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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022

Cold Wet | Missing Person | Skate Park | Bargaining Chip | Sunrise | Ed Notes | Celebrating Women | Crabbing Delayed | Acorn Festival | Vote Against | Donuts | Veterans Day | Thin Veil | Giant Pumpkin | Yesterday's Catch | Entitled Elite | Ozark Gas | Rethink Dairies | Kwasi | Broad Education | Gun Dump | Twitterpated | Touch Not | Trump Not | Perp ID | Wicked Man | Two Devils | Cockamamie Story | Hammertime | SF Shenanigans | Flying Bugs | Ukraine | Both Times | Repercussions | Starbucks Sucks | Deathbed Confession | Long Night

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A POTENT COLD FRONT moving onshore today bringing, rain to the valleys, snow to the high mountains and gusty northwesterly winds. Much colder temperatures, mountain snow showers and valley rain showers are expected in the colder air behind the front tonight through Wednesday. High pressure will start to build Wednesday night through Thursday, bring drier weather to Northwest California. Freezing temperatures and frost in the valleys are probable each morning Wednesday through Friday. A series of fronts will bring more rain and mountain snow this upcoming weekend. (NWS)

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by Terry Sites

I asked three different young people who support the building of a skate park in Boonville to share their ideas. The final interview with Ernesto Macias was published last week but it is included for those of you who missed it.

Brennon Moore, graduate of Anderson Valley High School:

“If we had a skateboard park in Boonville I would be there all the time. I would bring my child there and it would be a realized dream for me having grown up here and always looking for a place to skateboard. I believe a skateboard park is a social gathering place. It would be a place for kids to channel their energy learning a new skill. With so few common spaces for young people outside school, and a skate park would help build a greater sense of community, especially for our youth. Our valley is in desperate need of more common spaces, and more opportunities for extra curricular activities. Imagine being a teenager in Anderson Valley. What sort of activities and spaces are there for kids to meet and socialize? It could be a wonderful common space, with the potential of being even more than a skate park. It could be a space for art, murals and a way for kids to express themselves. A skate park in the Anderson Valley would be a great opportunity for kids to enjoy being here instead of needing to go out of town to find these spaces. The only public spaces here are the park and Hendy Woods, and if we don't try hard to build this space it would be an opportunity missed in my opinion.”

Kellie Crisman- an 11th grader who designed the very effective Skate Park website:

“I'm really excited to have a place to roller skate or roller blade. I've only been on a skateboard once, and would also be willing to learn that as well. I think it will be really nice to have a place to learn in a non-judgmental atmosphere. A skate park will encourage kids to become more active in a way that will allow them to form connections with those around them and provide a recreational area; something that Boonville is severely lacking. If you ask young people what they do for fun in Anderson Valley, most will say that they hang out with friends, walk uptown to get food, or go to the park by the health center. Having a skate park will give students a place to go after school or on the weekends. Not only will the skate park serve the youth, but people of all ages will have a much-needed recreational area. I think it will build a safe and healthy community involving all visitors. From what I've seen and heard about skate parks, it builds a very supportive community where older skaters help younger ones by teaching them tips or tricks. I think the strongest argument that we have in support of building a skate park here, is that it's really going to support our local youth. Many kids, even in elementary school now, are becoming more and more attached to their phones and online communities instead of finding groups and becoming involved outside that realm. I think that by building a skate park it will not only provide a healthy outlet and exercise, it will also mean they are able to become a part of a supportive community outside their devices.”

Ernesto Macias- Graduate in Communication at Mendocino College currently working at the High School with plans to continue his education:

“The proposed skate park will affect me because I'll finally have somewhere I can skate and not be worried about being kicked out. When I was younger, I didn't mind getting kicked out of spots for skateboarding because I figured it just came with the sport. Now, as an adult, the idea of being kicked out of a location for skateboarding just sounds embarrassing. Luckily I can drive to actual skate parks since I have a license, but there's only so much time in the day, and we live about 45 minutes away from the nearest skate park. Plus, gas is not cheap!

The quality of a skate park that makes it valuable to young people is that it gives them a place where they get to be free. Skateboarding is one of the few activities where there's no one dictating what they should or shouldn't do. They get to grow at their own pace; there's no grade for it, and everybody has their own style. Not even school sports have that same accessibility. If they're not good enough, they spend the whole season on the bench or get cut from the team. That doesn't happen at a skate park.

I think having a skate park in Anderson Valley will improve life for the town in the sense that it can unite us. For being such a small town, there isn't very much community. There are a few events that bring out large portions of the town, but even then, most people aren't aware of one another. Building this skate park will take a whole community effort. It'll be something we must all help build and maintain. Skate parks are one of the few builds all people can enjoy. They often lead to much more than just skateboarding. They become a community hub where many events can take place, such as art galleries, music events, pop-up shops, family gatherings, etc. Building this skate park has the potential to bring back the sense of community that our small town desperately needs.

Older generations always talk about being concerned about the direction the youth or the community is heading. Even so, many rarely do anything to help because they don't know how to. Well, here's the perfect opportunity for them to help. To make this work, we must all unite."

I think these arguments contain a great deal of common sense are also eloquent- a rare combination. If you want to help make the skate park in Boonville at the park near the clinic a reality for the youth of Anderson Valley carve out a bit of time on November 8th at 5:00 and come to the High School Library to voice your support of this very doable project.more information at the website; where you can sign a petition, make a donation and read all about it.

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COUNTY USES AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN FUNDS AS EMPLOYEE CONTRACT BARGAINING LEVERAGE; won’t release nominal federal fund “stipends” unless employees withdraw COLA & raise requests.

From The November 1, CEO Report:

“As of September 30, 2022, the County has fully allocated the ARPA funding. The Board has allocated the remaining funds towards Employee Stipends and related benefit costs. The stipends will be paid out as bargaining units close negotiations. As of October 2022, two of the eight bargaining units have closed and employees in those bargaining units have received their stipend.”

(Mark Scaramella)

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Sunrise Over Clear Lake (photo by James Marmon)

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WAXING NOSTALGIC as the Anderson Valley wanes, becoming just another dusty interlude on the way to somewhere else on the Pacific. It wasn't all that long ago that Boonville had a drug store, a print shop, a garage with a full-time mechanic, a bank, a justice court, a doctor unaffiliated with the Adventist octopus, an unaffiliated dentist, a resident deputy, a place to buy lottery tickets, better vibes than the transient population rushing through here can manage. We were a town, a nice little town, a specific place with an interesting history, and interesting people to match. There are still interesting people but you gotta ferret them out, but nothing to bind them to this place, which has become much like every other place. 

WE HAVEN'T HEARD from the Pelosi perp yet — the alleged perp — but I have to say the speculation about what truly happened is a hoot, not that there's anything funny about an old guy getting hit in the head with a hammer. If Pelosi's attacker is at all coherent, it could well be that we'll have a much more complicated tale than we have so far. And Pelosi himself hasn't issued a formal statement describing the weird event. I'll bet millions of old guys are thinking about what they'd do if a portly psycho, or a psycho of any body type, broke into their house in the middle of the night. Me, as a certified old guy, I can say that I'm pretty sure I'd hit him first, maybe even go for my gat if my two-fisted thunderbolts didn't drop him in his tracks.

TRUMP called the attack on Paul Pelosi a “terrible thing.” Speaking to Spanish-language conservative network Americano Media, Trump elaborated, “With Paul Pelosi, that’s a terrible thing. Look at what’s happened to San Francisco generally. Look at what’s happening in Chicago. It's far worse than Afghanistan. This country is out of control. You look at—and they’re Democrat-run cities, almost exclusively.” 

DOES it even have to be said that America's out-of-control-ness has been a bi-partisan project? San Francisco's “homeless” population is at least confined to downtown. You know why? Drug addicts don't walk uphill. Why should they when the drugs come to them? (There are zero homeless camps in the vastness of The Presidio because the federal police roust bums the minute they touch down. Also, all areas of The Presidio are a good hike to drug and alcohol re-supply.)

DRUGS are obviously on call in Mendocino County. Take this guy for handy example. When he was stopped, he had a pound of marijuana “in plain view” plus oxycodone pills “and about $300 in various cash denominations.”

Jonathan Martinez

Jonathan Martinez, 21, of Fort Bragg, was out of jail on an own recognizance for a prior arrest for drugs. A search of his home uncovered ”over 220 ‘M30’ fake oxycodone pills believed to be fentanyl-based, almost 13 grams of powder believed to be Fentanyl, Xanax, digital scales, and over $12,000 in cash in several denominations.”

MR. MARTINEZ seems to have been making a handsome living for himself driving around town dispensing death. Presumably, he won't be released on his own recognizance this time around, but the major drug traffickers who supply Mendocino County have probably already replaced him. 

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It's almost here - the first AAUW Ukiah Program for this year!  On Friday November 4th at 11:00 at the Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse (107 South Oak St, Ukiah) we are celebrating Women In The Arts and Education.  You won't want to miss this one.  Presenters will include Artist/Muralist Lauren Sinnott, as well as Laurel Near and Juvenal Vasques from SPACE.  There will also be a special performance by the Latino Dance Club of Mendocino Community College.

Artist Lauren Sinnott is the creator of the mural "Ukiah Valley: Past, Present and Future" on W. Church St. in Ukiah, Calif., on Sunday, November 8, 2020. Photo taken (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Brunch will be served during this event, so we really need a head count for our cooks! While there is no formal charge for the event, we are suggesting a donation ($20-$25) to offset the food costs. 

Doors will open at 10:45 with the program starting at 11:00 and running through about 1:00.  PLEASE RSVP TO JANET CHANIOT ASAP if you have not already and are planning to attend - (707)972-6722.

Hoping to see your smiling faces there!

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The recreational take of Dungeness crab using crab traps will be temporarily restricted statewide when the season opens on Saturday, Nov. 5 due to presence of humpback and blue whales and the potential for entanglement from trap gear. Recreational take of Dungeness crab by other methods, including hoop nets and crab snares, is not affected by the temporary trap restriction and is allowed statewide beginning Nov. 5, 2022. However, the deployment and use of crab traps in any recreational crab fishery (including rock crab) is temporarily restricted in all fishing zones until lifted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director. CDFW also reminds recreational crabbers to implement best practices, as described in the Best Practices Guide (PDF).

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line was scheduled to open on Nov. 15, 2022 in Fishing Zones 3, 4, 5 and 6. However, the season opener has been delayed in those zones due to presence of high numbers of humpback whales (PDF) and the potential for entanglement.

“Based on recent surveys, large aggregations of humpbacks whales continue to forage in California coastal waters and allowing the use of crab traps would increase the risk of an entanglement,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We will continue to work with both the recreational and commercial Dungeness crab fisheries to protect whales and sea turtles while striving to maximize fishing opportunity. We appreciate the ongoing commitment by the fleet and the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group to protect these incredible animals. These partnerships will continue to shape the future of both fisheries and we look forward to continuing the important work of providing fishing opportunity in the coming weeks.”

Prior to this determination, CDFW worked with a broad range of scientific partners, researchers, agencies and the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group to collect and synthesize information regarding presence of humpback whales, blue whales and leatherback sea turtles across each fishing zone. Aerial and vessel-based surveys indicate aggregations of humpback whales and several blue whales are present statewide. Under triggers established as part of the Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program (RAMP) regulations (PDF) for the commercial fishery as well as regulations for the recreational Dungeness crab fishery, the CDFW Director is required to implement a management action for these fishing zones to reduce marine life entanglement risk.

CDFW anticipates the next risk assessment will take place on or before Nov. 23, 2022, at which time the Director will re-evaluate the temporary recreational crab trap restriction and commercial fishery delay in Fishing Zones 3-6, as well as the need for any management actions for the commercial fishery in Fishing Zones 1 and 2. That risk assessment is expected to inform the potential for a statewide commercial fishery opener on Dec. 1 and the potential to modify the recreational trap restriction.

For more information related to the risk assessment process, please visit CDFW’s Whale Safe Fisheries page or more information on the Dungeness crab fishery, please visit

(Fish&Wildlife Presser)

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by Tommy Wayne Kramer

As a simple matter of principle, and a tiny dash of “Screw you!’ added for flavoring, citizens should vote against anything having to do with tax increases or tax extensions.

Otherwise, how stupid will Mendocino County leaders assume us to be? They’ve dangled tempting ballot measures in recent years and what happened when they passed?

1) Think Measure B. Think of the gigantic strides they said we’d make in taking care of the county’s mentally ill with new taxes generating millions of dollars a year. A committee of health care professionals would oversee the budget, find a suitable site (Howard Hospital in Willits? The empty Redwood Valley Elementary School?) and the magic would begin.

By 2020 everything would be up and running with funding secure and the steady hand of health care professionals at the wheel. Sheriff Tom Allman staked his considerable popularity and reputation on the Measure B initiative.

The measure passed, you began paying taxes, millions of dollars have piled up, and Measure B committee members are still bumping into one other trying to find the switch to turn on the lights in the meeting room. 

They’ve done nothing. They promised, you paid, they took the money and did nothing.

2) Think about legal marijuana and the cash flow it would bring to the county. Think of the botched rollout, the complicated guidelines, the utter failure to present a workable system in which local growers, happy to pay for permits, have been stymied for years by bumbling, bungling, inept county administrators.

No one knows how much money the county has squandered with so unworkable a tax system, but you could determine fairly easily how much we’ve already spent hiring (numerous) County Cannabis Directors, Assistant Directors, inspectors, enforcement vehicles, creating office space and hiring staff.

And they want you to give them more tax money? How stupid are we?

3) Remember voting in favor of Indian Casinos? We were promised it was the ticket to self-sufficiency for Native Americans all around the state. 

Have you visited a California Indian reservation in the past 10 years? Look prosperous? Do you think the scourge of lousy schools, violence, drug and alcohol abuse has been addressed via funding from casinos?

Where did all that money go?

And while we’re talking legalized gambling, where have all the lottery profits gone? The slogan, remember, was “And Schools Win Too!”

4) A few years ago Ukiah persuaded citizens to approve a tax hike dedicated to improving our roads. The measure passed and city officials quietly went about spending the money on the downtown streetscape.

5) Libraries tap into our nostalgic notions of quiet sanctuaries with shelves stacked with mysterious, wonderful books full of information and adventure. But it’s 2022, and spending money to fund libraries is like spending money to build anvils. The world has gone digital and so has reading. 

Today, desperate for something to do, Ukiah’s library hosts Tai Chi classes, Lego sessions, knitting, “pasted papers” and a Ukulele Club. Not exactly what Alexandria and Andrew Carnegie had in mind.

This tax will be implemented into perpetuity, meaning your great grandchildren will be paying “librarians” to dust shelves, launder backpacks, and, should anyone request a book, go down in the basement to find one.

6) Think Bullet Train to nowhere or the rail line connecting Willits with San Rafael, or that we pay many millions in gas taxes to fund highways, but they give us bicycle lanes and the Hobo Highway. 

7) Recycling revenues on bottles and aluminum cans are collected when beverages are purchased, buyers to be reimbursed when they bring empties to recycling centers.

But Ukiah closed its only beverage recycling center years ago, despite continuing to reap the income from every six-pack of beer, soft drinks or wine bottle sold. They keep the money and renege on the promise to return it.

8) And the billions we’ve spent on the homeless has gone exactly where? No one knows but the “solutions” have only made things worse.

More tax money to these swindlers? How stupid are we?

Vote No On Sher

And while you’ve got your ballot out be sure to Vote No on the dangerous candidacy of Susan Sher for City Council. 

Letters to the Editor have routinely praised Sher's open-minded attitude, her willingness to listen to others and similar dishonesties.

Not long ago Susan Sher spearheaded a nasty campaign to censor this column from the Daily Journal opinion pages. Sher and an army of other militant progressives said my writings were “divisive’ which can only be interpreted as opinions different than her own.

Bruce Anderson of the Anderson Valley Advertiser invited Sher to discuss her censorship campaign; Sher refused. Is she truly open to listening to others? 

Do we want council members hostile to Free Speech or hearing different viewpoints? Sher is just another rigid, lock-stepping PC soldier peddling far left rubbish. 

Personally, I think she’s divisive.

(Tom Hine mostly lives in Ukiah with his invisible, imaginary playmate, Tommy Wayne Kramer.)

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Boonville General Store

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Observed At The Evergreen Cemetery Boonville, California, 11:00 AM, Sunday, 13th November, 2022 

Presented by American Legion Post 385 of Boonville, California 

Please join the American Legion on this special day to pay tribute to all VETERANS past and present. 

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CHRIS SKYHAWK [posted yesterday]: Good morning everybody Happy you-know-what! Just a reminder that this day has pagan origins. I believe the pagans in Europe called it Samhain, b 4 the Inquisition and the rise of Corporate State killed lots of them off - the day was worshipped as one where the veil between the worlds was thin and ancestors and descendants could be accessed…, now of course it has become just for amusement. Anyway this day 15 years ago - I brought my twin girls to this side; I’ll spare you the details as I know that you are mostly adults and understand how these things work! lol And I don’t wanna get FB jail.

So let’s have our fun but remember our ancestors and descendants…..  as this day is so much more than the trivial contrived commercialization that has been constructed around us. So tonight I will be in Mendocino - my girls will be performing their aerial silks at the Street Fair outside Frankie's this is Inyo on silks - Kiara will be doing straps! And I will be admiring your costumes and laughing along with you and carrying our human lineage in my heart.

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by Meg McConahey

Some pumpkins are just too big for the porch. Consider Cathy Henning’s 411-pound bruiser, which won’t be grinning at trick-or-treaters Monday night.

But Henning is smiling big after winning a blue ribbon at the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show for her behemoth gourd. The giant pumpkin, grown in Henning’s northwest Petaluma farm, was declared Best in Class for large pumpkins. It also won a purple Champion ribbon for best entry in the Harvest division.

“My pumpkin emanated from seeds originating in Nova Scotia; they were planted in pure compost — 24 years’ worth,” said Henning, an avid gardener who has created 2 acres of English country-style gardens on her 50-acre property.

“Sadly, the weather up there has been so wet in the past two years, they have not had a decent seed crop for those two years. Hence, almost no seeds available,” she said.

Henning had to use a friend’s crane to hoist the pumpkin from the field for its trip to Boonville for the fair in late September.

Henning’s squash is petite compared to the Guinness World Record holder, a 2,702-pounder grown in Italy last year.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, October 31, 2022

Jackson, Lucas, Montalvo

ALEXANDER JACKSON, Ukiah. Suspended license for DUI.

MICHAEL LUCAS, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, county parole violation.

ELEVTERIO MONTALVO-PEREZ, Ukiah. Domestic battery.

Nieto, Settles


JUSTIN SETTLES, Fort Bragg. Paraphernalia, probation revocation.

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REAL-LIFE 'WHITE LOTUS': Workers share rich guests' wildest demands

Travelers in the back of the plane are probably wondering: How real is this sense of entitlement? Do the elite really make such outrageous demands? The answer, according to hospitality industry workers who spoke to The Washington Post, is yes. “They want bigger, better, more, free.”…

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Bill Harper relays this gas price from the Ozarks (Oct 31, 2022)

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Yes, it’s sad to hear that more dairies are going out of business. But are dairies needed, or are they obsolete? What happens to produce a gallon of milk from a cow? First, consider all the water needed to produce milk. Cows eat a lot, mostly alfalfa, and it takes about 4,900 gallons of water to raise the 7 pounds of alfalfa cows eats daily. She drinks 23 gallons of water daily, and ranchers use about 150 gallons to keep stalls clean. It adds up to about 725 gallons of water to produce a gallon of milk. Finally, consider the environmental damage from cows: methane that adds to climate warming, excrement that pollutes groundwater or ends up in rivers and the ocean.

The truth is everything produced by dairies is available from plants: milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, etc. When you consider how much water is used during this ongoing drought, and factor in all the fuel needed to plant and harvest food for cows, I don’t see how many of the 27 remaining dairies can last much beyond 2030.

Paul Sconfienza

Santa Rosa

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EXILED EX-CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer wonders if fracking fractured the British economy.

carving by Bruce McEwen

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by Marilyn Davin

Reading the comments readers recently shared about their (mostly lackluster) high school educations saddened me. Another discouraging and persistent theme was the idea that academic education and trade schools are somehow mutually exclusive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some professions of course require specialized training – I’m thinking surgeons and carpenters. But basic education in language, math, and social studies together form the building blocks required to transform students into the critical thinking, informed, and well-reasoned citizens that compulsory public education was designed for. 

Years ago I stood before a roomful of engineers who had been forced by their bosses to attend my English class. A sea of unhappy faces stared back at me (“I’m a college-educated engineer and don’t need any more education” was the gist of their complaints). I started out by telling them that no matter how technical their profession, no matter how complex its functioning, they would have to effectively both write and speak about it to communicate its importance to the outside world. Ditto for math, without which it would be impossible to either manage budgets or figure out how much lumber you need to build a house. Double ditto for social studies: Without in-depth knowledge of our contemporary world how will today’s students be able to tell when politicians are lying to them when they grow up themselves to (hopefully) become informed and thoughtful voters? A shared understanding of the basics of how our world works, from all perspectives, is what education is all about. Problems arise when parents (and by extension the school boards they elect) have opposing ideas about how to go about achieving that. 

I vote for using my own high school as a blueprint. I attended a so-called experimental (public) East Bay high school that sadly went off-the-rails conservative a few years after I graduated; conservative parents, alarmed by their children’s “radical” social exposures, collectively rose up to, among other things, ceremoniously ban The Catcher in the Rye from the school library: no more Holden Caulfield. In the three years it took me to graduate, I spent an afternoon listening to Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti (as part of my English class); sat rapt before a group of Black Panthers (invited to the school to tell our privileged white suburban asses a thing or two); and spent a day in San Francisco’s Fillmore district, where a yellow school bus had deposited us to witness urban black poverty with our own eyes. Can you even imagine such high school experiences today? Attorneys would sprout up like spring poppies in the halls of the California Department of Education. (The liability! The corruption of young, impressionable minds!) 

Those conservative suburban parents were afraid of Holden Caulfield; they saw him as a villain, a villain created out of paper and ink yet powerful enough to tip the social apple cart if their kids read about him or, God forbid, related to his demons. So their automatic reaction, like most conservatives, was to stamp him out, which was of course ultimately impossible even before the Internet. Subversive? You be the judge; here’s a sample:

Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them — if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry. (The Catcher in the Rye)

So what about that troublesome poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti? How subversive was he in the eyes of those nay-saying parents? The notion is laughable, even ridiculous to me, but perhaps those wealthy parents, sensing turmoil on the social horizon, sought to cocoon their teenagers within the status quo. They wanted to keep things the way they were, ultimately as impossible as killing off Holden. Ferlinghetti’s poetry is, after all, about an urgent need to change:

Pity the nation whose people are sheep

And whose shepherds mislead them

Pity the nation whose leaders are liars

Whose sages are silenced

And whose bigots haunt the airwaves

(Pity the Nation, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the lack of punctuation is stylistic).

Upon reflection, maybe the real problem is that too many of us have forgotten the egalitarian principles we believed so passionately in our youth, or that we finally just gave up, too disillusioned in the powerful wake of the country’s wealth tsunami to keep up the fight. Overcoming that disillusionment and surrender is frequently on Democratic lips these days as the midterms near, but their campaign talking points otherwise miss the mark. Endlessly bloviating about social issues will not save the country: only income equality will. Aside from Bernie Sanders, no competitive political leader even bothers to bring it up. They’ve grown too rich themselves from our unequal system to bite the hand that feeds them. Democrats Clinton and Obama were not multi-millionaires before their supposed public service stints as presidents of the United States. 

Because in its heyday my high school was so progressive, it attracted committed and idealistic young teachers; dozens applied for each teaching spot. Most were only a few years older than we were and taught subjects like existentialism and Russian. Today my daughter is a local (public) high school special-ed English teacher and there are so few available teachers that she fills in to teach other teachers’ classes since there are no substitutes anymore. Nobody wants to teach, and a dearth of teachers is now a national problem. 

There are still great teachers of course. One of my most admired was my daughter’s honors English teacher. My daughter would object to my naming her so I’ll just call her Teacher Extraordinaire. Extraordinaire did not befriend her students or become their best buddy or confidant. “I am not your friend, I am your teacher,” she told her students. She pissed off a lot of parents, especially the parents of athletes. “No, your child may not miss English to play sports,” she said. “There’s a choice to be made here.” There’s more: if a student was tardy, he or she could not attend class. Ditto for chewing gum in class. Many admired teachers we read about in the mainstream media today describe their roles as warm, supportive cheerleaders for their students rather than as intellectually challenging educators who open their minds and inspire them. Their students describe them as friendly and approachable, rarely mentioning something exciting they learned. Everyone is happy, happy, happy, paradoxically a teenaged state as rare as a Trump education supporter. 

I learned many valuable things from my high school teachers, including: from my American history teacher (“I don’t care if someone is a racist, you can’t forcibly change someone’s beliefs. But I care very much that racists not be permitted to discriminate against anyone.”); from my biology teacher (“It’s wrong to tell students that they can magically become anything they want. Students are individuals with different inclinations, capabilities, and passions that they should fully explore.”); and from my sociology teacher (“Whatever you end up doing, you must write.”). Instead of falling for today’s campaign slogans that teenagers can without effort become anything they desire, those students should be broadly exploring the world and its needs to find their individual occupational niches.

Though conservative parents successfully “purged” my high school of the likes of Holden, the Black Panthers, and Beat poetry, parents can and should model and inspire intellectual curiosity in their kids – just like my father did. My father believed passionately that “a book never hurt anyone.” Dinner time was for discussing the world. I was the envy of my friends because I was encouraged to read anything I wanted. If I wanted to read a book denied my friends by their parents, I just wrote the name of the book on a slip of paper and left it on the kitchen table, where my father would pick it up on his way to work and walk to Stacy’s on Market Street to buy it for me. In this way I read Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and many other books my friends’ parents wouldn’t let them read. It is from this breadth of ideas that critical thinking is born.

I wish I had thanked him more when he was still alive.

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A truck unloads prohibited firearms at a scrap-metal yard in Sydney, 2007 (Reuters: David Gray)

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ELON MUSK HAS EXPOSED THE WOKE LEFT As A Bunch Of Illiberal Crybabies Who Despise Free Speech

by Piers Morgan

“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” Elon Musk has said.

“Stay,” tweeted lawyer and MSNBC commentator Tristan Snell after news broke that Elon Musk had bought Twitter. “Hold your ground like a Ukrainian.”

Sorry, WHAT?

I’m wearily used to insane statements from the ultra-woke brigade, but this was something else: A supposedly intelligent man was genuinely comparing the purchase of a social media platform by a maverick free speech-loving billionaire to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s illegal and barbaric invasion of a sovereign democratic country.

Snell’s hysterical response came in response to the predictable blizzard of left-wing celebrities and pundits throwing their toys out of the stroller and announcing they were quitting Twitter in protest at Musk’s new ownership, including WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

Call me cynical, but I bet they all come crawling back.

In April, when reports of Musk’s bid first emerged, “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” actress Jameela Jamil tweeted: “Good thing about Elon buying Twitter is that I will FINALLY leave and stop being a complete menace to society on here. So it’s win-win for you all really.”

It would have been, only sadly, she didn’t mean it: Jamil’s been tweeting away in her usual irritating way ever since the deal went through.

We saw the same hysteria and hypocrisy when Donald Trump became president in 2016 and the likes of Chelsea Handler, Snoop Dogg, Miley Cyrus and Cher all vowed to leave America in fury and despair, but then all stayed.

So I confidently predict none of those currently screaming “I QUIT!” will stop themselves from tweeting for long. They’re too addicted to the slavishly approving echo-chamber attention and sound of their own permanently whiny voices.

But the ridiculous overreaction to Musk taking over Twitter has exposed a lot of the very issues that the Tesla and Space X genius has identified and wants to resolve.

Most notable is the resolute refusal of many on the left to even countenance being confronted with contrary opinions without wanting to shame, vilify and cancel those who express them.

As podcast king Joe Rogan said, in praising Musk for wanting to restore a “reasonable exchange of ideas”: “I think we have a real problem with discourse on Twitter. What some would like to do is silence those that have opposing viewpoints, and then you get all this positive feedback from all the people that agree with you.”

This is the same dangerous mindset that has corroded free speech in modern society from university campuses and corporate boardrooms to even the world of humor, where comedians are being physically attacked for cracking jokes.

After the deal was done, Musk tweeted: “Comedy is now legal on Twitter.”

I replied with two laughing emojis and a thumbs up, which he quickly “liked” — the new Twitter equivalent of a papal blessing.

But imagine reading Musk’s tweet and not a) chuckling and b) thanking God that finally someone was going to save us from the hellfire censoring wrath of joyless woke warriors.

And speaking of laughter, it’s been most amusing to see the same people who celebrated Twitter kicking off Trump now reacting in horror at the concept of him possibly being allowed back.

As conservative comedians the Hodgetwins tweeted: “The left went from ‘Twitter is a private company, it can do what it wants!’ to ‘Twitter is dangerous and should be shut down!’ all within a week.”

But Musk — who is a Bernie Sanders fan who’s historically skewed to the left politically — would surely be right to lift Trump’s ban?

It’s always struck me as utterly absurd that a recent president of the United States is not allowed to tweet but Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, Taliban leaders and the supreme leader of Iran all still have active accounts.

For all its faults, though, I love Twitter.

It’s an unparalleled source of news and commentary, and if you like a good argument as much as I do, it’s debate Utopia.

But there are way too many anonymous bots manipulating political conversation and thus possibly voting preferences, and too many tweets espousing racism, harassment or death threats.

Musk knows this and wants to fix it.

He’s made it clear he doesn’t want his site to be deliberately misused to fix elections or promote violence and hateful bigotry.

But as a self-acclaimed “free speech absolutist,” he does want it to be somewhere that people of all political persuasions, colors and creeds can express themselves freely without fear of being de-platformed or canceled.

Crucially, and seemingly unlike many of the previous Twitter leadership team, he doesn’t instinctively view all conservatives as an unacceptable enemy to be expunged and purged from public view.

Musk was horrified to see Twitter ban the New York Post for publishing a completely true and very damaging scoop, just before the 2020 election, about Hunter Biden’s laptop, calling it “incredibly inappropriate.”

Yes, it was.

And you can bet all the money the world’s richest man is worth ($223 billion) that there will be no repetition of this free-speech atrocity on his watch.

The great irony of those liberals like Tristan Snell screaming, “Hold your ground like a Ukrainian!” at each other to stop the supposedly aggressive invading oppressor from wrecking their tweeting lives is that Elon Musk has spent $100 million helping the heroic Ukrainians by providing 20,000 of his Starlink satellite terminals so their military can stay connected in the war even when cellular phone and internet networks have been destroyed.

He doesn’t just talk the talk on free speech and democracy, he walks the walk — while his critics purport to be liberals but behave like fascists.

As Musk said in response to those threatening to quit: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”


And if they still want to leave after hearing him say that, then let them — the squealing, illiberal little crybabies.

* * *

* * *



Looking ahead to the 2024 presidential campaign, already it is clear there is one probable candidate, Donald John Trump. Creator of the Big Lie, Trump continues his racially biased rhetoric. “Paul Pelosi deserves to be attacked,” say some. Shades of Trump’s White House remarks about his Vice President, Mike Pence, who bravely did his duty certifying Biden’s victory as President on Jan. 6, 2021. 

Going back to June, 2015, after announcing his candidacy for president, Trump stated his intention, “to make America great again.” He added, ”Mexico is not sending its best people.” The ones coming, according to him, had “lots of problems… drugs… some are rapists.” Free speech shouldn’t be hate speech. Republicans are always preaching “law and order” as if one must first be a Republican before he or she can speak in public about how much they support “law and order.” 

Once the pandemic began, President Trump opened the door to violence against Asian Americans by branding it, “the China flu.” While he backed vaccine research, he politicized anti-Covid measures (mask wearing, for example) and vaccinations of the public while tens of thousands died. 

Frank Baumgardner

Santa Rosa

* * *

* * *


Behold, the grave of a wicked man,
And near it, a stern spirit.
There came a drooping maid with violets,
But the spirit grasped her arm.
“No flowers for him,” he said.
The maid wept:
“Ah, I loved him.”
But the spirit, grim and frowning:
“No flowers for him.”

Now, this is it —
If the spirit was just,
Why did the maid weep?

— Stephen Crane (1905)

* * *

* * *


by James Kunstler

It’s been several days since San Francisco police interrupted a hammer fight between Paul Pelosi — husband of House Speaker Nancy — and his “friend… David,” in the Pelosis’ Pacific Heights home, and apparently the cops have not asked David DePape why he was there in the first place. Odd, a little bit. Is it possible that a whole chain of authorities from the SFPD clear up into the top of the US government and its Democratic Party sidekicks don’t want you to know what actually happened?

So far, not much in this cockamamie story adds up. Quite a bit is known now about the attacker, David DePape. He was a colorful character on the scene in radical Berkeley across the bay, a “nudist activist” and BLM supporter. He’d lived there and had a child with one Oxane “Gypsy” Taub, a fellow nude activist and whack-job, who has spent time in prison for child abduction. That partnership ended seven years ago and DePape has been homeless on and off since then. Acquaintances and Berkeley neighbors describe him as not mentally healthy, saying he exhibits psychotic delusions and is sometimes incoherent.

So far, police have not disclosed how DePape journeyed from Berkeley to Pacific Heights at 2:00 o’clock in the morning, about fourteen miles. Did he walk from Berkeley across the Bay Bridge and then halfway across town? Mr. DePape is apparently also known to the police as a gay hustler, that is, a person who sells sex for money. Unless I’m mistaken, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) has a detective department — experienced men and women who go around the city seeking clues, evidence, and testimony in order to make sense of perplexing crimes — and then solve them! Shall we assume they are on-the-job?

Now, Paul Pelosi, 82, who made a $300-million fortune running a car service (also shrewd investments in real estate and the stock market), has been in quite a bit of trouble this year. On May 28, 2022, he was arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Napa (near a vineyard estate he owns with Nancy) when his 2021 Porsche crashed into a 2014 Jeep driven by one “John Doe” (as the police identified him). KGO-TV, ABC’s affiliate in the San Francisco area, said that there was a second person in the Porsche with Pelosi at the time of the accident. He has never been identified.

In August, Mr. Pelosi was sentenced to five days in jail, a fine of roughly $7,000, a three-month drinking-and-driving course, eight hours of public service, and having an “interlock” device installed on his car that would require him to blow into an alcohol sensor before the engine can ignite. By any chance, were the Napa Police or the County Court contacted in the matter at some point by the US Capitol Police or the FBI? We may never know.

If David DePape didn’t walk fourteen miles from Berkeley to Pacific Heights, or take a cab (expensive), how did he get there? Here’s a theory: he rode the BART subway from Berkeley to the Church Street and Mission station in the city, a five-minute walk to the Castro Valley, San Francisco’s fabled gay district. Sometime before 2:00 a.m. closing time, he met up in a bar there with Paul Pelosi, who drove DePape to the Pelosi house in a car not equipped with an interlock device. That is to say, David DePape was let into the house by Mr. Pelosi.

The police and the news media have theorized that DePape broke into the place by smashing a glass door in back. Uh-huh…. Ask yourself: would there not be an alarm system at least on all the ground floor windows and doors in the house? Would there not be security cameras on the back side of the house — the side that burglars might prefer, if they could get over the wall? Would the Speaker of the House, with a discretionary budget on top of a $300-million fortune, and in a time of epic political rancor, not have a team of security guards in place at her private home?

Initial news media chatter had both DePape and Paul Pelosi dressed in their underwear, struggling over a hammer which turned out to belong to Mr. Pelosi. Not until the police entered the house did DePape wrest the hammer from Mr. Pelosi and commence to brain him with it. What does the arrest report actually say about the two men’s state-of-dress? It is not public information. How and why were the police just watching until DePape assaulted Mr. Pelosi — who was hospitalized afterward and had surgery on his cracked skull? (Uh, how did a blow that literally broke his skull not kill the elderly Mr. Pelosi?)

The news media initially suggested that somebody — a third person on the scene — opened the door to let the police in. Now they are saying no such person was there. Was the front door unlocked? (Weird, considering the general threat level for a public figure of Nancy P’s stature.) Or, did police break the glass door in the rear of the house to get in? (However, photos of the door show the glass being broken from the inside and shards spread over the outside.) Odd, also, that such a wealthy and powerful couple would not have hard-to-smash security glass on such a door. (It’s easy to buy.) Odd, too, that there was not one human security guard on the premises. The house had security cameras all over the exterior and interior. No mention in the news media or from the SFPD of what might have been recorded by these cameras at the time of the incident.

My assessment of this bizarre episode is as follows: Paul Pelosi was out drinking late the night of the incident. He hooked up with David DePape, a hustler he might have been previously acquainted with, and took him back to the house in Pacific Heights. Something went wrong with the transaction. Considering that DePape exhibited psychotic behavior at times, it might have taken little to set him off. All the authorities involved are playing it coy, but failing to construct a narrative that adds up.

The Democratic Party has attempted to convert the sordid incident into a political talking point, painting DePape as a MAGA crazy. That spin apparently failed almost instantly. Their next effort will be to shove the story down the memory hole — the news media will just not report on any developments. 

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi put out a statement that her family is “heartbroken” over the incident. Yes, of course. I’m sure. Nobody knew about Paul Pelosi’s peccadillos. Boo-hoo. Cry me a river, you degenerate jade. Don’t suppose the truth about this will be successfully suppressed, like Hunter B’s laptop. And so, the career of Nancy Pelosi comes to an ignominious end in the November 8 election, with a cherry-on-top of personal humiliation. She deserves every bit of it.

(Support Kunstler’s writing by visiting his Patreon Page.)

* * *

* * *


If nothing else, I think we all owe the Dems and the Pelosis a tip of the hat for the picture perfect, knee-slappingly funny Monday Morning Halloween story. The best fictional and satire writers out there could not have come up with something so absolutely pitch perfect for this crazy season, nor could current Dem political operatives/”fixers” have come up with a more transparently stupid and unlikely explanation for these patently weird SF shenanigans. We don’t do much right anymore in this dried up husk of a formerly great and vibrant nation, but this little episode truly lives up to the high bar of “exceptional.”

* * *

* * *


Tensions are rising over the future of the Black Sea grain corridor, with Russia claiming that the corridor — which allows the safe passage of grain and oilseeds – is suspended and Ukraine insisting it is committed to its continuation.

Moscow said it was leaving the deal after blaming Ukraine for a drone attack on Crimea on Saturday. The EU and other Ukrainian allies condemned the Russian move. 

Norway, one of the few NATO countries sharing a land border with Russia, is to further strengthen its military preparedness, the Oslo government said.

Russia launched a fresh barrage of missile strikes on key infrastructure facilities in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities Monday, leaving parts of the capital without electricity and water. 


* * *

* * *


by Patrick Cockburn

 “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time,” British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey famously remarked to a friend in August 1914. He was, of course, dead right about the longevity of the First World War, which did not end decisively in 1918 but went on sparking crises and wars up to 1939. The Second World War ended with the total defeat of Germany and produced a frozen peace in Europe which largely stayed in place, with the exception of the break up of Yugoslavia, for 77 years, until the Russian invasion of Ukraine this year.

The Ukraine war is the third of these great pan-continental conflicts sucking in the rest of Europe and the US. Most European states are not directly involved in the military conflict, but they are fully engaged in political and economic warfare against Russia which is as important as anything happening on the battlefields.

Ukraine appears more like First World War

So far the Ukraine war looks more like the First than the Second World War, in that it is likely to be long and indecisive. (1918 Germany had sought an armistice but no Allied troops had crossed the German frontier). Neither Russia nor Ukraine are likely to win a total victory, though both have the will to go on fighting in the hope of doing so.

The prospect of an endless war in Europe should not be surprising, since this has been the pattern in recent wars in Syria, Yemen and Libya. In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even the direct engagement of US and UK ground forces backed by overwhelming airpower were insufficient to defeat the enemy. The takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban last year only took place after the country had been ravaged by war for over 40 years.

Ukraine may appear different as a poor but modern state, but so too were Iraq and Libya before their infrastructures were destroyed. Much the same could happen in Ukraine and Russia. International attention is over-focused on the risk of nuclear war, possibly starting with the use of tactical low yield nuclear devices. The risk is getting higher since Putin needs to give substance to his nuclear sabre-rattling by practical preparations, as when Russia last week staged its first nuclear drill since the start of the war.

Alarm at the possible use of weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine is understandable since the rest of Europe fears becoming the next target. Few pay attention to the fact that a revolution has taken place in aerial warfare in the last 40 years, enabling precision-strike conventionally armed missiles to cause immense damage, something demonstrated in the last four weeks as a Ukrainian official said Russia severely damaged 40 per cent of Ukraine’s electricity generating capacity, largely by the use of cheap drones. No doubt Ukraine will be tempted to retaliate in kind against the Russian infrastructure.

Tectonic shifts in the political map

A long war in Ukraine means tectonic shifts in the world political and economic map, some of which were already underway. Even after a temporary ceasefire – and there is not sign of one – permanent confrontation between the Nato powers and Russia looks unavoidable. Aside from issues in dispute, fear and hatred generated by the fighting will take at least a decade to dissipate. Each side will foment proxy wars and exploit any weakness among the other side’s allies, as happened during the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union.

Confrontation will be all the sharper if a weakened Russia acts in combination with China. So far, China has kept its distance from Putin and not supplied him with arms, presumably to avoid secondary sanctions – and President Xi Jinping has been negatively impressed by the rout of Russian ground forces in several battles. Nevertheless, in the long term, Russia and China may feel forced to embrace to face a common Western enemy.

Putin is seeking to give an anti-imperialist gloss to his Ukraine war, saying this week that Europe is at the beginning “of the most dangerous, unpredictable and, at the same time, most crucial decade since the end of the Second World War.” This may be true enough, though Putin evidently did not foresee these historic developments at the time when he launched his under-resourced “special military operation” on 24 February in expectation of a Ukrainian collapse.

Putin says that “the West’s undivided dominance over world affairs is coming to an end.” But the trend has, if anything, gone in the opposite direction as the Russian military machine blundered from defeat to defeat over the last eight months. Yet there are plenty of countries in the world who see Russia as a counter-balance to Western hegemony and will not want to see it removed as a powerful piece from the international chess board.

Russia will not be the only great power weakened

Putin’s personal ineptitude as a war lord has been repeatedly exposed. But he is not the only leader to make strategic mistakes, and Russia will not be the only great power weakened by the war. By launching an all-out economic war against Russia, the EU played against the Kremlin’s strong suit as an oil and gas producer, inflicting immense self-harm on itself without sufficiently damaging Russia to bring down the regime or make it change course.

This was predictable since sanctions against Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Bashar al-Assad in Syria failed to displace the dictators. They were, if a anything, strengthened by economic warfare against them that took the form of communal punishment for ordinary Iraqis and Syrians. There never was any reason why there should not be the same unhappy outcome in Russia.

A long war is bad for both Russia and Ukraine since the level of destruction will escalate without either side being able to land a knock-out blow. But the rest of Europe also suffers by facing a permanent confrontation with Russia, increased defence spending, high energy prices and decreased European competitiveness with the rest of the world. As during the Cold War, there is likely to be an increase in proxy wars between the two sides fought out in what used to be called the Third World.

Conceivably, all could come right for Ukraine and the Nato powers if the Russian armed forces suffer a complete collapse. Possibly, some putsch in the Kremlin will lead to Putin being given, as the saying is, a “choice between a suitcase and a coffin.” But there is no sign so far of this benign outcome, from the Ukrainian and Nato point of view, being more than wishful thinking.

Without a decisive military victory by one side or the other, the only means of ending the war is through diplomacy, yet anybody suggesting such an approach is treated as a pariah, if not a traitor. This happened recently to progressive Democrats in Congress who were forced to withdraw a letter suggesting talks with Russia after a furious backlash from other pro-war Democrats.

Diplomacy is unlikely to get anywhere until the two sides have fought each other to a standstill, but even then ceasefires are likely to be temporary and confrontation permanent.

Further thoughts

I wrote last week about how the nature of air warfare has changed decisively in the last 40 years without many people, aside from military specialists, noticing this development. Briefly, the US monopoly of guided missiles and smart munitions that existed at the time of the First Gulf War in 1991 has ended.

At that time, the US largely destroyed Iraq’s electricity generating and oil refining capacity in the course of a few days using these weapons, But by 2019, Iran was able to launch a devastating air assault on Saudi Arabia using precision guided drones at $15,000 a piece that wrecked crucial oil facilities. We are now seeing Russia systematically destroying Ukraine’s electricity generating capacity by overwhelming air-defences and firing great quantities of cheap drones at power stations and the like. The nature of air superiority has been transformed.

This important point is made by Anthony H Cordesman, who holds the emeritus chair in strategy at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

“Russia has provided a series of tangible demonstrations that warn that modern precision-strike conventionally armed missiles, cyber warfare capabilities, intelligence analysis of civil systems and targets, and a wide range of other evolving military strike capabilities can do immense potential damage to local and regional civil targets and capabilities.

“Unlike weapons of mass destruction, these advanced forms of non-nuclear strike can be used in combination with political and economic weapons, and they can be used with considerable flexibility and far less risk than the nuclear weapons that provide some degree of mutual assured destruction. If anything, Russia and NATO’s mutual possession of nuclear weapons tends to deter their use by either side, while creating a situation where both sides can now use a wide range of conventionally armed weapons and new technologies to escalate their level of civils conflict.”

Some Western governments are calling these drone and missile attacks on Ukraine “war crimes”, but they are no different from the destruction inflicted on Iraq during the air campaign component of Operation Desert Storm. Those who would like to know more about what happened then may be interested in this expert account of the air campaign published by the Government Accounting Office in 1997.

Beneath the Radar

It is always revealing to look at the academic achievements of politicians which are seldom quite what the public imagines.

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng wrote his PhD thesis at Cambridge on “The political thought of the recoinage crisis of 1695-7,” which was accepted in 2000. There were some catty remarks when Kwarteng was Chancellor about how far this piece of economic history equipped him to deal with a modern-day financial crisis. Not very well, was the unanimous verdict after the disaster of the mini-budget on 23 September.

Unknown at the time was the fact that Kwarteng’s first attempt at his PhD was not accepted, I am told on good authority. In fact, I am told it was “referred” so Kwarteng had to rewrite large chunks of it, something that seldom happens unless a thesis is a mess.

The academic misadventures of Thérèse Coffey, previously deputy prime minister and health minister, and now environment minister in the Sunak cabinet, are better known.

She entered Oxford’s Somerville College to study chemistry in 1989 and was asked to withdraw in 1991 after failing her “prelims” twice. These exams are used to weed out at any early stage undergraduates who are doing no work or fail to grapple with their chosen subject. Few fail to pass them and to fail twice is uncommon. Despite this being no secret, many laudatory profiles fail to mention it, comparing Coffey to Margaret Thatcher, another Somerville chemistry student who did get her degree. Coffey later graduated with a PhD in Chemistry from UCL.

Neither Kwarteng nor Coffey publicly claimed higher academic qualifications than they had received, but a false impression is left of stellar academic achievement. Another point is that people seldom pay much attention to these achievements even when they are for real.

Cockburn’s Picks

One issue invariably underplayed by governments and the media is the great surge in corruption at the highest level in almost every country.

In Britain, this was very noticeable, and well-documented, during the scandals over government procurement of PPE equipment at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, with billions of pounds disappearing into the pockets of the politically well-connected, using official “fast lanes”.

The excuse is always that at the height of an emergency, be it a pandemic or a war, normal regulations must be relaxed lest they delay life-saving contracts. Here is another story of dubious financial goings on that has received little play in the media.

(Patrick Cockburn is the author of War in the Age of Trump (Verso).

* * *

* * *

DEATHBED CONFESSION OF FORMER NYPD OFFICER Raises New Questions About Assassination Of Malcolm X

by Sydney Pereira [Published Feb 21, 2021]

Civil rights attorneys and Malcolm X's daughters revealed on Saturday new evidence that they said indicates the NYPD and FBI conspired in the assassination of the civil rights activist in Washington Heights 56 years ago to date.

In a letter written on his death bed, former undercover police officer Ray Wood confessed that he was tasked with infiltrating civil rights organizations and ensuring that Malcolm X's security guards were arrested days prior to the activist's assassination.

"My job was to infiltrate civil rights organizations throughout New York City, to find evidence of criminal activity, so the FBI could discredit and arrest its leaders," Wood wrote in a letter dated January 25th, 2011. "Under the discretion of my handlers I was told to encourage leaders and members of civil rights groups to commit felonious acts."

Wood admitted in the letter to deliberately pressuring Malcolm X's two security guards to plot to bomb the Statue of Liberty in order to get them arrested. In 1965, one of the defendants, Walter Bowe, testified the plot was Wood's idea, according to a NY Times report at the time. Bowe and Khaleel Sayyed were "key players in Malcolm X's crowd control security detail," Wood wrote. The two were arrested by the FBI days before Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom on February 21st, 1965. Their arrest kept them from running security at the ballroom.

"Thomas Johnson was later arrested and wrongfully convicted to protect my cover and the secrets of the FBI and NYPD," Wood wrote. Johnson, also known as Khalil Islam and previously, Thomas 15X Johnson, spent more than two decades in prison and maintained innocence until he died in 2009.

In the letter, Wood says he tried to resign, but was threatened with arrest for marijuana and alcohol trafficking if he did not complete his assignments.

January 25, 2011


I Raymond A. Wood being of sound mind and body wish to confess the following:

I was a black New York City undercover police officer from April 1964 through May of 1971. I participated in actions that in hindsight were deplorable and detrimental to the advancement of my own black people. My actions on behalf of the New York City Police Department (BOSSI) were done under duress and fear that if I did not follow the orders of my handlers I could face detrimental consequences. Presently, I am aging with failing health; recently I have learned of the death of Mr. Thomas Johnson and are deeply concerned that with my death his family will not be able exonerate him after being wrongly convicted in the killing of Malcolm X.

The Facts are as follows:

April 17, 1964. I was hired by the New York City police department. Without training I was immediately assigned to the BOSSI investigation unit

My job was to infiltrate civil rights organizations throughout New York City, to find evidence of criminal activity, so the FBI could discredit and arrest its leaders.

After witnessing repeated brutality at the hands of my coworkers (Police), I tried to resign, Instead I was threatened with arrest by pinning marijuana and alcohol trafficking charges on me if I did not follow through with the assignments.

Under the direction of my handlers I was told to encourage leaders and members of civil rights groups to commit felonious acts.

The Statue of liberty bombing idea was created by my supervisor/handler. Using surveillance the agency learned that Bowe and Sayyed were key players in Malcom X's crowd control security detail. It was my assignment to draw the two men into a felonious federal crime, so that they could be arrested by the FBI and kept away from managing Malcolm X's Audubon Ballroom door security on February 21, 1965. On February 16, 1965 The Statue of Liberty plot was carried out and the men were arrested just days before the assassination of Malcolm. At that time I was not aware that Malcolm X was the target.

On February 21, 1965 I was ordered to be at the Audubon Ballroom, where I was identified by witnesses while leaving the scene. Thomas Johnson was later arrested and wrongfully convicted to protect my cover and the secrets of the FBI and NYPD.

I have placed my full confession into the care of my cousin Reginald Wood Jr. I have requested that this information be held until after I have passed away.

It is my hope, that this information is received with the understanding that I have carried these secrets with a heavy heart and remorsefully regret my participation in this matter.

Raymond A. Wood

The letter was revealed at a press conference on Saturday with Malcolm X's three daughters, Qubiliah Shabazz, Ilyasah Shabazz and Gamilah Shabazz; civil rights attorneys Ben Crump, Ray Hamlin, and Paul Napoli; and Wood's cousin, Reggie Wood.

During the press conference, Wood said his cousin felt "forced to betray his people."

"This letter helps me to understand the pain and guilt that Ray felt for the last 55 years," the younger Wood said. "He wanted the world to know that he is deeply sorry. I hope that this information helps the Shabazz family to more clearly understand what happened to their father on that horrible day."

Ilyasah Shabazz, one of Malcolm X's daughters, said any evidence should be investigated.

"There has always been uncertainty about all of the facts surrounding the assassination of my and my five sisters' father," Shabazz said. "Any evidence that provides greater insight into the truth behind that terrible tragedy should be thoroughly investigated."

Last year, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance's office was conducting a preliminary review that could lead to potential investigative steps after Netflix aired a documentary reviewing evidence of the assassination. The documentary looked at evidence that Johnson and Norman 3X Butler, who is now Muhammad Abdul Aziz, were innocent. Aziz, now 81, maintains his innocence.

DA Vance's spokesperson Danny Frost said Sunday that the district attorney's "review of this matter is active and ongoing."

A spokesperson for the NYPD, Detective Denise Moroney, said in a statement: "Several months ago, the Manhattan District Attorney initiated a review of the investigation and prosecution that resulted in two convictions for the murder of Malcolm X. The NYPD has provided all available records relevant to that case to the District Attorney. The Department remains committed to assist with that review in any way."

The FBI declined to comment.


* * *


  1. Mike J November 1, 2022

    In editors note Bruce states we haven’t heard from the assailant of Pelosi. In fact, his statements to the police were shared yesterday. His intent was to grill Nancy, and break her kneecaps if he felt she lied to him.

    There is an obscene meme re this, a cartoon showing perversion, and pornographic imaginings from Kunstler in today’s AVA.

    America’s last newspaper is clearly impaired by the bug bringing our species to it’s knees.

    • Bruce Anderson November 1, 2022

      “his statements to the police” Get it? We haven’t yet heard from the perp himself. I predict, though, the event will be pretty much as already described.

        • Chuck Dunbar November 1, 2022


“Fog of Disinformation Spreads After Pelosi Attack”

          “High-profile conservatives, including Donald Trump Jr. and Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins, have fueled a discredited version of events in recent days. Among the unfounded claims: that a third person was in the house; and that DePape was arrested in his underwear. Both claims have been knocked down by authorities, but that hasn’t stopped the internet from running amok. Baseless claims and jokes about a relationship between Paul Pelosi and the attacker have spread rapidly in conservative circles. Trump Jr. on Sunday retweeted a ‘Paul Pelosi’ Halloween costume featuring men’s underwear and a hammer. Fox’s Tucker Carlson made mention of it, too.
          That could be the reason for a peculiar detail recounted by San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins on Monday when she discussed the charges against DePape, 42. As Jenkins tells it, the assailant broke in through a glass door and made his way to the bedroom of Mr. Pelosi, who ‘was wearing a loose fitting pajama shirt and boxer shorts.’ Jenkins also noted that there were just two people in the house when authorities arrived…”
          Politico, 11/1/22

          • Marmon November 1, 2022

            Jenkins’ political career should really take off from here, it’s nice to have friends in high places.


      • Mike J November 1, 2022

        Given his passion for his causes, he might seek out ways to continue messaging from jail. He gets arraigned this afternoon and then we see his lawyer, who will certainly try to stifle his clients urge to speak out.

        Seeing how many GOP candidates are playing with this episode, and influencers in that circle like Trump Jr doing so, I suspect it will hurt prospects for a red wave.

        • Bruce McEwen November 1, 2022

          In California defendants are not allowed to “speak out” at arraignments, other than to enter their pleas, and up until the time they take the stand, they are told to say everything through their lawyers. The only time they are permitted to speak out is at the time of sentencing.

          • Mike J November 1, 2022

            Some defendents sometimes get interviewed by journalists even when locked up. I wonder, tho, whether anyone would at this point want to give him a platform.

            • Bruce McEwen November 1, 2022

              Redbeard was given multiple pre-trial interviews but it didn’t help his case, to put it mildly.

              • Mike J November 1, 2022

                Was thinking of that. Good example. He got alot of time, I guess discharging a weapon when deputies were chasing him and vandalizing some cabins couldnt be softened in impact by his charming ways.

            • Marmon November 1, 2022

              I don’t know what happened to Paul Pelosi, but there is no published hard evidence of anything so why would I take their official story as fact? Release the body cam video.


              • Bruce McEwen November 1, 2022

                Jamie dear boy you sound like you’re absolutely salivating for some salacious body cam footage! Calm down!

                Yesterday you were calling him Pauline like you were suing for a kiss, now this …

                • Marmon November 1, 2022

                  I called him Paulie, not Pauline. Get your eyes checked.


    • Harvey Reading November 1, 2022

      Lucky for her that he didn’t get to “grill” her…especially given the propensity of politicians to lie a lot.

  2. Bruce McEwen November 1, 2022

    Amazing how James Kuntsler and James Marmon had the Pelosi case all figured out before anyone else had even heard all the evidence. Just amazing. This is why cases like this never go to a jury — no jury can be found who doesn’t already made up their minds without hearing the evidence.

  3. pca67 November 1, 2022

    Continuing to print Kuntsler’s lunatic ravings (completely disproven in the Pelosi case) is journalistic malpractice. Don’t worry, I’m not accusing the AVA of being journalism. It remains the best fiction in Mendocino County has ever produced.! Yet, it’s still sad to see the “mighty AVA” print such claptrap (to put it mildly). ‘Tis the world we live in now I suppose.

    • Bruce Anderson November 1, 2022

      Please tell us, anon keyboard warrior, where we can find real journalism.

      • Marshall Newman November 1, 2022

        Kunstler writing – in this case – should not have been disseminated by the AVA.

        • Brian Wood November 1, 2022

          I think there’s a distinction to be made between printing obvious bullshit and printing contrary views that add value to the conversation. Kunstler has for a long time been rehashing rightwing bullshit. Actually, I’m not completely sure about that because I stopped reading him regularly a long time ago. I read his piece today however and wasn’t moved to change my mind.

        • peter boudoures November 1, 2022

          You would allow the speculation of events had this happened to Janna Ryan.

          • Brian Wood November 1, 2022

            Were you replying to me? I’m an apparently rare person who actually wants to know what’s real, whether or not it suits my opinions. Confirmation bias is something everyone should look out for. Try not to fool yourself, and remember you’re the easiest one to fool.

      • pca67 November 1, 2022

        Start with Reuters

      • Stephen Rosenthal November 1, 2022

        “Please tell us where we can find real journalism.”

        I’ve always thought it was here, but lately I’m no longer sure.

    • peter boudoures November 1, 2022

      “Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values.”

      I think the Washington post fits you best. You’re welcome.

  4. Chuck Dunbar November 1, 2022


    “A member of the far-right Oath Keepers who pleaded guilty to his role in trying to disrupt the transition of presidential power broke down on the stand Monday as he testified against his former allies.

    ‘I’m really sorry for what I did,’ said Graydon Young of Florida, who pleaded guilty in June 2021 to a conspiracy to obstruct Congress’ Jan. 6, 2021, meeting to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

    Halting twice to choke back sobs, Young said he pleaded guilty because he had committed crimes, and that in order ‘to repent and be forgiven, you have to confess. Completely and wholly.…I won’t do anything like that ever again,’ he said. ‘It’s really embarrassing.’

    …Young described an unhealthy diet of Facebook and YouTube content that he said had
    left him ‘ginned up’ about the election results. He withdrew from his family and became consumed by national politics, which led him to join the Oath Keepers in the weeks after Election Day 2020…”
    Politico, 10/31/22

    • Harvey Reading November 1, 2022

      Must gotten a plea deal. Those morons never tell the truth otherwise.

  5. Cotdbigun November 1, 2022

    Orangemanbad did it, duh ! Stop protecting him.

  6. Michael Geniella November 1, 2022

    James Kuntsler’s piece is symptomatic of the garbage thinking that pervades our politics and is undermining our democracy. It is creepy. and unworthy of being recycled into the national conversation.

    • Eric Sunswheat November 1, 2022

      From what I instinctively understand, obviously James Kunstler has been paid off by the monied bad actors to write this gruel, so he can keep alive on his ?Kentucky hobby farm.

      A clue to all this, was after his previous long term writing advocacy position with some group institution, for a brief time he wrote clear insightful thoughts published in the AVA, true to his organic agricultural roots.

      So, which side of the bread of truth is buttered folks, and is that butter, from feedlot cattle fed alfalfa or is it from bovines grass grazed. And who is fooling who.

      • Brian Wood November 1, 2022

        It’s not necessary to be bought off to fail to think clearly. I don’t know why that seems obvious to you that Kunsler was bought off. He wandered away from true enquiry, who knows why? I very much doubt he did it for profit.

  7. Chuck Wilcher November 1, 2022

    Kunstler wrote: “Acquaintances and Berkeley neighbors describe him as not mentally healthy, saying he exhibits psychotic delusions and is sometimes incoherent.”

    I can’t help think some of the neighbors adjacent to Mar-A-Lago feel the same about their neighbor.

  8. Bruce McEwen November 1, 2022

    Hearsay from neighbors and acquaintances is all the evidence homophobic Trumpophiliacs need to convict the victim in a case with the political potential this one has.

    Call it the fallacy of phallic thinking.

    • Cotdbigun November 1, 2022

      Even if he was a she I’d still know that Orangeman was behind it!

  9. Chris Philbrick November 1, 2022


    Would you please print a story about the Ukiah Rotary Club’s event “Guitars for Troops” being held on November 12 at 5:30 p.m. at Carl Purdy Hall in Ukiah. All the proceeds benefit veteran causes and we expect 400 people to attend. Three great bands, demonstrations by the canine corps, $15 entry and $20 for a great dinner. Thanks.

    Chris Philbrick

    • George Dorner November 1, 2022

      How about an address for mail-in donations?

  10. Craig Stehr November 1, 2022

    Halloween was celebrated enthusiastically in downtown Ukiah, with the sidewalks filled with costumed trick or treaters, who accompanied their parents into the Ukiah Brewing Company for dinner. Observed this from a seat at the bar, while quaffing Noyo Harbor IPA beers with a shot o’ 12 yr. old Red Breast whiskey. After the manager cut me off and offered me a glass of ice water, stayed to enjoy the steak entree. Was informed that my cooperation with management was appreciated, and that I am welcome back at any time. Proceeded to The Forest Club for two more rounds of beer plus a shot o’ Buchanan’s Deluxe whiskey. Played the juke box, and appreciating customers paid for my drinks. An UBER driver drove me back late to the Building Bridges homeless shelter for ten dollars. It was by any measure the absolute best Halloween possible. Wore my bright orange Carhartt shirt for the occasion. Awoke this morning with a smile, feeling slightly dizzy from it all, poorer but happy.
    Much love, Craig Louis Stehr

    I Need More Money:
    Telephone Messages: (707) 234-3270
    November 1st. 2022 A.D.

  11. Marmon November 1, 2022

    BREAKING NEWS: Netanyahu returning as Israel’s prime minister.


    • Bruce Anderson November 1, 2022

      The worst possible news out of the Middle East.

  12. Jim Armstrong November 1, 2022

    I’ve been in undershorts and sometimes a tee shirt at 2 AM for, now that I think about it, 80 years.
    Whoever breaks in my back door is responsible for their (!) own attire .
    This the first time I’ve read Kunstler’s crap in years. What a great idea that was.

  13. Chuck Dunbar November 1, 2022

    A voice of brevity and sanity, made me smile–thanks, Jim

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