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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022

Hot Hoy | Cut Flowers | Excessive Heat | Bunyan Paraders | Cooling Stations | Long Valley | Ranking Heat | Lafayeete Woodward | Eminent Domain | Sharkey Paintings | Litterman | Priscilla Lemos | Budget Adoption | Log Ride | Ed Notes | Cameron Couple | Pomo Art | Yesterday's Catch | Family Events | Manuel Fayal | Salmon Dying | Nerd Humor | Warning Signs | Centerfield | Question Facing | Rooster Helmet | Crypto Teen | Pin Setters | Labor Day | BBQ Wish | Double Standard | Artillery Spotter | Failed Democracy | Devil Reading | Gorby Failed | Moscow March | Great Re-set | Lilies

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TEMPERATURES WILL PEAK TODAY across the interior with highs of 105 to 115. Much cooler temperatures and some late night and morning low clouds and fog will still be found along the coast. Temperatures across the interior will slowly cool through the remainder of the week, followed by a more robust cooling trend starting this weekend. There is a chance for thunderstorms for the interior on Wednesday. (NWS)

YESTERDAY'S HIGHS: Yorkville 112°, Ukiah 111°, Covelo 108°, Boonville 107°, Fort Bragg 66°

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photo by Dick Whetstone

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HEAT WARNING EXTENDED TO THURSDAY

by Martin Espinoza

Temperatures in several locations across Sonoma County soared past 110 on Monday, with some places setting records on what was the first big day of an excessive heat warning that’s expected to last through the week.

Temperatures exceeded those that had been forecast for the Labor Day holiday. Santa Rosa, which was expected to see temperatures between 104 and 106, broke a few records with an official high of 112.

That broke the previous official record for the day, 101, set in 2008, according to the National Weather Service. It also breaks previous high temperature for September, which was 110 back in 2020, 2017 and 1971, said weather service forecaster Sean Miller.

Miller said the hottest locations in Sonoma County were in the area between the Russian River, Windsor and the Sonoma County Airport, where unofficial temperatures reached as high as 115.

The unofficial temperature in Petaluma hit 108 and outside of the town of Sonoma, in the hills, it got to 114, Miller said. Cloverdale got between 107 and 113; Healdsburg reached between 112 and 114; and Windsor hit 115.

Miller said Santa Rosa’s official high missed the all-time high of 113 for July 11, 1913, a record that could be surpassed tomorrow.

“If we have a shot, tomorrow is going to be similar temperature wise to today,” Miller said. “So that will probably tell the story It could be a couple degrees warmer, it could be a couple of degrees cooler. So if we’re going to do it, tomorrow will be the day.”

The cause of the heat is a high pressure phenomenon known as a heat dome, which traps hot air beneath it. The weather pattern triggered one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the Bay Area Monday, 116 in Fairfield.

On Monday morning, the National Weather Service extended this week’s excessive heat warning to Thursday, with the risk level for heat related illness for people, animals and pets in the interior North Bay expected to reach “extreme.”

Throughout the day, paramedics and EMTs were kept buy responding to numerous emergency calls for people passing out or experiencing dizziness because of the heat. Among the most vulnerable are the elderly, as well as homeless people, many of whom had no way of escaping the heat except through the shade of a tree or building wall.

While authorities recommended that residents stay inside, Suzana Perez, 32, of Santa Rosa set out with her husband Gavino Vasquez and other family members to provide some relief to those who were suffering the most from the heat.

At about 10:30 a.m., they packed up their black GMC Sierra with bags of ice, water bottles of all sizes; cans of soda and Popsicles and roamed the streets of Santa Rosa.

They drove down Santa Rosa Avenue and Mendocino Avenue, stopping briefly when they encountered people on the street taking cover from the sun in whatever shade they could find. Perez’s cousins Francisco Ramos and Maricela Perez, as well as Maricela’s daughter Ariana Aguirre, helped distribute the water and ice.

“I like to make sure people are drinking and eating just like we are, every day,” Suzana Perez said.

Off Sebastopol roads, about a dozen people living in campers, tents and cars gladly took water and bags of ice. One man, who asked that his name not be used, packed a medium sized ice chest with ice, water and a few cans of soda.

“Two people fainted on the corner there this morning,” the man said.

Over the weekend, weather officials had previously forecast that temperatures would begin easing back into the 90s on Wednesday. While that’s true, Thursday will once again bring what the Weather Service is calling “oppressive heat.”.

Brooke Bingaman, a weather service forecaster, said interior North Bay residents will have to endure triple digit temperatures through the week.

Authorities advise area residents and visitors to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, keep out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.

Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

The extreme heat compounds concerns about wildfires. State Sen. Mike McGuire on Monday said fire officials are preparing firefighting resources throughout the state.

“This represents the largest pre-positioning deployment in the state’s history,” McGuire said. “Twenty counties are receiving enhanced firefighting resources, fire engines, bulldozers, water tenders, and additional personnel.”

McGuire said the state will be vigilant over the next four to five days. “We’re worried about lightning in Southern California, we’re worried about traditional fire starts here in Northern California,” he said.

Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma counties are receiving enhanced firefighting resources, including additional bulldozers, fire engines and water tenders. “We’ve learned a lot since the Tubbs Fire” of 2017, he said.

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LOCAL COOLING STATIONS:

–Ukiah Valley Conference Center, 200 S. School Street, Cooling/Hydration Station, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

–Ukiah Senior Center, 499 Leslie Street, Main Hall – Cooling Station, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

–Ukiah Library, 105 N. Main Street, Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Closed Monday

–Ukiah Civic Center, 300 Seminary Avenue, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

–The ARRC – Alex Rorabaugh Center, 1640 South State Street, #1, Ukiah, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

–Willits City Hall, 111 E. Commercial Street, Community Center – Cooling Station, Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

–Boonville Senior Center, 14470 Highway 128, Boonville, CA, 707 895-3609


UKIAH’S COOLING CENTER

Public Health has declared a heat emergency for the interior valleys of Mendocino County due to extremely high forecasted daytime temperatures. The heat emergency is expected to end at 8 PM on Friday, Sept. 9.

The heat emergency applies to the Ukiah and Potter Valley areas, where high temperatures are forecast to exceed 110 degrees, although the rest of the county will also experience extreme heat away from the coast. The City of Ukiah will open a cooling center at the Civic Center where people can escape the heat this week. Hours will be extended if rolling power outages occur:

Open today (Monday, 9/5) from 12 PM - 8 PM  Open Tuesday-Friday from 8 AM - 8 PM.  300 Seminary Ave, Ukiah, CA 95482

Excessive heat poses a real health risk, particularly to those who work outdoors, the elderly, young children, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases. Mendocino County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Charlie Evans is urging residents to make a plan to stay cool and look out for friends and neighbors: “Keep in close contact with family, friends and neighbors, especially those who have preexisting medical conditions or work outdoors. It’s important to remind one another to seek shade, drink water and get medical assistance if signs of heat fatigue become visible.”

To protect yourself and your family when the weather is very hot, follow the tips below:

  • Never leave anyone including children or pets in a parked car, even briefly.
  • Don’t work outdoors alone. Consider working a flex schedule to avoid the hottest time of day, 12-6 PM.
  • Use air-conditioning to cool down or go to an air-conditioned building.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids.

Public Health will continue to monitor the situation and give updates as needed. You can also reach the Public Health Call Center at 707-472-2759, Mon - Fri, 8:30 AM - 5 PM.

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Cahto, Long Valley (photo by M.M. Hazeltine, circa 1868)

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SWELTERING CALIFORNIA COULD BECOME THE FIRST STATE TO RANK HEAT WAVES

by Dustin Gardiner

When natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires or tornadoes strike in the United States, the calamities are given rankings and names to emphasize the havoc they wreak.

But no similar ranking system exists to highlight the deadly toll of extreme heat, such as the scorching heat wave that baked the state over the weekend and was expected to worsen heading into the Labor Day holiday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has a bill on his desk that could change that by requiring the state to start ranking the severity of extreme heat events.

AB2238 would require California’s Environmental Protection Agency to create a new ranking system no later than Jan. 1, 2025. Supporters say the harm caused by heat waves is exacerbated by the lack of a clear communication tool to warn the public about dangerously high temperatures.

State Assembly Member Luz Rivas, D-Los Angeles, said heat waves are a silent killer because, although they kill more peoplethan other extreme weather events, their toll often goes unnoticed and unreported until much later, particularly in vulnerable communities.

“Extreme heat kills, and we know it disproportionately affects lower-income communities because those individuals do not have the ability to escape the heat,” Rivas said in a statement. “We need bold action now.”

State legislators passed Rivas’ proposal before they adjourned for the year last week. If Newsom signs the bill into law, California would be the first state to have such a ranking system for heat waves.

(SF Chronicle)

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Lafayette Woodward, Mendocino's First Postmaster, 1850

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BRUCE BRODERICK: 

The Corporate Monopoly, Eminent Domain Scam In A Nutshell.

Mike Hart in his own words on Eminent Domain. Mike Hart is the CEO of Mendocino Railway’s parent company, Sierra Railroad. 

Mike Hart speaking: “I started buying railroads back in the 90’s. I like them because they’re a good way of acquiring real estate. Once you have the railroad you have the right of Eminent Domain, you’re not subject to a lot of laws that other companies are, there’s a lot of cool things that railroads have going for them. So I started buying railroads as a way to control quarries as a way to corner the market for sand. Once I figured out how it works as a monopoly, if you buy four railroads you can cover the rent. I bought my fourth railroad and told everyone I was going to double their rate. They thought I was kidding.”

So we know that most of what Mendocino Railway tells us is BS. It’s only a way of acquiring real estate. It’s easy when you can bend or break the laws to your own benefit.

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BEAUTIFUL PAINTINGS BY VIRGINIA SHARKEY at Partners Gallery

In September Partners Gallery is exhibiting the work of Virginia Sharkey in a show called 12:12: Approaching Light.

September 8 - October 3 — Second Saturday Meet the Artist, September 10, 5-7pm

The subject of Virginia Sharkey’s large-scale abstract paintings is time; a presentation most specifically of a series of tone poems to noon and midnight meant to convey, in vivid color and simple line, the energy and feeling of these opposite 12’s. The subjects are mystery, radiance, surprise and the search for perfection. A re-reading of Dante’s *Divine Comedy *and his three stages of the soul’s progress towards heaven inspired, in paint and collage, the large “Commedia.”

The gallery is located at 45062 Ukiah St in Mendocino. Hours are Thursday through Monday 11am - 5pm.

www.partnersgallery.com

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WHO DARES SAY CRAIG’S A DEADBEAT? The Guy’s Out There In The Ukiah Oven Tidying Up South State Street!

On the way to Plowshares today, once again picked up litter between Building Bridges homeless shelter located at 1045 S. State Street, and the Catholic Worker inspired free meal kitchen. Walked back on the other side of the street as well, all the way to Thomas Street, removing litter. Aside from the larger bags of trash left there by the ne’er do wells, plus a couple of filled shopping carts which the City of Ukiah/Mendocino County will have to collect, it is lookin’ good on both sides of South State Street. I wish the City of Ukiah/Mendocino County to know that the homeless at Building Bridges represent a positive social factor, and are more than “not a problem.” Please remember this when it is time to consider increasing the budget for Redwood Community Services/Building Bridges. Thank you very much,

Craig Louis Stehr

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Ms. Priscilla Lemos, 1927

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RETIRED AUDITOR STAFFER NORM THURSTON EXPLAINS ‘BUDGET ADOPTION’:

With regards to the County budget page, the “Estimated” column usually represents the amount estimated by the Department preparing the estimate, which in the case is probably the Auditor’s Office. The amounts appearing are most likely a good-faith, conservative estimate, using the best information available at the time. Conservative estimates of revenues reduce the chance that there will be a short-fall in revenues by the end of the fiscal year (a practice I endorse). 

The “Adopted” column is the estimate the CEO’s Office wants the Board to adopt, and the Department may or may not agree with that estimate. There may be motivation to over-estimate revenues in order to balance the budget, especially if it appears that a different Department was responsible for preparing that budget estimate.

The County follows a formal process, whereby the budget must be “adopted” by the Board of Supervisors by a certain date (maybe 3 months after the beginning of the fiscal year), but in recent years the budget has been adopted much earlier. Following submission from the Departments, but prior to adoption by the Board, the CEO’s office may enter any changes the deem desirable, without a formal process. Following adoption, the budget can only be adjusted with Board approval.

The Auditor-Controller is in the process of closing-out the 2021-22 fiscal year. Once that is finished, a comparison of budgeted vs. actual amounts for these revenue accounts (and all other accounts) should be available from the Auditor-Controller. To the extent that actual revenues are below budgeted amounts there will be less funds than originally anticipated to carry-over to the following year.

Happy Labor Day! I hope the County’s SEIU employees get the raise they deserve.

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Mendocino Lumber Company

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ED NOTES

AV SCHOOL SUPE, LOUISE SIMSON: “I have had a few people reach out to me about the situation with the extreme heat and school activities. School is in session, UNLESS we have an unforeseen PG&E outage. Please send your student to school with water and fluids, have them dress appropriately for the conditions (please follow dress code, but shorts instead of pants etc…).  We are modifying p.e. schedules, and some sporting events and practices may be rescheduled.”

REPUBLICANS are blaming Democrats and teachers’ unions for keeping classroom doors closed through much of the covid pandemic. Reading scores saw their largest drop in three decades and math scores fell for the first time since records began, according to a new report from the federal government’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

CASTING my admittedly jaundiced eye at the Republican’s charge that the little ones aren’t reading too well, I’d say that any adult person claiming full reading comprehension who thinks either Trump or Biden is presidential material is reading a stutter step, if that, ahead of the nation’s third graders.

I NEVER DRANK much in bars even when I was drinking. I couldn’t afford it anyway, and I always wondered how the barroom juicers could. But I do have one wish in the old bucket — Bobby Beacon’s nationally famous Beacon Light By The Sea, just south of Elk. The proprietor won’t remember, but one hot summer day, a cadre of juvenile delinquents in tow, we hiked due west from up on Greenwood, destination the Pacific Ocean. It was an effort, with the delinquents threatening to turn us in for child abuse much of the way. As we finally got to where we could smell the sea, here comes a big guy on a four-wheeler with a rifle strapped across his chest and a pistol in his hand. He wasn’t happy to see us, to put it gently. He yelled about trespassers and private property for a few minutes then, and I’ll never forget this, he said, “What the hell. Walk on down to my place and I’ll give you people something to drink.” The guy will always get high marks from me for his generosity that day.

WHILE we’re at my awards ceremony on this scorcher of an afternoon, I’ve also got a trophy for Barry Vogel, the long-time Ukiah-based attorney whose interviews on KZYX represent an audio history of the county from 1991 until today. I encountered Vogel esquire at the Murray sentencing last week as he exited an adjacent courtroom where he said he was helping out with the defense in a landlord-tenant dispute. Because his interviews are always interesting, KZYX plays them at 6am on Saturday mornings, saving most of the chronophagic talk the station specializes in for the hours most people are awake. Vogel has recorded many local luminaries for a body of work crucial to the memory of this unique county. (Chronophage, n. Time-waster)

WELL, SHUT MY MOUTH. Ukiah has not only opened a cooling station, it’s at the Ukiah Civic Center! I’d assumed (1) it wouldn’t occur to city management to share their AC with the rabble and (2) they’d share their AC at the Civic Center.

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Margaret and George Cameron, 1900

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GRACE HUDSON MUSEUM OPENS ‘Gathering Time: Pomo Art During the Pandemic’ Sept. 2

Ukiah’s Grace Hudson Museum will open its newest special exhibition that features Pomo artists from Lake and neighboring counties in the region this Friday, Sept. 2. 

“Gathering Time: Pomo Art During the Pandemic” features the artwork of 15 different contemporary Pomo artists, representing 10 Pomo tribal groups that span Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties. 

The show encompasses multiple art forms, including painting, photography, basket weaving, regalia, jewelry and digital media. 

The museum invites the public to join in the opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. as part of the city of Ukiah’s monthly First Friday Art Walk. 

The celebration will include brief remarks at around 6 p.m., followed by a special performance by the Hopland Pomo Dancers. 

The exhibition will run through Jan. 15, 2023.

While the Grace Hudson Museum has mounted numerous shows in its 36-year history presenting both historic and contemporary Native arts, and maintains a core gallery devoted solely to Pomo basketry, “Gathering Time” will be its first exhibition to exclusively showcase contemporary Pomo artists and the diversity of mediums in which they work.

Tonight Meadowlark Looks Out over Xabatin by Meyo Marrufo

The museum engaged Meyo Marrufo, an established artist, curator, and educator, from the Robinson Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians to guest curate the exhibition. 

“Meyo has extensive connections with Pomo communities and artists throughout the local region,” said David Burton, the museum’s director. “It is incredibly important when presenting any sort of programming about Native peoples that we have the guidance, perspective, and voice of content experts and interpreters from those communities, and Meyo certainly has provided that.”

Marrufo’s recent curatorial credits include exhibitions at the Museum of Northern California in Chico and at the Mendocino Art Center.

She was also a collaborating community curator for the exhibition Jules Tavernier and the Elem Pomo, organized and presented by The Metropolitan Museum in New York and the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

“For our show,” Burton continued, “it was very important to Meyo that the pandemic play a significant role, given its impact and relevancy.” 

Marrufo drew on material that was predominantly made after the onset of COVID-19. “The art,” said Marrufo, “reflects the trauma of the pandemic in Pomo communities, but also the power of the arts — both traditional and modern — to connect individuals and promote healing.”

She further remarks that Pomo peoples have always been superb artists. “Art is in our genetic memory. Just as Pomo people used art as a survival method during previous traumatic events, including earlier pandemics, they did so over the last few years.”

Pomo girl dancer by Donna Ramirez

Traditionally, “gathering time” is when Pomo peoples come together with one another to harvest basketry materials and traditional foods, and to share traditions and stories. 

The exhibition provides an avenue for gathering of a different kind, one that both demonstrates the resiliency of Pomo peoples and celebrates the power of creativity to reaffirm their cultures.

The museum has planned a number of programs to accompany the exhibition. 

These include three in-person artist panels, the first on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 11 a.m. featuring Katie Williams-Elliot (Hopland Tribe), Donna Ramirez (Cloverdale Rancheria) and Eric Wilder (Kashia Pomo, Stewarts Point Rancheria) discussing their work in two-dimensional media. Subsequent artist panels will focus on basket weaving and regalia making.

“Gathering Time: Pomo Art During the Pandemic” was made possible by the generous support from Sherwood Valley Rancheria, Robinson Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, Guidiville Indian Rancheria, Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians and California Humanities, a nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, September 5, 2022

Bakewell, Bechtol, Berlow

NICHOLAS BAKEWELL, Willits. DUI, addict driving vehicle, pot for sale, paraphernalia.

EMMA BECHTOL, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

NOAH BERLOW, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Reckless evasion, failure to appear.

Delaherra, Eastman, Hefte, Jimenez

YECSON DELAHERRERA-RIVERA, Ukiah. Under influence.

RICHARD EASTMAN, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, paraphernalia.

CHRISTOPHER HEFTE, Willits. Protective order violation.

ERNESTO JIMENEZ-MARRON, Fort Bragg. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, cruelty to child with injury.

Lucier, Needs, Ryken

MARSHALL LUCIER, Fort Bragg. Grossly negligent discharge of firearm.

JOSHUA NEESE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, paraphernalia.

WILLIAM RYKEN JR, Fort Bragg. Stolen vehicle, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, controlled substance.

Tellez, Tripp, With

LUIS TELLEZ-CABRERA, Rohnert Park/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

PERRY TRIPP, Ukiah. Threatening with intent to terrorize.

BILLY WITH II, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI.

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ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY

Something that could conceivably return after things have settled down (if ever) is the family getting together around the piano or whatever instrument someone could play. It was a feature of every Christmas and family event as a child, and these are some of my fondest memories. Children alive now will, for the most part, remember staring into their iPhones as the predominant feature of their childhoods. I don’t think it will give them any comfort.

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Azores Native Manuel Costta Fayal, Mendocino, 1918

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YUROK TRIBE DISCOVERS DISEASE-KILLED ADULT CHINOOK SALMON ON LOWER KLAMATH RIVER

by Dan Bacher

KLAMATH, CA, Sept. 2 - Over the past week, the Yurok Tribe has discovered a total of approximately 65 dead adult Chinook salmon in the lower Klamath River.

In the past three days, Yurok Fisheries Department monitoring crew observed approximately 30 dead salmon, according to a press statement from the Tribe.  Last weekend, the Department discovered approximately 35 disease-killed adult salmon and many other sick fish on a 40-mile segment of river from Blakes Riffle to Weitchpec,

The Fisheries Department continues to monitor the Klamath River for sick and dying salmon. The Tribe said the current quantity of dead fish does not yet constitute a “major fish kill event,” which is characterized by 50 fresh dead salmon in a 20-kilometer reach.

The Tribe’s team of fisheries experts said they expect more fish to die, but it is too early to tell if there will be a catastrophic disease outbreak.

The fish died from Columnaris, also known as gill rot. In addition to surveying for dead fish, the department is capturing and analyzing fish for the presence of Columnaris and Ichthyophthirius multifiliis or Ich.

“Many of the sampled salmon have tested positive for both diseases, but the Ich infections are not yet severe enough to kill the fish and it appears that all of the mortalities have been caused by Columnaris,” the Tribe stated.

The Tribe said Ich is the primary pathogen responsible for killing more than 60,000 adult salmon on the Klamath in September of 2002. The 20th anniversary of the historic fish kill, when over 60,000 salmon perished in low, warm water conditions on the river, is in less than a month.

“The number of dead fish is alarming but not surprising given the poor river conditions,” said Yurok Fisheries Department Director Barry McCovey Jr. “We are keeping a close eye on the river and will continue to monitor for disease and deceased fish until the conclusion of the fall run. We will be working closely with the Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes and our federal and state partners to assess fish health and to strategize on any necessary response.”

McCovey said the sick and dead fish are believed to have staged in cooler water located at creek mouths for a long period of time. This is due to the unusually high water temperatures the river experienced during the month of August.

“Pathogens can spread quickly when large numbers of fish congregate in small pockets of water. The Tribe is working with the Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes as well as state and federal partners to determine the best course of action if disease rates spike,” added MCovey.

“Earlier this month, the Yurok Fisheries Department’s fish disease monitoring crew confirmed the presence of Columnaris and Ich in the Klamath. To improve conditions, the Yurok and Hoopa Valley Tribes successfully advocated for additional water to be released from the Lewiston Reservoir on the Trinity River, the Klamath’s largest tributary,” McCovey said.

The Tribe said the Bureau of Reclamation is releasing enough water to keep Klamath flows at 2,800 cfs until September 21. This management strategy aims to cool the river and encourage salmon to disperse throughout the system.

“A new pulse of migrating salmon has entered the river. Hopefully, these fish will spread out and migrate upstream, rather than concentrate at creek mouths,” the Tribe continued.

The Tribe said it remains concerned about the fish run and will continue to monitor the Klamath until the salmon spawning migrations concludes. In order to successfully reproduce, many of these salmon must travel more than 100 miles and remain healthy for a month or longer.

“Due to water quality issues caused by the Klamath dams, fish that spawn in the upper reaches of the river — above the confluence with the Trinity River — will have to contend with even worse conditions,” the Tribe concluded.

The latest report of fish deaths follows a fish kill on the upper section of the Klamath River in the first week of August. The large fish kill of multiple species was spurred by a massive debris flow into the Klamath River resulting from the McKinney Fire. according to the Karuk Tribe.

“Tens of thousands of fish, including suckers, juvenile salmon, lamprey eel, crayfish and resident trout/steelhead have perished in this fish kill,” said Craig Tucker, consultant for the Karuk Tribe. The impact was limited to 50 miles in the reach between Humbug Creek and Indian Creek.

For the Yurok and Karuk tribes that live on the Klamath River and the Hoopa Valley Tribe that lives on the Trinity River, the salmon are central to their culture, traditions and ceremonies.

The Klamath River is the second largest salmon producer in California — and ocean recreational and commercial fishing seasons in California are crafted around the numbers of fall-run Chinook salmon that return to the river each year.

On August 26, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released a final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) recommending the removal of the lower four Klamath River Dams:

https://www.dailykos.com/story/2022/8/26/2119076/-FERC-Staff-Finalizes-Recommendation-to-Remove-PacifiCorp-s-Lower-Four-Klamath-River-Dams

Dam removal on the Klamath will open up over 240 stream-miles of salmon and steelhead habitat that has been blocked to fish migration for over 100 years. The project, the largest of its kind in U.S. history, is funded by dam owner PacifiCorp and a voter-approved California bond measure.

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WARNING SIGNS

Editor: 

Whether or not one believes our combustion of fossil fuels causes climate change, I’d expect we all might agree that signs are flashing out their warnings that we are at this moment imperiled by global catastrophe.

You’d think that with life on Earth in such crisis, we’d at the least be talking about what we might do about it. I can imagine us, each one, availing ourselves of daily media shows, a host of online forums and myriad gatherings for sharing ideas of what we should best be doing, individually and collectively in the face of historic fires, floods, heat waves, droughts, glacial retreat and all the rest.

We each should be talking about it, then acting. We all could be engaging in meaningful, regular, probing conversation about whether the crisis, whatever its cause, might be eased were we to reduce our reliance on gasoline and natural gas and other fuels, eat less meat, learn more about and encourage the use of carbon credits, step up to political advocacy, do better at recycling, plant more trees and on and on.

And yet what do we hear? With a grateful nod to poet-philosophers Simon and Garfunkel, it’s the sound of silence.

Chris Smith

Santa Rosa

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Willie Mays makes a leaping, one-handed catch of Duke Snider's long drive in 1954. (Charles Hoff NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

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THE QUESTION WE FACE

Meter mixed by thermo or the flying elephant

To be or not to be

that is the question facing humanity.

For it is that

the degree

to which we are battering the Earth

we are also battering

the human psyche.

The invisible hand of Adam Smith

now makes sense

As the battering ram

for so much unintended consequence.

A hundred or so years ago today

Twas Albert Camus that had his say

“Stupidity sure has a knack

for getting its way”

Not just homo but sapiens the wise

the only species

to which that applies

Methinks twould be delusion

If I proffered any conclusion

but perhaps

salvation just might visit

those of us that can and will

make the effort to adapt.

— David Severn, Philo

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Knight's Rooster Helmet, 1530

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MITCH CLOGG: NO NEED TO FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS FOR THIS POST

Couple of oddments: In the army from 1957 to 1960, I had a Top-Secret security clearance at age 19. I have no secrets to divulge. I needed the clearance because I worked in my unit’s Message Center, and we got encrypted messages from on high to deliver to our unit commander, and we deciphered them with a machine. My immediate boss was an affable drunk named Al Paquette, who was constantly being promoted to sergeant and then busted back to corporal for offenses that always stemmed from drinking.

Paquette’s duty was to train me in the intricacies of the crypto machine, but he never did, and I never cared. It looked boring, and I had little tolerance for boredom (then or now). I assumed Paquette wanted to hang onto the crypto stuff so they wouldn’t shitcan him, I didn’t question him, and he didn’t train me, aside from letting me see the gadget all the fuss was about. It was no big deal, a compact little sort’ve typewritery-looking thing in a case. I did see the decrypted bulletins, and they were equally boring, significantly more boring than, say, a Safeway inventory report.

It means more as a bragging point than it ever did at the time, but it was a serious clearance--”TOP SECRET - CRYPTO”--a higher clearance than mere top secret. I couldn’t have cared less.

I called home occasionally. Most of my immediate family had recently died in an accident, so I called Ba, my grandmother. She said, “There were some men here, asking about you. They were from the FBI. Why did they come here? They talked to the neighbors, too.”

I hadn’t a clue. The only thing I cared about was sex (which I wasn’t getting) and getting free from my self-imposed hitch in the army. I went in for guts and glory, but it turned out to be one of our brief warless stints, and the peacetime army--at least MY peacetime army--really sucked. Eventually I realized that they were checking me out for my security clearance.

Period. I write this gem because secret clearances are so in the news, as if the worst thing Donald Trump ever did was mishandle sensitive documents. The worst thing he ever did was exist, and the worst thing his mama ever did was not pinch his head off.

Amazing Tale 2

After I got out, and dropped out of a couple more colleges, I was working for a Baltimore newspaper when Spiro “Ted” Agnew entered politics, and I was assigned to cover him as Baltimore County Executive. 1962. I was 24. He was 44. We both went to Johns Hopkins University (one of my many colleges). I was then working for the Hearst paper in Baltimore, the News-American, now defunct. The press office was close to the exec’s, and he often came by to hang for a while with me and the reporter from the Baltimore Sun. 

I liked him some. He was casual and easy and smart. Tall, well-turned-out, virile-looking man. He drew up a plan to “renew” Baltimore County, which encloses the city but is separately governed. Urban Renewal was big in those prosperous postwar years. I liked his plan and wrote about it generously, with 8 x 10 glossies and all that (despite the fact that I was a Democrat).

Didn’t happen. Agnew, then considered a progressive Republican, was the first Republican to hold that office (of only two, ever), and he had a dominant Democratic Party against him. His expansive proposal went down in an election, but he won a second term, kept rising in the party, and eventually went national with Nixon. It was dismal, watching all that. His political fortunes kept pushing him to the right and the kind of gangsterhood that characterized Nixon’s life and career. Like a recent president, Nixon was ever a turd. 

Agnew was not a man of rigorous ethics, so this is not The Tragedy of Ted. It was a tragedy for the country, though, one of too many openings of Pandora’s Box in American affairs. Nixon, Raygun, all the Bushes, Trump--these men, assisted by many wretched women--have brought this country and, largely, the whole world to its current precipice. It hasn’t helped that our white-horse knights, Kennedy, Carter, Clinton and Obama, were much more about huge benefits for the few and small ones for the many than they were concerned with reviving the spirit that the good people of this country strive to keep alive.

OH! And this: Totally unrelated, I spent a couple days in company of my great-grandson Logan, here in Mendocino. He’s turning four, soon.

I’ve seen way too little of Nick & Jeannie, my grandson and his wife. Last time I saw Logan, he was still in Jeannie’s arms. Now he’s a person in his own right and a kick in the butt. Last night, we got dinner at the Mendocino Cafe and then came back here for dessert. I home-made ice cream. We all pigged out on it and other goodies until all the dinner-induced drowsiness was swept away with the sugar high. Almost-84 romped with almost 4, and it was a riot! Ernie the Cat and Shirley the dog hid, but The Kitten, confronting her first tiny person, was in heaven. Everybody howled. It was a genuine wild rumpus - daughter Molly, son-in-law Steve, grandson Nick, his wife Jeannie and GGS Logan, with Ellie and me. It’s a good thing nobody lives too close. We made a racket.

My life has not been characterized by frequent family gatherings, but this one damn near made up for years of neglect.

* * *

Pin setters in a bowling hall in Chicago, 1940s

* * *

A LESSON FOR LABOR DAY

by Marco McClean

(I opened my Labor Day weekend Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show, on KNYO-LP in Fort Bragg CA, with this.)

“...and Paul Katzeff’s Thanksgiving Coffee, in business fifty years now, and for good reason. Nineteen seventy-two to twenty-twenty-two, so far. You can learn about their products and stories, and adventures in foreign lands, by going to ThanksgivingCoffee.com.

Labor Day. It’s all about honoring the people who crank the cranks and pedal the bellows and do the work that keeps the world turning, and especially the movement for organized labor so conscienceless rich muckymucks with all the money and power have a slightly harder time of screwing you out of /your/ time and energy and life without paying you what your work is worth.

“As always on May Day and Labor Day I’m reminded of an egregious local flower of hypocrisy:

“KZYX. You’re government radio. You’re given free control and use of a vast natural resource that belongs really to all of us: three frequencies in the FM broadcast band, one of them with permission to operate at thousands of watts to blanket the county, and the CPB pays you in the six figures, more than enough to cover operating expenses. So you’re kept afloat by lots of tax money.

“And you don’t pay any of it to the local people actually doing the work the radio station pretends to be there for in the first place... The local airpeople who prepare for their shows, and show up, and do their shows, all year long all put together are paid nothing. A handful of people in the office, primarily the manager/CEO of the corporation and the program director, keep all the money for themselves. Two thousand fifty-dollar-a-year memberships is a hundred-thousand dollars. The CEO and Program Director take /all/ of that one hundred grand and put it in their own personal bank accounts...

“…That is, if I’m right about the PD getting $40,000 a year. No-one will tell me exactly what she gets because that’s one of many secrets.

“‘Where can I see a list of how much money you’re paying for the different canned shows you run,’ I asked at more than one KZYX corporate board meeting. The answer always was, ‘We can’t tell you that.’

“‘Can’t or won’t?’ And then nothing. They have the information, so it’s won’t.

“And KZYX should reveal its dark money donors. Dark money in politics and law enforcement, and cults like KZYX, is where the only people who know where that money came from are the people who accepted the bribe. Do you have a definition of dark money that’s better fits this? because I don’t.

“One board meeting I went to, they went on record to thank an anonymous donor for $25,000. (That’s enough money to pay all expenses of KNYO for two whole years.

“But I’m talking about KZYX here: I said, ‘Who gave you $25,000?’ The board guy stared straight ahead, gritted his teeth, and said, ‘An anonymous donor.’ I said, ‘Yes, but who was it?’ He repeated, gritting harder, ‘An anonymous donor.’

“That’s dark money. And that’s only one instance of it. So when you run shows about the importance of labor and the struggles of labor, and how important it is for government and business agencies and corporations to be transparent, and then you operate in the manner that you’ve been doing for decade after decade, accepting tax money and secret controlling-interest-level donations, that’s corruption, and you’re being a pack of hypocrites. And the deejays who go along with this, without demanding to be paid for their work, even if it’s only a pittance, are scabs. That’s a labor term. So… a lesson for Labor Day.

“And it’s not just KZYX. Thousands of NPR stations operate on that model. That’s just the local one.

“All of that is not to say that the airpeople aren’t good at it and don’t love it, but because it’s so nice to be on the radio they’re hurting workers everywhere. If the management’s being paid, the workers should be paid. The way they do it, you can’t do your show there unless you’re a volunteer. And if you’re a volunteer they don’t have to pay you, so they don’t. See how this works?

“Okay. Here are some items from various cornucopii of announcements, such as the Anderson Valley Advertiser, the Albion Grocery bulletin board, various post office windows, the County and Fort Bragg websites, and the MCN Announce listserv of just the last maybe couple of days...”

* * *

* * *

JEFF BLANKFORT: Phil Giraldi points the double standards when it comes to the fighting in Ukraine and Israel’s wars on Gaza:

“The point about a double standard is particularly relevant as Ukraine, which claims to be enduring a brutal Russian assault replete with war crimes, has openly endorsed Israel’s bombing and shooting of the unarmed Palestinians. Two weeks ago, Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevgen Korniychuk expressed his full support for Tel Aviv, saying “As a Ukrainian whose country is under a very brutal attack by its neighbor, I feel great sympathy towards the Israeli public. Attacks on women and children are reprehensible. Terrorism and malicious attacks against civilians are the daily reality of Israelis and Ukrainians and this appalling threat must be stopped immediately.”

* * *

The commander of a Royal Artillery battery spots for his guns from the top of a limber pole ladder.

* * *

LET’S STOP PRETENDING AMERICA IS A FUNCTIONING DEMOCRACY

A functioning democracy could easily dispatch Donald Trump and his doppelgängers. A failed democracy and bankrupt liberalism assures their ascendancy.

by Chris Hedges

There is a fatal disconnect between a political system that promises democratic equality and freedom while carrying out socioeconomic injustices that result in grotesque income inequality and political stagnation.

Decades in the making, this disconnect has extinguished American democracy. The steady stripping away of economic and political power was ignored by a hyperventilating press that thundered against the barbarians at the gate — Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, ISIS, Vladimir Putin — while ignoring the barbarians in our midst. The slow-motion coup is over. Corporations and the billionaire class have won. There are no institutions, including the press, an electoral system that is little more than legalized bribery, the imperial presidency, the courts or the penal system, that can be defined as democratic. Only the fiction of democracy remains.

The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin in Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism calls our system “inverted totalitarianism.” The façade of democratic institutions and the rhetoric, symbols and iconography of state power have not changed. The Constitution remains a sacred document. The U.S. continues to posit itself as a champion of opportunity, freedom, human rights and civil liberties, even as half the country struggles at subsistence level, militarized police gun down and imprison the poor with impunity, and the primary business of the state is war. 

This collective self-delusion masks who we have become — a nation where the citizenry has been stripped of economic and political power and where the brutal militarism we practice overseas is practiced at home.

In classical totalitarian regimes, such as Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Soviet Union, economics was subordinate to politics. But under inverted totalitarianism, the reverse is true. There is no attempt, unlike fascism and state socialism, to address to the needs of the poor. Rather, the poorer and more vulnerable you are, the more you are exploited, thrust into a hellish debt peonage from which there is no escape. Social services, from education to health care, are anemic, nonexistent or privatized to gouge the impoverished. Further ravaged by 8.5 percent inflation, wages have decelerated sharply since 1979. Jobs often do not offer benefits or security.

You can watch an interview I conducted in 2014 with Sheldon Wolin here.

In my book America: The Farewell Tour, I examined the social indicators of a nation in serious trouble. Life expectancy in the U.S. fell in 2021, for the second year in a row. There have been over 300 mass shootings this year. Close to a million people have died from drug overdoses since 1999. There are an average of 132 suicides every day. Nearly 42 percent of  the country is classified as obese, with one in 11 adults considered severely obese.

These diseases of despair are rooted in the disconnect between a society’s expectations of a better future and the reality of a system that does not provide a meaningful place for its citizens. Loss of a sustainable income and social stagnation causes more than financial distress. As Émile Durkheim points out in The Division of Labor in Society, it severs the social bonds that give us meaning. A decline in status and power, an inability to advance, a lack of education and adequate health care, and a loss of hope result in crippling forms of humiliation. This humiliation fuels loneliness, frustration, anger and feelings of worthlessness. 

In Hitler and the Germans, the political philosopher Eric Voegelin dismisses the idea that Hitler — gifted in oratory and political opportunism but poorly educated and vulgar — mesmerized and seduced the German people. The Germans, he writes, supported Hitler and the “grotesque, marginal figures” surrounding him because he embodied the pathologies of a diseased society, one beset by economic collapse and hopelessness. Voegelin defines stupidity as a “loss of reality.” The loss of reality means a “stupid” person cannot “rightly orient his action in the world, in which he lives.” The demagogue, who is always an idiote, is not a freak or social mutation. The demagogue expresses the society’s zeitgeist.

The acceleration of deindustrialization by the 1970s, as I write in America, The Farewell Tour, created a crisis that forced the ruling elites to devise a new political paradigm, as Stuart Hall explains in Policing the Crisis. Trumpeted by a compliant media, this paradigm shifted its focus from the common good to race, crime and law and order.  It told those undergoing profound economic and political change that their suffering stemmed not from rampant militarism and corporate greed but from a threat to national integrity. The old consensus that buttressed New Deal programs and the welfare state was attacked as enabling criminal Black youth, “welfare queens” and other alleged social parasites. This opened the door to a faux populism, begun by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, which supposedly championed family values, traditional morality, individual autonomy, law and order, the Christian faith and the return to a mythical past, at least for white Americans. The Democratic Party, especially under Bill Clinton, moved steadily to the right until it became largely indistinguishable from the establishment Republican Party to which it is now allied. Donald Trump, and the 74 million people who voted for him in 2020, were the result.

It will do no good, as Biden did on Thursday in Philadelphia, to demonize Trump and his supporters in the way they demonize Biden and the Democrats. Biden, raising clenched fists, backlit by Stygian red lights and flanked by two U.S. Marines in dress uniforms, announced from his Dantesque stage set that “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.” 

Donald Trump called the speech the most “vicious, hateful and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president” and attacked Biden as “an enemy of the state.” 

Biden’s frontal assault widens the divide. It solidifies a system where voters do not vote for what they want, since neither side delivers anything of substance, but against what they despise. Biden did not address our socioeconomic crisis or offer solutions. It was political theater.

Anti-politics masquerades as politics. No sooner does one money-drenched election cycle end, the next one begins, perpetuating what Wolin calls “politics without politics.” These elections do not permit citizens to participate in power. The public is allowed to voice opinions to scripted questions, which are repackaged by publicists, pollsters, political consultants and advertisers and fed back to them. Few races, including only 14 percent of congres­sional districts, are considered competitive. Politicians do not campaign on substantial issues but on skillfully manufactured political personalities and emotionally charged culture wars. 

The militarists, who have created a state within a state and who plunge us into one military debacle after another, consuming half of all discretionary spending, are omnipotent. The corporations and billionaires, which orchestrated a virtual tax boycott and gutted regulation and oversight, are omnipotent. The industrialists who wrote trade deals to profit from unemployment and underemployment of U.S. workers and sweatshop labor overseas are omnipotent. The insurance and pharmaceutical industries that run the healthcare system, whose primary concern is profit not health and who are responsible for 16 percent of the worldwide reported deaths from COVID-19 although we are less than 5 percent of the global population, are omnipotent. The intelligence agencies that carry out wholesale surveillance of the public are omnipotent. The courts that reinterpret laws to strip them of their original meaning to ensure corporate control and excuse corporate crimes, are omnipotent. The courts gave us Citizens United, for example, which permits unlimited corporate financing of elections by claiming it upholds the right to petition the government and is a form of free speech.

Politics is spectacle, a tawdry carnival act where the constant jockeying for power by the ruling class dominates the news cycles, as if politics were a race to the Superbowl. The real business of ruling is hidden, carried out by corporate lobbyists who write the legislation, banks that loot the Treasury, the war industry and an oligarchy that determines who gets elected and who does not. It is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs, the fossil fuel industry or Raytheon, no matter which party is in office.

The moment any segment of the population, left or right, refuses to participate in this illusion, the face of inverted totalitarianism resembles the face of classical totalitarianism, as Julian Assange is experiencing.

Our corporate overlords and militarists prefer the decorum of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. But they worked closely with Donald Trump and are willing to do so again. What they will not allow are reformers such as Bernie Sanders, who might challenge, however tepidly, their obscene accumulation of wealth and power. This inability to reform, to restore democratic participation and address social inequality, means the inevitable death of the republic. Biden and the Democrats rail against the cultish Republican Party and their threat to democracy, but they too are the problem.

(chrishedges.substack.com)

* * *

illustration by Louis Moe

* * *

WHY GORBACHEV WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST FAILURES IN HISTORY

by Patrick Cockburn

Russia would not have become a Communist state without Lenin or ceased to be one without Mikhail Gorbachev. At either end of the 20th century, each man played a decisive role in pushing history in a radically new direction it would not have taken otherwise.

The path chosen by Gorbachev after he became Soviet leader in 1985 was in some respects more surprising than what Lenin had done in 1917. The Bolshevik Revolution was driven by a terrible war, while Gorbachev’s attempt to modernise and re-energise the Soviet Union was a voluntary choice.

A myth has since grown up that the Soviet Union was in a state of collapse when Gorbachev took the helm, but this is not correct. It was politically and economically dead in the water, but it was not falling apart and the Government faced no serious challenge to its authority. It might have continued in this semi-moribund state for decades – like the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century – if its leadership had so wished.

But Gorbachev, who was a genuine democrat, wanted far more than this as the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). He promoted “glasnost” – limited freedom of expression whereby criticism of failings would propel reform. There was also to be “perestroika” – radical restructuring of an unstated kind to improve almost everything, though the mechanics of this were always vague.

What Gorbachev did not foresee was that you could not transform a party that was run and organised like an army – justifying its monopoly of power by its messianic faith in its own ideology – into something resembling a social democratic party, sharing power with others. Between 1985 and 1991, Gorbachev tried to do this, relying on his power as leader of the CPSU to drive forward change. But by diluting its authority, he was effectively sawing through the branch on which he and the reformers were sitting.

I was in Moscow as a foreign correspondent between 1984 and 1987, but I certainly did not take on board the revolutionary outcome of what Gorbachev was doing. The ailing and mostly invisible Konstantin Chernenko was Soviet leader when I arrived and the promotion of Gorbachev as his successor on his death was a great relief. Soon, there were interesting speeches, articles, interviews to read, rather than tedious outpouring of official blather. Moscow became an extraordinarily interesting place to live and work, leading to a procession of world leaders heading for the Kremlin to be told about “the new thinking”.

There were many others at the time who said that what Gorbachev was saying about “perestroika” and “glasnost” was all a put-up job by the KGB to give the Soviet Union a better image. Journalists and diplomats in Moscow who took all this seriously were denounced as credulous suckers. Sceptics soon fell into an embarrassed silence as it became clear that Gorbachev meant what he said. But the doubters did have a point that, if Gorbachev was genuine about real political, social and economic change, then the system would not be able to take the strain without cracking up.

Gorbachev wanted less resources allocated to the Soviet armed forces and they no longer received the undiluted patriotic plaudits they were used to. When a light plane penetrated Soviet air defences unnoticed and landed in Red Square, the incident was an excuse to change the military leadership. But very large armed forces were needed to hold onto eastern and central Europe which had been conquered by Soviet armies in the Second World War. Only the threat of the massive use of armed force could sustain this imperial control and, as soon as Gorbachev made clear in 1989 that he was not prepared to use it, Soviet rule collapsed in ruins.

Much is being made in the immediate aftermath of Gorbachev’s death about how well he got on with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. This is perhaps less surprising than it looks, since he was essentially ceding victory to them in the Cold War and telling them what they wanted to hear. The mood music was good, but how realistic it was was another matter. I went with Gorbachev to Iceland for the Reykjavik summit with Reagan in 1986 and it was difficult not to feel relieved as they talked of abolishing nuclear weapons – ambitions swiftly curtailed in the aftermath of the meeting.

Perhaps the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ousting of Gorbachev should not have taken us by surprise as much as it did. When an army begins to dissolve – and the CPSU was structured like a political army – it dissolves very quickly. Gorbachev was its commander and when it lost power, so did he.

What should have been clearer early on was that there was nothing much to replace the old regime. Boris Yeltsin presided over predatory anarchy in which mass theft of state assets produced a land of gangsters and oligarchs – and the two were often the same people. When Vladimir Putin became president in 2000, he brought order to this system and restored the power of the state, but little else improved.

Gorbachev was a very decent man who did his best for his people, yet going by his hopes and ambitions in 1985, he was one of the great failures of history.

(Patrick Cockburn is the author of War in the Age of Trump (Verso). Courtesy, CounterPunch.org.)

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Parade in Moscow, 1957, photo by Anatoli Egorov

* * *

LABOR DAY ASSESSMENT

by James Kunstler

There will be a Great Re-set, of course, but it’s not exactly the one that Western Civ is blabbering about — a mere shuffling of political and financial protocols. It’s happening with or without “Joe Biden,” the EU, and der Hoch Schwabenklaus, though the aggregate stupidity they represent is surely making the entry process worse. The Great Re-set is what happens when the business model goes bust for powering the world with oil and other fossil fuels — even if there is quite a bit of all that stuff left in the ground. Years ago, I called it The Long Emergency.

Everything emanates off of that, including the astonishing bouts of mischief made in attempts to work around it, assign the blame for it, grub money off it, and shift the effects of it from one group of people or one region of the world to another. Steve St. Angelo says it neatly: “Energy drives the economy; finance steers it.” That’s so. When the oil business model broke in 2008, industrial society lost its mojo and, after that, finance steered it into a ditch.

The Great Re-Set is an emergent phenomenon. It unspools naturally out of circumstances that reality presents. It goes its own way and we have to adapt to it, like it or not. Is our climate changing? Maybe. But so what? The climate has changed many times since the Bronze Age. If preventing that is actually out of the question, which it is, then what else are you going to do? The answer is: adapt intelligently to new conditions. When you clear away all the mental resistance to that — which amounts to a titanic struggle to keep things just the way they are — you’re going to have to make changes anyway.

America was, for a time, the greatest industrial society and now that appears to be over. The disorder in all the moving parts of it is probably too gross to arrest at this point. We shoved it into disorder by making some very bad choices, like getting rid of our factories and squandering our wealth on an absurd suburban living arrangement. Shale oil was a financial stunt to keep our set-up going a little longer. It was part of the colossal debt roll-up — the steering function of finance — that was used to compensate for our actual loss of mojo, and now that gambit has hit the wall. You can’t pretend to issue more debt when everyone knows it can never be paid back.

Europe, the old home-base of Western Civ, never got around to shale oil, and its financial structure was such — reckless bond issuance with no fiscal accountability whatsoever — that now it is collapsing faster and worse than America. Europe’s leadership is clearly insane and it will likely be overthrown before long. The foreign minister of Germany, the winsome Annalena Baerbock, promised last week to keep demonizing Russia to support Ukraine’s black hole of racketeering “no matter what my German voters think or how hard their life gets.” Stand by to see how that goes over.

The angst around these circumstances is expressing itself in a generalized political nervous breakdown featuring the sort of tragi-comic behavior previously confined in lunatic asylums. Have you ever seen anything more patently insane than the sexual confusion acted out in American schools? Drag Queen story hours? Litter boxes in the bathrooms for students who identify as “furries”?

That was the funny part. The Covid-19 event is no joke — rather a psychopathic mass murder. Obviously, it was no accident. We have a pretty good idea who made it, and set it loose into the world. And the “vaccine” response looks plainly malevolent at this point. Yet the Covid episode is shot through with mystery. How did all those sedulously trained doctors get so mind-fucked as to persist in saying the “vaccines” were safe-and-effective, when the vaxxes were obviously killing and maiming people? They’re still stuck in that disgraceful posture, busy punishing their colleagues who demur, and dishonoring medicine — not to mention the thousands of public health officials still pushing vaxxes and boosters to this day. We can attribute that to mass formation psychosis, but even that reeks of mystery. Maybe, as the old American hymn goes, farther along we’ll understand why….

Anyway, and in the meantime, we’re obliged to see where all this is taking us and what we have to do about it. The survivors of this disorder will be living in a world of generalized contraction, facing much-reduced standards of living. All the giant enterprises will be gone, including probably the federal USA government as we know it, and all the supports it offered. We’ll be gravely disappointed by the failures of advanced technology to mitigate any of this, and much of that technology will disappear, including reliable electric service and the Internet. Whatever you do will have to be much more local and, in one way or another, these activities will revolve around growing food.

I called it a World Made by Hand in the cycle of four novels I churned out between 2008 and 2017. You can look there for a detailed, graphic description of how this new disposition of things might work. The society depicted is still recognizably an American culture, and the people still find joy, purpose, and meaning in being here on this planet, despite the reduction in comfort and convenience. In many ways, it is a world in recovery from the ravages of the super high velocity way-of-life we’re leaving behind, and because of that, it is shot through with grace. That is our destination.

Keep that in mind — if you still have a mind — as you witness the unravelings ahead. This is not the end of the world or the end of the human project in this world. Not everybody will be violent or insane and the number of reality-based people with their emotional equipment intact will, oddly, grow in proportion as the others depart this plane of existence. For some of us, this is a movie with a happy ending. Make some popcorn while there is still some corn, and some electricity to pop it with.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

* * *

Yellow and White Lilies by Willem van Leen, 1780

14 Comments

  1. Bruce McEwen September 6, 2022

    Great column by Chris Hedges. And I hope JHK is being billed for this week’s infomercial promoting his The Long Emergency books, a kind of porn for the ego as the author pictures himself tall in the saddle like Jimmy Stewart ridding into the sunset of Cormack McCarthy’s The Road or Worstward-Ho! by Samuel Beckett.

    • Steve Heilig September 6, 2022

      Well said. Such a contrast between Cockburn, who actually has some direct knowledge about his topics, and can write well too, and the unhinged fantasy rants of Kunstler, who makes a lot less sense than, say, our regular reporter Craig Stehr.

  2. Bruce McEwen September 6, 2022

    It’s JHK’s prophesies for the immediate future that wears my patience thin, as in when he begins with a phrase like “we’re obliged to see where this is taking us,” his patented opening for a peek into his apocalyptic crystal ball, then of course its right down the proverbial rabbit hole into his World-made-by-hand theme park where Trump’s Republican Guard legion trains night and day for the Big Crash — which invariably the deadline JHK sets comes and goes without his notice—as he’s busy predicting a very similar crash for next month; et cetera, etc. on and on…

  3. Bill Pilgrim September 6, 2022

    re: Gorbachev (Cockburn)
    While it’s accurate to state that Gorbachev’s vision for reforming the USSR was not successful (too much too soon), calling him “one of the greatest failures in history” is nonsense, and betrays Cockburn’s Russophobic bigotry.
    He ended the Cold War, for crying’ out loud. He made possible a “peace dividend” that the hard core neocons and militarists destroyed with their schemes to make the USA the sole, dominating superpower worldwide.
    There is still a significant number of Russians who consider Gorbachev a hero.
    Suck on that, Cockburn.

    • Chuck Dunbar September 6, 2022

      Yes, Bill, agree with your more nuanced and accurate assessment of Gorbachev. He gave Russians a chance to make their nation a better, more humane one. It took great courage to do so. The odds were tough against success– how sad that the hope and the gains got lost so quickly.

  4. Stephen Rosenthal September 6, 2022

    I’ve never thought that Supervisor Mo was the brightest bulb in the package, but it took every molecule of restraint in me from lashing out yesterday when she posted some nonsense about the reason cooling stations in Ukiah were not open. In case you missed it: “If the conditions warrant the cooling stations will be opened. The Public Health Emergency Operations is monitoring the weather conditions. Because our temps cool in the evening the conditions haven’t warranted it yet, but when they do there will be an announcement which I am sure you will receive.”

    When the daytime temperatures soar into triple digits for an extended period, it doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to realize that cooling stations are needed DURING THE DAY. So now that cooling stations are available in Ukiah and other locations throughout the county, how long will it take Mo to announce that she worked tirelessly with Ukiah city officials to make it happen? I’m setting the over/under at 26.25 hours.

  5. Marmon September 6, 2022

    RE: A QUESTION IN MIND

    If Trump really had top secret documents that could harm our national security, how in the world would they present them to a jury? Prosecutors can’t just say, “trust us”,

    Marmon

  6. Marmon September 6, 2022

    Are all the Democrats who denied the 2016, 2004 and 2000 election results all fascists too?

    Marmon

  7. Randy September 6, 2022

    Beacons light, always a true gentleman, full of unbelievable tales , and if you go up there, stay away from his branded cherries. He is a True Mendocino Coast TREASURE…still alive and kicking. Great Man, Great Institution.

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