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LIGHT RAIN will ease over the next 24 hours giving way to drizzle on the coast. A deep marine layer is likely to persist along the shore most of the week with the interior gradually warming and drying into the upper 80s by Friday. (NWS)
PG&E WILL TURN THE ANDERSON VALLEY'S POWER OFF overnight this Thursday (July 7th) at 10pm. Power is supposed to be back on the following morning around 6am, Friday, July 8th.
PANCAKE BREAKFAST: The Second Sunday in July is already upon us and you know what that means: The AV Grange Monthly Pancake Breakfast, this Sunday July 10, 8:30-11:00. It's becoming a tradition again. Those magic Grange pancakes, gluten free on request, with all the fixins, eggs, bacon, juice, coffee, all for $10 bucks or less. The best deal around. Plus flapjack eating musical ambiance by the Deepend Woogies. Add in your friends and neighbors and we have a recipe for a satisfying Sunday repast. So come on down and enjoy a flippin' good time. (Captain Rainbow)
HELP WANTED IN CASPAR, one day per week, 4-5 hours @ $25 per hr.
Basic yard work and maintenance.
Bill 707 961 6127
USED TO BE the 4th was a local parade, a few firecrackers, maybe a fancy sparkler or two and we called it a wrap. Anymore, the 4th is an excuse for every unconfined lunatic in the country to break out his guns and explosives, featuring this year a mass shooting in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb, “Where this kind of thing isn't supposed to happen.” Any place in the country where there's a crowd it can happen.
I HAVE fond memories of the 4th of my early youth when the adjoining town's volunteer firefighters, most of them pretty well lubricated by early afternoon, would gather at opposite ends of a long street. A girl in a bathing suit stood in the middle of the street with a flag. When she dropped it, the two departments raced for a single hydrant. The volunteers who got their hose connected first, washed the other department down the street, and a great merry time was enjoyed by a coupla thousand 4th celebrants. Maybe AV could similarly challenge, say, Little River, for the feature event for a revived Boonville 4th.
THE CHRON carried a story the other day about an argument I thought was over long ago — phonics vs look-say methods of teaching the young ones how to read. For years I assumed everyone learned to read the way I learned to read, phonetically, sounding out words to puzzle their contextual meanings when little dunces like me had mastered our vowel sounds. Memorizing whole words seemed so impossibly impossible, I was astounded when edu-crackpots briefly mandated look-say for the whole state, the result being millions of people who didn't learn to read, going on to vote Trump and getting all their information from Fox News' big, splashy visuals and dramatic soundtracks.
I SCURRIED to my computer to ask Louise, Louise Simson, Anderson Valley's hyper-informed superintendent of schools: “Yes we do teach phonetic reading in schools. There was a movement some time ago for whole language instruction which did not emphasize direct and explicit phonics instruction. That has shifted on the educational pendulum over time. We do teach phonics. Do I think we need to do a more intensive job with it, especially with our second language learners, that would be a big yes.” (Whew!)
A READER ASKS, “Do you still see red-winged blackbirds in Mendocino? I no longer see them in Schellville (Sonoma County) where there used to be hundreds.”
HMMM. No, I can't remember the last time I saw a red-wing, now that you mention it. Out my window overlooking my bird bath, I see a lot of crows, who immediately depart with the arrival of an occasional raven, and I see doves, a few blue jays, and tiny birds KZYX Audubon Society lady, Pam Huntley, could for sure identify but unknown to me. Haven't seen a robin lately, either, and never see a winged creature in my yard totally unfamiliar to me.
ONE AFTERNOON, gazing out my office window, I watched Skrag Jr. as he crouched behind a potted rose bush. Skrag Sr. was a semi-feral cat who showed up here for meals for several years. Insistent as hell, too, in the way of cats who could otherwise care less at human attempts to befriend them. I wondered what Skrag Jr., like his old man invisible except for meals, was hiding behind the rose bush until it finally occurred to me he was hunting, lying in wait for birds to land at the nearby birdbath. I laughed at the sight. “No way Skrag's going to catch anything.” Whole minutes passed. Skrag would leap out from behind the bush at a bird taking off, but not coming even close to catching one. Birds came and went, easily eluding their hunter, until a dove landed for a drink. Skrag Jr. lept like a rocket at the doomed creature as it took off, twisting as he leaped and, all in one motion, had his teeth in the dove's neck in mid-air. It was the most athletic move I've ever seen from a cat, and would have thought totally beyond this normally lethargic feline whose prior alacrity was only visible when he trotted up to yowl for food. Skrag Jr. seemed to have jumped four, maybe five feet straight up over the bird bath from his crouch! I hustled out thinking to free the dove, but Skrag had hustled away with his prize.
It appears as if a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redevelop Fort Bragg’s former mill site into something that promises economic growth and quality jobs may have come and gone.
Over the past several years, Mendocino Railway, the operators of the Skunk Train, purchased portions of the former mill site to support current and future rail operations, and to restore the railway’s historical connection to the land. With these purchases came the first opportunity in 20-years to redevelop the blighted property into something far more promising. A conceptual plan called for growing the community’s hospitality and tourism industry and attracting businesses in the area of technology, energy, and healthcare; new housing, open space, and providing greater public access to beaches and trails.
Unfortunately, thanks to the current Fort Bragg City Council it is now an opportunity lost as they chose not to work in partnership with the railway. Their limited perspective and headstrong objective to stop the conceptional plan is denying the community significant improvements and economic growth. To make things worse they are wasting taxpayer dollars to fight this purely vindictive battle. Their strategy is twofold; 1) use taxpayer dollars to finance a lawsuit that aims to give the city greater control over the railway’s operations superseding state and federal laws, and 2) lobby federal authorities to deny a federal loan intended to restore the movement of freight and passengers between Fort Bragg and Willits. If they are successful, the combined effect will result in over $21 million not being invested in local jobs and materials, and the railway’s full potential to move passengers and freight will never be realized.
The railway announced this month that they have abandoned its redevelopment plan, but not because the council threatened its bottom line. Rather, it was investors and prospective employers who reached the conclusion that the city council was outright hostile to forward progress and economic opportunity, making any potential redevelopment project on the former mill site virtually impossible so long as they’re in office.
While they may be celebrating at City Hall, some Main Street business owners believe the council failed to consider the broader economic implications of their actions. While Skunk Train passengers spend millions of dollars annually in local shops, restaurants, and hotels, the city continues to deny the value of economic generation. Damages by the city against the railway are mounting and these costly attacks on our operations come as rising inflation and fuel prices are limiting how much tourists are willing to spend on travel and outdoor recreation.
The city council, in particular Mayor Norvell and Vice-Mayor Morsell-Haye, were so focused on derailing the redevelopment project that they never considered what to do once they achieved that goal. But for railroad operations, the land will now remain fallow. How is that a win for the city council?
Now, they must consider the political benefits of continuing their frivolous lawsuit and sabotaging schemes. Voting residents should realize that this City Council tends to give more weight to someone living outside of the city limits than to those who live within the boundaries actually paying property taxes. Just look what they’ve done to other well-established businesses or those wishing to start up.
As residents watch the sunset over 300 acres of blighted property sink into the sea, they will be reminded of the council’s colossal failure to act and what could have been. They are unwilling to set aside that the development of ‘railroad’ items is pretty small as compared to the overall project scope. We repeat, but for a very few ‘railroad’ items the entire project is subject to the city’s jurisdiction. Unfortunately, inaction and squandered opportunities will be this city council’s legacy. New leadership on the council is needed to restore trust and to bring real economic opportunity to the city.
Robert Pinoli, President of Mendocino Railway
WORKMAN'S BIG DAY
On Saturday, July 2, 2022 at approximately 10:37 P.M., Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a report of a male subject causing a disturbance in the 44400 block of Foster Avenue in Laytonville.
The subject was reportedly banging on fences and yelling that he was going to kill the occupants of the residences in the area.
During their response, Deputies received an additional call for service in the same area of a male subject using a knife to slash tires. The first two patrol vehicles on scene were occupied by a Sheriff's Sergeant and a Sheriff's K9 handler.
They observed a male subject standing next to a truck parked on the street. The male matched the description provided by Dispatch as the person they were looking for and the truck had four slashed tires.
The K9 Deputy tried to make contact with the male but he began walking briskly away and would not follow verbal statements to stop.
The male told the Deputy he was going to kill the Sheriff's personnel, then entered a Ford pickup truck parked in a driveway and began to back up to leave the area.
One of the Sheriff's personnel on scene saw what was about to happen and parked his patrol vehicle in the center of the driveway, directly behind the Ford pickup truck. This effectively blocked the pickup truck from leaving and avoided a pursuit.
The pickup truck and patrol vehicle were separated by about thirty feet to forty feet at this time.
Once the male realized he was unable to get out, he made attempts to ram the patrol vehicle blocking his path.
The male stopped short of ramming the patrol vehicle but did get close enough that Sheriff's Office personnel thought they were going to be run over and they moved away from their vehicles to avoid being injured in case of a collision.
The male refused to exit the pickup truck and a stand-off ensued with the male barricading himself inside the pickup truck.
During the stand-off, the male was identified as being Shane Workman, 37, of Laytonville.
Workman had a felony warrant for his arrest from the Cloverdale Police Department for burglary, weapons charges, and violation of probation. It was also learned that Workman had prior incidents in which he was armed with a firearm.
A five and a half hour stand-off with Workman ensued in which members of patrol and the Mendocino County SWAT Team were utilized.
During this time crisis negotiators were deployed but Workman refused to communicate with them. This led to chemical agents being introduced into the pickup truck by use of a 40-millimeter projectile fired through his back windows.
During this time, Workman positioned his vehicle to try and ram Sheriff Office vehicles and employees.
The SWAT CRV (Citizen Rescue Vehicle - Lenco BearCat) was utilized to pin Workman's vehicle in the driveway as a safety measure.
The pickup truck's driver side window was then broken out and the door was opened.
During this time Workman reached for a knife so Sheriff's K9 "Bo" was deployed and Workman was subsequently removed from the pickup truck by Deputies.
Workman was taken into custody and placed under arrest for Assault with a Deadly Weapon Upon a Peace Oficer, Vandalism Amounting to Greater than $400, Felony Violation of Probation and his out of county felony arrest warrant.
Workman was medically cleared and thereafter booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
ARMED FELON/GANGBANGER, CATCH & RELEASE
On Saturday, June 25, 2022 at approximately 4:39 AM Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to investigate a shooting in the area call.
Deputies arrived in the 7700 block of North State Street (Redwood Valley) and began checking the area where they ultimately contacted Angelio Bettega, 27, of Hopland.
Deputies conducted a pat search of Bettega's person and located a loaded firearm (ghost gun) which was not registered to him. Bettega was a known active gang member and was found to be prohibited from possessing firearms, as he had previous felony conviction(s).
Bettega was arrested for Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon, Carrying a Loaded Firearm by a Gang Member, and Carrying a Loaded Firearm: Not Registered Person — all felonies.
Bettega was booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.
(Ed Note: By the time Mr. Bettega was booked his bail had been reduced to $0 and he was released after about five hours in custody.)
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 4, 2022
BRIDGJETT CAMPBELL, Willits. Disobeying court order, failure to appear.
DEWAYNE KELLY, Ukiah. Domestic battery, damage to communications device.
PABLO VIGREN, Willits. (Unspecified charges)
TRUMP CULT CIRCULATING THEIR LATEST FANTASY
6 DEAD, 2 DOZEN WOUNDED IN CHICAGO SUBURB JULY 4 PARADE SHOOTING; SUSPECT ARRESTED
by Jake Sheridan, Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas, Gregory Pratt, Rosemary Sobol, Jeremy Gorner, Megan Crepeau, Annie Sweeney & Kinsey Crowley
On an idyllic summer morning, from a rooftop high above the Highland Park, Illinois, Independence Day parade, a gunman aimed down at the floats and lawn chairs and strollers and opened fire.
Members of the high school marching band sprinted for their lives, still carrying their flutes and saxophones. Bystanders scooped up young children and fled. In all, six people were killed and some two dozen others were injured, either by rifle fire or in the stampede away from the scene. The victims ranged in age from 8 to 85. Some survivors received life-threatening wounds.
It was the Fourth of July, and the affluent Chicago suburb of Highland Park became the latest American community to be terrorized by a mass shooting.
For hours after the attack, officers searched building by building near the parade route, which was littered with belongings abandoned in the chaos: A double stroller. Balloons. Bikes. Pacifiers. Sandals. A hat printed with stars and stripes.
After an hours-long manhunt, authorities arrested 22-year-old Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo III on Monday evening.
North Chicago police spotted him and gave chase; he was ultimately arrested without incident in Lake Forest, according to the Highland Park police chief. He was returned to Highland Park as the investigation continued.
While police recovered a rifle from the scene, and federal authorities are performing a trace to try to determine its origin, the attacker was being considered armed and dangerous throughout the search, authorities said.
Howard Prager was playing his tuba aboard a float with six other musicians from the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, entertaining the crowd with freilach — a “joyous” type of Jewish music.
The piano player was the first to notice everyone scatter. Prager thought at first they had spotted a celebrity and were racing over. The band kept playing.
Then he saw the faces of the people running: “panic and scared mode.”
“I am shellshocked by the whole thing,” he said. “I don’t know what was in (the shooter’s) mind that he was so hateful that would cause this type of carnage.”
Hospital leaders said Monday that 26 people were rushed to Highland Park Hospital, all but one of whom had suffered gunshot wounds.
Four or five of the patients were children, said Brigham Temple, medical director of emergency preparedness at NorthShore University HealthSystem.
While most were treated and discharged, others were taken to other local hospitals, including a child who was transported by helicopter to Comer Children’s Hospital at the University of Chicago.
“There’s been a lot of different events that have happened in the United States and this obviously now has hit very close to home,” he said. “It is a little surreal to have to take care of an event such as this but all of us have gone through extensive training.”
In response, many northern suburbs canceled their planned Fourth of July celebrations due to safety concerns or out of respect for the victims. Metra halted inbound and outbound train movement near Highland Park due to the shooting. And for hours, the parade route remained eerily quiet.
Highland Park is an affluent suburb nearly 30 miles north of downtown Chicago. In 1998, Vanity Fair said the largely white and Jewish community “has the feel of a gated community without the actual gates.” Michael Jordan made his home there for a time when he was with the Bulls.
While no motive was given for the shooting, some witnesses speculated that the community may have been targeted because of its significant Jewish population. The northern suburbs have seen a rash of antisemitic sentiment in recent months, including on Holocaust Remembrance Day in April, when someone left antisemitic fliers in driveways in Highland Park.
Crimo appears to perform under the name Awake the Rapper. Videos connected to that name online, some of which feature Crimo’s face, include eerie and violent imagery, including drawings of a person with a long gun and animations of injured people.
Police on Monday evening shut off access to the streets near what was believed to be Crimo’s home. An armored police vehicle drove down his street, and officers gathered, chatting on the nearby street corner, though the home was out of sight from the police perimeter. Police guarded the perimeter with rifles. Reporters and neighbors gathered nearby, and a helicopter hovered overhead.
Speaking outside a Highland Park fire station late Monday afternoon, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker decried the shooting, saying he spoke with President Joe Biden about it earlier. They both agree on one thing, Pritzker said: “This madness must stop.”
“If you’re angry today, I’m here to tell you, be angry. I’m furious. I’m furious that yet more innocent lives were taken by gun violence. I’m furious that their loved ones are forever broken by what took place today. I’m furious that children and their families have been traumatized,” Pritzker said, flanked by several elected officials including U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth. “While we celebrate the Fourth of July just once a year, mass shootings have become our weekly — yes, weekly — American tradition.”
Pritzker noted how some might feel like “today is not the day” to talk about gun control or gun rights but then said “there is no better day and no better time than right here and right now.”
“It is devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our uniquely American plague,” said Pritzker. “A day dedicated to freedom has put into stark relief the one freedom we as a nation refuse to uphold – the freedom of our fellow citizens to live without the daily fear of gun violence.”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey tweeted a call for a special legislative session on crime.
“We must call a special session to address crime on our streets. We need to demand law and order and prosecute criminals,” Bailey said. “We need more police on our streets to keep our families safe. Public safety must be a top priority.” He notably did not mention gun control.
Biden on Monday afternoon said he offered Pritzker the full support of the federal government.
He also said he was “shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day.” He then touted his recent signing of “the first major bipartisan gun reform legislation in almost 30 years into law, which includes actions that will save lives. But there is much more work to do, and I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence.”
Vice President Kamala Harris, who is slated to be in Chicago on Tuesday, echoed the sentiment.
“We are thankful to law enforcement and the first responders who arrived at the scene today and undoubtedly saved lives,” she said in a statement. “Today’s shooting is an unmistakable reminder that more should be done to address gun violence in our country.”
Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider said he was at the parade with his campaign team when the shooting started.
“Hearing of loss of life and others injured. My condolences to the family and loved ones; my prayers for the injured and for my community; and my commitment to do everything I can to make our children, our towns, our nation safer,” Schneider tweeted. “Enough is enough!"
Highland Park was the setting of a large gathering in support of gun control on June 11. The March for Our Lives rally was one of hundreds that took place across the country with the goal of pushing legislators to take bipartisan action on the matter.
And less than a decade ago, Highland Park found itself at the center of the national gun control debate, when a local pediatrician unsuccessfully challenged the town’s ban on assault weapons in a case that made its way to some of the nation’s highest courts.
* * *
SHOOTER IS A TRUMPER: The man suspected of killing six people and wounding more than a dozen others during a July 4th parade in Highland Park Illinois is a local rapper with long-standing ties to the community. Robert ‘Bobby’ Crimo III, 22, goes by the moniker, ‘Awake the Rapper,’ in his music career. According to his Spotify page, he boasts more than 16,000 listeners per month and has a net worth of $100,000. Crimo was arrested after an hours-long manhunt that involved local and federal authorities. In 2020, Crimo was pictured attending a Donald Trump rally while dressed as Where's Waldo. Another picture has emerged showing the suspect wrapped in a Donald Trump flag.
THE ATTACK IN HIGHLAND PARK WAS NOT THE ONLY SHOOTING Over A Violent Holiday Weekend.
by Maggie Astor
The attack at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade was the largest and highest-profile shooting, but far from the only one, over the holiday weekend.
It was one of two mass shootings in the Chicago region alone on Monday. Less than 12 hours earlier, five people were injured in a shooting on Chicago’s South Side.
The Highland Park shooting stood out in its size (at least three dozen injured), its deadliness (at least six killed) and its location, a wealthy suburb that does not often experience such violence. But it was part of a pattern: the brutal ubiquity of gun violence in a nation with more firearms than people.
As of early Monday morning, at least 57 people had been shot in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend, nine of them fatally, according to NBC Chicago. That did not include the toll from the Highland Park shooting outside the city.
Ten hours before a gunman opened fire at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park — where the median household income is nearly $150,000 and more than 80 percent of the population is white, with a large Jewish community — five people were shot around midnight on Monday in Parkway Gardens, a housing complex in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood, where the median household income is less than $30,000 and more than 90 percent of the population is Black.
The five victims, all male, were transported to local hospitals: a 17-year-old shot in the arm, a 19-year-old shot in the leg, a 24-year-old shot in the knee and thigh, a 30-year-old shot in the lower back and side, and a man of unknown age shot in the leg, according to the Chicago Police Department. No arrests were made, and the perpetrator has not been identified, the police said. The shooting was first reported by local news outlets, including The Chicago Sun-Times.
Nationwide, the Gun Violence Archive, a tracking project that defines mass shootings as those in which at least four people are killed or injured, has counted 309 so far this year.
Four of them happened on Monday. Beyond Highland Park and Chicago, four people were injured in a shooting in Kansas City, Mo., and six were injured in a shooting in Richmond, Va.
In Philadelphia, two police officers were shot near the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Monday night. Both officers were transported to the Jefferson University Hospital and are in stable condition, according to the hospital’s media officers.
Before that, there were mass shootings over the weekend in Mullins, S.C.; Tacoma, Wash.; Manassas, Va.; Clinton, N.C.; Haltom City, Texas; and New York City.
UKRAINE, MONDAY, JULY 4, 2022
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy acknowledged that Ukrainian forces have withdrawn from Lysychansk and pledged to retake lost territory after Russia claimed full control of the eastern Luhansk region.
At least six people have been killed and 20 wounded in Sloviansk after the eastern city was hit by Russian shelling from multiple rocket launchers, officials said.
Russia has accused Ukraine of firing missiles on the border city of Belgorod. At least three people were killed and dozens of residential buildings were damaged in the attacks.
Ukrainian forces hit a Russian military logistics base with at least 30 strikes in the occupied southern city of Melitopol, the city’s exiled mayor said. A Russian-installed official confirmed that raids had hit the city.
* * *
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has pledged to send Ukraine 14 more armoured personnel carriers and 20 Bushmaster vehicles after visiting Kyiv.
The president of Belarus – Vladimir Putin’s closest ally – said on Sunday his ex-Soviet state stood fully behind Russia in its military drive in Ukraine as part of its longstanding commitment to a “union state” with Moscow.
Delegations from Ukraine, donor countries and civil society groups are gathering in Lugano, Switzerland for the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC2022) where discussions will focus on how to rebuild the war-torn country.
British foreign secretary Liz Truss said the United Kingdom wants to follow the example of Canada and seize the assets of Russians in the country and redistribute them to victims of Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to the Guardian newspaper.
* * *
Turkish customs authorities seized a Russian cargo ship carrying grain that Ukraine says is stolen, Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey said.
The European Investment Bank is proposing a funding structure previously used during the COVID-19 pandemic to help rebuild Ukraine with up to 100 billion euros ($104.3bn) of investment, Reuters reported.
Russia may continue to suspend gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline beyond a planned maintenance shutdown this month, said German economy minister Robert Habeck.
FROM DR. ZHIVAGO:
Komarovski: Lara, I am determined to save you from a dreadful error. There are two kinds of men, and only two, and that young man is one kind. He is high-minded. He is pure. He is the kind of man that the world pretends to look up to and in fact despises. He is the kind of man who breeds unhappiness, particularly in women. Now, do you understand?
A GREAT ENDEAVOR
by James Kunstler
I wish I had a time machine. I would teleport a small delegation of Ben Franklin, Tom Jefferson, and Button Gwinnett from their sweltering labors at Independence Hall — then known as the Pennsylvania state house — to a Drag Queen Story Hour hosted by Lil Miss Hot Mess (“The People’s Drag Queen”) reading from her best-selling book, The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish, to a roomful of six-year-old offspring birthed by America’s current Progressive ruling elite. Here, I would explain, is what it has come to.
Have today’s elites in our country, marinated in social justice and frantically signaling their goodness-and-virtue, gone perhaps a tad too far in their quest to liberate the populace from boundaries previously established for human behavior? It’s one thing, you know, to throw off the onerous yoke of a British King and his agents, with their vexing taxes, despotic harassments, abuses and usurpations. It’s perhaps another thing “empowering” children to bethink themselves monomaniacs of sexual confusion, years before they’re mentally equipped to divine the conundrums of sex. What, after all, is a “hot mess?”
Well, Google’s top search answer, from the Oxford Languages website, defines “hot mess” thusly: a person or thing that is spectacularly unsuccessful or disordered, especially one that is a source of peculiar fascination. Okay, I see: this metaphor signifies what the ruling elites would like our nation to become! And, more generally, western civ — that agglomeration of fusty creeds, shopworn traditions, oppressive laws, dubious virtues, and racist arts. Mission accomplished, then!
On July 4, 2022, America is a hot mess, but exactly! Are we not now spectacularly unsuccessful and disordered — in body, mind, polity, culture, mores, convictions, and aspirations? What is functioning in America these days? Absolutely nuthin’, ugh, say it again, to quote a song lyric of my bygone youth, when our project in Vietnam had gone off the rails. Of course, that was then and this is now. Back then, say 1970, we were the exuberant avatar of Modernity and the rest of the world was still a little groggy from World War Two. In that America, a man could easily support a family, we never gave a thought to our oil supply, and the doctor would see you now.
This birthday of the republic we are on track to going medieval, or something that at least rhymes with it. I’m regretful as anyone to leave so much baggage behind, but frankly it’s been a long time since all the Fun, Fun, Fun was over and Daddy took the T-bird away. Daddy himself is gone, along with all representations of him. Donald Trump tried to play the role in a movie called The Years before Covid-19 but the critics savaged him. Anyone who dares to try to be Daddy in America now will be Me-tooed and J-Sixed to a fare-thee-well, we’ve been warned. In your New World Order of Bill Gates and the Schwabenklaus’s Great Re-set, we are all expected to be a hot mess (so the exterminations can proceed without resistance).
I, for one, refuse to comply with all that insolent wickedness and urge you to join with me in making something decent, honorable, and workable in the vast salvage yard that America will be when we expel the degenerate maniacs who broke it to pieces. You do not have to be a hot mess. You can, for instance, be a man. Or, another instance, be a woman. These binaries of human reproduction can produce new humans. A man, a woman, and children will comprise a family, a good start in rebuilding the organism called a society.
The chief duty of men and women in this future will be doing everything possible to ensure that their children do not become hot messes. Their duties beyond that entail the search for purpose, meaning, and happiness, and building institutions to support those ends. We can start with the language we use amongst ourselves to make sense of who we are and where we are. Our language must have a rigorous correlation with reality, which makes it possible to determine what things are true and what are not true. The time will soon be at hand when it is possible to tell who is speaking the truth and who is not. A battle may ensue over this and those on the side of the truth will prevail. Consider these propositions as you flip your burgers and hoist your malty brews today. Think of the men who gathered at Independence Hall two hundred and forty-six years ago and the trepidation they felt facing the unknown as they signed their names, pledged their fortunes, and committed their sacred honor to a great endeavor.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
It really frustrates me to see Americans spending $7.5 billion on 4th of July food, $1.5 billion on consumer fireworks, and $1.4 billion on alcohol. When I look around and see all these fake “patriots” pretending to give a crap about the nation flying flags and acting like bad asses I roll my eyes. Where is their garden? How much debt do they have? How truly independent are they from a system that wants them dead? Can Americans wake the heck up and get to work reducing consumption (yikes!), growing food instead of their guts, and living with purpose? We are deluded in thinking we can squander our time and resources and still party on like nothing bad is happening.
by Caitlin Johnstone
Our civilization is built upon lies and obfuscation to such an extent that advocating for transparency and the democratization of information can be a complete political position, all by itself.
Rather than claiming to know what's best for society (whether we should move left or right, whether we should espouse this model or that model), it is perfectly legitimate to simply support giving humanity the information tools necessary to know the truth about what's happening so that they can collectively determine for themselves what direction to take.
This would mean supporting the end of the mass-scale manipulations and obfuscations used by the powerful to influence the way the public thinks, acts and votes, and it would mean giving them the democratic infrastructure to steer their civilization in response to the true information they've got access to.
It would mean supporting the end of government secrecy and advocating transparency for any institution with any degree of power over the people. The more power and influence they have, the more transparency should be required of them, whether they be governmental, corporate, or financial institutions.
It would mean supporting the democratization of information and the end of mass media propaganda. It would mean breaking up institutions which have too much information-sharing ability and giving more information-sharing ability to those who don't have enough. Rather than a few plutocrats influencing the public, the public influences the public. The public can collectively uplift individual voices and ideas that they like, but no voice is given an unfair advantage in whether or not that will happen.
It would mean supporting the end of internet censorship and algorithm manipulation, so the information the public sees is determined not by billionaire megacorporations in Silicon Valley but by what's in the zeitgeist and what the public finds interesting.
It would mean calling for an end to the war on journalism and opposing the persecution of publishers like Julian Assange and whistleblowers like Edward Snowden for exposing inconvenient truths about the powerful. All efforts to increase transparency for the powerful and share information in the public interest would be praised, not punished.
In my personal opinion it would also mean supporting the legalization of psychedelics, because giving people the tools to gain information about their inner dimensions is as important for helping them understand the direction society should take as giving them the tools to gain information about their external world.
It would mean the complete absence of any authority controlling people's access to information or ideas in any way. Call it information anarchism, if you like.
Information anarchism is just as radical a goal as any other revolutionary ideology, because information control is so important to the continued existence of our status quo systems that it could never be achieved without drastic measures taken by the collective. The difference is that rather than claiming to know whether ideological models like communism or anarcho-capitalism would be better, for example, one only supports giving the people the means to collectively decide for themselves.
The idea of true information anarchy can be as frightening to the ego as the idea of total societal anarchy, because nobody being in control means there's nobody to stop it from going in a frightening direction. What if ideas I don't like gain popularity? What if people start thinking wrong thoughts and believing wrong beliefs?
But that's kind of the appeal, in my opinion. Really taking the brakes off of the way information moves through our world and letting humanity take full unbridaled advantage of the interconnectedness of our brains at this unprecedented juncture in terrestrial history could lead somewhere very bad, but it could also lead somewhere very good. And whatever ends up happening would be because of our own decisions instead of the decisions of a few powerful manipulators.
And right now the latter is what's happening. We're on a collision course with extinction via environmental catastrophe or nuclear war, and it's because of the decisions made by powerful people who are continuously working to control what ideas and information we consume. If information was really freed up, along with our ability to collectively control the direction humanity takes going forward, it's hard to imagine we'd mess it up any worse than they have.
And whatever world we built together will have been by our own informed consent, instead of the manufactured consent of elite manipulators. If we've seen it all and we still choose our own destruction, then that will have been our choice. Whatever happens will be humanity showing the universe what it's really made of. What we really are as a species.
And in my opinion, that's what real freedom looks like. Giving humanity the tools to go whatever way it wants to go, even if it's the way of the dinosaur. If you really, truly value freedom, in my opinion that's the wisest place to take your stand.
Wanting the truth to be known whatever it may be is a standalone ideology, and it's also a standalone personal philosophy. Wanting the truth to be known not just in the world but in your own life, even if it's uncomfortable or embarrassing. Wanting unhealthy dynamics in your interpersonal relationships to come into awareness. Wanting your unhealed traumas to come into the light of consciousness where they can be healed. Wanting your delusions to be seen so they can be dispelled by truth. Wanting it all to come out into the light: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
It's possible for an individual to live an entire life that is guided by truth and by the desire for truth, and I'm fairly certain it's possible for all of humanity to live that way as well. We can all push for that, if we decide we want it. We can all decide that we're sick of being lied to, sick of being manipulated, sick of the completely backward status quo of secrecy for the powerful and surveillance for everyone else, and we can use the power of our numbers to force it to change.
And from there we can sort out together what kind of world we want to live in, guided by the light of truth, whether toward harmony or oblivion, come what may.
THE OLD MAN'S FIREWORKS STAND
by Jean Shepherd
Fireworks were an integral part of my life as a kid. There were three things my old man was hung up on. There was the White Sox, used cars, and fireworks. He was an absolute nut on fireworks. He had gone into the business and he was selling them.
There was a law saying you could not sell fireworks inside the city limits, so outside of town, half the cops were selling them. For miles around you would see these little wooden stands that had been selling tomatoes and pumpkins and stuff suddenly have red, white, and blue bunting and a great big sign that would say EXCELSIOR FIREWORKS. Excelsior was one of the big names.
They sold fireworks at a stand until the evening when, with his unsold products, the old man had his own display to give joy to the neighborhood:
Everything has been going fine. Big pinwheels he’s got. He’s got great American flags that fly up in the air and come down on parachutes. Everything’s going. Finally he takes out the Roman candle, which he always loved more than any other kind. He lights it. Everybody’s waiting.
Choooo! Off goes the first one, a big green ball goes up and everybody goes “Oooooooooooh!”
At the third ball, just as my old man is winding up, that Roman candle shoots backward—right out the back end of this thing comes a ball—Woooooops! like that, right up his sleeve and right out the back of his shirt! He spins around, another ball goes out the front and then quickly two of them come out the back! He is going on like he is insane. He throws the damn thing, it flies up and goes into Flick’s backyard, right in the middle of the geraniums. Boom! Boom! Out both ends. He turns around and he screams bloody murder — his pongee shirt is on fire. “My shirt! Oh no, my shirt!”
He runs up the alley and we can see him trailing smoke and flames. He runs down in our basement and turns on the hose. People are pouring water on him and then rubbing goose grease on him. What has to be pointed out is that nobody worries, it’s just natural in the fireworks world. That attitude toward infernal destruction.
Five minutes later he’s out in the backyard shooting off rockets, shirt hanging out, shirttail tattered, one sleeve missing. That is a picture of an American celebrating something—but who knows what?
by Mark Arax
As much as we tried to believe it, the tinkering didn't begin with us. In one degree and another, it had been going on for at least 10,000 years. As a student of California public schools, I learned in the fourth grade that our Indians were different from the Iroquois, Cheyenne, Cherokee, Sioux and Seminole. Our Indians didn't come with war whoops or ponies gaily decked out in feathers and scalp locks. Our Indians weren't butchers who sliced men and buffalo open from breast to groin. They didn't have chiefs named Sitting Bull or Crazy Horse or warriors of “prodigious psychic and physical energy,” like the massive and haughty Gall who writer Evan Connell so memorably captured in his book on General George Armstrong Custer, Son of the Morning Star. We had no Little Bighorn battle sites to visit on our field trips, although we did tour Mission San Juan Bautista, the restored Franciscan outpost closest to us, on the way to the fields of Salinas, the lettuce capital of the world. I remember my mother looking over my shoulder as I put the finishing touches on a replica of the mission as my end of the semester project. I painted the padre's robe in drab gray, but I don't recall making a clay figure of the California Indian. I had never seen a California Indian, although one kid at school called me a “Fresno Indian,” which apparently was the way his family and other white families in town referred to the dark-haired, dark skinned Armenians. I had reddish hair and a face that burned in the sun. My tormenter danced in a circle and kept striking his mouth with his palm in a “woo woo woo woo woo woo woo” chant. This was the war dance, poor kid, of a Plains Indian.
That semester we were shown a handful of photos of the Tachi and Mono tribes weaving their traditional baskets long after they'd been transplanted into some nearby Rancheria, California's version of a reservation. The pictures seemed to confirm the idea that our natives were placid and lived light and easy on the land. They erected small dams, slowed down rivers and made the salmon sit still long enough to spear them. They were peaceful people by and large because California had no shortages of food or struggles over land to turn them against one another. By the time my own children reached the fourth grade and built their own versions of Mission San Juan Bautista, the lesson had evolved slightly. Yes, their teachers conceded, a disservice had been committed against the California Indians by the well-meaning fathers of the Catholic Church who had used some unkind means to tame them. But that was all a very long time ago and thank God the Indians were building casinos up and down California, not always on tribal lands, to get back a little of what had been taken from them.
Like most everything else about California, its natives were of a singular kind: the greatest concentration of indigenous people in North America. Some 250 distinct tribes of natives, perhaps 300,000 people, had remade the land in their own way. They tapped the pines for sugar and set fire to hillsides to catch grasshoppers and game. Those same fires singed the redbud shrub just enough so that it would send out tender shoots for their basketry. They cultivated the soil to increase production of clover and built small canals to move water and make the wild rye grass grow more profusely. In pools of rivers, they threw down brush to catch the steelhead trout and salmon with ease. In times of drought and floods they migrated to places that better sustained them. They moved as California moved.
The Chumash, Yokut, Tachi, Chukchansi, Miwok, Mono, Paiute, Washoe and Kumeyaay — to name a few — weren't fiere tribes who fought over a scarcity of resources but fat tribes who knew mostly abundance and peace. Unlike the indigenous cultivators of the desert Southwest who had been practicing irrigation for two millennia, California natives didn't need to move the water to survive. Only the Paiute of the Owens Valley and the Cahuilla of Palm Springs erected water conveyance systems that sought to even out the extremes of mountain and desert climes. In their little valley 4,000 feet high in the Sierra, the Paiute dammed the Owens River with boulders, sticks and mud and dug a latticework of canals and ditches to send the flow to plots of yellow nut grass and hyacinth corms. Each year, the tribe elected a head irrigator, the 'tuvaiju,' who kept water moving with his wooden pole called a 'pavado.' Once the crops were harvested he made sure to destroy the diversion dam so the flow would return to the river.
The European mapmakers of the 15th and 16th centuries, taking the word of the earliest explorers from Spain, drew California as one big island standing near but still apart from the rest of North America. They imagined it as myth, a paradise filled with gold where a giant black queen named Calafia and her tribe of warrior women ruled earth, water and beast. Over the next two centuries the deeper forays of Cortes, Cabrillo, Vizcaino, Fages and Moraga found it to be a land connected to a continent, but an island in every other way. The explorers did not tread on its myth. The river running north and south struck Moraga as a holy sacrament and he christened it the Sacramento. The river that ran in the opposite direction, no less holy, became the San Joaquin in honor of the father of the Virgin Mary.
For all its poking around, Spain was a fickle suitor. The crown went back and forth on whether to expand its empire beyond Mexico and turn California into a settlement. Then, in 1768, Spain's ambassador to Moscow heard that the Russians were eyeing the fabled port of Monterey. The Spaniards naturally took this as an insult. A century and a half before, Vizcaino had given Monterey its name. To outrace the Russians, King Carlos III turned not to his soldiers but to his Franciscans.
The Padres in their earnest gray robes had accomplished in Mexico what the military men could not: the submission of its native peoples. The Franciscans, the blunt tip of the Spanish sword, had been advancing north toward San Diego, erecting a series of missions up and down the Baja peninsula — a “ladder with conveniently placed rungs,” in the words of father Junipero Serra.
Friar Serra was the master builder who had been chosen to carry Providence forth. He had joined the Franciscan order as a 15-year-old boy in his native Majorca. A brilliant theologian, he was teaching philosophy at a local university when church superiors recruited him for the “long journey” to Mexico. Once there he began walking the rugged countryside of Mexico's indigenous people one village to the next until an infected foot wouldn't let him walk any farther. “I have never seen a priest more zealous for founding missions then this Father President,” a Spanish military commander wrote snidely of father Serra. “He thinks of nothing but founding missions, no matter how at what expense.” The Padre's sojourns had turned thousands of “barbarous” Indians into Christ fearing farmers growing corn, beans and pumpkins for the good of Mexico. California up the road was simply the next geographical rung on Mexico's imperial ladder.
(From ‘The Dreamt Land’ by Mark Arax)