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SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES are forecast again today, followed by hotter weather across the interior from Sunday through Tuesday. Late night and morning low clouds and patchy fog will still be found along the coast, but more sun is expected by late morning and into the afternoon through much of the period. (NWS)
FAST-MOVING WILDFIRE SOUTH OF LAKE SHASTA DESTROYS HOMES IN WEED, EVACUATION ORDERS EXPAND
Thousands of people remain under evacuation orders Saturday after a wind-whipped wildfire raged through Siskiyou County near Mount Shasta, injuring people and torching an unknown number of homes.…
THOUSANDS ORDERED TO FLEE THREE TOWNS NEARBY
A fast-moving fire in Northern California threatened hundreds of homes Friday and authorities ordered at least 5,000 residents across three communities to leave immediately. Residents of the towns of Weed, Lake Shastina and Edgewood in Siskiyou County were told to evacuate after the blaze spread in hot and windy conditions to 500 acres in about an hour, the Siskiyou Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Photos posted on social media showed massive flames in the town of Weed, about 70 miles north of the city of Redding.…
ANOTHER ADJACENT FIRE started around 5pm called the Mountain Fire. Winds in the area were reported to be gusting up to 40mph. Growing to over 3,000 acres by by Friday night. Fast moving, fast growing.
FORT BRAGG: PAUL BUNYAN PLANNING
Like every year, questions pop up regarding the Paul Bunyan Day Parade. To help everyone prepare we picked a few of the most asked questions and tried to provide the answers below.
The Event: This year the parade will be happening on Monday, September 5, 2022 from 12:00 to 2:00 PM. Here's some things we think you should be aware of.
No Parking: No parking will be permitted within the parade route between the hours of 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM. These areas will be designated by signage. Any vehicles in violation will be subject to tow or citation (see area highlighted yellow).
Parade Route/Downtown Closure: The parade route and downtown area (See area highlighted yellow) will be closed to all vehicle traffic, in and out, between the hours of 11:30 AM and 3:00 PM. This includes deliveries, late entries into the parade, employees needing to get to work, business owners, residents in the downtown area, etcetera. Please plan accordingly.
Disabled Parking and Viewing Area: The Purity Store Parking Lot, located in the 200 block of North Franklin Street, will be the designated parking area. Please arrive prior to 11:30 AM, otherwise access to this lot will be via Alder Street at the North McPherson Street intersection. (See area highlighted blue). Anyone utilizing this area will be required to display a disabled placard or license plate.
Northbound SR-1: Northbound SR-1 traffic will be directed east onto Madrone Street, North on McPherson Street, West on Fir St., and then again North back onto SR-1.
Southbound SR-1: Southbound SR-1 traffic will be directed east onto Fir Street, South on McPherson Street, West on Madrone Street, and then South back onto SR-1.
This detour will be in effect until the end of the event.
Also, please be aware that there will be intersections along the detour route that have temporary stop signs erected.
If you have questions please contact the Fort Bragg Police Department at (707) 964-0200.
NOYO FOOD FOREST
by Andrew Scully
Last Saturday night I posted a plea, a critical action alert to let people know that the Noyo Food Forest, a treasure, a gemstone of our local community was under threat, in a transitional period and needed support. I wrote that an organizational meeting was set to be held on Sunday that's last Sunday at 11:00 a.m. I went to bed last Saturday night thinking that there would probably be 5 or 10 people at the meeting on Sunday.
I'm gratified and thrilled to report to you tonight that after the clarion call for action went out, and the alarm was raised, the strong people of the coast answered that call in force.
In an overwhelming and heartwarming show of support, an overflow crowd of enthusiastic gardeners, grandmother's, high school students, farmers, and community people jammed into the covered area at the Garden on Sunday. They were young and old men and women, many different diverse people. What brought them together and what we have in common is a fierce determination and commitment to keep a dream alive, to keep beautiful agricultural land in production, to teach students about agriculture and food sustainability, and to build community.
More than 45 people jam-packed into the small area to hear current board member and Interim President Teresa Raffo and Garden Manager Veronica Storms provide an overview and background as to how we got to the current point, and more importantly status and outlook to get the garden back into full swing, which appears to be a realistic probability this year - right now.
The community show of support was gratifying and hopeful. But there was one person there whose presence I felt was especially important. Joseph Aldridge, the new superintendent of the Fort Bragg School District was there in work clothes along with his wife, evidently both enthusiastic gardeners.
Their physical presence at the event provided an unmistakable signal to the community, a show of support from the Aldridge's and the school district that was incredibly gratifying.
I stopped by the NFF today and pulled a short volunteer shift along with a couple of other folks, and I can report to you tonight that although much work remains to be done, there's an enthusiastic core group that has formed around the very capable leadership of Veronica and the interim board.
For the moment anyway the crisis has been averted; the Garden will remain another year. The experience points up once again the necessity of staying involved and keeping an eye out. Let's keep an eye out for each other.
ANDERSON VALLEY UNIFIED UPDATE
I think everyone is looking forward to a holiday on Monday. Enjoy your time with your family. The kids and staff have had a stellar start and a day of relaxation and fun will be well-deserved. Your patience with our transportation issues is greatly appreciated. Our bus fleet is older. It is very well-maintained, but when we lose one bus it can cause disruptions, and when we lose two buses, we really have a challenge. We also have four sports going on right now, plus the auto mechanics class. Transporting students to and from activities is a schedule dance. We always need parent drivers. If you are interested in learning about the sign-up process, please contact the district office at 895-3774.
Our septic system at the Elementary site is in the process of being redesigned and a full replacement will be required. I am working on funding from a Hardship Grant through the State. We are a few months away from permitting, but this needs to be addressed. In the meantime, we will be removing the sewage on a schedule to ensure that the site is safe.
Curriculum pilots are on-going at both sites. I appreciate the teachers' time and effort in exploring curriculum to engage students and accelerate their growth.
Come on out and support our sports teams this year. It is wonderful to have the children engaged. Also, participate in both the Elementary and the Junior Senior High Site Council meetings. This is an important opportunity to give input on the direction for your school system. I always tell everyone, everyday is an LCAP day. When you provide a phone call, have a conversation, attend a meeting, send an email, all of that information is read, valued and infused into our programs whenever possible.
I hope you have a safe and happy holiday weekend.
Louise Simson, Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified School District, District Cell: 707-684-1017
MENDO’S BIG NEW RE-FI
by Mark Scaramella
An item on the Tuesday, August 16, 2022 Supervisors agenda asked the Supervisors to approve more than $18 million — or was it $28 million? — in new mystery refinancing for… for… for…?
Agenda Item 4C:
“Discussion and Possible Action Including Adoption of Resolutions (1) the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and (2) the Mendocino County Public Facilities Corporation, Providing for the Execution and Delivery of a Site Lease, Facilities Lease, Purchase Contract, Trust Agreement, and the Execution and Delivery of County of Mendocino Certificates of Participation, Series 2022 and Certain Additional Documents Relating Thereto, in the estimated Amount of $18,145,000.”
That paragon of transparency was then explained by a bunch of Whereases:
“WHEREAS, the County desires to achieve debt service savings with respect to the Series 2012 Certificates and reduce the annual rental payable by the County under the Facility Lease, dated as of May 1, 2012 (the “Series 2012 Facility Lease”), by and between the County and the Corporation…” … “WHEREAS, the County has also determined to finance various Projects set forth in the Facilities Lease hereinafter referred to…” “WHEREAS, in order to effect such prepayment and to finance the Project, the Corporation and the County have determined that it would be in the best interests of the Corporation, the County and the citizens of the County to authorize the sale, execution and delivery of Certificates of Participation, Series 2022, in one or more series (with such other or additional series designations as may be approved by the County) on a tax-exempt or taxable basis in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $27,000,000 (the “Series 2022 Certificates”), pursuant to the terms of the Trust Agreement (the “Trust Agreement”), by and among the County, the Corporation and U.S. Bank Trust Company, National Association, as trustee (the “Trustee”)…”
There were lots more similar whereases in six or so attachments to this item. We waded through the attachments at the time before the meeting to see if there was any plain English. There was none.
At the Tuesday Board meeting, however, after considerable confusing financial discussion, it turned out Mendo was basically refinancing their existing debt (including the Pension Bond which is due to expire soon) at today’s lower interest rates, and at the same time adding $18-$20 million in new debt to borrow $10 million in actual dollars to cover the jail expansion overrun (currently estimated at $8 million) and a couple of other facilities upgrades for a couple mil more.
On a purely financial basis, the refi/new debt makes technical sense. But even though the Board had previously discussed asking the state to cover the jail expansion overrun, that option never came up in Tuesday’s discussion. Nor did anyone ask about why the jail expansion project is overrunning so much even after having several major features pruned from its initial specifications. Given that the jail expansion design and planning has been farmed out to former CEO Carmel Angelo’s favorite gold-plating design firm, Nacht & Lewis in Sacramento, the same outfit that cost Mendo $5 million for a $1 million house (the “Crisis Residential Treatment Center”), it’s a good bet that the Nacht & Lewis people have figured out a way to milk Mendo for lots of overhead, admin and “project management” costs that an ordinary design and build contract would not.
THE DEFINITIVE SALLY SCHMITT BIO
Our secret is out! A documentary on Sally Schmitt by Oscar winner Ben Proudfoot and Breakwater Studios is premiering Saturday at the Telluride Film Festival and is coming soon to The New York Times!
From Breakwater Studios: The French Laundry, run by legendary chef Thomas Keller, has often been recognized as the best restaurant in the world, but few know the story of its original founder, Sally Schmitt. In an emotional final interview before her passing in March 2022, Sally tells her own story as a pioneering chef of California cuisine and sets the table for another way to look at life: where balance, rather than recognition, is the ultimate prize.
ANOTHER BOS FAILURE…
Ukiah City Hall is air conditioned, but… A reader wonders: “There is NO provision for any designated cooling station anywhere in Mendocino County during what is going to be a deadly, at worst, debilitating, at best, period of very HOT weather. While reasons are cited, there is NO justification for this failure. I wonder how many of us will be invited to find relief at the homes and offices of supervisors and other county executives? This is just another blatant show of the disdain of official Mendocino County for its inhabitants."
MIKE GENIELLA WRITES:
EDITOR BRUCE ANDERSON of the Anderson Valley Advertiser reminds us why the cynicism about the handling of police misconduct cases locally.
“THE REPORT of the Sonoma County investigation of former Ukiah Police Chief Noble Waidelich has been forwarded to Mendo's District Attorney's office. Nobody knows what's in it or what they recommend for what is rumored to be an assault on a woman.
PREDICTION: The next thing we'll hear about the case is that Waidelich has hired (Sonoma County) attorney Chris Andrian and a plea bargain is being arranged involving no jail time. The DA will issue no press release. The contents of the investigation will never be public, and when the plea bargain comes before Judge Moorman for rubber-stamping, the Judge will tell the public, “This is NOT to be interpreted as a slap on the wrist!”
I will add my own cynical thoughts.
“Why is DA Dave suggesting more investigation might be needed by his office, and whether referring the case to the Attorney General's Office for independent review and possible prosecution is still being pondered?
The fact of the matter is that DA Eyster played a big role in events that led to the downfall of Waidelich and his former fiance, Amanda Carley. Eyster cast doubts professionally, and personally on Carley, the former domestic partner of the police chief, a former county probation officer, and a one-time employee in the District Attorney's Office. The DA's role was so large that originally he was named in a still-pending civil lawsuit filed by Carley against Waidelech and the county of Mendocino.
Eyster escaped remaining as a defendant by asserting state law protections that he was acting in his official duties. Still, there is little doubt Eyster shut down Carley's local career by placing her on a secret list of cops no longer allowed to testify in court proceedings because of concerns about their truthfulness. She has since moved to Southern California, achieved a license to be a state investigator, and works within the state corrections system.
Let's face it. Given the widespread public cynicism surrounding the DA's sweetheart plea deal with disgraced former Ukiah Police Sgt. Kevin Murray, 'DA Dave' needs to recuse himself and do the right thing. Ask for an independent review and assessment of the former Police Chief's case for possible prosecution. The public will accept nothing less.
WALKER FIRE BURN SITE
BIDEN TOOK BACK his Thursday indictment of the MAGAS as “semi-fascists,” while lots of us wondered if he'd read the wacky speech correctly off his teleprompter. “I don't consider any Trump supporter a threat to the country. I do think anyone that calls for the use of violence… and refuses to acknowledge when an election was won and insists upon changing the way in which the world votes — that is a threat to democracy,” and that there is your basic distinction without a difference.
EVERY DAY, I get a couple of these begging bowl appeals from MoveOn.org, an arm of the Democrats:
“I’m Jensine, a young, queer Latina, a daughter of immigrants, and an organizer… Growing up, I watched as my family and community experienced injustice after injustice. And I know I am not alone.
This is one of the many reasons why I’m so passionate about organizing and building community and power for our most vulnerable and systematically oppressed communities.
Bruce, you are an organizer, too. And petitions are a powerful tool to bring our communities together to fight for the change we wish to see.”
HOLA, JENSINE. The change I would like to see is an end to people who think their sexual preferences are of interest to anybody other than themselves, and an end to people who brandish the injustices done to them as if injustice is unique to them. PS. The only thing I organize, or intend to organize, is my laundry.
JESSE ASKED,“Why doesn’t Anderson Valley put up large windmills, along the windiest ridgetops, to power electricity for the entire valley.”
BRIAN WOOD ANSWERED: “Extreme ugliness, noise, transmission lines everywhere, bird kills, expansion of population capacity, general continued expansion of human dominion over everything everywhere.”
A READER WRITES: “Got a big laugh when DA Dave in response to questions about Noble, said “office policy” prevents him from talking about the case. DA Dave is the office policy. Clearly, he does any goddamn thing he wants, so he could openly discuss these high-profile situations, not unlike he did with Keegan and Thunder the Dog. Why the no comment stance in these cop cases?”
I THINK the DA is wise to zip it and keep it zipped on the Murray matter. Anything he says at this point will only incriminate him further. For reasons we're unlikely to ever know, the local justice system let Murray slide on charges that would get your ordinary Mendo criminal serious prison time.
DONNING my moralist hat, I truly don't understand abuse of women. In my youth, I remember men who beat or otherwise mistreated their wives were shunned, ostracized by the wider community. Male relatives of abused women, at least in my neighborhood, were known to knock the crap out of abusers. It just wasn't done, and male children were raised to be, ahem, “gentlemen” in their relations with the other gender. (There were only two genders until recently. Pronouns were also simpler until a coupla years ago.) I blame the prevalence and easy availability of pornography on the more egregious abuse of women, but here it is, apparently to stay, filmic abuse of half the human race.
LABOR LEFT BEHIND
Another Labor Day. No grand parades, no magnificent speeches. What does Labor Day mean for the average American worker? A day off — if she is lucky. Shouldn’t “working poor” be an oxymoron? Workers are paying more for necessities and earning the inflation-adjusted equivalent of ’80s wages. Where is the outrage?
Poverty wages are directly related to inequality. The U.S. is one of the world’s most unequal societies. CEOs earn 300 times the income of average workers. When huge corporations fail, they are rescued by government, but workers must be self-reliant. Our economic system protects the fortunes of the elite, while small businesses and workers are left to fend for themselves.
Adam Smith believed that labor is the ultimate source of wealth — not management, machines or markets. Why can’t the wealthiest nation on Earth afford to respect and support American workers? To seriously shrink inequality and honor labor year-round, every American worker deserves health care, a defined-benefit pension and a living wage. When that is accomplished, Labor Day will truly be a happy occasion.
Gene A Hottel
STRAINING THE GRID
The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s bulk power, transmission lines and electricity market among its member utilities, said it will issue flex alerts for residents to conserve power during an expected heat wave this weekend. What is the reason for the flex alerts? The state’s power grid and power generation infrastructure cannot meet increased demand caused by a short-term heat wave.
Meanwhile, the California Air Resources Board has ruled that California will ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2035. As of 2021, there were 29.8 million vehicles registered in California. Of those, 838,000 are electric, hybrid or fuel cell vehicles, or only 2.8% of all registered vehicles. What could possibly go wrong if we add 30 million cars to the grid without massive investments in power generation and transmission?
CATCH OF THE DAY, September 2, 2022
JAMES ALFARO, Hopland. Harboring wanted felon.
CHARLES BOWEN, Marysville/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JUAN DAVILA-ESQUIVEL, Covelo. Domestic battery, contributing to delinquency of minor, probation revocation.
ALYSIA GRIFFIN, Ukiah. Protective order violation.
DANIEL HOAGLEN-LOCKART, Hopland. Assault weapon, convicted felon with loaded firearm, conspiracy, resisting.
DOMINIK IDICA, Redwood Valley. DUI, conspiracy, evasion, resisting.
DEREK KLOSE, Willits. Corporal injury to spouse by strangulation or suffocation.
JAKE LEWIS-KODY, Ukiah. Under influence, controlled substance, paraphernalia.
ANTONIO LOPEZ-DIAZ, Hopland. Failure to appear.
ROLANDO RUIZ, Ukiah. Conspiracy.
TIMOTHY SLAYTON, Potter Valley. Failure to appear.
JACOB WORRELL, Alderpoint/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
WILLIAM YOUNG, Willits. Under influence, suspended.
THE FOREST CLUB TUNE-UP
Dropped by The Forest Club in downtown Ukiah, California Thursday afternoon and enjoyed three pints of Sierra Nevada Hazy Beer plus two shots of bartender recommended Pendleton whiskey, brewed in Oregon. Sufficiently empowered, proceeded to play all of the blues on the juke box, choosing artists who covered the compositions, as opposed to the performers who made the tunes famous. This resulted in discovering some real gems on the juke box. For two hours, participated in lively conversations with the other patrons, while occasionally watching the sports screen.
Awoke happy and fully satisfied Friday morning. Following the usual ablutions so I appear clean and bright all day, co-bottomlined the trash & recycling chore at Building Bridges homeless shelter, and then headed out to the Ukiah Co-op for a black bean burrito and French roast coffee. Am presently on a computer at the Ukiah Public Library, and soon will read The New York Times newspaper. Will eventually drop by the SBMC for some wallet money, and then it's off to Safeway to purchase evening food to get me through the night.
In fact, I have no idea whatsoever what lies beyond the present moment. I have no idea whatsoever why I am in Mendocino county. I have no idea whatsoever why we are even on the planet earth. I have no idea whatsoever about why this mind has no idea whatsoever about anything at all. Of that I am certain!
Craig Louis Stehr
COAST DEMOCRATIC CLUB MEETING
Local Elections Endorsements, Thursday, September 8, 2022 Club Meeting, 5:30 - 7:30 via Zoom - link is below
Welcome And Club Business
Candidate Presentations/ Q & A
5:45 - 6:45
Leadership Team (LT) has Recommended for Club Endorsement:
Club Member Healthcare District
4 Year Terms - Lee Finney, Susan Savage, Jade Tippett and 2 year term -Paul Katzeff
Club members in good standing will vote on LT endorsement recommendations for HealthCare District Board
6:45 - 7:15
Democratic Club Members Running For City Council
2 year term -Lindy Peters
4 year terms - Jason Godeke, Mary Rose Kaczorowski,, Michelle Roberts, write-in Tess Albin-Smith
7:15 - 7:30
Hold The House Through California - postcard project - Lee Finney
Meeting ID: 820 1650 3047; Passcode: 1mZFEz
A MESSAGE FOR THE AVA’S THREE SWING-STATE READERS
Every little bit helps. Ask those voters in swing states whether they want to be responsible citizens. If so, ask them to vote for who will pledges to support the following: Make election day a national holiday. Start working on eliminating the electoral college, and a one – six-year term for the president. Insist that the DNC provide a list of those house seats that are toss-ups. Concentrate on voters under 30 with the message outlined above. Those voters are not interested in politics as usual. When you have unanimous opposition it means money is talking and fear of being denied another term… The most horrible thing that could happen… that big salary and all the perks gone, gone gone. Yes sir, Mr. McConnell, you can count on me.
An unofficial note, if this works.
IN AN ACT OF MIDNIGHT MADNESS, California lawmakers voted on the last day of the state legislative session to give PG&E the option to keep the reactors operating another five years. Scheduled to close in 2024 and 2025, two 40-year-old reactors sit in an active earthquake zone near the San Andreas fault. The hastily passed law provides a $1.4 billion forgivable loan to PG&E – a company which has pled guilty to 84 counts of manslaughter – with the condition that the utility applies for a federal bailout from Biden’s Civil Nuclear Credit Program to keep the units open through October 2029 and October 2030, respectively.
— Jeffrey St. Clair
DEMO LEGISLATORS CAVE IN TO NEWSOM AND PG&E
California lawmakers vote to keep Diablo Canyon online.
As California declares an extreme heat emergency its legislators have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a bill that will enable the state's only nuclear power plant to remain in operation for up to five years longer than currently planned.
The California Assembly passed Senate Bill 846 (SB846) by 69 votes to three in the closing hours of the legislative session which ended on 31 August. The bill then returned to the Senate - where it originated - for the final vote needed to see it passed for signature to Governor Gavin Newsom. Thirty-one senators voted in favour of the bill, with one vote cast against it. On the same day the legislature passed SB846, California declared a State of Emergency with a significant heat wave bringing temperatures in excess of 100°F (38°C) and putting a significant demand and strain on California's energy grid. The California Independent System Operator has asked consumers to reduce electricity use between 4pm and 9pm on 31 August and 1 September, saying: "That is the most critical time on the grid, because solar production is going offline, but temperatures remain high." It said it expected to issue more alerts over the coming weekend, as the excessive heat continues. Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) in 2016 proposed to retire Diablo Canyon when the pressurised water reactor units reached the end of their current operating licences, in 2024 for unit 1 and 2025 for unit 2. SB846 will allow the units to operate for up to five years beyond that, acting as a bridging technology to ensure a reliable energy system and reduce greenhouse gas emissions until additional renewable and zero-carbon energy sources come online. It also includes a USD1.4 billion loan to PG&E.
Newsom had previously supported the closure of Diablo Canyon, but earlier this year asked the US Department of Energy (DOE) to change eligibility criteria under its USD6 billion programme to support the continued operation of US nuclear reactors under threat of premature closure to enable Diablo Canyon to apply. The DOE also extended the deadline to 6 September to give potential applicants sufficient time to prepare submissions for the federal support.
PAKISTAN, a country responsible for less than 1% of global carbon emissions, now faces the 8th highest climate risk in the world. But it’s coming for all of us, eventually, regardless of the level of culpability. There’s no place to hide.
Ecological time is moving very fast now, so fast that we risk losing our bearings as a species, losing our connections to the landscape of the past, the very terrain that defined our existence, our ways of living, our sense of who and where we are. What were once fields are now lakes, what were once glaciers now cascades.
And yet the floods of Pakistan are a mere prelude, an overture for the future that awaits us. There’s no going back now, no bridge fuel to the past, no carbon capture time machine, or nuclear techno-fix wormhole out of our predicament. At this terminal point, such fantasies are only a measure of our failure to confront how we got to where we are.
— Jeffrey St. Clair
ALGAE BLOOM TRIGGERS WIDESPREAD FISH KILL IN SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA: “Everything is dying.”
An extensive and substantial fish kill, apparently spurred by a large “red tide” algae bloom, is unfolding on San Francisco Bay…
DURING WWII, the Coast Guard Beach Patrol covered more than 3,700 mile of coast and employed about 24,000 men. Patrols on horseback worked in pairs, riding about 100 feet apart, usually covering a 2-mile stretch. They were call “Sand Pounders” and were able to cover difficult terrain quickly and efficiently.
by James Kunstler
I knew we were in for the business with that “soul of the nation” build-up ballyhoo, but I didn’t exactly expect Independence Hall to be decorated in blood red and sepulchral black à la the-mouth-of-hell for a sermon by the Lord of the Flies himself. Somehow his staff managed to get the Old Trickster to the fiery podium on-time, where, in his trademark inside-out and upside-down mode of argument, he inveighed wrathfully against the “grave threat to democracy” posed by an opposition laboring to undermine “our personal rights…the pursuit of justice [and] the rule of law.” Roger that, Kemosabe.
I confess, I was hoping to see MAGA superhero Homey D. Clown materialize in a puff of rainbow-colored smoke right up there beside the sulfurous incarnation of “Joe Biden.”
“MAGA Republicans have made their choice,” the hypothetical president shouted. “They embrace anger… they live, not in the light of truth, but in the shadow of lies.”
“I don’t think so,” Homey would have surely retorted. Upon which, Homey whaps the Party of Chaos’s front-man upside his hair-plugged noggin with a sock full of Milk Duds. “Homey don’t play that.”
So much for reveries of true righteousness….
And thus went this watershed moment in our floundering nation’s politics du jour. Did you catch an odor of desperation in that marvelous spectacle? A politician does not declare war on half the country in a spirit of comity. Something’s up in this land and it don’t feel all comfy-cozy as we turn the corner on our election season. A lot of things are up, in fact, all of them kind of sketchy and dark.
“Joe Biden’s” guardian of the rule of law, the DOJ under Merrick Garland, is on a rampage, not just seeking long prison sentences on J-6 misdemeanor defendants, but now going after their very attorneys, officers of the court, for daring to represent them. There is the recent Mar-a-Lago caper, of course, in which the FBI snatched a bale of documentary evidence Donald Trump had collected detailing these agencies’ four-year campaign to overthrow him. And, having gotten their mitts on it, the AG declared all the material part of a bogus “ongoing investigation” in order to prevent the docs being introduced in Mr. Trump’s just-opened defamation and racketeering lawsuit against HRC, her posse of Lawfare ninjas, and most of the people who worked in leadership of the FBI and DOJ circa 2016-2021. In short, the FBI stole evidence of their own prior crimes to evade prosecution. Something tells me that’s not going to work out so well for AG Mr. Garland and Chris Wray of the FBI.
You realize, don’t you, that all of “Joe Biden’s” scripted maundering about “democracy” and “justice” and “the rule of law” is a smokescreen sent up to hide the many crimes committed by his shadowy managers just now breaking into disclosure, and they are running out of dodges and distractions to divert the pliable center of the voting public from seeing it all.
Following Mark Zuckerberg’s epic mistake telling Joe Rogan that the government used his company, Facebook, and Jack Dorsey’s Twitter, to squash the first amendment, the wheels came off any pretense that this was not direct interference in the 2020 election by activists in government. For a whole year, the FBI sat on evidence that candidate “Joe Biden’s” family was running an international grifting operation fronted by his son Hunter, and when news reports about the notorious laptop began to leak out, the agency used its considerable powers of intimidation to make the news disappear. Now the FBI fears the next step: who exactly in the agency managed that operation along with supervisory agent Timothy Thibault — hustled into retirement days ago after lawyering up — and who, in that exceedingly hierarchical org, approved of it? It’s all coming out now.
Thursday night, “Joe Biden” heralded a US economy firing on a gazillion cylinders. “American manufacturing has come alive across the heartland, and the future will be made in America, no matter what the white supremacists and the extremists say,” he declared. Is that so? Of course not. The country is verging on an economic catastrophe more consequential than the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the harbinger of it, a financial market crash, is sure to occur before November 8th. Everybody and his uncle on Wall Street knows that. The shadow regime behind “JB” knows that. He didn’t dare mention the word inflation, as if no one has noticed it. (Anyway, white supremacists did that.)
The regime is backpeddling so hard on its Covid-19 bullshit that it has burst clean through the looking-glass it rode into in 2021, when, in the name of “choice,” it mandated that millions of Americans submit to forced shots of unsafe and ineffective pharmaceuticals. They know we are entering another flu season with those millions of people tragically left with wrecked immune systems courtesy of the vaxxes. They see the numbers of mystery deaths happening right now in this country and the rest of western civ and they’re working furtively to attempt to change the story. Guess what? It’s not working. Too many people have seen the damage first-hand. We know exactly who is responsible for all that, and it’s not white supremacists.
The war in Ukraine instigated by “JB” and Company hasn’t panned out so well on any grounds — as a distraction from problems at home, as a geopolitical gambit against Russia, or as anything remotely beneficial to Ukraine itself. The endgame on all that approaches as Germany and the rest of NATO are forced to the negotiating table, with or without the USA’s cooperation, or else face a rapid return to the thirteenth century. The terms will end up being more embarrassing than the exit fiasco a year ago from Afghanistan. The voters will notice it had nothing to do with white supremacists. Yes, they will.
“I give you my word as a Biden, I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future,” the old faker intoned last night. His word as a Biden? So sayeth the Soul Man.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
UKRAINE, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2ND
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline that transports Russian gas to Germany will undergo further maintenance, Gazprom has said after scrapping a Saturday deadline to resume flows, deepening Europe’s difficulties in securing fuel.
A team of IAEA inspectors remains at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, with the head of the UN nuclear watchdog pledging the agency will have a "continued presence" at the Russian-controlled site.
Ukrainian officials are demanding the IAEA press for the demilitarization of the area around the plant, where shelling has sparked fears of a nuclear incident.
Finance ministers from G7 nations announced a price cap on Russian oil and petroleum products in an effort to weaken the country's ability to fund the war. Moscow has threatened to no longer supply countries that implement restrictions.
Russian forces have suffered "significant losses" in the southern region of Kherson following the Ukrainian counteroffensive launched earlier this week, Ukraine's military claimed Friday.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Once the levels of incompetence and mental illness have reached levels high enough your nation is finished, done.
Our future in North America is likely to be a land of very poor people living in an area comprised of a collection of squabbling, balkanized states or confederations of states involved in ceaseless tribal warfare. That’s how the native Americans lived here and that’s how we’ll be occupying this space in the future. Nobody is going to invade us because there won’t be anything here anyone will want. It would be like invading Haiti. Why? There would be no reason to. The prosperous and happy Christian nation living in unity will be Russia. And they will be very careful about who they let in.
MIND & SUPERMIND
by Ted Dace
Of all the delusions that beset the human mind, the most dangerous and persistent is that each of us freely generates our beliefs according to our own judgment. Back when the basic social unit was the tribe, we knew better. When you identify with your tribe before even yourself, you understand that culture, not reason, determines your worldview. In their book, Journey of the Mind, neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam inadvertently demonstrate – especially when they veer into politics – that this dictum applies to scientists as much as the rest of us.
This is not to deny the many insights packed into this compelling and even exhilarating investigation into the evolution of mentality up to and beyond the level of the individual human mind. The defining characteristic of the mind, as the authors point out, is purpose. No equation of physics can predict the trajectory of even the simplest organism. Rather than forced to go in a particular direction, a living thing can decide what to do on the basis of what it wants, whether acquiring food or avoiding danger. The simplest conceivable mind consists of a sensor and a "doer." Ogas and Gaddam call this setup a molecule mind. While the molecules themselves have no mental properties, their interaction enables the single-cell body to operate with purpose.
A microbe can identify a source of light or food and activate its flagellum so as to approach it. It has the choice of randomly tumbling so as to feed on whatever is around it or engaging in directed motion to find better feeding conditions. Every dilemma ever faced by every sentient being can be traced back to the original Great Question: should I stay or should I go?
For a microbe, the answer depends strictly on sensory inputs. No need to ponder. Life got a lot more complicated with the emergence of the neuron. Whereas molecules constitute the “thinking elements” of a microbe, neurons – each of which is a self-contained molecule mind – constitute the elements of the evolved mind. By stringing up a network of neurons, a roundworm can evaluate sensory inputs, mulling over factors such as temperature, salinity, moisture, odor, texture and vibration before making a decision. The roundworm doesn't just sense but perceives, that is, identifies patterns in sensory inputs.
The insect goes one step further by not only perceiving patterns but integrating them into a representation. This is the beginning of the modular mind. A fly, for instance, has a module for each sensory mode such as vision or odor, with each module combining sensory and pattern-crunching neurons. Integrating the outputs of all its modules generates an idea or representation of what the fly is encountering.
Anything that sleeps, including insects, is conscious upon awakening. But if consciousness is to mean something more than just sensory awareness, its true dawn is the advent of vertebrates. Fish demonstrate true consciousness with their amazing ability to see what's not there. To avoid being fooled by camouflaged prey, the mind of a predatory fish must be able to fill in the missing pieces of a partially blocked image, whether the obstruction is in the sea or the fish's retina. Because its image of the world is processed and modified, the fish doesn't see exactly what's in front of it, and this opens the door to optical illusions. The key point is that the fish isn't conscious of the raw image on its retina. Consciousness is like a spectator at a play. It knows only what the unconscious mind stages for it. By itself the visual module is unconscious, likewise for the module that organizes actions like darting about or feeding. Consciousness is founded on the buzz of inter-module communication.
The questions a reporter asks – what, where, when, how, why – are exactly what define the modules of the mind. As the "what" module constructs a detailed description of a thing or event, the "where" and "when" modules provide context. The "why" module, a development of the primate mind, sorts out the meaning and is therefore tied in with emotion. As the modules do the footwork, the individual consciously sets a goal and decides on a course of action. The "how" module then executes the decision.
But the evolution of the mind from molecular to neuronal to modular doesn't stop with the individual. Like birds merging into an "intermind dynamic" via birdsong, each human mind is a building block of a language-mediated "supermind." What distinguishes language from chirping is symbolic meaning. The world outside is recreated within as symbol, and this mental recapitulation of the world is generated collectively. Culture, say the authors, is a form of thinking common to many minds. In this case the thinking elements are us.
Stories, songs, histories and recipes all record innovations or observations made by individuals that later became shared wisdom. “Through language, a supermind can build a collective 'brain' that can survive the death of its people-neurons.” Even individual words serve to perpetuate collective knowledge. You may never have encountered a scythe, but you know such a thing exists because you have the word.
Whereas culture is generally seen as a passive expression of human consciousness, the concept of supermind reflects the ability of culture to turn around and actively shape human thought and behavior, even pressuring us to conform to that template. Like Freud's superego – the mechanism by which parental instructions and commands become internalized as the child matures – supermind is the tendency of cultural norms to implant themselves in the psyche. The psychologist Merlin Donald refers to this as cultural programming. So seamless is the programming that the individual can easily mistake it for independent judgment.
Supermind can encourage us to be more rational or productive or – because it lacks personal judgment and intelligence – can make us abandon reason in favor of a senseless belief system. Conforming to cultural imperatives can mean treating each other with respect and kindness or it can mean blaming calamities on witches and burning them at the stake.
Yet Ogas and Gaddam attribute not only the power of reason but even consciousness itself to supermind. Intense media attention, for instance, triggered the national supermind to become conscious of the murder of George Floyd. The culturally imposed bias for materialist philosophy seems to have caused the authors to apply to supermind every element of human mentality. “If we believe that mental dynamics are physical dynamics, then any sufficiently advanced supermind is fully capable of perceiving, knowing, feeling, acting – and speaking.” If the mind is nothing more than the interactions of molecules, neurons and modules, how are the interactions of people any different? By this logic whatever properties belong to the individual mind must also exist in supermind.
What the authors mean by "physical" is Newtonian mechanics, thermodynamics, etc. The problem here is that we've known for nearly a century now that classical physics is merely approximate. The fundamental theory of matter is quantum, and quantum mechanics could hardly be more at odds with its predecessor. In classical physics researchers examine the world directly. If you want to know the trajectory of an object, you measure its location at different moments. Simple! But when the object in question is an atom, everything changes. An atom typically exists in a state of potentiality. Only if something happens to it – for instance, a collision with another atom – does it have a particular location at a particular time. Otherwise the only way to gain knowledge of the atom is to compute its potential states by way of a mathematical device called the wave function, so named because it solves an equation just like a classical wave equation except that it makes use of imaginary numbers. Whereas a classical wave takes place in a fluid medium, the only medium of this newfangled wave is pure possibility.
Wavy imaginary potentiality? Seriously, this is physics? The new picture of reality is so bizarre that most physicists, following the example of Niels Bohr, don't even try to find the meaning of quantum mechanics. So long as researchers can go on making their calculations and measurements, the true nature of matter simply doesn't matter.
But there's a simple resolution to the problem of reality in quantum mechanics, a resolution originally proposed by Werner Heisenberg in 1958: potentiality is real. To say that a particular event takes place, like a pair of atoms colliding, is simply to say that the fundamental reality of ghostly potentiality gives way – just for an instant – to the emergent reality of tangible actuality. When the moment passes, the atoms return to their usual "wave" state of potentiality.
The implication of Heisenberg's proposal is that the moment to moment time of sensory experience is only an emergent approximation of the fundamental time of continuous potentiality, a present that never passes but remains always on the cusp of actualizing. What's funny is that this is exactly the time we experience internally throughout our lives and refer to as consciousness. We can always contemplate possible actions, but sooner or later a conflict forces us to actualize one of those potentials at a precise and fleeting moment. This is what nature is doing all the time except that when nature does it, it's called existence.
Alas, Heisenberg's conjecture about the reality of potentiality died on the vine. Except for a few renegade theorists such as Henry Stapp and Ruth Kastner, no one has followed up on it. Perhaps scientists have refused to take it seriously because it places nature in the driver's seat. If potentiality is just a different kind of reality, a sort of twilight zone between the actual and the imaginary, then nature has a mind of its own. In this case the reason quantum mechanics is the most successful theory in the history of science is that when physicists make predictions on the basis of the wave function, they're just mimicking what nature is already doing. Nature itself computes potential outcomes of events on the basis of the "probability wave" that physicists merely represent with their mathematical function. Nature, in other words, is the original thinker. Our capacity for thought is nothing more than an evolutionary elaboration on nature's computation.
Only in the culture of physics is any of this problematic. Traditionally scientists regarded nature as a feminine principle and therefore passive. Scientists, i.e. men, made calculations while nature dutifully obeyed the outcomes. Now to find that nature continually molds all of tangible reality in accord with her calculations is beyond the pale. You mean we've been her plaything all along instead of the other way around? It can't be!
Ogas and Gaddam make much of the fact that the mind is holistic, but they don't seem to know what that means. If holism is just the dynamic interaction of parts, as they claim, then even a machine is holistic. What makes on organism holistic is that the parts express the whole. Rather than emerge from the dynamics of its cells, the embryo initially takes shape as a whole and literally fleshes out as its cells take on specialized roles. Likewise, as demonstrated in the phenomenon of quantum entanglement, a multi-particle system is determined at the level of the whole, that is, the probability wave.
A mind is holistic in the same sense of a quantum system. In both cases computations (thoughts) are carried out in a continuous state of potentiality (consciousness) until a discontinuous event forces a definitive outcome (behavior). How has this parallel been neglected for so long?
Perhaps it's a cultural bias, in this case the idea that we can pretend classical physics is fundamental any time we're dealing with phenomena beyond the atomic scale. Yet it's only by accident that the probabilistic signature of the wave function washes out with scale. Thanks to laboratory experiments we know that extremely low temperatures or high pressures can preserve the wave state indefinitely at visible scale. So the question is whether nature has an organic method of resurrecting the probability wave at the large scale.
Ogas and Gaddam note the curious resemblance of minds and hurricanes. Both types of system are processes rather than static objects. Like a mind, a hurricane is a self-organized system, meaning that no physical principle sculpted it or mechanically forced it into being. Rather than the shape of the hurricane following from the properties of the atoms comprising it, the motions of the atoms are determined by the way the hurricane as a whole channels energy. Believe it or not, the hurricane has a purpose, not to destroy all in its path but simply to eliminate the temperature difference between the warm surface of the ocean and the upper atmosphere. When that gradient is eliminated, the hurricane disappears. As famously illustrated in the extreme case of a vacuum, nature abhors local differentials and seeks to destroy them, that is, to restore evenness and harmony.
Perhaps the sudden emergence of a hurricane is the result of nature computing the most efficient means of eliminating the odious temperature gradient between ocean and sky. The organism also seeks to destroy gradients, for instance the difference between how much oxygen or water or food it needs and how much it currently has. If there's a gap, the organism calculates how best to channel energy flow so as to meet its needs. In the end, whether quantum, atmospheric or biological, it all boils down to nature's computation. Though ordinarily inapplicable in the macroscopic, quantum waviness seems to reinstate via energy flow.
Since the fundamental reality is more like thought than matter, why assume the mind is really just the workings of the brain? Given our predilection for imagination and symbolic representation, how can we equate ourselves to mere stuff? Though it makes no sense, the materialist view of mentality is culturally ingrained and therefore enforced by supermind.
It must be noted, however, that consciousness is the most matter-dependent aspect of the mind. As the authors themselves painstakingly demonstrate, consciousness evolved to its human degree of refinement over eons of evolution. Only in the context of the right kind of embodiment does continuous potentiality amount to consciousness. Lacking its own brain, supermind has no more capacity than a hurricane for self-reflection or reason.
If supermind is the imperative to adopt cultural norms – and taboo is its power to instill fear and shame in anyone who defies them – then the complete absence of any discussion of nature as the original thinker and man as mere imitator can be chalked up to supermind. We can't break out of old patterns of thought when our own mental offspring makes us feel like we're crazy if we take an alternative point of view.
Ogas and Gaddam are well aware that the influence of supermind isn't always benign. The persistence of slavery in the US South, fueled by ingrained racism, is an obvious example. But the authors unknowingly promote another form of bigotry, this one directed at Slavs and best known for its Russophobic variant. Even after its forerunner lost the Cold War, "modern Russia," say the authors, "remains an uncowed and cunning adversary of the American supermind." They go so far as to analogize the US with a primate while implying that Russia, like the antebellum South, is a lower life form, "and it's always possible for a viper or a spider or even an amoeba to take down a primate."
When Russian troops began amassing at the Ukrainian border, the dominant media in the West portrayed the reaction in Washington as shock and horror. Are the Russians really going to invade Ukraine? Why would they do such a terrible thing? Don't they know Ukraine has a sovereign right to join NATO?
Though NATO was ostensibly formed to counter a hypothetical Soviet invasion of western Europe, after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO not only failed to dissolve but expanded eastward, revealing its true purpose as US power projection in Europe. The 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, which violated international law, removed any doubt that NATO is offensive, not defensive. Subsequent attacks on Libya and Afghanistan revealed it as a repeat offender. Add to the mix the illegal 2003 US-UK invasion of Iraq and it's clear that the West has a pervasive pattern of criminality and violence. This is why NATO's drive to expand all the way to Russia's 1400-mile border with Ukraine has triggered fierce resistance.
But most Americans can't comprehend that Russians feel threatened by NATO incursion. Under the spell of supermind, we see ourselves as "the good guys," bearers of freedom and prosperity, a light unto all nations. Given our innate goodness, why would anyone feel the need to defend against us? By this view the only conceivable reason for Putin's war against Ukraine is to recreate the Russian Empire. But if that were the case, why did he wait until NATO had spent years training and arming the Ukrainian military? Ukraine decisively turned to the West – and became a hostile power on Russia's doorstep – following a US-backed coup in 2014. If Putin just wanted to grab some land and resources, why not invade back then, when Ukraine was still weak, unless the actual reason for invading was in response to NATO's militarization of a newly hostile country? There's no logic to the Western reaction to the war, only the illogic of supermind.
Caught between a taunting bully and a domestic constituency that expected him to take a stand, Putin ordered troops to the border and then requested negotiations. What he wanted was protection of persecuted Russian-speaking people in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine and a guarantee that NATO would back off and give Russia some breathing room. That Biden refused to negotiate despite knowing perfectly well the likely Russian response indicates that he welcomed the invasion. And why wouldn't he? Aside from locking Putin into an Afghanistan-like quagmire, the invasion gave Biden an excuse to slap sanctions on Russia and steal $300 billion of its foreign reserves, thereby weakening it as a rival to US power. The bloody consequences of this war stem from not only the invasion itself but US refusal to recognize the legitimate security concerns of a demonized opponent.
Putin had been warning NATO leaders since 2008 that adding Ukraine to the alliance was unacceptable, a red line that must not be crossed. By dramatically stepping up the flow of weaponry into Ukraine, Biden ensured that Putin would feel maximally humiliated if he failed to take action. The US preyed on his human frailty, his sense of shame – of failed manhood – if he didn't take a stand. How could he do nothing in response to NATO military exercises within miles of his border and intensified shelling by the Ukrainian government of its own Russian-speaking citizens? By systematically exploiting Putin's all-too-human need for respect, the West revealed its inhuman core.
Empathizing with the designated villain means exposing yourself to the contagion of taboo. If you take on Putin's point of view, you're as bad as he is. The only legitimate perspective is ours. This of course is clinical narcissism, an unusual condition in individuals but entirely predictable in supermind, which has no consciousness and therefore no capacity for compassion or self-evaluation. Malignant narcissism explains the absence of empathy, the coldhearted manipulation of Ukraine in the service of US power projection, the unwillingness to negotiate due to expectations of automatic compliance, the megalomaniacal delusion of endless global dominance. We don't acknowledge our criminality because we think we're so great and special and indispensable that the rules don't apply to US. Freud's term for the narcissist was the "exception." By branding ourselves the exceptional nation, we unknowingly broadcast to the world our collective pathology.
Ogas and Gaddam seem to think the Western supermind has been brought to heel. Isn't slavery a thing of the past? It may be, but anti-Slav bigotry, the source of the term "slave," hasn't missed a beat. Indeed, dehumanizing Slavs is the last respectable form of racism in the liberal West. The same entity that enabled our forebears to not only justify but celebrate slavery has now convinced Americans and Europeans that fueling the continued destruction of Ukraine with ever more guns and drones and missiles is just a heartfelt show of support for its sovereignty.
Granted, the power elite enjoy "cultural hegemony," in Gramsci's words. No dissent on the issue is allowed in the corporate media. But most people, at least for now, are so committed to the lie that telling them the truth makes no difference anyway. Top US security state leaders, on the other hand, know exactly what's going on and are delighted, regardless of the terrible suffering in Ukraine, to see Russia getting a black eye. Only the general population genuinely fears Russian and Chinese designs against the West and has no idea that the threats and warnings coming out of Washington are just geopolitics, the Great Game, Western Empire Inc.
Supermind is at work when you feel the power of the herd arising diabolically from within as if it's your own judgment telling you to ignore all facts and reason and "get with the program." What makes its power so insidious is that the culture into which we're linguistically embedded is ordinarily benign. The same force that justifies lethal power projection also tells us, as individuals, to respect each other's boundaries. The only way to disentangle the bad from the good, to throw out the cult but keep the culture, is to expose this blind force of nature – the latest elaboration of wave computation – to the light of consciousness.
MOTA: GOOD NIGHT RADIO live from Franklin St. all night Friday night!
Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is about 5:30pm. Or send it whenever it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week.
Plus you can phone during the show and read your work in your own voice. I'll be in the cluttered but clean well-lighted back room of KNYO's storefront studio at 325 N. Franklin, where the number is 1-(707) 962-3022. If you can't or won't control yourself from swearing, wait until after 10pm, so not to agitate the weasels.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via http://airtime.knyo.org:8040/128 (That's the regular link to listen to KNYO in real time.) (Or just go to KNYO.org and click /Listen/. And the schedule is there for KNYO's many other terrific shows.)
Any day or night you can go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's MOTA show. By Saturday night the recording of tonight's show will also be there.
Besides all that, there you'll discover a metaphorical cigar box in a hole in the bathroom tile, down by the floor, to open and wonder at the educational treasures inside of until showtime, or anytime, such as:
"These two tiny fluffballs have no conception of the danger beneath the lilies."
Who has fifty a month to throw away on frills?
So different from the old days, ahem, when also nobody wanted to work, but nobody wanted to work in buggy-whip factories or corset sweatshops.
And move along, move along, nothing to see, here, folks, just a bunch of filthy hyenas eating a giraffe off the rich people's golf course.
— Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
BARBARA EHRENREICH, EXPLORER OF PROSPERITY’S DARK SIDE, DIES AT 81
Ms. Ehrenreich, the journalist, activist and author, died at 81 on Thursday at a hospice facility in Alexandria, Va., where she also had a home. Her daughter, Rosa Brooks, said the cause was a stroke.…