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SEASONAL AFTERNOON TEMPERATURES will be observed again today across the interior...ranging from the upper 90s to low 100s. Abundant sunshine expected except around the coastal areas where marine clouds and fog will be present at least through early afternoon. This pattern will persist through the remainder of the week across Northwest California, with interior highs trending slightly cooler into the low to mid 90s by Thursday and Friday. (NWS)
Watch Duty — This is a link to a newish website that has info on fires in California. It's easy to use and usually provides pictures and timely updates. Just click on the fire icons: https://app.watchduty.org. This morning it's showing the Laytonville “Bell” fire at 85% containment and 43 acres burned.
If you couple Watch Duty with Flight Radar (separate tabs) you can see in real time what the air tankers are doing and how many are on scene. Click on each airplane or helicopter icon. https://www.flightradar24.com/38.82,-122.65/7
A LOCAL WRITES: I got a notice last week that my home insurance was dropping us because of wildfire risk. I'm located on the coast just north of Van Damme state park. I've tried several other insurance companies and no one else will insure us either. Is this happening to other people too? Who is still offering insurance locally? It seems awfully unfair that PG&E is still in business but my family is losing our insurance.
BUT RAY ALARCON is Johnny on the spot: I am a Farmers Insurance agent in Mendocino and can try to help you navigate this issue. Yes, some of the smaller companies are either no longer insuring in California or in high risk rated areas and many other companies are not taking on new business in those areas. If it is not acceptable to Farmers I can trying brokering to some others or can place it through the state’s FAIR Plan if that is a viable alternative.
CITY OF FORT BRAGG POLICE DEPT: Chief Cervenka began his move to the coast today and the FBPD team was happy to assist him. Please join us in welcoming him to our community.
It is unconscionable for Adventist to not tell everyone affected about the negotiations and the possible consequences. When were they going to tell us?
It is unconscionable for them to end acceptance of insurance, basically on the same day the negotiations fail. This provides no time to seek other insurance. And what if it is not the right time to switch providers?
Imagine a scenario wherein a person is fully insured and on July 19th has a major medical emergency requiring immediate and expensive care. So they go to Adventist only to learn that their insurance is no good. So all of a sudden they will be saddled with impressive medical bills, which until they went to the emergency room they had every reason to assume would be covered by insurance.
In addition to the fact that Adventist obviously did not take reasonable steps to inform everyone that had used their services in the past and were covered by Anthem Blue Cross, I note that both my wife and I have been to several Adventist medical services in the last month and in none of them was there any information/warning proffered relative to this issue. If I had not seen this on the Announce list, I would have no clue this was happening.
ADVENTIST VS ANTHEM (Two Week Extension)
On Monday morning, Adventist Health Ukiah Valley released the following update about Adventist Health of Mendocino County’s contract dispute with Anthem Blue Cross:
We are pleased to report that Adventist Health and Anthem Blue Cross of California have mutually agreed to a two-week extension of our contract, which was due to expire earlier today, July 18, at 12:01 a.m. The extension will give us time to reach a potential agreement.
We are optimistic that we will make progress to negotiate a higher reimbursement rate, allowing us to keep care local for our Anthem patients in the communities we serve. The new contract termination date is August 1, 2022.
Over the past five months, we have been negotiating in good faith with Anthem and we were unable to reach an agreement. We cannot afford to continue caring for Anthem members without a substantial increase in payments. We have offered Anthem fair agreements, yet they refuse to work with us in a meaningful way.
Anthem Blue Cross has earned record profits and they’ve recently raised members’ premiums. Yet they continue to pay Adventist Health significantly less than other hospital systems. Anthem is one of our lowest paying health plans, and we can’t continue to care for their patients at the rates they are paying us.
We are encouraged by this latest development and hopeful that we will make significant progress during this extension. As negotiations progress, we will continue to stand for our patients who deserve high-quality care close to home in our communities. We are thankful for our managed care team and your support during this time.Adventist Health
LOREN REX: Putting Summer in high gear. CA State Parks - Junior Lifeguard - program has 50 local kids running, swimming, learning to bodyboard and surfing at Big River Beach this Summer.
Many thanks to the amazing instructors and community support for making this program such a huge success.
Dear Rancheria Families,
I hope you are enjoying your summer. We look forward to welcoming your student back to class on August 15. I wanted to explain that we do have some changes underway with the Rancheria program next year. However, PLEASE BE ASSURED that your student’s graduation requirement DOES NOT change with these new program policies.
The students currently enrolled in Rancheria will be “grandfathered in” under the old regulations and be able to obtain the diploma with the State minimum requirement of 180 units. In the future, the Rancheria program will be combined with the CTE program and the new requirement for graduation will be 220 units and Capstone Project completion. AGAIN, IF YOUR STUDENT IS IN THE CURRENT RANCHERIA PROGRAM, THERE IS NO CHANGE TO HIS/HER GRADUATION REQUIREMENT.
I am delighted that with the restructuring of the program, Ms. Ewing, Mr. Corey-Moran, and Mr. Toohey will be team-teaching together to create new work and learning opportunities for our students. The program is FULL DAY; however, if your student has a job the afternoon can be credited for work experience.
Please contact me or Ms. Ewing with any questions that you may have about your students’ participation in this graduation pathway. We are delighted to provide more real-world mentorship opportunities along with structured and targeted learning support to ensure our students meet their goal of a high school diploma.
Superintendent, AV Unified
WHETHER THE WEATHER
by Jonah Raskin
Today, a rare day in San Francisco: sunny and warm with blue skies overhead from Ocean Beach on the edge of the Pacific, where I live, and all the way across town to the Mission District which feels like a Central American village. It’s often foggy at Ocean Beach, where many of the residents speak Chinese more often than English, and where at the same time it's sunny in the Mission, perhaps a reflection of the city’s two faces. San Francisco, like much of northern California, is a place of microclimates that vary from valley to valley and from the top of one hill to the top of another, and where it might be 100 degrees at 4 p.m. and then 65 degrees at nightfall.
The World Wide Weather Network (https://tetuhi.art/world-weather-network/world-weather-network/) has embarked on a huge and wonderful project to monitor the weather at two dozen or more places around the globe, from Istanbul and Dubai to Beijing and Reykjavik, and apparently with no plans to include SF, where over the past century the weather has been shaped by earthquakes and by fires and smoke from the North. “Your weather is our weather,” is the website’s slogan. The organization’s stated goal is to enable audiences “to gain a better understanding of the climate crisis.”
The weirdest weather I ever experienced in Northern California occurred on Pine Mountain East of Willits, when, over the course of one afternoon, it rained, snowed, sleeted and was blessed by bright sunshine. My neighbors said that they had experienced similar days in the past and that when they occurred they were harbingers of the whole year’s weather. So, yes in Norcal, I’ve been pelted by snow, sleet, rain and hail as well as kissed by hot sunny days.
For a while, I lived above the fog line on a ridge, which a real estate agent described as “the banana belt,” and where properties sold for higher prices than down below on the valley floor. In SF you pay more to live on hills with names like Nob, Russian and Telegraph. Mark Twain did not say “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” though he might have. He lived in the city and wrote about it in newspapers. His near contemporary. George Sterling, a poet and a friend of Jack London's. and who committed suicide, described San Francisco as “a cool, gray city of love.” I can see how the weather might drive someone to take his or her own life, though the city's citizens seem to love it, love the cool temperatures and the gray skies. For weeks and days on end, I complained about the weather, though my complaints changed nothing. Then, one day I walked home from a yoga class in the darkness. The mist that felt like a very fine frizzle. I smiled to myself and said, “I love it.” Yes, indeed, love it or leave it.
THE BATTLE OF THE STOOPIDEST STREET NAMES...not a hippie, but a...
QUE SERA, SERA
Voila! Just like that I found a few sweet blackberries on my walk this Sunday morning, ushering in a season hopefully better than the last. And it was just Friday morning that I got the sweet news that the permit application for hundreds of glamping event participants including amplified music on a parcel of land just across the street from my Ray’s Road residence had been withdrawn. I offer out my thanks and deep appreciation (if there is any difference between the two) to all entities involved with both events. May human nature and Mother Nature find a righteous peace in the tumultuous prospects for the future - though Doris Day spoke to me as a budding teenager the reality quite well decades ago in her rendition of Que Sera, Sera – Whatever will be will be. The future’s not ours to see. Que, sera, sera. What will be will be. I might add – We will see, we will see. Or at least the ones of us a bit younger than I.
On a maybe a not so distant track, back in those budding teenage years of mine I had been for a few years traveling between San Rafael and Alderpoint in Humboldt County on the Northwestern Pacific Railroad, in those days powered by steam, and I loved the sounds, smells and experience. One time, arranged by my brother-in-law who was General Manager of the L&W Lumber Company, I even got to ride out to a fire in one of the many tunnels along the route on a walkway on the engine that placed me right above the cowcatcher as we chugged along. A couple years older and by then with diesel engines I found myself playing hobo and hopping freight trains just for the fun of it and traveling up into Oregon and back getting off and on wherever I was moved. Of course doing so always left some time to explore the new environs while waiting for another train to stop that was going in the direction that I wanted. Yes, I did love the railroad. Then as some of my generation found God I, was reborn as a full blooded Wannabe Native American Indian and I began to see trains as just one of the very first monster machines used to conquer, rape and destroy the beautiful and peaceful West both environmentally and socially. Just expressing here my anti-capitalist sentiments on the Skunk Train encroachments now being proposed for parts of our fair land that for thousands of years were far better tended and loved by the Indigenous population than those of us now so full of the often degenerate entrepreneurial spirit.
BRAD WYLIE'S investigations into early Anderson Valley history recall the first pioneer families to settle here. Pioneer. That term rightly angers, or at least annoys, the descendants of native peoples whose travails and mass disappearances began with the appearance of that first settler, a man named Anderson as it happens, and not the first of that name to leave evidence of his presence in the Anderson Valley.
PRIOR to the Gold Rush, but only about 30 years prior, the missions in San Rafael and Sonoma were founded, and soon after their founding word got out to the Indians of NorCal that Spanish soldiers were combing the outback for free labor and no-option Christians.
THERE'S a vague account of a clash between a mission slave hunting expedition and Anderson Valley Indians that occurred in what is now the area around Boonville. I've heard a Spanish sword was found in the hills east of Boonville and now belongs to a local family.
WE KNOW from archeologist studies that the Anderson Valley watershed was home to at least a thousand people, probably more including nomadic tribes, who thrived here for millenia in an Edenic cocoon of plenty, which came to an abrupt and bloody end only 200 years ago.
THERE are some good histories of the mission period. The best, in my opinion, is Blaise Cendars' Gold, which is mostly about John Sutter, the first white man into the Sacramento Valley who clothed his Indian army in Russian uniforms he'd bought from the Russians as they departed Fort Ross. That fifty years in NorCal before the Gold Rush is fascinating, but the record is so thin that only Cendars' novelistic account of it captures something of what it was like.
HENRY BEESON, a Bear Flagger, ended his days in the Anderson Valley, making his home south of Boonville where the CalFire installation squats in an array of neo-totalitarian architecture. Beeson earned his way as a saddlemaker, at which he was so good his place became busy with buyers from all over.
THE BEAR FLAGGERS are viewed romantically as a noble band of patriots who took California from Mexico, but General Vallejo regarded them as a pack of aimless drifters who rewarded his hospitality by drinking up his liquor and locking him up in his own home.
WELL, there it is. You've got history and then you have true history, and the latter is never as prevalent or as popular as the former. Going by the formal histories of the Anderson Valley this place is one of the most boring, uneventful places there's ever been. But if you get the old timers talking, you soon have confirmation that this place, and its unusual collection of people all the way back to the first post offices and ten thousand years before, is historically as floridly riveting as any, and hurtling faster than ever, seemingly, back — way back.
ANOTHER INTERESTING OLD ANDERSON VALLEY POSTCARD (from eBay)
The card was posted in 1912. Photograph could be near Navarro by the Sea. The card was addressed to Miss Ada Hartly of Boonville (1889-1950), who is buried at the Evergreen Cemetery.
Very timely article [Jim Shields/water regs]. Right now the board of supervisors and some other interested parties are working on groundwater protection for Mendocino County. I/we have been pushing this for over a year from our Round Valley county water dist. If we don’t get this passed in our county before the state takes the lead we will be at the mercy of legislators in Sacto. And we will have to deal with their bureaucracy every time we want to make a local adjustment to our ground water policy. If you don’t think this is important just look at the lawsuit the Coast Keepers Alliance brought against Sonoma county this time last year! It is all about over drafting groundwater in the Russian river area in Sonoma county and the next obvious step is a lawsuit in Mendo county if we don’t get our act together and pass groundwater protection and controls based on science and not sidestep the equal requirements for hydrologic study for all commercial wells preexisting and/or new. If we only require hydrologic study for new wells we will fall victim to what happened in Siskiyou county and lose the same kind of law case they did in 2018 that has set the precedent for the case in Sonoma County!
MORE CONFIRMATION, if any was needed, of our observation last fall that Lake Mendocino, already low because of historically low rainfall, was substantially drained for downstream Russian River grape growers when thousands of acre-feet of water at hundreds of cubic feet per second were loudly discharged, well over the minimum streamflows for fish, so that grape growers could recharge their hundreds of huge ponds.
According to Monday’s PD report on grape yields for 2022:
“Most growers were proactive over the past year knowing that such curtailments could come. Many took action over the winter, such as recharging their ponds and being more strategic when they irrigated their vines — especially given that there was a lack of rain during the spring, said Tyler Rodrigue, chief executive officer of Ukiah-based Noble Vineyard Management, which farms 1,500 acres in Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma counties. People are definitively better prepared … they are doing a better job,” said Rodrigue, adding those with a scarcity of water will likely experience lower yields.”
After the dry winter Lake draining for grape growers, we were then told that the Lake was low and “voluntary” conservation was called for, later followed up by early stage curtailments, and complaints that not enough Eel River water was being diverted into Lake Mendocino.
As we reported at the time:
“A caller asked why so much water was being released from Lake Mendocino.
“McGourty didn’t dispute the claim, instantly replying that it was to maintain minimum flows for the fish, but failing to inform the caller what those minimum flows were, when they apply, or how much the current releases were — as if the fish are the only consideration and his grape growing friends aren’t pumping it into their grape ponds.
“According to the State Water Board ruling in 2016 for the Russian River (Decision 1610, “Temporary Urgency Change Petition”) the minimum flow for fish in the Russian River during critical dry years during September to March is 25 cfs (cubic feet per second). Yet the upper Russian River flows have been running well over 100 cfs for the last few weeks.
“As usual, grape grower McGourty reveals his inherent conflict of interest on the subject of Russian River water by pretending that he and his grape grower pals have nothing to do with cheap water flowing out of Lake Mendocino and all those vineyards — including McGourty’s — planted alongside the river channel.”
In February when the north coast was experiencing months of record drought conditions with no significant relief in sight, grape growers were “recharging their ponds.” While everybody else who needs Russian River (i.e., diverted Eel River) water can fight over what’s left.
Remember, McGourty is the Supervisor who, at an earlier Drought Task Force meeting complained to a caller who asked about water being wasted on grapes:
“As a wine grape grower and more importantly a person who has spent a good portion of his career in frost [protection] and looking for options besides sprinklers I can tell you why we grow. Why -- why we grow wine anyway. Because this is a great place to grow it. We make really good wine out of Mendocino County! … And we can sell it usually in the marketplace. Probably more important is the issue of why would we -- what's the benefit to the community? For every ton of Chardonnay we sell we get somewhere around $1200 to a winery when we sell it. It's probably — and the price is more than that, but that's what we get paid. When that is made into wine, by the time it goes through the system of paying taxes, federal excise taxes, state excise tax, state sales tax, we generate from that $1200 of grapes almost $900 in taxes. So there is a pretty good return relative to what we, you know, spending on, you know, water. Then the water issue is another good thing. Even with the frost protection, grapes are pretty stingy with water. In a typical situation when I was invited, advising people in the Ukiah Valley you have enough water to grow grapes. You have half an acre foot for irrigating the grapes and you'd better have half an acre foot for frost protection. And that was 20 years ago when it was more regulated than it is now. We used to have around 10 frost nights, and now we have three or four. Let's suppose we have one acre foot to grow grapes. That's really high. My own usage is much lower because what I have its probably half that. Most of them are getting by with half an acre foot. … So the amount of water that we use to grow grapes to generate the jobs, tax base and taxes is a pretty good return. It's a good investment. With whatever water resources we have. And the agricultural land we have in Mendocino County it works out pretty well.”
What McGourty didn’t point out is that Mendo has over 17,000 acres of grapes, most of it in the Russian River watershed. And, according to McGourty who minimizes or denies all negative grape impacts, grapes require at least half an acre-foot of water per acre per year — at a minimum. So using McGourty’s own minimum numbers, say, that’s at least 10,000 Mendo vineyard acres using half an acre-foot per acre. Or at least 5,000 acre-feet per year for grapes, more if they can get it. For context, the entire County of Mendocino has rights to about 8,000 acre-feet of Lake Mendocino water per year.
And that’s small compared to the tens of thousands of acres of grapes in Sonoma County that are watered by huge pumpings of that Eel/Mendo water.
PS. Yesterday’s PD’s account of the grape yields curiously failed to mention that their main info source, Mr. Tyler Rodrigue, is not only a big grape guy, but a Board member of the Russian River Flood Control District along with fellow staunch grape grower Al White — both of them, along with Supervisor McGourty, made men in the inland cheap water mafia.
CATCH OF THE DAY, July 18, 2022
LAMAR BONE, Oroville/Ukiah. Battery, controlled substance.
JESUS DELGADO JR., Fort Bragg. Robbery, controlled substance.
MATTHEW DEVINE, San Francisco/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
GORDAN HANOVER SR., Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JIMMY HENDRY, Willits. Battery, trespassing, shoplifting.
VANCE MADSON, Willits. False ID, probation revocation.
ESTUARDO PONCE, Ukiah. DUI.
STEVEN SANEZ, Santa Rosa. Burglary, conspiracy.
A dear friend died recently and got me thinking about death and the details of death. We know we are going to die, but we don’t know where, when or how, but it will happen to all of us. Some will die quickly from a heart attack or accident, but most of us will linger for a while.
This letter is to the grandparents, parents and adult children. There is no right time to do your preplanning, but it should happen today or next week at the latest. If you own real estate or have an estate of $100,000 or more, a living trust, will and advanced directive for health are imperative. (No, I am not an attorney).
Having our affairs in order is a blessing to our family. If you are sick or have a stroke, you need to have your wishes about your care in writing. A trust will help organize your financials. Don’t waste your hard-earned money on probate lawyers and courts when you can give your estate in months instead of years for a fraction of the probate and attorney fees.
A PLANE is on its way to Toronto when a blonde in coach class gets up and moves to the first class section and sits down.
The flight attendant watches her do this and asks to see her ticket. She then tells the blonde that she paid for coach class and that she will have to sit in the back.
The blonde replies, “I'm blonde, I'm beautiful, I'm going to toronto and I'm staying right here.”
The flight attendant goes into the cockpit and tells the pilot and the co-pilot that there is a blonde bimbo sitting in first class, that belongs in coach and won't move back to her seat.
The co-pilot goes back to the blonde and tries to explain that because she only paid for coach she will have to leave and return to her seat.
The blonde replies, “I'm blonde, I'm beautiful, I'm going to Toronto and I'm staying right here.”
The co-pilot tells the pilot that he probably should have the police waiting when they land to arrest this blonde woman who won't listen to reason.
The pilot says, “You say she is a blonde? I'll handle this, I'm married to a blonde. I speak blonde.”
He goes back to the blonde and whispers in her ear, and she says, “Oh, I'm sorry,” and gets up and goes back to her seat in coach.
The flight attendant and co-pilot are amazed and asked him what he said to make her move without any fuss.
“I told her, ‘First class isn't going to Toronto’.”
EVERY ONE OF THE UVALDE COP COWARDS SHOULD BE FIRED – THEY’VE SHAMED THEIR BADGES AND THEIR COUNTRY
by Piers Morgan
An investigation from the Texas state House of Representatives revealed the extent of the failures of law enforcement during the Uvalde school shooting.
I didn’t think I’d see a more stomach-churning image this week than President “I’ll make Saudi Arabia a pariah” Biden gleefully fist-bumping Mohammad bin Salman like they were best buddies.
The breathtakingly shameless hypocrisy of Biden’s groveling to the man he believes ordered the horrific death squad murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi made me want to vomit.
But it pales in significance compared to some of the truly disgusting video clips emerging from the first official report into the Uvalde, Texas, massacre.
It’s shocking enough to learn there were nearly 400 armed law enforcement officers at Robb Elementary School by the time one lone deranged shooter had spent 77 minutes obliterating 19 young children and two teachers.
“The only one way to stop a bad guy with a gun IS A GOOD GUY WITH A GUN,” tweeted the NRA last year.
How hollow that always disingenuous claim looks today when we learn that 376 “good guys with guns” — including 149 Border Patrol officers, 91 members of the state Department of Public Safety, 14 from the Department of Homeland Security, 25 from the Uvalde Police Department, 16 from the San Antonio Police Department and 16 from the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office — couldn’t collectively summon the courage, sense of duty or basic humanity to charge into that classroom and kill one pathetic shooter armed with an AR-15.
As Texas Tribune journalist Zach Despart tweeted, there was a bigger force there than the entire garrison that defended the Alamo.
But it’s not just the cops’ now demonstrably proven inaction that is so scandalous.
It’s also their outrageous antics as they did nothing.
One of them was seen on camera laughing.
What the hell did he find so bloody funny given what was happening to those poor young kids just a few feet away?
Another casually applied a squirt of hand sanitizer.
SERIOUSLY? That was his priority as the massacre unfolded?
Others stayed safe around corners or lay hiding on the floor with their big, powerful guns.
The Uvalde school police chief could even be seen treating the active shooter with gut-wrenchingly inappropriate respect: “Sir, if you can hear me,” he pleaded pathetically, “please put your firearm down, sir.”
This was no “sir” — this was a sniveling, evil mass murderer.
There was no time for such excruciatingly polite chat with someone firing a semi-automatic rifle at point-blank range into innocent young heads.
The only possible response was to storm the classroom as fast as possible.
Yet the only one who seemed to understand this urgent imperative was Uvalde SWAT team chief Sgt. Eduardo Canales, who was shot and wounded when he first tried to confront the shooter, but minutes later could be seen repeatedly yelling, “We’ve got to get in there, he just keeps shooting, we’ve got to get in there!”
He was right, but they ignored him, and he didn’t do it himself — instead, they all chose not to risk their lives to save the lives of young children.
Even as I write those words, I find it hard to believe that’s what happened, but it did.
“It could have been worse,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at the time, as the false narratives initially spun by lying law enforcement that the brave, selfless cops had prevented an even worse death toll.
Actually, it couldn’t have been any worse.
This was as bad as law enforcement could possibly be.
Nineteen children are dead because these self-protecting weasels couldn’t be bothered to do their jobs, and how any of them have the audacity to remain in those jobs is beyond my comprehension.
How can they possibly sleep at night knowing what the horrific consequences were of their appallingly gutless failure to act?
If they’re in any doubt about their culpability, they should listen to the grieving relatives of those who were killed.
Leonard Sandoval, whose grandson Xavier Lopez died on the way to the hospital, told the New York Times the report confirmed what the community had long known: The cops failed in their duty and then tried to cover it up.
“We all make mistakes,” he said. “We are all human. But they should have admitted to it and then resigned. It’s the lying that hurts.”
His words were echoed by many others whose lives were shattered that day.
“They’re going to have the blood of those kids on their hands for eternity,” said Manny Renfro, grandfather of Uziyah Garcia, 10, who also died.
Renfro, 65, said the thought of what those officers did, or failed to do, made him sick to his stomach, as it did me and I’m sure everyone else who’s seen the hard evidence.
“I think every single lawman who was on the scene should be held accountable,” he said. “They lost 19 beautiful children, including my grandson. My blood just starts boiling, and I get upset because something more could’ve been done to save those kids.”
The cowardly police response to the shooting is at fault for the 19 children and two teachers killed in the shooting.
Mary Grace Garcia, an aunt of Uziyah, posed a simple question for the officers: “What were you all thinking? What was going through your minds by standing there in the hallway?”
Sadly, we know the answer.
They were thinking of themselves, not the kids being slaughtered.
And for that, every single one of them should be fired today.
They’re a disgrace to their badges and to America.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Indeed, the majority of people are so soft these days, they cannot take a joke, a veiled insult, or a bit of sweat breaking upon their brow.
I have one of those “mummy” sleeping bags that is good to like 30 below, so I have nothing to fear. The only things I worry about is the safety and comfort of my dog at home while I am away at work, and keeping my water pipes from freezing and bursting.
One winter I had the air in my house so cold that a slight sheet of ice formed on the water in my toilet bowls! That I when I knew to turn the heat up a few extra degrees.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS is that Republicans say they will do evil things and then do evil things, while Democrats say they will not do evil things and then do evil things.
— Caitlin Johnstone
STUDENTS, CAMPUSES & DOMINANT CORPORATE POWER
by Ralph Nader
When it comes to corporate power and control over their lives, now and into the future, today’s college students are perilously dormant. When it comes to putting pressure on Congress to counter the various dictates of corporatism, there is little activity other than some stalwarts contacting their lawmakers on climate violence.
Much of campus activity these days focuses on diversity, tuition, student loans, ”politically correct” speech demands and conforming conduct.
This campus environment is strangely oblivious to the corporate abuses of our economy, culture and government. This indifference extends to the endless grip of corporate power over the educational institutions that the students attend.
Companies see universities and colleges as profit centers.
Corporate vendors influence or control the food students eat on campus, down to the junk in vending machines, along with their credit cards, iPhones, very expensive textbooks and, of course, student debt.
College Boards of Trustees are dominated by corporate executives or corporate affiliated people. Corporate science is – as from drug companies, biotech, military weapons and fossil fuel companies – co-opting, corrupting or displacing academic science which is peer-reviewed and unencumbered by corporate profiteering (See Professor Sheldon Krimsky’s books: https://sites.tufts.edu/sheldonkrimsky/books/).
Corporate law firms dominate law schools, with few exceptions, seriously distorting the curriculum away from courses on corporate crimes and immunities and courses that show how corporations have shaped public institutions such as Congress, state legislatures, and the Pentagon along with state and federal regulatory agencies.
Business schools, except for a few free-thinking professors, are finishing schools for Wall Street and other businesses. They operate in an empirically starved environment regarding what is really going on in the world of global corporate machinations, while feeding their student’s dogmatic free-market fundamentalism.
Engineering departments narrowly orient their students toward corporate missions, without educating them about the engineering professions’ ethical and whistleblowing rights and duties. (See, Ethics, Politics, and Whistleblowing in Engineering by Nicholas Sakellariou and Rania Milleron, CRC Press, 2018).
Social science courses are largely remiss as well. There are very few courses on plutocratic rule and uncontrolled big-business ways of getting commercial values to override civic values. Teachers may be wary of raising such taboo topics, but the enthusiastic student response to Professor Laura Nader’s course on “Controlling Processes” at UC Berkeley over the years might indicate deep student interest in courses on top-down power structures.
Active students in the nineteen sixties and seventies took their environmental, civil rights and anti-war concerns directly to Congress. They, with other citizen groups, pushed Congress and got important legislation enacted.
Students in about twenty states created lasting full-time student advocacy groups called Public Interest Research Groups or PIRGs (See: https://uspirg.org/).
Today the PIRGs are still making change happen in the country (See, Right to Repair Project: uspirg.org/feature/usp/right-repair.)
However, few new PIRGs have been established since 1980. Students need to embrace how important, achievable and enduring such nonprofit independent PIRGs can be. With skilled advocates continuing to train students in civic skills and provide students with extracurricular experiences for a lifetime of citizen engagement, the PIRGs create a vibrant reservoir for a more functioning democracy.
As a leading European statesman Jean Monnet said decades ago – “Without people nothing is possible, but without institutions nothing is lasting.”
Students need to think about the civic part of their years ahead and focus on building the pillars of a democratic society that dissolve the concentrated power of giant corporations and empower the citizenry as befits the “We the People” vision in our Constitution.
THE LAST DAYS OF ‘JOE BIDEN’
by James Kunstler
It’s like our country is trapped on one of those swirling carnival rides beloved of the county fairs… only, the felonious mutt who runs the ride has nodded off in a fentanyl delirium with the motor running at maximum speed… and the children-of-all-ages locked in the pods of this infernal machine shriek and vomit with each sickening rotation… as the half-century-old swing arms groan and wobble from metal fatigue on their squealing pivots… and suddenly comes a deafening crunch of gnashed gears, the smell of burning oil, and the pathetic whimpering of nearly dead.
That’s us. Some terrible midsummer accident-of-state has befallen the USA Carnival, and most are too dazed to know it. Whose idea was it to send the wind-up doll president called “Joe Biden” to Saudi Arabia? I can just imagine what went on in the chamber in private with “JB” and MBS (Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman), virtual autocrat of the oil-soaked desert land. The American visitor muttered something about wanting an ice-cream cone before dropping into a catatonic thousand-yard stare.
“How does this thing work?” MBS asks his chief vizier, the foreign minister (in Arabic, of course), gesticulating disdainfully at the ghostly figure sunk in the plush camel-hair armchair yards away. “Joe Biden” sits motionless. Someone has forgotten to rewind him, some “aide” who carries the president’s Adderall. Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud tells the boss, “We’ll make up some camel-dung for release to CNN and friends. They’ll fall for anything.”
It’s like a crime scene where the forensic experts have entered. The Saudi leader and his entourage only hang around the room for three minutes until the US State Department shoots enough photos to prove that “JB” was there and not stuffed in the basement of his Delaware beach house for the weekend, as usual. The American news media gets briefed: Saudi Arabia graciously agrees to bump up its oil production somewhere in the 2025-2027 time-frame — a triumph for US diplomacy, the networks are informed. Air Force One wings home through clouds of despair. The White House team members spend the flight updating their resumés.
I think we have witnessed “Joe Biden’s” final appearance at any world-stage event. He can do no more for the Party of Chaos. It has done what it can to wreck the joint with him as the pretend head-of-state. The Ukraine gambit is a bust, a foolish miscalculation that was obvious from the start. All it accomplished was to reveal the pitiful dependence of our European allies on Russian oil and gas, leaving their economies good and truly scuppered without it. The Russians end up with control of the Black Sea and probably the Ukraine bread-basket as well. So, now, Europe will starve and freeze.
Did they really want to commit suicide like that? Do the populations of Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the rest just aim to roll into oblivion? Probably not. Rather, we are entering the season of upended governments. The Schwabenklausian stooges implanted everywhere will be overthrown, NATO and the Euro Union will dissolve in impotent ignominy, and the various countries involved will have to renegotiate their destinies, forgoing US advice and coercion. They might even become adversaries of the USA, not allies. Did you forget we fought two wars against Germany not so long ago? And all those countries have been fighting each other since the Bronze Age, too.
History never stops reminding us what a prankster it is. A strange and terrible inversion has occurred in this Fourth Turning. Somehow, Mr. Putin’s Russia is left to represent what remains of international rule-of-law while the western democracies sink deeper into a morass of deranged despotism. Anyway, they are too busy conducting war against their own people to even pretend to assist their Ukrainian proxies. “Joe Biden” crammed nearly $60-billion into the Ukraine money laundering machine since February, which will just spew hallucinated capital back out into increasingly disordered financial markets. Look: the indexes are up world-wide this morning. Why? Because global business is so good? I don’t think so.
Moving toward autumn, what we have to look forward to is the blatant desperation of the claque behind “Joe Biden.” Their propaganda machine is going all-out on climate change and renewed Covid hysteria. There are always heat-waves in midsummer. CNN acts shocked that it’s over 100-degrees in Texas. Really? Never seen that before? Meanwhile, behind the news about emerging Omicron sub-variants, the vaccine injuries and deaths mount and the CDC pretends not to notice. They are just lying as usual. You’re used to it. You pretend it’s to be expected. You’ve forgotten that it wasn’t always so. Soon, it will matter.
UKRAINE, Monday, July 18. Day 145.
by Dmytro Aksyonov
Toretsk. Russian shelling in the city of Toretsk, in the Donetsk region, has resulted in the collapse of a two-story residential building, which led to six civilian deaths and two hospitalizations, according to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine,
Odesa. Russian forces have conducted a rocket strike on the city of Odesa and the Dnistrovsky Lyman bridge, resulting in the beginning of a large-scale fire at a military object. No casualties have been reported so far, the Odesa city council reports
Kharkiv. Russian forces also launched a missile strike on the town of Chuhuiv in Kharkiv region, damaging two high-rises on July 18.
Speaking with Mark Milley, the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi has claimed that Western weapons, notably the HIMARAR +6.5%S rocket artillery system, have allowed the Ukrainian forces to “stabilize the situation,” even though it remains “difficult and tense.” He said that in order to turn the tide of the war in its favor, Ukraine requires further weapons from Western countries.
Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, July 18th as she started a series of high-profile appearances in Washington, which will include a session with Jill Biden.
The Ukrainian State Bureau of Investigations has announced that the former head of the Crimean branch of the Security Service of Ukraine, Oleh Kulynych, has been arrested on charges of treason and collaboration with Russian security services. This announcement comes as the latest in a series of high-profile crackdowns the Ukrainian government has conducted targeting officials suspected of collaborating with Russia.
Didier Reynders, the European Commissioner for Justice, who has previously said that the European Commission is looking into the possibility of confiscating Russian assets and using them to aid Ukraine in its post-war rebuilding, has said that such a procedure is unlikely to be implemented due to the lack of precedent for the confiscation of assets by EU states. He said that the Commission is instead looking into the possibility of implementing an alternative procedure, which would require Russia to actively participate in the restoration of Ukraine in order to have the currently frozen assets be unfrozen.
According to Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Turkey is hoping for a second round of talks between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the U.N. in Istanbul on the issue of Ukrainian grain exports to be held this week. He said the talks could be focused on the “basic issues,” such as security of exports and the creation of an operational center aimed at bolstering coordination between the parties involved.
Reuters reports that the Russian state-owned gas company, Gazprom, has told some European customers in a letter that it cannot guarantee gas supplies because of 'extraordinary' circumstances, declaring force majeure on supplies starting from July 14. Germany's biggest importer of Russian gas, Uniper, was among the companies that received the letter, once again raising fears that Russia could choose not to restart the Nord Stream 1 pipeline following the planned 10-day maintenance period which started on July 11.