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A WEAK FRONT will bring a chance of light rain to Del Norte and northern Humboldt counties tonight through Saturday. Otherwise, dry weather with mild daytime temperatures are forecast for the remainder of the area through Sunday. A stronger cold front will move across the area late Monday, ushering in much colder temperatures, rain and mountain snow, and occasionally gusty winds. (NWS)
TWO OPPORTUNITIES TO MEET THE HEALTHCARE DISTRICT CANDIDATES
We want to meet you! Please join us at these two wine and hors d'oeuvres receptions:
- Friday, Oct 28, 5-7 PM at the Artists' Coop Gallery, 10400 Kasten St, Mendocino
- Tuesday, Nov 2, 5-7 PM at the Harbor Lite Lodge Meeting Room, 120 N Harbor Dr, Fort Bragg
BURN BABY, BURN!
Effective Friday, October 28, 2022, at 12:01 a.m., the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Mendocino Unit will be lifting the burn permit suspension.
CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit Chief Luke Kendall is formally canceling the burn permit suspension and advises that those possessing current and valid agriculture and residential burn permits can now resume burning on permissible burn days. Agriculture burns must be inspected by CAL FIRE prior to burning until the end of the peak fire season. Inspections may be required for burns other than agriculture burns.
Burn Permits are now available online from CAL FIRE at https://burnpermit.fire.ca.gov/. IMPORTANT: CALFIRE Burn Permits are only for residents who live in the State Responsibility Area (SRA), or where CAL FIRE has jurisdictional authority. It is the responsibility of the land owner to check with local fire agencies to determine any additional permits that might be required and if there are any additional burning restrictions for their area.
Burn Permits can be obtained by mail by calling CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit Howard Forest Headquarters in Willits, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (707) 459-7414.
Burn Permits can also be obtained from the following local agencies (note: the following agencies can only issue permits within their respective districts); Anderson Valley, Laytonville, Little Lake (Willits), Redwood Valley-Calpella, and Brooktrails Fire Departments, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please call these agencies to determine their COVID-19 burn permit procedures.
Before you burn, call Mendocino County Air Management District at (707) 463-4391 to confirm that you have all the required burn permits and to ensure it is a permissive burn day. Burning can only be done on permissive burn days and is prohibited on non-burn days.
THE FIRST 3 OF 15, THESE PICNIC TABLES will be at the Cove and in Point Arena parks.
UNITY CLUB NEWS
by Miriam Martinez
Greetings to Chilly November; hope it rains soon.
Our regular Unity Club meeting will be held Thursday 3 Nov. 2022 at 1:30 in the Dining Room at the Boonville Fairgrounds. Our hostesses are Joy Frazer, Victoria Center and Christine Clark. Our 100th years of “Unity in the Community” will be discussed. Plans and progress for the annual Holiday Bazaar will also be presented. As usual, our Dec. 1st meeting will be devoted to the packaging, pricing and decorating the food items for the Bakery Booth.
The Annual Holiday Bazaar will be held in Apple Hall from 10 to 4 on Saturday December 3rd. Santa Claus will be present from 11 to 1 or so for Photo opportunities. Volunteers are still needed for some of the shifts at our various booths. Food & beverages? I'll find out at Thursday's meeting. The Parent Teacher Alliance will have their Craft Corner in the Dining Room, adjacent to Apple Hall, for the youngsters, so the adults can browse, visit, and shop.
Our Community Lending Library is now open Tuesdays from 1:00 to 4:00 and Saturdays from 12:30 to 2:30 whenever the Fairgrounds are not rented out for other events. Come on in after Recycling and adopt some books or videos. They're $0.50 for paperbacks and $1.00 for hard bound books. The Library will be open during the Bazaar. I'll find out if the hours will be the usual or if they'll be extended. There will be a Library Booth at the Bazaar, filled with gently loved books for all the family.
I'll see you at the Unity Club meeting on November 3rd at 1:30 in the Dining Room, Boonville Fairgrounds.
AV UNIFIED UPDATE
GIMME A GROWL, PANTHERS! Last night our Anderson Valley Panthers volleyball girls competed in the first round of the North Coast Section playoffs, against the Ferndale Wildcats. Panthers came out victorious with the overall score of 3-0 sets won. The scores were 25-15, 25-21, and 25-17. They fought hard and worked incredibly as a team! We are all very proud! They are now headed to the quarter-finals and are scheduled to play away against San Domenico high school in San Anselmo on Saturday, October 29th at 7pm! If you can make the trip, come show your support!!
Dear Anderson Valley Jr./Sr. High Community,
Congratulations to Boys’ Varsity Soccer Team and Girl’s Varsity Volleyball for their playoff runs. It is tremendous to see these athletes be so successful on the field in their collaboration of a common goal. Thank you to Coaches Kreinhop and Torales, Athletic Director Toohey, Kira Brennan, Casey Farber, Kim Jenderseck, Arthur Folz, and the other staff members who have been manning the gate. Parents, we need some help. If you want your students to play sports, we need to rebuild our booster organization so we can support all these opportunities for students. Contact John Toohey at AVpanthers.org.
Boys’ Soccer won 1-0 over Sonoma Academy–First time defeating that school in four years!
Girls’ Volleyball defeated Ferndale in 3 sets in the first round of the playoffs! Game Scores: 15-25, 21-25, and 17-25
I took a look at every single report card in the school Monday night. Students are improving, but we still have so much work to do post-pandemic. The primary issue is a lack of work completion that contributes to poor grades. The good news is this is an easy problem to fix. Parents and guardians have access to your student’s gradebook. Please look at it. Our kids had a year and a half of virtually no school. It’s OK to step in and help your kid understand that work ethic is tied sometimes to grades. Of course, sometimes a subject is a struggle such as the on-line math program, and a kid is asking for help and support but not doing as well as they would like due to the format, and that is understandable. However, a student simply not turning in assignments isn’t OK. Please take the time to look at your student’s grades. It matters. I want to remind everyone that Mrs. Malfavon is here on Wednesday afternoons from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and every morning from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. to provide academic support. We are lucky to have her expertise.
The day after Halloween, Tuesday, November 1 is a teacher workday. We will be conducting sessions related to standards-based lesson planning, curriculum adoptions, grading practices and supports, and working at the high school on our WASC report. Tuesday is a non student day.
The Anderson Valley Education Foundation, local donors, and FFA fundraisers have contributed to a pot of funding to send five of our students and Miss Swehla to the National FFA convention. Please see the attached pictures. Please get your student involved in FFA. We have the Sacramento convention coming up as well. This program combines leadership, work ethic, presentation skills, and collaboration. These are top skills employers look for when we hire people.
We will be hosting our WASC accreditation visit in March. This is an important evaluation of our high school that is necessary in order for colleges to receive our grades as valid entry assessment for academic rigor and content. The committee wants to meet with parents and guardians, as part of this process. The parent and guardian meeting will be on Sunday, March 26 at 4 PM. If you might be willing to share an hour of your time to participate in the visit and give your impressions of the school that would be gratefully appreciated. Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can put you on the list.
Finally, that exciting basketball season is almost upon us. Thank you to all the families that attended the meeting. This is a challenging schedule and we need some help. Students will also be attending a mandated study hall on Wednesdays for high school (Mendo Auto mechanics students excluded from mandatory study hall). Grades will be checked weekly and no F’s are permitted. This is a demanding schedule and we appreciate your student having your support to have both sports and academics covered.
Have a wonderful weekend ahead.
Louise Simson, Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified School District, Cell: 707-684-1017
OFF HIGHWAY 1 SOUTH, about two miles out on Middle Ridge Road, a 10,000-gallon water tank maintained by the Albion-Little River Fire Protection Department sports a triptych mural designed and painted by local artist Suzi Long.
Wednesday night, AVHS soccer avenged an early season loss to visiting Sonoma Academy. This marks the first time AVHS has defeated Sonoma Academy in over 4 years. Tied 0-0 for most of the match, the clutch game winning goal was scored by freshman forward Damian Eligio with some huge saves down the stretch from goalkeeper Jose Pareda! This win is sending our soccer team into the post-season with a lot of momentum as they await their playoff seeding this weekend! GO PANTHERS!
THE COUNTY'S ANIMAL SHELTER is overcrowded, so overcrowded this Facebook post appeared, then disappeared: “Due to the spike in impounded animals this past week we are not able to accept animals from the public, as we do not have the space, and we’re looking at having to euthanize our animal guests.” Which sounds like poor old Rover is being held hostage. Adopt me or I die! What the Aarf?
ROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT IN BOONVILLE. First a cretin blasted music at us in a pure act of random aggression between 10 and 11pm, but no sooner had he cut the sound track to his demented life than the frost fans began. Speaking of the latter, they don't make rednecks like they used to. The 'necks of yesteryear would have plugged their neighborhood frost fans five minutes after they roared into life. Hell, if you boys won't do it, lend me a rifle with a night scope and I'll give it a go, although the last time I fired a rifle was at Camp Mathews sixty years ago.
A FRIEND COMMISERATED: “Multiple bummers, dude. Sorry. I hate all the noises of modernity. Give me the sound of geese flying overhead anyday. Since we're on the topic of bummers, yesterday I hiked through a portion of woods that MRC recently devastated. It's depressing to see the carnage, a crime against nature. That bay area billionaire, John Fisher, is a terrible absentee neighbor.”
OUR NATION'S FUTURE isn't testing well. Math and English scores are way down, and I can't remember when they were up. But so what? The alleged flowering of the public school system was the 1950s, which was my cohort. A bunch went to college, the rest went to work. I drifted into the Marines for lack of specific ambition. The only reason I went to high school was to play sports. To that end I did just enough classwork to stay eligible. I can't remember a single formal learning experience from those four years, and only three teachers, all three of them coaches, two of them crazy as hell, one of them who said he'd like to be present “When you get yours, Anderson.” (I'd be love bombed these purplish days.) But I did a lot of haphazard outside reading, some of which was considered so dangerous to young minds my high school library kept it literally locked up in a big glass case. To check any of it out you had to have permission from home, easily obtained from my inattentive parents. The forbidden material, in my dim memory of it, was mostly vegetarian and pacifist tracts — considered “communist oriented” — but led me on to more interesting material. I took a test in the Marines, score lost to history and, at age 25, the GRE or Graduate Record Exam, which I aced without bothering with the math section. I refused to even think about questions like, “If a plane carrying 35 fat people left San Francisco, but 4 of the fat people got off in Omaha, what time would the plane arrive in Guam.” To summarize, I think most of us learn what we need to learn, what seems to us to apply to our immediate situations. I read a lot as a kid because I didn't trust adult informants, all of whom seemed either nuts or otherwise unreliable. I don't think academic scores have much meaning for most young people other than to aspiring engineers and surgeons, as technology eats the brains of all the rest. It would help the tech vics, the smarter ones anyway, if they had inspirational instruction of the type that got them into self-defense reading: “Turn that stuff off, punk, and look here at this print that will help you understand the chaos you're stepping into.”
FROM THE SAC BEE: “A magnitude earthquake 3.4 rattled off the Northern California coastline, the U.S. Geological Survey reports. The 18-mile-deep quake hit near Petrolia in Humboldt County at 10:54 a.m. on Thursday, according to the USGS.”
UH, don't tell the Bee, but there's at least one 3.4 every week off Petrolia, considered the most seismically active area of the world.
DEB SILVA: “Macquereaux”
Marshal Newman's postcard of the supposed house of ill repute in Casper circa 1920 led me to learn a new word.
Macquereaux: pimps, procurers.
MICHAEL WILSON writes from Navarro Beach: Navarro Estuary and river mouth 16 miles from the ranch. Our favorite place to camp. Highway 1 on both sides with beach access road along river.
COUNTY NOTES: ANOTHER 'GET CUBBISON'?
November 1 Supervisors Agenda Item. 4b: Discussion and Possible Action Including Direction for Auditor-Controller/Treasurer-Tax Collector to Provide an Update on the Status of Fiscal Year End 2021/22Close, Schedule of School District Audits, Quarter 1Close, and Other Topics as Seen Necessary for Ensuring Continued Governmental Operations
(Sponsor: Supervisor Williams)
And why is this entitled “Get Cubbison II”? Because no other department is getting this kind of scrutiny — such as the Executive Office, Planning and Building, Sheriff, Camille Schraeder/Mental Health, etc.
* * *
ANOTHER CARMEL ANGELO TIME BOMB? (Or just a confusing mess?)
Item 3d on next Tuesday, Supervisors Agenda:
“Approval of Retroactive Second Amendment to Agreement No. BOS 20-118 with American Guard Services, Inc., in the Amount of $0 [sic] for a Total of $374,720, to Provide Armed Security Guard Services for Persons Placed in Quarantine Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Effective August 5, 2020Through a New End Date of July 31, 2022 (Original End Date: August 1, 2021)”
But the attached item agenda title says:
“Approval of Amendment to BOS Agreement No. 20-118 with American Guard Services, Inc. in the Amount of $200,000 for a New Total of $374,720 to Provide Armed Security Guard Services for Persons Placed in Quarantine Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Effective Upon Full Execution of Amendment through August 1, 2021
“AGS will provide an armed uniformed security guard to monitor persons placed in quarantine in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Duties include safeguarding the staff and people quarantining at the Whitmore Care Facility, preventing unauthorized entry into the facility, and making sure the facility is secure. The proposed amendment increases the amount for an additional 3076 hours which equals 12 separate quarantine events each lasting 10 days, for 24 hour coverage each day.”
(Isn’t the Whitmore Lane Facility Closed pending demolition?
“Budgeted in current Fiscal Year: No.
“If no, please describe: The original agreement and amendment 1 were not initially budgeted, since they were needed during the covid-19 pandemic, and not anticipated during FY budget reviews. This amendment 2 does not increase the amount from the $374,720 approved by the BOS on 2/23/21.
“Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), Special Investigations Unit (SIU), issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for security guard services on April 1, 2019. American Guard Services (AGS) was the top ranked vendor for security guard services, and selected by SIU and Public Health (PH) to contract with Mendocino County for security guard services at certain Social Services and PH sites in Mendocino County.
“In 2020, PH pursued an additional Agreement with AGS to provide an armed uniformed security guard to monitor persons placed in quarantine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On August 4, 2020, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved this Agreement No. BOS-20-118 with AGS for these services specific to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, on February 23, 2021, the BOS approved an Amendment to Agreement No. BOS-20-118, increasing the amount available for services. This increase in amount enabled AGS to provide increased services, including safeguarding the staff and people quarantining at the Whitmore Care Facility, preventing unauthorized entry into the facility, and making sure the facility is secure. The proposed second Amendment will extend the termination date through July 31, 2022, in order to cover all invoices for services provided by AGS under Agreement No. BOS-20-118.
“The full amount available for services under Agreement No. BOS-20-118 was not utilized before the original expiration date of August 1, 2021. However, services did continue past August 1, 2021, through July 31, 2022. As a result, this second Amendment is being processed retroactively, in order to accommodate invoices for services through July 31, 2022.
* * *
The last time this was discussed back in February of 2021…
“…Social Services Manager and Pandemic Coordinator Bekkie Emery told the Supes that the guard is not armed, but does have pepper spray and a taser, and presumably a communications device. The guard is supposed to keep quarantined people in their rooms and keep others out and log everything minute by minute. Emery said that so far 94 people have been quarantined at the facility for one reason or another, including recently released inmates, homeless people and others with no place to isolate for up to two weeks because they either have covid or might have it. If someone makes a run for it, the guard is supposed to call law enforcement to return the person before he or she ignites a mini-pandemic. If anybody had been forcefully confined to Whitmore or escaped it was not mentioned in the always nicey-nice context of Mendo business.”
BUT NOWHERE in all this jumbled text is there any indication of where the $375k of supposedly unbudgeted funding is coming from. Was it supposed to come out of federal or state covid money, but didn’t, and now it’s too late and the County has to eat it? We wonder if anyone will ask about this wasteful and confusing item next Tuesday.
THANKSGIVING COFFEE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS!
Here's to Our Co-Founders Paul and Joan Katzeff. Plus, last chance to save 20% on October featured coffees: Kona Blend, Holiday Blend, and Guatamala Guaya'b…
HERE IN BOONVILLE, the chile harvest is in full swing. We’ve already filled the greenhouse full of chiles once and are ready for round two. The beans have all been harvested, threshed, and will soon be packed up. As we now have a better sense of what our harvest yields look like, we’re excited to share we've opened sign-ups for the 2022 Boon Box - our 3-times-a-year delivery of curated goods from our farm!
The Boon Box is a mix between a subscription box and a CSA. You pay for all 3 boxes up front, get chiles from our farm delivered in three boxes, and help support our farm with the funds we need to get the next growing year started. You also get satisfaction for helping a small farm during the time of the year when farming input costs are high! As a “thanks” for your upfront investment, you receive the products at a 10% discount.
The first box of the year ships in early December, followed by March and July.
ATTENTION WEALTHY GRAPE GROWERS (Vegetable growers, pot growers, etc. probably won’t apply.)
Post Date: 10/27/2022 8:30 AM
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides disaster designation due to agricultural losses caused by the freeze that occurred from February 21, 2022, through February 28, 2022
On July 1, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted a Secretarial disaster designation for the primary counties of Butte, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Yolo, and Yuba and the contiguous counties of Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Lake, Mariposa, Mendocino, Mono, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, Santa Clara, Shasta, Sierra, Trinity, and Tuolumne.
The designation makes USDA assistance available in the form of emergency farm loans for both physical and crop production losses as a direct result of the disaster, up to a maximum of $500,000. The application deadline is March 1, 2023, and assistance is available to farmers and ranchers who conduct family-sized farming operations.
To apply: Contact the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in Ukiah at 707-468-9223.
Hearing-impaired individuals should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600.
Additional information can be found at the USDA website: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/index
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is also making Economic Injury Disaster Loans available pursuant to the USDA disaster designation. The SBA application deadline is also March 1, 2023, and assistance is available to small, non-farm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private non-profit organizations of any size. Small businesses include those that do business directly with the growers, such as truckers and suppliers of agricultural equipment or services.
To apply: Contact SBA at 1-800-659-2955, or visit SBA’s website at: www.sba.gov/disaster, or email email@example.com
Hearing-impaired individuals may call 1-800-877-8339.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has spoken against Proposition 30, calling it corporate welfare for the ride-share company Lyft. But he won’t state his position on the California Public Utilities Commission’s proposal to cut payments to people who have rooftop solar and send power to the grid. The proposal would allow PG&E to charge customers for transmission of power their solar panels produce. Why is the governor opposed to corporate welfare for Lyft but not PG&E? We’re waiting for an answer. Does Newsom support green, renewable energy or not?
Temple O. Smith
CATCH OF THE DAY, Thursday, October 27, 2022
CARLY BUNTIN, Willits. DUI, person under 21 with blood-alcohol greater than 0.01%
IZIK CABRERA, Fort Bragg. Felon-addict with firearm, probation revocation.
JENNIFER CHAMBERS, Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
KELLEY COAN, Caspar. Murder. (Ed note: the alleged murder occurred in 2017 during a landlord tenant dispute on the Coast; this appears to be a booking after some kind of legal process delay.)
THOMAS COOK, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol. (Frequent flyer.)
IVAN GONZALEZ-RIVERA, Calpella. Domestic battery.
ERICA KNOLES, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
TATE MADSON, Willits. Probation revocation.
JUAN RIVAS-VICENTE, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. More than six pot plants, cultivation of commercial marijuana, resisting, unspecified offense.
AARON STILL, Fort Bragg. Burglary.
JOSE TORRES-MORA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. More than six pot plants, cultivation of commercial marijuana, resisting, unspecified offense.
JEREMY VALDOVINA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Grand theft-fruit and/or fowl.
CLOVERDALE, FIVE COMMENTS (Coast Chat Line):
RE: High price of gas
 If you have recently driven rd trip to Santa Rosa, what, approximately, did your gas expense cost you?
 This is not a direct answer to the question but... In case that you haven't noticed the price of fuel, diesel or gasoline, difference between stations in Cloverdale are up to $1.00 per gallon. The Chevron and Shell on the South end of town for Diesel as of 2 weeks ago was $7.09 per gallon while the small 7 Eleven type store on the North end was $6.08 per gallon. Gas prices were similar in the huge discrepancy in prices. The small store near the car wash was at $6.27 for diesel. For a pickup running Diesel that's about $30-$40 that remains in your pocket.
 Neither is this an answer to your question. The bathroom at the QuickStop on the north end of Cloverdale is always clean.
 Speaking of Cloverdale: The fantastic local grocery store Dahlia & Sage in Cloverdale also has very nice, clean bathrooms. They also have a good deli, including sushi and sandwiches, made on the premises. They carry lots of local and regional food items, including local meats, seafood, cheeses, baked goods and pastries. They have outdoor seating for enjoying your food. Worth a stop in Cloverdale.
 And fresh, local produce.
JUST IN: Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul was violently assaulted with a hammer in their home in the early morning hours of Friday morning by a male assailant who broke in and attacked him. The intruder is in custody and Paul Pelosi, 82, is in hospital expected to make a full recovery, the speaker's office said. The suspect broke into the home through a back entrance and used a hammer to assault the speaker's husband, law enforcement sources told CNN. There is video of the break-in. Paul Pelosi suffered from blunt force trauma injuries to his head and body in the attack, the Associated Press reported. He was being treated for bruising, severe swelling and other injuries. The assault occurred at 2:27 a.m. at the Pelosis' $6million property in the exclusive San Francisco neighborhood of Pacific Heights. President Joe Biden spoke with Speaker Pelosi this morning. He condemned the violence. 'The President is praying for Paul Pelosi and for Speaker Pelosi’s whole family,' said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a statement. 'This morning he called Speaker Pelosi to express his support after this horrible attack. He is also very glad that a full recovery is expected. The President continues to condemn all violence, and asks that the family’s desire for privacy be respected.'
A CALIFORNIA VINEYARD MANAGEMENT COMPANY is at the center of a labor controversy connected to a program that allows workers from overseas into the U.S. to temporarily perform agricultural work.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Lodi’s Vino Farms violated federal law by giving better wages and hours to workers in the H-2A program than workers already living in the U.S. The investigation just concluded with Vino Farms needing to pay roughly $55,000 in lost wages for shortchanging 14 Sonoma County workers, in addition to $21,000 in civil money penalties.
Under the program, “preferential treatment of H-2A workers is prohibited,” said Alberto Raymond, assistant district director of the Wage and Hour Division in San Francisco.
Vino Farms, which manages over 15,000 acres of grapes in California, denies that it broke the law.
— Jess Lander (SF Chronicle)
REFLECTIONS ON EPIC’S ANNUAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
by Ellen Taylor
Humboldt County’s Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), founded in 1977, has a modest name. Indeed, information’s uses are modest: the gravest warnings are useless if they do not spark action toward safety. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres exclaimed despairingly upon this recently, as he lifted his eyes from the vast array of environmentally destructive activities taking place around the globe: “The world must end its suicidal war against nature”.
Every year (EPIC) celebrates individuals who make use of environmental information, with the presentation of Outstanding Achievement Awards. This year it honored people who have attempted the all-but-hopeless hopeless task of changing our suicidal direction. The Semper Virens Award went to two powerful leaders of the Indigenous Renaissance. The Yerba Buena Award was handed to a lifetime proponent of Direct Action.
Indigenous cultures in both North and South America have deep spiritual ties with the earth. In fact both Bolivia and Ecuador have written the Rights of Mother Earth into their Constitutions.
In the last decades, as if responding to Earth’s plight , Native peoples have made a monumental spiritual effort to recall their cultures, decimated by European colonial destruction. The recipients of the Semper Virens Award, Priscilla Hunter and Polly Girvin, of the Coyote Valley Pomo Tribe, exemplify this effort.
In 1976, Priscilla Hunter helped legally resurrect her Tribe, which had been terminated. As Tribal Administrator, she built up infrastructure, leading it out of the economic, educational and cultural desert in which modern life had left it to flounder. Then she and attorney Polly Girvin turned to the natural environment, in the creation of the Intertribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, protecting 4,000 acres in Mendocino.
They protested the Navy weapons testing off the Mendocino Coast, and the Mendocino Forest Products Wood Pellet Production Plant air contamination in Calpella.
Currently they lead the movement to protect the largest State forest in California, the magnificent Jackson State Forest, which, bafflingly, and in spite of the State’s own 30x30 project, continues to be logged.
EPIC’s Yerba Buena award is named for a native plant found widely along our coasts and hillsides. It is used as a remedy for a vast assortment of ailments. The award recognizes healers. This year it honored Jack Nounnan, who has spent his 90 years addressing the multiple maladies besetting our human civilization. As a youth he enlisted to go to Korea, where he learned the folly of war. The rest of his life turned into a pilgrimage. He taught at an impoverished northern Canadian public school, protested at the San Onofre nuclear plant was arrested at the Nevada Test Site. In El Salvador, he protested the massacres. He was active in Nicaragua after the earthquake and during the Contra attacks.
Back in the States, he founded a refugee settlement for immigrants in Pomona, California. He arrived in Humboldt in the midst of MAXXAM’s assault on the redwood forest and threw himself into the campaign. He spent an entire winter protecting the forest in the snows of the Mattole’s Rainbow Ridge. For years he was an informal environmental educator on the steps and in the arcades of HSU and in Council chambers, and, simultaneously, down on Second Street, around the Mission, at the Courthouse during “Occupy”, or talking with and reanimating homeless and less fortunate members of our community.
After his arrest 3 years ago, for locking his head through Stafford Gate, protesting HRC’s destruction of owl habitat in the Mattole, his case came for trial this month. Jack came to court with a six page statement, expecting to explain the necessity of direct action to save the planet. However, the Judge wearily dismissed his case, and would have none of “whatever point you’re trying to make”.
Looking out over the Courtroom, contemplating the great pile of other cases on the dock, most of which would simply receive later date settings, she, too, might have added despairing words, from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres: “We are gridlocked in a colossal global dysfunction”.
Indeed: Jack’s locked-down head, the Court, the world’s suicidal Lockstep. It is a tribute to EPIC, that, in the words of W. H. Auden,
“Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,”
in its cheerful modesty, EPIC continues to
“Show an affirming flame.”
SIX EUROPEAN WOMEN BRING THE WAR TO SAN FRANCISCO
by Jonah Raskin
It was the first event for Lit Crawl 2022. The Werx Theater on Valencia bulged at the seams with an audience eager for news more than for entertainment. It was day #241 of “Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine,” as The Guardian newspaper termed it. President Zelensky announced that rockets hit “energy facilities” in his country and that millions of Ukrainians were without power.
Meanwhile, thousands of miles away from the bombed buildings, the people huddled in basements and soldiers firing bullets and rockets, seven women writers who identify as Russian, Ukranian and Moldavian, took the stage and aimed their well-crafted words (in English,) toward a receptive audience in San Francisco near the heart of the Mission District.
Listening to their voices and reflecting on the portraits of their war-torn homelands, you might have been forgiven if you shuddered at the terrible destruction and marveled at the amazing acts of resistance and courage. By the end of an hour that went by too-quickly, it occurred to audience members that Moscow wanted to freeze Ukrainains to death, and force Zelensky’s government to cave in, much as Russian and Soviet cold, ice and snow had helped break the back of both Napoleon and Hitler.
The seven women—call them sisters—seemed unlikely to surrender their own self hoods or the sovereignty of their homelands. They were not the types who would send texts urging friends and family members in Ukraine, Russia and Moldova, to surrender their birthrights, their identities and citizenship.
Maggie Levantovska read a nonfiction piece titled “What Flag Can I Wave?” which ends, “There is no flag I can wave.” Born in Kyviv, Levantovska came to the USA with her family at the age of ten, earned a Ph.D. at the University of Caifornia, San Diego, teaches at Santa Clara University and lives in San Francisco where she says she hears people say that the genocide of the Jews is fake news.
The piece she read drew on her sense of the contradictions between the USA and Ukraine, the privileged world of Kim Kardashian and the disadvantaged world of Ukrainians. Unafraid to say “fuck you,” and offer descriptions ordinary habits, like shopping at Trader Joe’s, she can’t help noticing that in the Bay Area,”sartorial support,” (i.e. fashionable solidarity) for her homeland is everywhere.
Still, she didn’t spit needles. “Life is a wheel,” she said. What goes around comes around, including her own words.
Tatyana Sundeyeva calls herself “a Russian-Jewish writer.” She has a body of work in non-fiction that explores the collapse of the Soviet Union and the war in her native, Moldova, in the 1990s which she remembers well.
All five women were born in parts of the former Soviet Union, all spent time in “Post-Soviet spaces,” all have friends and families still in Eastern Europe and all have what the MC, Masha Rumer, the author of Parenting With An Accent, calls “Complicated relationships with that part of the world.”
To say they love it and hate it would miss the mark. They’re attracted and repelled, detached and engaged, far away and very close to home. They’re bi- and tri-lingual, they write and publish in English, and, while they live in the world of texting and the latest technologies, they’re also conscious of fashion and good grooming. Some wore all black, others long, elegant dresses with floral patterns.
MC Rumer explored the world of shtele food, cooking and eating, along with ancestors and families. She connected the personal to the historical, riots by anti-Semities, and the clash of communists and fascists. “Cooking,” Rumer told the overflow, hushed crowd, “is an act of resistance.” Someone might have added that the reading also counted as an act of resistance, though no reader called for more weapons and no one demonized Putin.
Vlada Teper moved adeptly from Hiroshima to the Cuban Missile crisis, from a sense of fear and guilt, to an appreciation of origami and the beauty of flowers. She invited listeners to “see each other and ourselves,” and suggested that “one person can make a difference.”
Shasha Vasilyuk grew up in the Crimea, Moscow and San Francisco. She read a Dostoevsky-like, ironical story about a KGB interrogator and his prisoner that bled past and present, and linked the transparent to the secretive. It was her first public reading, Vasilyuk said. Her Like Water and Other Stories, which takes place in Germany and Ukraine, and from the time of Hitler to the end of World War II, will be published in 2024.
At the end of the performance, which was free and that didn’t disappoint, a reporter took the stage and asked the women for the correct spellings of their names. “Glad you want to get them right,” Sundeyeva said. “We have had some doozies.”
BLUE ZONES FOUNDER CRACKS PINK ZONES, Yellow And Brown May Follow
by Andrew Lutsky
In a report that stunned experts in demography and the biological sciences, Blue Zones evangelizer Dan Buettner announced his discovery of a new pattern of extraordinary and geographically definable human behavior. On Wednesday Buettner unveiled five regions he designates ‘Pink Zones,’ locales where residents enjoy the most frequent and intense orgasms in the world.
“We are thrilled to finally make these findings public. This report represents the climax, if I may use that term, of a decade of research that we hope will inspire further inquiry,” Buettner said.
Conducting reliable comparative studies of sexual arousal has bedeviled scientists for decades. “Orgasms are famously — or should I say infamously — difficult to quantify,” said researcher Tobias Funke, chair of the Department of Erogenous Studies at Reed College. “We’re still reviewing the report but the methodology looks encouraging.”
Buettner assembled a substantial body of hard data pointing to these five locations and says the scientific community has reached a consensus, however tentative.
The secret ingredients which foster more frequent and robust orgasms in communities around the world? Buettner and his team of scientists identified five features – what he terms the ‘Pleasure Five’ — that distinguish these sites. Notably, three of the common features are among the ‘Power Nine’ longevity factors he unearthed previously: Move Naturally, Downshift, and Wine @ 5.
The remaining two elements of the Pleasure Five are unique to Pink Zones: Laughter and Lubricant Awareness.
In a remarkable coincidence, one of the five Pink Zones was previously identified as a ‘Blue Zone,’ a geographic region Buettner featured in articles and books for nearly a decade before transferring the concept to the healthcare corporation Adventist Health in 2021 for $78 million.
The region which apparently dominates the world in both longevity and orgasmic pleasure is none other than Loma Linda, California, also home to the largest Seventh Day Adventist Church in the world. To honor their achievement in both dimensions Buettner now refers to Loma Linda as a ‘Lavender Zone,’ an extremely rare human population center that achieves both Blue and Pink Zone status.
“While I can’t say we sought this distinction, we’ve always known that this is an extraordinary community on many levels,” said Loma Linda mayor and Seventh Day Adventist minister Martin Niemoller.
With the Pink Zones announcement Buettner revealed he is also currently directing a Yellow Zones Project, named after the highlighter color used by researchers to indicate the five most intellectually superior regions in the world when they were discovered.
Yellow zones are geographic areas where humans excel cognitively, as measured by IQ testing. While studies of theoretical yellow zones progress, preliminary data strongly point to the locations of the five highest IQ communities in the world, according to Buettner. The identity of the five Yellow Zones is a closely guarded secret, with announcements and dedications scheduled for the coming year.
Could a community simultaneously achieve Blue, Pink and Yellow Zone status? Buettner admits this trifecta is theoretically possible and notes that the overlap of three zones at a single location would signify an ultra-rare Brown Zone.
But brown zones are mired in legal controversy. Journalist Elliott Rosewater and his team are currently studying regions where residents produce the most regular and optimally formed bowel movements in the world, and Rosewater has staked his claim to the epithet. He has filed for trademark protection of the brown zones concept and his book, The Brown Zones Solution, is scheduled to be released by the end of the year.
“These areas are quite extraordinary in terms of Type 3 and Type 4 outcomes,” Rosewater states, referring to the Bristol Stool Chart scientists used to guide their analysis. “We think they’re special places people deserve to know about, and we intend to fight for our Brown Zones in court if we can’t resolve the issue any other way.”
MEXICO’S SENATE VOTES TO ELIMINATE DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME
Mexico’s Senate voted on Wednesday to end daylight saving time for most of the country, signaling a preference for more daylight in the mornings and potentially ending a biannual turning of the clocks.
The area along the border with the United States would not be affected by the measure and would continue to change its clocks twice a year. The rest of Mexico, however, would change its clocks for the last time next week if the bill is signed into law.
The Senate voted 56 to 29 with 12 abstentions on Wednesday, and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was expected to sign the bill.
“This new law seeks to guarantee the human right to health and increase safety in the mornings, procure the well-being and productivity of the population, and contribute to saving electric energy,” the Senate said on Twitter.
Mexico adopted daylight saving time in 1996. Researchers have been conflicted on whether changing the time helps save on energy costs, which is one of the arguments for it.
Supporters of daylight saving time, including retailers and many outdoor industries, say the extra afternoon daylight would boost sales as consumers would have more time to spend their money after work or school.
Critics, however, say it disrupts people’s circadian rhythm, which is closely linked to sunlight, resulting in more people feeling tired and more dangerous commutes in darker mornings.
Passage of the bill in Mexico comes as similar debates about time changing continue to play out around the world, with some groggy legislators desiring an extra hour of daylight in the morning, and others wanting more daylight in the afternoon.
In March, the U.S. Senate suddenly and unanimously passed legislation to do away with the twice-yearly time changes, making daylight saving time permanent. But the House has yet to find consensus.
China, India and Russia do not use daylight saving time. (China uses Beijing time for the entire country.) In 2019, lawmakers in the European Union voted to scrap the seasonal time change and instead allow each country in the bloc to choose whether it would follow daylight saving time throughout the year or maintain standard time. But countries disagree over which time to adopt, and the pandemic has stalled those debates.
Hawaii and most of Arizona do not use daylight saving time. (The Navajo Nation, in northeastern Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, does observe it.) Several U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands also do not use daylight saving time.
COMPARISONS OF PUTIN TO HITLER only sound profound and relevant if you only just began paying attention to US foreign policy and are therefore unaware that literally every single US enemy is always copiously compared to Hitler. It's like The Boy Who Cried Wolf, except there is no wolf, and the boy just keeps crying "Wolf!" over and over again, and the villagers never learn their lesson and never stop believing him.
Because mainstream westerners ignored all wars until Ukraine, they don't know we've seen all these tricks before. They don't know the war propaganda is airing reruns. They think it's new to compare today's Official Enemy to Hitler. They never question the atrocity narratives. They don't know the US always lies about every war. They think it's a crazy conspiracy theory to suggest that the actions and motives of their government isn't what they've been told. They say "Uh, hello? PUTIN is the one who invaded!" like that obvious fact somehow makes it impossible to be lied to about the other aspects of the war.
Because they weren't paying attention to all the empire's tricks leading up to this, they don't see the same old patterns rolling themselves out yet again, often by the same old voices as before. They don't know what patterns to watch for, so they don't see or recognize them. That's the only reason their eyes don't reflexively roll when they're told today's Official Enemy invaded completely unprovoked, solely because he is evil and hates freedom, or that the US is defending its friends the Ukrainians because it wants to protect freedom and democracy.
If you only just started paying attention and don't know the US power alliance literally always lies about every war it's involved in, the war propaganda slides down their throats with zero gag reflex, because they don't recognize it as propaganda. It's unfamiliar to them.
— Caitlin Johnstone
UKRAINE, THURSDAY, 27 OCTOBER
PUTIN'S annual address at a foreign policy conference included a familiar litany of criticisms of the West.
Putin’s remarks seem to be aimed at conservatives in the U.S. and Europe.
Russian loyalists in Kherson abscond with the remains of a commander who helped inspire Putin’s invasion.
Defense Secretary says U.S. has no evidence that either Russia or Ukraine plans to use a dirty bomb.
The European Central Bank raises rates to tame inflation spurred in part by Russia sanctions.
Ukraine says it has moved forces north in case of aggression from Belarus.
YOU KNOW WE ARE IN TROUBLE when Donald Trump is the voice of reason. “We must demand the immediate negotiation of a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine, or we will end up in world war three,” the former president said. “And there will be nothing left of our planet — all because stupid people didn't have a clue … They don't understand what they’re dealing with, the power of nuclear.”
— Chris Hedges
THE BRUTAL COMEDY OF THE WITHDRAWN PEACE LETTER
30 Democratic House members grew and un-grew spines in record time, in a slapstick fiasco predicted almost to the last word
by Matt Taibbi
It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes, one wishes something wasn’t quite so funny. The world this week needed a political maneuver pulled off with no laughs, and an influential group of American politicians (with one admirable exception) proved unable to accommodate.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus took about 36 hours to pull off a circular firing squad stunt that would have made the Keystone Kops stand and applaud:
On June 27th, analyst Christopher Mott at The Institute for Peace and Democracy published a white paper called, “Woke Imperium: The Coming Confluence Between Social Justice and Neoconservatism.” You might remember it. It was featured here in a TK article called “The Great Military Rebrand,” and Chris and I did a Callin show about his thesis.
One of Mott’s central ideas was that Americans imagine they don’t fight wars for crass reasons of conquest or regional self-interest. They prefer grand battles of good and evil, part of a worldview that places “universalist narratives at the center of the human story.” Enemies are therefore cast not as mere competitors for resources or territory, but agents of Satanic influence:
Foreign rivals… can be painted as being “on the wrong side of history”, “against Progress”, “diabolical”, and so on… At the same time, these very causes are likely to be systematically de-emphasized in the cases of nations allied to the U.S—such as Saudi Arabia…
Three days after that paper was published, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, led by chair Pramila Jayapal of Washington, began circulating an anodyne letter calling for diplomacy in Ukraine. Addressed to President Joe Biden, the signatories urged a “proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire.” They were not calling for a cessation of military support. Instead, they wrote that because “the risk of nuclear weapons being used has been estimated to be higher now than at any time since the height of the Cold War,” and “nuclear escalation and miscalculation… only increase the longer this war continues,” Biden and the Democratic Party should at least explore a diplomatic solution.
The signatory list read like a Who’s Who of the House’s most Twitter-adored progressives, including New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Missouri’s Cori Bush, California’s Ro Khanna, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, and (please take note) Maryland’s Jamie Raskin. Several members, including Ocasio-Cortez, would eventually come under pressure from some leftist/antiwar constituents for appearing to support the expansion of the war effort.
The letter circulated for months, but wasn’t released until this Monday, October 24th. Though the press release on the CPC website opened with a line about the increased threat of nuclear war, it went on to frame the call for diplomacy in pragmatic political terms, citing a poll from the liberal Data for Progress outfit from September 27:
The majority of voters also support this call for diplomacy. Recent polling shows that 57 percent of Americans approve of U.S. negotiations to end the war in Ukraine as soon as possible, even if it means making some compromises with Russia. 57 percent believe that Russia’s war in Ukraine will end in a negotiated peace, not a total military victory for either side, and 59 percent largely agree that the U.S. has a leading role to play in negotiating an end to the war.
There’s no time when the letter wouldn’t have been politically complicated, but the timing was a little more painful for the signers for a few reasons. Speaker Nancy Pelosi was due to speak the next day in Zagreb, Croatia, where she’d promise at an international summit “our support is here to stay.” Meaning: if Democrats retain control of Congress after midterms, they will continue weapons shipments.
Moreover, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy the week before said the opposite, that “people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine.” Leading House progressives laying hands on the same political Twister squares as hated Republicans must have been deemed an unacceptably awkward visual.
With the kind of speed only possible in the Twitter age, the 30 signatories found themselves right away bot-bombed and fighting off accusations of collaborationism and fascist sympathy. So they did what nearly all intellectuals do when confronted with fleeting unpleasantness: they turned their faces completely inside out and renounced their own statements en masse.
The story critical of the “Jayapal 30” first came out via a Washington Post article appearing at 1:34 p.m. Monday and hit Twitter two minutes later. By 2:16 p.m. another prominent Democrat, Arizona’s Ruben Gallego, triangulated fellow members, castigating, “The way to end a war? Win it quickly.”
Ruben Gallego:” The way to end a war? Win it quickly. How is it won quickly? By giving Ukraine the weapons to defeat Russia.”
The Washington Post: “A group of 30 House liberals is urging President Biden to dramatically shift his strategy on the Ukraine war and pursue direct negotiations with Russia, the first time prominent members of his own party have pushed him to change his approach to Ukraine.”
By 10:53 p.m., one of the letter’s signatories, Wisconsin’s Mark Pocan, went on Twitter and wrote, “This was written in July & I have no idea why it went out now. Bad timing.” By that same time late Monday, several who’d signed the document were telling reporters they’d been blindsided, not informed when the letter was to be released.
This would come out in multiple publications, where for example an unnamed signatory told Politico it was “amateur hour on part of the CPC,” while another whispered it was time to “clean house” there. These were people who signed the letter! As midnight neared, random citizens seemed to flock to social media just to dump on Jayapal, with rock legend Stevie Van Zandt tweeting:
Dear Ms. Jayapal. I hope you and the other fucking asshole “Progressives” are proud of yourselves. Because you just cost more Ukrainians their lives.
Jayapal’s response was astonishing. Not only did she retract the letter, she issued a statement blaming her own staff for the error. “The letter was drafted months ago, but unfortunately, was released by staff without vetting,” she said. To complete the merry-go-round of political self-harm, a source “familiar with the situation” then told Politico that “Jayapal personally approved the letter’s release on Monday.”
If you’re trying to follow this finger-pointing sequence: first, politicians who signed the letter anonymously blamed Jayapal, then Jayapal blamed unnamed “staff” for the letter, then unnamed staff blamed Jayapal.
The real comedy only just started. Some members who’d signed the letter urging diplomacy now not only backtracked for “timing” or optics reasons, but reaffirmed commitments framing the necessity of continued war in more or less exactly the terms predicted by Mott. The most incredible was Maryland’s Jamie Raskin, who issued a press release that someday ought to get its own wing in a Why We Fight! museum. First, he contradicted the letter he’d signed arguing it was necessary to reduce the threat of “World War III” and “direct military conflict.” He now wrote, “We should unite around this just struggle and stay focused on it.”
More incredible was Raskin’s new theory of the war’s justification:
Moscow right now is a hub of corrupt tyranny, censorship, authoritarian repression, police violence, propaganda, government lies and disinformation, and planning for war crimes. It is a world center of antifeminist, antigay, anti-trans hatred, as well as the homeland of replacement theory for export. In supporting Ukraine, we are opposing these fascist views, and supporting the urgent principles of democratic pluralism.
This was wild stuff. We’re not supplying gazillions in weaponry to Ukraine, and accelerating deliveries of the B61-12 air-dropped gravity bomb nukes to Eastern Europe, and moving “more ships, planes and troops to NATO’s eastern flank” because Ukraine happens to be at the center of an energy-based battle between Russia and America over political and economic primacy in Europe.
No, Raskin insisted, we’re there because Moscow is exporting replacement theory to Tucker Carlson, and war is an indispensable part of the global fight against MAGA-or-whatever! Not since the Bush administration’s promise to end “tyranny in the world“ have we seen something so close to an outright declaration of religious war from an American politician.
When Mott saw Raskin’s letter, he thought it might be satire, maybe even based on his own work. “Raskin’s statement was almost a point by point recreation of how I predicted foreign policy establishment politicians of progressive inclination would talk about diplomacy,” he says. “I had to check to see that the statement was not some kind of ironic critique. But it was totally serious.”
Mott’s paper similarly predicted that the United States as it continued its rebrand of the neoconservative project would frame foreign conflicts as religious confrontations, doing so using a “holy lexicon” of elite middle management. The Raskin release, Mott says, was “basically a verbatim litany of progressive-style declaration of holy war,” that matched up “exactly with how I predicted discourse would go.”
Meanwhile, Carlson wasn’t sure if Raskin was talking about him exactly, but got the feeling that he might have been. “It’s definitely about a domestic religious war,” he says. “The guy’s a fucking jihadi. From Bethesda. It’s amazing.”
The irony of what ought to be a bastion of antiwar thinking in Congress cowering and/or being pushed around so that progressive terminology could be used as escalation rhetoric wasn’t lost on former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich. He watched the retraction fiasco with horror. “It’s time for the Party to rethink Democratic opposition to diplomacy,” he said, adding that Democrats shouldn’t “make support for the war, and its expansion, a test of party loyalty.”
Reached by phone, Kucinich stressed the extraordinary nature of a retracted letter and underscored the episode went beyond the usual Queensberry-rules hazing that’s long been standard in Congress. Members being pressured to change votes has never been uncommon, or even always considered shameful. (When Republicans in the Tom Delay Congress were struggling to scrounge votes to pass the Central American Free Trade Agreement, Arizona’s Jim Kolbe bragged, “We will twist their arms until they break.”) But such a dramatic turnaround not just by one member but 30 is unprecedented, as is the reason.
“Most of this would just be an interesting case of inside baseball, except for one thing,” says Kucinich. “You’re talking about a war.”
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has become global must-see TV, with most of the world watching in helplessness. The fear of any country on the sidelines (to say nothing of large numbers of American voters) is that both of the great powers involved will overplay their hands. The United States hopes to stop Russia by playing chicken with nuclear conflict — by filling the region with weapons and “helping” with CIA and special forces ops in amounts our leaders apparently feel certain will keep falling short of provoking apocalyptic response. This strategy assumes confidence in Russian restraint the rest of the world will be forced to share, for as long as this continues.
The significance of “progressive holy war” language from Raskin is that it’s designed to divert attention from this central question of just exactly how much chicken voters might want us to be playing over there. If you asked Americans a year ago if they’d be willing to risk their kids’ lives for dairy farms in the Kherson Oblast, 99% would say “Where?” and then no. But frame the project as a war to halt the “export” of bigotry by conquering the “world center” of political regression, and you might just get a plurality of voters casting votes to roll the dice.
Commentators are having fun ripping on the spectacle of the CPC plunging knives in each other’s backs, but there’s a level beyond comedy here. The swift reversals suggest a strong desire for discipline within Democratic Party ranks, heading into midterm elections that appear destined to end with significant losses in both houses. With control of the White House but not Congress — and with Republican leaders sounding anxious to turn off the money faucet for Kyiv — the obvious endgame for the Democrats is total commitment to being the War Party through 2024.
Worse: the Jayapal 30 went from trying to open the door to negotiation to articulating the reasons for keeping it slammed shut, a job they’ll perform over and over from now on, when these would-be antiwar voices in Congressional Progressive Caucus – who just proved they’ll do it – will be asked to be lead cheerleaders for escalation. Which brings us back to Kucinich’s point: this would just be a funny inside-baseball crackup, if it didn’t look destined to end in years more escalation.
It’s worth taking a moment to give kudos to California’s Ro Khanna, who did not hide behind prepared statements or use fourth-rate Game of Thrones tactics to evade social media outrage. He went on live TV and stuck to his principles, defending his original decision to sign the letter, which he called “common sense.”
Why can’t more members do this? The last time Congress enjoyed widespread public confidence was after 9/11, when the institution scored an 84% approval rating. That number dropped as low as 9% in 2013, and had been on the relative upswing lately, reaching 23% in a recent Gallup survey. Numbers are low for a reason, and a big one is trust — Congress hasn’t inched above double-digits in the “great deal” of trust category since 2000, and it’s at 3% now. Irrespective of politics, the public expects members in both parties to backstab and sell each other out at the first opportunity.
In this context, could anything look worse than this week’s scurrying-roach routine? If you were actively trying to convince the public you didn’t stand for anything, you couldn’t dream up something more devastating than what the CPC members just did to themselves, and their institution. Sometimes, it almost seems like our government is bent on self-sabotage.