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DRY AND MILD afternoon conditions are expected during the next seven days across interior portions of Northwest California. Meanwhile near the coast, low clouds and fog will occur on a nightly basis, followed by partially clearing skies during the afternoon. (NWS)
NORM CLOW: Ruth and Austin are back home in Mendocino County for a few days to attend her Aunt Alice's memorial service tomorrow. When I talked to her this morning on the phone and asked her what they had planned for today, she said they were going to drive the short distance over to the coast and up to Mendocino - aka Trinketville - and Fort Bragg, not the one in North Carolina with a military base, the old lumber town. Think The Russians Are Coming, Summer Of 42, Murder She Wrote and Overboard, along with the Sir Douglas Quintet's major hit song.
I said, well, if you do, make sure you go to Jenny's Giant Burger on the north end of Fort Bragg. She said, ooh, that's right. You never want to go to Fort Bragg without eating at Jenny's Giant Burger, right across Highway One on the Pacific Ocean. I ate there every couple of weeks in the 80s when I was there on business. So, they did, and she seems very pleased with it.
Cecilia Lee Pardini passed away peacefully in her home in Boonville on Sunday September 25, 2022. Cecilia was born February 14, 1941, in Long Beach, California and loved telling stories about her childhood while living there. Cecilia and her family then moved to Santa Rosa and eventually to Boonville in 1954, where Cecilia finished high school and met her husband Robert Pardini. They were married July 22, 1959.
Cecilia was the helpful, friendly face in the office at the Mendocino County Fair where she worked for over 40 years as the Business Assistant. After retiring she served on the Board and helped out wherever needed. Cecilia received the Blue Ribbon award from the fair for all her service and dedication to the fair. She also managed all the books for their family businesses.
Cecilia loved the ocean and would never turn down a trip to the coast. She loved riding her horses, taking them to shows and gymkhanas, where she earned many awards. She also had a passion for music and would play the piano and organ. She even taught herself the guitar and banjo. Cecilia played the piano for many of the local graduations.
Cecilia is survived by her sisters Cathy and Mary, her husband Robert, as well her 3 children, Cindy, Danny, and Eddie (Gina), and 5 grandchildren Nathan, Daniel, Aaron, Sarah (Branden), and Rhett.
Services will be held at a later time.
SHERIFF KENDALL’S FALL MESSAGE
Fall is upon us, and as we move into the holidays, I hope everyone in Mendocino County can appreciate the year we have had. We have had some seriously great things occur while we continue to face challenges as well. It’s easy to stand back and point at the things that go wrong however we also need to be thankful for the things that are going well.
Wildfire season is coming to an end, and we are continuing to do well in our responses to fires and other emergencies. Our partnerships with the community and with local and state fire agencies are paying off. Working regularly with fire safe councils and the communities have put us in a place where we can be successful. Patrol personnel and dispatchers work together in sending timely and important notifications to the public regarding wildfires and emergencies. Our emergency alerts and warnings distribute prompt and critical information to the public regarding rapidly evolving situations.
Over the past several years we have worked very hard along with our local press and radio stations forming collaborations in which we are all serving together during times of disaster. Please remember wildfire season won’t be over until we have considerable rain fall, so I am asking everyone to please remain vigilant in our daily activities.
Our dual-response teams in which a Deputy Sheriff is partnered with a behavioral health worker, are providing incredible service to persons in need. This is also providing a safe environment for behavioral health workers and reducing the time Deputies are spending on behavioral health calls.
Recently we have had some serious crimes. Many of these crimes have been fueled by addictions, greed and patterns of abuse. Some of these crimes I will simply ponder for the remainder of my life, as I just cannot imagine there is an explanation for them. We have been successful in the investigations of these terrible crimes.
We have been seeing an increased number of overdose deaths and crimes associated with addiction. Legislative changes have caused possession of heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine and other serious narcotics to be reduced to misdemeanors, only remedied by citation. Sadly, these addictions are the root of several serious and dangerous crimes which have become increasingly abundant in Mendocino County. For many people addictions are a death sentence for It’s like watching an arsonist pour accelerant on a house knowing his intent, however having to stand back and allow this situation to continue until the home has burned down before we can take meaningful steps to stop it.
Let’s be clear, many of the problems we are facing are due to several rounds of legislation in California, decriminalizing behaviors which are the cause of many serious crimes. The issue is the legislation left gaps in systems and provided no framework to bridge these gaps. We are now seeing the chickens coming home to roost and the results are becoming evident in our daily lives. These crimes take a toll not only on our communities, however also on the dispatchers who receive these calls, the deputies who investigate the crimes, the corrections deputies who supervise the suspects in custody and the professional staff who provide the support and reports for prosecution. Remember these folks are also a part of our communities.
I am often contacted regarding behavioral health issues including addictions, homelessness, and the spoils of drug abuse. Our deputies on patrol and in our custody division are not social workers. The tools previously used such as arresting persons in possession of narcotics have been legislated away. We are not trained counselors or therapists, therefore the question we must answer is who is best equipped to handle these situations.
Our deputies are continuing to serve you day in and day out however our numbers are low. Currently police agencies and sheriff’s offices across the United States are down personnel and we are no exception. Although numbers are down, the demand for police services are not.
Limiting services and responses from our personnel is not something I am willing to consider. So I looked for alternative solutions to reassign certain duties that would allow our deputies to focus on public safety, primarily protecting the public and our communities.
I have taken steps to reduce the workload for our personnel, one of which is instituting a Coroner’s Investigative Technician who is assigned to the Chief Deputy Coroner. Coroner’s duties are complex. This position is completing follow up with medical providers, pathologists, and completing many of the data-entry duties which in the past were performed by Deputy Sheriff’s. This is working out well for us.
We are at a moment when we have to look at the services provided and how best to deliver these services. Currently new legislative mandates are taking valuable time from our personnel who need to detect and investigate crimes. I am confident that by freeing our personnel up to patrol and detect crime we will have a positive and greater impact on the county.
I will be working to hire Sheriff’s Services Technicians who will assist on several of the reporting requirements as well as removing much of the clerical and data-entry work from the deputies. This will also allow our deputies more time for patrolling our neighborhoods, directly supervising those incarcerated and investigating crimes.
We are still hiring for Deputy Sheriff, Corrections Deputies, Dispatchers, Sheriff’s services Technicians and professional staff. I would invite all interested in a fulfilling career of public service to visit the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office website and apply with us. This profession is truly fulfilling, and here in Mendocino County our personnel are continually supported by the communities we serve.
Sheriff Matt Kendall
“Tex” Winsellee Hollis Summit passed away on Wednesday, October 5, 2002 in Ukiah. Tex was born October 28, 1930 in Arkansas.
Tex was a resident of Mendocino County since the 1950s. He worked in the woods in Anderson Valley and later at Masonite for 32 years.
Tex was proud of his family, he liked to hunt, fish and go camping. His family will remember his great story telling. He was a loving and honest man who would give the shirt off his back if he could to help out. He was a wonderful provider. Tex was a simple man who always took pride in his friends and family, he will be greatly missed.
Tex was the son of a traveling minister in Arkansas.
Tex is survived by his daughter and her husband Paula and Gerald Hopper, grandchildren Dustin Kotterman, Ryan Kotterman and Jerry Hopper, great grandson Austin Kotterman. Tex was preceded in death by is wife of 60 years Georgia Summit and his sister Eunice Flud.
A graveside service will be held on Saturday, October 15, 2022 at 12:00 Noon.
UKIAH SHELTER PET OF THE WEEK
Lane is a handsome, 2 year old German Shepherd Dog who loves to play with toys, and can entertain himself for hours, flipping stuffies in the air and then running to retrieve them--rinse & repeat! Lane walks great on-leash and definitely enjoys getting out in the great wide world, but could use a refresher course on basic canine training. Lane is very smart (of course — he’s a German Shepherd Dog!) and has an independent side. Lane weighs in at a svelte 76 pounds. Check him out on the shelter’s webpage: mendoanimalshelter.com
If you can’t adopt, consider fostering. Our website has information about our Foster Program, on-going DOG AND CAT ADOPTION EVENTS, and other programs, services and updates. Visit us on Facebook at: facebook.com/mendoanimalshelter/. For information about adoptions, please call 707-467-6453.
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE, List of Events: andersonvalley.helpfulvillage.com/events/index_list
A FEW WORDS in defense of disappeared Ukiah Police chief, Waidelich, based on what we understand is behind his peremptory firing for no stated reason. Waidelich is married. Waidelich, who never struck me as a babe magnet, strayed from his marriage to the embrace of a woman who demanded he leave his wife for her. Waidelich said he was sticking with his marriage. His spurned lover then complained to well-placed inland policemen that Waidelich had abused her. Those well-placed inland policemen went to Ukiah's city manager, Seldom Seen Sage Sangiacomo who, given his troubled police department's recent fiscal drain on the City, first placed Waidelich on leave, then fired him.
IRONIC, isn't it, that in libertine times like these a man can be destroyed on the basis of the dubious claim by the losing vertex of a love triangle, a claim that has taken nearly three months for Santa Rosa investigators to sort out and still haven't sorted out? If the claim by the jilted woman is unsubstantiated Waidelich should be reinstated, but he won't be because, well, ethical immorality is as prevalent these days as the other kind.
THE DISAPPEARANCE of KGO from the am radio dial is like the death of an old friend. KGO had a huge listening audience right here in Mendocino County where there's a dearth, nay absence, of talk radio felt keenly in restive times with millions of people seething to blast their opinions beyond their kitchen tables. My all-time fave KGO people were Jim Dunbar and Ted Weigand, who moved the conversation along with aplomb and great wit. They were a delight to listen to. And there was the AVA-friendly Pat Thurston, smart, well-informed, funny, who stayed friendly with us even though we were responsible for getting her fired when she starred at KSRO out of Santa Rosa. Long story short, Pat had me on to talk about the Bari bombing. The bomber's daddy, a pal of the station owner, got his pal the station owner to fire Pat, who went on to KGO, a step up for her.
RADIO generally goes steadily down hill. Locally, of course, we have round the clock audio soma at KZYX, good news for happy people, where talk tedium is a way of life. The rest of Mendo audio is canned muzak-quality cowboy yawps relieved only by the always timely morning news by Joe Regelski out of Fort Bragg, the only radio news in the county apart from government national news from NPR piped in by KZYX. True community radio hangs on at KMUD in Garberville, and some locals who can get the signal still listen to KPFA, even though the last intelligent programmer at Pacifica, Larry Bensky, threw up his hands several years ago. And the absolute best talk guy in the Bay Area (and a very good writer, too), Michael Krasny, retired, leaving us stranded in an audio desert.
THE MANY THOUSANDS OF DACA IMMIGRANTS — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — have always lived anxiety-ridden lives, and DACA is again under legal assault from the forces of darkness. There are many DACA childhood arrivals in Mendocino County, and plenty of undocumented people apart from DACA youngsters. The undocumented live lives of constant anxiety, but DACA arrivals have assumed that eventually their status as Amercan citizens would be confirmed. But their anxiety levels have been torqued upwards by both legal challenges to their precarious status and by the constant scapegoating of immigrants by Republicans, tacitly aided by the Biden administration's failure to bring order to the southern border of the United States.
DAVE EVANS of the Navarro Store is besieged from all directions, from oafish behavior by the Deepend's drink and drug community, to huge increases in insurance, Workman's Comp and liability insurance, especially fire liability. Dave's policy writer has informed him that because he lives in a “fire zone,” he's got to pay triple the rate he has been paying. I'm sure he's not the only small business in the Anderson Valley barely paying its bills, but if the Navarro Store closed Navarro would lose its anchor and drift, drift away.
BLAMING BIDEN for anything amounts to elder abuse. He's barely functioning, but when his puppeteers claim there's nothing he can do about gas prices they deliberately overlook the historical invocation of wage and price controls. if I were, ahem, president, I'd nationalize the fuel corporations, roll back gas prices to the basic cost of production, confiscate the huge profits the industry has rolled up over the past three years, and jail the industry's top executives.
GEORGE PACKER'S observation, “Like most of us, he outlived his understanding of the world,” resonates with me big time. When the death of a rapper called Coolio was front page news recently, it was the first time I'd heard of him, but every day some alleged celebrity is in the news for a dubious or bogus achievement that reminds me the culture of this country has indeed passed me by, and I can't tell you how pleased I am that it has.
SOCIAL NOTE: I was inexplicably invited to a garden dedication at the Grace Hudson Museum last week where I was delighted to meet Gaye LeBaron and the Museum's crucial donor, Mrs. Norma Person, to whose late husband, Everett Person, the Museum's serene addition was dedicated. Locals will recognize Gaye LeBaron as the Press Democrat's long-time columnist, whose history pieces for the paper described people and events whose stories would have been lost without her, and her lively columns lent the Northcoast a true sense of place. Mrs. LeBaron was very gracious given our, uh, rocky relationship over the years, while Mrs. Person was downright regal, instantly reminding me of that lost time when gracious women of a certain age set the standard for feminine behavior. (George Raft and John Wayne for men?) Ukiah was represented by Mayor Orozco and Mrs. Orozco, natives of Boonville, I'm always happy to note, and several of the Museum's trustees, including Charles Mannon of the Savings Bank with whom I exchanged pleasantries while he reminded me of the many barbs I'd launched at him from a safe distance in Boonville. And I chatted with an unsuspecting Dennis Thibeault of Mendocino Redwood whose company also takes a regular thumping in the pages of the Boonville weekly. Pleasant guy, actually, who talked candidly even after I introduced myself. MRC donated the redwood for the elegant fence enclosing the memorial garden, built by Cupples Construction. Rick Cupples is an old friend of mine from long ago when we played basketball together in a men's league. I was glad to see him present to take a well-deserved bow for his stunningly beautiful redwood fence. Cupples Construction is justly prominent in the County for quality work, recently on view in Boonville in the new addition to the Anderson Valley Health Center. Rick said that addition only awaits final confirmation of its elevator, and who'd have thought? An elevator in Boonville? I've admired the photography of Tom Liden for years, and there he was! Meeting an artist I've admired for a long time reminded me that I really must get out of Boonville more often. And then, just as I was on my way out the door, who should I see but the phantom himself! I took a step backwards, rubbed my disbelieving eyes, but there he was — Seldom Seen Sage Sangiacomo, Ukiah's reticent-to-invisible city manager. I pinched myself, and was about to pinch Seldom Seen, but I knew that personal kind of reality check would likely be misunderstood by him. In her remarks, Gaye LeBaron stated what we all know, or should know — the Hudson Museum is the best museum north of San Francisco, which it is, and continues to be under the direction of curator, David Burton, and the ongoing contributions of former curator, Sherri Smith-Ferri.
UKIAH SHUTS OUT MARIA CARRILLO FOR 4TH STRAIGHT WIN
by Richard J. Marcus
Ukiah’s defense showed up in force Friday night to stonewall Maria Carrillo’s heavy run game, resulting in a 14-0 upset win by the host Wildcats on their homecoming night in the opener of the North Bay League-Redwood season.
“The strength of our team is our run defense, so we matched up with Maria Carrillo pretty well. Our defense was outstanding tonight. It was our best defensive effort of the year,” Ukiah coach Ryan Parrish said. “We have a lot of speed with our linebackers to deal with the angles. Our game plan all week was to stop their run and make them beat us with the pass and they were unable to do that.”
Ukiah (4-2, 1-0) scored both touchdowns in the first half. Quarterback Johnny Silveira hit receiver Marcus Fenk for scores of 13 and 40 yards and a two-point conversion after the first score.
“It was a Marcus Fenk night. He has been doing that for us all season,” Parrish said. “He is the best receiver in the Redwood division.”
The Pumas (2-4, 0-1) had a poor night offensively, managing just 105 total yards, including 72 yards on the ground. Ukiah had 165 yards passing and 80 yards rushing.
“Ukiah loaded up the box defensively. They did a good job and had a good plan,” Maria Carrillo coach Jay Higgins said. “We had some critical errors on offense, and we missed some blocks. We had a couple of crucial penalties that called back big plays. We had a few opportunities in the air that we missed.”
Maria Carrillo quarterback Tommy McPhee had a tough night through the air, going 3-for-17 for 33 yards.
“Anything that could have gone wrong in the first half did. Much of it was self-inflicted,” Higgins said. “We were down in their red zone three times (in the game) and came away with nothing. Top to bottom, we needed to do a better job tonight.”
Silveira was 13-for-27 for 127 yards and two touchdowns and one interception on the night.
Maria Carrillo’s defense stiffened up in the second half to keep Ukiah from scoring again, but the Pumas’ offense never got on track.
“Aside from a few busted coverages in the first half, our defense played really well,” Higgins said. “Our offense just didn’t get it done tonight.”
The win was Ukiah’s fourth in a row.
“We are really rolling. It has a lot to do with our quarterback. For the first two games, Silveira had zero touchdowns and seven interceptions,” Parrish said. “Now he has figured it out. The game has slowed down for him and he has got confidence now.”
The Pumas had won two in a row coming into the Ukiah game but now that momentum has been halted.
“This is definitely a bump in the road,” Higgins said. “It’s a wake-up call that we have to bring our game every week. We can’t afford a lull.”
Defensively, Maria Carrillo’s Logan Bruce had 15 tackles (nine solo), Domenic Kayed had eight tackles with a sack and Cooper Wood had an interception.
Maria Carrillo is home against Piner next Friday while Ukiah travels to Healdsburg.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
BRASS QUINTET IN MENDOCINO, OCTOBER 16
Brass Over Bridges will perform brass favorites ranging from the Renaissance polyphony of Giovanni Gabrieli to the jazz of Duke Ellington. Committed to finding new and exciting pieces for the brass quintet, they will also perform three selections by celebrated contemporary composers. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Brass over Bridges gets inspiration from cultural diversity and seeks to engage audiences by bridging barriers of style and artistic discipline. The concert will be presented at Preston Hall (at Mendocino Presbyterian Church) on October 16, starting at 3pm.
THE OLD LADY IN THE TRAILER
by Mark Scaramella
For about three years in the late 1970s my brother Hugh was an administrative law judge for the state’s Social Services Department, a “Welfare Hearing Officer.” His job basically entailed driving around northern California’s rural counties to hear welfare denial appeals (where an applicant would appeal a county’s denial of welfare; in those days denial on petty, and illegal, grounds was common).
Hugh had graduated UC Davis law school in 1974 near the top of his class, passed the bar with the third highest grade in bar exam history at the time, and had spent a few years in the State Legislative Counsel’s Office as a staff attorney working on proposed state laws and writing opinions for state legislators.
As a traveling hearing officer/law judge, Hugh lived in Sacramento but spent much of his time on the road. I went to visit him once between his welfare judge road trips. He showed me the pile of paperwork for one of his cases. As it turned out, it was a case that would affect him and his view of welfare for the rest of his life.
Hugh told me that more than 90% of the time he found in favor of the appellants, and that the counties had not followed the law in denying welfare or in demanding that overpayments be paid back. In fact, he said, the appellants were frequently advised by line workers to file appeals because they didn’t like their own local bosses’ overly strict interpretation of the welfare laws, knowing that appeals would be successful, but not wanting to go against their penny-pinching supervisors, preferring to let the traveling judge tell them they were wrong.
This one case he showed me involved an elderly lady who lived in a trailer behind her son-in-law’s house down a remote dirt road. Apparently, the lady was grouchy and the son-in-law (allegedly) wanted her gone, or perhaps even dead (or so the lady claimed), so he could inherit her meager estate. Somehow the elderly lady had appealed a denial of increased benefits that had been originally filed by her son-in-law who had gotten himself appointed her legal guardian and to whom her welfare checks were mailed. The son-in-law was supposed to “caretake” the old lady, but instead he was making her life miserable by keeping her welfare money and withholding basic necessities like toilet paper and decent food. She didn’t have a vehicle and was dependent on the son-in-law for her living. Among other sadisms, the son-in-law allowed his pigs to trample and destroy the old lady’s little garden.
Of course, Hugh didn’t know any of this at first. But he suspected something was wrong as he read the file. So on his way to the hearing at the County seat (I forget what County it was, Plumas? Glenn? Not Mendo) the day before the hearing he went out to visit the old lady to interview her.
Hugh liked her immediately. She told him about her situation, which Hugh sympathized with, but most of her difficulties were outside the scope of welfare law, of course.
Hugh found in favor of the old lady (and her terrible son-in-law), but he knew her problem was much deeper than his findings which were limited even under generous interpretations.
Over time, he made it a point to stay in touch with the lady and stopped by to see her when he could. He found a friendly local Sheriff’s deputy who Hugh convinced to stop by periodically to check on things in the last few months of her life. Hugh sent money out of his pocket to the deputy for the old lady's basics.
Via this case, and a few others like it, Hugh came to believe that welfare law was not only badly administered, but that “welfare” didn’t come close to providing much actual welfare; the meager handouts helped a little, but most recipients were still dirt poor and struggling and he took some individual cases personally so that it became hard for Hugh to deal with them dispassionately and bureaucratically.
He soon became disenchanted with the hearing officer job and quit to take a position at the California Rural Legal Assistance office in Delano (a real armpit of a place in the south-central Valley), mostly helping farmworkers with their legal problems and documents.
(He would later become disenchanted with this job too, for entirely different reasons — a story for another time.)
Many years later Hugh found himself drawn back to welfare work when, after years on the road, mostly overseas and in Mexico, he returned to Mendocino County to help our aging parents. He plunged all the way back through the looking glass, going to work as a Mendocino County welfare eligibility worker.
After a few years of that he was promoted to the County’s point person for welfare appeals (among other duties) — on the County's side, ironically. I don’t know how many of his co-workers knew about his prior experience as a welfare hearing officer all those years earlier. Apparently, much of this activity for the County involved explaining the law to staff and welfare fraud cops before appeals were even brought to a state hearing officer.
It was my impression that Hugh used his prior experience to make sure welfare benefits were fairly and legally dispensed so that, at least in Mendocino County, the appeals rate went down and the eligibility workers he dealt with were more grounded in the correct interpretation of the rules and the associated case law and court rulings, which Hugh made a point of following closely. Being an experienced (but non-practicing) welfare lawyer, he was in the unique position of understanding the legalese involved (especially in complex welfare case law) and explaining it to his co-workers.
To say that Hugh Scaramella was “overqualified” for his job in Mendocino County would be a significant understatement.
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 8, 2022
JAMES BELDEN III, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
CESAR DELCAMPO, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, unlawful camping on public or private property floodway.
JEREMIAS DIAZ, Dos Rios. DUI, leaving scene of accident resulting in property damage, suspended license.
DENYCE GOODWIN, Covelo. DUI causing injury.
MICHAEL LUCAS, Ukiah. Recklessly causing fire that causes great bodily injury, failure to obey lawful order of peace officer, county parole violation.
KELLI MCCOSKER, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
RONALD MITCHELL, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
TYLER MOLINA, Fort Bragg. Aggravated assault-intent to commit mayhem, rape, sodomy, oral copulation, etc., touching of intimate parts of another against their will, attempted oral copulation with force, controlled substance, false imprisonment.
BEN RAY, Klamath/Ukiah. DUI, stolen property, taking vehicle without owner’s consent, failure to appear.
YUTA SAKANE, Ukiah. Resisting.
REBECKAH THOMPSON, Whitehorn/Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, resisting.
HURRICANE IAN UPDATE
Coast Roofer Steve Dunlap passes along… …Another follow up from my friend Jill in Punta Gorda, Florida:
Hurricane Ian struck on September 28th, 2022. The second wall of the storm passed over us at 9:00 pm that night, and the second wall was horrendous.
Rescue operations are well under way. Many people rescued by boat and helicoptor, although some lost their lives. There were many drownings. Storm surge is what killed a lot of people. Our FPL (utility company) has performed magnificently restoring power to I believe 90% so far which is positively mind boggling given the amount of homes without power. Comcast Internet, Email, Land Line services are slowly being restored. Both FPL and Comcast keep going offline throughout the day but thankfully they come back on again. There are libraries with free usage of computers that work as the internet works there. People can take their laptops or devices there and be able to get online, critical since every darned thing is dependent on people having access to internet. You cannot accomplish much if you are offline.
Banks are not open except for a few branches here and there. The phone lines are always tied up with small businesses, mailboxes full is what everyone is complaining about. But texts do get through and I get call backs from some of the businesses I have contacted personally to arrange estimates for damage repairs. Insurance companies have set up tents in a large parking lot now called “Insurance City” and people can go there and get help understanding what their policies cover and what they don't, explanations are given to those confused by the separate riders that are Hurricane policy deductibles which are separated out from your regular deductible. So much legalese to decipher. A lot of companies are focusing on Fort Meyers and won't come as far North as Punta Gorda, about 45 minutes away to the North. We understand that because the devastation is bad here but it is horrendous there. There are churches offering free hot meals, free canned foods and offer food pantry items. There are only a couple of grocery stores open and few small stand alone markets, a few gas stations are open but not many pumps are operable. This will change I am sure.
People are getting their fallen trees cut up with the help of some agencies who are doing it as volunteers, some pay others to do jobs like that. We had a neighbor down the street who came over to cut up a fallen tree that crushed our chain link fence. He worked for hours doing that and he helped me rake and pick up large pieces of tree trunk to the curb. Waste Management is already sending those big trucks out with the claws to pick up debris. They are amazing.
They are working around the clock I was told in some areas. The heroes are all of the FPL people and people from other states who have come down here to help get power back up and running. Actually, there are many many heroes.
Some awful people too. Those people are out skulking around trying to steal generators and anything else they can. Our law enforcement where I live is strict and will not tolerate looting. And there are looters out.
There has been theft all over but most people where I live or we live, are good folks.
My neighbor runs out to the curb whenever she sees a worker and gives them a sandwich or a treat of some kind. I thank every single person I see who is hard at work trying, trying, trying to get normalcy back into neighborhoods.
There have been some suicides. Sadly, some people who have lost their homes and everything in it have taken their own lives out of being despondent.
That part of these disasters is heartbreaking. People are in shock and are somewhat dazed. Adrenaline keeps flowing because people are just coming down from the “near death” experience of the storm that was Ian. Phil and I have been buzzing around like two overwrought bees trying to make a hive. We are getting a lot done but whereas he conks out at night...Zzzzzz, I am up all night, with random thoughts of “what did I forget to do or address today?” buzzing around in my head.
Throughout my decades of reporting I have consistently refused to use information from “anonymous sources” except in extremely rare circumstances that I could probably count on my fingers: think rape victims.
Enter former football player Herschel Walker, hand picked Republican MAGA candidate for U.S. Senate for the State of Georgia. Nearly every mainstream news outfit that I check daily has trumpeted Walker's presumed hypocrisy of allegedly paying a former partner for an abortion. If you came in late, Walker is running on a “no abortion under any circumstances” platform.
I'm no fan of the guy; if there were a national list of unqualified U.S. Senate candidates he would make the top 10, in my humble opinion, since there appears to be scant evidence that he has shown much interest in governance before being hand-picked by the floundering Trump machine to tip the Senate balance Republican. We've all seen the cancelled check on the news, along with the allegation by the same woman that she refused a second abortion and went on to bear his son. Walker has publicly denied both allegations.
The accuser does not fall into the protective parameters of anonymity; unless she fears some version of a MAGA hit squad, disclosing her identity would not likely cause her imprisonment, job loss, or some other dire repercussion. And since even the anonymous accuser states that Walker has met his court-ordered support obligations, he doesn't appear to have broken any laws - except for the one that he now so passionately espouses.
If traditional journalistic standards still applied, no one would have touched this story without the accuser's identity. If you're prepared to take down a U.S. Senate candidate for hypocrisy, tell us your name. And the bitter teenaged son? Really? If every teenager pissed off at his/her parent were granted air time or column inches to broadcast his or her complaints there wouldn't be anybody left to run for office.
I personally believe that Walker's candidacy is a cynical Republican move deserving of a landslide in favor of his Democratic challenger (even though I wouldn't put it past the Democratic powers that be to have located Walker's former partner in the first place).
His candidacy is an example of the cynicism that unfortunately festers in the heart of American politics these days.
But one key principle is at risk here: Herschel Walker is innocent until proven guilty. And dirt from an “anonymous” source, especially from an ex-partner, is not enough to qualify that dirt as deserving of news coverage. And if Democrats are somehow behind the disclosure, shame on them, too.
If we the voters are incapable of voting for candidates with legitimate, provable bona fides, of separating the wheat from the chaff, we deserve the government we get.
DRAYMOND STEPPING AWAY: Draymond Green said he will step away from the Golden State Warriors “for a few days” to focus on himself and allow the team to “heal” in the wake of him punching teammate Jordan Poole in the face during an altercation at practice on Wednesday.
The explosive 32-year-old forward met with the media on Saturday in what were his first public comments since the incident. He also apologized and said he doesn’t know how long he will be away from the team.
“I was wrong for my actions,” Green said, adding that he apologized to Poole and Poole’s family. “There’s a huge embarrassment that comes with [this]. Not only for myself, as I was the one who committed the action … but the embarrassment that Jordan has to deal with and that this team has to deal with, this organization has to deal with. But also Jordan’s family. His family saw that video. His mother, his father saw that video. If my mother saw that video, I know how my mother would feel.”
He added that he must also “rebuild trust in the locker room.” (NY Post)
YOUNG COYOTE, frozen in terror in SF backyard, rescued and released.
A MINARET OF JAM
“We're on a planet, a sphere, with a certain number of people and a certain number of resources. What is the best way for us to manage this? What stories do we need to tell ourselves and one another to make this work?” — Russell Brand
Here's the recording of last night's (2022-10-07) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA): https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0509
Thanks to Hank Sims for all kinds of tech help, especially last week, as well as for his fine news site: https://LostCoastOutpost.com
Thanks to the Anderson Valley Advertiser for providing about an hour of the 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 (TheAVA.com). And KNYO. Go to KNYO.org and throw 'em a bone, why don't you?
Besides all that, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
Your heart melts into a puddle. It's largely her eyes, I think, and the memory of her voice and of her powers (flying, word invention, telekinesis, contagious hallucination, etc.). She's still alive. She's 87 now and still influencing popular culture, for example: /Guardians of the Galaxy/ ("I'm Mary Poppins, yo!")
I love all of this, but you can skip to 6:40 or so, where the tiny girl jams on her giant bass guitar with Steve Vai, first in sound check, and then for the main event, and acquits herself like a pro. Think of the practice and dedication that got her there. And she's like ten years old.
The Learning Channel is to learning as The History Channel is to history. Meaning, not. But this particular parody short, or at least the argument parts of it, is a lot like arguments that people get into and carry on for fricking months and years on the MCN Announce listserv until they're calling each other rude names and threatening violence, each insulting the other's inability to do any harm to /him/, in a demented text-based gnip-gnop of people miles away from each other, each fizzing and shouting at his own computer, when the purpose of the listserv is to announce yard sales and projects and lost pets and show info and so on. You just have to not let childish angry jerks drag you down to their level. Once upon a time, Bill Murray sat back in his undershorts in a deck chair by the pool with an iced drink in his hand and said: "The more you know who you are and what you want, the less you let things upset you."
Speaking of which, it looks like someone saw Nina Paley's cartoon /This Land Is Mine/ and thought, /I could do that/. This shows the progress of weapons technology over the lack of progress in people just growing up.
P.S. Email me your work on any subject and I'll read it on the radio next Friday night. If it's full of swears I have to wait till after 10pm to read it, that's all.
SINCE SATURDAY WAS NATIONAL DRINK BEER DAY, let's toast to the King! As André the Giant has successfully held the record for the most Beer consumed in a single sitting for the last 40 years!!! During a six-hour period back in 1976, André drank 119 standard 12 ounce brews in a pub in Pennsylvania.... Whoa. Cheers!
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Jesus was a hard, tough man who had probably spent a decade or so on the road before he became a wandering preacher. Construction jobs aren’t always happening next to home, and often guys travel to other cities to work on big projects. They do this today and they did this two millenia ago. Jesus wasn’t a pink slipper wearing robed pussy who dreamed of molesting young boys. He didn’t go about with a constipated look on his face holding a soft, pudgy, and faggy pink hand up in the air waving it about to bestow imaginary blessings upon gullible crowds. What if Jesus shows up again and pays a visit to the Vatican? He’ll be asking Himself, “WTF has this got to do with me? I never told anybody to do this!”
In the intelligence field, you are vigorously inculcated with the notion that you can’t tell anyone anything about what you do, ever. This secrecy comes to control how you think and how you operate in the world. But the power of prohibition is fragile, especially once the justifications start to seem arbitrary.
During my time in intelligence, I had noticed that there was inconsistent internal logic to classification decisions. And I came to see that the classification system exists wholly in the interest of the U.S. government — in other words, it seems to exist not to to keep secrets safe but to control the narrative.
In December 2009, I began the process of downloading reports of all our activities from Iraq and Afghanistan.
These were descriptions of enemy engagements with hostile forces or explosives that detonated. They contained body counts, coordinates and businesslike summaries of confusing, violent encounters. They contained, in their aggregate force, something much closer to the truth of what those two wars really looked like than what Americans were learning at home. They were a pointillist picture of wars that wouldn’t end.
I burned the files onto DVDs, labeled with titles like Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Manning’s Mix. I later transferred the files to a memory card, then shattered the discs with my boots on the gravel outside the trailers. On my next leave, I brought the documents back to America in my camera, as files on an SD memory card. This was every single incident report the U.S. Army had ever filed about Iraq or Afghanistan, every instance where a soldier thought there was something important enough to log and report. Navy customs personnel didn’t blink an eye. No one cared enough to notice.
Uploading the files directly to the internet wasn’t my first choice. I tried to reach traditional publications, but it was a frustrating ordeal. I didn’t trust the telephone, nor did I want to email anything; I could be surveilled. Even pay phones weren’t safe.
I went into chain stores — Starbucks, mostly — and asked to borrow their landline because supposedly my cellphone was lost or my car had broken down. I called The Washington Post and The New York Times, but I didn’t get anywhere.
I recalled that in 2008, during intelligence training, our instructor — a Marine Corps veteran turned contractor — told us about WikiLeaks, a website devoted to radical transparency, while instructing us not to visit it. But while I shared WikiLeaks’ stated commitment to transparency, I thought that for my purposes, it was too limited a platform. Most people back then had never heard of it. I worried that information on the site wouldn’t be taken seriously.
The website was the publication of last resort, but as the weeks went by and I got no response from traditional newspapers, I grew increasingly desperate. So, on the very last day of my leave, I went to a Barnes & Noble with my laptop.
Sitting at a chair in the bookstore cafe, I drank a triple grande mocha and zoned out, listening to electronic music — Massive Attack, Prodigy — to wait out the uploads. There were seven chunks of data to get out, and each one took 30 minutes to an hour. The internet was slow, and the connection was bad. I began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to complete my work before the store closed. But the Wi-Fi finally did its job.
The fallout was instant and intense. The documents proved, unambiguously and unimpeachably, just how disastrous the war still was. Once revealed, the truth could not be denied or unseen: This horror, this constellation of petty vendettas with an undertow of corruption — this was the truth of the war.…
THE PUPPETS AND THE PUPPET MASTERS
This is the talk given by Chris Hedges outside the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. on Saturday October 8 at a rally that called on the U.S. to revoke its extradition request for Julian Assange.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Merrick Garland and those who work in the Department of Justice are the puppets, not the puppet masters. They are the façade, the fiction, that the longstanding persecution of Julian Assange has something to do with justice. Like the High Court in London, they carry out an elaborate judicial pantomime. They debate arcane legal nuances to distract from the Dickensian farce where a man who has not committed a crime, who is not a U.S. citizen, can be extradited under the Espionage Act and sentenced to life in prison for the most courageous and consequential journalism of our generation.
The engine driving the lynching of Julian is not here on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is in Langley, Virginia, located at a complex we will never be allowed to surround – the Central Intelligence Agency. It is driven by a secretive inner state, one where we do not count in the mad pursuit of empire and ruthless exploitation. Because the machine of this modern leviathan was exposed by Julian and WikiLeaks, the machine demands revenge.
The United States has undergone a corporate coup d'etat in slow motion. It is no longer a functioning democracy. The real centers of power, in the corporate, military and national security sectors, were humiliated and embarrassed by WikiLeaks. Their war crimes, lies, conspiracies to crush the democratic aspirations of the vulnerable and the poor, and rampant corruption, here and around the globe, were laid bare in troves of leaked documents.
We cannot fight on behalf of Julian unless we are clear about whom we are fighting against. It is far worse than a corrupt judiciary. The global billionaire class, who have orchestrated a social inequality rivaled by pharaonic Egypt, has internally seized all of the levers of power and made us the most spied upon, monitored, watched and photographed population in human history. When the government watches you 24-hours a day, you cannot use the word liberty. This is the relationship between a master and a slave. Julian was long a target, of course, but when WikiLeaks published the documents known as Vault 7, which exposed the hacking tools the CIA uses to monitor our phones, televisions and even cars, he — and journalism itself — was condemned to crucifixion. The object is to shut down any investigations into the inner workings of power that might hold the ruling class accountable for its crimes, eradicate public opinion and replace it with the cant fed to the mob.
I spent two decades as a foreign correspondent on the outer reaches of empire in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans. I am acutely aware of the savagery of empire, how the brutal tools of repression are first tested on those Frantz Fanon called “the wretched of the earth.” Wholesale surveillance. Torture. Coups. Black sites. Black propaganda. Militarized police. Militarized drones. Assassinations. Wars. Once perfected on people of color overseas, these tools migrate back to the homeland. By hollowing out our country from the inside through deindustrialization, austerity, deregulation, wage stagnation, the abolition of unions, massive expenditures on war and intelligence, a refusal to address the climate emergency and a virtual tax boycott for the richest individuals and corporations, these predators intend to keep us in bondage, victims of a corporate neo-feudalism. And they have perfected their instruments of Orwellian control. The tyranny imposed on others is imposed on us.
From its inception, the CIA carried out assassinations, coups, torture, and illegal spying and abuse, including that of U.S. citizens, activities exposed in 1975 by the Church Committee hearings in the Senate and the Pike Committee hearings in the House. All these crimes, especially after the attacks of 9/11, have returned with a vengeance. The CIA is a rogue and unaccountable paramilitary organization with its own armed units and drone program, death squads and a vast archipelago of global black sites where kidnapped victims are tortured and disappeared.
The U.S. allocates a secret black budget of about $50 billion a year to hide multiple types of clandestine projects carried out by the National Security Agency, the CIA and other intelligence agencies, usually beyond the scrutiny of Congress. The CIA has a well-oiled apparatus to kidnap, torture and assassinate targets around the globe, which is why, since it had already set up a system of 24-hour video surveillance of Julian in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, it quite naturally discussed kidnapping and assassinating him. That is its business. Senator Frank Church — after examining the heavily redacted CIA documents released to his committee — defined the CIA’s “covert activity” as “a semantic disguise for murder, coercion, blackmail, bribery, the spreading of lies and consorting with known torturers and international terrorists.”
All despotisms mask state persecution with sham court proceedings. The show trials and troikas in Stalin’s Soviet Union. The raving Nazi judges in fascist Germany. The Denunciation rallies in Mao’s China. State crime is cloaked in a faux legality, a judicial farce.
If Julian is extradited and sentenced and, given the Lubyanka-like proclivities of the Eastern District of Virginia, this is a near certainty, it means that those of us who have published classified material, as I did when I worked for The New York Times, will become criminals. It means that an iron curtain will be pulled down to mask abuses of power. It means that the state, which, through Special Administrative Measures, or SAMs, anti-terrorism laws and the Espionage Act that have created our homegrown version of Stalin’s Article 58, can imprison anyone anywhere in the world who dares commit the crime of telling the truth.
We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to fight against powerful subterranean forces that, in demanding Julian’s extradition and life imprisonment, have declared war on journalism.
We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to fight for the restoration of the rule of law and democracy.
We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to dismantle the wholesale Stasi-like state surveillance erected across the West.
We are here to fight for Julian. But we are also here to overthrow — and let me repeat that word for the benefit of those in the FBI and Homeland Security who have come here to monitor us — overthrow the corporate state and create a government of the people, by the people and for the people, that will cherish, rather than persecute, the best among us.
On U.S. officials blaming Ukraine for the assassination of Russian nationalist Daria Dugina:
Matt Taibbi: There was a New York Times story that came out this week that by any definition was a blockbuster: “U.S Believes Ukrainians Were Behind An Assassination in Russia.” Essentially the Times quoted a group of unnamed officials blaming the assassination of Russian Nationalist Daria Dugina on Ukraine. The big question was, why? We both independently we’re struck about this issue. Walter, what were your thoughts?
Walter Kirn: It was a befuddling article. One first wondered why it was even published. If the US intelligence community is concerned about Ukraine going overboard with actions within Russia, committing assassinations and so on, it could have warned them privately. Instead, it chastised them publicly. And it also suggested that it was only “parts” of the Ukrainian government, not Zelensky himself, that did it.
The officials seemed to go to pains to disabuse us of the notion that Ukrainian involvement was necessarily monolithic. This was a little troubling, because for all the money we’ve given them, and now we know we have a lot of special operators on the ground, the thought that they might be operating in a fractured way, out of control, was news. But as I read the piece and wondered about its motives, one of those doubts concerned whether or not the US was trying to get ahead of being accused itself of having some role in the assassination, that that couldn’t be ruled out.
As I went through this mental process, I thought: this is an article which gets no closer to solving the mystery, but does send a lot of messages between the US government and the Ukrainian forces. And though I as a reader feel excluded from any answers about what’s going on, it does seem that the New York Times has become a medium for the transfer of coded communication between us and our allies.
Matt Taibbi: Or our enemies maybe? I remembered the stories that came out at the beginning of the war, where we had unnamed sources talking about these new “tiger teams” of National Security Council officials in the White House who were tasked specifically with leaking news or planting stories for some strategic purpose. One of the stories that came out was in The Guardian, and they had the amazingly named character John Sipher come out and say – he says openly – that “It’s what we used to call, when the Russians did it, information warfare.” And sometimes, he said, “it’s meant for one consumer, Vladimir Putin.” So, in other words, sometimes when we’re reading the news, now we’re reading something that’s not intended for a mass audience. It’s not necessarily for us, and previously we were always the primary and only consumer of the news or were supposed to be. We may be second, third, fourth in line now.
Walter Kirn: You feel like you’re a kid, hearing the adults talk at a cocktail party in code. You feel both excluded and intrigued at the same time. Having to do criminological readings of the New York Times as an American or as a subscriber to the New York Times is a strange feeling. Now that this “information warfare” model has been accepted as the reigning paradigm for the distribution of information, we don’t know when we read the paper whether we’re pawns in the game, onlookers in an intrigue that we can’t penetrate, or be informed of something. In this case, I did not feel informed at the end of the article. I had more questions going out than I did going in, which isn’t supposed to be the way the news works.
Matt Taibbi: Exactly, and the language internally in the article was incredibly confusing. To read just a couple of passages, for instance:
“Still, American officials in recent days have taken pains to insist that relations between the two governments remain strong. US concerns about Ukraine’s aggressive covert operations inside Russia have not prompted any known changes in the provision of intelligence, military and diplomatic support to Mr. Zelensky’s government.”
That’s a paragraph where they’re telling you, according to the American officials, that we’re talking to Zelensky’s government, and even if we might be upset, we’re going to continue delivering weapons and support. Normal news stuff, with an attribution. Then, a couple of paragraphs down, there’s another passage:
“The war Ukraine is at an especially dangerous moment. The United States has tried carefully to avoid unnecessary escalation with Moscow throughout the conflict, in part by telling Kyiv not to use American equipment or intelligence to conduct attacks inside of Russia.”
Here they leave out the “American officials say” part. It’s presented as the New York Times saying this in their own words, which is confusing. Are they attributing that to somebody? There’s reported information in there. When they say the U.S. has tried to avoid escalation by telling Kyiv “not to use American equipment or intelligence to conduct attacks inside of Russia,” that’s reporting, I would think, normally.
Walter Kirn: One would assume that it’s reporting and not the voice of some editorial omniscient New York Times committee. But when you read those two fragments together, I do get the sense that Russia is the audience. They seem to be saying, “Listen, we didn’t authorize this. They did it. Maybe even a part of their government or their armed forces that we don’t control did it. We’ve been trying to keep things cool with you guys. Don’t get any madder about this than you have to.” Something seems to have forced these intelligence officials to transmit this message publicly or to want everyone to see it, because as I said before, there’s nothing about it that couldn’t have been done in private.
I wonder what that urgency comes from. This assassination happened a while ago. At the time it happened, it was suggested by many that it was a false flag by the Russians — that they had blown up the daughter of their own idealogue, in order to blame it on someone, and then presumably to take some kind of direct, assassination-style action against Ukraine, or the West. There was something that changed between now and then that caused our people to want to put this out very conspicuously in a newspaper. I can only guess what that is.
Matt Taibbi: Well, there’s one passage in there where they’re saying, “The killing of Ms. Dugina, however, would be one of the boldest operations to date, showing Ukraine can get very close to prominent Russians.” You could take it as a message to the world, as in, “We can get you anywhere.” It’s straight out of a hood movie or, or The Godfather Part II: “If history’s taught us anything, it’s that you can kill anyone.” But that one line doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the text.
Walter Kirn: But that’s a tell. I had an old girlfriend once. When she called, if we spoke for a half an hour, I knew not to listen for the first 20 minutes, because the first 20 minutes were all camouflage for a very specific message that she usually wanted to give me. If there’s a message in this piece that looks like it’s masked or trying to blend in, it’s that [Dugina] deserved it, and we can do anything at anytime, anywhere, because they also took pains in the piece to say that that the daughter shared her father’s “ultranationalist beliefs.” I thought, what a strange dig, even though the presumed target was the father. The daughter is also guilty of dangerous thinking. I thought, “Are they trying to brag, justify, or chastise?” I couldn’t decide.
On reports that U.S. military and CIA troops are fighting in the Ukraine-Russia theater:
Matt Taibbi: There was a story that came out this week that seemed amazing, that got almost no press. It was an Intercept story and the gist was that when the American intelligence community looked at the invasion at the beginning of the conflict, they were so convinced that Russia would win that they withdrew any forces that we had in Ukraine. Now that the conflict has been drawn out, we’re now returning what they’re describing as both CIA and “US special operations, personnel and resources” in Ukraine. This is dovetailing with reports of American bodies popping up in the Ukrainian theater. This seemed like a big story. In the past, the idea that that that either CIA personnel or military personnel had been found in the middle of a hot war would get more ink. Or would it?
Walter Kirn: The way the Vietnam War started was, we began inserting all sorts of CIA and irregular troops into the countryside. Finally, we went public with it, so to speak. When I read the Intercept piece, I once again wondered why I was reading it. It seemed that maybe some disappointed or adversarial intelligence community types wanted it out there that we were more involved than we were letting on. It seemed there was some advocacy for a finding from the administration that would legalize our presence there. Someone in that article essentially said, “We’re there under a covert action finding that goes back to the Obama administration, but our presence is so great now that we need a new one.”
Is part of the intelligence community talking to the Times and part to the Intercept? Because both pieces actually seem somewhat critical of our intelligence. The Times piece said it implicitly, because we couldn’t control rogue Ukrainian assassination teams. The Intercept piece argued we weren’t being candid about the depth of our involvement. As you say, you’d think that would be big news. In fact, you’d think that would be in the New York Times, not The Intercept. Right?
Matt Taibbi: Right. Why, and even the Intercept story, the big reveal wasn’t the headline. The headline was “The CIA Thought Putin Would Quickly Conquer Ukraine. How did they get it so wrong?” Talk about burying the lede! The notion that we’re reinserting American forces seems more consequential. I did talk to one person this week who’s from that world, and he said these are “Special Activities Division” officers of the CIA over there… It should be a headline in leading newspapers that we have people who are — well, certainly the Russians are going to consider them American troops.
Walter Kirn: I consider them American troops!
Matt Taibbi: Right. (laughs)
Walter Kirn: They’re Americans, they’re armed, and they are there at the behest of our Commander-in-Chief at some level. So, they’re not poets on a cultural exchange who happen to have rifles with them.
Matt Taibbi: That might have been the cover.
Walter Kirn: The final question is, “Are we at war with Russia or not?” If we are, should we declare it as such? I’m starting to get this sense that we don’t ever really have to own this conflict until we put GI Joe on the ground, as in, regular army troops. Until then, we can massage the definition of war or “involved” endlessly. But my definition of war is whether or not we’re doing something that would warrant a warlike response. And Biden this week used the word Armageddon at a fundraising event. Now, if I was fundraising, and I said Armageddon loomed, I would not expect to get funds from people. I would expect them to hold the funds in case the world ended.
Matt Taibbi: To buy powdered eggs.
Walter Kirn: If I was sitting at one of the tables, I’d have said, “I’ll fund your campaign if and when there’s still a planet Earth three months from now.” But is the government really being candid with America about the risks we face?
* * *
On the U.S. purchase of anti-radiation medicine, and the blacklist era:
Walter Kirn: We saw another story this week that, that anti-nuclear medications were being bought up in large quantities by the government.
Matt Taibbi: I didn’t see that!
Walter Kirn: I read also that New York City has openly started running public service announcements about what to do in case of nuclear war and so on. We’re sharing some pretty great risks now, as this conflict continues. I’m about ready for some open talk about that from the people in charge.
Matt Taibbi: You’re right, here it is. The Department of Health and Human Services is « using its authority provided under the 2004 Project Bio Shield Act » and spending $290 million on the drug nPlate from Amgen, which is used to treat “blood cell injuries that accompany acute radiation syndrome in adult and pediatric patients.”
Walter Kirn: It’s good news and bad news. The good news is we have drugs and we’re buying them up right now to treat you in case of radiation poisoning. The bad news is you might all get radiation poisoning soon. It’s reaching a point at which I think a little frank talk from the people at the top is warranted. Or, are they just going to smuggle these pills into the mailboxes of Americans with a little note saying, “You know, just in case something bad happens, take this stuff”?
Matt Taibbi: Right. “They’re vitamins.”
Walter Kirn: In the same fundraising speech, Biden apparently said we are at a similar juncture to what Kennedy went through in the Cuban Missile Crisis. And my Dad, who was alive during the Cuban Missile Crisis and was in Washington in law school, talks about that incredible tense moment. The world waited day by day. We are expected to be concerned with things like Kanye West at a fashion show in Paris, and other pop culture matters. If there is a Cuban missile crisis going on behind the scenes, I’d like us all to be at attention, frankly.
Matt Taibbi: Where’s the international “What The Fuck Summit”? There should be one somewhere in Brussels, or maybe on a neutral territory. I don’t even know where that would be… Mumbai? Just to answer the question, as you say, “Are are we at war or not?” If we are, um, then I think we have to accelerate the process of trying to figure out a way to not have it. There are no good end games with that scenario. Elon Musk came out this week and suggested a potential peace deal, and was immediately tabbed a foreign nation for doing that.
On one level, I understand why people responded that way, because he was proposing Ukraine surrender the Crimea. But in general, the notion of, “How do we get out of this mess?” is also a forbidden question. We’re not allowed to entertain the question. The only allowable outcome is conquest of Russia that ends with removal of Putin, which doesn’t seem extremely likely. Other than that, how does this end?
Walter Kirn: To his credit, I think Biden was reported to have said at this fundraiser that he was wondering, and that the government is wondering what off-ramp there might be for Putin. But in terms of public rhetoric, we never talk about “off-ramps.” We talk only about, “Putin has to go and there is no compromise.” Zelensky responded. I don’t know if it was directly to the Musk, but in general that there can be no negotiations whatsoever. In fact, uh, Zelensky even said last week that the way we should deal with the apparent threat from Russia to use tactical nukes in some situations is to have some kind of intervention in advance, against their ability to launch nukes. It was unclear whether he meant we should do that just before they push the button, or now. But we get only escalatory and adamant rhetoric out of the government. Biden is at least semi-privately exploring the notion that Putin should be given an out.
Also, where are the John Lennons? I mean, is there a peace movement at all left in America…? They have absolutely nipped that in the bud. There are no marches. There are no public voices, there are no movie stars. There are no Jane Fondas, et cetera…
Matt Taibbi: There’s not even Jane Fonda in the sense of somebody who plays the role of a traitor to national objectives. Those people aren’t even out there. I guess maybe we’re in that camp, or Tucker Carlson, or Glenn, or people like that.
Walter Kirn: I was interested to see that in the Brookings Institute [which denounced podcasters who were “Kremlin messengers“ for theorizing U.S. involvement in the Nord Stream blasts]. Maybe it was in our correspondence, you suggested to me that there is a list of suspect journalists and figures that are thought to be soft on Russia. And one of them was Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd.
* * *
The Roger Waters list entry on Myrotvorets
Walter Kirn: And I thought, well, you know, that’s my sense of normalcy about life, that some rock star at least should be pretending to speak truth to power, or act the dissident. But it’s this really old dude who’s not even in the band anymore. That he should be a high threat figure in society kind of amused me. It seems that there are also a lot of journalists that they’re worried about.
Matt Taibbi: That’s a real thing.
Walter Kirn: Who made it?
Matt Taibbi: It’s actually a fascinating story, and this brings things full circle back to the New York Times, because it’s a subtext to the article about Dugina’s assassination. There is a group called the Ukrainian Center for Countering Disinformation that is funded at least in part by USAID, which as we all know is a American taxpayer funded organization. It put up a list earlier this year basically of people who are collaborators with Russia or who are — loosely speaking it was an enemies list. And that list included people like former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, the aforementioned Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett, Glenn Greenwald, and Dugina was, I believe, one of the people on the list.
It was taken off the web, but it reappeared on a Ukrainian website, called Myrotvorets, which translates as “The peacemaker.” It’s bizarre — it bills itself as a CIA project website.
I haven’t looked through the whole list but it’s pretty substantial. The idea that a US taxpayer funded organization created an enemies list, and one of those people ended up getting assassinated is a little bit unsettling. And one of the people on the list, Ritter, wrote an article on Consortium about how he’s looking outside the door when when he leaves in the morning and checking under his car. Maybe that’s crazy, but I get it, too.
But that’s what we have for a “peace movement,” people running for cover — not millions on the march.
THE #MAHSAAMINI PROTESTS And Iran’s Fight For Freedom | The Problem With Jon Stewart Podcast - YouTube
Wild women don’t worry… wild women don’t sing the blues:
UKRAINE, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8TH
The explosion, on the sole bridge linking the Crimean Peninsula with Russia, disrupted an important supply line for Russian troops and handed an embarrassing blow to the Kremlin.
Crimea’s Kerch Strait Bridge holds deep strategic, and symbolic, value.
The damage to the bridge in Crimea hinders Russia’s military logistics.
Russia names a new commander for the war in Ukraine.
Four missiles strike Kharkiv in one of the most intense attacks in weeks.
Ukraine’s Nobel Peace Prize winners urge solidarity among rights defenders.
‘Happy birthday, Mr. President’: Ukrainians celebrate the bridge blast with memes.
The Crimea bridge explosion prompts calls for revenge from Russian hard-liners.
UKRAINIAN FREEDOM NEWS REPORTER Joseph Lindsley:
PUTIN MAY NOT BE BLUFFING ABOUT USING NUCLEAR WEAPONS
by Rebekah Koffler
Vladimir Putin's chilling “escalate to de-escalate” nuclear doctrine threatens to play out on a real battlefield, as indicators show the Russian leader may view a low-yield detonation as a stunt capable of ending the war he started in Ukraine.
On Sept. 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that he could resort to “all available means of destruction” in his war against Ukraine, pointedly adding, “It’s not a bluff.” Days later, he accused the United States of setting the nuclear warfare “precedent,” referring to the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 to end World War II.
On Monday, NATO warned that Russia may have deployed the nuclear powered submarine Belgorod into the Kara Sea to test the Poseidon “doomsday” weapon it has aboard, capable of creating a “radioactive tsunami.”
In the past seven months since Putin invaded Ukraine, Russian forces have lost approximately 80,000 personnel and killed 9,000 Ukrainians. Thousands are wounded and maimed on both sides. Multiple cities are in ruins.
And, as Ukraine keeps fighting back and Russia looks increasingly weak, here are eight reasons why Putin is likely not bluffing, just as he says, about using nuclear weapons.
Russia’s possible deployment of the submarine Belgorod could be an ominous sign.
1. Putin is psychologically capable of crossing the nuclear threshold, especially when he feels cornered. According to declassified debriefings of Soviet General Staff officers, General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev “trembled” when he was asked to push a button in a hypothetical war against the US during a 1972 command-post exercise. Brezhnev kept asking Soviet defense minister Grechko: Was this “definitely an exercise?” Putin likely held a steady finger, and in fact practiced the routine many times. Several of his life experiences, including being attacked by a rat when he chased it into a corner as a youth, have taught him to fight his way out rather than give up. “I just understood that if you want to win, then you have to fight to the finish,” he is quoted in one of his biographies, “Vladimir Putin. Life History.”
Russia’s ongoing losses in Ukraine could convince Putin that using a small-sized nuclear bomb is the most efficient way to end the war.
2. Putin likely thinks this is his “last and decisive battle.” When he hears calls by Western officials to try him in an international court as a war criminal, he fears he may end up like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, captured by US soldiers in 2003, convicted of crimes against humanity by the Iraqi Special Tribunal, and put to death by hanging. He also fears the fate of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, who was shot in the head by his own people in 2011. Both events had a profound psychological imprint on Putin, convincing him of America’s bad intentions.
The most chilling reason to believe Putin may consider “going nuclear” is that he’s committed to fighting battles until the very end. “If you want to win, then you have to fight to the finish,” he has said.
3. Russia’s post-Cold War doctrine includes a nuclear fallback option designed exactly for the kind of situation Moscow now faces. In the 1990s, the General Staff developed, on Putin’s orders, a limited nuclear war doctrine called “escalate to de-escalate.” The doctrine stipulates that a low-yield nuclear bomb can be detonated to shock an opposing force to abandon a fight and end a war. Russia’s nuclear stockpile is flexible by design, with yields ranging from below one to 1,000 kilotons, allowing Putin to launch a ”demonstration” strike in the Black Sea, for example, or to cause some serious damage in Ukraine.
Putin fears ending up like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, captured by US soldiers in 2003.
4. Putin likely believes that he will use nuclear weapons for the same reason the US did in Japan during WWII — to end the conflict. In August 1945, the US detonated two atomic bombs, “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 149,000-225,000 people. The rationale was to hasten victory, while minimizing both US and Japanese casualties. Neither Japanese city became uninhabitable, and both returned to functional levels approximately a year after the bombs were dropped. Many of Russia’s warheads are under one kiloton, with much smaller explosive power than the 15-kiloton bombs used in Japan, and Putin likely theorizes that these weapons are usable on a battlefield.
The fate of Muammar Gaddafi, who was shot in the head by his own people in 2011, left a profound psychological imprint on Putin, convincing him of America’s bad intentions.
5. The outcome in Ukraine is an existential issue for both Russia and Putin. While it’s not accepted by the West, Russia views former Soviet states like Ukraine as part of its sphere of influence and a strategic security perimeter. With NATO’s admission of the Baltic states, the distance between NATO forces and Russian territory has shrunk from 1,000 to 100 miles. Russia sees the close proximity of this adversarial military alliance as a “red line,” and as Washington supplies Ukraine with more capable weaponry, jittery Putin is likely calculating that he must retain his strategic buffer.
Putin believes the US will not react to a nuclear strike with a nuclear counterstrike.
6. Putin orchestrated the annexation of the four seized regions of Ukraine, following phony referendums, precisely so he could use the nuclear option. By formally declaring these territories part of Russia, he has cleared the requirement in the Russian military doctrine for the deployment of nuclear weapons. Officially, the unclassified doctrine permits Russia’s Commander in Chief to use these last-resort weapons only in a defensive scenario to protect Russian territory. But the doctrine also allows “first-use” of nuclear weapons even in an existential battle, like the one in Ukraine, in order to stave off defeat and end a conflict.
Putin likely feels that a show of nuclear force could embolden him in the eyes of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
7. Putin is worried about projecting weakness to China. Although Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have formed an anti-US strategic partnership, Russia views China — and the two countries’ shared, indefensible 2,600-mile border — as a long-term security threat. Putin may calculate that launching a nuclear strike in Ukraine will demonstrate Russia’s strength and resolve to Xi.
Russia views its conflict with Ukraine as existential to the core — another reason Putin could see nukes as a morally acceptable option.
8. Putin probably estimates that launching a low-yield nuclear strike in Ukraine will not trigger a US response, and certainly not with nuclear weapons. Russian planners believe Americans have a low tolerance for war casualties, especially for nuclear risks. President Obama’s ”Global Zero” initiative to eliminate the US nuclear arsenal over time reinforced this belief, along with President Biden’s announcement that US forces would not intervene shortly after Russia attacked Ukraine. While Russia currently holds a 10:1 ratio advantage over the US in tactical nuclear weapons, Biden canceled a program to develop a new low-yield nuclear-tipped sea-launched cruise missile authorized by former President Trump specifically to counter Russia’s “escalate to-de-escalate” strategy.
Putin relies on the sentiment prevailing in the West that nuclear warfare is “unthinkable.” The Russian strongman may very well be miscalculating. But cornered and desperate, he has less than ever to lose. Believing he and Russia face an existential threat, he may be completely serious when he says, “this is not a bluff.”
(Rebekah Koffler is the president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting, a former CIA intelligence officer, and the author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America.”)
SINCE 2016 progressive Democrats have been worse than useless on the single most important issue in the world, namely de-escalating tensions between the US and Russia. They’ve been feeding into the Russia hysteria that got us here and backing proxy warfare in Ukraine to the hilt.
— Caitlin Johnstone
President Biden has now stated that the war in Ukraine threatens the world with Armageddon. This follows Putin's statement that he will use “all the means at our disposal” to defend the formerly Ukrainian territory he has now annexed to Russia. What Biden fails to point out is that US-NATO created this crisis and can end it at any time. Key to understanding the conflict is the rise of China, which has pulled roughly even to the US in economic power. The chief concern of US policymakers is a Eurasian powerhouse stretching from China to Germany. Because Russia is central to making this alliance operational, Washington has sought since 2014 to replace Putin with a more compliant leader. The strategy was to lure Putin into invading Ukraine so as to draw Russia into a quagmire similar to the 1980s Afghan quagmire that weakened and helped destroy the Soviet Union. US policy is fundamentally irrational for two reasons. One, now that the plan has worked, we face the prospect of nuclear devastation. Two, global ecological destabilization threatens to undermine US power whether or not we prevent the emergence of a rival Eurasian power. Our only sane option is to set aside geopolitical rivalry and initiate an era of global cooperation as we adjust our economic bearings and learn to live within nature's boundaries. We need a 180 degree change in how we think and live, and the first step in doing so is to recognize that Russian-majority regions of eastern Ukraine have every right to break away and join Russia, especially since the post-2014 Western-leaning government of Ukraine has been shelling these regions for years, killing thousands of people. Because we started this crisis by lending key support to the 2014 coup in Kiev, it's up to US to step back and defuse it before it spirals out of control.