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Mendocino County Today: Monday, Oct. 3, 2022

Warming | Ian Damage | Dissolve MCHD | Albion Pier | Grange Pancakes | Wendling Logged | AV Events | Vined Twig | Cannabis Recommendations | Camp 15 | Bumblebee Plight | Lumber Carts | Macdonald Book | Yesterday's Catch | Hiking London | Small Parade | Marco Radio | Sinker Machine | Niner Tickets | Albion Mill | Women Prostitutes | God Child | Israel Discussion | Supremes 1965 | Ukraine | Supremes 2022 | Putin Medea | Libra

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WARM AND DRY WEATHER is expected for the next week across the Northwest California interior underneath a building ridge of high pressure. Coastal areas see bouts of cloudiness and fog each day, potentially less persistently later in the week. (NWS)

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Fort Myers, Florida

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WILL LEE ON MENDOCINO COAST HOSPITAL DISTRICT: “Dissolve the District! Give the taxpayers their money back! The District cannot and will not build housing for staff; it will not raise $100 million for a new hospital. Adventist will not contribute any money for a new facility.”

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Log Loading Pier, Albion Lumber Company, 1920

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There will be flapjacks flipping at the Grange this coming Sunday Oct. 9th. That's right it's the second Sunday of the month and most of us have recovered from the Fair. The Grange did well this time taking a 1st place with our booth titled Lettuce Turnip the Beet. Every year we have to come up with at least 75 different varieties of fruits and vegetables. Even with a sketchy gardening season folks showed up with 135 different fruits and veggies. Many thanks to all of you for helping out, the booth looked really good this time around.

Continuing the Lettuce Turnip the Beet theme we jumped into the parade with the drum float packed with drummers followed by a bunch of dancing produce, aieeee, and we ended up with another blue ribbon.

But, we are not too tired to make a mess of pancakes for you all. So come on down this Sunday, it's from 8:30 to 11:00. See you there.

P.S. The Deep End Woogies are on tour this weekend, we will miss them, they will be back though. (Captain Rainbow)

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Landing, Albion Lumber Company, near Wendling, 1921

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Vine & Twig (photo mk)

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MCA Action Tuesday October 4, 2022 - 8:30 A.M.

Board Of Supervisors Entrance

501 Low Gap Road, Ukiah 95482

(Ukiah, CA) October 1, 2022 - Mendocino Cannabis Alliance (MCA) fully supports the 12 Recommendations made to the full Board of Supervisors by the Cannabis Ad Hoc of Supervisors Haschak and McGourty in Agenda Item 4g on October 4.

On numerous occasions over the last 10 Months Supervisors Haschak and McGourty have met with County Staff, State Agencies and stakeholders to identify challenges and develop solutions related to the administration of the Cannabis Program in Mendocino County. The Board has asked the Ad Hoc to evaluate options and bring shovel ready proposals back for a vote. This process has led to the robust list of recommendations put forward with Agenda Item 4g.

These actionable items are essential to streamlining as much of the administration of the Cannabis Program as possible as a direct result of the work of the Ad Hoc. After October 4, all cannabis items will be referred to the General Government Committee (GGC) for initial review before coming before the full Board. While we have no doubt that Supervisors Gjerde and Mulheren of the GGC will do their best to get up to speed on the various challenges facing the Cannabis Department, the Ad Hoc has already been deeply involved in this research and the most efficient use of that effort is to adopt their recommendations on October 4.

MCA and members of the wider Mendocino County community will be at the Supervisors meeting to share our support of the Ad Hoc in person. We invite all supporters of reasonable cannabis regulations in Mendocino to contact their district Supervisor and encourage them to adopt the Ad Hoc Recommendations on October 4 as presented for Agenda Item 4g.

Contact Michael Katz at for more information.

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Date: October 4, 2022 

To: Board of Supervisors 

From: Supervisor Haschak & Supervisor McGourty 

Subject: Cannabis Ad Hoc Recommendations 

The cannabis ad hoc committee will be passing on the work related to cannabis issues to the General Government Committee. Since time is critical to meet the state-imposed deadline of June 30, 2023 for transition of state provisional licenses to state annual licenses, the ad hoc believes that the following list of recommendations are time sensitive and urgent for BOS action. 

1. Reiterate prior Direction and request specific and on-going implementation of (a) MCD Director submitting changes to LEEP manual with state to maximize benefits allowable grant items for awardees; (b) do not delay implementation until after BoS informed, but implement as soon as state approves changes and then inform BoS at earliest opportunity; (c) continue to review and respond to requests of Equity Applicants to add additional items/efficiencies that are allowable under the state grant. 

2. Assign one County Counsel staff and one CEO office staff to temporary full-time assignment to Cannabis issues including contracting, review of policies and procedures as needed, interdepartmental coordination and other tasks that need particular focus given the deadlines. Immediately contract with organizational consultant to review departmental operations for efficiencies. 

3. Clarify existing safety and disease exemptions in ordinance to specifically include fire safety, direct immediate implementation, and direct County Counsel to prepare procedural options for allowing tree removal for disease and safety and consideration of evidence needed for both applicants and department at the General Government Committee meeting 

4. Request that the General Government Committee meet monthly. 

5. Direct Building Official to review and adopt a policy akin to Humboldt County’s policy of allowing Trimming (processing and packaging) in residences and accessory structures without the need for a commercial, F1 occupancy under the Home Occupation and Cottage Industry use ordinances. 

6. Direct MCD to provide a “no objection” status for every document or requirement that MCD referred to any outside agency and that has not been responded to by the County within 30-days. The standard 30-day response window was built into the ordinance but is not currently being implemented in a manner that would allow applications to continue in the approval process without actually obtaining a formal response from the agency. 

7. Direct MCD to set a deadline to establish an application process for the LJAGP grants to rectify the slow roll out of grant funds by the Department and contract with an outside agency, such as West Company, to manage the administration of the LJAGP grant. Although the County has four years to distribute these funds, cultivators must transition from provisional to annual licenses by July 2023 and these funds are essential to aid them in that transition. 

8. Create a dispute resolution process for matters and decisions that do not result in denials. This is in alignment with the often discussed need for MCD to do as much as possible to help the current cohort stay in the program and succeed to annual State licensure. 

9. Issue local annual renewal permits within 30 days if they have minor changes that are below the established threshold that requires a modification application as intended by 10A.17.090 or State regulations. Currently, renewals are taking an inordinate amount of time for MCD to issue even if there are no or only insignificant changes that do not trigger a separate Modification process (such as change of type or size or other significant operational changes). Applicants are asked to submit all materials 60- days in advance but then are left without the renewal they need for 2-6 months after expiration of their existing permit. 

10. Direct Building Official to review and to reconsider his Memo to Staff limiting use of portable toilets to better align with Mendocino County Code Section 16.08.015 which specifically states that portable toilets may satisfy the restroom requirement for structures that are used to process cannabis plants (facilities), Hoop Houses, and Greenhouses that service cannabis businesses. Support Building Official to review his direction to Staff to presume that infrastructure associated with the business or structures negates a finding of seasonal use of those structures and incorporate use of portable toilets for home and accessory structures used under the home occupation and cottage industry rules. 

11. Align the County definition of outdoor cultivation with the imminent and expected State change in its definition to include the use of light deprivation without the use of light assistance. In a matter of weeks, the state will be publishing its new regulations. The proposed regulations changed the definition of Outdoor to allow for light deprivation techniques without the use of lights. If the County does not act now, we will be far out of step with State law and local farmers will not receive the benefit that their competitors around the State will receive 

12. Direct MCD staff to work with CDFW and stakeholders to review and modify a screening tool for Sensitive Species and Habitat Review referrals. This was agreed upon at the July 28 cannabis ad hoc committee meeting with CDFW, MCD, and stakeholders with the intent to expedite the workload and screen applicants for SSHR review by CDFW. 

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Camp 15, Albion Lumber Company, 1921

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by Jim Shields

As most of you know, I’m the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District. Our District belongs to a number of state and national organizations that represent and offer different services, including legal and political services.

Since I have a degree in Political Science and have worked in around government my entire career, I’ve never really used these organizations and their services and expertise. I’ve always developed our own political and legal plans, strategies, and policies.

One of the water utility organizations we belong to is the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA). This week ACWA sent me a report on a court case dealing with bumblebees and the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).

ACWA is pretty upset with the appellate court ruling, me not so much. My wife Susan was the daughter of Minnesota beekeepers. Her family earned their living by selling their honey all over the Midwest. It was the best honey this Irishman ever had in his whole life — and naturally organic, thanks to those bees.

According to most experts, the American bumblebee was once common in open prairies, grasslands and urban areas across most of the United States but has experienced a rapid and severe decline. Over the past 20 years, it has disappeared or become very rare in 16 states; overall, observations of the bee have declined by nearly 90 percent.

Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the American bumblebee “whose populations have plummeted by nearly 90 percent,” may warrant Endangered Species Act protection. That announcement kicked off a one-year status assessment of the species.

“This is an important first step in preventing the extinction of this fuzzy black-and-yellow beauty that was once a familiar sight,” said Jess Tyler, a Center for Biological Diversity scientist. “To survive unchecked threats of disease, habitat loss and pesticide poisoning, American bumblebees need the full protection of the Endangered Species Act right now.”

According to the Center, “American bumblebees were first described before the United States won its independence and are known by their distinctive black-and-yellow color pattern. They’re social insects who live in colonies that can number in the hundreds, with workers and a single queen. They make their nests in pre-existing cavities like rodent burrows and rotten logs or on the surface of the ground in large grass bunches. The decline of the American bumblebee is part of a troubling downward trend in many of the 46 species of bumblebees and approximately 3,600 species of native bees in the United States that are needed to pollinate the full spectrum of wild plants.”

OK, that’s my story, now here is what ACWA has to say.

The California Supreme Court last week declined to review a controversial appellate court decision that extended protections under the state’s endangered species law to bumblebees and other insects. By allowing the ruling to stand, this case opens the door to listing any invertebrate under the CESA and may ultimately result in increased regulatory requirements and compliance costs for ACWA’s member agencies.

The case, Almond Alliance of California v. Fish and Game Commission, has hinged on whether bees and other terrestrial invertebrates should be defined as fish for purposes of CESA. Fish are eligible for listing under CESA. Section 45 of the Fish and Game Code, which predates CESA but has been applied to the Act, defines fish as “a wild fish, mollusk, crustacean, invertebrate, amphibian, or part, spawn, or ovum of any of those animals”). While the court acknowledged that the statutory definition was ambiguous and that the fish classification is commonly understood to refer to aquatic species, it ultimately reached the conclusion that the Legislature intended the definition to encompass any invertebrate, including terrestrial insects, such as bumblebees. The court then concluded that Section 45’s definition of fish applied to CESA.

The plaintiffs in the case — comprised of a coalition of farming groups — requested the California Supreme Court review the appellate court decision. ACWA filed a letter with the high court in support of the petition for review. In seeking California Supreme Court review, ACWA argued that the lower court’s decision “upends the wide-held, decades-old understanding that CESA does not apply to terrestrial invertebrates, including insects.” ACWA noted the broad implications that case would have for its members as it greatly expands the number of species that may be listed as endangered or threatened.

Water agencies and their water users would be required to seek certain permits for infrastructure, agricultural and conservation activities that will include strict measures to address potential adverse impacts. ACWA noted that this will add time and expense to efforts to remain in compliance with CESA, and increase the likelihood of projects and activities being curtailed or prohibited altogether.

In June 2019, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) accepted petitions to list four subspecies of native California bees for protection under CESA. This decision resulted in the bumblebee subspecies being designated a candidate species, thereby receiving full protection under CESA, while the Commission determined whether to permanently list the subspecies’ as endangered or threatened.

A group of agricultural trade associations challenged that in a Sacramento Superior Court, arguing that CESA does not authorize the Commission to designate insects, such as bumblebees, as endangered, threatened, or candidate species.

While the trial court sided with the agricultural interests and ordered the Commission to rescind its decision, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the lower court’s decision, finding that insects can be listed as an endangered, threatened, or candidate species under CESA.

The agricultural interests argued that even if Section 45 applied to CESA, the term invertebrate only covers aquatic invertebrates and not terrestrial invertebrates, given that fish are connected to aquatic environments. The court rejected this argument, as well, noting that CESA’s legislative history supported a liberal interpretation of the term.

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So now you’ve read two sides of the bumblebee story.

Which one do you think will have the better ending?

Historically, the Shields family made our living by owning farmland and operating a grain elevator that farmers brought their harvest of corn, soybeans, wheat, and oats to either be stored for later sale, or sold immediately on the commodities market. It was a profitable business.

So our roots are firmly in the soil, and probably even more so because we’re Irish. Culturally, a lot of us believe that we share the land with its other inhabitants, including those who buzz around pollinating what the soil nurtures.

Doesn’t seem to make much sense to be doing things that eliminates the lives of creatures that provide life-sustaining assistance to those who claim to be stewards of the land.

The California Supreme Court made the right decision allowing the appellate ruling to stand, thus protecting a truly threatened species, the bumblebee whose ranks have been decimated by 90 percent. ACWA says the decision may lead to increased regulations and costs, and they’re probably correct.

Just think of it as the cost of doing “buzziness.”

(Jim Shields is the Mendocino County Observer’s editor and publisher,, the long-time district manager of the Laytonville County Water District, and is also chairman of the Laytonville Area Municipal Advisory Council. Listen to his radio program “This and That” every Saturday at 12 noon on KPFN 105.1 FM, also streamed live:

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Albion Lumber Company, May 1920

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On an autumn night in 1896 two prominent Ukiah citizens on their way to Potter Valley gazed skyward at a strange craft in the sky, a blur of speeding light. They weren't alone. A Bay Area electrician watched the “great black cigar with a fish like tail... at least one hundred feet long.” Sightings continued into the spring of the next year, up and down the west coast and east to Chicago, Texas, and Kentucky. What was it?

This is just one of twenty-some little known tales recounted in Mendocino History Exposed. It has sold out several times over at Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino. A new batch has arrived on the shelves this week. Don't miss your chance to acquire this treasure. 

Gallery Bookshop is located at the corner of Kasten and Main Streets in Mendocino. Place an order by phone at 707-937-2665 or use their easy online system at

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CATCH OF THE DAY, October 2, 2022

Christian Mejia, Nguyen

CHARLES CHRISTIAN JR., Ukiah. Probation revocation.

ANAMARIA MEJIA, Ukiah. Pot transportation/sale, pot for sale, controlled substance, conspiracy.


Reed, Rhodes, Rodriguez, Russell


RAYMOND RHODES, Fort Bragg. DUI-alcohol&drugs.

ANTONIO RODRIGUEZ, Ukiah. Pot transportation/sale, pot sales, controlled substance, felon-addict with firearm, concealed weapon in vehicle, contempt of court.

MATTHEW RUSSELL, Fort Bragg. Arson of property.

Simpson, Theriault, Zambrano

GERALD SIMPSON, Willits. County parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)

JOSEPH THERIAULT, Willits. Pot transportation, possession for sale, conspiracy.

JESUS ZAMBRANO-CEJA, Ukiah. Pot transportation/sale, pot sales, controlled substance, concealed weapon in vehicle, conspiracy.

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

If we’d planned to insert ourselves into the middle of the royal mess of the logistical nightmare that knotted London’s streets for many blocks following the death of Her Majesty, we’d have picked the St. James Hotel as headquarters.

But we didn’t. Plan, I mean. We booked a flight and a hotel back in August during a time Queen Elizabeth was trotting about the Balmoral hillsides with her dogs and with no one suspecting her number was up.

So, the St. James. Room 532, for historians wanting accurate details. The St. James is near creaky old pubs serving ales and bitters, clothing shops, a bookstore ‘round the corner, banks and an occasional police officer ambling about.

And just over there, Buckingham Palace.

Now back that way, a block or so around the corner, you’ll see Westminster Abbey.

Readers who absorb British mystery novels like Brits devour pints know the St. James Hotel is between the two most important buildings in the week surrounding the Queen’s services. And what a week it was. Lasted a month.

One afternoon prior to any obvious planning for the official event(s) wife Trophy and I took a morning taxi to the British Museum, a building that was old even before the Queen was born. It’s stuffed with jewels, statues, pieces of ships and boats, knights’ armor and several tons of other remnants that leave me mentally exhausted after 30 minutes. 

We were in the museum for hours, emerged blinking into strong sunlight, and began our long but leisurely walk home. (It’s a Yea to the “long” walk part, Nay to the “leisurely” one.)

We’d planned the hike home from the comfort of the hotel lobby, aided by a knowledgeable concierge who said our walk would be along a simple scenic pathway.

It was merely a matter of following the route with a few turns at a few corners, a roundabout here and maybe a lunch there. Then the “blinking into strong sunlight” stuff before skipping down hundreds of steps leading to the museum. Away we went.

For about 300 feet. We were stopped by helpful police officers leaning on metal fence-like barricades. The cops cheerfully re-directed us a couple blocks that way, then to the left and we’d be right on course. On course?

On course for a looping, backtracking maze of more barricades, many more officers, and instructions (security purposes you understand) to avoid this particular thoroughfare, and instead go back the direction we’d come, but turn at the gate opposite.

Or some other gate. Didn’t much matter to the smiling cops, nor the next ones we met at the intersection to which we’d been directed. Sorry and all that, but the road’s closed until Thursday. Best bet is around that way, under the overpass and clockwise through the roundabout, which oughtn’t take much beyond mid-Tuesday.

This written account is quick and easy in terms of sentences and paragraphs, but it was rather more lengthy and arduous by the third or fourth hour of trudging about London’s thoroughfares and boulevards, all lined with those damnable movable metal barricades. Tiresome, actually, and if I weren’t a brawny lad, stout of heart, brimming with vim, vigor, grit, determination and wearing Crocs, I might have wept. 

I’d sure like to see a city map of dear old London with a dotted line showing the route(s) we took that turned a 45 minute walk (concierge’s estimate) into a trek that took us through London’s Playhouse District, the Big Ben clock tower, House of Parliament (twice), a brewery, miles of metal barricades, a farm with barn, cows, and a tractor, a train station, the British Museum (?) and two pubs where we were revived with pints of healing liquids. 

Just then: What Ho! We spotted the dear old St. James Hotel, only to be told by a band of merry officers that security measures required our heading back the other way through those arches, and once beyond the brewery to go ahead and kill ourselves. 

We did make it home that evening, but not in good moods. Two days later mobs of British citizens, six deep, crowded the sidewalks behind metal barricades in front of our hotel. 

Trophy and I sat in the hotel lobby watching it on TV.

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“I said dam the Dneiper and they threw me into Siberia!” -Churchy LaFemme

Sorry for the delay. Here's the recording of Friday night's (2022-09-30) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA). (it's on Google Drive this time, until I solve a tech problem; it might look a little different on your screen. No cause for alarm.)

Speaking of tech help, thanks to Hank Sims for all kinds of that, as well as for his fine news site:

Thanks to the Anderson Valley Advertiser, which provided almost an hour of that 8-hour show's most locally relevant material, as usual, without asking for anything in return. Just $25 a year for full access to all articles and features ( And consider wee bravely struggling KNYO itself. Long may it wave. Even longer if you were to help out via the big red donation heart. No salesman will call.

Here's a link to my dream journal project that I restarted a couple of years ago. The latest post is always on top.*

Roshklahoma, oy vey! It's now the year 5783. Jew year's day was last week. The honey and apples are long gone.

Video of some weather fun in Florida shot by two guys out in their car with the windshield wipers on to protect against roofing materials and golf carts and trees all flying around like pigeons.

Astrud Gilberto – Corcovado.

And Laurie Anderson, Norton Lecture 6: Birds. (2 hours)

*Email me your work on any subject, it doesn't have to be a dream, and I'll read it on the radio next Friday night.

— Marco McClean,,

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Sinker machine, Albion Lumber Company, 1920

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by Peter Hartlaub

The Leals bought 49ers tickets at Kezar Stadium in 1947, starting a family tradition of 49ers games. 

When I think about my family history, I think about the San Francisco 49ers.

My grandparents, Raymond and Louise Leal, both emigrated from Mexico to San Francisco in the 1920s. Ray got a job as a union boilermaker, they bought a home on Douglass Street in Eureka Valley and had three children. And in 1947 they paid for their first 49ers tickets.

Raymond and Louise Leal (center photo) in 1938 shortly before they were married in San Francisco.

Sports tickets were a huge luxury for my frugal grandmother who kept the books, but I’m guessing they were as much a part of their American dream as the job and the house. They loved their new country, and especially their city. Rooting for the 49ers and San Francisco Seals baseball team were a symbol of that.

We stuck with the 49ers from Kezar Stadium to Candlestick Park to Levi’s Stadium, with season tickets getting passed down to my mother and aunt, and the next generations including me and my sons.

I’ve been thinking about that part of our family history, because it’s likely coming to an end. My mother and I have talked, and we’ve decided this will almost certainly be the last year for our 49ers season tickets. The reasons are complicated, but come down to a simple concept: Pro sports tickets — especially season tickets — are no longer a luxury of the middle class.

It’s not something I feel particularly wounded about. The 49ers, Warriors and Giants have the right to set their tickets at any price they want. I don’t feel entitled to sit in upper box seats on the 5-yard-line (where both our Candlestick and Levi’s Stadium tickets have resided the last 50 years) for the rest of my life.

Candlestick Park season tickets from the Hartlaub family from 2012 and 1982. Peter Hartlaub / The Chronicle

But I think it’s telling about who will and will not be filling stadiums in the present and future. Our tickets were $14.50 each in 1982 plus a 50-cent fee. Our seats for the upcoming Rams game cost more than $170 each including fees, which is almost $125 above what inflation should dictate. That’s considerably more than most Bay Area teachers (my wife’s and father’s professions), nurses (my mother’s profession), journalists, firefighters, bus drivers and small business owners can afford.

The games were different in the early days, and not just the price. I know this from Chronicle archive photos and our family’s stories. There were no team apparal stores; the only jerseys being worn were on the field.

“People went to games in their finest. They came from church,” my mother told me last week. “Ladies had fur coats, because it was cold at Kezar Stadium.”

Kezar was an accurate cross-section of the city, which you could see on game day. There were fans walking from the Sunset, Richmond, Haight and Mission districts, like ants converging on a half-eaten bar of Pink Popcorn. The very poorest residents might have balked at a $1.50 ticket, and the wealthiest San Franciscans might have thought it beneath them. But at least every kid could go. Any child who clipped a coupon from a carton of Christopher Milk in the 1950s could get into 49ers games for free.

My first game was sometime around 1979 or 1980, when I was 9 years old. I always laugh when I see someone bring their infant to a baseball or football game. The team was dreadful, and most of my friends were Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers fans. But my family wasn’t going to waste one of our four 49ers seats in Upper Box Section 32 on me until I was old enough to sit through an entire game intently — and memorize the offensive line.

The good memories from that point are too plentiful to list and are tied to the story of my family and my life. We would buy carnitas burritos from La Tapatia in South San Francisco and ride SamTrans to the game; my mom always wanted to go to the gate where former roller derby star Ann Calvello took tickets.

We would ride up that long-as-hell Candlestick escalator to our seats, where we knew everyone who was seated around us. They were mostly middle-class too, coming from all around the Bay Area and on long bus rides from Sacramento.

We saw kids grow up, then pass the seats down to their children. (We’ve had five generations of Hartlaubs and Leals sit in our seats.) Our family tickets were still in my grandfather’s name, Ray Leal, more than a decade after he died in 1996.

After I joined The Chronicle in 2000, the game-day tradition included meatball sandwiches at Tommy’s Joynt and a ride on the Candlestick Express , a booze cruise of a Muni line where any driver who skipped the freeway and took surface streets was treated like a hero. We would buy extra seats during playoff appearances; my favorite was the Alex Smith naked bootleg game in 2012 . My least favorite was a week later, when a rookie San Francisco Police Department officer pepper-sprayed my wife in the face .

We counted down the days at Candlestick during the last season in 2013. We went to the last game, then I volunteered in 2014 to cover the Paul McCartney concert that closed the ‘Stick. I convinced an usher to let me into Section 32, so I could listen to “Yesterday” and “The End” in the family seats.

I thought that was the end, but my mother and aunt Susan Leal (the city’s first Latina San Francisco supervisor) surprised us, paying the licenses for four upper deck seats at Levi’s Stadium. Best of all, my genius mother figured out the shade side before the stadium was built, and stayed on the phone with 49ers ticket agents — pulling the “we’ve been buying tickets since the beginning” card until we got a good deal.

Along the way she somehow procured owner Jed York’s email address, and has sent her opinions to him directly. To York’s credit, he has been incredibly responsive. I was cc’d on one email where he forwarded her complaint about the stadium’s bus service to a customer service rep, then apologized for not helping more; he was rushing to the hospital for the birth of his child.

I’m not a Levi’s Stadium hater. I mostly miss the strange little things from Candlestick Park — the trough urinals, Huey Lewis anthems, Frisbee dogs every game and Bob Sarlatte on the public address. My 17-year-old son Theo is a fan, and he loves the new touches: the huge video screens, fantasy football statistics and bombastic player announcements that make every pregame feel like the end of “Avengers: Endgame.”

While it’s harder for my San Francisco and Santa Rosa family members to get to games, I note that with the South Bay fans I see just as many Latino 49ers faithful at the game as when my Mexican grandparents were going. (My grandmother died in 2006, a huge fan to the end.)

A bright spot after the pandemic restrictions lifted: My father, Philip Hartlaub, 87, and mother, Jeanne Hartlaub, 77, have been going to more games than they have in years. I saved money during the times we couldn’t go, so Theo and I can attend as many games with them as possible.

But as the ticket prices push higher, it gnaws at me. Including parking or train tickets, a game for two of us costs $400 at the bare minimum. I stopped telling my wife how much they cost, then was stunned when we got single-game upper deck Warriors tickets for the family as a Christmas present; they cost about 60% of one football game.

I bike everywhere now, and appreciate the Chase Center and Oracle Park free bike valet through the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which saves at least $50 parking. A few Giants, Warriors and 49ers games a year are in my budget. With two sons going to college soon, 10 football games a year is not. We could move to even cheaper upper-deck seats in the sun with worse views than we’ve had the past 50 years, but after investing in the seat licenses fewer than 10 years ago, we choose not to.

I’ve noticed in my pickup basketball games more of my friends talking about Oakland Roots soccer tickets. I’ve been to a few San Francisco City FC soccer games at old Kezar Stadium where the 49ers started, and realized it’s less expensive to become a part owner of that team than just a fan of the 49ers.

So when my mother suggested this year might be the last, the biggest feeling was relief. My love of the team had been eclipsed by guilt over the cost of being a fan.

So what’s next? I’ll still root for the 49ers, go to the occasional game, and carry the memories. But when it comes to attending sporting events, that part of the American Dream has been downsized. I’m rooting for the WNBA and National Women’s Soccer League to come to the Bay Area; if we get one or both I’ll give my Aunt Susie a call and see if she wants to go in on tickets.

I leave with no anger toward the 49ers, but wonder whether they’re losing more than paying customers. No one cheered louder at games than my mom and grandmother, who rarely left their seats, even at halftime. Some of the new fans treat it like a lounge; the club seats near the 50-yard line are always comically empty through much of the third quarter.

There was something reassuring about walking into a stadium and seeing representative samples of the community — not just the top-earning 10% or 15%. I’m not sure the 49ers will miss us. But I bet they’re noticing the changes, too.

(Peter Hartlaub is The San Francisco Chronicle culture critic.)

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Redwood log entering mill, Albion Lumber Company, Albion, 1920

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Woman in the audience: Why do you make films only about women prostitutes and not men?

Godard pauses for a moment, then replies: They are different things.

Woman: How can you claim to talk about a woman prostitute’s life?

Godard: Well, every time I hire a prostitute, I ask her about her experiences. 

— Jeffrey St Clair

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by Michael Harris & Jeffrey Blankfort

Michael Harris:

Jeff Blankfort, a veteran anti-Zionist, seems quite upset that my recent letter in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat was reprinted in the Advertiser.

While I guess I should be flattered that I inspired Blankfort to research my background to discover that I am—GASP—a Zionist activist (and thanks for the shout-out for my book, Jeff!), he appears to insinuate that, by not providing my Zionist bona fides in my letter, I am somehow deceiving readers. Of course, there’s no space in a letter to the editor to do that. But Blankfort, in a 2500 word comment, should then have the integrity to disclose his own associations.

And what are those associations? Blankfort has presented at speaking events with Gilad Atzmon, an ex-Jew who has declared burning down synagogues to be “a rational act”, but also believes “There’s no such thing as antisemitism.”. He’s also appeared together with both Greta Berlin and Alison Weir. Berlin was a founder of the Hamas support network known as the Free Gaza Movement, which tried to bring expired medications and worn-out shoes to Gaza by boat; in 2012, she notably promoted a Holocaust denial film and then gave multiple, mutually conflicting explanations of how that happened. Weir appears to be David Duke’s favorite antiZionist (at least until Duke tweeted out his admiration for Ilhan Omar in 2019); her books have been on sale at his website. Weir is so toxic that even Jewish Voice for Peace, which promotes an astonishing litany of lies and libels about Israel, won’t work with her.

It's only who he chooses to associate with, of course; he has his own track record of hate speech. He spoke at Oct 18 2012, at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists. “Using coarse, vitriolic language, Jeff evoked the themes of classic anti-Semitism, speaking of 'Jewish power', and mockingly comparing those concerned with rising anti-Semitism 'dogs who like to roll in horseshit.' Declaring firmly ‘Our business here was to stop support of Israel’, he made no pretense of objectivity or impartially, until he concluded ‘The Jewish establishment is the biggest purveyors of untruth and disinformation you can possibly find anywhere in the world’.” (citation:

Antisemitism is, at its heart, a conspiracy theory. No wonder that Cynthia McKinney, the disgraced former Congresswoman from Georgia whose promotion of conspiracy theories have made her a favorite of wingnuts the world over, is a big fan:

But all of this pales in contrast to the ne plus ultra of Far Left antisemitic online gathering places, the “Palestine Live” Facebook group started by Jeremy Corbyn supporters. The British activist David Collier has written at length about the old-school antisemitism rampant in that group—Holocaust denial, Rothschild conspiracy theories, links to white supremacist websites, uploads of the Protocols of the Elders of Ziyon. Of course Gilad Atzmon, Alison Weir and Greta Berlin were members. So was Jeff Blankfort, who was prominent enough to be added on the SECOND DAY of this group’s existence. On page 182 and 183 of this report you can find comments posted by Blankfort; nobody could be faulted if they had guessed that those were statements made by David Duke:

“Israelis like to use the terms blood libel and Jew hatred in the matter that some dogs like to roll around in horse shit, the only difference being that the dogs come out invariably smelling better.” And “How could anyone possibly connect Jews with money any more than bees with honey.” Blankfort spoke up about someone banned from the group for more extreme antisemitism (one can only imagine what could get someone banned from such a group), and posted, inter alia, “Most Jews are not semites.” (As if antisemitism is in any way an opposition to “semitism” or “Semites”; look up Wilhelm Marr, Jeff.)

So now that we have established who Jeff Blankfort is, let’s examine his response to my letter. He doesn’t straight-up assert that I am assisting the Mossad, but he does feel it necessary to spend a few paragraphs chewing over what is apparently a Hebrew neologism for those who do so, and has decided that I am indeed qualified to be one. Sooner or later, though, if you insinuate dual loyalty or even outright assistance in espionage to all Jewish supporters of Israel, you might even be correct once! Sorry Jeff, just not this time. He also cites an alleged quote from Chaim Weizmann which only appears on several quote aggregation websites with no documentation. Given that a quote such as this would have been frequently used over the decades to charge Jews with dual loyalty—especially by the KGB, which helped create the basis for modern leftist antiZionism—I would strongly suspect that this quote is just another in the very long line of deliberate misinformation known as “Pallywood”. Even if the quote were genuine, modern Zionist thought has obviously developed quite a bit over the past 100 years, and neither the State of Israel or the Zionist organizations abroad adhere to such a philosophy.

Blankfort’s rewriting of Biblical history is quite interesting. If he wants to take Genesis as literal history, he should go back and reread it. According to the narrative, Abraham indeed came from Mesopotamia but then personally went to what later became Beersheva, Hebron and Jerusalem. Everything else in the Biblical story is centered around the land of Israel.

Yet the Biblical narrative is not in any way required to understand how Jews are indigenous to Israel. Nor was it the basis for modern political Zionism, led by resolutely secular—and socialist—Jews. The land of Israel, as even Blankfort acknowledges, is where the Jewish people developed our unique identity, language, faith, and ties to a particular piece of land. Were there Canaanites, Philistines (sea people from Europe who lived on the coast), Moabites, Edomites and other tribal peoples in and around that land? Of course. But they all disappeared from history millenia ago. There are no living Canaanites who give their children Canaanite names, teach them Canaanite legends, or observe Canaanite religious practices. Yet Jews are living in the same place, speaking the same language, following the same faith, and giving their children the same names as thousands of years ago. The lie that Ashkenazi Jews have “no connection” to the Land of Israel and the Middle East is long since disproven by genetics indicating Middle Eastern origin (such markers, of course, were absent in their non-Jewish European neighbors). And despite the fact that the Khazar origin story (created by Arthur Koestler in the 1970s without any actual scientific evidence) is still worshipped by antiZionists as a way of trying to separate the bulk of world Jewry from the Jewish homeland, there is no genetic, historical or archaeological evidence to support it. How ironic that Blankfort titles his piece by referring to “Israeli mythology” while simultaneously promoting the Khazar nonsense. Let’s not forget to mention that he uses “Jewish supremacy”, a term popularized by David Duke--not a surprise, coming from an active member of Palestine Live.

Blankfort, on the basis of his extensive (4 months’) time in Israel over 2 decades, has come to the conclusion that Israeli Jews are irredeemably racist. Now let’s be clear—racism exists in Israel, and it is vile. Just as racism exists in every country in the world, and it is vile everywhere. But only in regard to Israel is it followed by “and therefore, that country should not exist” (or some variant of that). There isn’t a way, without sounding like a reprehensible bigot, to say that countries with exponentially worse human rights records than Israel towards their own minority groups—China, Russia, Iran, just to name a few—should be eliminated as nation-states. And those who come to that conclusion regarding Israel aren’t any less the reprehensible bigot. Did Israel have in its recent past have restrictions on where Arabs could rent housing? Yes. Did the US have in its recent past have restrictions on where Blacks could rent housing? Yes. Have courts in both countries taken steps to remove them? Yes. Should the US be disestablished because of this? (I'd say no, but I’m not sure where Blankfort stands on that one).

What do Israeli Arabs think about their country? In a recent survey, 60% said they had a favorable view of the country and 63% said it was a positive place to live. That doesn’t sound like a group being treated as Blankfort alleges.

Blankfort also has a problem with Israeli democracy—it doesn’t elect an Arab as Prime Minister. Arabs are 21% of the population. Jews are 74% (and 5% other, for those of you keeping score at home). While Arab parties were in governing coalitions in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, Arab parties in the past few decades have been staunchly anti-Zionist and refused to serve in any coalition. That changed last year when Mansour Abbas’ Ra’am party served in the coalition that recently disbanded. Meanwhile, Arab members have been elected to the Knesset from various parties—Labor, centrist parties, even Likud-- and served as government ministers. Will an Arab be Prime Minister of the Jewish state one day? There’s no law against it. Just as Blankfort was still not able to find a single legal or political right held by a Jewish Israeli not also held by an Arab Israeli. Arabs even can—and do--live in Israeli settlements; though there's often friction arising from that, just as in multiethnic societies the world over. No, the Nation-State Law didn’t remove any rights from its Arab citizens nor add any new rights for its Jewish citizens.

Blankfort then goes on a lengthy tirade charging Israel with controlling US government policy towards Israel. Of course, if Israel really did control the US government we wouldn’t have had Reagan’s sale of AWACS to the Saudis, or George W Bush's apparent refusal to help Israel destroy Iran's nuclear weapons development program, or Obama’s JCPOA which legitimized that nuclear program while turning a blind eye to the mullahs' drive for a nuclear bomb, or his refusal to veto UNSC 2334 which overturned decades of US policy stating that final status issues of a peace agreement would have to be negotiated between Israelis and Palestinians. After invoking historically antisemitic tropes about Jewish money and power, he then complains that he will be labeled antisemitic and a “self-hating Jew.” I don’t call people such as Blankfort “self-hating”. My experience is that those like him are very much in love with themselves-- and with their edgelord willingness to deploy rhetoric used to justify the persecution and outright slaughter of Jews just a few generations ago.

Blankfort and I likely agree on one thing: that the Palestinian Arabs should be able to determine their own future in their own nation-state. But his position is that, of all the peoples in the world, Jewish national self-determination is uniquely illegitimate and the Jewish state should be eradicated, to be replaced by the 22nd Arab nation-state. (Basically, it's the same position which Vladimir Putin has taken towards Ukraine, and threatens to for other nation states within what he feels is Greater Russia.) And that is, by the criteria in the IHRA definition which has been adopted by three dozen democracies as well as the US Departments of State and Education, indeed antisemitic. Not all criticism of Israel is antisemitic, of course, but that doesn’t mean that none of it is. Pre-emptively declaring in advance that this would be the response to your words doesn’t in any way mean that it’s incorrect. If you’re sharing platforms with antisemites, if you’re using historical tropes of antisemitism against the Jewish state, if you're using terms popularized by actual neo-Nazis, if you’re demanding that Palestinian self-determination and dignity require the elimination of Jewish self-determination and dignity—well then you might just get called out for promoting antisemitism.

* * *



While Michael Harris may believe that his letter to the Post-Democrat regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict that the editor of the AVA chose to run upset me, it should have been evident to those who read my response that quite the opposite was true, that I appreciated having the opportunity to respond to him while providing information to AVA readers on this controversial topic that, sadly, they were not going to read anywhere else.

And he has provided me with such an opportunity again.

If nothing else, his response to my letter in the September 14th AVA, (“Unraveling Israeli Mythology”), StandWithUs’s Michael Harris confirmed the role as a sayan that I assigned to him, i.e., that of a Jew, living in another country not identified as a citizen of Israel, who carries out duties for Israeli’s intelligence apparatus, the Mossad, which would not be seen as appropriate or convincing if performed by an open representative of the Israeli spy and disinformation agency although the only thing that separates them would be their accents. Predictably, Harris pretends to be unfamiliar with the term. 

However, he just can’t help himself from providing yet more evidence to substantiate my conclusion, by brushing aside all the serious issues I raised in my letter and questioning my integrity because I failed to reveal my past “associations” with other well-known anti-Zionists in events focusing on Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians, as if that kind of association can be equated with his being the head of the Bay Area chapter of the right-wing pro-Israel StandWithUs (SWU). This is in keeping with the standard Zionist MO as is the organization’s maintaining files to smear those who dare to criticize Israel in public

Let’s look again at those serious issues, beginning with the courageous conclusions of the two organizations that are generally considered, except in Israel and in the circles that Harris inhabits, the world’s most respected human rights organizations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, that the system of occupation of Palestinian land by Israel meets the definition of apartheid.

I write courageous because, aside from what coverage AI and HRW could expect to receive from a mainstream media heavily weighted on Israel’s behalf which turned out to be less than minimal—the news page of the NY Times ignored it--both organizations were clearly risking the wrath of a major segment of their donor population, the same socially liberal pro-Israel Jews whose bank accounts have long been the major funding source for the Democratic Party. In my previous letter I mentioned how our Jewish Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken dismissed AI’s report out of hand without reading it. But the problem went far deeper than that.

Chris McGreal, the Guardian’s Washington correspondent, writing in his paper on March 23rd quoted the head of AI’s US office, Paul O’Brien, as saying “that when the organization met with members of Congress to discuss its new report, Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians, it found that AIPAC had got there first.”

“It was an interesting experience for us to introduce a report that was about to be launched in public a week later and to get in 80 different congressional offices a public statement dissociating themselves from the findings of the report in which none of those 80 statements actually disputed the findings of the report, except to say, in broad strokes, we do not believe that this report is motivated for the right reasons or reaches the right conclusions.”

That, dear readers, is another example of Jewish power. It is worth repeating, when reading my next example, that in my previous letter I noted that, beginning with Bill Clinton, Israel has required every American president, on taking office, to sign a letter to the Israeli government pledging not to mention in public Israel’s arsenal of nuclear weapons nor make any effort to curb the size of that arsenal (estimated to be close to 300 weapons with some already placed on Israeli submarines prowling in the Red Sea). And the funny thing, if such a commitment to any foreign government can contain any humor, is that according to journalists who have written about it in the New Yorker and Foreign Policy, none of Clinton’s successors have had any forewarning of that exercise of submission to the Israeli state before being presented with the letter by the Israeli ambassador on taking over the Oval Office.

Now, let’s return to the reporting of Chris McGreal in the March 23rd Guardian:

“The US’s most powerful pro-Israel lobby group has been accused of putting support for Israel before American democracy after it declared its backing for the election campaigns of three dozen Republican members of Congress who tried to block President Biden’s presidential victory.

“But the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has defended the move by saying that support for the Jewish state overrides other issues and that it is ‘no moment for the pro-Israel movement to become selective about its friends.’

“In December, AIPAC launched a political action committee that enables it for the first time to spend money directly supporting congressional candidates in this year’s midterm elections. Earlier this month the committee released a list of 120 political endorsements that includes 37 Republicans who voted against certifying Biden’s victory after the January 6 storming of the Capitol.

“Among them are two members of Congress, Jim Jordan and Scott Perry, who plotted with Trump’s White House to overturn the election result. Perry has also publicly promoted racist ‘white replacement’ conspiracy theories. . . .”

That position, not surprisingly, drew criticism from some old hands within the pro-Israel lobbying community which preferred to do its work behind the scenes and guide pro-Israel donors as to what candidates were most needing of their financial largesse. 

“In the face of the growing criticism,” wrote McGreal, AIPAC’s leaders . . . sent a letter to the group’s members defending the endorsements.

“This is no moment for the pro-Israel movement to become selective about its friends,” said the letter, obtained by the Jewish Insider.

“The one thing that guarantees Israel’s ability to defend itself is the enduring support of the United States. When we launched our political action committee last year, we decided that we would base decisions about political contributions on only one thing: whether a political candidate supports the US-Israel relationship.” (Emphasis added) 

AIPAC’s new PAC went on to contribute $26 million in the Democratic primaries to candidates who promised their unswerving loyalty to Israel and they were joined at the hip to another PAC calling itself Jewish Majority for Israel which on Sept. 30 emailed in a fundraiser:

“Give now and show the country that pro-Israel Democrats are engaged and ready for the fight ahead!

“We are only able to do as much as we have -- helping elect President Biden, defeating anti-Israel candidates like Nina Turner and Marie Newman, and winning 85% of the primary races in which we endorsed -- because of supporters like you who step up when it matters most.” 

In a special election held last year to fill a Congressional vacancy in Cleveland and then in the primary this Spring, the DMFI spent $3 million in support of a pliant Shontel Brown to defeat Turner, chair of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign after she had been far ahead in the polls.

Harris objects to my comparing Jews and money to bees to honey, when it comes to politics, as if making that comparison is somehow anti-Semitic. It happens, however, to be a widely accepted fact in US political life and as the foregoing and the following clearly indicate its malinfluence continues to jeopardize what little is left of American democracy.

In 2001, Mother Jones magazine published what it labeled “The MOJO 400,”which was a list of the largest donors to the election campaigns of the previous year broken down into the business categories each of the donors represented. I was curious to see what percentage of the 400 were Jewish. The result was what I had been anticipating, that seven of the top 12, 12 of the top 20 and at least 125 of the top 250, the point where I stopped counting, were Jewish, a pertinent fact that I mentioned in an article, “The Israeli Lobby and the Left,” which was included in “The Politics of Anti-Semitism,” published by CounterPunch in 2003. 

It turned out that 75% of the money went to Democrats and 25% to Republicans. The only visible result of my mentioning the extent of the Jewish contributions was the removal of the MoJo 400 from the Mother Jones website. The liberal Left didn’t and still doesn’t want to talk about the Lobby either.

At that time, time neither Haim Saban, the Egyptian-Israeli-American billionaire, nor the late mega billionaire Sheldon Adelson, were the major donors they came to be, Saban for the Democrats, Adelson for the Republicans and subsequently Donald Trump’s major benefactor. What brought them together was their devotion to Israel and each poured millions of dollars, usually tax-exempt, into Israeli causes.

Saban was famously quoted in a New Yorker interview, saying: “I’m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.” 

Adelson was no less committed, to the point of starting Israel Hayom (Israel Today), a free newspaper in Israel on behalf of his close friend former (and about to be again) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which has since become the country’s most widely read publication.

On July 7, 2012, the first day of Israel Hayom’s publication, Adelson, addressing a group of English speaking Jews in Israel, made an extraordinary statement that can still be seen on YouTube ( that had the Democratic Party and the liberal US media not been under the Israel Lobby’s thumb, would have made him persona non grata in the US and not just in America’s political life.

“I am not an Israeli,” Adelson told his audience. “The uniform I wore was not an Israeli uniform, unfortunately, but an American uniform, although my wife was in the IDF and one of my daughters was in the IDF….” 

One can imagine how American military veterans and their families would have responded to that!

As for Saban, he and his wife each year, prior to Covid, played host to a fund raising dinner at the Beverly Hills Hilton for a tax-exempt organization, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. The existence of this nation-wide organization has been kept a secret from the American public by the mainstream and liberal media which never report on its fundraising dinners, neither those hosted by the Sabans nor those across the continent at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria. The events are competitive and the amounts they raise dwarf those of more well-known highly publicized charities.

It is obvious why for the FIDF and Israel’s sake and for the likes of StandWithUs, that news of these star-studded dinners and the millions of dollars that they raise for the welfare of a foreign army remain a secret from the public. Imagine how the people of Los Angeles, with thousands of US veterans homeless on its streets, would react if they had read in the Los Angeles Times or saw reported on their local TV stations that on the night of Nov. 2, 2018, in just a few hours, the FIDF raised $60 million, breaking the record of $53.8 million set the previous year. Had the Hollywood trade organ, Variety, not reported on these events, there would have been no public record that they even took place.

And what happens with that money? According to Variety, it “goes to support IDF soldiers, and the families of fallen soldiers and wounded veterans through social, cultural, recreational, and educational programs.” To relieve their tensions after killing and beating Palestinians, apparently, since Israel has not been engaged in a real war against another army since 1973.

Though the FIDF probably considered it chump change, it was the recipient of a $1,000,000 check from Washington to compensate for losses it suffered from Covid.

Saban played host to another significant event on December 12, 2018, a month later. This one took place on a stage in Florida, at the annual gathering of the Israeli American Council whose major funder was Sheldon Adelson. It was shortly after the mid-term elections and Saban’s guests, this time were House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York’s Charles Schumer, the Senate’s ranking Democrat. Pelosi dominated the conversation, eager to tell the Israeli-American icon how her new Congressional committee chairmanship appointments would benefit Israel. This event, as could have been anticipated was also ignored by the national media but it is still there for the curious public to find on YouTube ( Given all that, is it unreasonable to say that the mainstream media is another Israeli occupied territory? 

If Harris considers that another anti-Semitic trope, so be it. I only have to consider the source.

Harris clumsily attempts to contradict my comments of the power of the Israel Lobby, beginning with Pres. Reagan’s sale of the AWACS air defense system to the Saudis over AIPAC’s objections. The close vote, 52-48, approving the sale required Reagan twisting the arm of Republican Senator Charles Percy who had previously committed to opposing the sale but succumbed to the demands of his president. What Harris did not mention was that the closeness of the vote and that a popular president had to go all out to achieve the victory, led AIPAC’s director at the time, Tom Dine, to claim that it raised the level of AIPAC on America’s political map, especially after the lobby successfully thwarted Percy’s re-election bid.

He then faults George W Bush for choosing not to start another war for Israel by attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities and then outright lies by accusing Obama, no favorite of mine, of legitimizing Iran’s nuclear program and goes on to bash him for not exercising the US veto of the UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israel’s continuing settlement policy which are illegal under international law, the details of which Harris avoids. What is a more logical conclusion is that had Hillary Clinton won the White House, the US would have vetoed the resolution as it has done similar resolutions in the past.

What is important to recall about the JCPOA was that in an effort to block the agreement, Israel’s US Ambassador Ron Dermer, a turn-coat American former Republic hack, was able to finagle a joint appearance before both houses of Congress for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak against making any deal with Iran. And in that event, just three days after dressing down the US president as if he was an errant schoolboy, he received 29 standing ovations, compelling New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, whose support for Israel can’t be questioned, to write that “Congress is bought and paid for by the Israel Lobby.”

A week later, the illustrious Ha’aretz columnist, Gideon Levy, in Washington to speak at an event at the National Press Club on the Lobby in which I also participated, expressed his bewilderment at the idea that a president of a foreign country could be invited to speak before the US Congress and attack the president. “This,” said Levy, “should be called the United States of Israel!”

In next week’s AVA, I plan to respond to Harris’s infantile attacks on me and others who have been critical of Israel. For the moment, exposing the larger picture is more important.

Jeffrey Blankfort


P.S. This just in: On Thursday, Sept. 29, Israel’s Central Election Committee, by a 14-0 vote, disqualified a major party representing Palestinian citizens of Israel from running in forthcoming elections.

The Israeli electoral body said that the Palestinian National Democratic Assembly – commonly known as Balad – had “opposed and rejected the Jewish and democratic character” of Israel.

Israel defines itself as “the state of the Jewish people“ while Balad and other Palestinian parties have long campaigned for it to be defined as a state for all its citizens.

Palestinian citizens of Israel make up over 20% of the country’s population.

* * *

The Supremes (1965)

* * *


KYIV, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Ukraine on Sunday claimed full control of the eastern logistics hub of Lyman, its most significant battlefield gain from Russia in weeks, providing a potential staging post for further attacks to the east while heaping further pressure on the Kremlin.

The stinging setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin was delivered after he proclaimed the annexation of four regions covering nearly a fifth of Ukraine on Friday, an area that includes Lyman. Kyiv and the West have condemned the proclamation as an illegitimate farce.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the capture of the town, where Ukrainian flags were raised over civic buildings on Saturday, demonstrated that Ukraine is capable of dislodging Russian forces and showed the impact Ukraine's deployment of advanced Western weapons was having on the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday that the success of the country's soldiers was not limited to the recapture of Lyman.

Latest Updates King Charles, stepping back from campaigning, will not go to Egypt climate summit Greece says it's open to talks with Turkey once provocations end UK sees improving 'mood music' on Northern Ireland protocol Tensions high as Brazilians on other side of Atlantic cast ballots Ukraine forces have liberated the small Arkhanhelske and Myrolyubivka settlements in the Kherson region as well, he said.

* * *

The Supremes (2022)

* * *


by Maureen Dowd

Way back when, I was a Cosmo Girl.

I read Cosmopolitan magazine and studied its barrage of tips on how to attract men.

One tip was to read an intriguing book on the bus to and from work. I settled on Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment.”

This literary honey trap did not work. But after reading “Crime and Punishment,” I came away thinking the Russian temperament was soulful and truthful.

Raskolnikov, the poor former student, kills an older woman who is an unethical pawnbroker, as well as her half sister. He is immediately filled with guilt and disgust and, in the end, turns himself over to the police.

It got stuck in my 20-year-old head that self-incrimination was a Russian trait, and that Russians understood on a deep level that you can’t put yourself above the rules just because you think you’re superior.

Vladimir Putin, of course, contradicts that notion, as did Stalin.

Putin is less Dostoyevsky than Euripides, a walking revenge play. Like Medea — a searing production of the opera kicked off the Met season on Tuesday — Putin commits savage murder of innocents without worrying about the consequences.

Medea feels disrespected — that’s all she needs to justify her carnage, murdering her own children and her husband’s new bride with a poisoned robe and coronet. In some versions of the Greek myth, Medea helped Jason get the Golden Fleece, killing her own brother and betraying her father to assist him, and she wasn’t about to see her husband happy in another woman’s arms. Now she wants blood, summoning in the opera the “Black Furies” and “deities of Hell.”

Putin, too, feels disrespected, still mourning the breakup of the Soviet Union, content to murder any number of innocent Ukrainians to slake his longing to stitch that lost empire back together.

At the end of the opera, Medea sets fire to the temple where she has killed her two sons. It bursts into flames around her. The horrified crowd runs away, singing,

Oh, terror!

Earth and Heaven are in flames!

Let us fly from

the burning sky.

In an eerie echo, Putin raised the chilling specter of a burning sky in a speech on Friday at the gilded Georgievsky Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace. He darkly alluded to using nuclear weapons, which would leave earth and heaven in flames.

“The United States is the only country in the world that has used nuclear weapons twice, destroying the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. And they created a precedent,” he said.

Sounding demented, Putin charged that “the dictatorship of the Western elites” was an “overthrow of faith and traditional values.” It has, he said, come “to resemble a religion in reverse — pure Satanism.”

Wrapping up his own destiny with Mother Russia’s, noting that his country must occupy its rightful place in the world as “a great thousand-year-old power, a whole civilization,” he announced that he was formally swallowing four provinces in eastern Ukraine following fake referendums there.

We are awash in fear and anger at his unholy brutality, but Putin doesn’t care. Like Medea, he is unconcerned about the cries of the Greek chorus.

To justify his unprovoked attempt to subsume Ukraine, Putin made the absurd claim that the West is a “neocolonial system” that has always “dreamed about” dividing, weakening and breaking up Russia and turning it into a colony.

While President Biden and officials in Europe blamed Russia for sabotaging the Nord Stream pipelines, designed to carry Russian natural gas to Europe, Putin implied it was the work of the Anglo-Saxons. “Sanctions are no longer enough, and now they have turned to subversion,” he said.

Biden responded during a news conference at the White House on Friday, announcing that the administration was imposing new sanctions against Russia, and stating that the world would not recognize the fraudulent referendums.

“He’s not going to scare us or intimidate us,” Biden said. “He can’t seize his neighbor’s territory and get away with it.”

The Ukrainians are making successful military offensives in the northeast of the country, and Russian men are fleeing Putin’s Russia in droves; by some estimates more men have left Russia to avoid service in Ukraine than have served there.

Donald Trump posted on his social media site, “The Russia/Ukraine catastrophe should NEVER have happened, and would definitely not have happened if I were President.”

He may be right. If Trump were president, he would be in Putin’s pocket and America would not be helping Ukraine.

It has long been assumed that a nuclear weapon would never be used again because of the consequences. But what if you’re dealing with a malefactor with no concern for consequences? A modern Greek tragedy.

* * *

Libra (1929) wood engraving by Eric Ravilious


  1. Kirk Vodopals October 3, 2022

    “Light deprivation without light assistance.” Pretty much sums up the weed regs to me.

  2. Mike J October 3, 2022

    Link to current language (highlighted portion) on new UFO program in Senate Defense bill:,General%20considers%20necessary%20to%20carry%20out%20%20%20%20%20%20subsections%20(b)%20and%20(c)

    Should hopefully address puzzling events like this referenced by Malcolm MacDonald’s local history book mentioned today in the AVA:
    “On an autumn night in 1896 two prominent Ukiah citizens on their way to Potter Valley gazed skyward at a strange craft in the sky, a blur of speeding light. They weren’t alone. A Bay Area electrician watched the “great black cigar with a fish like tail… at least one hundred feet long.” Sightings continued into the spring of the next year, up and down the west coast and east to Chicago, Texas, and Kentucky. What was it?”

    • Mike J October 3, 2022

      Sadly, this link doesn’t have the highlight of titles 702 and beyond so scroll down….here is the beginning of relevant text


      Way too long to post whole thing but a key element will be whistleblower protection for people working in waived, unacknowledged special access programs (especially related to examining recovered alien craft and organisms)

  3. Mike J October 3, 2022

    James Fox has made his documentary, “The Phenomenon”, free for a few days more:

    A good introduction with the last segment on the 1994 Ariel School case.

  4. Stephen Rosenthal October 3, 2022

    As usual, another excellent assessment by Jim Shields. Bumblebees vs. Almond Growers – I love Nature and have always been enthralled watching bumblebees do their thing. Being scientifically oriented, the more I learned about them the more I appreciate their contributions. Almonds are one of my food staples. But if choosing between the two, let me cite one of my favorite quotes: “I’d rather shoot a man than a rattlesnake.” — Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

    • George Hollister October 3, 2022

      Almonds depend on honey bees for pollination. I suspect bumble bees are doing the job as well. So what is the conflict? It might be that Almonds aren’t the problem, but a nesting site for bumble bees is. I occasionally run into bumble bee nests in the woods. They are not aggressive like yellow jackets. If a nest is found, it’s fairly easy to protect it. Just work around it. Finding the nest is the challenge.

      • Bruce McEwen October 3, 2022

        I remember bumblebees the size of a ten-year-old’s fist, the humming as deep and resonant as a viola, cruising leisurely through the spare lower branches of the ponderosa pine and cottonwood trees of the Colorado Plateau. One glided through a slot canyon I was wading through and the walls reverbated the sound quite pleasingly to such a tin ear as mine. I’ve never seen any of those magnificent beauties around here. One possible sighting occurred at Torrey Pines, 1967, by only a tenth-grader and may have been wrong, sorry.

      • Bruce McEwen October 3, 2022

        George, all you are doing with this yarn is putting a new coat of paint on Reagan’s old cliche— if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ‘em all.

        But Trickle Down sounds better than the trickle up deal we have now with the top ten begging the last cent from the billion and billions of bums…

        “They will beg for Reagonomics in Hell”
        —Rush Limbergercheezy

  5. Eric Sunswheat October 3, 2022

    RE: The decline of the American bumblebee is part of a troubling downward trend in many of the 46 species of bumblebees and approximately 3,600 species of native bees in the United States that are needed to pollinate the full spectrum of wild plants.” (Jim Shields)

    –>. October 4, 2022
    “For enhancing wild bees in intensive agricultural landscapes we should provide a network of perennial flower strips and some well-maintained hedges to create a continuous flower offer over the entire growing season,” explains Vivien von Königslöw, a scientist at the University of Freiburg who was the lead author of a study on the findings…

    Wild bees observed for the study visited flowering hedges in the orchards earlier in the season between April and June when they switched to perennial flower strips from June to August. This is why a mixture of perennial flower such as viper’s bugloss and mallow is preferable to annual mixtures, according to the researchers.

    “Our results suggest preferential establishment of perennial flower strips rather than annual flower strips because perennial flower strips flower much earlier in the second year of establishment than in the year of sowing and attract different bee communities over the years. Thus, they are more suitable to enhance bee diversity,” Von Königslöw says.

  6. Lee Edmundson October 4, 2022

    OK. I’m game. I’m old and tired and ornery. But some folks said things I need to respond to herein.

    To Will Lee: No, the Hospital District needn’t dissolve. Such a move would be purely reactionary. Here’s what they need to embrace as reality: 1) There will never be a shiny new gleaming 28 bed full hospital here. Period. 2) What there can be here is a scaled down 10-14 bed hospital with a stabilize and transfer protocol. 3) Retro-fitting the existing hospital is the path whereto achieve this. Cost of 10 to 15 million $. Brand new shiny 28 bed facility: $35-$45 million or more. 4) Take the savings, and build housing for doctors, nurses. Plenty of vacant lots — large vacant parcels — in hospital district. Do it. Just takes the vision, intention and will. Duh!
    Anyone running for Hospital District Board seats who oppose this vision, let’s debate. Open your meetings up to include in person comments. I’m game.

    As to Jeff Blankfort’s dispute, Zionism was created in the 19th century by Hungarian Jew Theodor Herzl. In 1897. was and is a completely and totally political movement to create a Jewish state in the land of Palestine.

    I highly suggest to any wanting deep backstory on the fiasco that is the current state of Israel Ronald Florence’s book, “Lawrence and Aaronsohn, T.E.Lawrence, Aaronsohn, and the seeds of the Arab-Israeli Conflict”. History, Context and Perspective. All good things with which today’s world, both foreign and domestic. Especially vis Israel/Palestine.

    Regarding Semites, per se, both Jews and Arabs are Semites. They each and both speak the semitic languages. In fact, the racial division between the two is an artificial artifact of the pre Queen Victorian era, when Great Britain was colonizing its portion of the “primitive” world.

    One can comfortably be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic. Plain as day. Tell that to be the one is to be the other, and I’ll tell you the fool or liar.

    What we currently enjoy in the realm of Israel/Palestine is a distinct apartheid. Not unlike that of old Rhodesia and South Africa or the American South during the Jim Crow era.

    To call out Zionist apartheid is not, and never will or can be rightfully considered , “Anti-Semitism”, for it is not. The political wing — Zionism — is not to be confused with the religious wing –Judaism. Trouble always brews when we mix the political and the religious, huh?

    On a different point, Vote Yes on Measures P and O.

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