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Mendocino County Today: November 22, 2020

Weak Fronts | 4 Cases | Ignoring Curfew | Pet Holiday | Necessary Murder | Wintry Day | Getaway Proposal | Cougar | 128 Delays | Willits Overpass | History Notes | Climate Adaptations | Train Tracks | Book Angels | Snow | Siting Wastewater | Rail Travel | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | Mountain Kids | Dollar Talk | Lioness | Dead God | Bryan's Bluff | Crab Delay | Puppet Master | PL Larabee | Applebee Curiosity | Survey Party | Internationalism USA | Houdini Cuffed | Herd Management | Clam Man | Marco Radio | Arch Work

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A SERIES OF WEAK FRONTS will bring periods of light rain mainly north of Cape Mendocino this afternoon through Wednesday. Dry weather will return late in the week. Large surf will build on Wednesday and Thursday. (NWS)

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FOUR NEW COVID CASES reported in Mendocino County on Thursday bringing the total to 1389. "South County" (Comptche, Philo, Boonville, Yorkville, Hopland) reached 50 total cases yesterday, compared to Ukiah's 1049.

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I wanted to talk to you today about the potential impending mandates from the State level on mandatory curfew. I’d like to let all the residents of Mendocino County know that the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing compliance of any health or emergency orders related to curfews.

What does this mean? It means we won’t be being making compliance checks of businesses, homes or making contact with individuals who are out between the hours of 10:00 pm to 5:00 am specifically due to these new curfew mandates.

Will we be responding to regular calls for service? Yes, of course.

Callers with COVID-19 related issues will be directed to the County Health Call Center at (707) 472-2759 for assistance. If you prefer email, you can contact via email:

I’d like to emphasize we will continue to respond to calls 24/7 as we always have when there are threats to public safety.

I encourage the people of Mendocino County to stay vigilant and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by following the rules established to keep you safe. These would include the six feet of separation, masking, and washing of hands and using sanitizers when possible.

All of us at the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to wish everyone a wonderful and meaningful holiday season.

Thank you,

Sheriff Matt Kendall

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To the AVA,

My name is Thomas Dean Jones. I am the defendant in the murder of Jamie Wilcox, my shirttail stepson who was given a resident tenancy on the family property along with two other sons after my mother passed away after promising to help my disabled sister stay on the property.

My extensive criminal history began with a string of nine armed robberies in one month back in 1979. Only goes to show how the mind of the economic predatory human operates when they capitalize on every weakness they can find or create in other humans for all of the money we get to live on while walking on the psychological path of the predatory animal nature in our minds.

The Jamies both got shot for attacking my sister and their other brothers after dishonoring their own lives and only after a long train of petty abuses to me turned into an attack on my sister’s inherited property for their love of money over honor.


Only Jamie Wilcox had to die to protect the property due to the convolution of law in this land. Jamie Garden got shot because it was his hormonal raging which was behind all of the abuses of the family. Sophistication is always put on everything I do because tests put my thinking in the top 1% of the people in this nation. And while I did not do the right thing, I did the necessary thing as the responsible adult after I placed faith in the integrity of my stepson Jamie Wilcox after he got off parole as a registered sex offender in Umatilla County, Oregon, where we lived until my wife Barbara Wilcox died in 2011 and I moved back to Ukiah to help care for my mother while she died.

While justifying homicide is not the right way to do things, my homicide is no better or worse than the state refusing to obey Article 5 due process of law in justifying murder by cop to get the unauthorized authorities it now wields over people either. And it is not just black lives that matter. We all live under the tyrannical government which takes everything it deems necessary at the point of a gun.

From the beginning I have tried to plead no contest with these outlaws in power and following the way of the predatory beast. But they will not allow it, trying to say they can prove I am not guilty of the charges. So the public defender can fight to make the people pay for my crimes. Again, they are capitalizing on every weakness they can find or create in other humans while confounding the laws of our land with their beastly human nature. I have lived on the charity of my family without money for seven years now.

Thomas Dean Jones

Mendocino County Jail, Ukiah

PS. Facebook pages United States People's Sphere of Action and Thomas Jones, Western Oregon. Or TJStarFire and online.

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A WINTERY DAY IN UKIAH (photos by Judy Valadao)

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by K.C. Meadows

Wildfire risk and traffic safety were among numerous objections to a proposed Getaway House Inc. project proposed for 90 acres of rangeland along the Old Toll Road in Hopland.

The Hopland Municipal Advisory Council held its regular meeting by Zoom on Wednesday evening and had representatives of the project on hand to give a presentation and take questions.

The Getaway concept originated in 2015 and consists of placing tiny cabins on wheels in wooded areas, usually close to urban areas, where city folk can get away into nature. The cabins are placed at a distance from each other for privacy and have small kitchens and bathrooms. This project envisions 45 cabins. The company has what they call “outposts” serving numerous cities, including Boston, New York City, Washington DC, Atlanta, Portland, Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

Stephen Maulden, the East Coast company’s real estate and construction manager, said they do not see these projects as campgrounds although they are sometimes zoned that way. This project will need a major use permit to switch the zoning from its current rangeland designation, and it will entail putting in wells and sewer systems. There may be some trees that will need to come down but Maulden said the whole point is to preserve the natural oak woodland nature of the property formerly owned by the Brutocao family.

What had most people at the meeting concerned was the idea that each cabin will have its own outdoor fire circle. Speaker after speaker cited wildland fire danger as the biggest problem with the project, even though Maulden said they would obey all fire regulations and shut down the fire circles during burn ban season.

Traffic along the two lane Highway 175 to the narrow, rural Old Toll Road was also raised many times. If the company’s estimate of 85 percent occupancy with average stays of 1.5 nights is correct, thousands of people will be driving to the site and it will add something like 60 cars a day, seven days a week to the road.

The cabins themselves are between 140-200 square feet and are for two or four people. There is no accommodation for personal recreational vehicles or other camping setups, Maulden said. The initial cabin rates are likely to be from $149 to $159 per night, Maulden explained, but those rates will likely go to $179-$199 per night after the initial promotional period, and weekends and holidays will be more expensive.

Neighbors of the property were especially alarmed not only about fire and the danger of dozens of people all trying to evacuate down their rural road in case of fire. They were also concerned about the draw down of their water supply by the building of wells for the project.

Only one person spoke up in favor of the project although she shared concerns.

“Everything gets approved for wine and weed,” said Kathy McAdams. “I’m tired of only letting wine and weed here. Maybe there’s a way to work with this company to have something different.”

The company has a CEQA document circulating in the county and there will be a hearing before the county Planning Commission in January. The company is also planning a virtual town hall meeting on the project Nov. 30. Notice of that meeting is available at the HMAC Facebook page and also at the Hopland post office. You can see some typical Getaway projects at

(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)

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Spotted In AV

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Route 128 (14.4/15.5) — AT&T has been granted a Caltrans Encroachment Permit for utility work from Wendling Street to north of Salmini Road on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 23-24. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Motorists should anticipate five-minute delays.

Route 128 (18/18.9) — PG&E has been granted a Caltrans Encroachment Permit for utility work from Nash Mill Road to Monte Bloyd Road on Tuesday, Nov. 24. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Motorists should anticipate five-minute delays.

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Haehl Creek Bridge, Willits

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Fort Bragg Advocate, Nov. 12, 1913 — Tow Chung Wong died in Fort Bragg last Wednesday, aged 63 years. He was well known in logging camps on the coast, having followed the occupation of cook.

Fort Bragg Advocate, Nov. 10, 1943 — Very little work has been accomplished on the Noyo Harbor project the past week due to the fact that the ocean is cooperating very nicely with the fishermen and they have been able to fish every day. Some very nice catches of shark have been brought in with Joe Perry high boat up until Tuesday. His delivery the other day was 24 shark or $1,360. The second-high boat was Vilho Johnson. Both of these boats fish with nets and are the largest operators.

(Courtesy, the Fort Bragg Advocate)

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Weather has been on my mind lately and it's usually the last thing I want to talk about. But since we're farming in this rapidly warming world the weather occupies both my mind and my conversation. My training as an artist, to be observant, certainly helps me to be aware of the disruption and change that an unpredictable climate brings. Coming up with creative solutions to change, seeing into the future, sensing (all the senses) the evolution in the life around one are all energy sources for art making. Imagining or visualizing ways around, under, over, through obstructions or unknowns using whatever tools and supplies are at hand, are meat and potatoes for artists. But this one, this climate catastrophe we're feeling the first not so gentle smacks from, is different — vaster, more unsettled, and unknowable. Our very existence is threatened on several fronts at once and whether one is consciously aware or not, it is affecting the psyche of us all as well as the lives of the rest of the living world, animal, mineral and vegetable. It's mid-November and we just planted our cover crops because it finally rained two inches. We'll see if they flourish. It's mid-November and we still have 60-70 degree weather. Some tomato plants started to regrow from the base.

We wish you all a quiet, restful, distanced, healthy, masked and meditative Thanksgiving. We must all start thinking creatively.

Nikki Auschnitt & Steve Krieg

Yorkville Petit Teton Farmer <>

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Eel River Canyon, Laytonville Area

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The holiday season finds Bookwinkle's Children's Books alive with angels. Each year since 1994 we have collected the first names (along with age, first language and interests) of children in need on the Mendocino coast. The names are supplied by teachers, parents, and community groups such as the Project Sanctuary and Safe Passage. 

We display each child's particulars on a "book angel" which hangs in a beautiful wooden display. Bookwinkle's customers are encouraged to pick the angel(s) that appeal to them and purchase a book (or books) for those children. Bookwinkle's volunteers spend many hours wrapping the books and decorating the packages. We track, sort and deliver the books to the children's sponsors for gift giving at holiday time.

If you'd like to be a Book Angel but can't visit in person, you can donate online at

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Near Upper Lake

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REPRESENTATIVES of the Boonville Fair Board attended last Wednesday evening’s virtual Community Services Board meeting to oppose the District’s plans to ask the County to explore use of the County-owned fairgrounds property as a “sewage” treatment plant. The Fair people said that such a “sewage” project would affect the Fair’s ability to make money, via lost revenue from events and camping, adding that the fairgrounds should only be used for conventional fair purposes. They also complained that it seemed like the CSD Board was overly focused on the Fairgrounds as an option and asking the County to look into it was an end-run around the Fair Board’s unanimous vote last December to oppose any wastewater treatment on the premises. 

CSD BOARD MEMBERS replied that they had no intention of imperiling fair revenue, and that the District’s consulting engineers had indeed explored at least eight other sites, most of which were ruled out for technical reasons such as impermeable soils or inadequate size, or other disqualifying reasons. One promising site at the south end of Boonville was actively pursued for several months but the owners backed out at the last minute, leaving the District no other practical options. 

CSD Board Chair Val Hanelt said that not only would the project not affect fair revenues, but the fairgrounds (technically, a county owned property with a Fair Board overseeing its operation and use) would not be charged for hooking up. And with a wastewater system in Boonville, including the fairgrounds, the project would actually enhance the fairgrounds. 

AN ATTORNEY named Scott Morris said he was affiliated with Deborah Kahn, owner of Pennyroyal Farms in South Boonville. Morris said he thought that the Board seemed to be “predetermining” the fairgrounds site and that the Board should consider some kind of eminent domain action on the one other promising site before considering the fairgrounds. 

MS. HANELT added that “processed water injection” would not affect the fair’s operations or revenue and that without a treatment site the lack of a wastewater treatment facility would leave the Boonville area with an ongoing health hazard as aging and concentrated septic systems continue to degrade. 

MS. HANELT SUMMED UP by saying that some of the fair officials’ concerns were based on misinformation, and noting that at this point they were only asking the County to look into what it would take to use the Fairgrounds’ back lot and that she hoped the fair board would participate in any such explorations. 

THE CSD Board then voted unanimously to send a letter to the County Planning Department asking them to examine whatever process might be involved. 

(Mark Scaramella)

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Engine #3
Truck Riding Rails

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AMERICA'S most boring fiction writer finally says something interesting but totally, breathtakingly wrong. Take it away Joyce Carol Oates: “For many pro-T***p Americans, the pandemic is like the Holocaust to many Germans: they knew what was happening but adjusted to living with it in indifference or, in some cases, profiting from it… Only if affected personally do people seem to care.”

AS OUR ship of state takes on dangerous volumes of water but sails on, rudderless, through hundred-foot waves, while the captain is away playing golf, and millions of Americanos are on the wing and on the road for group Thanksgivings that the CDC expressly advised against because they'll kill grams and gramps, while their less mobile and certainly more desperate countrymen line up at food banks, and a bunch of Catholic bishops worry that their nominal co-parishoner, Joe Biden, with his pro-gay marriage and pro-abortion stances, is confusing their flocks about exactly what the heck the doctrine stands for.

A READER WRITES: Isn’t it strange, how we accept these parodies of “the best amongst us” to rule us? The fake tans, that fake boobs, the old people trying to look good for TV? JHK mentions Rudy’s hair dye melting away… what do you make of Pelosi’s breasts? Do you want your grandmother looking like that? Old women with wisdom to share look like old women, they are the respected elders, as are the men, old men that look old, act old, are all invested into their communities, don’t give a shit how they look, care about their decisions being right, their eloquence sharp, their leadership accepted not because they look like a telenovela’s idea of an “older love interest” but because they know what they’re doing. Final thought: if we gave up our TV’s, would that result in elder statesmen that speak through reason and ideas and not botox and platitudes?

WE get our landline phone and internet from AT&T, as do other hostage AT&T customers strung out along the valley floor and its vehicular lifeline, Highway 128. The phone seldom rings because most people now communicate via email, so we don't ever know for sure whether phone "service" is out or we're merely experiencing an unusually quiet covid day. We figure the phone's out if the telemarketers aren't getting through. More frustrating is the in and out internet connection. All day every day now you see it, now you don't, and every day right around 3pm cyber communications are frozen, then unfrozen, typically, a half hour later. If you have trouble reaching us it's probably due to the spotty connection we suffer but pay mightily for every month.

OUR COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT is taking suggestions about what to do with the $179,000 (one hundred seventy-nine thousand dollars) which has mysteriously wafted into Boonville earmarked for recreation. $179 grand used to be considered a large amount of money. Of course that was before faith-based currency when one dollar got you into a movie and bought you a bag of month-old popcorn and a coke with cocaine in it. 

BE ALL THIS as it may or may not be, my suggestions for the money is (1) locally crafted benches in Boonville placed mostly around the area of Tom Town and the Farrer Building, but at least one just above the trail between the Redwood Drive-In and the AVA. A couple at the Disco Ranch and Boont Berry and one or two at the weird tourist pamphlet kiosk erected by Anderson Valley's probably mythical Chamber of Commerce. Benches strewn, I'm saying, up and down our central area. Oh, you worry that bums will camp out on them? All our bums are indoors but there are lots over in Ukiah and out at Fort Bragg. (2) Trees, especially on the east side of 128. (3) Maybe even a pocket park in Tom Town's deserted parking lot. Tom Cronquist has always been a community-oriented guy and I'm sure he'd be open to expanding the beauty he's made of the rear of his property. It's an odd fact of American life, and certainly of life in the Anderson Valley, that our public areas are squalid and ugly but we make our own yards and spaces are beautiful. (The AVA's starkly foreboding acre? We're working on it.) So, like, how about some beauty in central Boonville? How much have we spent? Twenty grand? How about a community bonfire of and at the abandoned Ricard building? That would be free. 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, November 21, 2020

Renee Beck, Ricky Beck, Bochman

RENEE BECK, Willits. Harboring wanted felon.

RICKY BECK, Redwood Valley. Kidnapping, false imprisonment, oral copulation-victim under ten years of age, sodomy-victim under 10 years of age, annoy or molest children under 18, hamrful matter of minor sent with sexual intent of known minor, child endangerment.

TYLER BOCHMAN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

James, Joaquin, Klundt, Persico

ROBERT JAMES JR., Ukiah. County parole violation, false ID, resisting, failure to appear.

SAMSON JOAQUIN, Covelo. Controlled substance for sale, probation revocation.

RODNEY KLUNDT, Ukiah. Domestic battery.


Spencer, Watson, White

MATHEW SPENCER, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, protective order violation, failure to appear.

RUSSEL WATSON, Willits. County parole violation.

NORMAN WHITE, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, false ID.

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Most settlers believed in their children getting an education, but distances from schools sometimes prohibited attendance, or necessitated long travel. These two isolated children had the kind of natural education that comes from living in Nature, and created their own language to navigate their natural world.

Three young girls posing on a redwood log in the forest near Trinidad. [Photo from the HSU, Humboldt Room, Palmquist Collection by Ericson]

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ALL ABOUT MONEY, three on-line comments

(A) The numbers keep adding zeroes. Not too long ago a trillion was huge, but the public accepted it. Now the public is getting used to one hundred trillion and the public is accepting it. Already the word quadrillion is being bandied about so people will get used to it and accept a quadrillion dollar budget/deficit. Unfortunately, at some point the public won’t get used to the huge numbers, and that’s when the system breaks down. That’s assuming life is going on pretty much the same as usual. But if hyperinflation sets in, we’ll go quickly to quintillions and sextillions. The average person will not have the ability to fathom the numbers and the government won’t be able to keep printing more dollars. I can’t fathom paying a billion dollars for a tank of gas, can you? By that time, all money will only be a number on your bank statement on-line. Welcome to the ZSA – the Zimbabwean States of America.

(B) No big deal. It will be another variation of the great reset. Just push a button and all those ones and zeros disappear. You don’t owe me and I don’t owe you. Starting over again.

(C) I vividly remember the crises in the old country… the currency kept adding numbers, then a new currency would replace it, minus the zeroes, a “new peso”… the new peso would start adding zeroes soon enough. Hyperinflation is fun. You get any money, you run and spend it right away in spaghetti and malbec and steak, because you know tomorrow your new pesos will buy less of those vital necessities. The difference between Argentina’s currency and the US dollar? Nobody, not even Argies, save in pesos. Everybody in the world saves in dollars. So they’ll absorb any crazy number of dollars created on screens because they trust them more than their rubles or reais or, yes, Zimbabwean dollars. That’s why I think predictions of imminent financial demise, while right in the long term and the theory, don’t take into account the world’s thirst for US dollars.

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“THEN I SAW THE DEAD GOD. He was sitting in his chair, by the window, in a room I had not entered before and, for the first moment, I thought that he was alive. Then I saw the skin on the back of his hand—it was like dry leather. The room was shut, hot and dry—no doubt that had kept him as he was. At first I was afraid to approach him—then the fear left me. He was sitting looking out over the city—he was dressed in the clothes of the gods. His age was neither young nor old—I could not tell his age. But there was wisdom in his face and great sadness. You could see that he would have not run away. He had sat at his window, watching his city die—then he himself had died.

— "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benet

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In a memo released [Friday], California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham, delayed the northern California commercial Dungeness crab season due to meat quality test results. The delayed area includes Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties (Fish and Game Districts 6, 7, 8 and 9).

Samplings conducted on Oct. 27 and Nov. 12 did not yield valid results because the total poundage collected did not meet the minimum criteria established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee. Another round of testing is scheduled to occur on or around Dec. 1.

Pursuant to Fish and Game Code 8276.2 (c), the northern Dungeness crab fishery is delayed 15 days until 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. Assuming there is no additional delay, the fishery will be preceded by a 64-hour gear setting period that would begin no earlier than 8:01 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020.

“This industry-supported quality test determines if Dungeness crab have filled out in time following their molting period,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Christy Juhasz. “The crab we tested achieved the minimum quality standard required by the Tri-State testing protocol but did not meet the minimum pounds to yield a valid sample, indicating that this may be a low production year of crab.”

Under a meat quality delay, no vessel may take or land crab in the closed area (i.e., Fish and Game districts 6, 7, 8 and 9). In addition, any vessel that takes, possesses onboard, or lands crab from ocean waters outside of a delayed area is prohibited from participating in the crab fishery once the delayed area opens for an additional 30 days. This applies to any delayed areas in Oregon, Washington and California.

The central California commercial Dungeness crab season which was scheduled to open on Nov 15, 2020 was delayed due to elevated risk of marine life entanglement. CDFW is working with the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group to evaluate if the risk of entanglement has subsided or if an additional delay is needed to protect marine life. CDFW expects to announce the results of the latest risk assessment for the central California fishery early next week.

For more information, please see CDFW’s Frequently Asked Questions regarding the 2020-2021 Dungeness crab commercial season.

For more information on Dungeness crab, please visit:

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“Someone sent me this photo. I'm on the motion control stage at Industrial Light and Magic looking at a puppet being shot for the movie, ‘Enemy Mine’ which starred Dennis Quaid and Lou Gossett Jr. It was directed by Wolfgang Peterson who replaced an earlier director who lost the confidence of the producers. So they shut the production down for about five months. Unfortunately for the studio, both stars had ‘pay or play’ contracts, meaning that they would get their star salaries whether the movie was made or not. So, both were kept on salary for those months of shutdown. I heard that Lou Gossett was able to buy a second Beverly Hills home with that payday. The movie was basically a remake of, ‘The Defiant Ones,’ (which starred Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier) in space. The tag line for ‘Enemy’ was, ‘Enemies because they were taught to be. Allies because they had to be. Brothers because they dared to be.’ Instead of a Black man and a White man cooperating, it was a human and an alien. For some reason it only did well in Russia, but that's how the movie business works."

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LIKE MANY AMERICANS, I've been watching a lot of TV lately, probably more than is good for my mental health, and as a result I've seen many, many commercials for products and places I've never had much reason to think of before.

One such place is Applebee's Restaurants. I've seen these bland excrescences nestled alongside freeway interchanges during my occasional journeys to the American outback, and for all I know, there are probably Applebee's branches here in New York City, though I've never specifically noticed one. 

In any event, though, I've never set foot in one, let alone had the opportunity to sample their menu. But judging from the baby boomer music they feature in their adverts and the unctuous bonhomie of the announcers, I'm guessing that I'm part of their target demographic.

I'm inclined to assume, based on these ads, that Applebee's is one of the last places on earth, short of a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan or a Sandals beach resort, that I would ever want to find myself, but I thought it only fair to put this question to those of you in Middle America who might be more familiar with this type of dining and socializing ("Applebee's - it's date night in the neighborhood!"). Am I being unfair or judgmental? Or should I continue in my judgment that dining on broken glass sauteed in dog vomit would be a more desirable option? 

(Larry Livermore, formerly of Spy Rock)

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Survey Party, Leggett, 1913

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by Thomas Meaney

If you’ve been following White House briefings and mainstream US media over the past four years, you could be forgiven for thinking that Trump has radically rewritten US foreign policy. In fact, despite Trump’s pledges to extract American soldiers from foreign conflicts, troop numbers have barely fallen overall and have risen in the Persian Gulf. The administration has been presented as “isolationist” yet has agreed to bilateral trade deals around the world and strengthened ties with Japan, Israel and Saudi Arabia – three traditional partners – while undertaking major war games against Russia and China. This year’s Defender Europe 20 would have been the US army’s largest exercise on the European continent in 25 years if Covid-19 hadn’t limited its scope. It’s hard to detect any measurable change in approach. Even Trump’s attempt to pressure Beijing into abandoning industrial measures that allegedly give it an unfair advantage in international trade have ample precedent in Reagan’s 1980s trade war with Japan. If Trump can make any claim to uniqueness, it may be that, once his record on Covid-19 is factored in, he is the only postwar US president whose administration is responsible for the deaths of more Americans than foreigners. During this year’s presidential campaign, while the gap on domestic policy has widened, any hint of foreign policy differences between Trump and Biden has evaporated as they each homed in on the status quo. Both have promised to end America’s “endless wars” even as they ratchet up their anti-China tirades and cling to the notion of America as leader of the free world.

The early years of US foreign policy were focused on dominating the North American landmass. Native populations were liquidated; vast territories were purchased from European states; border disputes were stitched up through legal maneuverings. The fledgling US state conducted a few experiments further afield. In 1821, a proto-NGO, the American Colonization Society, annexed a large tract of West Africa (“Liberia”) in an effort to relocate free blacks away from the American mainland. When US farmers developed a taste for bat excrement later in the century – as chronicled by Daniel Immerwahr in How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States (2019) – the US navy acquired a series of “guano islands” in the Pacific to fuel the domestic boom in agriculture. The Philippines and Puerto Rico, along with other smaller spoils from the Spanish-American War, became laboratories for medical experimentation, police training, sweatshops, napalm and nuclear trials. 

Closer to home, American forces twice failed to take Quebec (“a mere matter of marching,” Jefferson said before the second attempt in 1812). The Aroostook skirmish with Britain might have extended the state of Maine to the north, and in the south Cuba hovered as a perpetual state in waiting, “indispensable to the continuance and integrity of the Union itself,” as John Quincy Adams described it in 1823. In imitation of British freelance imperialists such as James Brooke, the “white rajah” who ruled the state of Sarawak on Borneo as a private fiefdom in the mid-19th century, America produced its own brand of freebooters, including William Walker, the Tennessee doctor who conquered and ruled Nicaragua for ten months and decimated the population of Costa Rica.

Until the end of the 19th century the US state was in no position to undertake imperial projects outside its region, and its projected sphere of interest was always vulnerable to European incursions. The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 declared the Americas, from Tacoma to Tierra del Fuego, off limits to European meddling, but it was more an aspiration than a threat backed by credible force. Britain’s subsequent declaration of crown colonies in Honduras and the Falklands called America’s bluff. 

The first comprehensive plan for a US sphere of influence secured by military might was put forward by Southern senators in the lead-up to the Civil War. They believed the American future lay in alliances with the slave states of Cuba and Brazil. Only by ending the slave trade, thereby insulating themselves against British ambitions, could ideal slave societies flourish. These societies would reproduce slaves from the existing populations, avoiding the investment required for African ventures or the arrival of market-crippling immigrant wage-workers. (One South Carolina senator wondered about sending a US squadron to the Ganges to threaten Britain’s own supply of cheap labor.) 

A great irony of the Civil War, as the historian Matthew Karp has shown, is that the very senators who built up the military to provide a protected sphere for slavery had to fight a war against their own creation. Deep inside the state of São Paulo, one can still find traces of the confederados, the defeated Dixie soldiers who took refuge in Latin America after the war and started small slave colonies. Their Brazilian descendants honor them with fancy-dress pageants.

The first signs of a new American dispensation came with Woodrow Wilson, who considered Central America a field for democratic tutelage, with interventions between 1913 and 1916 in Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. “We have with armed force invaded, made war upon, and conquered the two small republics,” Teddy Roosevelt wrote, “have upset their governments, have denied them the right of self-determination, and have made democracy within their limits not merely unsafe but non-existent.” Wilson was, he thought, only making the world safe for hypocrisy. 

But despite Wilson’s readiness to treat the Americas as a privileged sphere for US interests, US global primacy was not on his imaginative horizon. His administration sent troops to support the White Russians against the Bolsheviks, but Wilson himself had been disenchanted with regime change since 1915, when US military attempts to force Victoriano Huerta from power in Mexico led to a fierce backlash against American interference. 

He entered the US into the First World War not in order to spread democracy but simply to defeat Germany and to keep the empires of the white race from annihilating one another. The League of Nations was his preferred vehicle for three purposes: it would wrest the monopoly on “internationalism” away from the Bolsheviks, steer European states away from the barbarism of “power politics” and manage the spoils of the German and Ottoman empires.

(London Review of Books)

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Houdini about to do an escape trick.

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by Michael Nolan

It's mostly about livestock management: let's say you've got 300 million free Americans each of whom is convinced that they know the way things ought to be and when you ask each of them about what that means they all have quite different opinions -- often the exact opposites. And yet we all still have to be managed in such a way that everybody gets to work on time and there is enough food in the supermarket and the toilet empties when flushed. Daunting task that.

If you've had the good fortune to manage a flock of animals -- human or others -- you come to realize that animal management ultimately consists of creating the perfect amount of fear in each member of the managed group. The trick is you must create just enough fear so that they can be moved about in an orderly manner and not enough fear to panic them. Cows, goats and people respond the same way for the same reasons -- we are herd animals. Given plenty of appetizing food, gentle but firm routing, agreeable music and lighting and words -- we are routinized and made more productive for our owners. But if we get too frightened we stampede and the owners lose control.

So best management practices call for a fear object -- a cattle prod for cattle, say -- not enough to damage the worker but enough to control her. She won't want that to happen again but it didn't reduce her productivity. A traffic ticket works that way for you and I. But to scale up to species size: in cattle, predators are the most obvious threat so cattle gather together in very large groups. The safest place to be to protect your genes to get by is in the center of the herd. On the fringes lurk the teeth and claws. Bulls exist for this moment -- to confront the threat. If that system fails or is perceived to have failed the herd panics because the best strategy then is to disperse to present no large attractive targets and keep genetic losses to outliers in the group.

We have slain all the grizzly bears and the Indians and the Nazis and the Communists so the threat from a nation-sized predator is missing and predictably the nation is getting a bit out of control. We need a credible threat, not too large and not too small. Big enough to make you take off your shoes at the airport and be grateful every day for the brave men and women who are defending our way of life at great personal sacrifice, but not so much that you'll join the militia upstate. This, not climate change or Chinese ambitions or deflation, is the biggest and most important problem for our owners. It takes teamwork, dedication and innovation to impose controls on such a huge restless, clueless mass which includes heavily armed men, many of whom are trained killers and not getting their share. Religion, sports, cheap beer and pornography can only take you so far. At some point you need a bogeyman. Something to unite us, to make us feel threatened as a nation. Something Nazi-size: over there somewhere else, evil, not good customers. It's hard to find the right fit nowadays being the world's only superpower. Invasion from Mars by robot aliens? Come on, this is serious. Russia? Been there, done that. North Korea? Comedy movie. India? Please. Africa has plague potential, but that doesn't work until it's too late.

Radical Arabs? Perfect: easily identifiable colorful costumes. Semites. No actual threat, no planes, ships or missiles. No problems for the banking industry. Skinny savages waving AK-47s and chopping off heads. Perfect for today's Americans.

Bicycle helmet wearing daddies and gun toting mommies are just scared enough to tolerate a constant tightening of the leash. Because Arabs could blow up a mall otherwise.

Some of us remember bogeymen that had, like, intercontinental ballistic missiles, two million soldiers, hydrogen bombs -- stuff like that. And some of us were scared enough to dig holes in our backyard or pray for peace. None of us took off our shoes though.

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The recording of last night's (2020-11-20) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on KNYO-LP Fort Bragg is right here:

Furthermore, at you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile educational items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:

Master of so-called ugly guitar tunings.


And excerpts from the 1975 S&H Green Stamps catalog. (via EverlastingBlort) In 1968 in Fresno we got a whole pingpong table, paddles and a box of balls and everything, with stamps, but I think it was the Blue stamps, not the Green stamps.

— Marco McClean,,

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  1. Douglas Coulter November 22, 2020

    Warfare State
    Jimmy Carter gave us the longest period of peace in America’s history.
    The result was huge cuts in budget. I was in USMC during this and so I voted for Ronald.
    Ronald ordered Marines to protect Lebonese Army, thus forfeiting UN neutrality. Unarmed Americans died in a combat zone, 435 in two years yet they rewrote the story as the foundation of war on terrorism.
    The VA’s current history holds Beriut as non-combat service.
    America cannot thrive without war, it is the foundation of our economic system.
    Today we have: 1 war on drugs 2 War on crime 3 war in Afganistan 4 war in Iraq and god knows how many micro wars we are caught up in.

  2. Whyte Owen November 22, 2020

    re: Applebees, etc. Forty years ago I had a sabbatical guest in our Iowa City workplace for a year. A native of Zagreb, she lived and worked in Strasbourg Fr. and her closest friend had an M-starred (well deserved) restaurant in that city. Our guest took a couple of weeks to tour the US, and returned with the news that dining in franchise restaurants in the mid-west and west was more consistently excellent than that found travelling in France. Had to do with the consistency of quality control relative to the large swings found in her mom and pop places back home. I’ve never been that unlucky in France and Belgium, be she was adamant.

  3. Craig Stehr November 22, 2020

    Warmest spiritual greetings to all, I am still at The Magic Ranch in Redwood Valley, California, sending out my crucial message; that the answer to life on a very troubled planet earth, is the emergence of spiritually focused direct action groups! I am still posting messages on the Washington, D.C. Independent Media Center newswire, which are swiftly removed. I am still following up with constant emails to the vast network of environmental and peace & justice groups, and individual activists. I would like to leave Redwood Valley, and go be with others who are Self realized, and who understand clearly that the mundane solutions arent sufficient to ameliorate the gigantic amount of serious problems on the planet earth. I would like to get some cooperation to realize a situation as soon as possible. I have some money in my checking account and food stamps, am physically and mentally healthy, and not at all confused. It would be nice to get a spiritually focused direct action group going, (as opposed to the immensely aggravating failure of the American government to do anything at all which is significantly sane). I am going to keep sending out messages like this constantly, because I am Self realized, and, I do not have anything else to do on the planet earth. When I leave this world, its over. Okay? Thank you very much for your kind attention.

    Craig Louis Stehr

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