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Mendocino County Today: Friday, Jan. 28, 2022

Mild Weather | 148 New Cases | Another Death | New Fence | Interim CEO | Sun Rays | Museum Curator | Schoolkids 1923 | Ed Notes | Camp Cook | Craigmire | Dirty Jobs | No Sympathy | Truth Mouth | PO Trouble | Johnson Sisters | Sheriff Quarantined | Chilly Wolf | Monarch Mural | Walmart Greeter | Mo Report | Roy Baldecchi | Parallel County | Elevator Desks | Slow Down | Socialism Scary | Weed Webinars | Yesterday's Catch | Israeli Crime | Worthless Signs | Pandemic Censorship | Octopus | Not Over | PA Beautification | Saving Baseball | Boycott Bayer | Senate Control | Blank Faces | NATO Responsible | Indian Executioner | Tat Crime

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RIDGING AND LIGHT VARIABLE WINDS this morning have kept stratus to a minimum. Patchy fog could form in low lying areas but expect mostly clear conditions before late morning with high clouds approaching from the South. Another mild weather day for Northwestern California. (NWS)

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148 NEW COVID CASES and another death reported in Mendocino County yesterday afternoon.

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ANOTHER COVID DEATH IN MENDO: #114

January 27, 2022 — A Mendocino County resident recently passed away with COVID-19. Our thoughts are with their family and friends. 

Death #114: 80 year-old man from the North Coast area; vaccinated with comorbidities. 

Public Health asks all Mendocino County residents to consider the best ways to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19. When in doubt, consult with and follow all CDC and CDPH guidance. Vaccination, masking, and social distancing remain the best tools for combating COVID-19. 

Fully vaccinated people should strongly consider getting a COVID-19 booster to improve immunity. Boosters are available for everyone age 12 and older. If you have questions about boosters or vaccines in general, speak with your doctor, or call Public Health at 707-472-2759. To find the nearest vaccine clinic in your area, please visit the Public Health website at: www.mendocinocounty.org/covidvaccine 

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BEST NEW BOONVILLE FENCE, EVER!

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DARCIE ONBOARDS!

Appointment of Assistant Chief Executive Officer Darcie Antle as Mendocino County’s Interim Chief Executive Officer

After serving as Chief Executive Officer for the past 12 years, Mendocino County CEO Carmel Angelo will be stepping down as she retires on March 19, 2022. With Ms. Angelo’s retirement, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, to appoint Assistant CEO Darcie Antle as Interim CEO, effective March 20, 2022.

Ms. Antle has served as Assistant Chief Executive Officer for Mendocino County since May 30, 2021. Previously, Ms. Antle served as Deputy Chief Executive Officer from 2017 to 2021, is also currently the Mendocino County Disaster Recovery Finance Director, and has worked to create a Fiscal Unit within the Executive Office to support departments and divisions with financial reporting and budgeting. 

Outgoing CEO Carmel Angelo stated, “Mendocino County experienced multiple disasters including wildfires and the pandemic from 2017 on. Ms. Antle has been instrumental in response and recovery efforts. Mendocino is fortunate to have Ms. Antle at the helm.”

Prior to onboarding with the County of Mendocino, Ms. Antle served as the Regional Director of Operations for the Northern California Network of Adventist Health and the California Medical Group where she managed the revenue cycle and oversaw strategic operations for physician groups across Mendocino, Lake, and Sonoma counties. In addition to experience, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science Degree in Health Care Services from St. Mary’s College (MS, HSA). 

Antle has been an instructor for both Mendocino College and Mendocino County Office of Education. Antle is an active member of the community and has served on numerous boards and commissions, and is a past president of the Rotary Club of South Ukiah. 

Mendocino Board of Supervisors Chair, Ted Williams, stated, “I would like to take a moment on behalf of the Board to thank CEO Carmel Angelo for her years of dedicated service and, in particular, the honesty and integrity that she has brought to her work for the County. Her shoes will be hard to fill, but we're very glad that she has left us with someone as talented and competent as Darcie Antle to handle things during this time of transition. Based on both our own experience and the fact that she learned under Carmel, we know that County finances are in good hands.”

“I would like to express my appreciation to CEO Angelo for her years of public service. I have had the opportunity to work closely with her since the 2017 wildfire disaster. Her energy and commitment to the County are to be admired. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve Mendocino County at a higher public servant level. I look forward to working closer with the Board of Supervisors and the Department Heads.” Ms. Antle stated regarding her appointment.

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Sun Rays, Bear River Ridge

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CURATING MENDO: 

Recruiting for Museum Curator. Apply by February 15, 2022.

The Museum Curator performs professional curator services in support of the County Museum, including: designing and coordinating various exhibits; developing marketing materials; managing artifact donations and conservation; developing and maintaining budgets related to exhibits and projects; collecting, documenting and preserving donated items and supervising museum staff. Performs other duties as assigned.

Salary: $28.48 - $34.62 Hourly / $2,278.40 – $2,769.60 Biweekly

For more information and to apply: governmentjobs.com/careers/mendocinoca

EOE

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Albion School, 1923

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ED NOTES

A YOUNG MAN committed an act of random kindness on me Thursday morning at Mosswood Market by paying for my breakfast. I can think of several hundred more deserving Boonville people, and I hope my ancient, rheumy eyes expressed my thanks to him, my radiant smile being concealed by a covid mask. If there's a logic to random beneficence am I now, for karma's sake, committed to commiting my own random act of kindness? Will advice for Craig Stehr do? 

CRAIG STEHR seems increasingly desperate to leave Garberville where he's been staying with Earth First! archivist, Andy Caffrey. Craig's been tuned in to the ava for many years, and certainly not the first person to seek and perhaps even find comfort in our welcoming pages. I have a faint memory of meeting the man years ago at the Anarchist Book Fair in San Francisco. A presentable dude amid the slovens at that crowded event, I remember thinking, "This guy doesn't look nuts," but crazies dress normal as a clinically delusional local once wrote. I was aware of Craig from his odd letters-to-the-editor, and had assumed, correctly, that he was only tenuously tethered to reality. Craig says he has a social security income, which ought to get him a permanent berth at one of Ukiah's fleabags, the aptly named Voll Motel, for instance, where he's stayed before. But rather than just go there, Craig, a Catholic gone terribly astray into the American nut cult version of Hinduism, apparently wants divine intervention to get him there. All he needs is a room, and if he can get himself to Ukiah there's helping professionals galore, 31 agencies of them, to flesh out his government income. The guy's no kid. I think he's about 70, not an age one wants to be unmoored in, as he says, "post-modern America." If you can hear this, Craig, it's Uncle Bruce at the ava urging you to return to the true church you were raised in, return to the inclusive embrace of the Church of Rome and the true Christains of the Catholic Worker who, I believe, still maintain a farm in the Greater Bay Area where you would certainly be welcome. Er, check that — everyone has to work and you seem labor-averse, but it's a thought. Well, hell, can't say I didn't try. 

JUST IN from the AV Senior Center: And the winner is… local guy Justin Rhoades! CONGRATULATIONS, and thank you to everyone who purchased tickets. We’ll be having another great raffle again soon! Enjoy your four primo tickets to the Warriors game, Justin.

THE EERILY sunny, dry days roll on, daily reminders the drought continues, and the summer of '22 promises fires and dry wells.

SPORTS TALK. My fave player is Niner's safety, Jimmie Ward. I wish the telecasts focused more on the defensive backs, but the only time you see them is on passes, especially long ones where they get beat. But Ward seldom gets fooled, and he's a genius at reading offenses. The punt he blocked in Green Bay was no fluke. Ward saw an opening and he came flying in to turn the game for the Niners. I'm picking the Niners by a touchdown on Sunday. Jimmie will stifle the blonde beast, Cooper Kupp.

FORT BRAGG gets it done! FB has built truly affordable housing before, most notably at Mora Village. And now the town boasts The Plateau, 79 units built by an Arcata outfit and, I think, largely grant-funded. Mendo, County of? Nada. Nothing but talk, talk, talk.

CHUCK DUNBAR: “Mark Scaramella has it right. The praise heaped on Carmel Angelo by the BOS members is disgusting, but not unexpected. If they really called it straight and recounted even some of the badly mishandled issues on her watch, they’d be criticizing themselves for letting her go on year after year in her crudely dictatorial ways. It’s disheartening and does not speak well for our future.”

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Chinese Cook, Caspar Lumber Company

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PRANAMS ALL ROUND!

Enlightenment in the End Times

Pranams to everybody in postmodern America, 

I am sitting here looking out of the front window of the Local Flavors coffee shop in Garberville, California on a sunny winter day. Identified with the light of lights always shining in the heart chakra, knowing that I am not the body nor the mind, I read the North Coast Journal article about the struggling Southern Humboldt county economy. The cannabis industry, which is failing due to a number of factors, is being squeezed for the last possible tax dollars to keep the county from making drastic cuts. 

Meanwhile, I wish to leave here and go elsewhere, in order to seriously continue participating in our divine anarchistic response to this crazy disaster of a postmodern civilization. I wish to do this particularly in view of the implosion of the global ecology, beginning with the melting out of the Antarctic ice sheets. 

Can Anybody Pick Me Up In Garberville, Ca Or Offer Me Community Space If I Arrive On A Bus Or Plane, Or Will You Please Just Donate Money? 

I am offering my sincere ongoing participation, as an alternative to rotting in the quagmire of samsara! Peaceout.

Craig Louis Stehr

Email: craiglouisstehr@gmail.com

Telephone Messages: (213) 842-3082

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A READER WRITES: I have no sympathy for Craig Stehr. According to your AVA archive he has reported that he has received at least two sizable inheritances, one of unspecified amount from his Catholic Priest Uncle in 2000, and another in 2014 for $150,000 after which he told AVA contributor Steve Heilig in 2015 that he had $150k in the Mechanics Bank in San Francisco. What did he do with that money? Instead of investing in a modest home somewhere where house prices are affordable, or even just leaving it in the Mechanic’s Bank and drawing it out frugally like the monk he wants us to think he is, he proceeded to blow it on a relatively luxurious (for him) vacation to Hawaii from where he sent his usual navel-gazing letters about how he had finally been “self-realized” there with the filthy lucre he inherited. Now he wants people to donate to him because he’s so enlightened and clutters up your pages with his unreadable religious BS? (Doctrinaire religious tracts of any kind have no place in the AVA or any other secular newspaper for the general public.) I have no first hand knowledge of it, but James Marmon says Stehr has a drinking problem too. Stehr in his many notes to the AVA has not denied that. So, sorry, Craig, no money from me. 

PS. From your archive in December of 2018:

MIND WATCHING ON WAIKIKI

Editor,

Warmest spiritual greetings to everyone, We have just concluded the Saturday evening BBQ at the Plumeria alternative hostel in Honolulu, with winter visitors arriving steadily, plus tonight's comfortably cool Pacific trade winds. Over at Waikiki Beach there are hula dancers performing on a stage next to a huge decorated Christmas tree with a crown of native flowers at the top, ukulele players at the base, and an international crowd singing the choruses in Hawaiian.

I am in my room with my onyx beads watching the mind. I am sitting on the bed watching thoughts arise and dissipate. And that's all! … I will henceforth exclusively watch the mind, witnessing thoughts as they arise and dissipate. 

Craig Louis Stehr, Honolulu, Hawaii

Craig Stehr has sat on his bed (he seems to sit a lot) now he has to sleep in it. Too bad he has no bed because he blew it on a multi-year Hawaiian mind-watch. He has no one to blame but himself.

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The Mouth of Truth, Roma, 1949

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THE PHILO POST OFFICE, an on-line comment: 

What is up with the Philo Post Office? I went to renew our no charge business PO Box and because I don't have a Philo address on my driver’s license the guy won't let us renew and wants us to pay even though they don't deliver mail to our business. I explained to him that I just work there and am on the account as the contact and he says it doesn't matter, I need to live in Philo to renew the PO Box for the business I work for and don't even own. He then asked me if anyone who works there has a Philo address that he can use, which makes no sense, I'm the main contact and am the only person who has permission to renew the box. I've been renewing this PO box for 13 years with no issues. Has anyone else had this issue?

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The Johnson Sisters of Navarro Ridge, 1898

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MENDOCINO COUNTY SHERIFF MATT KENDALL IS HOME QUARANTINING AFTER TESTING POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall is quarantining at his home the rest of the week after testing positive for COVID-19, he told us today over the phone. Staying busy on Zoom meetings, Sheriff Kendall said his energy is good, and his biggest symptoms were a scratchy throat and a positive COVID test. Speaking to why he wanted to publicly address his COVID-19 positive test, Sheriff Kendall said, “I’m a public official, I don’t let there be a vacuum of information. People deserve to know why I’m out for a week. This is not something to be ashamed of.”...

mendofever.com/2022/01/27/mendocino-county-sheriff-matt-kendall-is-home-quarantining-after-testing-positive-for-covid-19/

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MONARCH MURAL PROPOSED FOR PLAZA - Artist Danza Davis recently completed a mural at Ukiah High

by Justine Frederiksen

As many communities across California celebrate a large boost in the numbers of Monarch butterflies that returned to their winter homes recently, Ukiah may soon celebrate a small gathering of this endangered species making the city’s plaza their permanent home.

“This is special because it is in such a public setting in downtown Ukiah,” said artist Danza Davis, a Mendocino County native who lives in Potter Valley, referring to the mural she designed that depicts a large Monarch butterfly, caterpillar and cocoon, which may soon be painted on a blank wall in the Alex R. Thomas Jr. Plaza downtown.

The project began last year after former Ukiah Mayor Juan Orozco joined many others across the country in a pledge to “raise awareness and encourage preservation of the Monarch Butterfly.” After the Ukiah City Council adopted the Mayors Monarch Pledge, city staff report that “the Mendocino Arts Council raised the funding for the mural and formed a selection committee to consider all submissions,” with the mural suggested by Davis chosen to be presented to the city.

“The message of this mural is particularly resonant with me,” Davis said. “My goal with my artwork is to share a love of science and nature. This mural depicts narrow leaf milkweed, likely the most important milkweed species for Monarchs in California, and the eradication of milkweed is one of the main reasons for the plummeting number of Monarchs. Plants and animals have evolved complex relationships, and Monarchs have become a prime example of how important it is to make space for native species in our landscapes.”

Last summer, Davis worked with Ukiah High School students to complete a mural at the campus. See more of her work on Instagram @danzadavis.

The next step for the plaza mural is for it to go before the city’s Design Review Board, which will consider whether to recommend the project to the Ukiah Planning Commission.

The DRB will meet virtually on Thursday, Jan. 27, at 3 p.m. Watch and attend at this Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/99290711966 Or call Toll-free: 877 853 524; meeting ID: 992 9071 1966; Passcode: 406876.

Also at the Thursday meeting, the DRB is expected to:

• Review “a Major Use Permit to allow phased development of 1117 Commerce Drive,” with Phase 1 facilitating “construction of a 7,733 square-foot concrete masonry structure for the repair, maintenance, cleaning, and detailing of automobiles exclusively associated with Fowler Automotive.”

• Review “a Major Use and Site Development Permit to allow for construction of an addition to an existing Dental Office Building at 772 South Dora Street.

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SUPERVISOR MULHEREN (From her weekly Update):

I did three rounds of homeless trash pick up from the Brush Street Triangle. I’m also getting a lot more interest from the community. If you’d like to help please reach out to me. My contact info is below.

Over the weekend I spent time studying the agenda and on Saturday afternoon I went to Todd Grove Park to meet with a couple of constituents about some challenges that they are having with a County department. These types of conversations give me opportunities to think about how we can become more transparent and proactive as an agency.

The NCRA transition to the Great Redwood Trail Agency will open up more opportunities for access, environmental repair and fish access through collaboration. It’s a very exciting project to be a part of. 

5c) Discussion and Possible Action Including Approval of Chief Executive Officer or County Administrative Officer Model for the County of Mendocino (Sponsors: Supervisor Mulheren and Supervisor Gjerde) Recommended Action: Approve Chief Executive Officer or County Administrator Officer Model for the County of Mendocino. CEO Ordinance - draft 1.22 CAO Ordinance Org Chart 2021_1 v2 1-24-22 Schafer Correspondence Attachments:

No action, to be brought back at a meeting in February so Supervisors McGourty and Haschak have more time to review the item and bring forward their thoughts.

5d) Supervisors’ Reports Regarding Board Special Assignments, Standing and Ad Hoc Committee Meetings, and Other Items of General Interest 

Gjerde report - met with Treasurer/Auditor departments and discussed vacancy issues and workload (recommend that budget ad hoc works with them on this), and challenges with the software system (recommends the IT ad hoc works with them on that issue)

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Carmel has brought millions of dollars in to the County and built statewide relationships that are immeasurable. I hope that in her final weeks as the CEO the community and those within the agency will take some time to wish her well and thank her for her accomplishments.

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Roy Baldecchi, Mendocino, 1947

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SAME-SAME. BETSY CAWN: In Lake County, the Chief Administrative Officer has wielded her authority deftly since stepping into the position after heading the county’s Department of Social Services for decades and proving herself to be a master of the county’s mystifying budget process and machieavellian management tactics, filling the vacuum left behind by the outgoing incompetent CAO (Perry) who fell on his sword after bungling the administration of the county’s OES between 2012 and 2015. The current CAO has been conducting the orchestration of county operations under various department heads whose independent authority must capitulate to her authority; on more than one occasion the job of “Interim Director” has been held by her after forcing the departure of the former incumbent.

Empire building, palace intrigue, and obfuscation of decision-making processes have become the hallmarks of the County administration using a flock of new “ad hoc” committees with no accountability to the public, typically yielding fiats and edicts of compliance (“or else”) with abruptly announced necessities such as the hiring of a highly specialized consulting firm to “re-organize” the Community Development Department or separating the Department of Water Resources from the Department of Public Works, after adulterating the Department of Public Health (pushing out a very competent director) and taking direct control of the formerly separate Human Resources department.

Making good use of the California State Association of Counties “leadership institute” for aligning the fealty of “at will” department heads that remain (several key individuals retired after the 2016 regime change), removal of easy access to public information safeguards the fiscal fiefdom draped in civility and superficial congeniality. Individual elected officials with their own “agendas” and huge pocketbooks of discretionary spending allowances ($100K/district) appear to have long leashes, if not actual autonomy, and blithely announce their busy calendars at each regular meeting of the Board of Supervisors.

But the paucity of reporting on results of their heralded busy-work leaves the public wondering what, in fact, is being done other than attending meetings in venues most often not accessible to the mere tax payers and voters allegedly being “served.”

Cock-ups like the commercial cannabis licensing (with heavy-handed taxation), glorifying the county’s long-standing rejection of precautionary principles, accompanied by the frustrations of stalwart law enforcement agencies (thanks to Prop. 40, among many communal errors of the Newsom era), leave us at the mercy of rhetorical phantasms such as our “Vision 2028” and the insistence on “rebranding” the county.

Soon enough our beknighted communities, ravaged by social and economic ills will be “revitalized” — again — by renewed “enforcement” of codes and regulations, and auctioning off of tax defaulted properties (thousands of them) abandoned by private and public property owners. And all those failed pot operations will leave behind them further landscape-scale modifications that will become new environmental hazards unremediated by restoration activities.

Facing the multiple concurrent disasters of the day and unmitigated hazards (now multiplied by massive forest devastation and hugely increased wildfire perils) with autocratic disregard and deliberate indifference, every action guarded by procedural compliance with County Counsel’s advice, to achieve the latest incarnation of government wishful thinking — our new “Blue Zones” program of super healthy “life styles” — while the privileged in-group gambols on the playing fields of equestrian parks, golf courses, and waterfront promenades, is folly enough. But to call the psychodrama of county administration “management” reveals the absence of coherence in the remains of the day.

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Government Office, Prague, 1937

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SLOW THE DAMN CARS DOWN, CITY OF UKIAH!

25 mph on every street. More police that actually ticket speeders! Speed cameras on north and south State street. Car culture is out of control in Ukiah and throughout the U.S. T.V. ads encourage speed and unlawful behavior. Ukiah City Council, get some political will and make the city safe for pedestrians, cyclists and take on Climate Change at the same time. BTW, there's a Climate Emergency. (L.S.)

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DON’T FORGET YOUR DOOBIES!

Upcoming Cannabis Program Webinars

Greetings, 

The County of Mendocino Cannabis Program will be hosting three webinars in the month of February. Please save the dates and watch for our upcoming emails with registration links and details for the following dates: 

February 9, 2022 - County of Mendocino Cannabis Program Update

February 16, 2022 - Local Equity Entrepreneur Program Update

February 23, 2022 - Local Jurisdiction Assistance Grant Program Update

Please note that all above referenced webinars will require registration and will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (PST). 

Additionally, if you know of anyone who may not currently be on our Canna Note distribution list please share the following information with them: 

To receive updates and information related to the Mendocino Cannabis Program (MCP) please sign up for Canna Notes through the County's e-notification system. To sign up please go to https://www.mendocinocounty.org/community/enotification, then select "Canna Notes" under the "News" section, scroll to the bottom of the page and click submit.

Sincerely, 

Mendocino Cannabis Program Staff

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CATCH OF THE DAY, January 27, 2022

Ashline, Castro, Elizarra, Gayski

RICHARD ASHLINE, Ukiah. Parole violation.

JOAQUINA CASTRO, Vancouver, Washington/Willits. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, harrassing, threatening or obscene phone calls, annoying calls to 911. 

ALEXANDRA ELIZARRA-RAZ, Ukiah. DUI, no license.

BENJAMIN GAYSKI JR., Willits. County parole violation, probation revocation.

Leggett, C.Lockhart, S.Lockhart, Valentin

JASPER LEGGETT-WANT, Covelo. Evasion.

CRYSTAL LOCKHART, Ukiah. Burglary. 

SHEILA LOCKHART, Novato/Ukiah. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun.

SAMUEL VALENTIN-ONOFRE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI.

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IN THE US THEY TALK about the polarization of society, and lately there have been polls quoted frequently about the significant percentage of society on both left and right who think political violence is justified, and who don’t really look at their political opponents as being fully human. It’s like that in other places as well, for lots of the same reasons, like the manipulation of our minds by the powers-that-be.

In the case of the settler-colonial state of Israel, a significant element of the Jewish population there has been mobilized to commit constant, daily human rights abuses against Palestinian individuals and communities, in their various roles as part of the Israeli military, as state-subsidized settlers, or as “volunteers” in towns and cities across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, burning down fields and destroying people’s homes.

You’ll almost never hear the word used in the US corporate or “public” media, but East Jerusalem, like the West Bank and Gaza, are illegally occupied territories, not recognized by the UN as part of Israel, but as places occupied illegally by the Israeli military, and besieged. The home that was destroyed the other day in the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem was done so illegally, by an illegal, occupying power called Israel.

Similar actions carried out by Israeli authorities have very recently led to uprisings of Palestinians throughout the region. At the same time as this home demolition, the UN agency that is tasked with looking after the welfare of the Palestinian refugees has drastically cut their funding for those refugees, in response to their own budget being drastically cut. The suffering of the Palestinians in the camps, already unbearable, appears set to get much, much worse. Combine that with the ongoing Israeli atrocities against Palestinians, and we can be sure there will plenty more news of major unrest coming out of Palestine in 2022. 

— David Rovics

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THE FOLLY OF PANDEMIC CENSORSHIP

More and more people are forgetting why free speech works

by Matt Taibbi

Earlier this week, in the latest in a series of scolding campaigns, a Britain-based group called the Center for Countering Digital Hate gave a sneak peek at a research report on Substack to The Guardian and The Washington Post. Both outlets came out with their scare pieces this morning. From The Guardian:

A group of vaccine-skeptic writers are generating revenues of at least $2.5m (£1.85m) a year from publishing newsletters for tens of thousands of followers on the online publishing platform Substack, according to new research…

Imran Ahmed, chief executive of CCDH, said companies like Substack were under “no obligation” to amplify vaccine skepticism and make money from it. “They could just say no…”

The Post, citing “some misinformation experts say” — the pandemic version of “people familiar with the matter” — added:

These newer platforms cater to subscribers who seek out specific content that accommodates their viewpoints — potentially making the servicesless responsible for spreading harmful views, some misinformation experts say.

If these stories sound familiar, it’s because this same Center for Countering Digital Hate two years ago tried to pull the same stunt with The Federalist, using NBC to ask Google to crack down on them. Humorously, and typically — this happens a lot with these stories — that effort ended in fiasco. The piece NBC ended up writing boasting of the success of its “Verification Unit” in getting the site demonetized, entitled, “Google bans two websites from its ad platform over protest articles,” turned out to itself be misinformation. The Federalist was never banned, only warned, and the issue was its comments section, not its articles. Google had to issue a statement:

“The Federalist was never demonitized.”

Substack is home to tens of thousands of writers and over a million paying subscribers, quadruple last year’s total of 250,000. The sites range from newsletters for comics enthusiasts to crypto news to recipe ideas. Like the Internet as a whole, it’s basically a catalogue of everything.

Still, panic campaigns in legacy press consistently focus on handfuls of sites, and with impressive dishonesty describe them as representative. I was particularly struck by a recent Mashable article that talked about a supposed “backlash” against Substack’s “growing collection of anti-trans writers,” which seemed to refer to Jesse Singal (who is no such thing) and Graham Linehan and — that’s it. Substack is actually home to more trans writers than any other outlet, but to the Scolding Class, that’s not the point. The company’s real crime is that it refuses to submit to pressure campaigns and strike off Wrongthinkers.

Substack is designed to be difficult to censor. Because content is sent by email, it’s not easy to pressure platforms to zap offending material. It doesn’t depend on advertisers, so you can’t lean on them, either. The only real pressure points are company executives like Hamish McKenzie and Chris Best, who are now regular targets of these ham-fisted campaigns demanding they discipline writers.

The latest presents Substack as a place where, as Mashable put it, “COVID misinformation is allowed to flourish.” The objections mainly center around Joseph Mercola, Alex Berenson, and Robert Malone. There are issues with the specific critiques of each, but those aren’t the point. Every one of these campaigns revolves around the same larger problem: would-be censors misunderstanding the basic calculus of the freedom of speech.

Even in a society with fairly robust protections, as ours once was, the most dangerous misinformation is always, without exception, official.

Whether it’s WMDs or the Gulf of Tonkin fiasco or the missile gap or the red scare or the twenty-year occupation of Afghanistan, the worst real-world disasters always turn out to be driven or enabled by official falsehoods. In the case of Afghanistan (and Iraq, and Vietnam before both), the cycle of war disaster was perpetuated by a sweeping, organized, and intricate system of official lying, about everything from the success of missions to the efficacy of weaponry to the political devotion of supposed allies. The only defense against these most dangerous types of deceptions is an absolutely free press.

People know authorities lie, which is why the more they clamp down, the bigger their trust problem usually becomes. Unfortunately, censors by nature can’t help themselves. Our official liars are always trying to learn from their errors. For instance, film of wounded, suffering, or dead American boys, as well as of the atrocities we committed, not only resulted in pressure to end the Vietnam War, but probably prevented future invasions of countries like Nicaragua, as voters recalled the sickening “quagmire.”

Military officials saw this, and when they finally got to go to war again, they banned the filming of coffins and instituted an embed system that closed off the bulk of adversarial reporting. Of course, that was not enough, because organizations like Wikileaks found ways to sneak out forbidden pictures. So, the powers that be imposed much tougher penalties on whistleblowers going forward. Instead of letting the Daniel Ellsbergs of the world write books and give lectures, the new reality for people like Julian Assange or Edward Snowden is permanent exile or imprisonment. The jailers seem quite proud of this, but the unofficial pseudo-ban on Assange coverage has only added to the impression of a not-free, certainly not trustworthy system of media.

Instead of seeing the root causes of this atmosphere of rapidly declining trust, officials keep pushing for even more sweeping campaigns of control, most recently seeking to make platforms like Google and Twitter arbiters of speech.

I’ve used Substack to show the amazingly diverse range of speech deemed unallowable on private platforms, from raw footage of both anti-Trump protests and the January 6th riots, to satirical videos no one had even seen yet, to advocates and detractors of the medication Ivermectin, to a Jewish tweeter’s pictorial account of Hitler’s life, to a now proven-true expose about the president’s son. The latter case is on point, because the widely distributed story that the New York Post’s Hunter Biden report was Russian disinformation was the actual disinformation. If the fact-checkers are themselves untrustworthy, and you can’t get around the fact-checkers, that’s when you’re really screwed.

This puts the issue of the reliability of authorities front and center, which is the main problem with pandemic messaging. One does not need to be a medical expert to see that the FDA, CDC, the NIH, as well as the White House (both under Biden and Trump) have all been untruthful, or wrong, or inconsistent, about a spectacular range of issues in the last two years.

NIAID director Anthony Fauci has told three different stories about masks, including an episode in which he essentially claimed to have lied to us for our own good, in order to preserve masks for frontline workers — what Slate called one of the “Noble lies about Covid-19.” Officials turned out to be wrong about cloth masks anyway. Here is Fauci again on the issue of what to tell the public about how many people would need to be vaccinated to achieve “herd immunity,” casually explaining the logic of lying to the public for its sake:

When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent. Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, “I can nudge this up a bit,” so I went to 80, 85.

We’ve seen sudden changes in official positions on the efficacy of ventilators and lockdowns, on the dangers (or lack thereof) of opening schools, and on the risks, however small, of vaccine side effects like myocarditis. The CDC also just released data showing natural immunity to be more effective in preventing hospitalization and in preventing infection than vaccination. The government had previously said, over and over, that vaccination is preferable to natural immunity (here’s NIH director Francis Collins telling that to Bret Baier unequivocally in August). This was apparently another “noble lie,” designed to inspire people to get vaccinated, that mostly just convinced people to wonder if any official statements can be trusted.

To me, the story most illustrative of the problem inherent in policing “Covid misinformation” involves a town hall by Joe Biden from July 21 of last year. In it, the president said bluntly, “You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations,” pretty much the definition of Covid misinformation.

It was bad enough when, a month later, the CDC released figures showing 25% of a sample of 43,000 Covid cases involved fully vaccinated people. Far worse was a fact-check by Politifact,which judged Biden’s clearly wrong statement “half true.”

“It is rare for people who are fully vaccinated to contract COVID-19, but it does happen,” the site wrote. They then cited CDC data as backup. “The datathat the CDC collected before May 1 show that, of 101 million people vaccinated in the U.S., 10,262 (0.01%) experienced breakthrough cases.” Politifact’s “bottom line”: Biden “exaggerated,” but “cases are rare.” 

Anyone paying attention to that story will now distrust the president, the CDC, and “reputable” mainstream fact-checkers like the Pew Center’s Politifact. These are the exact sort of authorities whose guidance sites like the Center for Countering Digital Hate will rely upon when trying to pressure companies like Substack to remove certain voices.

This is the central problem of any “content moderation” scheme: somebody has to do the judging. The only thing worse than a landscape that contains misinformation is a landscape where misinformation is mandatory, and the only antidote for the latter is allowing all criticism, mistakes included. This is especially the case in a situation like the present, where the two-year clown show of lies and shifting positions by officials and media scolds has created a groundswell of mistrust that’s a far bigger threat to public health than a literal handful of Substack writers. 

About that: here’s the lede of a BBC report about an incident that took place in December, called “Australia police arrest quarantine escapees”:

Australian police have arrested three people who broke out of a Covid quarantine compound in the middle of the night.

The Howard Springs centre near Darwin in the Northern Territory is one of Australia’s main quarantine facilities for people returning to the country.

Police said the trio scaled a fence to break out of the facility.

Officers found them after a manhunt on Wednesday. All had tested negative to Covid the day before.

Although I’m very much not a fan of Dr. Joseph Mercola’s, the fact that the CCDH wants to shut down articles like his “The Unvaxxed May Soon Be Shipped to Quarantine Camps” — which among other things contains passages about the Australian program — shows how little they understand about how media audiences think.

As is the case with the Assange story, the paucity of information in mainstream press about the serious draconian measures in places like Australia and Germany has already massively heightened distrust in those outlets and in official reassurances. The “nothing to see here” attitude about the potential downsides of authoritarian policies has reached sick joke status (see Russell Brand’s hilarious but depressing take on the Australia situation here). As the Substack folks themselves pointed out today, our society has a trust problem, and attempts to sweep it under a rug only make things worse.

Censors have a fantasy that if they get rid of all the Berensons and Mercolas and Malones, and rein in people like Joe Rogan, that all the holdouts will suddenly rush to get vaccinated. The opposite is true. If you wipe out critics, people will immediately default to higher levels of suspicion. They will now be surethere’s something wrong with the vaccine. If you want to convince audiences, you have to allow everyone to talk, even the ones you disagree with. You have to make a better case. The Substack people, thank God, still get this, but the censor’s disease of thinking there are shortcuts to trust is spreading. 

Lastly, while the Postcertainly has its own problems in this area, the Guardian editors should puke with shame for even thinking about condemning anyone else’s “misinformation,” while their own fake story about Assange’s “secret talks” with Paul Manafort in the Ecuadorian embassy remains up. Leaving an obvious hoax uncorrected will tend to create a credibility problem, and you compound it by pointing a finger elsewhere. This is a lesson in this for health authorities, too. Clean your own houses, and maybe you won’t have such a hard time being believed.

* * *

* * *

ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

-You have the right to receive emergency care at any licensed facility with an emergency room.

-You have the right to be treated until your emergency medical condition is stabilized when you go to a hospital emergency room.

-You have the right to be informed by the hospital of your right to receive emergency services, without regard to your ability to pay, prior to being transferred or discharged.

- You have a right not to be transferred from an emergency care facility against your will.

It would also be highly unethical to refuse to treat the unvaccinated, or not treat them. It would open hospitals up to lawsuits under federal law (EMTALA) as well. In essence, they are legally bound to treat until the condition is stabilized.

Probably better to just continue masking up, ordering takeout where you can eat in a safe environment, get your shots if you can, and not act like this thing is over, like we've been doing over, and over, and over again for the past 2 years.

* * *

Point Arena High School beautification, 1908

* * *

BASEBALL HARMED ITSELF MORE THAN BONDS EVER DID

by Jim Litke

Whatever harm Barry Bonds did to baseball pales in comparison to the damage baseball inflicted on itself both at the time and since. So say what you will about the steroids era, at least the games were still worth watching.

You can't say that about baseball today, assuming it's even available on a TV set where you live. The sport's popularity is buckling faster than the knees of a hitter fooled by Clayton Kershaw's curveball. The national audience for last season's World Series — roughly 12 million viewers — was less than half what it was barely two decades ago. A friend tried to put the best face on that vanishing act by saying baseball has become a "regional" game; that's just another way of saying it's on the road to becoming a niche sport.

If you drew up a list of things that would make baseball better tomorrow, reckoning with its past would be lucky to make it. Yet it might help explain how we got here.

Bonds and a few of his juiced fellow travelers — notably Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, whose eligibility on the writers' ballot for the Hall of Fame ran out this year as well — put on a fireworks show that pulled the game out of a rut dug when owners canceled the remainder of the 1994 season after players went on strike. People on both sides of the labor-management divide got rich, which is why nobody bothered to ask where all the pyrotechnics came from.

In case you haven't heard, we're already eight weeks into another lockout and there are precious few signs it will be settled before the scheduled start of spring training on Feb. 16. Even if camps open by then, there isn't nearly enough time — let alone will — to make improvements to the product on the field. And the game desperately needs overhauling.

Most pitchers only know how to throw two pitches anymore, fast and faster. Hitters have become a procession of strikeouts, interrupted by the occasional solo home run. No one bothers to run the bases anymore. If it looks as though players are simply standing around, that's because most of them are.

"This is a game designed to be played by nine men, not two," is how Theo Epstein, the boy-wonder former general manager who ended World Series championship droughts in both Boston and Chicago, said last summer.

Epstein is currently leading Major League Baseball's latest effort to examine how and where the game could be tweaked to help lure back longtime fans and attract a new generation. The plan is to avoid the kind of short-term fix that steroids provided last time.

"No one is looking to reinvent the wheel here," Epstein said in the same interview. "This is the greatest game in the world and we want to preserve the essence. A lot of this is restoring the game to the way it's historically been played."

Tradition was baseball's strong suit for a century or so — until suddenly it wasn't. Fans alienated by the truncated 1994 season and lost World Series that year stubbornly stayed away from ballparks upon baseball's return. At least at first. But then, in short order, Bonds and Sosa and Mark McGwire began routinely launching baseballs where none had gone before and people flocked back to watch. Baseball didn't just get its mojo back — remember the Nike ad, "Chicks dig the long ball"? — suddenly it was hip, too.

Now, of course, we know what fueled that rocket ship. There's still no reliable number for how many players used performance-enhancing drugs, but Bonds and the rest of the inflatable sluggers so dominated the screen that nobody thought to look at the players in the background. For every slugger like Rafael Palmeiro who got busted while cashing in the big bucks, there were plenty more Ryan Franklins, then a 32-year-old journeyman reliever just trying to make one more paycheck.

No matter, the owners paid them all and looked the other way because they kept the turnstiles spinning. Drug testing with penalties for positive tests began in 2004 and though Bonds always beat them, three years later not a single team offered the 43-year-old slugger a contract even though he was still one of the best hitters in the game.

Around the same time, Michael Lewis' book "Moneyball" detailed the growing analytics movement that ultimately made defensive shifts commonplace, and more strikeouts meant more pitches and longer games with even less action in between.

Restoring the game, if that's even possible, would be a lengthy effort and there's no guarantee it would resonate with younger fans.

"There's a lot more consensus on the direction of where the game should go," Epstein said about the results of a fan survey. "A lot more balls in play, a lot more athleticism, a lot more action."

If MLB is serious, that effort will require a ton of investment and abandoning the kind of short-term thinking that got baseball in this mess in the first place. The game's power brokers should know by now that guys like Bonds, who turned the ship around, don't come along very often.

(AP)

* * *

* * *

JUSTICE BREYER TO RETIRE

Editor,

After 27 years of praiseworthy public service on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Stephen Breyer has announced his retirement from the court, which will reportedly take effect this summer after the Supreme Court’s current term ends.

California-born Stephen Breyer’s surprise retirement has sent conservative politicians in Washington, D.C. into a terrified tailspin in their knowledge that the possibility of the Republican Party winning a majority in the U.S. Senate in November has now just come to an end. Too bad for them.

Due to the historical pattern of the incumbent U.S. President’s party losing congressional seats in the first mid-term election after that president takes office, combined with the numerous announced retirements of incumbent Democratic U.S. House members, recent redistricting, and extreme congressional gerrymandering by blatantly racist Republican state politicians, it’s probably unlikely at this point that the Democratic Party will be able to maintain their narrow majority in the U.S. House of Representatives after November’s general election.

However, all of the time and public tax dollars wasted by racist GOP politicians in Republican-controlled red states (whose blatantly discriminatory and illegally gerrymandered congressional political maps are being torn up by one court after another) will not have any appreciable impact whatsoever on the outcome of U.S. Senate races in 2022, because statewide U.S. Senate elections can’t be gerrymandered since all voters in any state get to vote for or against their state’s U.S. Senate candidates.

What will impact the 2022 U.S. Senate elections is the fact that the current 6-3 partisan Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade prior to this November, which will spell certain political doom for anti-Choice Republican U.S. Senate candidates across the country, not just in swing states or in Democratic-controlled blue states.

Even red state Republican candidates have much to fear this year from what is sure to become a historically large voter turnout in November by women furiously focused on protecting their right to choose from misogynistic male GOP jurists and from right-wing religious extremist Republican politicians who are personally obsessed with controlling, regulating, and restricting female sexuality at the point of a gun. 

The Republican Party is going to have some explaining to do to its criminal corporate donors and to its fascist foreign sugar daddies (like Russian kleptocrat Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabian despot Mohammed bin Salman) when 2023 dawns on at least several red states inaugurating Democrats as their new Governors, etc. 

In fact, Justice Breyer’s retirement along with the likely overturning of Roe v. Wade by the current U.S. Supreme Court prior to November will probably result in multiple red states becoming swing states just in time for this year’s general election, not to mention those flipping to blue states in time for the 2024 presidential election (like Texas and Ohio for instance), which will hand a 2nd four-year term in the White House to President Joe Biden & Vice President Kamala Harris.

Maintaining their current slim majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is likely to be a heavy lift for the Democratic Party this year. However, don’t be shocked if the redirection of American voters’ attention towards the U.S. Supreme Court come election time will make fools out of those in the corporate media who have already mindlessly handed victory to the GOP in 2022, without a single vote having been cast yet! “Conventional Wisdom” isn’t wisdom after all, y’all. It’s simply groupthink. 

Sincerely,

Jake Pickering

Arcata

* * *

Mike Nichols

"I GAVE A SPEECH, as one does, as one ages, to a room of students of the theatre, of film, of the performing arts. They shone with ambition, but I soon found myself annotating virtually every sentence I uttered, and this is not terribly comfortable: It badly alters the flow of things. They looked at me blankly when I mentioned Tennessee [Williams], and I had to throw out the play titles, at which they nodded their heads and murmured the names of Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. That was their reference to Tennessee Williams. It seemed not to matter that a man, a person, had written the play that became the film that became something they did in a scene in a class. There was no line of succession. They did not know who Julie Harris was or Bette Davis or Harold Clurman or the Group Theatre and Lee Strasberg was a building where you could take classes. 

Now it is alarming to be old, and nothing makes a person feel quite so old as to talk of one's influences and of things that he feels are important and to have several hundred blank faces look at you with bewilderment. I don't want to annotate everything, and I think there is a serious lack of investment or intention toward this thing, this art, this craft to which you aspire. I think you have to know more than what is current and 'hot,' to use a loathsome word. I think you have to be familiar with the foundation of the work and understand it's what you're standing on."

—Mike Nichols/Interview with James Grissom

* * *

NATO BEARS SOME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE UKRAINE CRISIS

Russia’s insecure geographical position and history of invasion was completely disregarded by NATO as it triumphantly marched eastward after the Cold War, even to Russia’s very borders. NATO’s pronouncements that great power spheres of influence are so yesterday and that the alliance’s open-door policy allows each nation to choose the countries with which it wants to associate are mere blather that deny the historical realties of international relations. The reason Putin also has threatened to send Russian troops to Cuba and Venezuela is to dramatize the U.S.’s continuing sphere of influence over an entire global hemisphere—the Western Hemisphere—since 1823 and show that the United States would not appreciate hostile troops, alliances, or nuclear weapons anywhere in this region. 

theamericanconservative.com/articles/nato-bears-some-responsibility-for-the-ukraine-crisis/

* * *

Indian Executioner

* * *

FACE TATS, on-line wonderment

(1) I'm curious..what comes first, the neck/face tats or the criminal behavior?

(2) I keep wondering that myself.

(3) That’s a chicken and the egg question. My experience has been the tats come after the degradation of the person’s honesty, if they ever had any to begin with.


A TATTY SELECTION from the past few months of "Catch"

43 Comments

  1. Kirk Vodopals January 28, 2022

    Re: Mr. Litke on baseball…
    I’m not a big baseball fan, but I grew up in the era of Bonds and the Bash Brothers. The authors logic is ridiculous. I have no problem with the shunning of the roid era. It was the antithesis of “traditional” baseball. The problem with baseball is the same problem with most professional sports and politics. Money. Too much wasted money on complete bullshit. And most of us are complicit in this by wasting our time and money on these diversions (politics aside). I’ve been contemplating for years how to develop a Fantasy Politics league that would combine the engagement of sports with the practicality of political engagement. I’ll keep working on that.

    • George Hollister January 28, 2022

      Great idea. And in the Fantasy Politics League include points for the sums of loot each politician secures between elections. Or in the case of the Clintons, the loot gained from just being appointed to a cabinet position.

      • Kirk Vodopals January 28, 2022

        I’ve been pondering it for a while. I’d like to design it altruistically… So negative points for cash-hoarding or arms deals with the Saudis. The algorithm will be complicated

        • George Hollister January 28, 2022

          The first Monopoly game was altruistic, and few were interested in it.

          • Kirk Vodopals January 28, 2022

            The algorithm can be altruistic, but, like in my fantasy football league, the interest is increased through wagering. Imagine if you could place bets on our elected officials in a system that is designed to provide maximum benefit to the most common constituents (aka the hard-working middle class).
            I rarely pay attention to any sports unless I’ve got some skin in it. My interest in football drops dramatically after the Fantasy Football season is over (prior to playoffs)… unless the niners are in the playoffs!
            Increasing engagement of all sectors of society in our political system could only benefit this thing we call democracy. And I don’t mean in the typical Mendo way of RESISTING EVERYTHING.

  2. George Hollister January 28, 2022

    Lots of good stuff in the AVA today. But I have a question for the AVA “family”. Why the chorus of condemnation of Craig Stehr? Why implore Craig to take responsibility for himself? The AVA doesn’t require this of anyone else. It seems to me, Craig Stehr is the same as all the “homeless” I have known. To be consistent, I would expect the AVA to be saying Craig is a victim, or creation of capitalism.

    • Bruce Anderson January 28, 2022

      Call our Craig comments “Tough Love.” Craig, like a lot of people, is more a victim of himself than capitalism, although our capitalist society is seemingly organized to promote mental illness.

      • Harvey Reading January 28, 2022

        Huh? Far more are victims of kaputalism.

  3. Kirk Vodopals January 28, 2022

    Ahhh. Face tats. What more is there to say about that sector of society? Purposefully projecting how hardcore you are doesn’t seem to bode well for most. But it seems to be a prerequisite for the prison system. As George Carlin once said, “symbols are for the symbol-minded.”

  4. Steve Heilig January 28, 2022

    I won’t be sending any money to Craig Stehr, even though I’d rather read his garbled but well-intentioned missives here than those of the tiresome angry old guy who calls everybody but himself “fascist” multiple times per day or the gullible restraining-ordered guy who still believes Donald Trump is anything but a relentless con man (or really anybody here too cowardly to use their real name. Anonymous posts are no different than graffiti).
    In any event Garberville is a good place to leave now. It’s not what it was, thanks to the predictable tragedy of Late Pot Capitalism. I wish him safe travels.
    SH

    • Harvey Reading January 28, 2022

      Your poor dear. Enjoy your dream world.

      Are you still a fan of the fasciocrats, Obama and Clinton?

      • Harvey Reading January 28, 2022

        Were you a good little fellow who voted for Lyin’ Biden?

    • Cotdbigun January 28, 2022

      I can sense the anger and despair on the other side of the key board, deja vue , eh ?

    • Craig Stehr January 28, 2022

      Following a deep sleep, indicating peace of heart, awoke to find the mind reciting prayers learned in Catholic grade school. A litany of Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glory Bes was a wonderful way to wake up to another sunny winter day in Garberville, California.
      Usually, waking up in the morning is accompanied by the mind either reciting chants learned in yoga class, or else it is the more Buddhist view of dispassionately witnessing thoughts. Generally speaking, I do not perform Christian practices, because they are too strong for what mundane circumstances call for. Indeed, the Antarctic ice sheets are melting out and sea level is rising. It is true that a materialistic war-insane civilization has written its destiny. And it is a daily disaster that America is economically bankrupt, a problem which is exacerbated by the consumer culture that has resulted in a socially alienated citizenry. It is scary to be living here! America is a nation which is on the edge with no clue whatsoever about what to do about it. The good news is that the political leadership has recently shifted from being less than rational to being merely visionless. But still, asking Christ Jesus to save us all? Miracles? Divine Intervention??
      When the social security money comes in next week, I will have $1500 in the bank. Health is quite good for a 72 year old body-mind complex. Spiritually, I know what I am. It is time for me to leave Garberville, California. I am available. Anybody out there in postmodern America want to do anything? Please contact me. I know that you are out there. ?

      Craig Louis Stehr
      Email: craiglouisstehr@gmail.com
      Telephone Messages: (213) 842-3082
      PayPal.me/craiglouisstehr
      Blog: http://craiglstehr.blogspot.com
      Snail Mail: P.O. Box 938, Redwood Valley, CA 95470
      January 28, 2022 Anno Domini

  5. Harvey Reading January 28, 2022

    SLOW THE DAMN CARS DOWN, CITY OF UKIAH!

    Similar here in Cowpie. The town clowns apparently have no interest in actually working, especially on residential streets

  6. George Hollister January 28, 2022

    As usual, Matt Taibbi makes a lot of good points including his assessment of Anthony Fauci. I remember in the 1960s seeing “The National Inquirer” at the supermarkets when checking out. The was the “tabloid” where one could read about UFOs, or an immaculate conception. Many read it. But no one tried to censure it. (In my high school biology class occasionally someone would quote an article from the National Inquirer”, The teacher only politely cringed) There was also “True” magazine that thrived on publishing articles that were untrue. No one tried to censure that, either. It’s better that way.

    So, yes, there is a lot of BS being said and published about vaccines. (and herbicides as well). Better to let that happen, than to censure it. And better for government to speak to it’s citizens with the best information that is available. We can handle it. Lying has a way of harming government’s credibility, just like the credibility of the tabloids.

    • chuck dunbar January 28, 2022

      Matt Taibii certainly makes one think, and that is good. Thanks to the AVA for giving his work to us. I leave a number of his pieces still mulling things over. In his piece today, I’m still doing some of that, but the quote below seems beyond question, powerful and hard to refute”

      “Even in a society with fairly robust protections, as ours once was, the most dangerous misinformation is always, without exception, official.

      Whether it’s WMDs or the Gulf of Tonkin fiasco or the missile gap or the red scare or the twenty-year occupation of Afghanistan, the worst real-world disasters always turn out to be driven or enabled by official falsehoods. In the case of Afghanistan (and Iraq, and Vietnam before both), the cycle of war disaster was perpetuated by a sweeping, organized, and intricate system of official lying, about everything from the success of missions to the efficacy of weaponry to the political devotion of supposed allies. The only defense against these most dangerous types of deceptions is an absolutely free press.”

      • Harvey Reading January 28, 2022

        “Free” to print whatever its wealthy masters (and advertisers) say to print. Freedom of the press is highly publicized and overrated, mainly by the wealthy–along with their lackeys, including teachers–who see it for the great propaganda propagator and conditioning agent it is–same is true of trash like “P”BS (Pure BullSh-t) and N”P”R (c3ai, anyone? At “enterprise” scale!) and the like.

    • Harvey Reading January 28, 2022

      George, why don’t you provide us a list of scientific (REAL science, not corporate lies) reports that support your assertion regarding what is being said and published about effects of herbicides?

      • Harvey Reading January 29, 2022

        Could it be that such documents don’t exist? That could explain the lack of response your part. Just peddling more ag lies again, eh old man?

  7. Betsy Cawn January 28, 2022

    Matt Taibbi posted today: “Callin Discussion: Friday, 4:00 p.m. EST, ‘The Folly of Pandemic Censorship'”

    “This week’s article about ‘The Folly of Pandemic Censorship’ drew a significant response, but there have also been some crazy developments since its publication, including an appearance by the Surgeon General on MSNBC suggesting that we use ‘the power that we have’ to crack down even more on wrongthinkers. Let’s talk about why this is crazy and dangerous on Callin at 4:00 p.m. EST today, link here:
    https://www.callin.com/room/the-folly-of-pandemic-censorship-BnICYLjhYK.

    • Eric Sunswheat January 28, 2022

      The devils advocate might say, in response to the billionaire’s gold and mass media political consolidation, let the displaced disenfranchised humans be railroaded into possible unintended experimental consequences of mRNA vaccines, because personal greed with climatic disruption is perceived as a greater risk.

  8. Whyte Owen January 28, 2022

    It is a grave misunderstanding to label statements by public health officials and scientists as willful lies. As a veteran basic scientist I learned early on that all science is provisional. Every day in the lab we set out to refute our peers’ and our own conclusions. SARS-COV2 is an unprecedented phenomenon in context of development of mitigation strategies. If Fauci et al. had been consistent, I would have been skeptical. Taibbi, however eloquent and insightful, like many journalists has a fractured understanding of science, partly because we have not been very effective in explaining its issues to the public. Fauci is better than most.

    n.b. for the most comprehensive and reliable information on the pandemic: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/

    • Steve Heilig January 28, 2022

      THANK you for the informed rationality, it’s refreshing….

      SH
      (trained in epidemiology, albeit long ago…)

    • Marmon January 28, 2022

      RE: FAUCI

      Scientists should not seek approval of their work through politics or politicians. It devalues science. Political decisions are made differently and scientists make decisions on a different basis. This separation is essential.

      Marmon

      • Kirk Vodopals January 28, 2022

        Yes. Like church and State.

      • Whyte Owen January 28, 2022

        I have know hundreds, maybe a couple of thousand scientists, many as lifelong friends. Never once has one of them sought approval through politics (excepting intramural academic politics), or a politician.

        For an enjoyable look into academic politics: Moo by Jane Smiley.

    • George Hollister January 28, 2022

      Lying is to willfully, and deliberately deceive. Fauci has done this a number of times. It has harmed his credibility, which just gets worse with every pronouncement he makes. Consistence has nothing to do with it. First there was the face mask lie. Then the Wuhan lab lie. Now the vaccine lies, and herd immunity lies. Have I left something out? All done “for the good of the people”, and “for science”. Of course he is not alone in government, as Taibbi points out.

      • Bruce Anderson January 28, 2022

        Not true, George. In a fluid situation, Fauci has had to change his mind and recommendations to keep up with covid’s changes. Why the man has been vilified as relentlessly as he has is more of an indictment of the ignoramuses of Trumpian variety who don’t know fact one about immunology.

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        • Kirk Vodopals January 28, 2022

          Fauci, the CDC and the Biden administration have most definitely messed up and obfuscated the handling of the pandemic. But so has the left wing and right wing media. Fauci doesn’t deserve to be burned on a spit, but he is complicit in the loss of trust in the institution that he manages. This is coming from a guy (me) who got vaccinated and laughs at the nut jobs who want to put magnets on my arm

        • George Hollister January 28, 2022

          I am not talking about fluid. I know that the situation is fluid, and changes. I am talking about telling people masks don’t work, and don’t use them. And saying there was no possibility the Wuhan lab was a possible source. And denying that natural immunity of omicron was more powerful than a vaccine. There is more.

        • Brian Wood January 28, 2022

          We’re lucky to have Fauci, likely the most honest, the least corrupted public official you will see these days. What George calls lies are instead examples of him giving us the best information he could give at the time the gave it. I’m amazed how bravely he stands up to the bullshit hurled at him and his familly. He is a rare case of someone in government actually doing his job. Science is provisional and changes as new information becomes availible, and science what Fauci is practicing.

          • George Hollister January 29, 2022

            The best information was masks were in short supply, and the number one priority was for healthcare providers. Then give information on the best alternatives. Instead Fauci said masks didn’t work. That was a lie.

            Fauci said it was clear that the virus came from a natural source. He knew this was not the case. He knew there were virologists he was working with that felt strongly that the virus came from a lab. He lied about this “to protect science”, whatever that means.

            Fauci has known that herd immunity can be obtained by vaccinations, and also exposure to the virus by unvaccinated people. He has said the opposite. Exposure to the latest virus variant in the unvaccinated gives more immunity to the delta variant than the vaccine does. Why not say the truth and acknowledge that exposure to Omicron gives more immunity than a vaccine? And state that the problem is with large numbers of people ending up in the hospital, and a vaccine reduces the risk of that happening. Why not also state that with Omicron, the vaccine does not slow the spread?

            Fauci lies. He does it because he believes that citizens can’t handle the truth, and the government must make decisions for them. Well we see the result. Anyone who listens, remembers, and thinks catches on that Fauci is a manipulative liar. So what is one to believe? There are a number of other virologists out there from Johns Hopkins, and Stanford that are better sources of information.

            • George Hollister January 29, 2022

              Let me add something here. Even with all the negatives, the government response to Covid-19 has been relatively good in comparison to almost everything else government does. This is because everyone is experiencing Covid, many scientists are a part of the discussion, and transparency is the end result. The government can not get away with declaring “the science is settled” on this one.

  9. Marmon January 28, 2022

    RE: FEAR (FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL)

    Goldie Hawn on COVID Pandemic: ‘We Have Failed Our Children’

    “Today, we are in the midst of a national trauma that could very well surpass 9/11 and approach the heightened terror of the Cold War years,” she wrote. “The COVID era has changed our children’s lives in far more real, tangible ways — social distancing, school closures, daily mask use.”

    Hawn noted that children “are afraid of people, spaces, even the air around them — a level of constant fear not seen in decades.” To back her claims she pointed to data released in early 2021 that found emergency room visits in the United States for suspected suicide attempts were 51% higher for adolescent girls and 4% higher for adolescent boys, compared with the same time period in early 2019.

    https://www.newsmax.com/thewire/goldie-hawn-covid-pandemic-mental-health/2022/01/28/id/1054498/

    Marmon

  10. Linda Bailey January 28, 2022

    When, and by what process, did “entertainment” become one of the primary missions of the Mendocino County Library? Was The Mendocino County Collection Development Guidelines, wherein the Mission statement is found, approved by the county Board of Supervisors? As it is a general library policy, it should have been. See Ca Gov Code Sec. 19160.

  11. Craig Stehr January 28, 2022

    For everyone who is still completely confused about Craig Louis Stehr, here in essence is what I am: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%80tman_(Hinduism) P.S. I am NOT mentally ill, alcoholic, lost in postmodern America, at risk, or anything but Self realized.

  12. GrandJury January 28, 2022

    I really enjoy reading the AVA and reflecting on the diverse opinions of people all over the country as they opine on what is right and wrong with just about every subject.

    The downside is that this access also allows individuals to express their opinion on certain individuals in the community no matter how biased or uninformed they may be. I’m speaking specifically now about Darcie Antle and Kathy Wiley.

    Ms. Antle’s qualification for the CEO position for one year are solid in my humble opinion. She is a hardworking, well educated, talented individual who has done nothing to warrant the criticism being spouted by little magpies on the fence. Her wine bar has been closed for a long time, and to say her appointment is somehow related to her having wine with DA David Eyster (who has already refuted this as a figment of someone’s imagination) is preposterous and totally dishonest…if honesty matters anymore.

    Likewise with the attacks on Grand Jury foreperson, Kathy Riley. I have served the past four months on the Grand Jury with Ms. Riley so I do speak from some personal experience. Although our politics generally are not aligned, I find her to be extremely well educated, well informed, receptive to other’s opinions and points of view, and generally an excellent servant of the people in her capacity as Grand Jury foreperson.

    Thanks for the opportunity to express my personal feelings in this last bastion of free expression.

    Chris Philbrick
    707-272-4186

  13. k h January 28, 2022

    The letter above about Craig Stehr got my attention. I dont know Mr Stehr. Have never encountered him to my knowledge. He’s curious in that he seems to have taken a different path than most, at least on the surface. I can’t say I can relate to his journey, but then, that’s probably my feeling about most people.

    The letter writer opens their missive with the announcement that “they have no sympathy for Craig Stehr.” That’s certainly one way to set your tone from the outset. What does that tone of striking judgment say about the letter writer’s mindset? Quite a bit, none of it flattering.
    So many people talk like this. The internet really brings it out in people, but it’s always been there, in preacher’s sermons and the age old lectures of moralizing scolds. Such a person may be good hearted and caring in the real world. But they have a hard, cold side. Empathy doesn’t simply elude them – they reject it. Maybe they learned this way of thinking from their family. Maybe they absorbed it from a culture that rejects community care as “communist.” Maybe they have simply embraced the idea of “the meritocracy” for reasons beyond my understanding.

    Other people’s foibles and frailties make judgmental people feel strong and secure. If the other person had just done it their way, the right way, then that person wouldn’t be in this situation. If the poor person had been better with money, or the sick person had paid more heed to their health, or the rule breaker had followed the rules, then this or that wouldn’t be happening to them. If the lonely, lost isolated person looking for spiritual guidance had just gotten a job and agreed to a miserable life like the rest of us poor saps, he wouldn’t be in this situation looking for charity.

    This mindset makes them feel better about themselves. They are safe. They are more savvy, more experienced, better at financial life, better at personal health management, better at getting along in the world. They are winning and other people are losing. They knew better than to follow their dreams or become reliant on others in a culture that demands every single person be an expert at everything just to get by. Tearing people down for perceived mistakes comes easily at that point: That other person made their bed, and now it’s time for them to lie in it.

    It’s fascinating that the letter writer wasn’t content to consider, quietly and privately, whether or not to give Mr Stehr a donation. He or she needed to write a letter to the editor castigating Mr Stehr, and explaining why they felt Mr Stehr was not worthy of help. Why does a person do that? Do they have personal experience with this person? It seems not from their letter. Therefore I assume it simply made them feel better to write such a letter.
    Let’s look at some of the statements in the letter. The letter writer says Mr Stehr should have used his inheritance in 2015 to buy a home. In my part of Mendocino County, it’s been 25 years since you could buy a home for $150,000. The letter writer says Mr Stehr should have moved somewhere affordable. Moving isn’t cheap. Is an isolated person better off in an unknown place where he has no community of any kind? The letter writer states that Mr Stehr should have just left the money in the bank, as if years of rent, food, utilities and medicine were not real things Mr Stehr may have had to pay.

    The most withering judgment comes when the letter writer discusses Mr Stehr traveling to Hawaii. How frivolous of a man with no commitments to go somewhere warm and beautiful, simply to enjoy himself. How dare he spend his own money in such a fashion. That’s the trouble, then, and it’s all so obvious that Mr Stehr is an extravagant spendthrift who doesn’t value money the correct way. This is what you get when you travel to a beautiful tropical island once in your life – a poor outcome.

    Ironically, the letter writer’s philosophy seems tied to Mr Stehr’s in one way: each believes that a man’s fate is his to choose. The letter writer thinks Mr Stehr has chosen wrong because he has focused on living in the moment, and that choice has made him vulnerable.
    The fact is no one controls their fate. Nothing staves off bad things happening. Money can simply give you a cushion, but sometimes it is merely to forestall a future inevitability. Scrimping and saving and buying houses does not guarantee a life of less suffering. People who work hard every day of their life drop dead two weeks after retirement, or get a terrible disease only to see every dime of savings and their homes lost to our money-sucking medical system. Medical bills are the number one reason for personal bankruptcy in the US. Children get cancer. Homes burn down and people don’t have enough insurance. People are injured in wrecks, or at work, and never fully recover their ability to earn the same living. People have nervous breakdowns. People get dementia, or they live too long, or they have no one to care for them. Bad things happen regardless of best laid plans. They happen to the hard working; they happen to the unmotivated; they happen to all people, good and bad. But this reality is unpleasant and goes against the idea the letter writer seems to cherish: that if you chose well, you can avoid a bad fate.

    Perhaps I am being unfair, or reading too much into all of this. Perhaps I am judging the judger, and am guilty of the thing I accuse another of. I acknowledge that may be true. I am glad the letter writer chose anonymity, because I would be sad to learn such a sour spirited person was my neighbor or friend.

    I don’t know what the future holds for Mr Stehr. One hopes there’s a place for a person like him in our beautiful part of the country, but who can say, when all the world seems now to be run by mammons who value money above all else, and whose outlook is sternly enforced by the judgmental tut-tutters who proudly tow the company line on behalf of their dollar lord.

    • Stephen Rosenthal January 28, 2022

      k h,

      You obviously put a lot of thought into your comment. For that I commend and respect you. I don’t think people would have a problem with Mr. Stehr (and I count myself among them) if he didn’t subject the paid subscribers of the AVA to a daily dose of his “spirituality” camouflaged in beseeching for handouts. The welcome mat has been pulled out from under his feet at every place he’s squatted and now he laments that no one will open their arms and allow him to sponge off them some more.

      I don’t begrudge him spending what money he has in any way he chooses. But live with the choices and when that money runs out, don’t come a begging.

      • k h January 28, 2022

        I understand that viewpoint. Mr Stehr does seem to have some, uh, difficulty with roommates/landlords, judging by his travails. I don’t know why. Perhaps you are correct in your assessment. We are all unreliable narrators of our lives.

        I don’t mind his comments here. I assumed he was also a paying subscriber based on his frequent commenting; I could very well be wrong. If I am not in the mood, I just skip them. No one is forcing me to read his missives and I don’t owe anyone my attention.

        I just felt compelled to respond because I don’t understand why someone felt so aggrieved to publicly chastise someone who seems to have done them no harm personally. Mr Stehr seems harmless. Somewhat endearing in his lone spiritual crusade, from a distance. Possibly more challenging in closer quarters. I’m sure the same could be said of most people, for different reasons.

        Thank you for your kind response.

    • Tim McClure January 28, 2022

      We used to chalk it up to the 50% ers. You know, the one half of the modern world that can actually endure, perhaps thrive in a world gone crazy. Without some dumb luck most people today struggle with the day to day, housing is unaffordable, health care is controlled by “Providers” and everything is commodified. Heaven help us all ,’cause I think there are some rough times coming down the road. Let compassion and community lead the way.

  14. Marmon January 28, 2022

    RE: ALAN “THE KID” FLORA SCORES ANOTHER BIG WIN.

    Alan’s lawsuit against Lake County results appears to be another big win for the City of Clearlake. “Under Presure”

    Supervisors approve selling more than 900 tax defaulted properties

    Clearlake City Manager Alan Flora told Lake County News after the meeting on Tuesday that the city is pleased to see the increasing number of properties noticed for auction, although the number in this upcoming sale is not at the 1,000-parcel threshold noted by the State Controller’s Office as being needed to clear the enormous backlog in a reasonable period of time.

    “The city’s frustration on this auction is we were again told we could offer our requests for properties to be added to the auction list, but those requests were ignored,” Flora said. “I was given personal assurance in a direct conversation with Ms. Ringen about being able to send a list of city preferred parcels. Long story short, after a personal meeting and supplying the list within the tax collector’s timeline, the list was ignored.”

    Flora said the city has a strategy in which parcels should be prioritized, that it believes would benefit both the city and the county, “but we can’t get them interested in working with us on it. We have also expressed a desire for direct sale of some properties, and sent a list of priority parcels, but have not received any communication from the tax collector about this opportunity.”

    He added, “At the end of the day the more properties offered the better, but this problem isn’t going to be solved without a little strategy.”

    https://www.lakeconews.com/news/71568-supervisors-approve-selling-more-than-900-tax-defaulted-properties?fbclid=IwAR0EZGvZnStDDbTS9HPZcGgWZ6TNugI9A5RX-gMvuw3MpQUHv1ifGQkdr9g

    Marmon

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