in a country where pedophilia is a mark of social status. Furthermore several service members are facing career ruining discipline for disobeying it.

An unnamed Pentagon official admitted that such abuse was taking place but denied that there is an official policy that instructs U.S. troops to ignore it.

“There is no policy in place that directs any U.S. military or government personnel overseas to ignore human rights abuses,” the official said. “On the contrary, we monitor such atrocities closely and have continually stood up for those who have suffered exploitation and denial of basic human freedoms.”

Meanwhile, the White House is refusing to comment on the report first issued by the New York Times that punishment is being mete out to U.S. troops who expose the sexual abuse of children.

“For the rules of engagement and the kind of structure that’s in place to guide the relationship between the United States and Afghan members of the military, I’d refer you to the Department of Defense for that,” said spokesman Josh Earnest.

Such evil destroys its host from the inside — and we are that host.

Life Lesson #26

Stop blaming others for your troubles.
The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.
When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility, you give others power over that part of your life.

The Zodiac Killer Halloween Hoax

It was late October 1969 and we kids were all getting ready for Halloween which was to be on a Friday that year. However, none of us were certain that we’d get to go out because of a letter our local newspaper, the Del Norte Triplicate, had received a week or so before.

In the letter, someone claiming to be the infamous ‘Zodiac Killer,’ had promised to murder area kids who went out for the night. Such a threat left parents from Klamath to Smith River and Hiouchi scared for their children.

“This is the Zodiac speaking. I am in Crescent City,” the letter read in part. “Halloween is a time very many children will come out. I will pick them off. If they do not come out, I will come in for them.”

zodiac killer hoax

The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who operated in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The murderer killed people in Benicia, Vallejo, Lake Berryessa, and San Francisco between December 1968 and October 1969, targeting our men and three women between the ages of 16 and 29.

The killer originated the name “Zodiac” in an August 7, 1969 letter to local Bay Area media, which was jus’ one in a series of taunting letters. So it wasn’t a far stretch to think the killer could be in the far Northern California area.

“Halloween is the witches’ rabbit,” the writer continued. “I will have a good time I am assured. Your attempts to capture me are futile.”

However, after a week of investigation, Del Norte County Sheriff Tom Lawry announced that a 14-year-old boy had written the letter.

“After comparison with hundreds of handwritings, with cooperation from the staff at Del Norte County High School,” Lawry told the Eureka Times-Standard, “the suspects were narrowed to two. The first interviewed was cleared by us, but the second, after receiving the Miranda warning, confessed the act.”

“He said that he did it for the want of something to do,” Lawry added.

Pardon My Interruption

I received an email asking, “What’s wrong with you – no more daily politics?”

It’s nice that someone noticed that I had stopped blogging everyday and that I wasn’t focusing on national politics either. And no – there’s nothing wrong with me or anything.

I jus’ took a break so I could cleanse myself of the anger, hurt and disappointment I’ve been living with these past few years. The constant writing, the constant research, the constant hunt for the deeper truth had become a grind on my spirit and darkened my soul.

I felt as if I were going to explode from all the rage I had stored up inside me. It can be a real struggle to contain and partition the constant bombardment of negativity  that I see everyday in what I do as the human condition is an ugly one.

So for about two-weeks I did as much of everything else I could find to do aside from writing about the disaster that is our national political scene. I also avoided commenting on society (including the media, et. al.,) to the best of my ability.

I gotta admit that keeping my mouth shut isn’t as hard as keeping my mind blank – though I’m sure there are people I know who’d swear up and down that the latter is a normal function for me. Instead, I did a lot of praying and a lot of self-reflection.

And you know what?

I’m in pretty good shape spiritually. My mind is sharp and my emotions are in check and I continue to work on my physical health – meaning all is well with me.

In the end, we’re still being fed tons of crap that’s knocked our society off kilter. After all, do you really give an eff that ABC News reporter Geo Benitez has proposed to his boyfriend while in Paris or that Pam Anderson (of Playboy/Bay Watch) fame is appearing in nude on a magazine cover?

(Those are the top two articles trending on social media at this time.)

I know that I couldn’t care less about stories like this other than to use them to point out how screwed up our priorities over what is important to our survival and what’s not. And maybe you don’t give a shit about what I have to say and that’s okay too.

I still feel the need to share my thoughts with you in trying to help correct our path.

Under the Stars

Each of my seven days was spent in the shade of my pup-tent, sleeping away the heat, waiting for the evening coolness to fall across the Death Valley. The hottest times of the day are between ten in the morning and four in the evening.

The times I can only guess at as I didn’t have my pocket watch with me.

My nights and early morning were spent enjoying the solitude of being alone and having plenty of time to reflect. And every night I was allowed to look into the dark skies above me and simply stare at all the stars in this vast universe.

As a lay back and stared at the Milky Way, I couldn’t help but think of Psalm 147:4 which reads, “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.”

That’s like me trying to count each piece of sand I was laying on.

It also caused me to think about Jeremiah 1:5, which says in part: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”

It’s overwhelming when you realize that not only does he know each star, He knows you and me too.

Coyote Cries Fowl

The large rock on which I had perched myself overlooked the open basin of the Death Valley. Seated there, I was contemplating life when I saw an older model Volkswagen Bug racing along the gravel roadway below me.

Fortunately, I was far enough away as to not hear the sound the jack rabbit’s head made when it contacted the VW’s left front bumper. The animal cart wheeled wildly as the vehicle continued speeding in what I figured to be a northerly direction.

In the desert, as in any wild environment, nothing goes to waste. So it was no surprise when a murder of five crows quickly arrived to claim the carcass.

Their claim was short-lived as a buzzard swept in to take possession of the dead rabbit. The massive wing span sent the crows scattering to the hot, dry wind.

Immediately, the bird picked up where the crows had left off. However, I could soon tell he was not going to be allowed to enjoy his banquet in peace.

Slinking out of the low scrub and rocks trotted a shaggy, sorry-looking coyote. It was obvious that the wild dog had dealt with the buzzard before and wasn’t the least bit intimidated by the sizable display of wings the bird used as a bluff.

Slowly the coyote circled the bird and the dead rabbit; first to the left, then back to the right, tightening the gap between itself and intended target with each pass. In an opening only seen by the coyote, the mangy looking mutt pounced.

The sudden leap caused the buzzard to spring into the air jus’ out of reach of the coyote’s teeth. Yet, as fast as the bird left the earth, it was back on the ground chasing the coyote away.

Not to be out foxed for its dinner, the coyote wasted no time in knocking the king-of-the-hill buzzard from the rabbit’s body. The pair rolled across the reddened soil, locking in a possible life and death struggle.

Then the buzzard broke free of the wrestling match and with a flap or two of its huge wings, took to the air leaving the coyote the victor. Satisfied, the derelict dog turned to claim it’s hard fought for prize.

Without a warning a hawk came zooming out of the blue to snatch the still warm body from the sand. I wish I knew what in the hell was going through that old canine’s brain as he watched his supper disappear into the morning sky.

Instead, all I could think as I watched the critter turn away was about Saturday morning cartoon’s and the Roadrunner’s ‘Wylie E. Coyote.’

Seven Days

The sky, painted a hue of pomegranate and mystic blue each evening, turned the playa ahead of me into a flat pink alabaster basin. I’ve learned there is a calm that falls over the Death Valley at the precise moment the sun leaves the western sky.

Within minutes it’s as dark as India ink and my camp site is lost to sight. I can understand how a person becomes lost in this changing landscape, so I feel for my flashlight and compass that rest in my backpack.

Devoid of most electronics, save a cell phone for that unexpected emergency like a fall or snake bite, I’m ill equipped by many adventurers’ standards. But then that was my point.

Armed with only the cloths on my back, a note pad, some ink pens, (both of which I neglected all week-long,) my pack filled with trail mix and Vienna sausages, my hiking stick, and two large canteens of water, I abandoned my truck to trek some distance eastward, so that I may find peace and quiet. I discovered everything but those two in the few days I’ve roughed it.

Death Valley’s filled with sounds, both familiar and unnerving. Unusual dragging noises, to a breathy huffing to the lone howl of a distant coyote kept my nerves on edge.

There were strange shadows that danced between my campfire and the earth. They always remained beyond my full sight, flickering in and out of my periphery only to disappear when looked upon.

But I never feared them or the sounds.

God is among the dunes, the sparse hillsides and His cloudless, star-filled heavens. He’s been with me the entire time — I feel His companionship – both of us enjoying His handiwork.

After seven days, my skin’s dried with dust, slightly burnt, and I’m exhausted. Part of me wished for a cool shower to drown the crusty sweat and dirt in, a soft bed with clean sheets and a greasy hamburger and a cold beer.

My wilder half decried the need for such luxuries as I slowly wandered back towards my truck.

This week has been without another human’s voice, so when I turned the key to my truck, a radio preacher’s voice, fading in and out, and shouting about the love of God and man’s sinful nature, seemed foreign to me. I turned the button to off and questioned aloud, “Has he ever spent a week alone in the Death Valley?”

“I bet not,” I concluded as my truck’s headlights sought out the nearest glow of civilization’s existence.

Dirty Minds

En route from taking a neighbor to the eye doctor, my friend pointed to a local eatery she likes to go to.

“That’s a great place to eat,” she stated.

“Never been there,” he returned.

A few seconds of silence passed before she asked, “So do you eat-out?”

More silence – the awkward kind – before he spoke, “Don’t you think that’s a bit personal?”

And because ‘dirt minds’ think alike — we laughed the entire way home.

Parsing Words: Inspection or Search

It’s an event worthy of coverage from any news station or agency, but  no one is reporting on what happened at a California Inspection Station in Long Valley, California a few miles from the Nevada state line. The California Department of Food and Agriculture operates 16 such agriculture inspection stations that are located along the major highways that enter the state for the stated purpose of “helping the Governor and Legislature ensure delivery of safe food and fiber through responsible environmental stewardship in a fair marketplace for all Californians.”

In a display of government double-speak, disregard for the Constitution, and deflection of personal responsibility by police and other state enforcers, a California family was arrested and their child was placed in care of the state all because they stood up for their right to be secure in their persons and property in August.

In a video posted to social media by Brad Feinman, it shows him and his as they were stopped at a checkpoint on Highway 395. The footage begins with the family making its way through the checkpoint to sounds of a state agricultural officer asking, “Where ya coming from?”

Feinman responds that he and  his family “don’t answer questions” and will be on their way.

“You’re gonna go?” the officer asks. “This is just an agricultural inspection, I’m wondering where you are traveling from?”

Feinman then tells the officer that its “none of his business” where his family was traveling to or from from . The officer next radios a supervisor named Stacy for help.

“If you keep driving, I will contact the authorities and have them bring you back to the facility,” the woman says. “We need to conduct an inspection on the vehicle.”

“Do you have a warrant?” Feinman asks. “Cause you’re not inspecting anything without a warrant. Do you know the Fourth Amendment? I’m free from warrantless searches.”

“I don’t need a warrant, there is no search here,” Stacy answers. “You’re speaking of an Amendment that classifies searches. We are not searching…an inspection. The conveyance needs to be inspected for agricultural hosts.”

“So what part of the vehicle are you planning to inspect?” Feinman asks.

“We need to inspect the vehicle in the back and any ice-chests you may have on board,” Stacy responds.

“Oh, so you mean inside? That’s a search,” Feinman asserts.

Stacy responds again, “It’s not a search, it is an inspection.”

“That’s exactly what a search is,” Feinman says adding, “Don’t you understand the Bill of Rights?”

“I’m not going to engage in this with you, “replies Stacy. “I never said the word search. You’re talking about something other than the Fourth Amendment.”

Feinman then asks Stacy to explain the difference between the words a “search” and “inspection.”

She answers, “I don’t have a definition of a search. I don’t search, I inspect.”

“So you think that word frees you from your obligations to the Constitution?” Feinman asks.

“I’m not really sure what your question is,” Stacy says.

Feinman then reads the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution to her: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Stacy then rebuts, saying that “the initial contact” officers had with the family and with the fact that he had “a number of insects on the front of…vehicle,” indicated that the family may have been coming from some where that might be of concern. Feinman then leaves the checkpoint with Stacy telling him she is going to call the polices and have them bring the family back so she can inspect their vehicle.

The footage then cuts the Feinmans being pulled over by what appears to be officers with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol. Feinman continues to assert his rights as officers issue him a citation, threaten to pull him out of his vehicle and to have his children placed in Child Protective Services.

Feinman asks what law he’s broken and one officer replies that he is in violation of the “California Food and Agriculture Code.”

He’s then instructed to exit his vehicle so they can write him a ticket.

“But I live in California,” Feinman says. “Does the Agriculture code trump the U.S. Constitution? I’m a free citizen. Did you guys take an oath to defend the Constitution?”

“So you’re a Constitutionalist is what you’re saying?” another officer asks after telling Feinman he is being unreasonable.

“Yes, yes I am,” Feinman boldly asserts. “What are you?”

The officer responds by saying, “We’ve had problems with this before!”

Feinman asks the officer again if he took an oath to uphold the Constitution and the cop tells the man not to sidetrack the conversation. In response, both LEO’s then walk away as Feinman starts read them the Fourth Amendment. Moments later, an officer identifying himself as an “off-duty” California Highway Patrol Sergeant informs the Feinman that, “all…want to do is write…a ticket and if…can’t do that then…are going to have to break the window and get in and take…out.”

That Sergeant also claims Feinmans behavior is “totally unnecessary” and says “this is your choice right now…we have given you ever opportunity we can,” before an officer smashes out the back window of the vehicle and arrest the occupants.

“This is a complete violation of my rights,” Feinman yells.

The video comes to an end as officers begin yanking and pulling on Feinman, exclaiming, “Quit resisting arrest.”

“I’m not,” Feinman insists, ‘My seatbelt is still buckled.”

Eventually, the Feinman’s were released, but not until after a lengthy interrogation, threats to have their juvenile son taken away and placed in foster care and to seperate the husband and wife by transporting them other ‘detention facilities.’ Oddly, the media is quiet about this and it appears all records of the incident are being withheld because ‘of the ongoing investigation.’

Welcome to California. It’s a whole other country.

The Note in a Test Tube

While researching another story that involved Del Norte County Sheriff Harold Scott, indicted by a grand jury in 1957 for operating a brothel, I ran across a name I knew all to well — my fathers. Admittedly, my heart skipped a beat to think he’d be involved in prostitution, but I pressed on to uncover a story my old man never shared about helping to recover four bodies from the ocean in mid-August 1955.

It began on a Saturday when the four disappeared while salmon fishing in a heavy fog off the mouth of the Klamath River. A test tube washed ashore containing an unsigned note which read: “Boat is drifting toward shore three quarter miles north of Wilson Creek.”

Eventually the rented skiff was found overturned on an isolated beach below a 2,000 foot cliff. Sheriff Scott and Deputy William Bowen got to the body of one of the victims by horseback at six o’clock that Monday evening.

They put the body on the horse and started up the sheer bluffs some four miles south of Crescent City. However the horse became exhausted and the sheriff and Bowen were forced to leave the body behind and finish the trip on foot.

They arrived in Crescent City at 10 o’clock and promptly pressed a helicopter into service. The attempt to recover the body by helicopter failed when the 32-foot span of the craft’s blades proved too wide for the narrow, cliff-surrounded inlet.

The sheriff and Coroner Norman Weir stood by in a boat as a safety precaution because of the close quarters in which the aircraft had to operate.  Scott then tried to take the boat into the inlet, but he shied away because “the beach shoreline is strewn with boulders.”

Searchers, including my dad, finally retrieved the body of Dr. Fred W. Holmes, late Tuesday. Other members of the group included Glen Willhite, Jerry White, an Airman Lee and Airman J.C. Messick from the Requa Air Force Station in Klamath.

A positive identification of the body was made by Dr. Howard Holmes, the victim’s brother. Dr. Fred G. Holmes, the father of Howard, and Howard’s two sons, Fred Jr., 10, and eight-year-old Stephen, also drown.