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A WEAK FRONT moving through Monday will usher in slightly below average afternoon temperatures and chilly overnight temperatures that are expected to continue through this week. Light rain and high elevation snow are expected Monday, with heavier rain and mountain snow probable on Thursday. (NWS)
JAZZ FESTIVAL, GUERNEVILLE, 1983
Our community members from The Land are moving next week, and I want to take a moment to give them my deep gratitude and acknowledgement for being an active part of our community. They have prepared delicious meals from their overflow of garden produce and fed a lot of us during the pandemic just for the sake of service. They have created job opportunities and supported local businesses like mine. I thank you, friends. You will be missed!
FYI this post is absolutely aside from all politics, judgments, and opinions. The intention here is to recognize kind humans who mean well and do good deeds.
Drop a heart or a kind word if you feel inclined in the comment box.
Grateful to be part, and serve this wonderful community.
FROM THE NOVEMBER 8, 2022 CEO REPORT by County CEO Darcie Antle:
During labor negotiations, the County has fielded many proposals for sources of funds to pay for an across-the-board pay increase. For example, two unions proposed cutting vacant positions; after extensive study, the County showed that aside from positions that have been recently vacated (and are therefore in current recruitments) or are public safety and revenue generating positions, such cuts would not yield material savings. Assertions have also been made that departments are not spending all the money that has been allocated to them; while the County awaits the Auditor Controller/Treasurer Tax Collector’s close of the books for FY21-22, the information at our disposal currently does not suggest this has been the case. The County has provided labor partners with all the financial information it has at its disposal, all of which led the County to the conclusion that it cannot commit to a COLA for all County employees at this time. For example, in response to information requests from some labor partners, the County provided customized reports that show the County’s FY 21/22 budget for salary and benefits is within a half of a percent of its actual expenditures for the same year – meaning it is unlikely that the County has overestimated expenses or undervalued revenues.
“Much has been made of the fact that the County has not closed its books on FY21-22, and therefore, the potential remains that revenues exceeded expectations or expenses were lower. While hope springs eternal, nothing the County has seen so far suggests this will be the case. In fact, the County is anticipating a shortfall in the first quarter of FY22-23.”
* * *
Mark Scaramella replies: “…after extensive study…”? Without department by department budget versus actual reports, these are just self-serving claims and there’s no way to evaluate these claims. The “customized reports” have not been made public.
MENDOCINO COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Quarterly report released.
Our December 2022 issue of the HSMC Historical Journal is out and this quarter’s articles are:
“An Interview with Jim Eddie (Part III)”, by Laura Hamburg and Kate Magruder
“Una Boyle in Reeves Canyon: Like a Barker in a Sightseeing Bus”, by Dot Brovarney
“An Interview with Jim Eddie (Part 2)”, by Laura Hamburg and Kate MacGruder
“Stories from the Potter Valley Cemetery”, by Kate MacGruder
“From the Archives: Gertrude Jamison’s Scrapbooks”, by Alyssa Ballard
“A Favorite Recipe from the Past”
“HSMC Pavilion Update”, by Phil Gary and “Executive Director’s Update”, by Tim Buckner
To get a copy of this edition, visit http://mendocinocountyhistory.org/ to order a copy. Make sure to include the address you would like it sent to.
If you would like to become a member, visit http://mendocinocountyhistory.org/become-a-member.html#/ to sign up. Members receive our historical journal quarterly, discounts of publications and research, and special event benefits. Our members are integral to our nonprofit organization and they allow us to continue to protect, preserve and share Mendocino County history!
We would also like to thank our business sponsors Rainbow Ag, Sack Concrete Construction, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Mendocino Optical, Wipf Construction LLC, Haywire Inc, ComfortAir Heating/Cooling, Ukiah Players Theatre and Good Morning Graphics; please support these generous businesses.
BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION, MONTE RIO, 1934
GREAT MOMENTS IN PUBLIC EXPRESSION (assembled by Mark Scaramella)
Chamise Cubbison, Dec. 8, 2021
“According to recent information being circulated by email, the following has been attributed to Supervisor Gjerde ‘…this is an opportunity to create increased visibility and accountability through the consolidation of a single elected officer accountable for these financial matters. One example: visitor transient occupancy tax is collected by the elected Treasurer. But the Treasurer does not verify the business/Airbnb pays all the tax it collected from visitors. Verification, if it were to occur, is the responsibility of the Auditor. However, the Auditor has not verified full payment in several years. By establishing a single elected officeholder we will provide one point of accountability. No more pointing fingers between two offices, with taxes going uncollected for essential services.’
“If Supervisor Gjerde made these comments, it shows that he is misrepresenting government code, doesn’t understand what the Auditor-Controller’s office does and has forgotten his own comments and recent County Board actions during the pandemic. Combining the offices will not create greater accountability. It will make a single elected official accountable. Currently there are two elected officials with responsibilities relating to TOT collections. It will also reduce the qualifications of the Auditor-Controller as the newly combined office will require that the individual meet either one of the Auditor qualifications OR one of the qualifications of the Treasurer, which are less accounting focused than the Auditor’s qualifications. …
“California property tax is the most complicated in the nation and every county in the state handles property tax differently. There is no ‘off the shelf’ software product available. The County issued an RFP for the replacement of the property tax system in 2014. There was one bidder, Thomsen Reuter. The County entered into a contract with the software developer in June 2015. However, at that time the company was committed to finishing their $90M + property tax system conversion with Riverside County before moving on to other California counties. There were several other counties in line before Mendocino County. The Riverside project took more than six years to “go live” and is still not fully completed. …
“In closing, I hope that this Board will make the right decision, drop this idea, take action to respectfully learn about staff challenges, appreciate these hard working employees and provide the resources and support we need to continue doing our jobs without future misguided interference.”
Estelle Clifton, Dec. 15, 2021
“The fact that the combination of these offices [Treasurer-Tax Collector & Auditor-Controllerd] by ordinance is lawful, does not justify an unplanned implementation. Combining offices creates less accountability by removing important checks and balances. The current officeholders are accountable and conduct their separate duties well. Because there is no implementation plan, no analysis of the destabilizing risks, or justification for benefits (if any – visibility is not a justification for destabilizing the fiscal departments of the County), this rushed vote creates a huge risk as the dedicated staff are being left unsupported and headed toward uncertainty. … It is clear that our BOS have not done due diligence to demonstrate this consolidation is necessary or beneficial to the fiscal responsibilities of the county.”
Treasurer/Tax Collector Shari Schapmire, Nov. 24, 2021
I am adamantly opposed to the creation of a Director of Finance position. The current structure has been successful for decades, it allows for critical functions to remain at the forefront and not minimalized by lack of time and focus. It also allows for the separation of duties that is absolutely vital for financial offices. Like with the consolidation of the Assessor- Clerk-Recorder, I fear if this consolidation takes place it will set the County on an extremely negative path going forward. We have learned a lot over the decades, one thing we know for sure, it is imperative that our financial offices remain stable.”
Julie Beardsley, August 2022
“The long delay in providing [financial] information feels very disrespectful to our employees who have come to work every day, often putting their own health on the line, during these past two years of the pandemic. The implication is that we couldn’t possibly understand their numbers without them explaining them to us. But the only actual reason for them to refuse to give us the information outside the context of a formal presentation, is because they know that reasonable people who know as much about the way this county government works as we do would interpret the numbers differently from how they are choosing to explain them. We need the information to be able to make our own calculations and understand the county’s actual financial position. If their interpretation is correct, what do they have to hide?”
Chamise Cubbison, August 2022:
“Health Plan Deficit: The CEO’s office is responsible for managing the Health Plan, authorizing payment of all Health Plan payables, and reviewing various reports. It is unfortunate that the CEO’s office and the Health Plan consultants did not sound the alarm sooner on the growing deficit, but that is not because the information was not available.”
Norm Thurston, long-time senior auditor staffer and after that was Sheriff Tom Allman’s budget manager (now retired), August 2022:
“A message to the Board of Supervisors: If you want to get some factual information on the County's financial systems, you should talk to the one person who knows the most about those systems — Chamise Cubbison. Whoever is providing you with financial information now is not doing a very good job of it. To Chamise, I suggest you wander down to the Board chambers when they are discussing fiscal matters. Your presence may motivate our 5 supervisors to be more thoughtful before making unsubstantiated comments.”
Tracy Wright, Board member and Treasurer of the Sherwood Band of Pomo Indians Tribal Council and County Employee, August 2022:
“I am glad to see (CEO) Darcie Antle paying attention to all of us as we are talking about budgets and you guys not understanding the budget. And yet the communication between you guys is not there. That saddens me. I sit on a tribal council board. When there is a question about the budget and I don't understand, I ask our CEO to make sure I understand. What do you mean, we don't have that money? And they explain it to me. That's what I expect from my CEO which I pay money to do their job. That's what should be expected from her [pointing at Darcie Antle]. I have been an employee with the county for 22 years. There are not many of us left anymore because when we took that hit before lots of people retired and left. I stayed. Last year I was going through cancer, I worked three months under chemo because I didn't want my work to fall on my coworkers. That's the kind of dedication and family we have here. But we can't keep it because you won't pay us what we are worth. We are not asking for you guys' salary. We are asking for a decent salary. ... A lot of the people in this room are starting out here, so they will get their training and then they will be gone. Eventually I will leave because it's just not worth it. When I start losing money to work that's when I will be gone. That's where we are going. Your proposed increase for our health insurance? And that's only for myself? It doesn't even have my husband on it? It's ridiculous! All we ask is for you to give us a fair shake and stop dodging a bullet, stop hiding behind not knowing. If you don't know, shame on you! Because she [pointing at CEO Antle] should be giving you the answers to any questions you have. If we were all sitting here listening to citizens of this county complaining about us not doing our job, you guys would be all over us. And she's not doing her job. You need to get on her. That's the final line.”
On Line Comment, August 2022:
Regarding retired Treasurer-Tax Collector Shari Schapmire’s recent observation that the Supervisors cheap shots at the Auditor-Controller and their claims about not knowing the County’s financial status are “irresponsible and inaccurate”:
“Schapmire is 100 percent correct. The reality, as shown in the County’s independent third party financial reports, (all available online) is that the County is awash in discretionary cash. Angelo did not make up the $20m figure, if ANYTHING she understated it! Why is the County Board of Supervisors crying poor?
One reason is absolutely the incompetence of the Board, their CEO and Executive Office fiscal staff. It’s simply easier to cry poor than to try and deliver services. For whatever reason the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis resulted in the executive and Board to unquestioningly prioritize the stockpiling of excessive amounts of cash. Prudent reserves are a good thing, but the County also exists to provide services. They have thrown out the challenge of delivering services to focus almost exclusively on the ever growing reserves, as if the County were a private corporation trying to boost its outlook on paper. The reality is the County Board controls over $50m in undesignated and designated reserves.
The second reason is that pulling the “crisis” card grabs headlines. It gives the management and the Board the ability to delay or prevent increases to employee compensation. The Executive Office is good at crisis. I would even say addicted to it. The reason? Incompetence. They can’t proactively manage, because that would actually involve doing their real jobs. It’s easier to cry crisis and hunker down than it is to stand up, make a decision about where money goes and then deliver on that commitment.
Long-time Local Cannabis Attorney Hannah Nelson on a proposal to use State Equity Grant funds for county cannabis department staff because, allegedly, handing it over to permitted pot growers might be against federal law, October 2022:
“If the feds want to be involved in this they will step in. This is an issue without a problem! Okay? It's been decided by the courts, by the annual budget. This item is so far beyond the scope and in my opinion — and I respect County Counsel Curtis — but this is legal malpractice to not have raised this issue if it was a concern, when your [Curtis’s] office has reviewed every single equity grant contract. In fact, a lot of the bottlenecks and a lot of the delays are because everything was being reviewed by your office and new issues kept coming up all of a sudden. I'm sorry I'm raising my voice. I'm very upset. I may actually file legal action about this.”
Patrick Hickey, SEIU Union Rep, October 2022:
You each pay lip-service to County employees but that doesn't pay the rent. Inaction over time is seen for what it is: contempt. Instead of negotiating in good faith the county administration continues to hide information. Do we have to file charges with the state every time we want to access public information? You have brought in a high-priced San Francisco attorney to negotiate, but you have given him no authority to bargain, even on such glaringly obvious things like agreeing to pay more than the minimum wage. We have provided the board with multiple ideas for identifying funds. Recently we have been identifying areas where the county has been wasting funds. You could ask nearly any employee in the county and they could point to multiple ways that they could save the taxpayers money. But again, we see no action. Just more circular discussions and going-nowhere ad hoc committees. When the county employees look to the board for leadership they see stagnation.”
Leif Farr, Shop Steward, Long Time County Mapping/Computer specialist, October 2022:
“When you budget general fund money, and it's not spent, then the following year it goes into special categories, one-time money. So what was general fund money that you didn't spend, becomes this one-time money that you have decided not to spend on salaries. You can point to a lot of things going on around the county. On my coffee break I walk outside here and I see the fantastic parking lot being built out here between General Services and the Administration building. Boy, that sure is one Class A parking lot. What was the priority in spending money on that? As opposed to spending money on employees? That's the kind of thing that is disheartening. So there are avenues. It's also very disheartening to negotiate with a negotiating team that can't make any decisions. First thing off the bat, they say that the county is broke, they have no money. Well, how did they hire you? Right? It's disheartening.
Chamise Cubbison, October 2022 on potential cost savings from consolidation of the Treasurer and Auditor postions.
Cubbison: “I didn't really see a huge benefit in terms of the budget because the reality is what you've done is increase the salary of the department head but the full-time equivalent workload of the department is not any different. So the fact that there's no longer an elected Treasurer Tax Collector means that we are now probably going to end up with a Treasury Manager or another Assistant Treasurer-Tax Collector to cover the workload. So there's actually an additional cost for the additional department head, and that position would be paid at the same level that the Treasurer Tax Collector. But there's also the added requirement by Government code that there's another audit to maintain the separation of duties on both sides of the money, so to speak. So we will need an additional audit for that. We will also need to contract with an outside CPA for an independent treasury count, probably quarterly. After the consolidation, we still need to maintain the separation. There may be some administrative efficiencies such as for Payroll and Accounts Payable, but those are not huge savings. We will probably need another outside contract to make sure that we are collecting as much as we can on the transient occupancy tax, we have not incurred that contract cost in the last few years. There will be additional cost in resuming that software license so we have access to that new data.”
Kiki DeLong, Senior Analyst, Auditor Controller’s office. November 1, 2022
“It is really painful for our office to watch these board meetings. It strikes me as somewhat hypocritical, the way you address Chamise [Cubbison] specifically with regard to wanting her to name the departments that she is asking for a little bit more support from and analysis before sending materials to her for input. Against her will, she named the CEO's office, asking that they review the materials a little more. Then you took her to task for getting personal and having a personality conflict, maybe being difficult to work with. It's really obvious to our department that the agenda here is to see her fail. You pay lipservice to trying to provide support, but she is basically being used as a scapegoat. You basically blew up our two offices by forcing this consolidation against both offices' will; Against Schari [Schapmire who retired early saying she couldn’t work with “this board” anymore] and Julie [Forrester who just quit] and Chamise and Lloyd [Weer, former Auditor Controller, now retired] and several of the community members speaking out against this. There were not just against it, they just wanted a plan to be in place — until you did a study, not just because they did it in Sonoma County which is close to the Bay Area and has access to employees. You said, We can just do it! There was no study to see if there would be any savings or efficiencies for our county. There was no action plan. You just took her to task for not having an organization chart! You need to take care of this stuff. Because you basically blew everything up and created his urgency ordinance to appoint her to clean up your mess and now you can blame her for everything that's not being done through the departments? No! That's not how it works. We all have to work together. ... There is just this stonewalling of our department from the board, from the Executive office. It is getting really frustrating. We are all working very hard to try to carry the load of not having enough staff and not enough hours. And when we watch these board meetings and see the two-facedness where you seem to be wanting to support us, but then you take every opportunity to make Chamise your scapegoat. It makes us all want to just take a vacation — which I have not done. I have not used any vacation since becoming an employee of Mendocino County four years ago. Because we have always been understaffed, and it's not because the positions are not there. It's because you can't attract people to this area, this market. It takes so long to fill a position. From the time applicants apply before you get around to calling them in they have already accepted an industry position. Industry fills these positions in 21 days. Government fills the positions in two months or more. That has to change. If we need to get butts in seats and get work done, we need to be able to hire people quickly and competitively. That is not going on right now. We have a lot of empty desks and we have a lot of people trying to do two jobs. I don't like watching these board meetings. It makes me want to just quit. I stay out of respect for Chamise. But I do not feel support from the board. The board blew up our offices and now you are not happy because you are not getting things in a timely manner. Maybe you should've thought about that before your legacy went forward. You have no plan. You drove away our Treasurer Tax Collector. You drove away our Assistant Treasurer Tax Collector. And then you appointed Chamise and made her responsible for everything. She was not the previous Auditor Controller. She was brought in to take care of that job, and Schari's job and Julie's job. You did not appoint her when Lloyd left last year so she was not able to hire an Assistant Auditor Controller. She was doing Lloyd's job and her job last year. And now she doing Julie's job and Schari's job? And now you are whining about what's not being done? You created this mess. And I -- I've said my piece. I'm done.”
George Dorner: If the Board of Stupes succeeds in driving Ms. Cubbison from office, what will they do then for someone to manage their newly created Embezzlement Bureau? Oh, that’s right, the voters will give them someone else to abuse. Probably someone unfamiliar with the office, who will be saddled with the same problems plaguing Ms Cubbison. The taxpayers’ hopes must lie in a future BOS. The present one lacks the planning ability to organize a two car funeral.
ANDERSON VALLEY VILLAGE
ANYBODY OUT THERE…?
Post Thanksgiving Pre Christmas in the American Total Fantasy
Warmest spiritual greetings, Following a day of volunteering with the trash & recycling chore at Building Bridges homeless shelter in Ukiah, California, am this moment on a public computer at the Ukiah Public Library. I have no idea what is next, and cannot even begin to explain why I am in Mendocino County anymore. The entire future in postmodern America appears to be a blank. Have $259.23 in the bank, $30.48 in the wallet, am awaiting incoming food stamps, the $759.88 in social security benefits, the health at 73 years is good, am Self realized, and I need a new pair of shoes.
Being forever identified with "that which is prior to consciousness", I ask you: "Does anybody anywhere want to do anything crucial (id est, other than going through the karmic motions before facing the dissolution of the body-mind complex)? Contact me! Thank you very much. 😊
Craig Louis Stehr, email@example.com
THE FORGOTTEN STORY OF MERCURYVILLE, a Sonoma County ghost town
The unconventional couple lived in Mercuryville, in the Mayacamas Mountains, where they opened Hog’s Back Tavern in the late 1930s.
by Susan Minichiello
Although thousands of miners once roamed the Sonoma County ghost town of Mercuryville, its population by the mid-20th century was two: Teresa and Forest G. Mitchell.
The unconventional couple lived on the hilltop oasis in the Mayacamas Mountains, where Forest, a World War I veteran and figure skater, started a 1,200-acre homestead in the 1920s, according to Press Democrat archives.
Mercuryville was a mining town built in the 1870s by Chinese laborers. Mercury, also known as quicksilver, was in high demand because it was used to mine gold.
Forest voted himself mayor of Mercuryville, and in the late 1930s he opened Hog’s Back Tavern. They added a gas station and an outhouse, and the settlement became a road trip stop in northeast Sonoma County for travelers driving to The Geysers over the next few decades.
The Mitchells told visitors they preferred living away from town and were never bored. They enjoyed fishing, ranching, hunting, building and collecting oddities.
“This is my little heaven. I built it myself. Yes, I built my own heaven,” Forest Mitchell told the San Francisco Examiner in 1965.
They also kept a pet deer named Pat who became a media attraction for standing behind the tavern bar and using hooves to hit keys on the cash register.
Longtime newspaperman and state legislator Herbert Slater wrote about Pat in The Press Democrat in 1943. He described how Santa Rosa’s city attorney was startled when what he thought was a stuffed deer “sprawled out on a low lounge” at Hog’s Back Tavern began to move.
“It was the mayor’s pet buck, a member of the family, so to speak … the buck who ‘can tend bar’ drink beer or a cocktail, lick the sugar that remains in the tea or coffee cups, eat out of your hand and do anything,” Slater wrote.
It is currently illegal in California to keep a deer as a pet, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Teresa Mitchell died in 1964, and Forest died two years later. Most of Mercuryville burned down in a fire in the 1970s.
(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, November 26, 2022
MICHAEL ADAMS, Ukiah. Resisting.
SHAWN DUNAKIN, Willits. Domestic battery.
MAXWELL GILLETTE, Santa Barbara/Willits. Disorderly conduct-alcohol.
COLE HARBOUR, Fort Bragg. DUI-alcohol&drugs, contempt of court, suspended license.
ASHLY KLEMAN, Ukiah. Resisting.
LEVI LEON, Willits. Controlled substance, resisting, probation revocation.
TEVIN MARIZETTE, Ukiah. Domestic battery, resisting, failure to appear.
VERONICA OROZCO, Ukiah. Controlled substance, stolen property, getting credit with someone else’s ID, conspiracy.
ANGELA RIVERA, Ukiah. Stolen property, getting credit with someone else’s ID, conspiracy.
ROBERTO SALAS-VARGAS, Cloverdale/Ukiah. DUI.
JAMES SIMMONS, Laytonville. Parole violation.
ERYCKA SMITH, Willits. DUI causing bodily injury, evasion, failure to appear, probation revocation.
In my fat catalog of Things They Don’t Tell You is the fact that, like any old vessel, when you start to get old, you start to leak. Runny nose, leaky eyes, drippy dick—need I go on?
I’m 84. Not rare, these days (commoner in Japan), eighty-four was worth turning your head to look at, when I was a yoot and my life expectancy was 62. Born in 1938, add 62 and you get 2000. I wondered if I’d see the end of the century and millennium. Uh huh. And then some.
But, American that I am, I’m not under the extra-long plan of Japan and Western Europe. They live longer, in those places. Ponder that. I’m past my “remove by” date. OK? Old.
So, you can imagine my wonder when, lying on my belly in the woods today, I felt what was surely a trickle of sweat coursing down the valley floor of my gluteal fold.
They don’t tell you that your stopping muscles weaken faster and more than your going muscles, but… Surely crawling through the blackberry-cursed woods with a stick of seasoned eucalyptus for the stove, can make a man sweat, and surely that’s perspiration. (They also don’t tell you that what’s the consistency of kindergarten paste at kindergarten age, may be the consistency of cowsplat when you’re old. They should tell you.)
I was on my belly because no one was around to see me. I need not be embarrassed because things kept tripping me. Nobody could see me. It’s harder, at 84, to climb over some obstructions than to get down and to hell with it crawl. The obstructions were up to my chest, vines to my knees. One gloved hand did battle with vines. One held onto the stick, goddamn it, its branches sloughing off along my way. At least they’re nice and brittle. Surely that’s sweat.
I might have been in the jungle of Borneo, but actually I was not far from Eleanor’s studio. As the fast twilight got dimmer, I bellowed. I hoped she would hear and come out, follow the sound of my bellows, take the goddamned euk stick so I could use both hands to free myself from the Lilliputian bonds, bust out of these miserable stickery thickets, get clear of this underbrush that holds you a foot above the actual forest floor (which was adorned with a fabulous bloom of mushrooms). But no, she was talking with Jerry, down with covid, holed up in his predicament, and did not hear me.
I emerged. They don’t tell you stuff, but you learn in your life it’s sufficient to put one foot in front of the other—or one knee. If you keep doing that, you emerge, usually. Now there was maybe a need for haste, or maybe not. I crossed the remaining distance to my house and sat on the porch steps. Lifetimes add complexity to everything, so much accretion. I started this existence as a simple animal, but my mood tonight, sitting in the dark in front of my dark house, wasn’t simple. The limb of eucalyptus, smaller at the big end than my thigh, bigger at the thin end than my wrist, was way pared down.
Hemingway wrote “The Old Man and the Sea” about a fisherman who fought a giant marlin day and night, for several days, the fish dragging the rowboat further into the Florida Strait. The old man prevails, talking to the fish, proclaiming his respect and, finally, his love. The marlin, too big for the little skiff, is lashed alongside. Sharks attack and keep up the attack as the old man, beyond exhaustion, bleeding from line cuts, pounded by the fight, rows home, his prize jerking with the rude feeding habits of big sharks. When he gets there, the giant marlin is a giant fishbone, head, spine, tail. Alone as Santiago, I let my ever-present fantasy machine go wild. Sitting on my front step, I can’t see the shorn and shortened eucalyptus branch. It has become a marlin skeleton.
I go inside now, not hurrying, plodding, as bent as Hemingway’s fisherman, walking funny, feeling disgusted, more than a little desolate, and almost beyond the salvaging action of a hot shower.
No leak, that. One foot in front of the other.
That Cloverdale residents have voted to continue the personal use of fireworks in yet another drought year means the common good has lost out to selfish special interests again. Thanks to those who wanted to join all the other Sonoma County cities in such a ban. Veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and pets will endure yet another year of terrifying noise, and the threat of fire will be greater for all of us in Cloverdale and the surrounding areas.
Sally C. Evans
AN ALEX BOSWORTH THORGELLEN
"The difference between a cult and a religion: In a cult there is a person at the top who knows it's a scam. In a religion that person is dead."
Here's the recording of last night's (2022-11-25) Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA): https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0516
Thanks to Hank Sims for tech help, as well as for his fine news site: https://LostCoastOutpost.com
Thanks to the Anderson Valley Advertiser, which always provides about an hour of each of my Friday night shows' most locally relevant material without asking for anything in return, going back decades. Further, thank tiny bravely struggling KNYO itself (KNYO.org). Find the hidden donation heart there and help the station out with a substantial gift from your own hidden heart. Or try the new fire-engine-red vibrantly healthy KNYO hot sauce, for vim and pep. ("It's toasted!")
Besides all that, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to not necessarily radio-useful but nonetheless worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together. Such as:
"He only has to paint half the burger because the camera films from just one side. A mixture of Vicks Vaporub and pulverized meat helps fill in any holes." Well, I bought a Big Mac at a McDonalds a couple of months ago for five times what it cost the last time I bought one, but it was pretty good, but I was very hungry and there's an old saying: Hunger makes the best sauce. The Big Mac was soft and messy and salty and wet with something orange, the way I remember a Bob's Big Boy burger was when I was little in L.A., and that was nice. This was a very different experience from the time I had Taco Bell food once after not going to Taco Bell for decades. Taco Bell food is also five times more expensive than it was, and also not bad, exactly, but there was something about it that didn't sit right, that I can't articulate, and that's my failing, not Taco Bell's. Just not what I think of as a real burrito. There used to be a Mexican restaurant in Healdsburg that I'd go to sometimes on my way to or from The City, where a burrito was no more expensive than anywhere else but it was substantial, chewy, flavorful, big enough for you to think about maybe not eating it all at once but you'd do it anyway. There was a place down in Noyo Harbor for decades –El Mexicano– where they had a burrito like that, too. Last time I was there was around the turn of the century. Yelp says they're still in business.
Anyway, sorry, here are food cosmeticians, or rather food morticians, because you can't eat it after these technicians have tarted up the food for its sexy close-up, with turpentine and soldering irons and foot powder and melted crayons and so on; all you can do is throw it away. It makes me think of businessmen and teevee newspeople and elected officials; they all go through a process very like this every time before you see them. Even women in makeup all look like 1950s stage female impersonators to me... not that there's anything wrong with that.
Soon it'll all be done with hackable CGI in our replacement eyes, like in Minority Report. https://nagonthelake.blogspot.com/2022/11/the-tricks-behind-major-food-commercials.html
Rerun: Somewhere That's Green.
And, of course, Alex Bosworth's Thorgellen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kccw_2uHKjQ
*Email me your written work and I'll read it on the very next MOTA. I don't care what it's about, just if there are swears I have to wait until an hour into the show to read it, because that becomes okay then.
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
49ERS’ JIMMY GAROPPOLO ON RECENT POPULARITY SPIKE? ‘That’s the life of a QB’
by Eric Branch
Jimmy Garoppolo is enjoying a surge in popularity after he has been a polarizing quarterback for much of his San Francisco 49ers’ tenure.
Garoppolo hasn’t thrown an interception in his past 100 attempts, matched a career-best with four touchdown passes in Monday night’s romp over the Cardinals and has a 71.3 completion percentage and 108.4 passer rating in his past five starts.
So what does it feel like to go from widely trashed — as he was after the 49ers lost his first start of the season, 11-10, in Denver in Week 3 — to the toast of the town?
“That’s the life of a QB,” Garoppolo said. “It’s always going to be a roller coaster. Every season is. Nobody is going to just be perfect the whole season. … A lot of things are said out there. A lot of people have opinions.”
Perhaps the only person to disrespect Garoppolo recently is Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. Arizona, as it had done in the past, loaded its front with six defensive linemen Monday to stuff the 49ers’ run game, inviting Garoppolo to try to torch them.
And Garoppolo complied. Again. Garoppolo has thrown 16 touchdown passes, three interceptions and averaged 311.8 passing yards (117.9 rating) in five starts against the Cardinals since Joseph arrived in 2019.
Garoppolo, who is 3-2 against Arizona, has thrown four touchdown passes in a game four times in his career, three times against the Cardinals.
“Honestly, going into that game, I knew were going to get that six-man line,” Garoppolo said. “I was just waiting for it. That D-coordinator has done it to us in the past.... You’re excited as a quarterback. That’s your dream to get six linemen in there. You know it’s going to be easy to throw on that stuff.”
Added Garoppolo, “With five skill guys like we’ve got, plus the guys coming in (off the bench), I don’t know why you’d do it.”
Garoppolo sounds like he’s feeling it. And he was asked about his comments throughout the season that he feels his partnership with head coach Kyle Shanahan, which began in 2017, has grown this season.
“When Kyle is calling plays like he is and just letting me get the ball out and guys run with it, it makes for an easy style of offense,” Garoppolo said. “I think when you tie that to a good running game, it’s hard to stop.
“But me and Kyle — we’ve got a way to go, obviously. We’re nowhere near perfect. But it’s just moving in the right direction. And we’re talking the same language right now, which is good.”
Garoppolo ranks fifth in the NFL in passer rating (104.1) and his hot streak has invited questions about the 49ers potentially trying to re-sign him in 2023, although that could involve significant financial complications.
Has Garoppolo considered his upcoming offseason? He dodged by saying he has been too consumed by game plans.
“I’m trying to worry about red zone today, man,” he said. “I’ll worry about that at the end of the year.”
Injury report: Defensive tackle Arik Armstead (ankle, foot) returned to practice for the first time since he suffered a hairline fracture of his left fibula on Oct. 3. Armstead, who was limited, is doubtful to play Sunday against the Saints at Levi’s Stadium.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Deebo Samuel (hamstring) is questionable to play against New Orleans after he was limited for his third straight practice. Shanahan said Samuel’s injury is different from the hamstring strain that forced him to miss a win against the Rams on Oct. 30.
I LOVE WAGNER, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside the window trying to stick to the pane of glass with its claws.
— Charles Baudelaire
THE TECHNO-FEUDAL METHOD TO MUSK’S TWITTER MADNESS
by Yanis Varoufakis
Elon Musk had good reasons to feel unfulfilled enough to buy Twitter for $44 billion. He had pioneered online payments, upended the car industry, revolutionized space travel, and even experimented with ambitious brain-computer interfaces. His cutting-edge technological feats had made him the world’s richest entrepreneur. Alas, neither his achievements nor his wealth granted him entry into the new ruling class of those harnessing the powers of cloud-based capital. Twitter offers Musk a chance to make amends.
Since capitalism’s dawn, power stemmed from owning capital goods; steam engines, Bessemer furnaces, industrial robots, and so on. Today, it is cloud-based capital, or cloud capital in short, that grants its owners hitherto unimaginable powers.
Consider Amazon, with its network of software, hardware, and warehouses – and its Alexa device sitting on our kitchen counter interfacing directly with us. It constitutes a cloud-based system capable of probing our emotions more deeply than any advertiser ever could. Its tailor-made experiences exploit our biases to produce responses. Then, it produces its own responses to our responses – to which we respond again, training the reinforcement-learning algorithms, which trigger another ripple of responses.
Unlike old-fashioned terrestrial or analogue capital, which boils down to produced means of manufacturing things consumers want, cloud capital functions as a produced means of modifying our behavior in line with its owners’ interests. The same algorithm running on the same labyrinth of server farms, optic fiber cables, and cell-phone towers performs multiple simultaneous miracles.
Cloud capital’s first miracle is to get us to work for free to replenish and enhance its stock and productivity with every text, review, photo, or video that we create and upload using its interfaces. In this manner, cloud capital has turned hundreds of millions of us into cloud-serfs – unpaid producers, toiling the landlords’ digital estates and believing, like peasants believed under feudalism, that our labor (creating and sharing our photos and opinions) is part of our character.
The second miracle is cloud capital’s capacity to sell to us the object of the desires it has helped instill in us. Amazon, Alibaba, and their many e-commerce imitators in every country may look to the untrained eye like monopolized markets, but they are nothing like a market – not even a hyper-capitalist digital market. Even in markets that are cornered by a single firm or person, people can interact reasonably freely. In contrast, once you enter a platform like Amazon, the algorithm isolates you from every other buyer and feeds you exclusively the information its owners want you to have.
Buyers cannot talk to each other, form associations, or otherwise organize to force a seller to reduce a price or improve quality. Sellers, too, are in a one-to-one relation with the algorithm and must pay its owner to complete a trade. Everything and everyone is intermediated not by the disinterested invisible hand of the market but by an invisible algorithm that works for one person, or one company, in what is, essentially, a cloud-fief.
Musk is perhaps the only tech lord who had been watching the triumphant march of this new techno-feudalism helplessly from the sidelines. His Tesla car company uses the cloud cleverly to turn its cars into nodes on a digital network that generates big data and ties drivers to Musk’s systems. His SpaceX rocket company, and its flock of low-orbit satellites now littering our planet’s periphery, contributes significantly to the development of other moguls’ cloud capital.
But Musk? Frustratingly for the business world’s enfant terrible, he lacked a gateway to the gigantic rewards cloud capital can furnish. Until now: Twitter could be that missing gateway.
Immediately after taking over and pronouncing himself Chief Twit, Musk affirmed his commitment to safeguarding Twitter as the “public square” where anything and everything is debated. It was a smart tactic which successfully diverted the public’s attention to an endless global debate about whether the world should trust its foremost short-form forum to a mogul with a history of playing fast and loose with the truth in that same forum.
The liberal commentariat is fretting over Donald Trump’s reinstatement. The left is agonizing over the rise of a tech-savvy version of Rupert Murdoch. Decent people of all views are deploring the terrible treatment of Twitter’s employees. And Musk? He seems to be keeping his eye on the ball: In a revealing tweet, he confessed his ambition to turn Twitter into an “everything app.”
An “everything app” is, in my definition, nothing less than a gateway into cloud capital that allows its owner to modify consumer behavior, to extract free labor from users turned into cloud serfs, and, last but not least, to charge vendors a form of cloud rent to sell their wares. So far, Musk has not owned anything capable of evolving into an “everything app” and had no way of creating one from scratch.
For while he was busy working out how to make mass-produced electric cars desirable and to profit from conquering outer space, Amazon, Google, Alibaba, Facebook, and Tencent’s WeChat were wrapping their tentacles firmly around platforms and interfaces with “everything app” potential. Only one such interface was available for purchase. Musk’s challenge now is to enhance Twitter’s own cloud capital and hook it up to his existing Big Data network, while constantly enriching that network with data collected by Tesla cars crisscrossing Earth’s roads and countless satellites crisscrossing its skies. Assuming he can steady the nerves of Twitter’s remaining workforce, his next task will be to eliminate bots and weed out trolls so that New Twitter knows, and owns, its users’ identities.
In a letter to advertisers, Musk correctly noted that irrelevant ads are spam, but relevant ones are content. In these techno-feudal times, this means that messages unable to modify behavior are spam, but those that sway what people think and do are the only content that matters: true power.
As a private fief, Twitter could never be the world’s public square. That was never the point. The pertinent question is whether it will grant its new owner secure membership in the new techno-feudal ruling class.
ON SACHEEN LITTLEFEATHER, Pretendians And What It Means To Be Native American
Why Sacheen Littlefeather’s ethnic fraud matters more now than ever before.
by Jacqueline Keeler
Last month, I published a piece in The Chronicle that investigated claims of American Indian identity by the late actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather. After speaking to her biological sisters and reviewing her family tree back to the 1850s, I found that Littlefeather was not of Apache heritage, as she presented herself the night she became internationally known for taking the Oscar stage in March 1973 in lieu of Marlon Brando. She was of white and Mexican descent — and had no legitimate claims to a tribal identity.
I knew the piece would be controversial; taking down an icon, especially in the wake of her death, was bound to raise anger from those who found her work meaningful. But I will concede that I wasn’t fully prepared for the debate that followed — one that posited Littlefeather’s identity, and all Native American identity, as an existential question too complicated to verify or fact-check. This line of argumentation largely conceded that Littlefeather was dishonest in her self-presentation, but nonetheless suggested that her claims to American Indian heritage, however threadbare, were open to a wider and more fluid interpretation.
A New York Times story on my piece headlined, “Sacheen Littlefeather and the Question of Native Identity,” quoted Littlefeather’s longtime friend and Shoshone/Ojibwe poet, nila northsun (she lowercases her name), as saying Native identity is “what you feel in your heart, and what your belief system is.”
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, meanwhile, which recently held an internationally publicized event to apologize to Littlefeather for how she was treated at the telecast of the Oscars, told the Times it would not reconsider how it characterized Littlefeather’s identity in response to the findings of my article; The museum “recognizes self-identification.”
Perhaps most egregiously, a headline in the Washington Post — on the first day of Native American Heritage Month, no less — asked, “Sacheen Littlefeather may have lied about her identity. Does that matter?”
Yes. Yes, it does.
Muddying the waters of American Indian identity enables non-Native opportunists to play Indian for clout or money. And you don’t have to look very hard to find the evidence of the harm these “Pretendians” cause.
In 2019, the Los Angeles Times found that a fake Cherokee “tribe,” the “Northern Cherokee Nation,” had wrongfully collected nearly $300 million in government contracts intended for actual Native Americans.
Just days before my story was published, UC Berkeley Professor Elizabeth Hoover, after questions had been raised regarding her claims to a Mohawk identity, released a statement saying that she and her family had conducted genealogical research and “found no records of tribal citizenship for any of my family members in the tribal databases that were accessed.”
In other words, she was a fraud.
In response, a group letter by some of Hoover’s former students demanded her resignation, an apology to the Mohawk of Kahnawake and for Hoover to stop performing Native American identity. They went on to insist that UC Berkeley administrators “work with other departments on campus to understand how the campus can adopt a better hiring and screening process to protect Indigenous communities.”
All of that seems unlikely to happen, as a campus spokesperson said in a statement that Hoover’s ethnic identity is a “deeply personal matter,” and Hoover seems intent on continuing her work in the field of Native American food sovereignty.
A failure by academia, the media and others to appropriately specify what it means to be American Indian is the origin of this Pretendian grift — and enables its prevalence. Refusing to define what it means to be Native gives con artists free rein to exploit American Indian heritage, with no accountability. After all, how is verification possible if anyone can claim authenticity without any proof?
There is clearly a need for a definition that employers and allies can use to weed out false claimants. The U.S. government’s legal definition of American Indian is any member of one of 574 federally recognized tribes. While there may be occasional outliers to this definition of American indigenousness — people who qualify for citizenship, for instance, but for whatever reason are not enrolled — tribal citizenship is indeed an excellent place to start.
Tribal enrollment in the United States is predicated upon a relation to immediate family members who have experience as nationals of a Native nation that pre-existed European colonialism and whose homelands are in the lower 48 states of the United States. This makes Native American identity in the United States political –– not racial. American laws surrounding tribal membership do not apply in Mexico or Canada, nor to other indigenous nations of Hawaii or in territories like Puerto Rico. Only American Indian tribes navigate a nation-to-nation relationship with the most powerful country on Earth. Only citizens of these tribal nations are subject to the political and legal consequences of this particular relationship. Only we who are citizens have the standing to address the resulting issues and trauma born of this relationship. It is therefore perfectly reasonable that anyone seeking to advance their career through a claim to Native identity, who isn’t a citizen of a tribal nation, should be subject to scrutiny.
Many of Littlefeather’s defenders continue to trumpet her father’s Mexican ancestry as a way of propping up her claim to American Indian identity. This argument is based on a couple of assumptions: If you go far enough back, many Mexican people are part indigenous, and tribes routinely crossed borders, so being indigenous to Mexico should be no barrier to calling oneself “American Indian” or “Native American” and claiming the trauma of these tribes as their own.
In a Variety opinion piece addressing my investigation into Littlefeather, Laura Clark, a Mvskoke citizen who works for Yahoo News, raised the specter of blood quantum as a reason to tread lightly with suspected fraudulent claims to American Indian identity. “Some Natives are reconnecting with their tribes,” Clark wrote. “Some Natives don’t have enough ‘Indian blood’ to register because of blood quantum minimums. And some Natives have had their tribes nearly erased to the point that organized citizenship records simply don’t exist.”
I would never deny the right of Littlefeather or anyone else to respectfully “reconnect” with their Native ancestry so much as it exists. But Clark’s argument lacks an accurate definition of “Pretendianism,” something similarly missing from the broader coverage of Littlefeather. A Pretendian is not someone who is privately and genuinely trying to find their Native relatives. A Pretendian is someone falsely claiming Native identity who uses this fraudulent claim for clout and in monetization schemes. They write books and speak for American Indians on the national and international stage, before Congress, the United Nations, or, as in Littlefeather’s case, the Oscars. The moral weight of their voice is born not from any singular ability, but from the power of a collective trauma that is not theirs to wield.
Prior to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, the Arizona Supreme Court found that because American Indians were legally wards of the federal government, they had the same status as insane people, and could not vote. Only American Indians, citizens of Native nations, were subject to these policies.
For my mother’s people, the Navajo or Diné people, as we call ourselves, the trauma inflicted on us by the United States included being rounded up and sent on the Long Walk to Hweeldi or Bosque Redondo, a concentration camp. Thousands died there. For my father’s people, it led to Wounded Knee, where the U.S. Army massacred Lakota people. My Dakota grandmother’s uncle, the Rev. Charles Cook, a young Dakota Episcopal minister at Pine Ridge, worked with Dr. Charles Eastman, the Dakota author, and medical doctor, to save the survivors. The two young Dakota men rode out for days during a blizzard, looking for anyone left alive. The church, decorated for Christmas, was turned into a makeshift hospital, with wounded women, children and elders lying beneath a banner that read “Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men.” My great-great-uncle lost his faith that day. My grandmother claimed he died of a broken heart a few years later.
Experiences like these are directly tied to being American Indian.
Littlefeather’s relatives were legally white. They were allowed to vote six decades before the passage of the Voting Rights Act. They were never subject to the federal or state policies and laws American Indians were subject to when they lived in Arizona and California. The harm caused by U.S. policies directed at American Indians never happened to them. Ever.
For many Americans, the notion of the “secret Indian” in the family hiding out several generations ago is a compelling one. However, even if true (and it often is not), this is not enough to confer a national identity — any more than being an American of minuscule French descent gives one the same status as a French national. To argue otherwise doesn’t just put tribal sovereignty under threat, it undermines genealogy, the methodology used to verify tribal claims.
Some schools of thought in academia suggest that tribal documentation is inherently colonial, thus, using it to prove fraud is not “decolonial.” But according to David Cornsilk, a renowned Cherokee genealogist, this thinking is ahistorical.
“The genealogies upon which (Native people) rely are not a byproduct of colonial constructs,” he told me. “Genealogies are often sacred to specific populations including kānaka maoli (Native Hawaiians) and Cherokees. Most indigenous populations place a high degree of reverence for ancestors and the interrelationships between past and present our genealogies represent. When genealogy is attacked to defend false claims of tribal heritage, the attacker is actually besmirching the ancestors that genealogy represents.
“For Cherokees, the most appropriated ethnicity by race shifters, what we call the Great Spider Web of Families, representing every Cherokee family and their connections to each other by blood, marriage, clan and community, is torn apart when a Pretendian attempts to force themselves into that web.”
This has particular relevance to two U.S. Supreme Court cases heard in the past month, one regarding affirmative action and the other on the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, which demands that Native children placed for adoption first go to immediate relatives, then to other tribal members and then to other Native American households.
Conservative justices, including Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Amy Coney Barrett, have questioned whether American Indians constitute a “race” or a political affiliation based on tribe. If they decide we are a “race” based on some notion of distant DNA, it will almost certainly destroy the current political status of tribes and completely undermine tribal sovereignty to the extent it exists today.
Tribal enrollment requirements are currently set by tribal nations and can only be changed by the tribe’s citizens. Tribal citizenship, based on the right of blood (jus sanguinis) rather than the U.S. standard of the right of soil (jus soli), is an expression of the nation’s sovereignty to determine its citizenship requirements. Kim TallBear, a professor at the University of Alberta and citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton tribe in South Dakota, is the author of “Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science,” which investigates how Native American claims to land, resources and sovereignty that have taken generations to ratify may be seriously — and permanently — undermined by those using fractional DNA test results to support a claim to Native identity.
“Genetic ancestry tests are useless for tribal enrollment or even making a definitive statement about one’s descent from a particular tribe,” she said in an interview. “False claimants to Native identity may take a genetic ancestry test. But it does not verify descent from a named individual ancestor. Rather, such a test links one probably to distant genetic ancestors that cannot be definitively affiliated with a contemporary tribe.”
While a move toward a preferred Native identity — a real-life cosplay experience — may be liberating for the individual, it dangerously erases the political reality and history of oppression experienced by tribal nations and their citizens. The confusion about Native American/American Indian identity created by those who seek to eclipse our political nature for personal gain is only providing ammunition to conservative Supreme Court justices to complete the genocide of our nations.
On Oct. 31, at a Supreme Court hearing on the affirmative action case, Justice Alito asked the attorney defending affirmative action policies at the University of North Carolina what is preventing students from falsely claiming to be Native American — a practice colloquially called “box checking.”
When asked by Alito if family lore of Native ancestry would be enough to be considered American Indian, North Carolina Solicitor General Ryan Park responded by saying, no.
Alito rephrased the question: “I identify as an American Indian because I’ve always been told that some ancestor back in the old days was an American Indian.”
Once again, Park agreed that the student was unlikely to be telling the truth.
This exchange was interpreted by news outlets as Alito referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, who has been excoriated by the right-wing press for marking herself as American Indian on her Texas bar registration card. She was also identified by Harvard as a minority faculty member. In the 1990s, the university used her as an example of a diversity hire when it was challenged for the lack of people of color on the law school faculty.
Warren is far from the only person non-Native in academia to benefit from such an arrangement. And she isn't close to the most pernicious example, as demonstrated by Hoover. I have been told by any number of professors who are tribal citizens that even questioning a colleague’s vague claims of Native identity can lead to accusations by college and university administrators of “racism.”
“Hiring white people who self-identify as Cherokee or some other tribe but with no lived experience as a Native person does nothing to redress centuries of systematic exclusion of Native people from educational opportunities,” TallBear said. “In fact, it constitutes another hand-out of resources to white people stolen yet again from Native people.”
Pretendianism, therefore, is not just about replacing authentic Native voices with mummers in red face. It constitutes a cynical stealing of gains made by people of color in this country. It is a disturbing financial theft from some of the poorest people in America. The cost of Pretendianism is more than just the misleading play-acting of a role for an unsuspecting American audience. It causes harm to Native nations, communities and individuals who have already endured enough.
Fact-checking claims of Native identity may appear unseemly to some, but it is a small imposition to reduce the continued trauma of Native Americans and the theft of our culture.
A Lakota journalist I respect, Avis Little Eagle, who did reporting on fake New Age “Native” practitioners in the 1990s, recently reminded me of the old journalism adage: “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”
(Jacqueline Keeler is a Diné/Dakota writer living in Portland, Ore., and the author of “Standing Rock, the Bundy Movement, and the American Story of Sacred Lands.” SF Chronicle)
CANAL NARROWBOATING THROUGH BANBURY, UK (photos by Randy Burke)
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY REBUKES US EMBARGO ON CUBA
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has delivered a strong rebuke of the United States embargo on Cuba, which Havana has demanded be lifted amid an economic crisis on the Caribbean island. Overwhelmingly, 185 countries on Thursday [Nov. 3, 2022] voted in favour of a non-binding resolution condemning the embargo, with the US and Israel voting against and Brazil and Ukraine abstaining. It was the 30th time the UN has voted to condemn the US policy, which has been in place for decades.…
U.S. ALLOWS CHEVRON TO EXPAND ENERGY OPERATIONS IN VENEZUELA
The U.S. Treasury on Saturday granted Chevron a license for a limited expansion of energy operations in Venezuela, signaling the possible beginning of the country’s re-entry into the international oil market. Foreign investment in the oil sector is something that Venezuela’s authoritarian president, Nicolás Maduro, desperately needs to improve the economy. The license was issued in response to the resumption of talks between representatives of Mr. Maduro’s government and the Venezuelan opposition in Mexico on Saturday, after a stalemate that stretched more than a year. The two sides agreed that billions in government funds frozen abroad should be transferred to a humanitarian fund administered by the United Nations.…
UKRAINE, SATURDAY, 26 NOVEMBER
With heavy snowfall expected in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko says the electricity supply has been restored in 90 percent of residential buildings, while one-quarter of consumers are still without power.
The head of Ukraine’s police says at least 32 people in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson have been killed by Russian shelling since Moscow’s forces pulled out two weeks ago.
WILL LT. CALLEY KILL CHARLES MANSON FOR CHARITY?
by Sam Eisenstein (via Debra Silva)
A suggestion made in jest some months ago, then spread as a rumor, finally reached the ears of the people in a position to deal with it seriously. That suggestion is about to bear fruit. Naturally, until the "package" is ready for publication, all names involved and the exact details must remain confidential. We can say at this time however, that the necessary changes in local and state laws and the governor's approval are almost certain.
The linking of Lieutenant Calley and Charles Manson in a public exhibition to raise money for extremely worthwhile causes is, all agree, a stroke of genius. Nobody involved with the extremely sensitive negotiations can recall just who thought of it first. But here it is: Sometime just after school begins again in the fall, Charles Manson will be publically executed by Lieutenant Calley in the Los Angeles Coliseum. The event will be carried live by closed-circuit television and satellite to millions of homes across the planet. In addition, there will be a lottery to determine who will get parts of Charles Manson's body. Manson's co-defendants have agreed to burn themselves to death separately during the execution. Calley is certain that he can prolong Manson's death throughout the immolation of the girls, and if there are any others of Charlie's "family" who wish to step forward, he is sure that the timing of Manson's death can be adjusted accordingly. If the plan is approved, it will be the first public execution in California in over a century. It will be the first time a legal lottery has been held in California. And last but not least the first lottery and execution carried on closed circuit television.
These are the obvious "firsts" involved, but behind the scenes, the excitement is for very different reasons. And you guessed it, all the reasons sift down to just one: money. Even those who were horrified when first approached for their opinions, when they were told the very real financial gains possible, changed their position. Even those firmly opposed to capital punishment, when presented with a signed testimony by Charles Manson (not available for direct quotation at this time) to the effect that he and his Family were glad to present and example of how bravely and calmly it was possible to die, to be an example against the cowardly hypocrisy of the society that condemned him to death, while in fact, the society itself was sick and dying. And the fact that society was willing to pay enormous sums (that could have been spent on restoring medical, welfare, etc.) to see him butchered, proved to him and his Family, how morally bankrupt the society was.
The officials most closely involved with negotiations were happy to give Manson his propaganda "victory," as they believed, and so it turned out, that the benefits to the poor, elderly, the educational establishment, etc. were going to prove to be enormous.
Examples: With the estimated $50,000,000 gross take for tickets, TV, lottery, etc. all budget cuts to the University of California, the State Colleges, Medi-Cal, Rural Assistance, and many others will be restored. Many more students will be able to enter colleges in California. Many elderly will get the kind of care they deserve and are entitled to. Stalled legislative programs for re-education of out-of-work aero-space engineers will be implemented.
"Wait a minute," the wary taxpayer protests. "Fifty million dollars is a lot of money, but not THAT much." True, the officials admit. But Calley-Manson, or CM is just a start. With the necessary laws enacted, and the expected carried to and tested by the Supreme Court, CM will be only the first of semiannual or even bimonthly exhibitions.
It is expected that many variations of the basic execution will be worked out and held in different localities. The punishment will be designed to fit the crime. Knife murderers, such as Manson, will have pieces of their bodies cut off, little by little. "An eye for and eye, a tooth for a tooth." Calley, in his turn, will after full military honors, band playing and a 21-gun salute, be torn apart by four-to six year old Vietnamese orphans. The estates of the two men will be richly endowed. And it will be in their own interests to speak to the press at length before the executions. Other public enemies will die by drawing and quartering, being placed on the rack, poisoning. Naturally, not all executions will lend themselves to large public gatherings. For less famous criminals smaller facilities will be rented.
A few indirect comments by religious, political, and social leaders might be in order: From a priest: "Our Lord was executed publicly. Without the crucifixion there would be no Christianity."
From a rabbi: "If the social beliefs of an act are great, the individual serves society and himself well by lending himself to it."
From a retired deputy sheriff: "This will prove a deterrent to anybody thinking about committing a crime in cold blood, and it will provide more peace officers to keep the people in line."
From the governor's office: "We're quite hopeful this will go through. The governor has pledged himself to keeping taxes down and providing relief for homeowners. Now, homeowners will be able to sleep better at night, pay less, and justice will be served."
From a mortician: "We will have facilities for public viewing of the remains, in a tasteful way, and in a way the will increase the public fiscal benefits of the whole idea. I'm for it."
From a Mother: "I say let children see the results of misbehaving. It'll teach them a good lesson. You just can't get away from that sort of thing, immorality, and sleeping around. Good for them, I say."
From a pacifist: "I think the state is going to reap too much glory and loot from this, but a person has a right to dispose of his life the way he wants to. I can't say he shouldn't go this way."
From someone against capital punishment: "Well, it isn't really capital punishment. They could stay in jail, they could keep appealing for years. I'm not against suicide."
From a war prisoner's wife: "Maybe this will get my husband home."
From a psychiatrist: "This is what Manson really wanted. The public convinced him he was the devil in the flesh. He won't feel a thing as he's cut up. He knows he's supernatural and above all human laws."
From an English teacher: "All this is a poor take-off on Jonathan Swift's 'A Modest Proposal.' "
So there it is. The most daring break with the past ever suggested in California State history. Who knows how far and wide the idea will spread, how much positive social good will come of it, how much legal revenue without new taxes will be generated, while at the same time Justice is served? Now is the time for the public to be heard. What do you think?"
(LA Free Press, April 1971)
A RENDERING OF GUERNEVILLE
WHAT IF THE DINOSAURS HADN’T GONE EXTINCT?
Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid hit the Earth with the force of 10 billion atomic bombs and changed the course of evolution. The skies darkened and plants stopped photosynthesising. The plants died, then the animals that fed on them. The food chain collapsed. Over 90% of all species vanished. When the dust settled, all dinosaurs except a handful of birds had gone extinct. But this catastrophic event made human evolution possible. The surviving mammals flourished, including little proto-primates that would evolve into us.…
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
When we simplify the issues to “out of town brought in by others,” or people who are “too lazy to work” we accomplish absolutely nothing. For decades we’ve put band aids on the majority of society’s very real and impactful ills and now we’re experiencing the cause and effect of such neglect of community. Now this isn’t reflective of our community in particular - but we’re also no exception. With neglect to mental health, the ever growing and blatant issue of income equality and then you add the post covid psychosis when literally EVERY SINGLE HUMAN you encounter has a chip on their shoulder (like they were the ONLY ones experiencing hard times in covid, not everyone) and you’ve got a huge mess that will not be solved by a continuation of “lock them up” either. We’ve been doing over incarceration for decades and people STILL be committing crimes. If people feel like they’re required to dedicate every second of their life to work jobs they hate and have no long term benefit to them besides stress and living paycheck to paycheck (and STILL not enough) then why would we continue doing so?? What’s the payoff?? Little to none. We’re seeing society commit slow suicide in many non traditional ways and it’s not gonna be bandaids that solve this shit.