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Mendocino County Today: Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022

Warming | River's End | Meteorological | Trash Talk | Alonzo Kendall | Guerneville Train | Nickerman Skewered | Cazadero 48 | Planning | Divorce Court | Firework Ban | Water Carnival | Secession | The Louvre | MAGA Candidates | Trump Rx | Georgia Hotline | Repair Shop | Ducking Cops | Monte Rio Hotel | Canceling Bezos | Konga | Lulu Letter | Yesterday's Catch | 50s Guerneville | Bookstores | JFK | Narrowboat | Flux Review | Marichal/Roseboro | NYT Avengers | Brain Full | Well Dressed | Chain Gang | War Talk | Holiday Tip | Fighting | Fireworks | Ukraine | Dartboard | Revolution | Buddy Guy | Modern Dilemma | Cazadero Stage

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FOG AND DRIZZLE will lift from the coast this morning giving way to dry and warmer than average conditions. Offshore flow will aid in cool temperatures along the coast tonight with another warm and mostly clear day for Thanksgiving. Cooler weather and light rain is on track for later this weekend into early next week. (NWS)

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River's End, located at the mouth of the Russian River, Jenner, CA, 1947

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As I said in recent column, I’m an amateur “weatherman” by default given my early farm country upbringing and my current status as weather-related record-keeper for the Observer.

The phrases you refer to, “temperatures will continue to moderate” and “warming to above values” are somewhat antiquated meteorologist-speak to describe changing or transitioning weather conditions, oftentimes in the context of seasonal historical weather patterns, norms and averages for that time of year.

For example, let’s say the historic average low temperatures for Boonville in November is in the mid-30s, but a week-long cold front drops night-time temperatures into the lower 20s. Starting today, conditions change where night-time lows are gradually on the rise, thus returning to or “moderating” towards the historical average of mid-30s in Boonville in November.

It’s my understanding that “values” are just the historic seasonal norms and averages for that area.

Jim Shields

Editor & Publisher The Mendocino County Observer PO Box 490 Laytonville, CA 95454 (707) 984-6223- Phone

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On Sunday, apparently at age 90.

Here's this:

(via Mike Geniella)

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Train in Guerneville

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The Massive Mendocino Punishment Industry has run amok, gone awry, all askewed. Quite similar to the three ring circus act of MCOE!

I am a hopeless disabled senior and Vietnam era veteran suffering from a hideous case of PTSD and Agent Orange poisoning complicated by diabetes. While weakened from recent heart surgery at St. Helena I was assaulted at a homeless bridge off Orchard Street. An intoxicated man started screaming threats at me. He then chased me down the creek at the footbridge trying to burn me with a giant torch with a 2 foot flame while horribly laughing and screaming threats.


I was in mortal danger in fear for my life. I barely outran him. I reported this to several Ukiah police and one Ukiah police detective. Four days later I was visiting a veteran at the Live Oak Apartments on Orchard Street in Ukiah. Suddenly this same person knocked on the door. I opened it and this Howard character started shouting threats at me, swinging his fists, shuffling his feet. He had something in his hand. I tried to ask him to leave. He immediately lunged into the apartment trying again to hurt me. Engulfed in fear for my life with no back exit I defended myself with numerous blows. As soon as I felt he was subdued I quickly reported this violent assault on me to the manager and the security guard. I have been held at the Local Gap jail since October 8 with a court date at the very end of January, January 23. I face a serious felony charge.

Case in point: Our almighty, untouchable district attorney Eyster grants probation to a Ukiah a police officer, Kevin Murray, for multiple felony charges involving rape and methamphetamine possession! The Mendo Bendo Revenue Intake Center, aka. the Ukiah Courthouse, where they target minorities, poor people, the homeless and disabled veterans. This is a true mockery of the United States justice system and needs a total rebuild ASAP.

Sincerely skewered,

Charles A. Nickerman, disabled, homeless Vietnam era veteran of the US Army. 293rd Engineering Battalion

951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah

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Cazadero circa 1948. Berrys sawmill in right background. Bill Britton's "Bills Place" bar & store to left (future site of the Cazadero Community Center & museum).

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Dear Interested Parties,

The December 1st Planning Commission Agenda is posted on the Department website at:

Please contact staff with any questions. Thank you.

Adrienne Thompson

Administrative Services Manager

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Mayor Todd Lands says rejecting the ban by 5% of vote is about Cloverdale’s ‘freedom to choose.’

by Kathleen Coates

A majority of Cloverdale voters appear to have rejected a ban on fireworks, making the city in far northern Sonoma County the last in the region to continue to allow the sale of fireworks for home use.

Measure K lost additional ground in the latest update Tuesday, trailing with 47.2% of the vote in favor and 52.8% opposed, including 3,483 votes counted.

The margin is likely to hold up in final results, with just 2,000 ballots countywide left to be counted, according to the Registrar of Voters Office. Any outstanding Cloverdale ballots are likely to account for a small fraction of that total.

Rejection of the ban, at least for now, means fireworks sales and home use inside city limits will remain legal in the July 1-4 period.

Currently up to three nonprofit groups are allowed to set up booths, including the Lions Club, which uses part of the proceeds to support the annual community fireworks show.

Mayor Todd Lands, the lone council against putting the measure on the Nov. 8 ballot, said he was happy with the result.

“It is the true voice of the Cloverdale voters,” he said by email. “Fireworks sales bring in upward of $170,000 for our community.”

The community has been sharply divided over the issue.

Supporters pointed to the increasing risk of catastrophic wildfires in the region. Opponents wanted to preserve a traditional way of celebrating Independence Day and support nonprofits that sell the legal fireworks.

Asked why he favored Cloverdale bucking a prohibition on private fireworks that otherwise extends countywide, Lands said “Cloverdale, like every other town in American, has the right to choose how they want to live their lives. Our freedom to choose is what makes our country so great!”

Outgoing Councilman Joe Palla said he was “very surprised” by the outcome.

“It is a difficult situation. Although the measure looks like it will not pass … we still have almost half our residents who do not support the continued sale and use of safe and sane fireworks,” he said in an email. “I presume once the new council members are seated, this topic will resurface.”

Brian Wheeler, Marjorie Morgenstern and incumbent Vice Mayor Gus Wolter, the top vote-getter in the Nov. 8 election, will take their seats next month on the five-member City Council.

Council member Melanie Bagby is the other continuing incumbent who favored putting the ban on the ballot.

During the Measure K campaign, American Promotional Events, also known as TNT Fireworks, the state’s largest wholesaler of “safe and sane” fireworks, sponsored a website and Facebook pages urging a vote against the ban in Cloverdale.

Measure K had been ahead in early returns after Election Day by as many as 10 percentage points.

Lands attributed the turnaround in results to “different voting habits of our community. Different groups habitually vote at different times. Some like to vote early, some refuse to put their ballot in the mail, some put them in the drop box on the last day, and some vote in-person only.”

The number of voted cast — 3,483 out of 5,371 registered Cloverdale voters — matches county Registrar Deva Proto’s prediction of a 65% turnout countywide. Her office expects to issue updates over the next two weeks before certifying the vote no later than Dec. 8.

Lands said the town “works hard to be safe with the (safe and sane) fireworks, and keep the illegal fireworks that have caused fires to a minimum. … (Fireworks) bring thousands of children joy.”

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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Water Carnival, Monte Rio

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We bought a blue 1965 Volkswagen bug for a low price because it had a white front trunk. We were driving along a rural highway and saw a white VW bug approaching. As we got close we saw that it had a blue front trunk lid. I jammed on the brakes and saw that the driver of the white bug was doing so too. We both backed up and pulled off the road. Without any discussion we unbolted the four bolts of the each hood and switched them. Big smiles all around -- and away we went.

Neil Blackfield and some of his buddies went up to Lake Tahoe to party during Christmas vacation. They were smoking pot in their motel room and somebody called the police and Neil threw the bag of pot out the window where it was caught by the policemen waiting there. They took Neil to jail. Neil called me to come and get him out and bring him home. I did, and we set off down the mountain in a blizzard. The snow was coming down so heavily that I couldn't see the center of the road clearly enough to proceed safely. So I pulled over. Soon a car pulled in behind us and a guy appeared at my window asking if we needed help. I explained about the visibility problem. He said they had chains on and if I stayed close behind him we would get down safely. So I did, and finally the snow turned to rain and all was well. I pulled over to thank him and he handed me his business card and drove away. On the card was printed, "You have just been assisted by Captain Oh Wow."

Michael Nolan


PS. I've come to the conclusion that the American president who made a decision that damaged our country the most from the moment he did it until today was Abraham Lincoln.

Eleven states in the 1860s decided that they were so culturally, economically and religiously different from the other states that continuing to be in the same country together was impossible for them. They announced that they would leave the union and form their own government. They did so -- and they elected a president, created a military, a Congress, a currency, postage stamps, and made diplomatic outreach to European governments. They called their new country the Confederate States of America. Abraham Lincoln thought that was a bad idea and it cost 600,000 dead and undying animosity from the losers.

Imagine our United States of America today without Alabama. Or Mississippi, or Georgia or Kentucky -- or all of the Confederate states. Look at any metric you care to: poverty, smoking, obesity, educational performance, political preference, occupation, religious belief, etc. compared to the rest of us. What heavy manufacturing exists is mostly by foreign corporations seeking low-wage workers unprotected by unions. Retirement income from northerners is an industry. Southern Universities produce excellent football teams, but for science or engineering or leading edge instruction in almost any profession you go north and/or west.

Observe the eastern seaboard: the economy of the northern half is driven by science, art, finance, educational institutions, etc. but below the anomaly of the DC government area, the economy is military bases and tourism all the way down.

But the biggest drag on the United States from the Confederate States of America is political. Every CSA state gets two senators and together they get 152 representatives in our Congress. So 22 senators and 152 represenatives are elected by people who would be more comfortable in their long-lost country than in ours. And they vote and delay and subvert every progressive idea. And cost the rest of us not just our endless tax dollars in support, but our best possibilities as a nation.

The Confederate States of America today would be an oil-rich theocracy something like a Baptist Iran. They would export oil, winter vegetables and sea food. They would import almost everything else. They would be highly militarized. They would be no trouble to us. Disastrous decision with endless for consequences, Abe.

ED NOTE: Oh hell yeah. It would have been great for black people, too.

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The Louvre, Guerneville

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I think most of us are grateful that many Donald Trump acolyte far-right Republicans were defeated in the recent election, especially those running for crucial swing state secretary of state positions. I’m even more grateful that most of them, including the worst election-deniers, graciously conceded. Even more amazingly, there were no Trumpian claims of “election fraud” and “vote-rigging” offered to explain their losses.

Let’s hope the worst of the Trump-driven madness of these past several years is over. But before we rest too comfortably thinking normalcy has returned, I think it’s important to remember that most of the election-denying, MAGA candidates (like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan) running for Congress or top state offices were elected — almost all winning handily.

How could so many prefer those far-right candidates — some even espousing QAnon beliefs? As comforting as these midterms have been in restoring our faith in Americana, it’s important to realize lancing this Trump boil is far from over.

Rick Childs


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He Stiff Arms One Lib, Runs Over Three More, Eludes The Entire DNC. All That's Between Him And The Goal Line Is Hunter And His Laptop! Does He Score, Or Is He Stopped A Yard Short By Mendolib?

GA Runoff Phone Callers Needed

Many thanks to all who volunteered to write postcards to GA to re-elect Raphael Warnock to the Senate We distributed 1700 postcards! Great Job!! 

Our partner, ACTIVATE AMERICA, is still operating phone banks for either beginners (with training) or experienced phoners. Here are the links and information for any who can add this to their to-do list. 

We urgently need phone banking volunteers to connect with Georgia voters. 

We’re already hearing reports of widespread voter confusion. Some assume the runoff is in January, because that’s when it was in 2020. Others think they don’t need to vote if they voted in the general election. Others still don’t know where their polling location is. 

For details go to:

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by Joe Munson

One day I was in Keith Faulder's office and I was whining about something and Faulder would not look at me. “Yo, Counselor! Hello. Over here! Hey, what's up? Why won't you look at me?”

Faulder said, “You have a rather large hole in your pants!”

I looked down and sure enough there was a 3 inch hole in the crotch of my pants!

I merely stated that I was beautiful all over and it was okay.

Faulder told me that he would take my word for it.

I once asked him why he cut me so much slack and told me it was because I had a beautiful wife and that he wanted to help us move on from the legal nightmare and continue our lives with our children and not have a financial burden hanging over us. Thank you, Keith Faulder.

One day the cops were trying to find me show they could mess with me and I asked Keith Faulder if he could pick up my daughter Millie and take her to school. He said, Sure, and told me he would take care of my girl for me and my wife.

I was on the lam for a while while my nine-year-old was on the way to the Waldorf school with the ex-District Attorney. My wife was holed up in Willits with my five-year-old son Milo with Ron Greystar and his wife Angela at their house. It all worked out but I have to give the cops credit because they are as determined as they are stupid.

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The Monte Rio Hotel

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Konga by Steve Ditko

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If you "haven't paid any attention" to the hate onslaught in which your great friend engaged, you are:

1. A liar.

2. A stupid liar.

3. A stupid, lying accomplice of a cowardly, ugly, impotent troll who should have been put out of his misery long ago.

4. A stupid, lying fascist loudmouth who, having incited a gross assault on people who have left you alone for a decade or who you never knew, i.e. me and my family, now claims no involvement or complicity in a documented hate campaign.

Nope. You *are* involved. I was not involved in this cloaca until you set Blankfort on me. You cannot escape responsibility.

I told you to consult a lawyer. Did you? Since this email should dismay you, but probably won't penetrate your armor of smugness, please hand it off to the local sheriffs up there in Boonieland. Please file a report. Do contact the FBI. I want maximum recording of your imbecilic squeaks and squeals.

Now, then, Mr. KKKountry Editor:

A. *When you deal with me, you are not dealing with a scrap of NorCal flotsam you can ignore.*

B. While you and your playmates assure yourselves that I am nothing, a fantasist who like you stays out of public life and spins bullshit, you are very, very wrong.

C. I am a proud veteran of:

C1. Violent labor struggles in which good men died for the ideals I believe in, and which you talk about ignorantly, you scabby piece of shit. Did you ever hold a union card? Did *Buttless Bari* sign you up for the fake IWW? You went around telling people orally that I was involved in that crime. You were too cowardly to print it. So: you think your ass won't be blown off your wretched body if you keep enabling attacks on me? Really? You want to bet you're safe? How much do you want to bet, dummy? You played a weak hand. Are you ready to face reality? Does your family understand what you're up to here?

C2. Liberation wars on three continents. Your crowd likes to accuse me of imaginary crimes in Central America. Is the accusation just bullshit? Think about what you are saying. You are accusing me of involvement with people you say were torturers and murderers. If you believe this why do you risk my wrath?

If I was, as you claim, complicit in massacres, and if, as is visible from the email record, your friends have no compunction about showering me and my family with gross and intentionally provocative insults and slurs, what would protect *you* from a massacre?

I was involved in taking down Pablo Escobar through my connection in Panama with the Pepes. I.e., the Cali cartel. That happened because of my participation in the overthrow of Manuel Antonio Noriega.

Am I a macho? No. I am a poet with a female personality I hid by wearing male drag. I am a genius speaking 11 languages while studying two more. I published 33 books.

I became involved in colossal historical events in the manner, as Dr. Jack Sarfatti once pointed out, of a Zelig, not even a Forrest Gump. I proceeded through life as a sleepwalker, one step after another, groping, except for the moments of Surrealist poetic exaltation, of feminine ecstasy, and of love from the women who have protected me.

I didn't go to Kosova to strut. I went to observe, to write, to assist a people that adopted me as one of their own. I speak the Albanian, Serbian, Macedonian, Vlach, and Dragash languages. Orwell, not phony Hemingway. But Orwell with 30 years in the struggle.

I heard, saw, and otherwise experienced things you will never have to deal with.

And I dealt with them directly, not sitting in an office like the new star of the international humanitarian imperialist mafia, Jack Smith.

Mr. Smith went to my beloved Kosova and was involved in one case: that of Salih Mustafa, aka Commander Cali. There is no justification for the charge against my comrade Salih. I stand with him. The tribunal in which Mr. Smith sits is a kangaroo court.

Cali is Cali is Cali.

The peppy Pepes operated by Cali rules. That is, Pablo (Medellin) would kill your family, your inlaws, your pets. The Pepes would kill your dentist, your car mechanic, and the woman who sold you a cigarette lighter at a street corner.

California is Cali. I'm not safe. You aren't safe.

Commander Cali shows the way. If you think all I did in Kosova was take pictures and read poetry, think again. If thinking is something you're capable of.

*I* *charge you with moral responsibility, by enabling vicious transphobic attacks on me, for the crime of Colorado Springs.*

I charge you with inciting an online assault on me intended, as shown by the unrestrained and deranged threats spewed by Blankfort, to subject me to a crime equal to this:

I am unafraid of any of you. I wish for you, Bruce Anderson, and your family to suffer much, much more than I have suffered. I want your house to burn down. I want your family to die in the gutter. I want you to learn what I have learned, i.e. this:

Dramatic, huh?

This isn't drama, chump. This is reality.

Someone will die before this is over. Let's see who.

Lulu Schwartz Ex-GRU, proud colleague of CIA Joined Islamic Brotherhood, Bosnia 1999. Think I'm bluffing? Bring it.

ED NOTE: Always a pleasure hearing from you, Steve-Lulu.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Carver, Clevenger, Emery, Felder

JEFFREY CARVER, Willits. Failure to appear, probation revocation.

JASON CLEVENGER, Cobb/Fort Bragg. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, parole violation.


MIA FELDER, Eureka/Ukiah. DUI causing bodily injury.

Hodge, Holcomb, Kumar

KIYA HODGE, Covelo. Conspiracy.

LANIE HOLCOMB, Willits. Domestic battery.

RAJUNDER KUMAR, Antioch/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

C.Lockhart, S.Lockhart, Niderost

CRYSTAL LOCKHART, Ukiah. Trespassing, resisting.

SHEILA LOCKHART, Novato/Ukiah. Trespassing, resisting.

EDWINA NIDEROST, Ukiah. Probation revocation.

Rogers, Rumble, Sanchez

BROCK ROGERS, Covelo. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, false imprisonment.

GAVIN RUMBLE, Willits. Failure to appear.

LISA SANCHEZ, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

Shealor, Wilson, Yale

AUSTIN SHEALOR, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, county parole violation.

JENNA WILSON, Fort Bragg. Stolen vehicle.

ALDEN YALE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.

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Downtown Guerneville, 1950s

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NATIVE SON: What’s The Ever-Lasting Appeal Of Books And Bookstores? It’s no mystery.

by Carl Nolte

My sister Alyce and her husband, Ben, gave me a great birthday present the other day: a gift certificate to a bookstore. I’m addicted to books and bookstores. It was like giving a gambler a stack of lucky chips.

It gave me an excuse to prowl the aisles of favorite stores, judge a book by its cover, pick up a new book, read a page or two and put it back. I was no ordinary browser. I was a real customer, armed with a card good for a pricey hardback at no cost to me.

I’ve always liked bookstores. I like the look of them: books stacked to the ceiling, shiny, new, unopened. I like the smell of new books, the sharp scent of ink. Or the musty smell of used bookstores, knowledge coated with dust. Sometimes I hunt for bargains — remaindered books, best-sellers that never were, or biographies of the almost famous. Once I came upon the life of King Zog of Albania, marked down for quick sale. You never know.

The King Zog book was at the book sale at the Friends of the San Francisco Library at Fort Mason. I know people who would wait for the annual Friends sale and come out with shopping bags full of books. But I am only mildly addicted.

“I guess there are never enough books,” John Steinbeck said once. But he never saw my basement, which is full of books and other dusty stuff. Or my occasional compulsion to go out and get more, especially if they come as birthday presents.

San Francisco has always been a bookish city, from Mark Twain and Frank Norris to Lemony Snicket. San Francisco has a big main library and 27 branches and dozens of bookstores. A real cultural asset. Sometimes we forget.

You may remember the big book superstores, Borders and Barnes & Noble. They didn’t survive in San Francisco, but big and small bookstores did.

The grandest of all, of course, is City Lights, in North Beach — founded by Lawrence Ferlinghetti — a literary landmark of the first magnitude. It is so famous, so eminent, I sometimes feel a bit intimidated there.

So I started my book quest at two of the smaller ones — Adobe Books and the former Alley Cat Books, now called Medicine for Nightmares, two hole-in-the-wall places within a few blocks of each other on the Latino stretch of 24th Street in the Mission. Both are lively little places with art galleries attached.

Not a mile away, in Noe Valley, is Folio Books, at 3957 24th St., a neighborhood bookstore in a very different neighborhood.

The Mission also has the marvelously named Dog Eared Books on Valencia Street, with books spilling out on the street.

I always liked neighborhood bookstores: BookShop West Portal, Green Apple on Clement in the Richmond and also on Ninth Avenue in the Inner Sunset, and Booksmith on Haight. Books Inc, which traces its history to the Gold Rush, has two neighborhood outlets: in the Laurel Village shopping center and another on Chestnut Street in the Marina. The Books Inc. store at Opera Plaza on Van Ness Avenue is what I think of as the flagship of an 11-store chain.

Bookstores are like restaurants. You can’t go to them all, but you can have favorites.

Here are half a dozen. For the most exotic I vote for Kinokuniya in Japantown, a branch of a Japanese chain. Besides the standard bookstore fare, Kinokuniya has Japanese books and magazines, Japanese and English-language manga and gifts. You feel for a moment that you are in Japan.

When everyone worked in downtown offices, I would occasionally sneak out for a long lunch hour. But not for food. For a visit to the Alexander Book Co. on Second Street. A fine place for browsing: three floors of books — 50,000 of them, discounts on best-sellers, also cards and other good stuff. And a good collection of African American books, novels, essays and material not found in other places. There is also a goodly selection of mainstream bargain books.

I hang out in Marin a lot and have three favorites north of the Golden Gate: Stinson Beach Books, a small shop in a beach town; Point Reyes Books, a cultural outpost in a wildly beautiful area; and Sausalito Books by the Bay, on the edge of Richardson Bay.

The view from there is only surpassed by the Book Passage store in San Francisco’s Ferry Building. The inside is full of books, of course. And outside is the blue bay, and a fine view of the Bay Bridge. Ships and ferryboats coming and going are the backdrop, a moveable feast.

My gift card was good there. After nearly an hour of browsing, I got “The Revolutionary Samuel Adams,” a hefty book of history. And I ordered another book as well. There are never enough books.

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JFK was my first political hero. I could have been one of these boys shown in this campaign trail photograph from West Virginia. I was a high school freshman when a smiling Kennedy stepped off a campaign train in my hometown of Marysville and shook my outstretched hand, along with a few hundred others. Part of a two day, old fashioned whistle stop tour of the Central Valley.

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Narrowboat Lodging [somewhere in England] photo by Randy Burke

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by Jonah Raskin

“American exceptionalism is starting to undergo a degradation and feel more and more like revisionist history, especially when it comes to this country’s ties to imperialism, slavery, the genocide of indigenous people.”

- Jinwoo Chong

In Flux, his new, ambitious first novel which mixes the surrealistic with science fiction, Jinwoo Chong keeps his characters in near constant motion, and, like a virtuoso author, invites readers to participate in and to co-create meaning. An English major at Georgetown with an MFA from Columbia, and the child of Korean American parents, Chong has crafted a literary puzzle in which intriguing words, phrases and sentences bounce off the page. Reading Flux can feel like playing a video game or a pinball machine. Take for example, the descriptions of a phone that lives in the same bed in which the main character, Brandon, sleeps.

One morning he wakes, sees the phone under his pillow, digs it out and reads the time. A few pages further on, the same sentence reappears, only this time Chong provides the near precise time on the phone: almost eight a.m. The identical sentence shows up again and again and again and again with one or two slight variations.

What’s going on? A reader might ask. Can’t Chong write the sentence and leave it be? One answer might be that Brandon is a creature of his phone and addicted to it. When the author wants to convey information he shows rather than tells. Also, when he infuses his novel with ideas, he usually allows the characters to express them rather than convey them directly to the reader in his own voice. One protagonist says, “There is so much goddamn corporate obfuscation around buzzwords and meaningless lingo.” He adds, “Our planet is dying. We no longer have the resources to sustain our growth.”

“Flux” is the name of the goddamn corporation that cannibalizes Chong, using him as a human guinea pig for its experiments with time, space and the workings of the mind. Reading the novel, one might wonder if we’re all human guinea pigs in the big social laboratory in which the powers-that-be experiment with fascistic games, media, language and the tools of repression.

In the brave new world that unfolds in Flux, Brandon is an Adam who falls from his own illusory paradise and descends into a strange and terrifying world in which “everything goes white.” Early in the novel, Brandon literally tumbles down an elevator shaft and is never quite the same again; a human being in free fall and alienated from himself and at times a character in an existentialist work of fiction.

Flux stands out as a novel with ideas, dramatic scenes, and shifts in genre. It will likely appeal to readers brought up on narratives that explore time and space and at the same time illuminate social issues. The epigraph at the front of the novel comes from H. G. Wells’s classic The Time Machine. The narrator observes that he has “the feeling of prolonged falling” and that he is “flung headlong through the air.” 

If Chong’s anti-hero is addicted to his phone, he’s also addicted to a 1980s TV show called Raider which stands out from the normal fare of programs on the screen because it features an Asian detective, and that, as Brandon himself explains, “defined an entire genre of television.” The TV cop is nearly as real for Brandon as any of the human beings he encounters, including a young woman named Min who flickers briefly across the screen of his life and who asks him “Are you Korean?”

At first he doesn’t know what to say. After all, he’s confused about his identity, ethnicity, sexuality and gender. In response to Min’s question, he says, “Yes. On my mother’s side.” Like a few of the other characters in the book, he belongs to what he calls “the hybrid generations.”

Chong usually disdains labels and rightly so. They often obfuscate as much as they clarify. Still, it’s probably fair to say that he shares common ground with authors in the field of Korean American fiction that has grown steadily and that promises to keep on growing. The more books by Asian American writers the better for “eccentricity and experimentation.”

So says Viet Thanh Nguyen, the author of The Sympathizer, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, inspired Chong and helped open the door to authors who want to go beyond white American stereotypes of Asians as bad drivers, and genuses at math who all look alike.

Melville House, Chong’s publisher, aptly describes Flux as “neo-noir” and “an exploration of the cyclical nature of grief, of moving past trauma, and of the pervasive nature of whiteness within the development of Asian identity in America.” On the eve of the 2022 midterm elections, Chong emailed me to say “an important note to make might be that American exceptionalism is starting to undergo a degradation and feel more and more like revisionist history, especially when it comes to this country’s ties to imperialism, slavery, the genocide of indigenous people.”

Io Emsworth, a billionaire and the founder of Flux, serves as the femme fatale in a novel that’s definitely dark and that definitely takes a deep dive into the nature of white America. For much of the time in which the story unfolds, snow falls steadily and blankets the ground in an unnamed city where Brandon lives and works and finds himself unemployed, but a useful resource for the corporation.

Flux reminded me of Richard Wright’s Native Son, a powerful exploration of whiteness and blackness, in which snow falls in Chicago, where the main character, Bigger Thomas, a Black man employed by a wealthy family, murders Mary, a young white woman. Flux might also invite readers to recall Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, another exploration of blackness, whiteness and identity and one of Chong’s favorite twentieth century American novels.

Flux is definitely a work of fiction for twenty-first century readers who won’t be driven away by phrases such as “Blowjob Bathroom” and who won’t need a translation for “You want me to spoon you?” If the novel has a flaw it might be that its (too) many characters—Jem, Gil, Lev and Kaz—crowd Brandon and don’t have nearly enough room to emerge as “rounded” and not remain “flat” to use two teacher words.

During a Zoom interview, Chong told me “I don’t feel Asian. I consider myself mostly American.” He added “whiteness is America and America is whiteness.” That troubles him. Born in 1995 in the U.S. to Korean American parents who speak Korean far better than he, Chong was raised in Princeton, New Jersey where he attended high school. He explained that Flux flowed from a short story titled “Six Enumerated Complications of Gravity “about a person addicted to a sense of weightlessness.”

While writing the novel during the pandemic, he says, he became aware of his “own poisoning by the Internet and pop culture.” Flux isn’t about a pandemic, but the pandemic affected Chong’s state of mind. “For six months, it seemed unstoppable,” he says. “I thought I could get the virus and die. It was a traumatic experience. I stayed at home. I think the pandemic helped me write better.”

Is Flux autobiographical? “Brandon is and isn’t me,” Chong says. “He’s biracial. I’m not. People look at my face and know I’m Asian. In the novel, the other characters look at him and they’re not sure who or what he is.” A work of fiction that Chong recommends is No-No Boy (1957) by John Okada, a Japanese American writer that’s about a Japanese American who refuses to fight for the U.S. in World War II and serves two years in prison and another two years in an internment camp

Would Chong fight for the US, or would he be another “no-no boy” like the character in Okada’s novel? “I used to feel proud to be an American, somewhat, but not anymore,” Chong says. “Societal failures are swept under the rug by advertising and by elected politicians who seem to want to destroy our core values. People in the rest of the world are well aware of America’s problems.”

Flux ends with a question and without any clear answers. One of the characters walks “away from a life he was not a part of and no longer could be.” He has “just one question: what was going to happen next?” For Chong, what will happen next for sure is the publication of his novel. Nothing can stop it now, not even a blizzard and a wall of whiteness. Will it become another Invisible Man? Perhaps. It seems likely to start out as a kind of underground work with a cult following. And then what? Anything is possible in a world in which everything is in flux.

* * *


Juan Marichal hits John Roseboro over the head with a bat during an important Dodgers-Giants pennant race game, 1965:

* * *


A brief note on a strange byline

by Matt Taibbi

Over the weekend I wrote a short piece about the leaden New York Times response to Donald Trump’s campaign announcement, “America Deserves Better Than Donald Trump.” I was far from the only person in the business to chuckle about this essay, written not by staff, but by the paper’s illustrious Editorial Board.

Others noted the dramatic design, which featured a photo of Donald Trump in front of a bright red background, as a painting of a similarly posed Trump in Richie Rich tennis gear looked on from the side. It’s a unique effect: funeral home meets Bob Geldof-in-The Wallmeets the Biden-in-Philly speech, with a dash of the iconic shot-within-a-shot joke featuring Lloyd Bridges leaning on his desk in Airplane:

Others noted a byline-preamble that puts the reader on notice that The Editorial Board authoring the text is a separate group of individuals, with distinct “expertise” and “longstanding values,” whose ageless wisdom places it above the common run of staff. 

By The Editorial Board

The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.

The paper has been using this “informed by expertise and longstanding values” tag for years, but there’s a story behind the practice that speaks to the increasingly bizarre fantasy gripping its editors.

In the second week of 2020, since-liquidated Opinion Page editor James Bennet announced that in an effort to “shed more light on how we work,” the Times would henceforth explain more about some of its processes. A new section would answer questions ranging from “How does the Times cover mass shootings?” to “How does the Times avoid conflicts of interest in book reviews?” to “What is an Editorial Board?”

The Understanding The Times series was meant to address a trust problem. An idea, to which Bennet alluded, was to convince readers that journalists do not take political direction from senior editors. Bennet noted, for instance, that “the first anyone in the newsroom learned of the board’s editorial about the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, for instance, was when we posted it to The Times’s website.”

Of course, that’s not the issue. Journalists in big organizations don’t take blunt cues from political hall monitors, but get clear messages about what bosses want by watching who is and is not promoted, what stories get top billing and which ones get sent back for endless rewrites, and, especially, who gets fired. Bennet himself could testify to this, as he’d be axed later that year for running an editorial by Tom Cotton. 

The Times believed it could solve its trust issues with these explainers. They also took an additional step. In consultation with publisher A.G. Sulzberger, the Board decided to attach a lengthy statement of “guiding values” to each Editorial Board essay. What resulted was a window into the thinking of the bubble-dwelling folk running the institution. 

I’d read the “certain longstanding values” part before, but never clicked either of the links (e.g. on “Editorial Board”) to reach the longer “statement of guiding values.” This is a separate page that describes in humorously florid detail the Board’s Atlas-like responsibilities. A sample:

The board argues for a world that is both free and fair, believing that societies must struggle to reconcile these values in order to succeed. It has long supported a liberal order of nations in which freedom and progress advance through democracy and capitalism. But it has also sought to guard against the excesses of those systems by promoting honest governance, civil rights, equality of opportunity, a healthy planet and a good life for society’s most vulnerable members.

This sounds eerily like the intro to the old Superman show, about the “strange visitor from another planet who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men… and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper, wages a never ending battle for truth, justice and the American way…” Well, maybe just truth and justice. Or justice, anyway. 

A friend points out claiming an ancient responsibility to “guard” against the excesses of freedom is an odd position for a newspaper to take. Even the idea that there’s natural tension between a “free” and “fair” world is strange. The American state is designed to be an attainable fusion of freedom and fairness, and though we obviously haven’t lived up to those ideals, it’s quite eccentric to believe “democracy and capitalism” naturally produce fairness deficits now needing correcting by… whom? A group of newspaper editors? Is this the Times editorial board, or The Avengers?

About five years ago there was a terrible epidemic that ran through the population of Washington congressional aides, causing them to speak entirely in Game of Thrones metaphors. Before that it was House of Cards, and before that West Wing. Now The Avengers seems to be the operating figurative framework for people working in both politics and media. 

I love The Avengers movies. They’re silly but mostly fun as hell (the latest Thor movie was a blast). Unfortunately, there are people who take the politics of these films seriously. Most resonant is the aristocratic fantasy about the perils of letting a base citizenry insist on oversight as they heap abuse on selfless heroes who toil on their behalf.

The Avengers are/were basically a better-looking version of the ideal Democratic Party cabinet, being diverse, forward-thinking, mostly from New York, and led by a lovable military contractor, with lots of Brits in auxiliary roles. (Thomas Friedman even fantasized about a diverse “super ticket” to defeat Trump). Our super-protectors are forever forced to interfere in human affairs to stop a Thanos-like menace (Putin? Trump?) and because the clock is always ticking toward apocalypse, they can never afford to wait for legal niceties. 

The Times Board goes to these rhetorical places surprisingly often. A few weeks ago they ran a piece called, “America Can Have Democracy or Political Violence. Not Both.” It expressed frustration with First Amendment protections and hyped the need to save democracy through “preventive care” in the form of a legal “tourniquet” that could be used to outlaw certain groups. “All the News That’s Fit to Print” is becoming “All the Groups Fit to Exist.” The theme of needing more power to do more and more squashing (of speech, of Trump, of extremists in uniform, etc.) has become a preoccupation, to the point where nearly every editorial says the same thing.

Even the Infinity War meme works with this group, whose editorial response to news of sweeping sanctions against Russia last year was an MCU-style diatribe against the pantywaist nonmilitary response. “Can Sanctions Really Stop Putin?” ripped sanctions for having a poor record “in changing regimes” (is that what we’re doing?), adding their record of “changing dictators’ behavior is mixed at best,” too. 

You can agree with all this or not, but it’s pretty far afield from the business of running a newspaper. Editors should spend 99.9% of their time making sure they’re not green-lighting factual car-wrecks, and about six seconds a day thinking about how to run the earth. The Times Board is flipping that ratio.

Trust in journalism isn’t something you can boost with a marketing campaign. It’s a tedious process of proving every day you have an institutional commitment to getting facts right while being willing to admit error. Readers paid attention when the Times held a piece questioning WMD intelligence until after the invasion of Iraq, when former CIA chief Michael Hayden bragged in a book about working with Times editors to kill stories critical of the intelligence community, and, more recently, when they refused any kind of audit with regard to failures in the Trump-Russia story.

The Times always hated what it saw as too-vulgar manifestations of newspapering, like funny papers and nutty sports headlines. After Trump got elected the editors began to see themselves as the last line of defense against fascism. Now that they were saving the world, they could fully commit to being the super-serious Super Times. 

But no one needs newspapers to save the world. We just need them to get stuff right. Why isn’t that enough?

* * *

* * *


A lot of the old mobsters (and new, I guess) liked to dress to the nines. ‘What, me a criminal with these threads?’ Of course, law enforcement wasn’t fooled for long.

I love film noir from the forties and fifties, and love seeing gangsters and detectives both seeming to compete for the cover of GQ or Esquire magazine with their dapper suits and dandy fedoras.

Dick Powell suited up well. In the “Pope of Greenwich Village” Mickey Roark makes it a point to look sharp before confronting Burt Young in a showdown near the end. Cagney, Bogey, Garfield, Raft, Pesci, de Niro, Nick Nolte and crew in “Mulholland Falls”, etc., etc., all looked good in suits and ties.

The image says a lot. “Miami Vice” on tv was dressy in a loose, louche way. But what about the Wall Street ‘power’ suit, is it really any different from the sharkskin gangster suit?

Make a statement, that’s what a suit can do. Look at the Pachucos and the Zoot suits.

“Fashion is what you adopt when you don’t know who you are.” Maybe all those know who they are, but I doubt it. 

ZZ Top summed it all up though. “Every Girl Crazy ‘Bout a Sharp Dressed Man”.

* * *

Southern Chain Gang, circa 1903

* * *


by Patrick Cockburn

It’s curious to see the US military advocate diplomacy to end the war in Ukraine, while President Joe Biden and his senior officials oppose it. Much to the embarrassment of the administration, Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, says that Ukraine is unlikely to win back the Crimea and it is time for talks. “You want to negotiate from a position of strength,” Milley said in a speech in New York last week. “Russia is on its back.”

Soldiers tend to have a better balanced sense than politicians about the way in which advantage in war can swing backwards and forwards. They ought to have after their grim experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, in both of which the US thought at one point that it had won a total victory.

Milley may well be right, but it is difficult to see why Ukraine should negotiate while it is winning victories on the ground. As for President Vladimir Putin, he will scarcely want to talk until his army has achieved something other than stage shambolic retreats and lose territory captured in the first days of the invasion.

What indeed are Russia’s war aims? On 24 February, and for a couple of days afterwards, they were clear enough: Russia wanted to conquer Ukraine and install a proxy government, much as in Czechoslovakia in 1968. It did not happen: the invasion failed miserably to achieve any of its objectives, so what exactly is Russia fighting for today?

As for the war itself, the Ukrainian victories at Kharkiv and Kherson show that the Russian army is a shambles and it has never recovered from the initial debacle. But the ground war in Ukraine is only one part of the conflict: another is the Russian drone and missile assault on Ukrainian electricity, gas and water supplies. As we have seen in conflicts in the Middle East, precision-guided missiles and drones, once the monopoly of the US, are the new face of war, against which total defence is impossible. The Russians are avoiding direct attacks on the two nuclear plants in western Ukraine, but they are destroying the transmission cables and substations that cannot be speedily replaced.

The other front in the conflict is the economic war against Russia which has turned out to be a spectacular boomerang with ruinous consequences for European economies. Sanctions are a collective punishment on ordinary Russians, but do not directly target the Kremlin. Sanctions did not remove Saddam Hussein in Iraq over 13 years or Bashar al-Assad in Syria over a decade, and there is no reason to suppose that they will work against Putin.

Beneath the Radar

It has been a bad few weeks for politicians normally identified as populist nationalists: Boris Johnson failed to make a comeback as UK prime minister after being evicted from 10 Downing Street earlier in the year. Jair Bolsonaro lost the presidential election in Brazil. And now Donald Trump is having to fight off Republican rivals after a disappointing performance in the midterms.

But Benjamin Netanyahu, the first example of this type of politics whom I ever encountered, is back in business in Israel at the head of an extreme right wing government with a stable majority in the Knesset.

First elected prime minister in 1996, he ticks all the same boxes as the other populists – and has shown greater staying power. But there are still seven million Israeli Jews and seven million Palestinians between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean and nothing has finally been resolved about how they will exist together. Here is a good expert analysis of what has happened by the International Crisis Group and the US/Middle East Project.

Cockburn’s Picks

Edible Economics: A Hungry Economist Explains the World by Ha-Joon Chang is a fascinating and persuasive approach to the economic state of the world.


* * *

* * *

I ONCE MET A GUY who was a boxcar fighter. There are these secret fights that take place inside boxcars on the cattle cars. They lock two guys inside a boxcar and nobody watches them fight. The guy who bangs on the door and comes out is the winner. The boxcar fights that I put in my movie were just out of control. A lot of swinging arms, kicking, biting, and people just trying to save their lives — doing whatever they can to win. When people fight for their lives, when they know they are going to die, they will do anything. It's not pretty. You bite, you crawl, you pull hair.

My ex-wife got into a fight one time with another stunt girl. They were both drunk. They had this feud going on because they look a lot alike. Everybody thought they were sisters. They were on a hill, and her husband and I were just going to let them talk it out. The next thing I know they are rolling down this hill, my wife had a hold of the other girl's boob, twisting it. That's what a fight is. It's about grabbing whatever you can to hurt someone so you can win. The quickest way to win a fight is to break one of their fingers or gouge an eye out. There is a lot of violence in my film, but it's not a glorified violence, it's showing how bad real violence is. There is a scene where a guy is getting killed and he punches the guy in the upper arm breaking it and incapacitating him. These are the kinds of things that are really done in fights.

— Mike Watson

* * *

The World's Fair VI: Fireworks, woodcut by Félix Vallotton, 1901

* * *


Russia launched “massive shelling” in towns and villages on the eastern front line in the Donetsk region on Tuesday, according to a Ukrainian official.

There is evidence of "systemic war crimes" being committed in every region where Russian forces have been deployed in Ukraine, a US State Department official said.

More than 6,500 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since the start of the war, according to the UN. Actual figures are believed to be "considerably higher."

With temperatures dropping, Ukraine will begin voluntary evacuations from areas in the southern Kherson region as damage to infrastructure from Russian strikes has made it perilous for residents. Ukrainian energy suppliers have also been forced to impose additional blackouts as demand for electricity outstrips supply. 

* * *

* * *

PROFESSIONAL REVOLUTIONARIES usually assume that the hardest part of our job will be to concentrate the maximum number of the exploited into one place at one time, thus showing them that although weak as individuals their strength is irresistible when united. I've never before come across the opposite problem — how to disperse your own supporters, damp down the fires you have lit; turn back home the forces hurrying to save you. When straining to raise up the aroused masses you at least have history on your side. We are struggling against the current, defying nature, attempting to reverse gravity and force water to fall upward. Yet we have done it.

— Lenin, as channeled by Alan Brien

* * *

Buddy Guy (photo by Gary Spector)

* * *


by Wes Jackson and Robert Jensen

Let us start with the easy part: Strategies for achieving a just and sustainable human presence on Earth must involve holding the wealthy and powerful accountable for damage done and moving toward a more equitable distribution of wealth and power.

Okay, maybe that is not so easy.

But sustainability also requires something much more difficult: a commitment to a global down-powering for affluent societies and an acceptance of limits on human population and consumption. If there is to be a decent human future—perhaps any human future at all—we have to reject the growth economy, including illusions about “green growth.”

Call it “degrowth” or “steady state economics” or “doughnut economics.” Advocates for different approaches will disagree about specifics of policy proposals, but there is growing awareness of the need to talk about limits. That starts with recognizing the necessity of transcending capitalism and the current politics designed to serve capitalists, in pursuit of an equitable distribution of wealth within planetary boundaries. Those of us living in the more affluent sectors of the world should not try to evade these moral assessments and political obligations.

If this kind of honest reckoning with history and contemporary economic-political realignment were accomplished, then what? With nearly 8 billion people and most of the world’s infrastructure built with (and dependent upon) highly dense energy, then what? If running that existing infrastructure on renewable energy is highly unlikely, then what?

It is tempting to believe that we can identify low-energy societies from the past or communities in the contemporary world with lower-energy living arrangements and then simply replicate them more widely. It is also tempting to believe that breaking the grip of concentrated wealth and power and expanding democratic decision-making will lead to sustainable societies. But such hopes are based on a misunderstanding of the problem.

Our task today is not only to learn how to live “lower on the food chain” but, rather, how to transition from the existing infrastructure and organization of contemporary societies to infrastructure and organization that is consistent with a sustainable future. And we have to do this as we live with population densities far greater than any previous phase of human history, with an eye toward dramatic reductions in population. No past or existing society or ideology provides a workable model or viable plan for this task.

In those efforts, we should learn from the low-energy societies of the past and exemplary experiments within today’s societies while we craft a new moral and ideological grounding for a down-powering society. But those good examples do not offer a program for moving from the current state of most societies (large populations, high-energy, unsustainable) to where we need to be (smaller populations, low-energy, sustainable).

There are very few examples in history of a complex society choosing to scale back. For example, the eastern portion of the Roman Empire, what came to be known as the Byzantine Empire, survived after the fall of the western portion by choosing to reduce the complexity of its society. On the ropes and facing threats from Islamic Arabs, Byzantine imperial officials backed away from a money economy and started paying soldiers in land; reduced the size of their army and merged civil and military systems; reorganized the economy around self-sufficient manors; and simplified administration across the board. On the verge of disintegration in the eighth century, the Byzantine Empire was a major power in Europe and the Near East by the 11th century, lasting until the middle of the 15th century. The Byzantine example is an exception to the patterns of history. And today, the task is far more challenging: a down-powering on a global level with the goal of fewer people living on less energy, achieved by means of democratically managed planning to minimize suffering.

No one has yet offered a program to achieve the task before us. Simply invoking previous societies that lived with less energy and lower population densities is not a program. Because planning for transition on this scale is difficult to imagine, people are quick to embrace technological optimism and imagine that we will invent our way to a just and sustainable future without harsh reckoning and dramatic realignment. This optimism slides all too easily into a technological fundamentalism that undermines people’s ability to acknowledge and face the difficult challenges. Too often, people on all sides of the political debate seek salvation in a faith-based claim that the development of more high-energy advanced technology will resolve vexing energy and resource challenges.

Innovation and renewable energy are important, and we are all for expanding research and development. But we need to replace fanciful dreams of endless energy from renewables with full-cost accounting, which an increasing number of experts are taking seriously. There are destructive environmental and social consequences to constructing the infrastructure for that energy production. As one researcher puts it, “While the sun and wind are indeed infinitely renewable, the materials needed to convert those resources into electricity—minerals like cobalt, copper, lithium, nickel, and the rare-earth elements, or REEs—are anything but.” Independent of the ecological costs of the mining, “global reserves are not large enough to supply enough metals to build the renewable non-fossil fuels industrial system or satisfy long term demand in the current system.”

Rational planning for down-powering that accepts biophysical limits is necessary. We use the term “rational” with “planning” with some hesitation, well aware that much of the planning of the industrial era that was believed to be rational—that is, based on evidence generated while working within widely accepted scientific theories—is the source of many of our most vexing problems. In retrospect, a whole lot of rational planning of the recent past looks distinctly irrational. But we see no option but to embrace a rational process, evaluating evidence without delusions of grandeur and learning from the many mistakes of the past.

Such rational planning means we cannot pretend that if we humans were freed from hierarchical social systems we would suddenly find it easy to avoid the comforts and pleasures associated with dense energy, to which people have become accustomed (in the more affluent societies) or to which they aspire (almost everywhere else). While much wasteful consumption is driven by the propaganda of the growth economy (i.e., advertising and marketing), fossil fuels and other sources of energy also make people’s lives easier in many ways that are not frivolous. There is considerable variation in people’s assessment of their needs, but capturing and using dense energy for comfort and pleasure is not a unique goal of imperialists and capitalists.

It is time to face a harsh reality: There are no solutions, if by solutions we mean ways to support anything like the existing number of people at anything like the existing level of aggregate consumption. Wishing it to be possible, simply because the alternatives are difficult to imagine—let alone achieve—does not make it possible.


* * *

Horse Wagon in Cazadero


  1. Lee Edmundson November 23, 2022

    Kentucky didn’t secede from the Union. Nor did Delaware, Maryland or Missouri. They were termed the Border States. In 1863, West Virginia seceded from Virginia and joined the Union.

    • George Dorner November 23, 2022

      Maryland never had a chance of seceding. Union troops seized the artillery on Federal Hill that had repelled the British in the War of 1812 and turned it then 180 degrees to point at downtown Baltimore and the docks.

  2. Chuck Dunbar November 23, 2022


    CATCH OF THE DAY: As happens on occasion, more women arrested by MCSO than men on 11/22–9 women, some older, some fairly young, out of 16 total. It always makes me wonder, and it always worries me in some way, too. Not a good omen for us, that’s for sure…

    • Marilyn Davin November 23, 2022

      Interesting you brought this up. I, too, read the Catch of the Day with growing dismay as more scary-looking women charged with domestic abuse and other violent crimes stare back at me. I’ve noticed lately that current commercials featuring work environments invariably show a determined woman ordering around groups of hapless, sexless male underlings. And so-called “action” flicks, in a misguided (in my opinion) and perverted nod to “diversity” show violent, heavily armed female leads to be every bit as murderous as their male counterparts of days gone by. I remember in the distant past something about gender equality bringing out the best in both genders, not the worst.

      • Lazarus November 23, 2022

        Women instigating domestic violence are usually one of two things.
        Either the woman is taking the fall for her significant other with priors, or she’s tired of being thumped by her abusive whatever and is finally getting even…
        On a side note. A Sheriff I once knew called Thanksgiving, “An annual beat your wife day.”
        Merry Turkey Day…!

        • George Dorner November 23, 2022

          I find it interesting/puzzling that fresh faces posted in Catch are tagged as “frequent flyers”. Does the editor run their rap sheets when they run the initial portrait by Low Gap Studios, and then give their humble readers a heads up/watch out? Or is my cognition slipping a gear?

          Not that this is an objection to said editorial appellation. In many cases, the reference could justly be a much harsher one. Still, I am a curious George. How about it, Mr. Anderson?

  3. Kirk Vodopals November 23, 2022

    Interesting perspective from Mr Nolan in Comptche regarding Lincoln and our States of Murica. Check out the US men’s soccer coach t-shirt (Greg Berrhalter).
    A house divided falls, right? Or maybe we just go our separate ways for the better? Just sluff off all those fat, racist, redneck, stupid southern Democrats and all our progressive liberal ideals will lead us to Utopia. The other mistake that the will haunt this country forever is what our founding fathers did to the Native Tribes of North America.
    Be advised, Mr Nolan, that you are very near to, or possibly surrounded by, the State of Jefferson.

    • Betsy Cawn November 23, 2022

      A few years back, the Board of Supervisors of the County of Lake voted in favor of supporting the State of Jefferson, and endorsing the secession of the northern “half” of the state of California from the south. We still have a couple of die-hard (State of) Jeffersonians who display their logo proudly on their motor vehicles.

      During the first few months of the COVID19 public health crisis in 2020, trucks grandly bearing the flag of the Confederate States of America drove around the front of the county courthouse, tooting their horns, towing their motor boats, in a self-indulgent display of umbrage because the Public Health Officer was unwilling to allow recreational visiting from out of the county on the Memorial Day weekend, and these raucous patriots were pissed off because they couldn’t exercise their “right” to use the lake. The Sheriff published his “position” on enforcing the Public Health mandates on May 2, and the battle between anti-PPE advocates and pro-maskers ensued.

      A couple of weeks ago, the same Sheriff announced that he will retire at the end of December, leaving the Board of Supervisors the task of appointing someone to fill his position until the election in 2024. And the anticipated end of the Governor’s state of emergency for COVID (and its lethal variants) at the beginning of the new year appears to have been postponed, while additional threats loom on the airborne disease horizon. Happy kneejerk kill-a-bird day.

      • Marmon November 23, 2022

        I wonder if Trent James is going get his name on the 2024 ballot for Mendocino County Sheriff? It will be interesting to see how he does with a full year to campaign officially instead of 2 weeks as a write-in candidate.


        • Lazarus November 23, 2022

          No input from James in two months… according to YouTube.

          • Marmon November 23, 2022

            I’ll make a couple of calls.


          • Bruce McEwen November 23, 2022

            Plato asked, Who will guard against the guards?

            How about a Trent James citizen-sponsored oversight committee of what the mountain men used to call Dog Soldiers, to keep the cops honest in Mendocino?

            It would take a man like Mr. James to do it, but he would need a lot of support from the community and considering recent embarrassments at the Ukiah PD, widespread support is probably eager for someone to take the bit in his mouth and run with it…

            • Bruce McEwen November 23, 2022

              Oh, and incidentally, living in obscurity is the most dangerous place for an honest man: there’s a verse from Alex Pope to this effect, but the lesson is stay in public view when you upset the powers that be….

              • Bruce McEwen November 23, 2022

                Consider that letter to our esteemed editor. A criminal if not terrorist threat (the distinction irrelevant)!

                Why not shitcan it?

                That would be destroying material evidence. And the smug silly reader blinks and mutters my-my, nary a protest from this great huge enormous big fat stupid indolent readership that Bruce Anderson’s life, his family, and all his associates are going to be slaughtered, the Anderson estate burnt and razed, and this fellow, this Lula lulu will dance a jig in the ashes and sing comic songs. Gee whiz, I had no idea — though I criticize him myself— the readership was capable of such appalling indifference.

                • Bruce McEwen November 23, 2022

                  Chuckle & smirk you smug fuckers. But it happened yesterday in Colorado and again this morning in Chesapeake.
                  Like those army recruits who sang as they marched, Fuck yer buddy, and lookout for No. 1 — the Army of One ad.? — you are on your own if you won’t stand with your own kind.

                  Semper Fi

    • George Hollister November 23, 2022

      Well written, and thoughtful piece by Michael Nolan. I have wondered about the same thing. Would it not have been better to let the South go? The mistake we make is to draw linear projections of the future based on the apparent direction of the present.

      Slavery, for one, was not likely sustainable. And as long as it continued, the South, as an independent country, could not use the Fugitive Slave Act to go after slaves escaping in pursuit of their freedom.

      Another point worth pondering is the sustainability of Red Neck culture. Thomas Sowell offers an interesting perspective in a book he wrote called “Black Rednecks And White Liberals”. Johnny Reb’ was a redneck, with roots in Scotland, and Scottish culture. I add, the Scotts hated the Brits, which carried over to Johnny Reb’ hated the Yanks, and visa-versa. In Scotland, that culture has all but disappeared. It likely would have disappeared in the South quicker if the South were an independent country.

      All thoughts to consider.

      • Kirk Vodopals November 23, 2022

        Slavery isn’t sustainable? Tell that to the Qataris as we watch World Cup matches in stadiums constructed by modern-day slaves, many of whom gave their lives for a rich-mans temporary entertainment facility.

        • George Hollister November 23, 2022

          Maybe, Qatar has slaves because they can afford them. And how much of the work was actually done by slaves? It is hard for me to believe that engineers, and skilled laborers would be working as slaves. If they are not getting paid, I would think they would be looking elsewhere.

          • Aura De La Fuente November 23, 2022

            The workers in question are primarily from Pakistan, not slaves in the classical sense, closer to indentured servants, something very common in Pakistan. The employers of these workers hold their passports, a very effective form of lock and key.

            • George Hollister November 23, 2022

              I don’t know much about it, but have to assume the Pakistanis went to Qatar by choice. For this to work for Qatar if they are depending on unpaid labor, they would need a steady supply. A steady supply was not what the South had. By 1860, the slave trade had been cut off. So slave owners in the South had to reproduce their own slaves. Huge profits in cotton allowed for this huge expense, and unbelievably huge prices at the slave auctions. Mechanization would have killed this economy. Machines are less hassle, and less cost. The Southern slave economy couldn’t hide from the Industrial Revolution.

    • pca67 November 23, 2022

      One thing I do know is Reconstruction ended 20 years too early.

      • Bruce Anderson November 23, 2022

        If Grant had directly succeeded Lincoln and not the contemptible Johnson, Reconstruction might have been vigorously enforced, and not the disaster it turned out to be.

      • George Hollister November 23, 2022

        Good point. The intended task of converting slaves, and slave masters to freedom was too big a task for a sustainable effort. The Abolitionists quickly, mostly gave up. This gets back to the original question, would it have been better to let the South form its own country?

  4. Michael Geniella November 23, 2022

    Matt Taibbi: “But no one needs newspapers to save the world. We just need them to get stuff right. Why isn’t that enough?”
    Perhaps Taibbi should adhere to his own admonishments.

  5. Bill Pilgrim November 23, 2022

    re: Ukraine.
    Curious how Russia, which Cockburn claims is “on its back,” just knocked out most of Ukraine’s electricity, countrywide.
    The Russians will continue to turn up the pain dial until the western hegemon and its media lackeys recognize a new international order is in the making.

    • Bruce Anderson November 23, 2022

      With Putin at the head of it? Russia does seem to be on its back, hence its resort to war on the civilian population of Ukraine, which seems insupportable to me. I hope Ukraine can hang on, harrowing as this war is for all us praying it doesn’t get to the nukes.

      • Bill Pilgrim November 23, 2022

        Purely a bigoted, Russophobic view.
        If you’ve paid any attention, any at all to joint statements from Russia, China, India and other nations of the global south, you’d understand what’s really happening.
        The US empire is collapsing. Instead of recognizing the reality the neocons in charge of foreign policy are doubling down and acting like cornered wild beasts.

    • George Hollister November 23, 2022

      It has been demonstrated over, and over that a war can not be won with missiles, alone. An effective ground fighting force is necessary as well.

  6. Whyte Owen November 23, 2022

    Just for the record Re. CSA higher ed: Went to Louisiana State (61-66) and North Carolina, Chapel Hill (68-72). Arts and Sciences top shelf at both.

  7. Bruce McEwen November 23, 2022

    Let’s talk turkey

    Gobble-gobble, gulp-gulp,
    A lug of potatoes, a bushel of beans,
    Giblets in gravy to burst your seams,
    Chomp with pomp, slurp and burp,
    Guzzle and swig, grunt like a pig,
    Smack your lips and close your eyes,
    Here comes grandma’s pumpkin pies,
    Exotic ripe fruits swimming in cream,
    Enough to surfeit your wildest dreams,
    A feast for your gluttony, and here’s to greed,
    Take all you want and more than you need,
    But try to be thankful and always say please.

  8. Sarah Kennedy Owen November 23, 2022

    From what I understand, nobody will be running for sheriff or DA in 2024, as Newsom signed a bill that gives sheriffs in California counties, including Mendocino, an extra 4 years after 2024, so six more years altogether. This is to assure sheriffs and DAs will be elected during a presidential election. Am I wrong? Did I dream this? Did not the Lake County sheriff resign in protest?

    • Bruce McEwen November 23, 2022

      Most astute observation — I miss everything that doesn’t reverberate through the echo chamber media — God pin a medal on you! Brovo Zulu, and I believe we may splice the mainbrace, as we say in the navy.

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