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WARM AND DRY weather is expected to continue through next week. Stronger onshore breezes will promote deep marine influence today with the marine layer shallowing again early this week. (NWS)
JEFF BURROUGHS: Well since I don't get poison oak I can go out and take pictures that nobody else can. Wendling Navarro just north of the Old Mill site.
INTOXICATED SWIMMER FOUND DEAD IN NAVARRO RIVER (near the Coast)
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Captain Greg Van Patten told us the dead body recovered from the Navarro River last night was an intoxicated man in his 50s whose death is being investigated as a “possible accidental drowning”.…
MR. AND MRS. TOM CONNER, Hopland Rancheria, 1925
WHEN'S THE LAST TIME YOU HAD A SLICE OF HUCKLEBERRY PIE? OR HUCKLEBERRY JAM ON TOAST?
Fresh Or Frozen Huckleberries $22 - Pound Huckleberry Jam $16- 8 OZ JAR Call, Text or email Joshua (707) 734-3112
Hello Mendo / Fort Bragg / Little River / Albionites and all points in between...
Huckleberry season is on the brink of coming to the end and I seem to have picked more than I need for making my year's supply of huckleberry jam. Therefore, I am offering you a chance to buy one pound of huckleberries for $22. Given a day's notice, I can pick fresh berries for you or you can buy my 2022 season huckleberries frozen.
These huckleberries are clean (free of stems, leaves and green or squashed berries). They will keep in your freezer for at least an entire year without losing their distinct flavor, or degrading in any appreciable manner.
If you want huckleberries but don't want to pay for them, you have about 3 weeks to pick them before they all fall to the ground to fertilize next year's crop.
I also have huckleberry jam for you at $16 each for an 8 Oz jar..
Call or Text Joshua at 734-3112 to get your huckleberries!
Joshua Lowell <email@example.com>
JUG HANDLE'S NATIVE PLANT NURSERY SALE
Jug Handle's Native Plant Restoration/Education Nursery's Fall 2022 sale will be on Sunday, October 2nd from 1 to 5 p.m.
We hope to see you there!
We have a very large selection of colorful perennials and shrubs, as well as ferns and trees to choose from.
Local native plants attract wildlife, pollinators and conserve water in your gardens and landscape.
The plant sale supports Jug Handle's restoration/education work with resource agencies, schools and the local community.
From red columbines to, seaside daisies, Phacelia and beautiful Rosa californica, to shrubs such as Ceonothus, Western burning bush, pink flowering currants, twinberries, silk tassel bush and trees from pines to wax myrtle, big-leaf maple, grand fir, tan oak--and numerous other species--you can find plants suitable for your garden or restoration project.
Prices will be deeply cut on certain overstocked plants such as Fairy Bells and Seep monkeyflower.
Jug Handle's Native Plant nursery is located behind the large red and white Farmhouse at 15501 N. Highway One--our driveway is located on the east side of the Highway directly across from the stop sign at the north entrance to Caspar.
We recommend that you wear a mask inside the nursery due to the number of people expected.
If you prefer to arrange a private visit, the nursery is always open by appointment.
For questions, directions, a private appointment--or more information please call Nursery Manager Helene Chalfin at (707) 937-3498, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
GUESS WHAT SUBJECT was conspicuously missing from Thursday night’s Ukiah City Council Candidates debate? A subject which will significantly disrupt the Ukiah downtown economy in a few years by moving one particular small group of people out of the downtown area.
The MendoVoice reporter ignored the candidates’ unfortunately abbreviated discussion of the Ukiah Police Department. Most of the candidates — incumbents Mari Rodin, Juan Orozco and Jim Brown, and challenger Thao Phi — expected that their troubled department would magically improve when they hire a new “super” police chief. Councilman Brown said the Ukiah police situation was “sad.” Councilman Orozco said it was “embarrasing.” However, candidate Susan Sher, a Ukiah attorney and mediator, got more to the point before she was cut off by the school-marmish moderator.
Sher: “A new super police chief is one aspect. I'm glad to hear that they will be carefully vetted. But there appears to be a systemic problem in the entire department. We have had so many credible accusations about sexual harassment and sexual assault. I know this happens in some departments, but this is really horrific. I don't really want to comment on the Sergeant Murray situation. We don't have all the facts. But I think it is a little suspicious that a former police officer is getting such a great offer from the criminal justice system. It seems like there is a problem with the internal affairs. We have skyrocketing litigation costs. There have been several very large settlements. We as the city residents are paying for these. We will have increased insurance premiums. So I think there should be a better process for resolving citizen complaints. I volunteered for several years on the San Francisco Department of police accountability and —” (at this point Ms. Sher was cut off by the moderator who went on to the next speaker.)
The candidates also talked about annexation (outside the current city limits,), walkable/bikable streets, the climate emergency, housing, the local economy, open space, homelessness… There were no significant differences that we could make out.
The event was tightly controlled by the National Women’s Political Caucus and their long-standing and very annoying process of requiring audience members to scribble down their questions on 3x5 cards and then a woman carries them up to the woman moderator who picks and chooses the ones she likes, and probably rephrases them to make them more polite, made worse by another woman sitting in the front row frantically waving time-limit cards at the candidates while they’re talking to make sure they don’t go over their precise tiny time limits.
Before the candidates spoke, Supervisor Mulheren and a couple of local fire people discussed the two pending County ballot measures, the “essential services” tax which the Supervisors say will go to fire protection, and the Library tax.
Supervisor Maureen Mulheren said that “the most funding” generated by November’s proposed “essential services” tax would go to the two city fire departments (Ukiah and Fort Bragg) because of an allocation forumula skewed by population. Those two departments are already well funded and, in the case of Ukiah, already have their own sales tax revenue stream dedicated to their fire department. The County’s many smaller fire departments and districts would get whatever’s left over — if they get anything at all. (The Ballot Measure language says the revenue will go into the County’s General Fund where the Board of Supervisors — who at present are all convinced that Mendo is in a deep financial hole and who have failed to deliver on past promises to fire departments — will decide how much to disburse.)
We also couldn’t help noticing that the Ukiah City Council chambers are conspicuously missing the kind of high-tech, bullet proof glass protection that former CEO Carmel Angelo insisted was necessary for the Supervisors chambers to the tune of over $400k.
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YOU MAY HAVE THOUGHT, that most of the pandemic is finally in our rear view mirror. And it is — except for the part that involves the County handing hundreds of thousands of dollars more to Camille Schrader and her Redwood Community Services outfit in Ukiah — retroactively — and on into the fall of next year.
Tuesday’s Agenda Consent Calendar Item 3x): “Approval of Retroactive First Amendment to Agreement No. BOS 21-091 with Redwood Community Services in the Amount of $375,632, for a New Total of $1,070,824, to Continue Providing Emergency Shelter Services Needed to Prevent, Prepare For and Respond To Coronavirus Among Individuals and Families Who are Experiencing Homelessness in Mendocino County, Using Grant Funds Available Through California Department of Housing and Community Development for the Emergency Solutions Grant, as Funded by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Effective January 1, 2021 Through a New End Date of September 30, 2023 (Original End Date: June 30, 2022).
And if you think that this will end on September 30, 2023, you’ll only be right if the feds turn off the tap.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Phoebe came to the shelter with a fractured pelvis, and she’s been under the care of our clinic staff--on strict rest--and will be for a few more weeks. We would love to see her adopted and settled into her new home while she recovers. Phoebe’s currently in a foster home and the report about her is great: she’s happy, smart, gets along with other dogs, and like all puppies, wants to play.
There’s lots more on her webpage: mendoanimalshelter.com/dogblog/phoebe
If you can’t adopt, consider fostering. Our website has information about our Foster Program, the on-Going Dog And Cat Adoption Events, and other programs, services and updates. Visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/
For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
RE: County Agenda Notes:
“Bye-Bye Hhsa—Some 14 Wasteful Years Later…”
Mark Scaramella continues his excellent, detailed and lacerating reporting on the County and its wayward, inefficient leadership. I remember when the HHSA change occurred. (I was then a CPS social worker supervisor in the coast office.) It was claimed to be the best thing ever. Angelo and the bureaucracy made a really big deal of it—“the supreme sense of it, the efficiencies to be gained…,” that kind of bureaucratic nonsense you hear too often. On the front lines—the staff doing the direct work of the County—we all yawned and ignored it all. We had the real work to do. Nothing about this change much affected our work. And here we years later, as it all fades away. Much ado about nothing. Disgraceful really.
“The Barbara Howe wrongful termination federal suit is still costing Mendo lots of money.”
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore (LCW) getting more money—no doubt a very large sum, for the County’s defense of their actions in firing her. The disappearances—by Angelo the dictator—of a number of dedicated County leaders who made the fatal mistake of speaking their minds still haunt the County and cost the taxpayers’ their money. I hope Babara Howe wins this case and teaches the County a hard, expensive lesson.
A side note here about this law firm, LCW, a firm dedicated to management issues and defense, often directly opposed to the interests, rights and welfare of line staff in organizations: Years ago, after HHSA had been established, Angelo and the County hired LCW to conduct a training regarding “Management Rights.” One of their clearly anti-labor attorneys, a preening, self-righteous guy as I recall, ran the several hour training, instructing scores of County middle managers (supervisors, program managers, etc.) on how to exert maximum authority and control over line staff. There was, or course, little discussion or acknowledgement of worker’s needs and rights. It was a disgusting presentation, and it clearly sent Angelo’s message to staff: “We are here to control your actions, and we have the absolute power to do so.” It’s how she ran the place, and it hurt the County’s workplace immensely
Mark, I can imagine that your brother, Hugh, a long-time County worker, dedicated and whip-smart, would have appreciated your skilled journalism on these issues.
MARK SCARAMELLA REPLIES:
My brother was very hesitant to tell me anything about his work. If he spoke about it at all he me made me swear that I wouldn’t write anything about it first. He was of the impression that anything I wrote about Social Services would be interpreted by his coworkers and bosses as coming directly from him, which it did not. I often had other sources. As a result I kinda avoided the Social Services subject except for things already on the public record. His (justified) fear and the potential of putting him in an awkward situation was to me a very telling sign about the work climate in Social Services.
Greetings. I hope you are having a fantastic Autumn. My family and I are currently looking for a new place to homestead where we can live in a sustainable way, garden, farm and steward land in an eco-conscious way. We have many years experience as organic farmers and gardeners including family ancestry connected to agriculture. I grew up in a multi-generational ranching family. Agriculture has always been a part of my life. It is the roots of living in harmony with nature. We have photographs of previous gardens available, resumes and references. We are ready to continue farming growing healthful food for both our family and community. Our skill set includes: Planting, harvesting orchard care, farmers market experience, farm to table cuisine, small scale farming and backyard kitchen gardening, animal husbandry, bees wax candles, making ceramics, fiber, land crafts and more.
All the Best,
The Roots Gardeners- L&J, email@example.com
THREE WOMEN FACED RELENTLESS SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND ASSUALT at the Hands of Ukiah Homeless Advocate, Lawsuit Claims
Tony Marsh, a well-known homeless advocate in the Ukiah Valley, stands at the center of three civil lawsuits filed by former female colleagues who allege he sexually assaulted them when he was their supervisor at Manzanita Service Incorporated. Their lawsuits further claim that when they reported the abuse to their supervisors, they were fired out of retaliation. …
“UKIAH MAN SENTENCED TO NINE YEARS in State Prison for Lighting Occupied Group Home on Fire,” announced the DA's office. “Defendant Travis Joseph Humphrey, age 32, generally of the Ukiah area, was sentenced in the Mendocino County Superior Court Thursday afternoon to 108 months in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.”
TRAV is a familiar face to us, often in the Sheriff's log. We've seen him around Ukiah for years, as has law enforcement. The guy's not homeless. He's a drop-fall drunk with roots in the Ukiah Valley. Trav is one of ours. Arson is quite a departure for a habitual drunk, but 9 years in state prison for a guy who's been non compos probably since he was in high school? I know of several drunk drivers who've killed people on the road who didn't get this much time. Humphrey belongs in a hospital program, not prison.
NOT TO BELABOR the obvious, but we'll belabor it anyway, when Ukiah's badged crime wave, a crime wave that included multipe rapes, charges that the accused, former officer Murray, didn't contest, Murray got off with probation. DA Eyster and Judge Moorman better hope Murray doesn't re-offend.
THE DISPOSITION of the Murray case is simply inexplicable. Eyster's been a good DA, saved the county a lot of money by fining instead of prosecuting the numerous people charged with marijuana offenses, makes mostly rational charging decisions, usually available for comment, maintains his lawn. Moorman is formidably smart, runs a fair courtroom. Then, suddenly, Murray, and both the DA and the judge look like a couple of… Eyster can hold his own with the bigshot defense attorneys from Down Below, but he took a pass on Murray, shoving poor old Heidi Larson out there to pretend she was in charge of the prosecution, and the whole justice apparatus worked overtime to keep their travesty away from a jury.
MENDOCINO COUNTY dreads outside attention. Our elected people easily cordon off the local media, a big hunk of which would rather be loved than report anything that upsets anybody. The kind of cases likely to get the network tv trucks up here are few — the Fort Bragg fires of '87 were covered in detail by the ava and, kind of in an inaccurate piece, by the LA Times (see below), whose writer tried to tie the arson fires to unrelated crimes. But that was it for outside media. So long as they can keep Dave Muir outtahere, they assume they have no real probs keeping things in-house. (BTW, you know how serious the recent hurricane was? Dave was there in his t-shirt.)
THE MEDIA TRUCKS did show up some years ago in Boonville to report on three little girls who put rat poison in another little girl's sandwich.
THE '87 FIRES in Fort Bragg, with town big shots burning down the town library, justice court and the venerable Piedmont Hotel in a virtual celebration of in-your-face arson all in one night, didn't draw any other media, but did draw a small army of ATF and FBI personnel whose findings — 39 boxes worth — were turned over to DA Massini who dithered until the statute of limitations expired, and the crooks got clean away.
THERE ARE PEOPLE close to these events who are still afraid to talk about them and, in my opinion, there was at least one associated murder — Kenny Ricks. The day before he was to testify before a federal grand jury in San Francisco, Ricks allegedly shot himself. His death was ruled a likely suicide, but the young man, newly married, allegedly placed a shotgun between his legs and pulled the trigger with his big toe. Maybe, but he owned at least one handgun, so why the doable but the acrobatic last act?
WHICH REMINDS ME of my favorite player in the big Fort Bragg event, the logistics man, the guy who delivered cans of gasoline to the torches, a 400-pound character named Pete Durigan. Durigan had relocated to Fort Bragg from the Bay Area where he'd worked for a county coroner retrieving bodies — while he and his colleagues helped themselves to the belongings of the deceased. The former corpse robber was a natural for Mendocino County, where you are whatever you say you are, and every day history starts all over again.
MR. BODY SNATCHER, no questions asked, started a midnight janitorial service with locally prestigious clients including the Mendocino Savings Bank (one of whose loan officers was up to his eyeballs in the arson schemes) and the Fort Bragg branch of the phone company. As a side gig, Durigan delivered cocaine and, as mentioned, served as logistics man for the young men who set the fires for the engineers of a series of arsons-for-profit up and down the Mendocino Coast.
EXCUSE ME, MR. ANDERSON, is there a point to these sanguinary reminiscences? Yes, the DA him or herself should prosecute high profile cases. The spectacular ones don't come very often. Massini should have prosecuted the Fort Bragg case herself rather than let it ride on into oblivion, and, except for the incompetent story in the L.A. Times, it didn't draw outside attention. (When I tried to look at the Fire evidence boxes they couldn't be found. But since there'd been no prosecution, I guess they could legitimately be destroyed. How convenient for the DA, how sad for Mendo history.)
MASSINI ALSO should have prosecuted the famous Bear Lincoln case instead of farming it out to an inexperienced young guy who was easily overwhelmed by Tony Serra's Traveling Legal Show, and DA Eyster should have prosecuted the former Ukiah cop, Kevin Murray, with at least the zeal with which he went after the forlorn Travis Humphrey.
FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCIL ELECTION SHENANIGANS
I would like to respond to the Community Column authored by City Council candidate and local activist Mary Rose Kaczorowski published in the September 22, 2022 Advocate, which is pasted below for context. In her column, she discussed the local controversy involving the City Council election involving the City Clerk, who is Fort Bragg’s elections official, and incumbent councilmembers Tess-Albin Smith and Lindy Peters, both of whom are running for new terms.
Ms. Kaczorowski characterizes Tess Albin-Smith having to run as a write-in candidate as “unintentional confusion about election regulations” and she asserts that “Not wanting to run against an incumbent is not an intent of wrongdoing.” I disagree. In my opinion, the actions of these officials amounted to actual wrongdoing even if they did not understand that at the time. Most of us are familiar with the adage and legal principle that ignorance of the law is no defense, which is relevant to this situation because the actions involved were all intentional even if they did not necessarily intend to violate the Elections Code. However, knowingly submitting altered nomination papers that include false content is a crime under California Elections Code §§ 18201 and 18203, which read:
18201. “Any person who falsely makes or fraudulently defaces or destroys all or any part of a nomination paper, is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months or two or three years or by both that fine and imprisonment.”
18203. “Any person who files or submits for filing a nomination paper or declaration of candidacy knowing that it or any part of it has been made falsely is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) or by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months or two or three years or by both that fine and imprisonment.”
Ms. Kaczorowski and the eight other City Council candidates besides Tess Albin-Smith and Lindy Peters made their choices about which seats to run for in compliance with the applicable rules and procedures set out in the Elections Code. But instead of doing so through correct and legal means, these two incumbents participated in a scheme to simply used the same nomination paper the City Clerk issued to them for their original intended races and alter it by hand to try to run for the other race so they wouldn’t have to run against each other for the single two-year seat.
Part of these nomination papers is an affidavit whereby the nominee certifies, under penalty of perjury, that they have been nominated for the particular city council seat identified on the nomination paper. The voters also sign the papers specifically nominating the person seeking public office to the seat that is listed on the nomination paper, which the Elections Code requires to have been typed in by the elections official when they issued the papers to the candidates. Both Ms. Albin-Smith and Mr. Peters signed this certification when they returned their nomination papers but they switched the races to try to avoid running against each other. Both candidates could have collected nominating signatures on the correct nomination paper but chose not to do so. This apparent wrongdoing should not be brushed under the rug as a mere technicality. We are supposed to be able to have free and fair elections but that doesn’t include local officials manipulating the nomination process and obtaining an unfair advantage compared to the other candidates who followed the rules.
— Jacob Patterson, Fort Bragg
FORT BRAGG ADVOCATE-NEWS COMMUNITY COLUMN:
I wish for every incumbent who decides to run for re-election to have a fair chance on the ballot.
Candidates can take a voluntary pledge “not to use or permit the use of character defamation, whispering campaigns, libel, slander, or scurrilous attacks on any candidate or his or her personal or family life.” I wish all would abide by this and not just candidates—including those working to help candidates and even the general voting public as they discuss for whom they shall vote.
Unfortunately, small-town rumors as well as nationwide rumors persist be it during election season or not.
When I was deciding to run for Ft. Bragg City Council, I was discerning between the two-year and four-year terms. I heard that incumbent Councilmember Lindy Peters was running for the two-year term, and I decided not to run against Mr. Peters. That is my choice and prerogative.
Incumbent candidates and Councilmembers Lindy Peters and Tess Albin-Smith each for their own reasons were also trying to decide that.
Unfortunately, there was unintentional confusion about election regulations as these candidates were trying to change their ballot designations between the two-year and four-year terms.
Not wanting to run against an incumbent is not an intent of wrongdoing. Initially, proper filing papers were prepared, and last-minute decisions were made based on a change of mind by these candidates.
It is my understanding that a mistake happened in the misinterpretation of election regulations between candidates and the chain of election/registration staffers and there was a good faith attempt to follow procedures to make those changes happen correctly. As a result, a candidate was removed from the ballot, and that candidate has the choice to apply for a write-in designation and has filed the proper papers.
Do Note: If a candidate requests a change of his or her ballot designation pursuant to Elections Code Section 13107(e),” that a Ballot Designation Worksheet shall accompany the request.” The deadline for switching filings is another matter and that created the mix-up.
We are in a small outpost here on the coast. Every candidate who is running has a heck of a lot of election regulations to read and try to understand.
I am all for supporting any incumbent candidate to be on the ballot or as a write-in candidate.
My decision to help give a plug to the qualified incumbent —Tess Albin-Smith as a write-in candidate is based on good will. I am wanting candidate, Tess Albin-Smith, who I am running against, to have a fair chance. For the record, I am not running on any slate. As with all the candidates, I may disagree and even agree with their views.
Your vote matters! I encourage all voters to look carefully at all candidates and review our qualifications, our experience, and accomplishments that demonstrate the competencies that we would bring to the office for which we are running. Read our positions on issues. Go to VOTE411.org for candidate stances. Attend candidate forums. Ask us questions.
There is the handy non-partisan League of Women Voters Guide: How to Judge a Candidate found at: https://www.lwv.org/blog/how-judge-candidate— Mary Rose Kaczorowski, Fort Bragg
* * *
JUDY VALADAO COMMENTS:
Wouldn’t Tess running as a write in be the same as if she didn’t put her name in at all and then changed her mind and decided to run as a write in?
Other questions being asked is why one candidate assumed the Council is in charge of the PD etcetera, etcetera. I don’t believe that is the case at this moment.
* * *
WILL LEE COMMENTS:
The above by Jacob Patterson is just another of his sustained attacks of the City Clerk of Fort Bragg. This unemployed attorney continues his bullying and harassment of City employees and City Council members. He is the same person that filed a frivolous legal claim against the City that settled for $20 k of the taxpayers money. An ongoing vendetta against the City for not hiring him as City Attorney.
Plus his Mom is running for City Council-Michelle Roberts. Maybe if she wins a seat he could then be hired at City Hall and guide the City into the perfect metropolis they envision.
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF SENATOR MIKE MCGUIRE:
Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire’s bill, SB 884, that will safeguard communities and save lives by expediting the undergrounding of electric utility lines in California’s highest fire risk zones, was signed into law [Thursday] by Governor Gavin Newsom.
“Accountability is here – and it’s about time,” Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire said. “For far too long, America’s largest utility – PG&E – has failed its customers and made California unsafe. The utility has underfunded modernization, line hardening and wildfire safety efforts for decades, which has had devastating impacts in communities throughout the utility’s territory. One of the most critical paths forward is to move power lines underground in the most high fire risk regions. Now, it’s the law. SB 884 will save lives and ratepayers money by expediting the undergrounding of 10,000 miles of the highest fire risk electric lines. We’re grateful for the overwhelming and bipartisan support from the legislature and Governor Newsom.”
Undergrounding electric lines reduces the likelihood of fires starting by 99% and will vastly reduce carbon emissions by stopping mega-fires before they start. SB 884 will expedite the undergrounding of 10,000 miles of utility lines, while saving ratepayers money by using federal infrastructure funds. Currently, PG&E only undergrounds approximately 100 miles of their electrical lines annually. To enforce the measure, an independent monitor will be appointed to oversee the utility on the undergrounding projects’ budgets, scope, and timelines.
“Year after year, these utility-caused wildfires have become our reality. This law will help stop this insanity for the health and safety of all Californians,” said Senator McGuire.
I've always said the greatest show on earth is right here in the little community of Elk. Over the years we've done all kinds of crazy things that has made it a little bit left of center.
The show keeps rolling on. Way back in the early 50s all the way through today we've always provided a little bit of entertainment for the first of the month. In the old days it was a drunk falling out of the local bar downtown and the wild stories. Some of them were true,
Into the 70s the world thought we were just a little bit crazy. The community was so small that after 9 o'clock the sidewalks would roll up and become quiet except for down at the Greenwood Oasis.
When the bartender got tired she would say mom is going to bed. It changed a bit when the Thompson brothers came to town. But it was sliding downward. While rock 'n roll was at the Navarro by the Sea, up on the hill at Beacon Light you could get a fine dinner and some fairly decent conversation, Over the years things changed. No more little bar downtown at the Indians. The wagon burners, I don't know how it came to that, but they sold about 90% of the town with high prices for food and drink and even higher prices for the rooms. The only real deal in town for a room would be the Elk Cove Inn, Everything else in town is too high from the little delicatessen which doesn't open up until 11 AM and closes very shortly thereafter. No more are the times when there were loggers and ranchers hanging out everywhere, The community became city-fied. The newcomers first looked for fun down in the toilet. But two nights a week up on the hill at Beacon Light by the Sea, the only hard liquor bar in town. Most of the Elk locals have moved away or taken up residence in the local rock garden cemetery. There may be six or seven of us old-timers left. Not many. But it is the way of all things that we are here and then eventually we move on. Some hopefully will at least embody the spirit lives forever, and do some crazy things that we used to get away with. But at least in our town, not like the Bay Area where they’re picking up bodies by the bushel basketload and crime is rampant, it's relatively quiet here. As the city people bring their ways to our community more than likely and sooner or later, the crime will follow. In the old days we had a constable, and a local judge. If you did anything bad, there was no trip to Ukiah. Instead, they would handle it right here in town, Those days are gone too. Like most of America we are losing our independence, and at the rate we’re going with the current administration as the gas prices go back up, and as the eminent feeling a war is in the air because people overseas can't get along, we all wonder why we had to wait and delay on something that would be inevitable for the world have to go to war with the Russians, because their dictator doesn't realize that he is not the biggest fish in the pond, but that's only the opinion of the little people in the countryside.
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 1, 2022
ILEANA AMRULL, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
TRAVIS BONSON, Ukiah. Parole violation.
DUSTIN CAVINO, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, disobeying court order.
JESUS DELGADO JR. Fort Bragg. Probation revocation.
VICENTE DIAZ JR., Willits. DUI, no license.
JULIUS GRUBER, Laytonville. Appropriation of lost property, controlled substance, paraphernalia, failure to appear.
JOSE LATHROP, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
MICHAEL LUCAS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, county parole violation.
LAUREN MCENTEE, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
CARLOS OGAWA, Fort Bragg. Burglary, failure to appear, probation revocation.
ORTEMIO ORTEGA-REYES, Ukiah. Carelessly starting a fire, causing a fire of property, probation revocation.
MELISSIA TURNEY, Clearlake/Ukiah. Paraphernalia, obstruction of police communications.
LEWIS WILLIAMS, Albion. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, contempt of court.
We just re-watched “Dr. Strangelove” (with Peter Sellers in three key roles with three different accents — American, British and German). Maybe Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden should take a couple of hours out of their busy schedules to see it. It’s even more relevant today than it was in 1964 when it was made. They might also take a listen to Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) persuasively arguing for peace.
THIS PART OF CALIFORNIA HAS THE FASTEST SEA LEVEL RISE ON THE WEST COAST. Here’s What’s At Stake
by Tara Duggan
ARCATA, Humboldt County — Anchored by the cities of Eureka and Arcata and known for its redwood forests, cannabis tourism and cool, misty beaches, Humboldt Bay also has an unwelcome distinction: It has the fastest rate of sea level rise on the West Coast.
Tectonic activity is causing the area around the bay roughly 300 miles north of San Francisco to sink, which gives it a rate of sea level rise that is about twice the state average. Compared to 2000, the sea in the area is expected to rise 1 foot by 2030, 2.3 feet by 2050 and 3.1 feet by 2060, according to California Ocean Protection Council.
Residential areas, wastewater treatment plants and a segment of Highway 101 that connects Eureka and Arcata are all at risk — especially when the frequent and intense storms associated with climate change trigger more flooding. There are even long-term worries about a nuclear waste storage facility on the bluffs. Yet the region also has become a test case for how to adapt to a problem that faces all of coastal California, including by restoring wetlands that were filled in for logging and farming in earlier eras.
“We say the bay is going to take back from us what we borrowed for the last hundred years or so,” said Jennifer Kalt, director of the nonprofit group Humboldt Baykeeper and a member of the Cal Poly Humboldt Sea Level Rise Institute.
Residents get a preview of what’s in store during king tides, when highways and boat ramps are inundated and sloughs become bloated pools. During a king tide last year, a historic redwood barn on the Eel River Estuary south of the bay was photographed being battered by waves that reached it after years of subsidence and erosion in the surrounding farmland.
City, county and state officials, working with scientists at California State Polytechnic University Humboldt in Arcata, have created multiple reports and studies on how best to address the problem, which is caused as the arctic ice sheet and glaciers melt and as seawater expands as it rises in temperature. But it’s also hard to prioritize action on an issue that is due to have its worst impact decades from now.
“Although slow, sea level rise must be planned for and mitigation efforts developed now to protect communities and infrastructure,” read a Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury investigation released in May that cited threats to 30 electrical transmission towers, 9.6 miles of municipal water transmission lines, 52 cultural sites of the Wiyot tribe, contaminated former pulp mills and the access road to the town of King Salmon. “Sea level rise planning needs to be a priority among all elected officials in the county.”
The gold standard for responding to the threat is what is known as managed retreat, or moving infrastructure out of harm’s way — but that is also the most expensive and disruptive approach, said Joel Gerwein, North Coast deputy regional manager at California Coastal Conservancy, which funds restoration projects.
Caltrans may end up having to do so with a highway it has already begun upgrading: a 6-mile segment of Highway 101 that hugs the edge of the bay between Eureka and Arcata and is due to be flooded regularly by 2030.
“Potentially during a king tide event, we could have the water going over the highway, and then that would shut down the highway,” said Clancy De Smet, Caltrans climate change adaptation branch chief for the region.
An adaption plan due from Caltrans in 2025 could involve moving part of the highway inland. De Smet said that some of the new bridges were engineered so that they could be pulled out and transported if necessary.
The southern end of the bay has the biggest subsidence problem. That’s because of geologic activity about 30 miles away: three tectonic plates converge, one of which is sliding under another. The harbor village of King Salmon, built on landfill in the mid-20th century, is located here.
King Salmon is one of several areas in the bay that have been designated as vulnerable to flooding during 100-year-storms, calamitous events that used to have only a 1% chance of happening each year but have become more frequent with climate change.
King Salmon’s location also puts it at risk of tsunami. Its tsunami evacuation route is a footpath that happens to lead from bay to a good vantage point for the PG&E power plant, where 37 tons of spent nuclear fuel from a decommissioned nuclear power plant is stored in a concrete bunker.
Though experts say the site is likely safe for decades, the nuclear storage area is situated on a hill that is very close to the eroding shoreline. The erosion worsened after jetties, first built in the 1890s, helped shape the entrance to the bay, channeling wave activity toward the shore.
“When it was built, sea level rise was not as well understood as it is now,” said Kalt, who is also a lecturer at Cal Poly Humboldt in Arcata. The California Coastal Commission also wants the federal government to move the waste, citing natural hazards.
Carina Corral, a spokeswoman for PG&E, which runs the site where the utility once operated decommissioned nuclear plant, said that the site is regularly inspected and was built “withstand the effects of environmental conditions and extreme events.” She noted that PG&E is waiting for the government to follow through on its commitment to build a long-term national storage facility, which would allow it to move the fuel.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a statement that it takes appropriate action to protect safety when new information comes to light, and the site currently meets requirements.
Another concern for Kalt are the dozens of former lumber and pulp mills that once stood around the bay during its logging heyday, which likely left contaminants in the soil that could emerge once both the sea level and groundwater rise. Kalt and her colleagues are working on a database to see which of the sites are most vulnerable.
To add to its worries, Humboldt County also has the highest rate of coastal cliff erosion in California according to a recent study, though not at Humboldt Bay; one of the worst stretches is at Centerville Beach to the south.
As the sea rises, another way to prepare that is less expensive than moving highways or other forms of managed retreat are projects that restore some of the coastline’s original features like wetlands and native dunes. But these projects, often called nature-based solutions, are considered interim solutions, according to Gerwein.
Andrea Pickart, an ecologist at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been working for close to 40 years to restore native plants at Lanphere Dunes, which create a barrier on a strip of land that separates the northern part of the bay from the ocean. The process involves removing invasive European beach grass, which covers most of the coast with a sage green monochrome of pointy leaves, with native species like yellow sand verbena, goldenrod and beach strawberry.
Using a walking stick to march over the sand, her hiking shoes dislodging rusty pollen from flowering seaside buckwheat, Pickart explained that these delicate plants are more effective in shoring up dunes than beach grass. According to a study she coauthored in July, native dunes were found to recover more quickly after storms because they allowed sand from the ocean to migrate inland. Meanwhile, the nonnative dunes formed steep slopes that remained static, making them less resilient to storms and rising seas.
“It shows we can use restoration as a way of adapting to climate change,” she said, adding: “It increases the biodiversity and ecological value of the site at the same time.”
Inside the bay, wetlands restoration is a more common strategy. Ninety percent of wetlands in the area were filled in over a century ago by European settlers. Land that was diked for farming tends to sink below sea level, making it even more vulnerable to flooding — especially when it’s been grazed by cattle, whose heavy footsteps help press the spongy earth down.
In Eureka, former pastureland is being transformed for the Elk River Estuary Enhancement Project, where excavators are digging a channel that will snake south from the Elk River and restore 114 acres back into tidal marshland.
Among other benefits, the $6 million project will protect a section of nearby Highway 101 from flooding as it provides room for floodwaters from both the river and the sea to go during storms — which the wetlands did naturally before they were filled in.
“It’s a really amazing amount of real estate to be able to bring back into the natural landscape,” said Katie Marsolan, the project manager. “We’re trying to make up for lost time.”
Just south of the project, the Wiyot tribe plans to do the same as it restores an ecologically and culturally significant area called Mouralherwaqh, where it recently purchased a 46-acre parcel with $1.2 million grant from the state Ocean Protection Council.
“Habitat conservation is a nature-based solution to sea level rise that can also provide opportunities for environmental justice and indigenous land return,” said the tribe’s natural resources director Adam Canter, who is also co-chair of the Cal Poly Humboldt Sea Level Rise Institute.
On a recent tour, Canter tore down thick strands of invasive English ivy from native Sitka spruce leftover from when the land was used for logging.
The property has large freshwater wetlands that Canter describes as looking like two lungs on a map, which he said will eventually be inundated as the sea rises. Though it sounds destructive, that will allow saltwater habitat to migrate inland in an area that’s otherwise developed and provide habitat for wildlife seeking refuge from climate change, he said.
Natalie Arroyo, a Eureka City Council Member who will start a term on the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors in January, said that local governments are well aware of the issue of sea level rise but often don’t have funding for major improvements.
“We acknowledge that these infrastructure changes are needed, but they’re, five, ten, 20 years away, and we’re dealing with this year’s budget,” she said.
For example, some people have called for moving the Eureka wastewater treatment facility away from its bayside location, which makes it vulnerable to sea level rise.
Arroyo is more concerned about underground wastewater and drinking water lines that are in need of upgrades but often can’t be prioritized because there’s a broken sewer main that needs to be fixed immediately.
“The problem with climate change preparedness, generally speaking, is that local governments have limited resources,” she said. “We will need a level of investment that as a small coastal city we don’t currently have.”
(San Francisco Chronicle)
WHEN MEAT EATERS & VEGETARIANS CONVERGE
Is it too much to feel that it should be a basic right that one can cook and eat a hamburger without fear? To stand proudly in my backyard (if I had a backyard) grilling a nice medium rare f-ing hamburger for my kid -- without worrying that maybe I am feeding her a shit sandwich? That I not feel the need to cross examine my mother, should she have the temerity to offer my child meatloaf?
I shouldn't have to ask for this -- or demand it -- or even talk about it.
It's my birthright as an American, god damn it. And anybody who screws with my burger, who deviates from the time honored bond that one has come to expect of one's burger vendor -- that what one is eating is it arguably “meat” (not necessarily the best beef, mind you, but definitely recognizable as something that was, before grinding, mostly red, reasonably fresh, presumably from a steer or cow, something that your average Doberman would find enticing) -- anybody selling burgers that can't even conform to that not particularly high standard is in my opinion unpatriotic and un-American in the truest, most heartfelt sense of those words.
If you are literally serving shit to American children or knowingly spinning a wheel where it is not unlikely that you will eventually serve shit -- if that's your business model? Then I got no problems with a jury of your peers wiring your nuts to a car battery and feeding you the accumulated sweepings of the bottom of a monkey cage. In fact, I'll hold the spoon.
In this way me and the PETA folks and the vegetarians have something in common, an area of overlapping interests. They don't want us to eat any meat. I'm beginning to think in light of recent accounts that we should on balance eat a little less meat.
PETA doesn't want stressed animals to be cruelly crowded into sheds, ankle deep in their own crap, because they don't want any animals to die -- ever -- and basically think that chickens should in time gain the right to vote. I don't want animals stressed or crowded or treated cruelly or inhumanely because that makes them provably less delicious. And often less safe to eat.
Many people will tell you it is America's distorted relationship with what in grammar school we used to know as “the food triangle” -- a hierarchy of food that always leads up to meat -- it's killing us slowly, clogging our airports and arteries and thoroughfares with the ever larger, ever slower moving morbidly obese, huffing and puffing their way to an early grave. That our exploding health care costs are increasingly attributable to what we eat, and how much, rather than say cigarettes or even drugs. Which is fine I guess in a personal choice kind of way if as with heroin you play and are then willing to pay.
I like to think of myself as leaning toward libertarianism -- I am very uncomfortable if the government says that it has to step in and make that most fundamental of decisions for us: what we should or shouldn't put in our mouths. In a perfect world individuals would be free to take all the heroin they wanted and stuff their faces with trans fats as much as they like until it becomes a problem for their neighbors. Which it clearly has.
Our insatiable lust for cheap meat is in fact screwing us up. Our distorted expectations of the daily meal are undermining the basic underpinnings of our society in ways large and small. That we are becoming a nation that (in the words of someone smarter than I) is solely “in the business of selling cheeseburgers to each other” is pretty undeniable -- if you add that we are at even our most privileged end in the business of lending money to people who sell cheeseburgers to each other.
The cruelty and ugliness of factory farms -- and the effects on our environment -- are of course repellent to any reasonable person. But it's the general lowering of standards inherent in our continuing insistence on cheap burgers wherever they might come from and however bad they taste, the collective, post-ironic shrug we've come to give each other as we knowingly dig into something that tastes at best like cardboard and soured onion that's hurting us.
In the America not ruled by the imperative to buy and sell cheap ground meat however, something has been happening to my beloved hamburger, something about which I have mixed emotions. The slow, creeping influence of the “boutique” burger, the “designer” burger.
Years ago -- so many now that few of us even remember -- there was a time when most Americans had similar expectations of coffee as they have traditionally had of the hamburger. That a decent cheap but not necessarily great cup of coffee in a cardboard container or heavy buffalo China receptacle was a birthright. Coffee it was generally accepted did and should cost about 50¢ to a dollar -- often with unlimited refills. Then Starbucks came along whose particular genius was not the dissemination of such concepts as “latte,” “half-caf,” and “mochaccino,” or new terms for sizes like “venti.” Nor did their brilliance lie in the particularly good quality of their copy. Starbucks' truly beautiful idea was the simple realization that Americans wanted to spend more money for a cup of coffee, that they'd feel much better about themselves if they spent five dollars for a cup of joe rather than buy that cheap drip stuff that shows such as Friends suggested only fat white trash in housecoats (or people who actually work for a living) drank anymore -- in their trailer parks or meth labs or wherever such people huddled for comfort.
And America wanted to drink its coffee (or more accurately linger over it) in places that look very much like Starbucks where young attractive people (like the cast of Friends) sipped their coffee and spent their time and no doubt engaged in witty banter between cranberry muffins. To a faint soundtrack featuring the nonthreatening musical stylings of Natalie Merchant. For five bucks a pop.
A while ago if the guy behind the counter (and he sure as shit wasn't called a “barista”) asked you for five bucks for a cup of coffee -- any coffee -- he better expect an argument at least. Now? You wouldn't blink. The entire valuation of coffee has changed while we weren't looking.
This I suspect is what's already happened and will continue to happen with the hamburger. The fashion industry figured this out long ago. Relatively few people could afford a Gucci suit. But they could surely afford a T-shirt with 'Gucci' printed on it. What's happening is that five years from now all those people who could never afford to eat at, say, Craft, will surely be able to buy a Tom Colochio burger. And I'm guessing by the way that unlike a Chinese-made t-shirt with a logo on it, it'll be a pretty good burger.
Things keep going the way they're going and the “good” burger, the designer burger, the one you'd trust your child to, the one you want your friends to see you eating — that'll be $24 please.
You'd think the major meatpackers should have seen this coming -- should have seen that saving 30¢ a pound is all fine and good -- but not when a few years down the line they risk losing the market. A few more E. coli outbreaks in fast food outlets or school systems and you're likely to see a tail off. Few parents are going to let their little Ambers or Tiffanys eat the stuff that they are talking about on CNN all the time -- next to the pictures of dead children and diseased animals. It's really only a matter of time until -- through a combination of successful demonization, genuine health concerns, and changing eating habits -- America will actually start eating fewer of those gray discs of alleged “meat.”
If recent history has taught us anything though, it's that Big Food is way ahead of us with their market research. In all likelihood when and if America sours on the generic burger they will be waiting for us on the other end with open arms. As incisively pointed out in the documentary “Food Inc.,” an overwhelmingly large percentage of “new,” “healthy,” and “organic” alternative food products are actually owned by the same parent companies that scared us into the organic aisle in the first place. “They got you coming and going” has never been truer. It's like breaking a guy's leg -- so you can be there to sell him a crutch. “We're here for you -- when you get sick of or too frightened of our other product. Of course it will cost a little more. But then you expected that.”
Anthony Bourdain, “Medium Raw”
DOES YOUR HOUSE EARN $266 A DAY?
A day-by-day look at the long-term increases in single-family-home prices.
by Michael Kolomatsky
Rising home values have long been a dependable way to generate equity, and recent price increases have been stunning: In the second quarter of 2022, the median price of a new home in the United States — $414,000 — was 14 percent higher than it was a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors.
But that’s just icing on the cake for people who have owned their homes for 10 years or more, according to a new study by Point2, which tracked median single-family-home prices from 2011 through 2021 in the 187 largest U.S. metropolitan areas. Over that time period, the national median price of a single-family home more than doubled, from $166,200 to $353,600. The median more than tripled in nine of the metros, and more than quadrupled in two of them — Detroit, where it grew from $53,800 in 2011 to $245,700 in 2021; and Boise, Idaho, where it grew from $115,400 to $468,600.
At the bottom of the list was Peoria, Ill., where the median price rose about 9 percent from 2011 through 2021, inching up from $119,800 to $130,500.
Doubling, tripling and quadrupling values can be hard to wrap one’s head around. But the study found an evocative way to describe long-term price growth: by breaking it down day by day. Imagine finding $266 stacked up on the coffee table every single day from 2011 through 2021. That’s one way to envision price appreciation in San Jose, Calif., which had the greatest gain of all metros when measured in actual dollars. During that time, the median price there rose from $570,000 to $1.64 million — bringing that cash on the coffee table to a total of $1.07 million.
(New York Times)
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
A long time ago in my youth, I received great pleasure from traveling around from state to state on long distance touring trips via motorcycle. I rode smaller displacement bikes, nothing larger than 500 cc. A 250 cc cruiser bike can ride the two lane back roads with no problem, and if you ride conservatively, can get you up to 80 mpg.
I still ride dirt bikes, but have had too many close calls on the highways and I don’t ride asphalt anymore. I’d love to ride the roads again, but I won’t until most of the idiots are removed from the roads and their cars either parked or shipped off to China. If things turn out right, our car culture will change to a motorbike, bicycle, and public transportation culture due to widespread poverty and fuel rationing. That would mean I get to enjoy motorcycling again without worry of being mangled by a teenage girl squawking on her phone or texting. Some clouds do have silver linings.
HIGHWAY SPEEDS, two on-line comments:
(1) 80 is the new 65. I set my cruise control at 68 and my speedometer is certified accurate. At least 1/2 of the cars pass me very quickly and since in California, we don’t realize what blinkers are for, we never see them. I am thinking of hiring someone just to ride shotgun. I see the police on the road and they also pass me but it seems what’s going on in town keeps them too busy to worry about driving idiots. Gosh, do you think it might be related to all the accidents with deaths and injuries that we have?
(2) Many drivers, especially the ones driving big 4X4', are actually 2-year-olds in soggy diapers.
by Forrest Hylton
In spite of a recent drug-related shooting – and mounting violence against PT supporters nationwide – the excitement and ebullience on the beach at Porto da Barra in Salvador are palpable, and barely contained. An older man dressed in yellow who sells cashews took a break for a beer late on Sunday morning, and said he could hardly wait; like many precarious baianos, he is at the end of his rope. The other day, a man who lives on the streets was dressed in a felt hat, rope sandals and an orange jumpsuit with red Lula stickers plastered all over it.
In the final days before the general election, Lula is hitting his stride: there is a real chance he will win in the first round (though of course he may not). It will come down to what the 2 or 3 per cent of undecided voters do on 2 October, and Lula has pivoted towards them, while Bolsonaro is paralysed in a sort of rigor mortis. Simone Tebet (of the centre-right) is polling at 5 per cent, Ciro Gomes (centre-left) at 6 per cent, but half these voters say they may change their mind. Gomes appears to have been losing votes to Lula recently.
Ninety per cent say they want the election decided in the first round, and polls have Lula hovering around 50 per cent though Bolsonaro still claims he is going to win on Sunday, using venues like the UN General Assembly and the queen’s funeral to campaign. His son Eduardo recently tried to censor a story about the family’s purchase of 51 properties in cash – an attempt which backfired, making headlines again. As for Lula, even the TV news anchor William Bonner has admitted his innocence. In the final presidential debate in Rio last night, Gomes and Tebet went after Bolsonaro, not Lula.
In the north-east (and perhaps elsewhere), where popular religion has a millenarian component, Lula’s return plays for many people as a story of redemption and resurrection. In the south-east, where demographic, political, economic and cultural power are located, artists and celebrities such as the Afro-Brazilian actor-director Lázaro Ramos and rapper Emecida take selfies with Lula; they represent a new, anti-racist cultural elite. Musicians and singers have made videos for his campaign. A catchy tune with a good chorus is one of the best ways to reach people, especially in Brazil. Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil led crowds in Rio singing ‘Olé, olé olé olá, Lula, Lula’. This has been going on for months: in Bahia, the Lula song breaks out at concerts and rodas de samba. Following his interview with Bonner on TV Globo, the windows of Salvador were filled with people cheering (‘Fora Bolsonaroooooooo!’; ‘É o Lula, porra!’), and drumming and dancing in the streets.
Thanks in part to the efforts of Lula’s running mate, Geraldo Alckmin, key figures in the south-east in the business community, law, media, politics, universities, the arts – including a number of people who helped railroad Lula 2017 – have come out publicly in favour of him as the representative of democracy. High-level defections include two former heads of the Supreme Court, Celso de Mello and Joaquim Barbosa. In terms of building broad legitimacy and consensus with the people who run Brazil, such as the businessmen who assembled to speak with him in São Paulo, Lula’s campaign has been a resounding success. The US State Department met with him last week. Thomas Shannon, a former US ambassador to Brazil, says that Washington would prefer Lula, and expects Bolsonaro to respect the results on Sunday.
Campaign videos attacking Bolsonaro’s record in office have gone viral on TikTok, as Lula holds his own on social media, with a commanding lead among young voters, the elderly, women, the poor and and Afro-Brazilians (these categories overlap).
The feared or expected show of military, police and paramilitary force in support of Bolsonaro has not so far materialised; nothing indicates the military is with him, though there are doubts about the police. Independence Day on 7 September is usually marked by civic-military parades for primary and secondary school students, the police and armed forces, religious authorities, lay people and the faithful. For Brazil’s bicentennial celebrations, however, grotesque spectacle was the order of the day: in his effort to speak to women – and attempt to win their votes – Bolsonaro declared his love for his wife with reference to his penis and his ability to use it, and forced a kiss on her lips. A leading journalist called it a ‘chanchada criminosa’. Bolsonaro spent the rest of the week jet-skiing, riding motorcycles and insulting women journalists.
Perhaps in anticipation of defeat, his followers are threatening, humiliating and murdering Lula’s supporters: no previous campaign season – not even 2018, when the composer and capoeira master Moa do Katendê was stabbed to death in Brotas – has seen such a high level of violence and tension. Every day a petista is murdered by a bolsonarista. Cars and motorcycles with Brazilian flags, signalling support for Bolsonaro, circulate at high speed. Some of the occupants are armed and dangerous: arms imports are at an all-time high and weapons, including machine guns, are easy to buy. Bolsonaro and his sons are enthusiasts for the gun trade.
The far right is on a war footing, even though Bolsonaro, as a man of faith, believes he is going to win the elections – or did. He doesn’t trust the polls, which show him more than 10 per cent behind, but has already cried fraud and asked aloud: ‘What did I do wrong?’ To the extent that magic factors into electoral equations, it is all on Lula’s side, and the dark arts of fascist street violence cannot stop a democratic wave that has yet to reach its crest. Although people are alert, and on guard for more violence against PT supporters, especially once the result is announced on 2 October – my graduate students have advised each other to stay home – in Salvador they are also gearing up to party in the streets of Rio Vermelho (a PT stronghold) and Porto da Barra.
If Lula wins, it will be the second major festa democrática in South America this year, following Colombia, as winter turns to spring. And if not on the night of 2 October, then after the run-off on 30 October. As Lula told Bolsonaro in Rio last night, ‘the people are about to send you packing.’ In Porto da Barra, everyone who works on the beach – selling grilled cheese, nuts, açaí, picolé, bikinis, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, caipirinhas-caipiroskas, beer, soft drinks, water, coconut water, dried shrimp, acarajé – is ready and waiting. The time to celebrate has finally come, they hope. If they have to wait an extra month, so be it. Then the question becomes whether Bolsonaro and his sons are tried in a court of law, or head off into the sunset in one of the Gulf monarchies, presumably on motorcycles, and mostly alone.
(London Review of Books)
UKRAINE, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1ST
Luke Harding in Kyiv
Russia suffered a humiliating military defeat on Saturday when Ukrainian troops liberated the key eastern city of Lyman, with videos showing them raising a blue and yellow national flag and performing a victory dance.
In a severe embarrassment for Vladimir Putin, Russia’s ministry of defence admitted its soldiers had retreated. They had been “withdrawn to more advantageous lines”, the ministry said, following their encirclement by Ukrainian forces.
The debacle comes hours after Putin declared on Friday that the city, which is in the Donetsk region, was Russia’s “for ever”. In a ceremony in the Kremlin he announced the province’s annexation, together with the territories of Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
Putin’s high-stakes strategy to boost support at home for his war appeared to be unravelling. Russian nationalist bloggers vented their fury at the military command in Moscow, while Chechnya’s president Ramzan Kadyrovpublished a scathing critique of its multiple failures.
Writing on the Telegram messaging app, Kadyrov called on the Kremlin to consider using a “low-yield nuclear weapon” after its Lyman setback. He asked sarcastically what cities Russia would forfeit next, adding: “Everything would be good if it wasn’t so bad.”
Earlier on Saturday Ukraine’s armed forces said they had entirely surrounded the city, trapping thousands of Russian soldiers inside. The governor of Luhansk province, Serhiy Haidai, said the besieged troops had begged on Friday to be allowed to leave Lyman. Their commanders refused, he claimed.
The Russians could either surrender, try to escape or die together, Haidai said. Some appear to have made it out. Ukrainian drone footage showed a column of vehicles heading west, together with civilian vehicles.
Others were less fortunate. Video showed the apparent aftermath of an artillery strike, with burned-out vehicles by the side of a forest road, personal belongings strewn in the mud and dead Russian soldiers. Dozens and possibly hundreds of other Russian servicemen appear to have been captured.
— The Guardian
"A MILLION ZEROES joined together do not, unfortunately, add up to one. Ultimately everything depends on the quality of the individual, but the fatally shortsighted habit of our age is to think only in terms of large numbers and mass organizations, though one would think that the world had seen more than enough of what a well-disciplined mob can do in the hands of a single madman."
— Carl Jung
THE NARRATIVE THAT THIS WAR WAS “UNPROVOKED” PREVENTS PEACE
by Caitlin Johnstone
Vladimir Putin has approved the annexation of four territories in eastern Ukraine, whose addition to the Russian Federation now await authorization from Russia’s other branches of government.
The Zelensky government responded to the move by applying to join NATO, only to be immediately shut down by US and NATO officials. Can’t have sacrificial pawns trying to rise above their station on the grand chessboard, after all.
But the empire’s proxy war against Russia continues, and the Ukrainian government has announced its intentions to drive out Russia from all of the Ukrainian territories it has claimed as its own.
“For our plans, [Russia’s annexation] doesn’t matter,” Zelensky advisor Mykhailo Podolyak told Politico, adding that Ukraine will “protect our land using all our forces” and “should liberate all its territories.”
The plan to reclaim territories annexed by Russia will according to Zelensky also include Crimea, which was annexed in 2014.
All this talk about preparing a massive western-backed counter-offensive to recapture annexed territories from Russia — whose ranks are being reinforced with an additional 300,000 reservists — comes as Putin suggests that nuclear weapons may be used to protect what Moscow considers parts of Russia. Russia, like the United States, is one of the nuclear-armed nations without a No First Use policy.
So we appear to be on a collision course toward a massive escalation between two nuclear-armed powers. The more things escalate the more likely it is that a nuclear weapon may be used, either deliberately or as a result of miscommunication or malfunction as nearly happened many times during the last cold war. Once one nuke is used the odds go up astronomically that a great many more will immediately follow, with variables on this outcome including the location where it detonates and how cool all the relevant heads happen to be at that particular historic moment.
It is therefore no exaggeration to say that the human species has a vested interest in de-escalation and detente right away. Avoiding nuclear war is the single most important agenda in the entire world, without exception. It is the single most important agenda that has ever existed in all of history.
But whenever you advocate for this supremely important agenda in any kind of public forum, you get a bunch of brainwashed empire automatons bleating about “appeasement” and accusing you of supporting a monstrous madman. And they do this because that’s what they were trained to do.
As Noam Chomsky has been pointing out repeatedly, the political/media class have been continually indoctrinating the public with the completely false narrative that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “unprovoked”. Every time the war comes up the imperial spinmeisters utter that slogan, in much the same way Michael Jackson had a quota for how often MTV hosts were obligated to refer to him as “The King of Pop Michael Jackson” when his name was mentioned.
But what does it mean if the war is “unprovoked”? It means Putin didn’t invade Ukraine because of anything the western empire was doing, so it couldn’t have been prevented by the western empire behaving less aggressively on Russia’s borders. It means Putin necessarily invaded because he is some kind of evil lunatic who loves to commit war crimes, or a megalomaniacal tyrant who wants to conquer the world because he hates freedom and democracy. Which means he will keep attacking and invading other countries unless he can be stopped. Which means the only answer to the Putin problem is more war.
This is why empire apologists get angry at those who advocate the only sane and rational position toward nuclear brinkmanship by calling for de-escalation and detente. It’s because they’ve been aggressively indoctrinated into the belief that war is the only answer.
The moronic narrative that the invasion of Ukraine was “unprovoked” poses a massive obstacle to peace, because if Putin is just attacking and invading countries solely because he’s crazy and evil it means detente is impossible and he won’t stop until he’s decisively crushed. If it’s accepted that the US empire has played no role in provoking Putin’s actions, that means there’s nothing the empire could do to make continued Russian aggression less likely apart from regime change, or at least severely crippling and punishing Russia militarily.
As long as the fact that this war was provoked remains unacknowledged by the side that provoked it, the sane path of de-escalation and detente will look like reckless appeasement of an irrational madman, and aggressive escalations of nuclear brinkmanship will look like sanity. The absurd position that Putin is an irrational actor with some kind of weird sexual fetish for war crimes is a one-way ticket to endlessly escalating war and eventual nuclear annihilation, because it leaves you with no options but continually intensifying military confrontation.
The claim that peace is impossible and Putin must be crushed imperils the whole world. Even to deliver total victory in Ukraine (pushing Russia back to pre-2014 borders) could easily end up costing millions of lives and trillions of dollars and exponentially increase the risk of nuclear war, with no guarantee of success at all. But even if you did push Putin all the way out of Ukraine, what then? He’ll still be a crazy madman who wants to invade countries because he’s evil and hates freedom. The internal logic of your narrative says the attacks on Russia must continue until you get regime change. There’s no stopping point on your line of thinking until there’s a direct hot confrontation between nuclear superpowers.
Be an adult and engage your critical thinking. Does a madman who goes around invading countries solely because he’s evil and hates freedom sound like a real-life human being to you? Or does it sound made up? Like something you’d see in a Hollywood movie? Like something that was concocted by people responsible for controlling the dominant narratives of our society and funneled into your mind using media?
Marvel supervillains have more depth and complexity than the one-dimensional characters the imperial spin machine concocts to represent its official enemies. Thanos was a more believable character with more understandable and nuanced motivations than the propaganda machine’s fictional representation of Putin. That representation has been overlaid on top of the actual government official who you might not necessarily agree with, but can definitely understand and engage in diplomacy and negotiation.
People who believe the empire’s narratives about its official enemies have fewer critical thinking skills than your average Marvel movie viewer. Think. Be a grown up and think. Someone’s benefitting from the aggressively promulgated narrative that peace is impossible and war is the only solution. And that someone isn’t you.