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A RIDGING PATTERN will lead to seasonal temperatures and dry conditions for Northwest California. An upper level trough is expected to drop south over the area into the weekend bringing cool and windy conditions with potential for light rain. (NWS)
TECH SUPPORT, LUNCH, FLU SHOT
Hello AV Community,
Please help us make this event a success:
Tuesday, October 18th
11:15 to 11:45 AM
Anderson Valley Senior Center (Inside and outside)
Bring your smartphones, tablets, iPads, etc. and volunteer AV High School students will be available to help with tech support (outside) and inside student's will be giving a presentation on photos, taking good ones, organizing, saving, and moving them from phone to computer or iPad. Students will all be masked but not all are vaccinated.
Please consider staying and enjoying the Senior Center's lunch — it's the best deal in town — and get your Flu shot after lunch.
Great trip to Mendocino today. Walked the Headlands, saw some jellyfish, discussed marine ecosystem collapse, collected shells, spent a half hour perusing the bookstore (they could have spent longer —- tells you something about this group), went to the chocolate shop, ate lunch (in that order), and spent a nice hour on the beach before heading home. Special group of kids.
Big thanks to David Parra for chaperoning and driving a van, Marcia for coordinating transportation, Melanie and the cafeteria crew for the sack lunches, Stefani for organizing subs, and Casey, Alexis and Gwen for covering my classes.
We’ll be taking another trip this spring, something for these all-stars to look forward to.
Thanks for allowing them to miss your classes.
— Nat Corey-Moran, AV High Teacher, Boonville
TEACHERS OF EXCELLENCE:
Beth Swehla from Anderson Valley and Kelly Brakett from Willits were chosen as the Northeast CA Agricultural Teachers Association teachers of the excellence this year. Beth has done so much to educate our youth. She is old school in her commitment to her students and they can feel her dedication and respect her for it.
MEDICAL EMERGENCY AT HENDY WOODS AFTER TWO PATIENTS CONSUME ‘POISONOUS MUSHROOMS’
Both patients reportedly refused an air ambulance so the medic on scene requested two ground ambulances be deployed.
BOONVILLE GENERAL STORE: Hello everyone starting October 21 we will be opening on Fridays and Saturdays afternoons. For dinner we will be selling tacos, quesabirrias and micheladas!
ANDERSON VALLEY NEEDS MORE VIBRANT PUBLIC SPACES for people to come together and be active -- especially for our teens.
Students on the AV Service Learning Team are partnering with the Community Services District to address this need by developing a skatepark in Boonville -- and we're going to make this thing happen!
Please check out our new website for details: avskatepark.org
Want to help? Sign the petition
Attend our first Community AV Skatepark Meeting next Monday, 10/24 (flier with details attached)
Show up to the AVUSD School Board meeting on Tuesday 11/8, 5:30pm -- This one is big!!! See website for details.
— Noor Dawood, on behalf of the Service Learning Team, Anderson Valley Adult School, office: 707-895-2953
THE SEPTEMBER EXPENSE REPORT for the AV Community Services District Fire Department included an expense under “Recruitment and Retention” entitled: “Rubber Ducks, $28.40.”
It fell to yours truly to ask what that expense had to do with firefighting or recruitment and retention. AV Fire Chief Andres Avila explained that the Fire Department had purchased a few dozen small rubber duckies with cool dark glasses to be handed out to volunteers who seemed to be showing signs of stress on fire and rescue calls. The idea seemed to be to inject some humor into situations which can certainly be stressful with vehicle accidents and medical situations that understaffed emergency volunteers have to deal with almost daily. We said we had no objection with the intention but that it seemed like it would be more appropriately handled as a donation instead of a public expense, and that we’d be happy to pay for it. Chief Avila quickly found one of the rubber ducks in his office and handed it to me, saying that it seemed like I was experiencing some stress myself and could benefit from a rubber duck. I replied that there weren’t enough rubber ducks in the world to ameliorate the stress of handling the daily AVA incoming and covering the Board of Supervisors, especially at my age, but that maybe it would help others in the Department deal with my budget questions in the future. My fellow budget committee members had no comments and the rubber duck expense was approved over my objection and offer to pay for them.
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>
SHERIFF KENDALL told the Redwood Valley Municipal Advisory Group last month that “Overdoses are through the roof.” And indeed they are.
As Gary Levenson Palmer posted on facebook recently: “Fentanyl overdose deaths in California soared 45% between 2020 and 2021, new data showed. But it wasn't just big cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco bearing the brunt of the crisis. In 2021, rural Mendocino and Lake counties both had per capita fentanyl death rates higher than that of San Francisco. Shasta County saw its number of fentanyl deaths jump nearly 600% in two years. Jill Phillips, a nurse in that county, said fentanyl had ‘completely replaced’ heroin on the streets.”
A California consulting outfit called “KFF” reported recently that the “age-adjusted overdose death rate in the US per 100,000 in 2020 was about 28 and in California it was about 22 per 100,000.
Mendo’s Behavioral Health Director Dr. Jenine Miller told the Supervisors last week that 75 people in Mendocino County died from drug overdose in 2021, not including intentional suicides. That’s much higher than the state rate and converts to a rate in Mendocino County of 83 overdose deaths per 100,000.
“That is really, really terrible,” Supervisor Glenn McGourty remarked, adding with his usual penetrating insight that he thinks the number “points to the need for treatment.” But he didn’t ask what was being done to address that need.
Mendo is far from any new substance abuse treatment, however. As the Grand Jury recently pointed out, Mendo hasn’t spent a nickel of Measure B money on substance abuse treatment as specifically called for by the Measure. In fact, the Supervisors argued that whatever they’re doing “indirectly” — they have no idea what — counted as substance abuse treatment under Measure B.
From the text of Measure B: “For a period of five (5) years a maximum of 75% of the revenue deposited into the Mental Health Treatment Fund may be used for facilities, with not less than 25% dedicated to services and treatment.”
Actually, for a period of five (5) years since Measure B was voted in by a large margin back in 2017, a whopping 0% of Measure B revenue has been “dedicated to,” much less spent on, services and treatment.
Not to worry though, after the Grand Jury reminder, the Measure B committee and the Supervisors have belatedly decided to put out an RFP for up to $3 million under Measure B for some kind of substance abuse treatment. Trouble is, most of the Measure B money is either spent or pre-allocated to grotesquely overpriced construction projects like the $5 million crisis residential treatment four-bedroom house which should not have cost over $1 million) which serves a whole six people on average and the now being planned Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) estimated to open (maybe) in 2025 at a cost of at least $20.5 million. Nobody knows how much will be left for substance abuse treatment, whatever that may be whenever that may be, if anyone (besides Camille Schraeder perhaps) bids for any of the services, if ever.
As far as we know the only “treatment” being offered to drug addicts who overdose in Mendocino County is the Narcan jabber that local law enforcement officers and ambulances carry.
ELEVEN CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCIL
by Chris Pugh
After a deadline extension caused by Councilmember Jessica Morsell-Haye’s announcement that she would not be seeking reelection, eleven candidates filed the necessary paperwork to fill four vacant seats on the Fort Bragg City Council this November.
The candidates seeking two-year terms are Tess Albin-Smith and Alberto Aldaco. Richard Garcia, Jason Godeke, Mary Rose Kaczorowski, Richard Mohr, Blanca E. Pena, Lindy Peters, Marcia Rafanan, Michelle Roberts, and Scott Taubold seek four-year terms.
Albin-Smith is a retired forester with 32 years of service with the State of California and was elected to the City Council in 2018. She serves on the Finance and Administration Committee and the Public Works and Facilities Committee.
Aldaco owns and operates a downtown business. He is originally from Sacramento and moved to Fort Bragg in 2015. His main goal is to contribute to a better quality of life for all in the area.
Garcia is a realtor who was born and raised in Fort Bragg. He believes Fort Bragg is in a moment of change and needs leaders who will continue to prioritize those changes.
Godeke is a middle school teacher. He says he will bring imagination, creativity, and an aptitude for working effectively with others toward making Fort Bragg a resilient town with a diverse economy.
Kaczorowski is a medical screener who will collaborate to promote transparency, spur housing investment, and increase city revenue by attracting innovative, diverse businesses.
Mohr is a retired contractor, and being a good listener is one of his qualities. He believes that civil duties take center stage and that compassion must be addressed.
Pena is a psychotherapist with a passion for new approaches to old problems. She represents strong neighborhood character, excellent services and programs, and fiscal responsibility.
Peters is a current City Council member who believes that experience counts now more than ever, so he’s decided to run for reelection. Peters has served two stretches on the Fort Bragg City Council. He served three terms from 1992 to 2004, took a 10-year hiatus, and was re-elected in 2014. He has served as Fort Bragg’s mayor twice, from 1996 to 1998 and 2016 to 2018.
Rafanan is a lifelong resident of Fort Bragg and registered with the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians and Rancheria. Her priorities include a strong desire to meet our community’s pressing need for quality workforce housing and continuing our commitment to public safety and mental health needs. She was elected to the City Council in 2021 after former mayor Will Lee stepped down for a new job in another city.
Roberts is a fourth-generation Fort Bragger whose family dates back to the 1880s. She is a planning commissioner who cares deeply about our health, values, and the legacy we leave for future generations.
Taubold retired from Mendocino County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and most recently served on the citizen’s committee regarding the name change of Fort Bragg. He will focus on the central business district, believing that government grants will not fix our problems.
Complete candidate statements can be found at city.fortbragg.com/departments/city-clerk/city-elections
The election will be held on Tuesday, November 8. The last day to register to vote in this election is October 24. Registration can be done online with the Secretary of State or in person at the Post Office or Mendocino County Registrar of Voters office in Ukiah. Mail-in voter registration application forms are available at City Hall and the library.
MENDOFEVER HOSTING A FORT BRAGG CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE FORUM
MendoFever is excited to announce this Friday, October 21, 2022 between 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. we will be hosting a Fort Bragg City Council Virtual Candidate Forum. The forum will be conducted virtually via Zoom and live-streamed on MendoFever’s Facebook page maximizing accessibility for residents. Help us spread the word so voters can get a chance to know their future leaders…
FORT BRAGG PLANNING COMMISSION HEARING FOR TRANSFER STATION IS/MND
Public Hearing for Use Permit, Mitigated Negative Declaration and Zoning Determination of Transfer Station at 1280 N. Main Street
YES ON O
I would like to urge voters to vote Yes on Measure O on the November 8th ballot. Measure O provides smart, sustainable support for the libraries of Mendocino County, the libraries that provide information, knowledge, entertainment, and a sense of community for all for free.
Measure O asks for 1/8 cent sales tax to supplement the 1/8 cents the libraries already receive, and makes it permanent and also allows for 40% of those funds to be used for a serious backlog of building repairs and infrastructure needs Since the County does not provide any General Funds for our libraries, this measure is essential. It will go into a special library fund to be allocated between our six County libraries and the bookmobile. The Mendocino County Library Advisory Board will be developing needs assessments to determine a fair and equitable distribution of those funds, and making recommendations to the Board of Supervisors to be certain the funding is allocated equitably.
There will be no tax increase, as 3/8 cent sales tax is expiring. If you would like more information, the website is YesOnLibraries.org.
Chairperson, Citizens Committee for the Library Initiative
VOTING RECOMMENDATIONS (complete list from a progressive point of view)
Back by popular demand, here are my voting recommendations, gathered after research on websites and with knowledgeable local progressive acquaintances:
For the 13 statewide officials, Governor thru State Assembly, vote straight Democratic. (There are no Green or Peace & Freedom candidates this time, just Dems and Republicans.)
For the 13 Judicial positions, I vote Yes on all judges unless I learn that some shouldn’t be reelected, and I haven’t heard that for any of the current judges.
For Superintendent of Public Instruction (state), choose Tony K. Thurmond.
For Albion/Little River Fire Protection District board, Steve Acker and Pamela S. Linstedt.
Mendocino Coast Health Care District: Lee Finney, Susan K. Savage & James Jade Tippett (all 3 endorsed by Coast Democratic Club, the Mendocino County Democratic Central Committee and Supervisor Ted Williams).
For the Fort Bragg City Council, Susan Nutter and others wrote that they support Jason Godeke, Tess Albin-Smith, and Blanca Pena for the 4-year term; Lindy Peters will win by default for the 2-year term.
As for the 7 state propositions, my summary is, going from Prop 1 and 26 thru 31, most centrist, liberal & progressive orgs recommend voting Yes on all except 26 and 27. (Conservative orgs recommend No votes on all of the propositions.) This is based on the website CaliforniaChoices.org/ballot-endorsements-2022-11
The chart there lists the endorsements from 3 political parties, 13 newspapers and 22 non-profits representing viewpoints from the left, center and right.
Lastly, for County Measures, vote Yes on both O (libraries) and P (fire depts).
Please check out the CaliforniaChoices.org website or print the above summary, pass this email on to friends, and VOTE! Informed voters create better governing.
— Tom Wodetzki, Albion
OBAMA: “Sometimes Democrats are buzzkills. Sometimes people just want to not feel as if they are walking on eggshells, and they want some acknowledgment that life is messy and that all of us, at any given moment, can say things the wrong way, make mistakes. I used to get into trouble whenever, as you guys know well, whenever I got a little too professorial and, you know, started … when I was behind the podium as opposed to when I was in a crowd, there were times where I'd get, you know, sound like I was giving a bunch of policy gobbledygook.”
SOMETIMES? The very word “Democrat” is instant chloroform, and if it precedes names like Biden, Schumer, McGuire, Huffman — any of them, really — is like having body parts chopped off with an ax, one per name. Republicans are merely unthinkable.
MAYBE the despair induced by the “leadership” is caused by their ubiquity, their over-exposure. They're impossible to avoid, as is the preposterous media assumption that they're plausible, “Biden? He’s obviously on it, the top of his game. How could you possibly think otherwise?” Having Biden and the rest of them shoved in one's face every time one ventures into Media Land, is like being trapped in a nuthouse.
REMEMBER that Stanford (?) experiment where a sane guy was inserted into a psycho ward? All the nuts knew he didn't belong there, but the staff, including psychiatrists, assumed that he must be crazy because he'd been formally admitted. “Hey, really, let me outta here. I'm not nuts, the people running this place are.”
BIDEN’S appearances only inspire dread because we all know that he's not only out of it, he's sleep-walking us to serial disasters, maybe even the final absurdity of nuclear annihilation. Obama assessed him accurately: “Don't underestimate Joe's ability to screw things up.”
ON THE SUBJECT of accurate assessments, Ron DeSantis is on record as saying “Trump is fucking nuts” and a “moron” who has “no business” running for President again. DeSantis would attack his competence “head-on” if they are 2024 rivals, ex-staffers claim.
BIDEN says he’s running for re-election. Trump vs. Biden, can anyone even imagine that horror?
THE GREAT REDWOOD TRAIL! You, too, can help with the Senator's exciting scam-a-rama!
We couldn’t be more excited to invite you to the much anticipated kick off for the Great Redwood Trail Master Plan on Monday, October 24.
This important and interactive meeting will be open to tens of thousands of neighbors throughout Northern California and it’s not to be missed!
The Trail, when completed, will stretch 320 miles on a mostly dilapidated former rail line from the San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay. The Trail will traverse through and near some of the most spectacular landscapes on earth including ancient Redwoods, State and National Parks, golden oak-studded hills, lush vineyards and along the shores of the Eel and Russian Rivers.
During the Town Hall, we’ll discuss all aspects of the master planning process which is anticipated to take 24-36 months to complete. We’ll get into all of the details including trail construction and alignment, timeline, budget, wildfire prevention and security, community and neighbor engagement, along with the all of the other extensive steps that will be advanced in the months to come.
Here are the meeting details:
What: Join Senator McGuire, nationally recognized trail planners and the State Coastal Conservancy for a Town Hall focused on the Great Redwood Trail Master Plan.
When: October 24 at 6:30 pm
How to attend: RSVP today by clicking here! After you RSVP, we’ll email the video livestream link and call-in number.
We look forward to hearing your feedback on the 24th. Talk soon!
Mike McGuire, Senator
* * *
I SIGNED UP for Senator Mike's Redwood Trail rally. To get my rsvp confirmed I was required to write the question I intended to ask his eminence. “When can I expect to walk the Trail from Ukiah to Willits?”
THE SENATOR'S BOT quickly replied:
It’s great to hear from you!
We look forward to talking with you at our virtual Town Hall to kick off the Great Redwood Trail Master Plan. We’ll take a deep dive into the details of this 300-mile long trail - along with the upcoming master plan process - that will be built on the old North Coast Railroad corridor between Humboldt Bay and San Francisco Bay. Once completed, the Great Redwood Trail will be the longest rail trail in America!
Here are all of the details:
Date: Monday, October 24
Start Time: 6:30pm
Location: Watch the Town Hall live here: https://sd02.senate.ca.gov/video or dial in to listen by phone at 669-444-9171 and enter the Webinar ID: 863 9035 5500.
Thanks again for your RSVP! We look forward to talking with you on October 24!
DOPE, an on-line comment:
“The Black market grows in Mendo are extremely scary, and nobody knows who is out there, in Covelo, and the vast backcountry, which is as dangerous and well-armed as Sinaloa or Alderpoint…"
Cleaning up the problem, is not something the Sheriff will accomplish, during his tenure, and a major military exercise along with deep cover black-ops wouldn’t even put it all out of business…
200,000 plants and 30 tons of flower is a microscopic amount, compared to the total tonnage produced by Mendo growers, and represents about 60 seconds production of just Lake, Mendo, Humboldt and Trinity…
Black Market eradication programs will prove to be a bigger waste of resources than prohibition, and the entire amount taxed may not be enough…
You are not a significant force of law enforcement, Matt, but thanks for your update and opinions…
Somebody, at the State Level, is being paid to ignore the whole thing…
Market forces and simple economics, along with over-production almost everywhere, will eventually take the toll, but by then, there will be other drugs to sell and other substances to waste everyone’s money, trying to control…
There is no answer except to legalize all drugs, hand them out for nominal fees, and get the criminals out of all of it!
When there’s no money in it, it will clean itself up.
REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL, Social Media Services, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office
RFP No. SO-061-22
Submission Deadline: November 7, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.
The scope of work for the project includes the following items:
Contractor shall provide social media services for the Mendocino County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office described as follows:
Social Media account management to include writing, posting, editing, and sharing text, photos, videos, links, and Public Service Announcement (PSA) to MCSO’s accounts with the following addresses:
For each social media posting CONTRACTOR will determine which of the above-mentioned social media accounts is most effective in communicating to the public the law enforcement news and developments that are happening in Mendocino County.
Contractor will monitor social media activity and engagement and will engage with followers when appropriate, with pre-approval from authorized members of the Sheriff’s Office (see Section XI – Scope of Work, Item No. 3). Pre-approved social media activity includes: following, liking, retweeting, tagging other agencies, and sharing.
With pre-approval from authorized members of the Sheriff’s Office (see Section XI – Scope of Work, Item No. 3) Contractor will make corrections to misinformation posted on the above-mentioned social media accounts and will either respond directly to the source of the misinformation, create a new detailed message, or write a new PSA.
Contractor will comply with the County of Mendocino Social Media Use Policy at all times, and Contractor will not share or post any material that violates trademark law.
Contractor will post public safety educational campaign information, most wanted alerts, Warrant Wednesday, missing person’s information and other items as requested by authorized members of the Sheriff’s Office. (See Section XI - Scope of Work, Item No. 3).
Contractor will receive information for public dissemination from the Sheriff, Undersheriff, and the following Sheriff’s Command Staff: MCSO Public Information Officer, Administrative Lieutenant, Patrol Captain, Corrections Captain, and Computer Operations Manager. CONTRACTOR will receive information in any combination of email, text and phone.
Contractor will create, implement, manage, and monitor the progress of public awareness campaigns on social media for the Mendocino County Sheriff- Coroner’s Office and the Office of Emergency Services.
Contractor will convert and optimize graphics, videos, and audio for online and offline use. Contractor will create graphics for online and print projects. When creating and editing video footage, lower thirds (the bottom of the screen that usually has the name of the person in the video and their organization), intros (the first few introductory seconds that brings in the logo and any other branding elements) and the outros (the last few seconds of a video), should be consistent in style and colors of the department’s branding.
Contractor will coordinate the joint and separate release of information from Law Enforcement, Emergency Operations and County Government online during various incidents.
During times when the Emergency Operations Center is open, Contractor will work on site providing Social Media services to the Sheriff-Coroner’s Office when necessary. This may be the only time that the Contractor will work on site. Contractor must have all necessary equipment and connectivity to work remotely. Contractor must be available to work anytime of the day or day of the week.
Contractor will coordinate with traditional media outlets and individuals requested by Sheriff for on-air interviews for shared messaging. When sharing radio interviews/messages, Contractor will convert the radio audio to be used on social media platforms.
Contractor will provide web site design and information updates and maintenance as requested by the Sheriff.
Contractor will provide monthly analytic reports to the Sheriff. The purpose of the monthly report is to monitor the effectiveness awareness campaigns and provide any suggestions to improve reach and engagement.
11.Train CountY MCSO staff in the following areas at the request of the COUNTY:
Social Media Security
Social Media monitoring
Social Media Emergency Management including Public Safety
Public Safety campaigns
f. Social Media campaigns on topics as directed
12.Contractor must meet the following minimum criterion:
A minimum of one (1) year of experience with WordPress, website creation, maintenance, basic server knowledge, website security, and troubleshooting
Demonstrates knowledge of the kind of information can be released to the public and the legal liability issues related to responses and removal of and editing posts.
Demonstrates ability to post, reply, and report, during and after an incident with minimal oversight
Knowledgeable of emergency notification systems and how they work with social media
THE SEA RANCH LISTSERV was worth summarizing last week.
Someone asked whether any local craftspeople could produce a house number for their The Sea Ranch home. The specifications, according to the CC&R’s, dictate that the sign must be 1″ x 6″ inch clear redwood with 4″ gothic-style letters, mechanically routed with a 1/2″ minimum stroke width and painted with bright white enamel paint or a reflective film overlay. It was generally agreed that finding a craftsperson capable of fashioning a sign to these specifications will take a long time. In the meanwhile the person should not delay in putting at least some visible numbers by their home. Fines be damned. To not do so would be irresponsibly unsafe. This could be a matter of life or death.
Almost everyone on the Listserv wants a free P.O. Box, which may or may not be available to them in Stewarts Point or Gualala. But definitely not at The Sea Ranch Lodge, since that post office is privately managed.
Someone asked for a large stack of newspapers to start a fire.
Someone asked how to watch Golden State Warriors games. As always on the Listerv, the answer was universally “YouTube TV.” A day after that, someone else asked how they can watch 49ers games. Someone suggested that they look for options on Roku, to which others replied, “yes, that should work. YouTube TV is on Roku”.
One member said that The Sea Ranch is experiencing “division and hurt” about whether we prioritize the ecology of The Sea Ranch or the protection of our homes. According to them, when we “stop listening” we “harden our positions.” The solution? To attend a lecture about how we need to disrupt some of the ecological systems nearby so we can protect our homes.
One member can help you find mushrooms that have a .1% chance of killing you.
Sea Ranch realty companies were encouraging potential home buyers to rent their homes out to vacationers, even back 2003, according to some newly discovered documents.
One Listserv member asked what sort of damage and theft occur when people rent their homes here. Another member that actively promotes their vacation properties across the internet (and their own prenatural ability to screen for the best, most civilized renters) said, “none at all.” Another said, they actually accumulate objects in their rental property, such as kitchen appliances and toys. Another said vacation renters are a good thing because, paradoxically, they help keep everything “clean and functional.” Most others agreed that vacationers leave behind inexplicable stains and broken wine glasses.
One local realty and vacation management company provides the following advice to its clients: “do not put items into your home where you’d be devastated if it went missing or got broken”, which raises two questions. First, who’s really working for who in that situation? And second, how many sad homes fit this description at The Sea Ranch: Beautiful on the outside and filled with disposable detritus on the inside?
CATCH OF THE DAY, October 17, 2022
EUJENIO ARIAS, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
ANTHONY BILLY, Hopland. DUI, probation revocation.
DELANA CASEY, Willits. DUI, child endangerment.
AMANDA DELVALLE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
SEAN FLINTON, Fort Bragg. Trespassing, disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
CHADLEY GOTTSIMMONS, Redwood Valley. Under influence.
ED LECLAIR, Sacramento/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
CHARLES MAXFIELD JR., Willits. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, mandatory supervision violation.
BRIAN MOODY, Willits. DUI, suspended license.
ROBERT NUTT III, Ukiah. Causing a fire of property. (Frequent flyer.)
SIMEON PARKER, Benicia/Willits. DUI.
VANEDA SO, Willits. DUI w/blood alcohol over 0.15%.
DAVID SOWLES, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JARED TITUS, Ukiah. Controlled substance, probation revocation.
THE NOMAD VAN & THE GOLDEN PLUNGER
by Cat Spydell
It’s Sunday and I am unloading my travel van from my trip I took a couple weeks ago. I had already gotten the packed clothes, food, cat food, and cooler cleaned out right after my return home, but now it’s a different kind of offloading of belongings. This time, I am emptying out the van, complete with bedding, shelving, and an area for my travel cat, for the final time, to sell it.
I love Starshine Van, as it/she’s called (she even has a social media hashtag, #starshinevan). I bought Starshine in 2017 after signing over my co-owned black painted schoolbus RV to my ex. Our co-owning the vehicle we took our Los Angeles-based Pixie Dust Ranch rescue animals to schools and public events in wasn’t working out any longer. I realized when he was rock hunting in New Mexico and I had to bring our (in)famous peacock, Rad, to a Huntington Beach school, that the plan was flawed. Poor peacock had to ride in my Infiniti to get to the classroom, his tail carefully looped up against the back window to avoid breakage. That was when I realized I needed my own peacock-travel vehicle.
I started looking for a van to replace the schoolbus. Something more user-friendly that also wouldn’t be illegal to park in my suburbia driveway, which the schoolbus was. I was hoping to be more stealth in the van than in the schoolbus and still be able to travel frequently, something I try to do about once a month, even if just to visit friends or go to an overnight music event.
Starshine the 1986 Vandura Rally GMC van popped up on Craigslist like a beacon of hope. She was only $1200. I thought I could swing it even though I already own and “rehab” a few vintage cars and really didn’t need another one. In fact, owning and keeping old cars running is my expensive hobby. It’s even my hashtag, #catshomeforoldcars. My mechanic Ken looked the van over before I bought it and said, “Offer $500.” I did and, maybe not surprisingly, the owner was willing to let Starshine come live with me for that price.
I have had a lot of work done on her since, including a rebuilt transmission, alternator, battery, tires, starter, A/C and heat repaired, windows repaired, added a tow bar, air brakes, brake pads, adding a spare tire and new rack, door repair … my theory is that Starshine must love going to the mechanic, because she gets worked on so often, but that’s just how it is with older vehicles.
I wanted a van because I figured it would be easier to camp and stay at places like truck stops, rest stops, and tourist stops, though I enjoyed my many travels in the wilds on the schoolbus RV. Once in 2017 we took the bus for a work and book tour promoting my novel The Fairies of Feyllan. As usual, we were travelingwith the peacock and two big dogs, my ex driving. We headed south out of the state of Washington on our way home after our two week journey. We climbed out of the bus at a gas station in Oregon and a little girl nearby said, “look Mommy, homeless people!” Here I was, dressed professionally, technically at work, having just taught a conference course on animal communication in the Twisp area of Washington at a three-day event. I was pretty offended by this random kid’s incorrect opinion of us. I lived in an upscale LA community, my ex lived in one too, in Phoenix. We weren’t homeless, we were on an adventure.
Going forward, that girl’s ignorant comment made me rise up like a warrior princess in defense of nomadic travel and living in vehicles, if that’s what someone wants to do. “Houseless, not homeless” was the nomad motto I preached. I even eventually bought a 38 foot-long 1970s lime green schoolbus RV to travel in, but have since found the van to be more convenient for trips, and so we now use that bus as a guest suite.
There’s a 2020 award-winning movie called Nomadland that details nomadic life, and we have on occasion, along with thousands of others, attended the annual Arizona desert “Rubber Tramp Rendezvous” featured in the film, but we are not living full-time out of our vehicles like many others in the one-million strong American nomad movement. I don’t consider those who live in RVs homeless. The nomadic creed rings true to me: “Home is where you park it.”
I was ready for a road trip now that Starshine Van was running well after a few mechanical setbacks. During the recent heatwave I was at the mercy of the weather gods as I planned my trip south. The van A/C died (again), so I was watching the weather predictions and realizing during our heat wave last month that I couldn’t get from the coast to Lake Tahoe due to the 112 degree weather that only cooled to the high nineties at night. My plan was to take highway 20 East to Lake Tahoe and then take the 395 toward Mammoth for the June Lake Jam Fest music concert, and go to LA from there. I had to cancel. I wasn’t happy about it and my decision didn’t come easily, but it wasn’t safe for me and the cat, now my only animal travel companion, to go in that intense heatwave.
The heat finally broke some so I was ready to hit the road. I’d forgotten that Starshine’s current repair issue is that the interior compartment headliner is drooping. I have tried to fix this in various ways to no avail. The most “doable” temporary solution I envisioned was to cut a madrone stick and prop the roof up. I didn’t get to that plan before I left on my trip, though I did measure the distance from the built-in tray by the steering wheel to the van ceiling, and I had the stick chosen and ready to go. I realized as I packed up the morning I was leaving that I’d forgotten to follow through and do the cutting and fitting part of the project. I went into my house in a hurry to leave to find the materials to do that task quickly, when I noticed by the kitchen sink a brand new unused Dollar Store plunger. It was a plunger, yes, but more importantly, it was a stick! It seemed short but I took it out to the van. Lo … it worked perfectly, I could stick the plunger part to the top of my dash and wedge it to hold up the headliner so it didn’t droop right above my head, something that made me uncomfortable when I drove. Ugly but functional, I thought. I continued on my trip to my LA destination.
I took Philo-Greenwood to Elk, then turned left toward Los Angeles, staying close to the coast with that sparkling Pacific Ocean to my right like my co-pilot. What a gorgeous drive. California is such a beautiful state. I took that route on highway one to avoid the inland heat and even though it took me three days, I enjoyed every second of the drive.
I stayed that night in a parking lot with other RVs in Santa Cruz. My favorite part of the trip was going through Pebble Beach the next morning, which set me back $11.25 and was worth every penny. I love the architecture of the homes there and especially the white sand beaches. I used to go to there often as a kid because my brother was a prodigy golfer from the age of 9, so country clubs were where we spent our family vacations. I wrote my first novels in the country club lounges while my brother played his 18 holes during his golf tournaments.
It was in Big Sur when I stopped at a museum and tourist trap that I noticed how obvious the plunger looked as 5 men in a new Mercedes Sprinter van pulled up next to me and got out, looking a bit uncertain about the comparatively elderly Starshine Van. I realized that stupid plunger took the Fun out of Functional. It’s one thing to be traveling in a somewhat derelict-looking old van, but another to use plumbing parts to fix it. It bothered me. By the time I reached Cambria, a quaint town on the coast south of San Simeon, I had made up my mind to hide the plunger by decorating it. I would make it into a quaint fairy-like tree, I thought as I drove, hating the sight of it. I’ll paint the wood to look like a tree trunk, add branches, glue moss to the base. But I realized I couldn’t wait until I was in a big enough town to find a craft store. In Cambria I stopped at a gas station and hunted around in my van’s Crafting Basket and found a piece of gold material, a gold ribbon, and a cute little sparkly gold clothespin. In 30 seconds I covered the plunger base with the material, tied a golden bow around it, and pinned it with the sparkly clip. Viola. I could drive again without the plunger reference and all its implications echoing in my mind about my van. The Golden Plunger solution was officially in action and competently hid the true nature of the fix.
I spent the second night in Santa Barbara parked in front of a friend’s house. Jen drove me onto the clackety wooden Santa Barbara pier after we had dinner out and got caught up. We found a musician playing the Grateful Dead on the pier that we liked, so we tipped him and listened from the car.
I arrived in LA on Day Three in time for a pre-planned dinner at my brother Kevin’s restaurant called Pacific Standard Prime in Redondo Beach with my son Kodiak, his beautiful girlfriend Taylor, and my dear friend Clarice. I looked forward to a wonderful reunion.
I parked Starshine Van in the underground lot by the restaurant. I noticed a lot of people driving by were looking her. Okay yes, Starshine is from the 80s. She is faded red with silver racing stripes. When I got her, she was “balding”… the paint on the raised roof was peeling off so I had my ex repaint her roof hot pink. I disliked the orange color of her GMC logo so I painted it lavender, and added silver glitter paint to the grill too. Her back windows are covered with stickers representing music and nomadic vanlife, and to keep the interior both private and shaded, I hung red decorative tapestries and other scarves over the back and side windows. Starshine sports a decorative pirate head sculpture my son gave me that stares out of the front window from the dashboard. And, she’s always dirty from being parked at my house off a 2 mile dirt road. Okay. Admittedly, Starshine is weird. And she demands attention.
If the plunger problem was the only issue I encountered on my trip, that would just become a quirky amusing tale. But it wasn’t. While in the South Bay area of Los Angeles (where I grew up), I was helping my dear but injured friend Gin, who is also my co-worker, in her home where we have both worked since 2009. I parked Starshine under a tree on the east side of the road in the mornings until the sun moved, then moved the van to the west side to keep my travel cat (who sleeps all day and parties all night) shaded.
On the third day of parking in Gin’s neighborhood, a woman approached me as I stood by the van loading my work papers into my briefcase. I had seen her down the street minutes earlier whispering to another neighbor.
“Hi,” she said, gazing at Starshine. I said hello. “Are you living in your van in front of our houses?” she asked, point blank. I noticed the hidden plunger under the gold material and was glad I’d made that adjustment when I did. I could imagine her tone being even more snotty if she saw that sneaky object for what it truly was.
“I work here,” I said, pointing toward Gin’s house. “I’m waiting for my co-worker.” Gin was getting ready to run an errand with me but was slow because of her current hand injuries. I was standing there alone, the imaginary crickets starting to chirp as I realized it would likely be several minutes until Gin arrived, my only proof I wasn’t really a vagrant homeless person living in my apparently objectionable van.
“Well, you can’t sleep here. We have been having a problem with that,” she insisted. Yeah, I thought, there’s a bed in my van and hell yes, I do sleep in it. Starshine is my bedroom on wheels. I save hundreds in hotel bills and travel much more safely being able to nap at rest stops in Starshine. But I don’t just sleep in random neighborhoods. The only time I do stay in residential areas is if I am staying overnight at a friend’s house. Geez, lady.
But I didn’t say any of that. “Have you seen me here overnight?” I asked her. I happened to be staying with my friend Donna on this trip in my previous neighborhood I lived in.
“It’s a real problem if you are,” the lady insisted, ignoring my question. The lady walked away to gossip with the other neighbor again. Finally Gin arrived and we climbed into her van parked in front of mine to run errands. I told her what happened.
“That lady causes problems all the time,” Gin said. “She even keyed my car once because she didn’t want it parked in front of her house.”
I was shocked. Gin, also a nomadic type, has a van that is what we call “stealth” in the vanlife movement. It’s just plain and white and you’d never know there was a mini-apartment inside. Yikes. I wondered about the safety of Starshine with that lady around. I was even more glad I decorated the golden plunger. Just imagine the shade I would get from the lady, let alone from her tree, if she could tell there was a plunger holding up my headliner and overhead compartments. For the first time ever in all of my years of being a vintage car rehabber, it didn’t feel carefree and fun like it was supposed to be. I realized I felt uncomfortable about my unusual vehicle and how it seemed to affect some people. Even if the people weren’t particularly nice.
My work trip continued well but I was missing Mendocino. I was on the 5 freeway heading back to Philo with a plan to stay overnight in Sacramento with my sister-like friend I’ve known since babyhood, Melinda. As I drove north I was still bothered by Gin’s neighbor lady. I was taking a driving break when I got an email snip in my LA friends group chat from my friend and former neighbor Susan. “Cat is famous. The HOA sent this,” Susan said. It outlined an email sent by a “concerned” neighbor on my old street about a “van” with a “woman in it” parked in front of some houses in the area. The houses of friends I was visiting. On the street I grew up on. The street my family lived on nearly 50 years. The street that my van, the same one being complained about, was parked on from 2017 until I moved north in 2019. “At least she didn’t know about the golden plunger,” Susan quipped. I had shared the plunger story with my friends at dinner one night. Susan wasn’t kidding, it could be worse. I couldn’t believe it was happening again. The Homeless Lady stigma was following me wherever I went.
I took it upon myself to contact the HOA president because I happen to have been the HOA president years previously and I’ve known the current one, Pam, most of my life. I mentioned to Pam that she might recall my van and that the complainer must be new to “our” street. She replied, saying that the complainer was indeed new to the neighborhood. Pam seemed relieved to learn the vanlifer nextdoor was just me. A known threat must be better than an unknown one.
As I continued my drive I had a revelation that maybe my vanlife days are behind me. I drove under a miraculously cool and cloudy sky to Melinda’s house. She has often hosted Starshine Van and even my huge green bus in front of her home in her nice neighborhoods over the years. Even the black bus once parked in front of her Tahoe vacation home, on that same trip we took from LA to Washington when that girl called us homeless.
I love visiting Melinda on my way home from LA, then taking the 20 West back to Mendocino County. I enjoy the scenic route and often take back country roads to my destinations, because in the schoolbuses, my ex and I would find amazing unknown lakes and remote campsites. We would park free on Bureau of Land Management land and remote camp in our various rigs. I felt safe under the stars in the wilds, in the deserts or woods, our travel animals with us. We were a happy odd little family living out our nomadic fantasies.
But my reality as a single female part-time nomad is different. I mostly stay overnight in rest stops, truck stops, driveways of friends like Melinda and Donna, but now when I do stay in a residential neighborhood, even if I am sleeping inside the house like a normal guest, I notice I do get “the look” as I load up the next day to leave. The, girl you had better not be homeless sleeping in front of my house look.
The hugest irony is that I’m not homeless. I’m the opposite of homeless. I own 40 acres in Philo. I have a schoolbus RV and a van to house me if I ever needed it. I have an unoccupied house on my property just for guests, with two king size beds in the upstairs suite. I live in a private hidden tiny home and sleep in a 4 foot high princess bed. At bedtime, I literally have five beds and three couches to choose from that I could sleep on at home. Yet I am getting the societal shade of one who has no place to be. Freedom has a price, apparently. The price is others looking down on you if you have it. Others judging you just because they don’t understand your hobby happens to be collecting odd old travel vehicles and fixing them up, and enjoying them, and sometimes, yes, living the nomadic dream.
After a great evening visiting with Melinda, I found myself looking around the next morning to see if any of her neighbors seemed concerned by my van. I did see a couple of stares. As we went to breakfast, Melinda drove me by a house in her neighborhood. A black 1980s van she has been eyeballing for a few months was parked there. It’s for sale, and I know it is completely renovated inside by the photos I’ve admired online. It has a bed, storage, wood floor. “It just went back on the market,” Melinda said. “I’m tempted.”
I considered how it would be to have a stealth van like Gin’s or the one Melinda was considering. By the time I got home from my trip I felt discouraged and was considering selling both the green schoolbus and Starshine Van and just getting an SUV, something safe and newer to travel in. Something I could take a nap in at the rest stop on the way to LA to the hotel room that would be waiting for me. But timing is everything. Melinda just sent me a text tonight. Today she test drove the black For Sale late-1980s nomad van she’s been scoping for several months. The price just dropped. The rearview mirror popped off during the test drive but she’s still smitten. And I could see it. The two of us going up to Tahoe or to the coast, camping out in our mutual nomad vans. Exploring beautiful hidden places together. Safety in numbers.
Even though I was offloading my van with the idea of selling Starshine this morning, now I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll wait to see if Melinda buys that van we are jokingly calling “Dark Star” before I try selling Starshine Van. I’m glad I haven’t fully emptied Starshine out yet. And maybe instead of selling her, I’ll figure out a better way to keep that headliner up, or maybe I’ll just go ahead and decorate that golden plunger like a fairy tree. Maybe add flowers on the moss base. And butterflies. Lots of butterflies.
BETSY CAWN: Overall increases in Sexually Transmitted Diseases in California counties described in the Executive Summary (County Health Status Profiles 2022) are as follows:
“Profiles 2022 reveals an increase in the rates of all measured sexually transmitted infections compared to the previous three-year period:
• the rate of individuals living with HIV/AIDS has increased by about 2.9 percent (Table 20);
• new cases of chlamydia have increased by about 5.3 percent (Table 21);
• new cases of gonorrhea among females 15 to 44 years old have increased by about 28.3 percent (Table 22F);
• new cases of gonorrhea among males 15 to 44 years old have increased by about 19.5 percent (Table 22M);
• new cases of congenital syphilis have increased by about 112.8 percent (Table 23C);
• new cases of primary and secondary syphilis among the female population have increased by about 100.0 percent (Table 23F); and,
• new cases of primary and secondary syphilis among the male population have increased by about 21.8 percent (Table 23M).”
The report is found at: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CHSI/CDPH%20Document%20Library/CHSP2022_20220421.pdf
Many thanks to Dwight Coddington, Lake County Public Health Department’s Public Information Officer.
I WAS LIVING IN BELFAST writing my PhD at Queen’s University when I first visited America in 1972. At that time Northern Ireland was one of the more violent places on the planet, aside from conventional war zones like Vietnam. But I was surprised in New York to find that people talked more, and even seemed more frightened, of violence than back in Belfast. I once asked eight or so people I was having dinner with if they had personally been the victim of or witness to an act of violence over the previous year. One hand went up, showing the huge gap between the perception of the threat of violence and actual violence as recorded in government data.
Nothing has changed much in the following half century, going by the run-up to the US mid-term elections in November. Fox News is focusing on violent crime so great swathes of people believe it is rising sharply when in fact it has been going steadily down.
The USA Department of Justice has published figures showing that between 1993 and 2021 the proportion of people who were the victim of some type of violence fell from 79.8 to 16.5 per 1,000. The violence includes rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault. In the decade between 2012 and 2021, the figures fell from 26.1 to 16.5 per 1,000. In 2021 about 0.98 per cent of the US population (2.7 million) over 12 years of age experienced violent crime.
— Patrick Cockburn
To Be Silent the whole day long, see no newspaper, hear no radio, listen to no gossip, be thoroughly and completely lazy, thoroughly and completely indifferent to the fate of the world is the finest medicine a man can give himself.
— Henry Miller
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
When has a good and righteous person ever had to resort to fear and threats and dehumanizing others in order to lead properly? That would be NEVER. And it will always be… never.
If someone is using fear and shaming and Cancelling tactics to conduct their business then They have telegraphed their toxicity and intent of bad purpose for all to see.
Once our political and social and business and educational and religious institutions became corrupted… then that meant that anyone within those organization was or became corrupted as well. You have to be and stay corrupt in order to be part of that group or They will quickly drive you out.
Groucho once said that he did not want to become a part of any group that would have him as a member.
Want to know if you are personally on the right path? No one wants you part of their group.
And you can be thankful to High Heaven for that.
by James Kunstler
The world turns and things change. Everybody knows that. But the turnings and changings throw off sparks, which light fires. The intellectual turnings of the European Renaissance lit fires in the lumbering bureaucracy of Roman Catholicism, burdened as it was with abstruse theology larded with lingering, age-old superstition. Witch hunts, inquisitions, and persecutions ensued, even as the authority of the old order wobbled and frayed. The gross cruelties of the people in charge didn’t bolster their prestige, and a few centuries later you see the result: belief is dead.
Likewise in Western Civ today. Our authorities have disgraced themselves behind a new theology of degenerate “science” that veers back into superstition and necromancy. Proof that they don’t believe their own story shows in their desperate efforts to hide the data, confabulate numbers, ignore true facts, and lash out viciously at anyone who discloses their zealous deceits.
Case in point: the persecution of Meryl Nass, MD, in the state of Maine by its Board of Licensure in Medicine. Dr. Nass is an internal medicine physician and a recognized expert in bioterrorism who famously uncovered the origin of the mysterious “Gulf War Syndrome” as a reaction to the US Army’s own anthrax vaccine. She has testified before Congress and in many state legislatures about vaccine safety. After the emergence of Covid-19, Dr. Nass spoke out and blogged about the dangers of the new vaccines, and in favor of early treatment protocols using ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. Her outspokenness attracted the ire of Maine Governor Janet Mills, and Mills’s sister, Dora Anne Mills, the “Chief Health Improvement Officer” at Maine Health, a huge network of twelve hospitals, 1,700 doctors, and 22,000 employees, deeply invested in the Covid vaccine program.
In January of this year, Dr. Nass’s license was suspended by the Licensure Board based on complaints by two “activists” that she was “spreading misinformation” and for her use of early treatment protocols with her own patients. The board compelled Dr. Nass to undergo a neuropsychological evaluation to determine if she was a drug abuser or suffered from mental illness. (Flag that, since it implies official defamation of her character.) The board accused her of “fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation” in her practice, “conduct that evidences a lack of ability or fitness,” and being “an immediate jeopardy” to public health.
For most of this year, the board refused to entertain any defense by Dr. Nass against her suspension until a hearing held last week, October 11, when she appeared before the Licensure Board with her attorney, Gene Libby. The hearing in its entirety can be watched on video at Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense website. (The first two-thirds the board prosecutes its case; the last hour Dr. Nass presents her defense.) Days before the hearing, the Licensure Board withdrew all the “misinformation” charges against Dr. Nass without explanation and now bases its case on Dr. Nass’s use of early treatment protocols.
The hearing was highly instructive on the tactics and strategies for defeating official persecutions against doctors in America (and broadly across all of Western Civ these days), since the Maine licensure Board acted with obvious ignorance and malice that is easily revealed. Dr. Nass’s attorney Gene Libby deftly got the Board on-record attesting to their own deliberate misconduct. For instance, he repeatedly invoked their charges against “spreading misinformation,” forcing the chair, an eye doctor named Maroulla S. Gleaton, to affirm that the charges had been precipitously dropped days before. There was also some lively discussion of the board’s imputations against Dr. Nass’s mental health and insinuations of drug abuse — Dr. Nass testified that she’d never been treated for mental health issues, had never taken pharmaceuticals for them, never took illicit drugs or been accused of it, and, where alcohol was concerned, enjoyed “about five drinks a year.”
Watch the video. I think you can see that the Licensure Board members begin to realize in the proceeding that Dr. Nass is fixing to sue the living shit out of them, and that just about everything they’ve said implicates them in a malice-driven campaign to defame her. In fact, it may be appropriate as events move forward for a court to recommend suspending the medical license of board chair Maroulla S. Gleaton, and the several other board members who are doctors (some are not) for official misconduct, as well as paying damages to Dr. Nass.
The archbishops, confessors, and tortureors in the Inquisitions of yore had, in retrospect, at least one excuse for their misdeeds (what we might call today “crimes against humanity”): empirical science was then in its infancy and their ideas about how the world worked were still largely driven by myth, fear, and occultism. Until fairly recently, when Western Civ went off-the-rails, the thinking classes of America would have easily labeled the activities of the old Inquisition as a form of group insanity.
Alas, the thinking classes across Western Civ have now gone insane. Today, they are the ones perpetrating real crimes against humanity. They have given themselves permission — as elites will — to behave cruelly, unjustly, and idiotically against the public interest and against the inherent rights of individuals to fair treatment. They’ve subjected millions to injury and death. They’ve maintained the fraudulent “Emergency Use Authorization” (EUA) for hugely profitable, ineffective, and dangerous drugs by prohibiting treatments with proven effective drugs — the use of which would nullify the EUA and the legal protections it affords the drug-makers. They’ve concealed the statistics that would show all that. And they appear to be acting with arrant malice driven by political actors offstage.
Dr. Nass is demonstrating how they can be effectively opposed. There should be thousands of heroic figures like her among the doctors of Western Civ. Ask them why they are not standing up in places like California, with its new, idiotically-written law against doctors speaking freely with their patients for the sake of informed consent (“spreading misinformation”). These reprobate lawmakers — and the depraved Governor Gavin Newsom who signed the act — need a lesson in what it means to be civilized. The people running the CDC, the NIH, and the FDA deserve severe floggings in the civil and criminal courts. They all know it now, too, and they’re running scared.
(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)
UKRAINE, MONDAY, 17 OCTOBER
At least four people were killed after Russia attacked the capital of Kyiv with Iranian-made “kamikaze” drones on Monday, according to Ukrainian officials, who repeated their calls for Western allies to supply Ukraine with more advanced air defense systems.
Drones have played a significant role in the conflict since Russia launched its full-scale invasion, but their use has increased after Moscow acquired new drones from Iran over the summer. Iran on Monday once again denied supplying weapons to Russia in its war on Ukraine.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief said the bloc “will look for concrete evidence” on Iran’s involvement in Moscow’s military assault on Ukraine, and the Ukrainian foreign minister has called for sanctions against Iran.
A UN envoy accused Russia of using rape as a “military strategy” in Ukraine, saying there are dozens of documented sexual violence cases involving troops.
THE PROFOUNDLY STUPID NARRATIVE That Nuclear Brinkmanship Is Safety And De-Escalation Is Danger
by Caitlin Johnstone
Of all the face-meltingly stupid narratives that have been circulated about the US proxy war in Ukraine, the dumbest so far has got to be the increasingly common claim that aggressively escalating nuclear brinkmanship is safety and de-escalation is danger.
We see a prime example of this self-evidently idiotic narrative in a new Business Insider article titled “Putin’s nuclear threats are pushing people like Trump and Elon Musk to press for a Ukraine peace deal. A nuclear expert warns that’s ‘dangerous.’”
“An understandable desire to avoid a nuclear war could actually make the world more dangerous if it means rushing to implement a ‘peace’ in Ukraine that serves Russian interests,” writes reliable empire apologist Charles Davis. “Such a move, which some influential figures have called for, risks setting a precedent that atomic blackmail is the way to win wars and take territory troops can’t otherwise hold, a model that could be copycatted by even the weakest nuclear-armed states, and may only succeed at delaying another war.”
Davis’ sole source for his article is the UN Institute for Disarmament Research’s Pavel Podvig, who is very openly biased against Russia.
“The West supports Ukraine with weapons and financial and moral and political support. Giving that up and saying that, ‘Well, you know, we are too afraid of nuclear threats and so we just want to make a deal’ — that would certainly set a precedent that would not be very positive,” says Podvig. “If you yield to this nuclear threat once, then what would prevent Russia in the future — or others — to do the same thing again?”
Like other empire apologists currently pushing the ridiculous “de-escalation actually causes escalation” line, Davis and Podvig argue as though nuclear weapons just showed up on the scene a few days ago, as if there haven’t been generations of western policies toward Moscow which have indeed involved backing down and making compromises at times because doing so was seen as preferable to risking a nuclear attack. We survived the Cuban Missile Crisis because Kennedy secretly acquiesced to Khrushchev’s demands that the US remove the Jupiter missiles it had placed in Turkey and Italy, which was what provoked Moscow to move nukes to Cuba in the first place.
Throughout the cold war the Soviet Union insisted on a sphere of influence that US strategists granted a wide berth to, exactly because it was a nuclear superpower. Even as recently as the Obama administration the US president maintained that “Ukraine, which is a non-NATO country, is going to be vulnerable to military domination by Russia no matter what we do.”
Nevertheless we’re seeing this new “escalation is safety and de-escalation is danger” narrative pushed with increasing forcefulness by imperial spinmeisters, because it would take a lot of force indeed to get people to accept something so self-evidently backwards and nonsensical.
“All of you who are saying that we have to give in to nuclear blackmail are making nuclear war more likely. Please stop,” tweeted Yale University’s Timothy Snyder recently. “When you give in to it, you empower dictators to do it again, encourage worldwide nuclear proliferation, and make nuclear war much, much more likely.”
Snyder, who has been photographed grinning happily with Ukraine’s President Zelensky, does not actually believe that people tweeting in support of de-escalation and detente will cause a nuclear war. He uses the newfangled buzzword “nuclear blackmail” to discredit calls for de-escalation and detente because he wants those who support de-escalation and detente to be silent. He says “please stop” solely because he wants peace advocacy to stop.
“Nuclear war comes because we’ve done too little not too much,” tweeted Alexander Vindman, a key player in advancing the Trump-Ukraine scandal, further pushing the narrative that greater escalation is where the safety is.
In response to a tweet by France’s President Macron saying “We do not want a World War,” a senior policy advisor for the US government’s Helsinki Commission named Paul Massaro tweeted, “Precisely this sort of weak, terrified language leads Russia to escalate.”
Imagine being so warped and twisted that you see that as a sane response to the most normal statement anyone can possibly make.
Meanwhile you’ve got idiots like Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger acting like they’re being brave tough guys by welcoming continual nuclear escalation while calling anyone who advocates de-escalation cowards.
The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel somehow pulled off the heroic feat of getting an article advocating de-escalation published in the Washington Post with a piece titled “The Cuban missile crisis was 60 years ago, but it’s urgently relevant today.” Reminding us how close we came to total annihilation and how we only survived getting so recklessly close to nuclear war by “plain dumb luck,” she argues that humanity cannot risk going to the brink like that again.
“Humanity cannot afford to spin the cylinder again in this game of Russian roulette; we must unload the gun. Our only path forward is de-escalation,” vanden Heuvel writes.
Indeed it is. It’s absolutely insane that humanity is risking its own extinction over these games of empire-building and planetary domination when we’ve got so many other existential hurdles we need to focus on clearing.
This is all completely unnecessary. There’s nothing inscribed upon the fabric of reality saying states need to be waving armageddon weapons at each other. There’s no valid reason not to lay aside these games of global conquest and collaborate together toward a healthy coexistence on this planet.
We could have such a beautiful world. All the energy we pour into competition and conquest could go toward innovation that benefits us all, making sure everyone has enough, eliminating human suffering and the need for human toil. We’re trading heaven on earth for elite ego games.
There’s no valid reason we can’t move from models of competition and domination to models of collaboration and care. Collaboration with each other; care for each other. Collaboration with our ecosystem; care for our ecosystem. We’re throwing it away in exchange for senseless misery and peril.
A TALE TOLD BY AN IDIOT
Modern life is a tale told by an idiot;
flat-chested, crop-headed, chemicalised women, of indeterminate sex,
and wimbly-wambly young men, of sex still more indeterminate,
and hygienic babies in huge hulks of coffin-like perambulators —
The great social idiot, it must be confessed,
tells dull, meaningless, disgusting tales,
and repeats himself like the flushing of a W.C.
— D.H. Lawrence (1929)
THEY CRUSH OUR SONG FOR A REASON
The powerful keep those they exploit from knowing who they are, where they came from and the crimes of the ruling class. As social inequality mounts, so does the campaign to keep us in darkness.
by Chris Hedges
August Wilson wrote 10 plays chronicling Black life in the 20th century. His favorite, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, is set in 1911 in a boarding house in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. The play’s title comes from “Joe Turner’s Blues,” written in 1915 by W. C. Handy. That song refers to a man named Joe Turney, the brother of Peter Turney, who was the governor of Tennessee from 1893 to 1897. Joe Turney transported Black prisoners, chained in a coffle, along the roads from Memphis to the Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville. While en route, he handed over some of the convicts, for a commission, to white farmers. The prisoners he leased to the farmers worked for years in a system of convict leasing — slavery by another name.
In Wilson’s play, Herald Loomis, a convict who worked on Turner’s farm, arrives in Pittsburgh after seven years of bondage with his 11-year-old daughter, Zonia, in search of his wife. He struggles to cope with his trauma. At a boarding house, he meets a conjurer named Bynum Walker, who tells him that, to face and overcome the demons that torment him, he must find his song.
It is your song, your voice, your history, Walker tells him, which gives you your identity and your freedom. And your song, Walker tells him, is what the white ruling class seeks to eradicate.
This denial of one’s song is instrumental to bondage. Black illiteracy was essential to white domination of the South. It was a criminal offense to teach enslaved people to read and write.
The poor, especially poor people of color, remain rigidly segregated within educational systems. The backlash against critical race theory (CRT), explorations of LGBTQ+ identities and the banning of books by historians such as Howard Zinn and writers such as Toni Morrison, are extensions of this attempt to deny the oppressed their song.
PEN America reports that proposed educational gag orders have increased 250 percent compared with those issued in 2021. Teachers and professors who violate these gag orders can be subject to fines, loss of state funding for their institutions, termination and even criminal charges. Ellen Schrecker, the leading historian of the McCarthy era’s widespread purging of the U.S. education system, calls these gag bills “worse than McCarthyism.” Schrecker, who authored No Ivory Tower: McCarthyism and the Universities, Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America and The Lost Promise: American Universities in the 1960s, writes:
The current campaign to limit what can be taught in high school and college classrooms is clearly designed to divert angry voters from the deeper structural problems that cloud their own personal futures. Yet it is also a new chapter in the decades-long campaign to roll back the changes that have brought the real world into those classrooms. In one state after another, reactionary and opportunistic politicians are joining that broader campaign to overturn the 1960s’ democratization of American life. By attacking the CRT bogeyman and demonizing contemporary academic culture and the critical perspectives that it can produce, the current limitations on what can be taught endanger teachers at every level, while the know-nothingism these measures encourage endangers us all.
The more social inequality grows, the more the ruling class seeks to keep the bulk of the population within the narrow confines of the American myth: the fantasy that we live in a democratic meritocracy and are a beacon of liberty and enlightenment to the rest of the world. Their goal is to keep the underclass illiterate, or barely literate, and feed them the junk food of mass culture and the virtues of white supremacy, including the deification of the white male slaveholders who founded this country.
When books that give a voice to oppressed groups are banned, it adds to the sense of shame and unworthiness the dominant culture seeks to impart, especially toward marginalized children. At the same time, bans mask the crimes carried out by the ruling class. The ruling class does not want us to know who we are. It does not want us to know of the struggles carried out by those who came before us, struggles that saw many people blacklisted, incarcerated, injured and killed to open democratic space and achieve basic civil liberties from the right to vote to union organizing. They know that the less we know about what has been done to us, the more malleable we become. If we are kept ignorant of what is happening beyond the narrow confines of our communities and trapped in an eternal present, if we lack access to our own history, let alone that of other societies and cultures, we are less able to critique and understand our own society and culture.
W.E.B. Du Bois argued that white society feared educated Blacks far more than they feared Black criminals.
“They can deal with crime by chain-gang and lynch law, or at least they think they can, but the South can conceive neither machinery nor place for the educated, self-reliant, self-assertive black man,” he wrote.
Those, like Du Bois, who was blacklisted and driven into exile, who pull the veil from our eyes are especially targeted by the state. Rosa Luxemberg. Eugene V. Debs. Malcolm X. Martin Luther King. Noam Chomsky. Ralph Nader. Cornel West. Julian Assange. Alice Walker. They speak a truth the powerful and the rich do not want heard. They, like Bynum, help us find our song.
In the U.S., 21 percent of adults are illiterate and a staggering 54 percent have a literacy level below sixth grade. These numbers jump dramatically in the U.S. prison system, the largest in the world with an estimated 20 percent of the globe’s prison population, although we are less than five percent of the global population. In prison, 70 percent of inmates cannot read above a fourth-grade level, leaving them able to work at only the lowest paying and most menial jobs upon their release.
Like Loomis, those freed from bondage become pariahs, members of a criminal caste. They are unable to access public housing, barred from hundreds of jobs, especially any job that requires a license, and denied social services. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) estimates in a new report that 60 percent of the formerly incarcerated are jobless. Of more than 50,000 people released from federal prisons in 2010, the report found, 33 percent found no employment at all over four years, and at any given time, no more than 40 percent of the cohort was employed. This is by design. More than two-thirds are rearrested within three years of their release and at least half are reincarcerated.
White members of the working class, although often used as shock troops against minorities and the left, are equally manipulated and for the same reasons. They, too, are denied their song, fed myths of white exceptionalism and white supremacy to keep their antagonisms directed at other oppressed groups, rather than the corporate forces and the billionaire class that have orchestrated their own misery.
Du Bois pointed out that poor whites, politically allied with rich southern plantation owners, were complicit in their disenfranchisement. They received few material or political benefits from the alliance, but they reveled in the “psychological” feelings of superiority that came with being white. Race, he wrote, “drove such a wedge between white and black workers that there probably are not today in the world two groups of workers with practically identical interests who hate and fear each other so deeply and persistently and who are kept so far apart that neither sees anything of common interest.”
Little has changed.
The poor do not attend college, or, if they do, they incur massive student debt, which can take a lifetime to pay off. U.S. Student loan debt, totalling nearly $1.75 trillion, is the second-largest source of consumer debt behind mortgages. Some 50 million people are in debt peonage to student loan companies. This debt peonage forces graduates to major in subjects useful to corporations and is part of the reason why the humanities are withering away. It limits career options because graduates must seek jobs that allow them to meet their hefty monthly loan payments. The average law school student debt of $130,000 intentionally sends most law school graduates into the arms of corporate law firms.
Meanwhile, fees to attend colleges and universities have skyrocketed. The average tuition and fees at private national universities have jumped 134 percent since 2002. Out-of-state tuition and fees at public national universities have risen 141 percent while in-state tuition and fees at public national universities have risen 175 percent.
The forces of repression, backed by corporate money, are challenging in courts Biden's executive order to cancel some student debt. A federal judge in Missouri heard arguments from six states attempting to block the plan. To qualify for the debt relief, individuals must make less than $125,000 a year or $250,000 for married couples and families. Eligible borrowers can receive up to $20,000 if they are Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 if they haven't received a Pell Grant.
Education should be subversive. It should give us the intellectual tools and vocabulary to question the reigning ideas and structures that buttress the powerful. It should make us autonomous and independent beings, capable of making our own judgments, capable of understanding and defying the “cultural hegemony,” to quote Antonio Gramsci, that keeps us in bondage. In Wilson’s play, Bynum teaches Loomis how to discover his song, and once Loomis finds his song, he is free.
CLIMATE PROTESTERS BLOCK TRAFFIC IN THE CAPITOL
They may not be a soup-and-Van Gogh level PR juggernauts, but highway-jamming actions arouse strong feelings. Do they work?
by Matt Taibbi
In a follow-up to work from earlier this year by Ford Fischer’s News2Sharecrew, a week of travails of the climate-change group Declare Emergency in Washington, DC were documented.
In the interest of not stepping on the editorial toes of Ford and his crew it’s probably best to refrain from commenting too much, except to say the Declare Emergency footage is very interesting as a window on the internal thinking of an earnest protest organization. Declare Emergency had some bad luck and ambiguous results blocking traffic last April — a scene in which a man shouted “I’ve got to get to my wife. She’s pregnant! What the fuck!” stood out — and in some ways, this tape shows more of the same, with frustration on all sides.
These activists seem sincere, and clearly they feel like less intrusive tactics aren’t getting the job done, but the strategy of blocking highways once again brings angry dudes out of cars looking like they want to corkscrew heads off. “What you’re doing is not right! People are going to hate you guys!” shouts a man in a pink shirt and a hurry in this footage.
“Normal channels are not working,” says one activist.
“Like I said, I don’t think you understand the seriousness of the situation,” says another, in response to an officer asking him to get up voluntarily. “I don’t think I can move at this point.” At which point he’s handcuffed and moved.
Is this effective? The camera doesn’t judge, and leaves consideration of the question to you. As always, great job by Ford, News2Share,and contributor TJ Jones showing the lengthy narrative context around these scenes.