Dry Week | Last Demchowski | Dry Trees | Axman | Caretaker Needed | Cabrillo Tower | Douglas Fir | Log Truck | Virtual Farmstand | Roofs | Paint Out | Native Plants | Bernice Bing | Pottery/Photography | Mendosa's Warehouse | P Wary | Albion House | Measure O | Silent Musical | Elk Tee | Facecut | Fire Escape | Veteran Protester | Talbot Talk | Yesterday's Catch | Farmed Animals | Filming | Dining Dogs | Journalism | Books | Kellogg Motorhome | Poets | SF 1912 | Niner Injuries | Princesses | Britain | Catwash | Losing | Bombs | Israel | Ghosts | Weed War | Our Hour | Harvest Moon | Babe | Limitless | Writing | Motorbikes | Octopus | Lennon | Kamakawiwo'ole | Ukraine | Armageddon | Meteors
DRY AND WARM 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)
THE LAST DEMOCRAT (PRAY FOR HER)
ERNIE PARDINI: I've been noticing for the last couple of months that whole stands of Douglas Fir trees have been slowly dying, I assume for lack of water. But now I'm seeing that the leaves of the Live oak trees, an evergreen, are dying and turning brown at an alarming rate. Even the redwoods have large patches of needles turning brown. With a winter in which we have normal rainfall, the redwoods and probably the live oaks will most likely recover, but the national weather service is predicting another dry winter, much like the last two. And the danger of more devastating wildfires is exponentially increased as well. Why aren't we hearing about this in the media?
LOOKING FOR RENTER/CARETAKER
Our mom is in her early 70s and lives in Philo on Nash Mill Road (on the lower portion, only ¾ mile from Hwy 128). Her memory problems are becoming more severe. We purchased a park model RV tiny house that we are working to place and set up -- we hope to have it ready and available for a renter by early December. The tiny house is a 1-bedroom, 400 sq ft home.
It will be located on her property, across the street from her house. The renter/caretaker would share the south side of the property with the Spanish-speaking property caretaker.
Our mom mostly stays at home and takes care of her animals, including chickens, cats, and a dog. She loves her property and is independent and free-spirited.
We currently have caretakers and/or social visits scheduled 5 days per week, for a few hours each visit. We are looking for someone (ideally 1 adult, possibly 2) to live on the property so there is more supervision and help when needed. The full rental rate for the 1-bedroom would be $1400, but we are asking $800/month (including utilities) in exchange for basic caretaking (we anticipate the caretaking level of effort to be up to 1 hour per day; see detail below). Indoor pets allowed; no outdoor cats; dogs considered.
Requirements: Ability to communicate via phone, email, and text (ability to speak Spanish a plus) Ability to make/receive electronic payments (PayPal, Venmo, etc) Ideally this person would be able to provide increasing care as our mom’s memory/health continue to decline
Check in on her a few times per day
Confirm she has taken her medication
Assist her with technology as needed (check answering machine messages with her, make sure her iPad is charged, turn on TV/DVD for her to watch, etc.)
Track and buy her groceries (she has a limited and predictable diet, so when going to the store for themselves, the renter/caretaker would also pick up groceries for her)
Assist her with any small issues that come up (e.g. look for things she can’t find, replace batteries in her flashlight, etc.), or communicate them to us or her other caretakers
If interested, please contact her daughter Karen Verpeet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-301-6256. Following an initial call, references will be required.
DOUGLAS FIR AS METAPHOR
Throughout much of our Mendocino County woods Douglas-fir trees are dying from the drought. Their deep taproot search for water finds not enough, if any. Rather than leave marketable size trees to rot and/or provide fuel for wildfire the timber industry has been bringing these dead and dying trees to the mills, truckload after truckload.
The Mendocino Redwood Company mill in Ukiah is taking logs up to 20 inches in diameter while the larger logs are going up to the Humboldt Redwood Company mill in Scotia. Every time you see a log truck on the road, take a look, you’ll see probably two with Doug-fir for every one of redwood, maybe more.
In an internet search to see if there is any online mention of the dying Douglas-fir, I stumbled on an account of the death of David Douglas, the famed early 19th century English botanist who gave Douglas-fir its name even though it is not a true fir. He somehow fell into a pit trap set up to catch wild cattle on the side of Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii and was stomped to death by a bull that also fell into the pit. Go figure, but that was the death of the Douglas who named our dying fir.
I get my drinking water from the roadside spring out Mountain View Road by Bear Wallow and and at one point last month its output had dropped to 4.5 minutes per gallon. Two weeks following the 2.5 inches of rain we got in September it was still taking 4.5 minutes to fill each of my gallon jugs. Then in one week the flow rate shot up to where it only took 1.5 minutes to fill a gallon. The river gauge, too, stopped dropping and started to climb.
When I mention this to people they often ask “why?” Here’s my guess.
Always when the leaves start falling toward the end of summer the river gauge notes a rise in flow because there is less moisture transpiration taking place. This year we have something added, the Doug-fir dying en masse and no longer there to suck whatever moisture it can find. And in truth it’s not just the Doug-fir that’s dying, other species are declining as well.
Some people, even weathermen and women, are saying it looks like we are on track to stay in the “three-year drought” that we’ve been experiencing. But to me that is a head in the sand perspective. There is science that finds that from the turn of the century (22 years ago) the entire western U.S. has been in a megadrought that is the “worst in at least 1,200 years.”
And my mantra: The degree to which we are battering the Earth, we are also battering the human psyche. To meet the future we will adapt, evolve, let go, for those of us who believe it does some good, hope and/or pray. Personally I kind of like dancing.
Que sera, sera.
THE 2022 YCBA VIRTUAL FARM STAND ORDER FORM IS HERE
Hello, Yorkvillians and Friends,
Your 2022 YCBA Virtual Farm Stand order form is available! It's an exceptional selection of over 30 different items, made and donated by our community members. All purchase proceeds go to the Yorkville Fire Station. Last year, the Virtual Farm Stand raised over $3,500. To order, let Adrian Card or Peter Brodigan know what you'd like. You can list items in an email, attach a copy of the form, or give a call: email@example.com – firstname.lastname@example.org – (707) 894-9210.
Please submit your order by Sunday, October 16. Order quickly! Most items have limited quantities, and we sold out last year. We'll schedule delivery times at the end of October when you can pick your goods up at the YCBA/Post Office. We'll be back in touch with those specific dates and times. Preferred payment is by check payable to YCBA at time of pickup.
Many thanks to all our wonderful cooks and participants who donated time and ingredients: Tina Walter, Lisa Bauer, Becky Perelli, Kathy Borst, Linda Nayes, Marti Lawrence, Nancy Armstrong-Frost, Val Hanelt, Whitney Cookson, Deb Wallo, Doug Labat, Sue Marcott, Margot Rawlins, Adrian Card and Peter Brodigan.
For a copy of the order form or for questions email Peter Brodigan <email@example.com>
PLEIN AIR PAINT OUT
Paint Out at Pennyroyale Winery in Boonville
That's a great spot. Nice folks. They also have a very scenic winery on the other end of the Anderson Valley. I want to see the goat pictures! Delicious goat cheese to get while you are there
Paint Out Day is Saturday, October 22, in Boonville. To participate, call John Hewitt at 541 270-1071 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE NATIVE PLANT SALES RETURNS to Gualala and Fort Bragg!
There will be a wide selection of plants suitable for the coast and some for inland. The sales will be Oct. 29 at the Gualala Community Center and Nov. 4 at the Town Hall in Fort Bragg, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. each day. There will also be books for sale and knowledgeable people on hand to answer questions.
Proceeds from the sale support the work of the coastal chapter of the California Native Plant Society. For more information, email Louisa at email@example.com
THE LATE BERNICE BING WAS A LONG-TIME RESIDENT OF THE ANDERSON VALLEY
Into View: Bernice Bing celebrates the museum’s acquisition of 20 paintings and works on paper that shine a light on an important local Asian American artist who has only recently gained broad recognition for her achievements. These works reveal the evolution of Bing’s remarkable practice, from paintings of the 1950s and 1960s that straddle Abstract Expressionism and figuration to work from the 1980s and 1990s that explores a synthesis of Zen calligraphy and Western abstraction.
Born in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1936, Bernice “Bingo” Bing (1936–1998) spent her childhood bouncing between an orphanage and foster homes. She attended California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts), where she studied with Richard Diebenkorn and Japanese painter and theorist Saburo Hasegawa, who introduced Bing to Zen Buddhism, Chinese philosophers, and traditional calligraphy. She completed her B.F.A. and earned her M.F.A. at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), where she studied with painters such as Elmer Bischoff and became enmeshed in the city’s Beat Era art scene.
In the 1980s, Bing’s work began to display the influence of her Buddhist practice and of traditional Chinese art, stretching the boundaries of Modernism. In 1984, she spent three months in China studying calligraphy and traditional ink landscape painting. Her work following that formative trip evolved toward a synthesis of calligraphy and abstraction, and she often chose titles for her paintings that reference the Lotus Sutra. Her last major work, Epilogue (1990–1995), serves as a resume of her artistic development; abstract clusters, some suggesting figurative forms and others calligraphic sources, are arranged in a 24-foot-long linear composition that reads like the unrolling of a handscroll.
The exhibition shows how Bing’s perseverance as a queer Asian American woman fueled her achievements as a catalyst in the Bay Area cultural scene during the second half of the 20th century.
Into View: Bernice Bing is the first in an ongoing series of collection exhibitions championing the work of under-recognized modern artists and will be on view through May 7, 2023.
ALEXIS AT THE EDGEWATER
Alexis Moyer, Featured Artist, and James Mallory, Guest Artist for November
First Friday, November 4, from 5-8, and continuing through November.
November at Edgewater Gallery will feature a show of pottery and ceramic sculptures by gallery founding member, Alexis Moyer, as well as welcoming James Mallory back for the month with his photography of local scenes. Ms. Moyer’s pottery is sure to delight with her playful animals. Whether they are the small frogs she carefully perches on the rim of coffee mugs, there to greet you every morning as you enjoy your first cup of coffee or her larger animal and totem pieces with their whimsical sense of humor, your inner child will be dancing for joy at their antics. “I love creating joyful pieces. It is always my hope that my pottery will warm your heart, brighten your day, cheer you up and leave you smiling.”
Please join us for First Friday on November 4th from 5 to 8 pm. Alexis will be available to sign her “Totems” book as well as give a brief talk at 6pm. Light refreshments served. Masks optional.
Edgewater Gallery, 356 North Main Street, Fort Bragg
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ED NOTE: Years ago I bought a bud vase wrought by Alexis. The vase is a deep ceramic blue with a green frog climbing it. I gaze at it every day, and the pleasure it's given me over the years is immeasurable.
Measure P. I’m all for increasing the funding of our Fire Departments, but I have reservations about the County’s administration of the funds.
Yes, the 20 fire departments are assumed to provide oversight of the funding. BUT the bookkeeping by the County Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector to Properly account for this special tax is questionable. These departments are admittedly understaffed and the information systems reportedly difficult to use and complicated. Additionally, there is nothing that would legally prevent the Board of Supervisors from diverting these funds to other purposes. A Grand Jury report would have no impact due to how the Measure was worded – diversion of funds is not restricted. Plus, the BoS and County departments historically merely give lip service to GJ reports.
I can only hope that the 20 fire departments are prepared to mandate independent oversight of the funds by a Certified Public Accountant and would keep the public informed to assure us that the fire departments are the real beneficiaries of the funds generated by Measure P. Fire Chiefs, are you ready to carefully scrutinize, monitor and report? If so, I’m a ‘yes’, as I trust our first responders far more than County Administration.
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MARK SCARAMELLA REPLIES: We agree that it will probably require that the Fire Chiefs of Mendocino County will have to somehow force the County to spend the money according to the allocation formula that the Chiefs and the Supervisors have suggested. But when it was pointed out to those Chiefs that last year that at least some of the more than $20 million in pot taxes according to the 2017 advisory measure (with similarly weak language to the Measure P wording) should have gone to “increased emergency services”) and none/zero was forthcoming, the Chiefs were nowhere to be heard, apparently in hopes that Measure P would fix everything. If Measure P fails — and it might given the current economy and the distrust of the Supervisors — it will not be because people don’t want to fund fire or emergency services. It will be a direct rebuke of the current Board of Supervisors which has failed to deliver on the promises of every voter passed County measure that they’ve had a hand in.
YES ON MEASURE O
The voters of Mendocino County have a great opportunity to do something good for themselves, their families, and their communities, by voting YES on Measure O on the Nov. 8 ballot. Measure O provides smart, sustainable support for the libraries of Mendocino County.
Before 2011, the libraries of the county were in dire shape. Voters gave 78 percent support to Measure A that year, directing some sales tax to libraries. People saw improvement in programs and services at their local branch libraries. That funding soon expires, hence the need for Measure O. Additionally, the libraries have a serious backlog of repairs and infrastructure needs; Measure O provides this type of funding as well.
Measure O provides ¼ cent sales tax for libraries. 1/8 is the continuation of Measure A support and the other 1/8 replaces part of an expiring tax. Thus, Measure O stabilizes library funding without a net increase in sales tax. The new revenue will be split 60/40 — 60 percent for programs and services and 40 percent for infrastructure. The revenue is dedicated to the county libraries; the Board of Supervisors cannot spend these funds in any other area.
Measure O is needed, sensible, well-timed and good for Mendocino County. We recommend a YES vote on Measure O.
(K.C. Meadows, Editor, Ukiah Daily Journal)
TEXAN NEEDS GREAT DAY IN ELK TEE
I am a huge fan that long ago, when I was traveling, picked up a blue t-shirt that said “Great Day in Elk”. I bought it in Large for my son, and he is still wearing it with holes. He has asked me to sew it up, but I thought someone might be able to tell me where I could purchase another one? He loved the blue one. I would be happy to pay for everything including an “inconvenience” fee so he can once again, wear out a Great Day in Elk t-shirt. Any information is greatly appreciated. Please don’t hold it against me, because I am from Texas.
Sheri Reyes (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It was the ringing of the landline that woke me … one thirty in the morning … who could be calling at this hour? As I fumbled for my slippers and opened the bedroom door, something felt extremely wrong. Opening the door from the hallway onto the kitchen, my eyes beheld our property and front porch ablaze.
I yelled to Lynda that we were on fire. She yelled that the rear deck was burning, and we had to get out pronto.
We grabbed a bag that was ready for our planned holiday cruise, containing our passports and other vital items. After driving through the tunnel of fire that was Mark West Springs Road, we regrouped at Sutter Hospital, joining others, all of us in shock as we watched the fire march toward us, consuming everything in its path.
We decided to drive north to our family home in Ukiah, only to find the Redwood Valley Fire burning east of our residence. That night there was no sleeping. We thanked God we were alive and prayed for those in the path of devastation.
Our home in Riebli Valley has been rebuilt, our beautiful acreage nearly devoid of the once-tall evergreens. Lynda and I will never erase from our memories the near brush with death.
WHEN KGO RADIO HOST PAT THURSTON was at KSRO in Santa Rosa she interviewed KQED Journalist Steve Talbot about his 1991 Documentary “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” It seems appropriate to revisit that interview now that KGO and Thurston have gone off the air: "Talbot Talks, And So Does Mary Moore"
In that interview Talbot refers to an article he was writing for Salon.com which appeared a few weeks later: salon.com/2002/05/23/judibari/
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 9, 2022
KYL AYERS, Willits. Protective order violation, probation revocation.
JOHN BOLTON IV, Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent Flyer)
ADOLFO BRAVO-RAMIREZ, Lakeport/Fort Bragg. DUI.
ANTHONY BUDAR-MORALES, Ukiah. DUI, domestic battery, criminal threats, probation revocation.
CHARLES CALLEJA, Willits. Domestic battery, controlled substance.
KYLE COHN, Willits. Probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
DANICA COLEMAN, Fort Bragg. Burglary, petty theft, vehicle tampering.
AUGUSTINE FREASE, Covelo. DUI, suspended license. (Frequent Flyer)
SUSAN HYATT, Willits. DUI-alcohol&drugs, reckless driving, child endangerment.
CASEY IRELAND, Willits. Failure to appear.
CHARLES NICKERMAN, Ukiah. Battery with serious injury, elder abuse with great bodily harm or death, probation revocation.
ANGELINA NOVOA, Ukiah. Domestic abuse.
KEVIN PIKE, Willits. Battery, elder abuse, false imprisonment.
JOSE REYES, Willits. Domestic battery.
ZACHARY RICHTER, Rocklin/Ukiah. DUI.
FELIX RIVEROS-APARICIO, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
ROSA RODRIGUEZ, Rio Dell/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, suspended license for DUI, controlled substance, paraphernalia, concentrated cannabis.
WALTER STOUGH, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation. (Frequent Flyer)
MARCOS VEGA-GARCIA, Ukiah. Domestic battery, willful child cruelty.
To the Editor:
I just learned about World Day for Farmed Animals on October 2nd (Gandhi’s birth date). It has been around since 1983 and is meant to memorialize the billions of animals abused and killed for food each year.
Like many, I always considered farm animals only as a source of food. But, after recently watching the documentary ‘Speciesism,’ I realized that farm animals are much like our family pets, deserving of love and respect.
I’ve learned that farm animals get neither on today’s factory farms. Male baby chicks are ground up alive or suffocated in garbage bags. Hens are crowded in small wire cages that tear out their feathers. Breeding pigs spend their lives pregnant in metal cages. Calves are snatched from their mothers upon birth, so we can drink their milk.
The cruelty of factory farming drove me to replace animal products in my diet with plant-based meat and dairy items. I have since learned that my cruelty-free diet is also great for my health and for the health of our planet.
ANOTHER SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
S.F. now has a fine-dining restaurant for dogs with $75 tasting menu
by Elena Kadvany
UPDATE: The news of a restaurant for dogs opening in San Francisco was met with impassioned reaction from both critics and enthusiasts.
Nikko, a San Francisco resident, is a picky, sensitive eater. But on Sunday, he struck gold at a trendy new Mission District restaurant, where he dined on hand-cut filet mignon tartare topped with a poached quail egg. The chef, who crafts the seasonal menu based on what’s available at local organic farms, even came to his table to say hello after the meal was over.
Nikko, by the way, is a 4.5-year-old Shiba Inu. He went with his best friend, Peach, also a Shiba Inu, to try Dogue, which may be serving the country’s first-ever tasting menu for dogs.
Dogue opened last week at 988 Valencia St. with pastries and “dogguccinos” served during the day and a $75, three-course tasting menu on Sundays. Passersby could easily confuse this for San Francisco’s hottest new all-day cafe. A glass case is filled with elegant pastries, like a rose-shaped cake filled with wild venison heart and a doggy petit gâteau modeled after the creations of acclaimed French pastry chef Cédric Grolet. (Dogue’s version swaps butter and sugar for grass-fed cream and braised chicken.) On Sundays, Dogue transitions into Bone Appetit Cafe, where chicken-mushroom soup is poured tableside — and then promptly licked up by the eager diners.
Everything is made by owner Rahmi Massarweh, a trained chef who has been feeding his four dogs fresh and raw food since they were puppies. Dogue is part of a growing movement to serve dogs fresh-cooked, nutritious meals rather than packaged kibble rife with fillers. In Florida, a chef started a dog food company after his restaurant closed during the pandemic. A Sacramento chef behind one of the city’s top sushi restaurants also feeds canines professionally.
It’s unsurprising that what is likely the country’s first dog restaurant opened in San Francisco, where dogs reportedly recently outnumbered children, and pet owners can join members-only vet clinics with high-end perks like genetic testing.
BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS
Sorry, the Post Office is doing the weirdest tricks with my AVA subscription. Nothing comes for weeks, and then three issues are in my box on the same day, so I'm way behind. Anyway, let's talk about books.
Once, there were hundreds of books on my shelves, but may years ago I went on a book diet. Most books are bullshit anyway; they meander, they get boring, I fall asleep and never wake up. When I find that rare book that's worth reading, it's the beginning of a beautiful friendship. That book goes onto my very small bookshelf, and I re-read those same books in a cycle that won't end until I die.
These are the few books on my eternal re-read shelf. Never noticed until prepping this list that most of them are science fiction, but it makes sense. Earth in the 21st Century is a gruesome, awful place, and I like escaping it.
The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins
About Time, by Jack Finney (sci-fi)
The Body Snatchers, by Jack Finney (sci-fi)
The Body Snatchers, by Jack Finney (I have two copies)
Time and Again, by Jack Finney (sci-fi)
The Man Who Folded Himself, by David Gerrold (sci-fi)
The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K LeGuin (sci-fi)
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Elmer Gantry, by Sinclair Lewis
Neutron Gun, mostly by Gerry Reith (short stories)
When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead (a kids' book, but sci-fi)
Roadside Picnic, by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky (sci-fi)
The Death Ship, by B Traven
Treasure of the Sierra Madre, by B Traven
Stoner, by John Williams
CHARLES KELLOGG, LOG MOTORHOME, 1918
T. S. ELIOT, JAMES JOYCE AND ALLEN GINSBERG
by Jonah Raskin
I moved to the City from Sonoma County in May 2020 and have already been through three distinct phases here. In the first one, boy meets girl, in the second boy and girl break up, and the third boy and girl marry or at least become engaged. There’s no way in hell I’m gonna return to Sonoma. I had outgrown it and it had outgrown me. I don’t think that will ever happen in San Francisco; there’s too damned much that goes on here for me to do all of it. And in some ways there’s not nearly enough.
San Francisco is all-too predictable. Not surprisingly, the city and its citizens have celebrated this year the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jack Kerouac, the King of the Beats, and the 100th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce’s epic novel, Ulysses, which still defies readers. In a way, San Franciscans honor Kerouac and Ulysses every day. The writer and the book are part of the city’s lifeblood. They should matter to everyone and anyone who cares about creativity and literature and their connections to politics and ideas.
Curiously, no one has celebrated, at least not yet, as far as I know, the publication of T. S. Eliot’s experimental poem, The Waste Land, which appeared in print for the first time in 1922. The failure to honor it strikes me as a reflection of one of the City’s cultural blind spots. “In the 1960s, Eliot was the father figure poet we loved to hate,” San Francisco poet, novelist and publisher, Christopher Bernard, said to me the other day. “When Eliot is a poet he’s great. He’s not great as an arbiter of taste.” Eliot was the epitome of the Euro-centric cultural pundit. He revered Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare and didn’t seem to know or care anything about the ancient epic, Gilgamesh, for example, or literature from Asia.
Christopher Bernard offered his remarks about Eliot at an open mic that takes place on Thursdays at Simple Pleasures Café on Balboa, where most of the poetry that is read is so atrocious that neither of us want to stay, though we do as a sign of respect that poets in the City rarely show to one another. Self-centered, they read and then leave the building. Also, they don’t enter the building and go to the mic until it’s their turn. I have witnessed the same behavior elsewhere in northern California. Listen up, poets.
What they and many of their uncivil ilk don’t appreciate is that The Waste Land is deserving of literary and cultural recognition, though it has not been accorded anywhere near the honors that James Joyce and Ulysses have received this year. The Waste Land has an appealing backstory but nothing as appeal as the backstory for Ulysses. Joyce’s novel was censored. Eliot’s poem wasn’t. Ulysses has a complex publication history; The Waste Land doesn’t. English Departments in England and the US embraced Eliot and made him into a god. They didn’t do the same for Joyce. He was Irish.
I can understand why San Francisco and other places might not want to honor The Waste Land and its author. When it comes to Eliot and his masterpiece, SF is, alas, uptight and unforgiving. Thomas Stearns is the very antithesis of the City, or at least its liberal and left wings. “Eliot had issues that we’re all aware of,” Bernard tells me. He sure did. Anti-Semitic and conservative, Eliot joined the Anglican Church and became a British subject, like Henry James, another quintessential un-American American who turned his back on his own country and anointed himself with the holy waters of his adopted nation.
As teachers and students of the “New Criticism—which was rammed down my throat in college—pointed out long ago, and still do, The Waste Land ought not to be read through the prism of Eliot’s prejudices and the trajectory of his own life, which began in St. Louis in 1888 and led him to Harvard and to London, England, the City that shaped his poetry and his view of humanity itself, in much the same ways that Florence shaped Dante and the Divine Company. A banker, Eliot probably never got his hands dirty.
Granted, he became a political conservative, but there’s little if anything that’s conservative about The Waste Land, not its language, its structure, its many voices, its footnotes and its sense of the apocalyptic. World War I ended the Victorian and the Edwardian eras. Eliot recognized that phenomenon and translated his vision into images and words and into the very shape and rhythm of his avant garde poem. “These fragments I have shored against my ruins,” he wrote. Allen Ginsberg might have said much the same about Howl.
A collage and a cubist work of art, The Waste Land broke the back of traditional 19th century British poetry that began with Wordsworth, Coleridge and Keats, who were once revolutionaries, and that continued with Tennyson, Queen Victoria’s poet laureate. The revolutionary Eliot understood that romanticism and Victorian verse had to be overhauled and that poetry had to be rejuvenated. He was a one-man wrecking crew, though he did have help from fellow exile, Ezra Pound, another American exile and conservative who moved even further to the right than Eliot and supported Mussolini and Italian fascism.
The first publishers of The Waste Land in England were Virginia Woolf and her husband, Leonard, both of them anti-Victorians, anti-Fascists and anti traditionalists. In its day, their Hogarth Press was the London equivalent of San Francisco’s City Lights. It might help to think of The Waste Land as an early iteration of Allen Ginsberg’s masterpiece, Howl, which broke the back of staid American poetry. Psychoanalysis in Switzerland helped Eliot in the 1920s. It helped Ginsberg in San Francisco in the 1950s.
Like The Waste Land, Howl descends into a world of insanity. “I have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness/ starving hysterical naked,” the poem begins, and yet like The Waste Land it doesn’t remain in a world of insanity. Like The Waste Land, Howl is composed of fragments, and, like The Waste Land, it offers different voices, along with surrealist images and phrases like “the crack of doom/on the hydrogen jukebox,” and “drunken taxicabs of Absolutely Reality.” In homage to Eliot, who added footnotes to The Waste Land, Ginsberg wrote a free-wheeling poem titled “Footnote to Howl.” He reconstructed Eliot even as he deconstructed him.
In San Francisco in the mid-1950s, Ginsberg meant to follow in the footsteps of Walt Whitman, who exclaimed “I sound my barbaric yamp over the roofs of the world. “A barbarian, Ginsberg could and did also write in the manner of the highly civilized seventeenth-century metaphysical poets like John Donne who Eliot revered because they yoked opposites. The Eliot who wrote The Waste Land would surely appreciate Ginsberg’s yoking of the words “hydrogen” and “jukebox” which link the nuclear age and pop culture which normally aren’t combined. When they do they offer illuminations.
Before Ginsberg revered Whitman and called him, in the poem A Supermarket in California, “dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-/teacher,” he revered Eliot and W. H. Auden. That’s not surprising. He attended Columbia College and studied with Lionel Trilling at a time when Eliot was regarded as the preeminent modern poet and a brilliant literary theorist, as exemplified by essays like “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” which reveals a real dialectical understanding of the relationship between individual talent on the one hand and literary tradition on the other.
Ezra Pound whipped The Waste Land into shape by revising it. Kerouac stood over Ginsberg’s shoulder and told him, “Don’t revise.” Fortunately, Ginsberg revised Howl, much as Kerouac revised On the Road. Neither Kerouac nor Ginsberg practiced what they preached, though younger generations of poets and novelists in San Francisco and elsewhere have adhered to their sermons on art and creativity—“First thought, best thought”—not to the actual ways they wrote: by rewriting and rethinking.
The scroll edition of On the Road and the many manuscript versions of Howl depict the hard realities of revision and the discipline it took to write them. Young poets and novelists today ought to see what’s really there on the page, not what they think is there. Much as many of San Francisco’s dreamers and schemers ought to see the real, not the unreal city, even though SF is an “Unreal city,” to borrow the apt phrase Eliot used to describe London.
In The Worst-Case Scenario Pocket Guide to San Francisco, the authors David Borgenicht & Ben H. Winters, urge visitors to the city “to wear some flowers in your hair” and “for God’s sake, watch your back.” Over the past 16 months I have learned to watch my back in the Haight, the Mission and at Ocean Beach, and also to watch the traffic every time I cross a street. I don’t wear flowers in my hair, but I stop and smell the yellow roses that are blooming now on the campus of the University of San Francisco where I take an aerobic class that meets three times a week, and where I have made friends.
As an urban rambler and “lonesome traveler”—as Kerouac called himself—I remember Eliot’s lines, “April is the cruellest month, breeding/ Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing/Memory and desire,/ stirring/ Dull roots with spring rain.” I also remember Ginsberg’s description of “angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly/ connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of/ night.”
Unreal San Francisco might embrace Eliot and The Waste Land. It might reject either/or thinking and learn to appreciate the yoking of opposites in a real and paradoxical place. In the 1960s, a decade that San Francisco has never really left behind, someone once said, “you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.”
That kind of un-dialectical thinking won’t get us out of our present dilemmas about which I heard a great deal on a Saturday afternoon at the Java Beach Café where District Four supervisor, Gordon Mar spoke to his constituents, including me. We made it clear that we want more police and policing in our beloved Ocean Beach, and that we also want underlying social and economic factors to be addressed in a city where, in our view, the buck doesn’t stop anywhere, but is passed from hand to hand. Doesn’t someone up there need to take responsibility and walk the walk as well as talk the talk? That’s for sure.
On the subject of T. S. Eliot, my friend and fellow poet, Christopher Bernard offers the kind of double vision I appreciate. “Eliot could be an oppressive father figure we had to rebel against,” Bernard tells me. “But I go back to his poems again and again with deep and abiding pleasure.”
49ERS' BLOWOUT 37-15 WIN OVER PANTHERS TAINTED BY MULTIPLE INJURIES
by Eric Branch
On paper, it looked like a mismatch. On the field, it was precisely that.
Surprise: The meeting between the unstoppable force and the pushed-around offense ended with the favorite winning by knockout.
The San Francisco 49ers, owners of the NFL’s top-ranked defense, bullied the Panthers, owners of the league’s 32nd-ranked offense, in a 37-15 win Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.
The 49ers (3-2), who arrived allowing the NFL’s fewest yards, first downs and yards per play, had a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, collected six sacks and smothered Carolina’s offense for three-plus quarters. The Panthers (1-4) had 9 first downs and 217 yards early in the fourth quarter when they were trailing 30-12.
“Every time teams make a play on us, we’re kind of surprised,” said cornerback Charvarius Ward, who had career-high four pass breakups. “They (have) great players, but if we’re on our stuff, and have good technique, it’s going to be hard to score on us.”
The 49ers became the first defense to not allow a touchdown in the first half of a season’s first five games since the 2013 Panthers, but the locker room celebration was muted. That’s because their latest suffocating performance ended without Moseley (knee), free safety Jimmie Ward (broken hand) and their best defensive player: Pro Bowl pass rusher Nick Bosa, who didn’t play in the second half due to a groin injury that’s not believed to be a long-term issue.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan said the 49ers think Moseley suffered a season-ending torn ACL. Moseley was in crutches in the locker room, not placing weight on his left leg as he exited.
“It was tough there at the end,” Shanahan said. “It was weird feeling just watching E-Man. Lots of guys got hurt in the game, but (his injury) didn’t look good. It definitely took away from a little bit of the excitement there at the end. We know the deal. It’s part of this league. Everyone goes through it. And that was a tough one today.”
It was particularly difficult because Moseley’s elevated play this season was a reason the defense, ranked third in the NFL in 2021, had taken another step. Moseley had teamed with Charvarius Ward — a $42 million signing who is resembling a bargain — to lock down receivers and allow the formidable front four to get home. The 49ers have 13 sacks in their past two games, their most in back-to-back contests since they had 15 in 1985.
“It’s tragic what happened at the end of the game,” Ward said.
Said linebacker Fred Warner: “You hate to see it. … And you hate it for him.”
The 49ers will face the Falcons on Sunday without Moseley, Jimmie Ward and possibly Bosa, along with defensive tackles Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw, who both sat out against the Panthers.
“It’s football,” quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “We’ve got to keep going. The train ain’t stopping.”
• The 49ers needed another running back to emerge from their banged-up corps to support Jeff Wilson, who had 30 of 31 carries by a running back in their previous two games.
And while Wilson continued to do plenty of heavy lifting, rushing for 120 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown, he received some assistance from an unexpected source: Tevin Coleman.
Coleman was released by the Jets in August and signed to the 49ers practice squad. And he’d played one snap last Monday in his season debut. And, yes, at 29, he’d wondered if his eight-year career was close to over.
“You have a little bit of doubt,” Coleman said. “Just not having a lot of carries and a lot of touches and just coming from where I came from with the Jets. I showed that I still have it.”
Indeed, Coleman, who had 67 total yards, had a 9-yard touchdown catch on a well-designed screen, a 5-yard scoring run and an acrobatic 30-yard catch down the left sideline in the first quarter.
Garoppolo called Coleman “Mr. Reliable” because of his composure and knowledge. He’s in fifth season in Shanahan’s offense after spending two previous years with the 49ers (2019-20) and two more with the Falcons when Shanahan was Atlanta’s offensive coordinator.
“Tevin’s a hell of a running back,” tight end George Kittle said. “He knows Kyle’s offense. He’s excellent at pushing the blocks. He sets up the blocks for me and then cuts. He’s fantastic at that.”
Coleman said Garoppolo never threw to him in practice during the week on his 30-yard sideline route.
“He was supposed to,” Coleman said. “So he was like, (Sunday), we’re going to get it. I was just ready for that play.”
Coleman smiled when he noted Garoppolo wasn’t supposed to throw it to him because he was being covered by a cornerback instead of a linebacker. Garoppolo heaved the throw as he was getting leveled.
“I did have other options and those options weren’t great,” Garoppolo said. “I knew Tevin was one-on-one. I just wanted to give him a shot. You try to make the right play every time, but it’s not always going to go perfect.”
• Jauan Jennings, like Deebo Samuel, is a hard-nosed wide receiver from an SEC school who, well, also resembled a wide back on his two receptions for 45 yards.
Jennings broke three tackles on a 32-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter before three Panthers shoved him out of bounds at the 3-yard line. It was the key play of a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that gave the 49ers a 24-9 lead. Jennings broke multiple tackles on a 13-yard grab on 3rd-and-10.
“He’s dangerous when he gets the ball in his hands, man,” Garoppolo said. “I was telling some of the guys: ‘We’ve got to just get the ball in his hands. It doesn’t matter how we do it. … They just can’t tackle him.’ He’s a big body out there and he runs with purpose, that’s for sure.”
Samuel was asked if Jennings could replicated his wide back role. He responded affirmatively, but was a hard grader.
“I think so, even though I got on him,” Samuel said. “He caught the ball going across the middle and he was running down the sideline and it was kind of like he was just ready to get tackled and get pushed him out of bounds. I think if he had a little extra in him, he could have scored.”
• Shanahan said Wednesday that a concerted effort wouldn’t be made to get Kittle out of his pass-catching funk.
“We think it will take care of itself,” he said.
However, the 49ers’ first offensive snap: a 5-yard dump-off to Kittle.
Their third offensive snap: a 20-yard pass to Kittle on 3rd-and-6.
It was the start of a slight uptick in production for Kittle, who arrived in the middle of the least-productive stretch of his six-year career: Kittle had 5 catches for 47 yards Sunday - all in the first half - after he’d managed just 21 catches for 220 yards in his previous eight games dating to December.
“It’s always fun when I have an opportunity to get the ball early, especially something like that,” Kittle said of his first catch. “It’s like a 3-yard pass and I just get to go hit somebody. So that was a lot of fun.”
Kittle did lose a fumble - just the fourth of his career - that the Panthers recovered at their 44 in the first quarter.
* * *
Game Grades: Offense joins defense in a smothering victory
After wasting strong defensive efforts and producing 10 points in two road losses to inferior opponents, this unit did its part while not committing a turnover and allowing two sacks. The totals: Season highs in points (37), yards (397), third-down conversions (7 of 12) and a flawless performance in the red zone, scoring TDs in all four trips. Kudos to efficient QB Jimmy Garoppolo (109.7 rating) and road-grading RB Jeff Wilson (120 rushing yards, TD), and two players in supporting roles: RB Tevin Coleman (67 totals yards, two TDs) and tackle-breaking WR Jauan Jennings (two catches, 45 yards).
Ho-hum. Another performance in the general neighborhood of the ’85 Bears. They had another pick-six, a 41-yard runback by CB Emmanuel Moseley, had six more sacks and humiliated QB Baker Mayfield (61.7 rating) only slightly less than they did in 2019. CB Charvarius Ward did allow a 31-yard reception, but otherwise continued to resemble one of the 49ers’ best big-money free-agent signings in recent seasons, with four of their eight pass-breakups.
Special teams: Poor
They allowed a blocked field goal and kickoff returns of 45 and 48 yards, the last of which resulted in kicker Robbie Gould suffering a knee injury because he was forced to tackle returner Raheem Blackshear again. So, yeah, not great. They also missed an extra point, but that was excusable: Punter Mitch Wishnowsky, subbing for Gould, missed a 43-yarder after a holding penalty.
Kyle Shanahan said TE George Kittle’s catches would come organically after his quiet stretch, but it made sense to get him started with a 5-yard toss on the game’s first snap. And did you even notice that starting DTs Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw were replaced by semi-anonymous backups Kevin Givens and Hassan Ridgeway? Defensive line coach Kris Kocurek deserves credit after the Panthers, with do-it-all Christian McCaffrey, had 64 rushing yards and averaged 3.8 yards a carry.
That was the most complete win of the season, but such performances will be hard to replicate if the attrition rate doesn’t abate. And they won’t get to play the dysfunctional Panthers, losers of 11 of their past 12, every week. It wasn’t a great sign when McCaffrey recently said this about locker-room accountability: “We’re getting it fixed.” Perhaps not Sunday.
TO BRITAIN, AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS COLUMN
By Tommy Wayne Kramer
Back from the British Isles with plenty to say, and because I’m a licensed journalist and certified expert you should feel free to ignore it all.
It’s like living in a big museum. Cities of any size at all have horizons spiked with cathedral spires, statues of heroic victors and memorials to fallen heroes. Each is more grand, proud and stately than anywhere I’ve ever been, and I’ve been to Modesto, Ogden and Cleveland. (Also: Rome, Ravenna, Florence and Dresden.)
The countryside is tiny villages of houses made from rocks and thatched roofs, ancient churches, and emerald hills dotted with cows and sheep. We went to the Cotswolds, where quaint plus cute equals a word not yet found in the dictionary.
Edinburgh, in Scotland, might be the most amazing spectacle of all. Cobbled streets, castle walls still standing solid after 1500 years built from rocks three times the size of your refrigerator, and with stained and leaded glass in bright brilliant colors that, if new, might rival HD TV.
In Edinburgh, as well as London, York, Windsor, Bath and everywhere else, modern hotels are built from another ancient building’s hollowed out remains. Exteriors are of huge craggy rocks with a dozen turrets, thick iron poles holding banners aloft, yet interiors are no different than a modern hotel in San Jose, right down to wall-to-wall carpet and Jack Daniel’s at the bar.
Reasonable adaptations, given that even those resistant to historical updates still want heated rooms, electric lights, comfy mattresses, tiny bottles of shampoo in bathrooms, elevators, and a roof that doesn’t leak.
1) We spent three weeks abroad, beginning in London among vast herds of police officers due to huge crowds filling streets and sidewalks for the Queen’s Last Ride.
Then Edinburgh, York, Bath, Windsor, etc. In all that time in all those cities we never saw a police officer nor a police car. Or heard a siren.
The cops can’t all be on vacation at once can they? There can’t be zero crime among all those Brits, can there?
2) Everyone abroad, as travel writers and other semi-honest journalists always say, is friendly, cheerful, and speak clear, understandable, BBC-style English. The exception? The Scots. They all sound as if they’re gargling vowels and spitting up punctuation.
3) Anyone who tells you it’s easy to adapt to Brits driving on the wrong side of the road is lying. It’s fiendishly difficult, and that’s without ever taking the wheel.
To be a pedestrian is to tempt fate and the gods of chance at a level just shy of Russian Roulette. Here’s why: You’ve spent an entire lifetime, decades and decades, hardwired to the sensible USA pedestrian traffic system.
If you think you’ll shed all that training and experience, and quickly learn to first look right when crossing a street, you’re wrong. You’ll also be in a hospital within 24 hours. Or the morgue.
4) Oldtimers like me are surprised to find beers like Bud Lite and Coors in pubs and markets, and that draft beers, even Guinness, are now served cold. Not long ago that would have been unthinkable if not illegal.
It’s a bad bargain to capitulate to the whims of Generation Bud, but there we are. Locals have also switched from tea to coffee as the go-to beverage; Coca Cola is everywhere. So is vaping. Homeless are too few to count.
5) Every hotel has one of those round (convex?) mirrors mounted on the bathroom wall that magnifies your face to look like craters on the moon. It will remind you of the good old days of Clearasil and razor nicks, and give a peek at your exciting future of skin cancer, plastic surgery and frightening small children.
6) City roads and streets are crowded, messy and filled with peril. Country lanes might be even more hazardous.
Your bus driver will say the narrow lane we’re hurtling down was built by Romans (when dinosaurs roamed the land). But these “roads” were to accommodate Roman chariots the size of today’s riding lawnmowers.
Locals call these skinny paved strips “Prayer Roads” because drivers constantly pray no one’s coming around the next bend. In a bus that’s already too wide for a road the size of your driveway, an approaching car is tricky.
But if another bus approaches it’s terrifying, and helps explain why the British have outlawed vehicles having more than one coat of paint.
7) There’s a pub on every block and down most alleys. Closest to our hotel in Bath is The Westlake, with a chiseled block above the door: “Eftablifhed 1677.” Inside, I had a pint of ABK Hell, from a brewery built in 1308.
The author of these weekly musings is truly Among His People, with his father’s Hine (English) and his mother’s Weyburne (Scottish). TWK has no ancestors willing to claim him.
KERCH STRAIT BRIDGE LOSS
Saturday’s explosion of an important bridge spanning the Kerch Strait that had connected Russia through Crimea to its forces occupying southern Ukraine comes as another blow to Putin’s so-called “military operation” — really, the Kremlin’s worst mistake in recent history (“Blast on bridge deals blow to Russia’s war”). While rail military traffic may only be affected, since the auto bridge wasn’t affected, it comes at a really poor time if you’re a Russian general or, probably even worse, for individual Russian soldiers now stationed in Ukraine. Its loss makes the counterattacking Ukrainian troops’ job easier.
President Vladimir Putin had only KGB secret service experience before taking sole control over the Russian military. His cronies, a clique of power-mad Kremlin officials, must by now-be starting to wake up to the fact that Russia will lose this attempt to invade and destroy the independent, democratic republic of Ukraine.
Now the Russian media is having to admit Russia is losing this conflict. Very sadly however the Ukrainian civilians by the thousands are being killed and wounded by brutal, inhuman Russian missiles, gunfire, and bombs.
Frank H. Baumgardner, III
ISRAEL: REPLY, PART 2
As promised in last week’s front page exchange with StandWithUs’s Michael Harris, I am responding to his “guilt by associations” attack on me with which he hoped to divert attention from the serious charges I had leveled against Israel and his organization in a previous issue.
It is true that I not only spoke at events with Israeli Gilad Atzmon but even helped to organize one at a time I considered him my friend. In Israel, in the early Eighties, as part of Israel’s occupying forces in Lebanon, he had come upon, El Khaim, an Israeli prison complex in the south of the country in which Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners were kept in dog cages, not even four feet high, which made it literally impossible for those housed within them, to stand erect.
In 2007, on my fourth and last visit to Lebanon, I visited El Khaim. The now empty prison camp was still standing but the cages, though long emptied of prisoners, brought to mind the Zionist propaganda, peddled by the likes of Harris, that “the Israel Defense Forces is the most moral army in the world.” If one substitutes what I saw of them in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, the word, sadistic, for moral, and limits the comparison to the so-called “developed” world, I would agree. Sharing the experience of seeing El Khaim for what it was and represented, coupled with Atzmon’s unconditional condemnation of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and the treatment of its people, with which I was and remain in complete accord, is what brought us together.
Unfortunately, Atzmon eventually went far beyond that, becoming an apologist for and friend to ex-Nazis, an advocate for the far right Catholic church under the Spanish fascist Francisco Franco, wrote favorably of David Duke who had previously embraced him, and, in his last book, pushed his idea of MAGA in the US, though not in those exact words, before Trump came on the scene. Atzmon’s degree of “self-hate,” which he not only acknowledged but was proud of, led him to see a Jewish conspiracy in everything, such as resistance to fascism in the Spanish civil war, which dominated his spiel the last time I saw him and walked out. My disgust with his presentation was shared by all of his long time admirers who had attended. He is one of only four Jews I have known or encountered who can legitimately be labeled “self-hating.” As a critic of Israel today, he is irrelevant. But “self-hating” remains the first accusation thrown at Jewish critics of Israel by its Jewish-American defenders in the absence of any genuine counter evidence they can present in Israel’s favor.
Harris then went on to attack Greta Berlin, an American woman who had once been married to a Palestinian and who has been active on behalf of the Palestinian cause for decades. One of her activities was helping to organize the Free Gaza Movement, a well-meaning effort a decade ago to break Israel’s now 17-year blockade of Gaza’s seashore with a flotilla of small boats containing medical supplies and shoes and clothing for the residents of that strip of land along the Mediterranean that numerous international observers and foreign journalists have described as “the world’s largest outdoor prison.”
It is not surprising that Harris dismisses the Free Gaza Movement and its ultimately doomed effort as a “Hamas support network,” with Berlin as one of its founders. Predictably he offers no supporting evidence of that because there isn’t any. There are a number of international groups, the most prominent being Berkeley’s Middle East Children’s Alliance, that provide services to the people of Gaza. While Hamas, as could be expected, approves their work, they operate independently. I know, because I was there with a MECA delegation and never saw anyone from Hamas.
I do recall that Greta was accused of promoting a film that contained an element of “Holocaust denial” as opposed to it being a “Holocaust denial film,” which is a very different kettle of fish. Given the omnipresent references of the Nazi’s attempted genocide of Europe’s Jews in the US media, the most recent being a three part series on PBS by Ken Burns with its unforgettable images of the dead and the dying, only in the irrelevant, extreme corners of our society is it considered a hoax.
In 16 countries in Europe, holocaust denial is considered a crime subjecting the denier to fines and/or imprisonment. That is not just a unique restriction on free speech or inquiry about an important historical event, but an inducement to those born long after the war ended and the concentration camps converted into museums and monuments, and who witness, via their computer screens, Israel’s never-ending atrocities against the Palestinians, to view the determination by Israel and its European lobbies to shut down any historical inquiry beyond the “officially approved narrative” as a Zionist cover-up.
And to the extent that this narrative excludes pre-war collaboration and contacts between the Nazis and the Zionists, including a visit of Adolph Eichmann to Jerusalem hosted by the Haganah, the coining of a medallion, featuring a swastika on one side and a Star of David on the other, issued by the Nazi publication, Der Angriff, edited by Joseph Goebbels, celebrating another trip to Palestine by one of its editors, an SS colonel (an image easily found on the internet) and the Haavera (Transfer) Agreement which allowed German Jews to escape Germany for Palestine by buying German goods that would be delivered by Nazi flagships to them in Haifa, it was, at least, to far more than a negligible degree, a cover-up.
For daring to mention Eichmann’s pre-war visit and suggesting that the collaboration in the camps by Jewish officials with the Nazis made the ultimate death count greater, in her landmark report on his trial , “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil,” the internationally recognized Jewish political philosopher, Hannah Arendt, ended up being virtually excommunicated by international Jewry.
The main target of Harris and StandWithUs in his response was Alison Weir, a onetime Bay Area based journalist whose organization (and website) If Americans Knew, has long been a thorn, albeit and sadly, a virtually lone thorn in the backside of the Israel Lobby which for all intents and purposes includes the entire Jewish political establishment and much of its religious components. Those who deny its power or insist that Evangelical Christians are now the Lobby’s largest component are simply dishonest or don’t know what they’re talking about. More likely, both.
The tens of millions of evangelicals don’t lobby. It’s a skill few have and still fewer have the check book balances and lobbying skills of the Jews that do. What they do do is vote, mostly in so-called Red States where their votes keep the Republican members in line. In past years, there have been one or two who have veered away from the Israeli Lockstep, Washington’s unofficial dance, but no more, with the sometime exception of Kentucky’s Sen. Rand Paul, son of former Rep. Ron Paul, who may have been the last House Republican critic.
Weir is a thorn in their butt but she is also a thorn in the butt not only of Harris’s StandWithUS and its ilk, but also in the behind of a group that has effectively co-opted the Palestinian solidarity movement that was never strong to begin with and from the beginning was hopelessly outmatched by the other side. Imagine Ukiah High against the New England Patriots with Tom Brady at his prime and you’ll get an idea of the difference. (If should be noted that if New England’s owner, Robert Kraft, is a patriot of any country it is Israel to which he has contributed millions, if not billions, all tax-exempt).
The co-opting organization is Jewish Voice for Peace, an organization founded by an Israeli-American married to an Israeli whose business was involved in policing Israel’s West Bank checkpoints. Come to think of it, Checkpoint, is the organization’s name.
As someone, with more than a half century working for justice in and for Palestine, I have essentially four criteria for determining whether an American organization claiming to be supportive of Palestinian rights is what it claims to be or a Zionist front or something in between, an organization that has been infiltrated by what can best be called Jewish tribalists. They don’t believe in a Jewish state but do believe in community solidarity and tend to be as sensitive to gestures, comments, or actions that might be perceived as anti-Semitic as much as any Zionist zealot, such as Michael Harris.
These criteria are (1) Calling for and acting to end all US aid and arm sales to Israel and tax-emptions for any non-profit charity that sends money to Israel for any use whatsoever. (Currently, thanks to Jewish lobbying pressure, the destinations of those funds are no longer made public). (2) Recognizing and speaking and acting publicly against organizations that represent and speak for Israel in the public sphere, from AIPAC and the Jewish Community Relations Councils to StandWithUs. (3) Calling out and identifying members of Congress, particularly liberal members who are “progressive on every issue but Palestine” and supporting local actions nationwide to get them to change their positions and (4) Speaking publicly and educating Americans about Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty, a Navy and NSA intelligence ship that was attacked over a two hour time frame on June 8, 1967, in international waters off the coasts of Israel and Egypt, which left 34 US sailors dead and 171 sailors wounded, with the survivors threatened with court-martial by Pres. Johnson if they talked about it publicly.
Jewish Voice for Peace has failed to deliver on every one of those issues, as has a sister organization, the US Campaign Against the Occupation, also founded by an Israeli-American, Josh Ruebner, whose dual identity I didn’t learn about for years.
JVP prides itself on being the successor to a similar organization, New Jewish Agenda that appeared in the early Eighties the apparent goal of which was to neutralize legitimate Palestinian and Arab-American anger against Israel while pretending to be supportive of the Palestinian cause.
When I began speaking in the Bay Area about the power of the Israel Lobby, I became an NJA target to the point where even my old friend, Terrence “Kayo” Hallinan, who had been sucked into the Zionist vortex, called me a “loose cannon.”
In short, like JVP, despite the good intentions of many of its members, at the leadership level, it was a Zionist front and three letters that I have in my files, all on NJA letterhead make my case. The most important was from the NJA national office to its San Francisco chapter, threatening to kick it out of the national organization should it take a position against US aid to Israel. The letter suggested that the SF chapter take a cue from its chapter in Orange Co. which had taught the local Arab activists not to raise issues that were sensitive to Jews. Another letter was from seven leading members of the organization to David Salniker, the director of Pacifica Radio and an uber Zionist who had banned any mention of Zionism on the KPFA airwaves, asking that he remove an Israeli commentator, Amos Wollin, from the network’s programming because of what they claimed was his “anti-Israel bias.” The program that he was hosting dealt exclusively with Israeli politics and was utterly fascinating. It was the first and last radio program to be heard in the US on that subject. The third letter was from the head of the Sacramento chapter of NJA which called on KPFA to ban Lenni Brenner, a foremost anti-Zionist Jewish historian, from the station’s airwaves. The writer of that letter, David Mandel, who lived 10 years in Israel, is today the head of JVP in California.
I should point out that I learned from a reliable source, that at the time that JVP was formed in Berkeley in 1996, it began “monitoring” me because of my “obsession with the Lobby.”
That makes the fact that a JVP co-founder and chief spokesperson at the time, Mitchell Plitnick, turned down an invitation from KPFA to debate me on the role played by the Israel Lobby in fomenting the 2003 Iraq War, more readily comprehensible. By a remarkable coincidence, on the very night that KPFA was airing my debate on the subject with a stand-in, Stephen Zunes, a long time AIPAC apologist, Plitnick had scheduled an event in Mill Valley, in which he would argue that the Lobby had not been involved in planning for the war. Since then the evidence of its role in initiating the conflict has been overwhelming.
Now that I’ve established that Jewish Voice for Peace is not a serious supporter of the Palestinian cause, it should come as no surprise that the StandWithUs chapter in Contra Costa County would use the content of a vicious smear campaign it waged against Alison Weir in 2015 to prevent her speaking before the Mt. Diablo Peace Center.
Here is how Harry Clark reported on the event in the Sept. 9, 2016 CounterPunch:
“The scurrilous attack in summer, 2015 on Alison Weir and If Americans Knew by Jewish Voice for Peace and US Campaign to End the Occupation, has threatened Weir and her audiences with violence. On March 30, Weir spoke at the Walnut Creek, CA public library, about her book Against Our Better Judgment, about Zionist influence on foreign policy. A few weeks before, Weir had been warned by Walnut Creek police of hateful on-line incitement to disrupt the talk; the threat referred to the JVP-USC material against Weir. The Walnut Creek Parks and Recreation Department received phone calls from people planning to protest the talk.
“The talk, sponsored by the Mount Diablo Peace and Justice Center and Rossmoor Voices for Justice in Palestine, was well-attended, including by members of StandWithUs, an Israel propaganda outfit. They protested with signs and handed out fliers, also referring to the JVP/USC material. At the talk, five protestors seated themselves in the front row, and more stood at the back of the hall holding signs.
“During the talk, SWU protestors shouted repeatedly at Weir, prompting some audience members to call for them to stop. Only by speaking loudly, directly into the microphone, could Weir make herself heard.
“Helen Lowenstein of SWU, a significant donor to pro-Israel organizations, according to Weir, was escorted from the hall by Walnut Creek police. She “swiped at” an audience member who was recording her, and was arrested and taken away in handcuffs. The Bay Area Jewish press decried an outbreak of anti-Semitism in their version of events. As of this writing, the Contra Costa County district attorney’s office has not prosecuted Lowenstein.”
If one wanted to argue, as I have, that the Israel Lobby can be legitimately described as fifth column in the US, StandWithUS more than qualifies for such a characterization. In 2014, it was reported on the site, Mondoweiss that SWU had its own special web site, accessible only to SWU members with a special password that contained dossiers on pro-Palestinian activists plus questions to ask them when they appeared in an SWU member’s vicinity. After that report was published the site seemed to have disappeared but it should be apparent from Harris’s response that SWU’s imitation of the East German Stasi is still flourishing.
But what was really so “toxic” about Alison Weir that would have Harris write “that even Jewish Voice for Peace, which promotes an astonishing litany of lies and libels about Israel, [providing appropriate cover for a sister organization] won’t work with her?”
First, she more than meets all of the four criteria previously mentioned that JVP failed. While her If Americans Knew website produces daily reports on Israeli violence against Palestinians, her speaking engagements are largely geared to ordinary Americans who have no vested interest in either Israel or Palestine or the outcome of that conflict, a section of the public that JVP has admitted, indirectly, that it ignores, but who might care about their tax money is being used to send billions of weapons to a foreign state and who just might become angry when learning, for the first time, in most cases, about Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty 55 years ago, the treason of Pres. Johnson who recalled the jet fighters from the aircraft carrier sent to defend them, and the decades of cover-ups by a US government and Congress held in thrall by the government of Israel and its American fifth column in which Michael Harris and his StandWithUS appear to be eagerly enrolled.
What I would also postulate, recalling the negative reaction on the part of the American Jewish political establishment to the Camp David peace accord between Israel and Egypt in 1978 which Pres. Carter forced, to some degree on both Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat is that the Israel Lobby has a vested self-interest in perpetuating conflict in the Middle East with Israel at its center. Were the political spokespeople of American Jewry against peace in the Middle East between Israel and its enemies? The answer, in short, was yes, and it still is, for what gives the Jewish mucky-mucks their power and influence in Washington is that Israel’s conflicts with the Palestinians, the Lebanese Hezbollah, Syria and Iran are ongoing and whenever attempts have actually been made to dial down these struggles, they have encountered powerful Jewish opposition.
One afternoon, back in the last century, I attended a book event at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco. The author was an American Jewish journalist Richard Ben Cramer, the book title long forgotten, who had covered the Middle East, but it was something that CSPAN thought worth covering. The subject of the discussion was the Israel-Palestine conflict, about which Ben Cramer seemed quite knowledgeable.
So when the time arrived for questions from the audience, I asked what he thought would happen to the Israel Lobby if, by some chance, there would be peace between Israelis and Palestinians?
“It would evaporate overnight,” he replied.
JOE BIDEN SAYS:
As I often said during my campaign for President, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana. Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit. Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.
Today, I am announcing three steps that I am taking to end this failed approach.
First, I am announcing a pardon of all prior Federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana. I have directed the Attorney General to develop an administrative process for the issuance of certificates of pardon to eligible individuals. There are thousands of people who have prior Federal convictions for marijuana possession, who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result. My action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.
Second, I am urging all Governors to do the same with regard to state offenses. Just as no one should be in a Federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either.
Third, I am asking the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances. This is the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and even higher than the classification of fentanyl and methamphetamine – the drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic.
Finally, even as federal and state regulation of marijuana changes, important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and under-age sales should stay in place.
Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs.
Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin'
We could dream this night away
But there's a full moon risin'
Let's go dancin' in the light
We know where the music's playin'
Let's go out and feel the night
Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon
When we were strangers
I watched you from afar
When we were lovers
I loved you with all my heart
But now it's gettin' late
And the moon is climbin' high
I want to celebrate
See it shinin' in your eyes
Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon
Because I'm still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I'm still in love with you
On this harvest moon
— Neil Young
October 6, 1926 - Babe Ruth hits three home runs to lead the Yankees to a 10 - 5 victory over St. Louis in Game 4 of the World Series. His 1st-inning curtain-raiser is a majestic 395-footer, exiting Sportsman's Park over its right field bleacher roof. Home run number 2 clears the roof in right center, carrying 515 feet, breaking a window on the other side of Grand Avenue. Ruth's final foray, however, is the main attraction, carrying deep into the never-before reached centerfield bleachers, far beyond the 430-foot mark. Estimated at 530 feet, it is deemed the longest home run in World Series history. Ruth, however, not content to dominate offensively, also delivers a crucial outfield assist, cutting down a runner at the plate, ending the Cardinals' 3rd-inning rally. In the words of broadcaster Graham McNamee, "Babe Ruth nor no other man ever made a better throw. Babe shot it like an arrow and Hank Severeid did not have to move for it." If all this weren't enough, this also is the game during which the Babe makes good on his alleged pre-game promise to hit a home run for the bedridden young Johnny Sylvester.
DONALD & HERSCHEL: THE UNHOLY ALLIANCE
by Maureen Dowd
This will sound quaint.
In May 2016, The Washington Post ran the story of how Donald Trump, in his real estate days, would call reporters, pretending to be his own spokesman, to brag and leak nuggets about nonexistent romances with famous women. I thought that would knock him out of the race.
The story hit on a Friday, so I scrambled to rewrite my column on the assumption that Trump wouldn’t last the weekend.
But the scoop didn’t make a dent.
The next day, The Times splashed a piece on the front page reporting that dozens of women had accused Trump of “unwelcome romantic advances” and lewd and “unending commentary on the female form.”
Again, he emerged unscathed with his base.
I still didn’t learn my lesson, though. That October, when the “Access Hollywood” tape showed Trump yucking it up about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women, noting that “when you’re a star, they let you do it,” I once more figured he couldn’t survive as leader of the party of “family values” and the religious right.
Once, there were limits, things that could disqualify you from office, especially in the party that claimed a special relationship with Jesus.
But those limits don’t exist anymore.
Conservatives have sacrificed any claim to principle. In an unholy transaction, they stuck with Trump because there was a Supreme Court seat and they were willing to tolerate his moral void in order to hijack the court. They didn’t care how he treated women as long as he gave them the opportunity to rip away rights from women. They wanted to impose their warped morality, a “Handmaid’s Tale” world, on the rest of us.
Christian-right leaders made clear that, no matter what Trump said or did to women, he was preferable to Hillary Clinton, who supported abortion rights.
As Jerry Falwell Jr. said at the time, “We’re never going to have a perfect candidate unless Jesus Christ is on the ballot,” noting, “We’re all sinners.”
Well, Falwell certainly was. Four years later, he was ousted from running Liberty University after a sex scandal of his own.
I WROTE STORIES from the time I was a little girl, but I didn't want to be a writer. I wanted to be an actress. I didn't realize then that it's the same impulse. It's make-believe. It's performance. The only difference being that a writer can do it all alone. I was struck a few years ago when a friend of ours—an actress—was having dinner here with us and a couple of other writers. It suddenly occurred to me that she was the only person in the room who couldn't plan what she was going to do. She had to wait for someone to ask her, which is a strange way to live.
— Joan Didion/The Paris Review/1978
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
When I was six years old, almost the entire area of a major suburb of Munich was within reach of my new bicycle and ready to be explored. The reason I could safely travel about was entirely due to the fact that the car culture hadn’t been rebuilt yet in the Germany of 1955. At this time there were still a few bombed buildings about not yet torn down, and now and then I’d ride by a bomb crater not yet filled in. For a child wanting to explore the world a bit on my own it was paradise. It was unheard of for adults to be out molesting and attacking children in the 50’s. In a sane world, child predators are quickly locked up or even killed.
It’s not paradise today. Adults with their goddamned cars have ruined it all again. But not for much longer. Germany will very quickly be transitioning again to a two wheeled culture. Four wheels will be reserved for buses, garbage trucks, and mail delivery.
My interest in riding motorcycles started in Germany, and I was a bit upset a few times because I wanted an engine to bolt onto my bike and my mom wouldn’t buy me one. These small two stroke engines running bicycles are still available today, but they are unreliable and poorly made Chinese junk. The Germans made better ones in the 50’s, and there was a motorbike shop at the end of our street that sold them. They also sold mopeds and small motorbikes. I’d hang out at this shop sometimes, looking at the piles of motors and parts piled up in their garage, asking questions, and making a pest of myself. Once they called my mom and asked her to come down there and make me go home.
A 250cc small Asian made motorbike that gets around 80 to 90 mpg will be how we’ll get around in the future. Our cars will either be parked or taken by the banks, placed in container ships, and sold to China.
ON JOHN LENNON'S BIRTHDAY, a Few Words About War
by Matt Taibbi
John Lennon was born October 9, 1940. He would have been 82 today.
In 1972, South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond sent a letter to the office of Attorney General John Mitchell, suggesting Lennon be deported. Thurmond believed Lennon’s antiwar and anti-Nixon views would spread in rock concerts and festivals, and cited a “confidential source” in saying, “if Lennon’s visa is terminated it would be a strategy counter-measure.” Mitchell’s deputy sent a letter to the Immigration Commissioner asking if there was “any basis” to deport Lennon. A court battle ended with a Judge named Irving Kaufman striking down his deportation, writing: "Lennon’s four-year battle to remain in our country is a testimony to his faith in this American dream."
Though I’m more a fan of Strawberry Fields than kumbaya anthems like “Imagine” and “Give Peace a Chance,” I figured someone ought to say a word or two in defense of nonviolence on John Lennon’s birthday...
AT 3 A.M. ONE NIGHT IN 1988, Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo'ole called a local studio and said he needed to record something right then and there. He pleaded with the engineer: "Please, can I come in? I have an idea."
Then, in a single take, Kamakawiwo'ole recorded the iconic version of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" that would soon touch countless people across the globe. The recording, featuring just Kamakawiwo'ole's voice and ukulele, seemed to captivate everyone who heard it in a way that was utterly unforgettable.
Even after Kamakawiwo'ole died in 1997 at just 38 years old, his haunting music and his short yet inspiring life have continued to have a profound effect on people the world over.
UKRAINE, SUNDAY, 9TH OCTOBER
Traffic has resumed on Russia’s road-and-rail bridge to Crimea hours after a huge explosion partially damaged the bridge – which is a major supply route for Moscow’s armed forces in southern Ukraine.
Shelling in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia has killed a dozen people, according to Ukrainian officials.
Ukrainian troops are involved in very tough fighting near the strategically important eastern town of Bakhmut, which Russia is trying to take, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.
Russia’s defence ministry has named Air Force General Sergei Surovikin as the overall commander of Russian forces fighting in Ukraine, Moscow’s third senior military appointment in a week.
Shelling has cut power to Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which needs cooling to avoid a meltdown, forcing it to switch to emergency generators, according to Ukraine’s state nuclear company and the United Nations atomic watchdog.
JUST IN: Vladimir Putin confirmed he ordered a massive missile bombardment of Ukraine today, targeting what he said was 'military, communications and energy' after a blast on the Kerch bridge at the weekend, which Russia has blamed on Ukraine. The Russian despot vowed a 'severe response' to any further 'terrorist attacks', saying his retaliation would be 'in line with the level of threat to the Russian federation'. Ukraine says 83 missiles were fired at its territory today - half of which were shot down but the other half of which struck the power grid, water supplies, and civilians. At least eight people died and dozens were hurt in rare attacks on the capital Kyiv, while the cities of Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Sumy, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia, Ternopil and Lviv were also hit. Zelesnky, speaking on the streets of Kyiv as the attack was ongoing, accused Russia of trying to 'wipe us off the face of the earth'.
AS BIDEN WARNS OF 'ARMAGEDDON,' MORE OFF-RAMPS EXPLODE
While President Biden claims that he's pondering an "off-ramp" for Russia, the bombings of the Kerch Strait bridge and Nord Stream pipelines show an escalating proxy war at every pass.
by Aaron Maté
At a Manhattan fundraiser, President Joe Biden shared with Democratic donors that, from his vantage point, the world faces “the prospect of Armageddon” for the first time “since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.”
Vladimir Putin “is not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons, because his military, you might say, is significantly underperforming,” Biden added.
The Commander-in-Chief’s comments inevitably stoked an already elevated global panic over a Ukraine proxy war that pits the world’s top nuclear powers on opposing sides. In US media, there was virtually no acknowledgement that Biden’s characterization of how Putin “talks” was false. Although Putin has made bellicose comments, he has never threatened the “use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons,” as Biden claimed.
Biden’s alarmism overshadowed what could be taken as encouraging news. For the first time, the US president suggested that his administration is as least pondering a diplomatic path that could bring the Ukraine conflict to an end.
“We’re trying to figure out: What is Putin’s off-ramp?,” Biden said. “Where does he get off? Where does he find a way out? Where does he find himself in a position that he does not — not only lose face, but lose significant power within Russia?”
Biden’s remarks offer a sharp contrast to his declaration in March that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.” On the other hand, there is no indication that US policy has undergone any significant change. If anything, the recent actions of the White House and its client government in Kiev are blowing up off-ramps at every pass.
“White House and military leaders are transitioning to a sustainable model Kyiv can depend on for an open-ended war with Russia,” the New York Times reports. That sustainable warfare will be “roughly modeled on U.S. train-and-assist efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past two decades,” – a model that, while highly sustainable for weapons contractors, was the opposite for the nations subjected to it.
The “open-ended war with Russia” will be waged with a $12.3 billion package newly approved by Congress, bringing the total US commitment so far to more than $66 billion. With that most recent vote, the Times notes, “Congress has now committed more military aid to Ukraine than it has to any country in a single year since the Vietnam War, reflecting a remarkable bipartisan consensus in favor of pouring huge amounts of American resources into the fight.”
As the audacious truck-bombing of the Kerch Strait bridge shows, Ukraine is bringing the fight to Crimea, home to Russia’s most important naval base. In June, a Ukrainian commander identified the Kerch bridge as a “number one target,” and a Ukrainian official has now taken credit for Saturday’s successful operation. Days earlier, senior Pentagon official Laura Cooper signaled that the US has given Ukraine the green light to use US weaponry there. “We think they can reach the vast majority of targets, including Crimea,” Cooper said. “And just to be clear, Crimea is Ukraine.”
For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is explicitly rejecting any off-ramp for Putin. Zelensky greeted Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions with an application for fast-tracked NATO membership. When that was swiftly rejected, Zelensky signed a decree ruling out peace talks with Moscow so long as Putin is in power. Not content with calling for regime change, Zelensky followed that up with his most direct plea for World War III to date, urging NATO to launch “preemptive strikes” inside Russia. (After an uproar, a spokesperson claimed that Zelensky meant preemptive sanctions.)
Meanwhile, the bombing of the Nord Stream pipelines has ensured, for now, that NATO members have no off-ramp from the proxy war coalition – nor, it seems, from the economic crises that they face as a result.
When he greeted the Nord Stream sabotage as a “tremendous strategic opportunity,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged some pitfalls.
Cut off from their traditional cheap Russian gas supply, “European allies,” Blinken said, will now “prepare for a difficult winter ahead.” To address that difficulty, he vowed, “we’re determined to do everything we possibly can to make sure that the consequences of all of this are not borne by citizens in our countries or, for that matter, around the world.”
But the United States’ European allies are quickly learning that there are limits on what the US can “possibly” do for them.