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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022

Frosty | Tree Tunnel | Flu Season | Holiday Bazaar | Weeds & Bags | AVHS Wreaths | Infinity Stone | Hendy Bridge | Ed Notes | Slow Bridge | Pharma Ladies | Yesterday's Catch | UFOs | Sonoma Coast | Sleep Tips | Strangest People | Bud Mold | Deprogramming | Seduction Tip | Trombones | Soccer Fans | Food/Power | GG Day | Ukraine | Persian Art | Avoiding Peace | Forest Spirits | Escalating Crisis | Psycho III | Four Fuckeries | Morning Sun | Blase Friday | Smoke Break | Climate Inertia | Perachinis | Dismantling Capitalism | Gotta Light

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BELOW AVERAGE AFTERNOON TEMPERATURES and chilly overnight temperatures are expected to continue into next week. A significant winter storm is expected Wednesday night and throughout Thursday. Another winter system is expected by Friday. (NWS)

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Cypress Tree Tunnel on Highway 1 just North of Seaside Beach, Fort Bragg (photo by Amy Battaglia)

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COLD AND FLU SEASON HAS BEGUN EARLY in Mendocino County and emergency rooms across the county are seeing very long wait times for care as a result. To reduce the burden on overwhelmed emergency room staff, Public Health recommends the following guidance for deciding whether to go to the emergency room:

At-home treatment: Treat mild cases of flu, cold, or COVID at home with plenty of fluids and supportive medications like cough medicine, Tylenol, Advil, etc. Use local Test to Treat clinics, or telehealth services that prescribe the flu and COVID treatments.

Go to the Emergency Room: Go immediately if you see or feel danger signs: shortness of breath, dehydration (from vomiting/diarrhea) or ANY change of mental status.

In addition, Public Health expects local schools and employers to temporarily suspend return to work/school slips so that providers can assess and care for the many sick people currently in the community.

Public Health continues to encourage getting flu and COVID vaccines as the best way to fight the winter viruses and avoid overwhelming emergency room staff. Vaccines and treatments are available at local pharmacies, through your health provider, and at Public Health offices and clinics throughout the county. Please see the Vaccines webpage for more information. Questions? Contact the Call Center 707-472-2759.

(Mendocino County Public Health Department)

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The Noyo Food Forest needs our help!

We have Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-noon scheduled for work days. If you only have an hour to help us pull weeds, plant seedlings, and other garden maintenance we would love to have you! The address is 300 Dana located just behind the Fort Bragg High School.

Let’s all do our best to keep this important part of our community going with our manual labor!

Our Food Bank Needs Bags!

The Food Bank has, again, run low on Harvest Market bags! We filled more bags than normally because of the Holiday which leaves us short for day-to-day disbursement. If you have any extra bags, we would be more than happy to take them off your hands! Please drop them off at the North end of Franklin, 910 N. Franklin to be precise.

Thank you so much for all of your help!

Elizabeth Pippin <>

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THE ETERNAL MATTER OF THE PEOPLE VS DOUGLAS STONE, or Exhibit A of How the Mendocino County Superior Court allows defendants of means to delay their reckonings until they simply disappear. There’s no way these farcical delays should be allowed, especially when they’re the work of cynical defense attorneys. 

The date for the jury trial of Doug Stone was to be set on 11/15/2022. Both Defendant and his Attorney were to be present. Instead, Mr. Clough, Attorney for the Defense, called in from Washington, DC, claiming a family emergency. A motion was made to combine the two cases (with their 25 charges) into one. Mr. Clough announced that he had not received the requisite papers — they had gone, in error, to the previous attorney — but Mr. Clough had no objections to the consolidation. Deputy DA Ms. Larsen replied that the papers for the request to combine would be sent to Mr. Clough. 

On 11/21/2022, Mr. Clough appeared by Zoom in Courtroom A and repeated that he had not received the documents for the motion to consolidate. After some discussion in the court as to whether the motion had been made/granted or not on 11/15, it was determined that it had been made and granted. Deputy District Attorney Heidi Larsen declared that the jury trial would take three weeks. Mr. Clough asserted that he was a “death penalty attorney” and was busy until 5/1/2023. A pre-trial settlement date of April 12, 2023 was set.

Original Story (The Burglary by Douglas Stone occurred in April of 2020, more than two and a half years ago): "The Unlikely Burglar of Black Bart Trail"

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Hendy Woods Bridge (watercolor by Malcolm West)

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THE REDWOOD CLASSIC basketball tournament tips off Thursday with a game between host Boonville and Victory Christian Academy out of Santa Rosa at 3pm. Will the Panthers eat the Christians? We sincerely hope so. The blood will be off the floor when game two pits the California School for the Deaf vs. Priory of Woodside, followed by game three pitting Averroes of Fremont (whose sister campus is located in Dacca, Bangladesh) vs Pinewood of Los Altos. The final game of opening day will see Stuart Hall of San Francisco taking on Covelo, and here’s hoping Covelo pulls off a very big win. Incidentally, the great athletes of Mendocino County have invariably been Native Americans. Up through the middle 1970s before dope and thug-reverence made its evil way into Round Valley, Round Valley High School was a small school powerhouse.

PETE BOUDOURES on the Classic: “Bring the tribes to the Redwood Classic. The Joe Smiths from Hupa made the games exciting (a legend in the all-native Bball tourneys in California) Hoopa, Round Valley, Point Arena before the prep schools.”

I’LL SECOND THAT, and I’m pretty sure tourney director John Toohey wants to get back to a tournament without Bay Area and LA private schools coming to Boonville to play each other. Our Redwood Classic being the Redwood Empire’s old hoops extravaganza, the Boonville gym used to be packed for games featuring Northcoast teams and all the Mendo fives except Ukiah, who got run outta the gym by tiny Boonville then run outta their own Ukiah gym a second time by Boonville in the Jerry Tolman years, and haven’t dared play a Boonville team since.

THE FANCY private schools like Branson of Marin who, btw, recruit male and female athletes, used to be absolute tourney doormats prior to becoming the statewide basketball power they have since become. When they became unbeatable, they continued to arrive in Boonville every season to sadistically thump the locals — there are adults who love those 95-16 wins — en route to a championship game between them and some other powerhouse private school. And an empty gym. Happy to see them staying in Marin this tournament.

I REMEMBER when Branson was an exclusive finishing school for the daughters of the quietly rich and powerful, among them in her youth, famed chef, Julia Child. In the late 1960s, the girls began sneaking out of their Ross hen house to run off into the night with longhaired motorcycle beaus, and suddenly Branson’s admission’s office wasn’t as discerning as it was in Julia’s day, and soon any rich vulgarian who could afford the tuition sent his daughter to get herself a prestigious high school diploma. Then the secluded campus went coed, and then deep into sports with plenty of male and female ballplayers going on to Division One colleges. There are now private schools all over the place as desperate parents abandon the public schools.

THE REDWOOD CLASSIC has seen many great basketball players since that first Classic in 1958 when the late Sam Prather of Boonville was named to the all-tourney team, but for me I’ll always remember the 1976 championship game played by Point Arena’s Mario Oropeza and his brother Lupe — known on the Coast as the Flying Oropeza Brothers — against heavily favored Cloverdale. Mario single-handedly defeated Cloverdale, scoring 29 points, rebounding at both ends of the court, smothering Cloverdale on defense, and generally playing the best game of basketball by an individual I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. He was so good that night, so perfect, it was kind of eerie, like you weren’t seeing what you were seeing.

AT CLASSIC TIME, I always think of the late Eddie Whipple, who passed in 2017. He coached in Covelo for decades, and it was more than fitting, and long overdue, that Coach Whipple has been remembered by naming Covelo’s Whipple Classic Basketball Tournament after him. The inaugural Whipple Classic didn’t quite come off this year but we’re assured it will roar into life in 2023.

ORWELL described international sport competitions as ”war without the shooting,” as we note the nationalistic frenzies set off by the World Cup, one of which ignited in Brussels where dozens of Moroccan rioters set fires and pelted cars with bricks in celebration of Morocco’s victory over Belgium. It was a major upset at the World Cup and was enthusiastically celebrated by fans with Moroccan immigrant roots in many Belgian cities.

MORE BERSERK NATIONALISM occurred today (Monday) when Iranian journalists descended on the pre-match press conference to fire a series of politically loaded questions at U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter and his player Tyler Adams, none of which concerned soccer and/or the World Cup. Berhalter and Adams were intensely quizzed on systemic racism in America, strict U.S. visa rules in place against Iranian citizens and Uncle Sam’s naval presence fleet in the Persian Gulf, among other soccer-irrelevant questions. Adams even faced flak from one journalist for his American pronunciation of ‘aye-ran’ during the half-hour press conference, during which the two Americanos deftly fended off the propagandists for Aye Ran posing as journalists. The U.S. plays Aye Ran on Tuesday. USA! USA!

BIDEN has demanded Congress take action to avert a looming rail strike that could trigger major disruptions in the nation's supply chain in the height of holiday shopping season. With lawmakers returning to Capitol Hill for a brief three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Biden demanded they approve the tentative agreement between rail workers and operators, negotiated in September. As Biden noted, a rail strike would “devastate our economy,” and could put up to 765,000 people out of work. The president noted that it could even affect the drinking water supply and livestock and agriculture. The September tentative deal offered a 24% pay raise for rail workers, health care benefits and medical leave. Eight rail unions have ratified their deals, but four rail unions are back at the negotiating table after rejecting their deals with the railroads.

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Monte Rio Bridge, Go Slow

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by Colin Atagi

Two women were arrested and being held in the Mendocino County Jail as of Monday evening. They’re suspected of possessing stolen property, drugs and burglary tools, police said.

Two Ukiah women who police say used a stolen credit card around town Saturday, were also suspected of keeping a cache of drugs in a motel room where they were staying, police said.

Angela Rivera, 32, and Veronica Orozco, 33, are accused of possession of drugs, stolen property and burglary tools, according to the Ukiah Police Department.

Orozco, Rivera

At an unspecified hour Saturday, a 37-year-old Ukiah woman reported a credit card and other items were stolen from her unlocked car on Grove Avenue.

Credit card activity led investigators to three businesses where they acquired surveillance footage of Rivera and Orozco, according to the Police Department.

Investigators then went to Walmart on Airport Park Boulevard shortly after the credit card was used again and arrested Rivera and Orozco.

The women had 6.4 grams of methamphetamine, plus four bank cards and a California driver’s license that each had different names, in their possession, according to the Police Department. Officers also seized a concealed dagger and unspecified property from their car.

Investigators then searched the suspects’ room at the Sunrise Inn, 650 S. State St., and found shaved keys for stealing vehicles, a rifle, shotgun ammunition and narcotics that included: 75.4 grams of meth, 16.7 grams of heroin, 10 fentanyl pills, six oxycodone pills and 1.6 grams of dimethyltryptamine, police said.

Both suspects were booked into the Mendocino County Jail, where they remained Monday afternoon.

Rivera’s bail was set at $75,000 and Orozco was held on $50,000 bail, police said.

(Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, November 27, 2022

Gonzalez, Hessings, Texeira, Young

IVAN GONZALEZ-RIVERA, Calpella. Domestic battery, contempt of court.

CALEB HESSINGS, Ukiah. Vandalism.

LAWRENCE TEXEIRA, Albion. Controlled substance, probation revocation.

RYAN YOUNG, Willits. Concealed dirk-dagger, switchblade in vehicle.

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UFOs, an on-line comment:

I can say I saw an UAP here in Fortuna once, many years ago while I was working at the former St Luke’s. To this day I don’t know what I and the others who worked that night with me actually saw but I refuse to leap to any conclusions about it. Then, a few years ago, my Cranky Old Man was watching a program on TV about UAPs and they had many videos taken by people who had seen them. I don’t recall what I was doing, but I wasn’t really paying much attention to the program. I happened to look up at the right moment and there, they had video taken by someone in I think Phoenix of exactly the same thing I saw. According to the program, the official explanation was military flares but it couldn’t have been because we don’t have any military bases around here. And the objects were definitely much larger than a parachuted flare. Much larger.

Anyway, I guess my point is to say that I agree with Mr Degrasse-Tyson: “The fact that you don’t know what it is, is not evidence that you know what it is.”

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I’M OFTEN WIDE AWAKE AT 3 A.M. How Do I Get Back to Sleep?

Sleep experts offer advice on sleeping soundly through the night.

by Anahad O’Connor

It’s normal to wake up a few times during the night, as the brain cycles through various stages of deeper and lighter sleep. Older people also often have to get out of bed to use the bathroom one or two times during the night. Waking up at night is usually harmless. Most people have no trouble falling back asleep and may not even remember their nighttime awakenings the next morning.

But if you frequently wake up in the middle of the night and find yourself struggling to fall back asleep, there could be an underlying problem. If this occurs at least three times a week over a period of at least three months, it could be chronic insomnia, said Dr. Kannan Ramar, a sleep medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and former president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Two of the primary drivers of insomnia are stress and anxiety. If you wake up and look at the clock and then start worrying about having to be rested for work the next day, paying your bills or other life stresses, it could activate your sympathetic nervous system, which controls what’s known as the fight-or-flight response. Levels of adrenaline, the so-called stress hormone, will rise, increasing your heart rate and leading to a state of heightened arousal, making it particularly difficult to ease back into sleep.

“You might ask yourself, ‘Is this the same time I woke up last night? Why does this always happen?’” Dr. Ramar said. “Those thoughts are not helpful in terms of falling back asleep.”

If you find that you’ve been awake for 25 minutes or longer, experts advise you get out of bed and do a quiet activity that calms your mind — anything to quash the stressful thoughts that were keeping you awake. Gentle stretches or breathing exercises might help, as may meditation, which has been shown in studies to help combat chronic insomnia. You might sit on the couch and knit, or read a book or magazine in dim light. Experts recommend that you avoid reading on your smartphone, since the blue light these devices emit can suppress production of melatonin, the hormone that helps make us drowsy. You might, however, pull out your phone to use a soothing app like Calm or Headspace, which are designed to help with sleep and meditation.

Eventually, when you start to feel tired, get back into bed and try to doze off. Then, the next day, implement the following sleep hygiene habits to increase your odds of sleeping soundly through the night.

• Limit your evening alcohol intake. In small amounts, alcohol can act as a sedative, causing you to fall asleep faster. But it can also cause you to wake up in the middle of the night as your body is metabolizing it. Studies show that consuming alcohol before bed can lead to poor quality sleep.

• Avoid consuming any caffeine after 2 p.m. because it can linger in your system well into the evening. If you drink a cup of coffee at 3:30 p.m., about a quarter of the caffeine can still be in your system 12 hours later.

• Avoid napping late in the day, as this can make it harder to fall and stay asleep at night. Taking late naps will reduce what scientists call your homeostatic sleep drive, which is essentially your body’s pressure to fall sleep in the evening. If you do want to nap during the day, make sure to do it in the morning or early afternoon, and keep it short, no longer than 30 minutes. “The closer you are to bedtime or the longer the nap is, the more likely you are to run into trouble,” said Dr. Sabra Abbott, an assistant professor of neurology in sleep medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

• Keep a strict sleep schedule. Waking up and going to bed at irregular times can throw off your body’s circadian rhythm, the innate 24-hour cycles that tell our bodies when to wake up and fall asleep, making it harder to sleep through the night. Try to get up at the same time each morning (aim to get at least 15 minutes of morning sunlight, which helps to shut down melatonin production) and get into bed at the same time in the evenings. Studies show that people who have irregular bedtime schedules are more likely to develop symptoms of insomnia.

• If you frequently get up to use the bathroom, try to limit how much water or other fluids you drink in the evening two to four hours before bedtime.

If these measures don’t help, a sleep specialist can assess whether you might have a more significant underlying problem, such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome, that needs medical treatment. A sleep clinic could also connect you to a cognitive behavioral therapist who could help you identify and address any specific behaviors that might be causing your chronic insomnia.

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I USED TO THINK I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you. 

— Frida Kahlo, The Diary of Frida Kahlo

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by Fred Gardner

To this day it surprises me when people flat-out lie to your face. It shouldn’t – I’ve been around the block as they say – but it does. In a piece posted on SFGate Nov. 28 about the dubious integrity of California labs that analyze the contents of cannabis products, Lester Black writes: 

“The state’s first pot lab opened in 2009, at Oakland’s Harborside Health Center (now Harborside), a pioneering medical cannabis dispensary on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. At the time, there was no legal requirement to test cannabis, but Harborside’s owners wanted to make sure they weren’t selling pot laced with dangerous contaminants — particularly because many of their customers were fighting illnesses like cancer, according to Harborside co-founder Andrew DeAngelo.

“We were worried about mold; we were worried about things that could get in people’s lungs that could hurt them,” DeAngelo told SfGate. “The lungs are very fragile, and if you get mold in there, and you have a compromised immune system, it’s one of the only ways cannabis can kill you.”

Steep Hill, the first analytic chemistry lab to test cannabis buds for mold and potency, began doing business in December 2008. The founders were David Lampach, a nervous New Yorker who had worked on Wall Street and been a grower in Willits, and Addison DeMoura, a jovial small-time dealer from the Central Valley. Harborside was their essential first client and Steve DeAngelo put up some money, but the main investor was Lampach’s brother.

Adam Mintz, who worked at Steep Hill in the early years, says “I only saw Steve DeAngelo come by the lab once. He looked around and said, ‘When are you guys going to redecorate?’” 

The fear of mold that brother Andrew invoked to the gullible reporter had been trumped up. Although it was theoretically possible that exposure to aspergillus fumigatus could kill an AIDS patient, there were no such cases on record.

Harborside’s real goal in learning the contents of the herb they were buying and selling was financial. DeAngelo wanted the lab to ascertain the levels of THC, CBN and CBD in the pounds that growers were bringing in. High THC could be marked up and sold as “top shelf.” CBN is a degradation product of THC, so if a grower brought in excellent herb that was say, 0.9% CBN, Harborside could tell them, “This is obviously last year’s crop, or you didn’t cure it properly,” and knock down what they’d pay for it. The lab tested for CBD because the pro-cannabis doctors and O’Shaughnessy’s journal had been informing activists that “THC’s non-psychoactive cousin” had medicinal benefits. 

O’Shaughnessy’s, the journal of sorts that I edited, is not an innocent party in this story. For years we had been calling for the creation of an analytic test lab – it was the key to locating the rare CBD-rich strains that I was sure would turn up in California. So when Steep Hill launched, we exaggerated the dangers of aspergillus right there on the front page. If I was a Maoist I would take myself out and have myself shot.

(click to enlarge)

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FROM THE NY POST: “Annabella Rockwell led a life of privilege even before she entered posh Mount Holyoke College in rural South Hadley, Mass. in 2011. The heiress to a pharmaceutical fortune, she grew up on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, summered in Newport, RI, and later moved with her family to Palm Beach, Fla.

A competitive figure skater who lived abroad for a time in Germany as well as Hong Kong, Rockwell chose Mount Holyoke for its academic rigor and prestige. At the time, she said, she’d grown up in a home with “traditional” values but considered herself open-minded.

But she told The Post she wound up “totally indoctrinated” into viewing the world as a toxic patriarchy and herself as an oppressed victim — and eventually had to be deprogrammed.

Melinda enlisted the help of a deprogrammer who charged $300 a day as well as Annabella’s old tennis coach, Scott Williams, but was warned that it can take up to seven years for someone to overcome what Melinda considered brainwashing.”

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“THE NEXT TIME you try to seduce anyone, don’t do it with talk, with words. Women know more about words than men ever will. And they know how little they can ever possibly mean.”

― William Faulkner

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NEVER LOOK at the trombones, it only encourages them.

— Richard Strauss, advice to conductors

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English Soccer Fans

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by Edward Ring

Successfully coping with severe droughts in California and the Southwest requires tough choices, all of them expensive and none of them perfect. But taking millions of acres out of cultivation and replacing them with solar farms is not the answer.

California produces over one-third of America’s vegetables and three quarters of the country’s fruits and nuts – more than half of which is grown in the San Joaquin Valley. According to the California Farmland Trust, the San Joaquin Basin contains the world’s largest patch of Class 1 soil, which is the best there is. 

Putting solar farms in more than a small fraction of this rich land will not only displace farming, but have a heat island impact in the enclosed valley. That would be unhealthy for the farms and people that remain, and could even change atmospheric conditions over a wide area, worsening the drought.

If new solar farms are destined to carpet hundreds of square miles of land, they should be dispersed throughout the state and near already existing high voltage lines. Or, they should be concentrated in California’s abundant stretches of uninhabited land such as the Mojave Desert. 

With food shortages worsening throughout the world, Californians should be focusing on how to preserve agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley. Why, for example, are spreading basins being proposed to allow runoff from atmospheric rivers to percolate when flood irrigation used to replenish aquifers while also growing food? Why isn’t that practice being evaluated and supported wherever appropriate?

Much of the depletion of groundwater aquifers that led to passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act was caused because farmers had their allocations from rivers reduced, which forced them to pump more groundwater to irrigate their crops. Drought was a factor, but cutbacks in surface water deliveries and the abandonment of flood irrigation is what made groundwater pumping unsustainable.

The motivation to protect ecosystems during a drought is commendable. But there are solutions that don’t have to destroy the agricultural economy on what is the richest farmland in the world. Some of the environmentalist goals, such as maintaining a year-round flow in the San Joaquin River, have no precedent in history. 

When there were severe droughts, that river often dried up in the summer.

Recognizing this highlights a larger reality. The civilization we’ve built has permanently altered nature, and returning it to a pre-civilization state is not an option. For example, because we suppress natural wildfires, we have to log timber or the forests become overgrown tinderboxes. Searching for the optimal balance between a thriving civilization and healthy ecosystems requires accepting limits in both directions.

With this in mind, there’s an irony in the environmentalist-inspired regulations that require water, stored in reservoirs behind artificial dams, to be released downstream in order to maintain year-round flows in rivers that used to run dry in dry years.

The solution to meeting the water requirements of farms, cities and ecosystems is to build more water supply infrastructure, not fallow millions of acres of prime farmland during a world food crisis. Capturing storm runoff through a combination of more off-stream storage and aquifer recharge can increase available water to farms and cities. 

With wastewater recycling, less water has to be imported to cities, and in the San Francisco Bay region, less water would have to flow through the Delta to flush out the nitrogen currently being discharged. Desalination can also deliver a drought-proof supply of new water.

Investing in water supply infrastructure creates options for Californians that do not require undermining an industry that helps feed the world. Build the solar farms in the hot Mojave, and save the valley farms.

(Edward Ring is the co-founder of the California Policy Center and author of the book “The Abundance Choice – Our Fight for More Water in California.”

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Opening Day Golden Gate Bridge, May 27, 1937

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Ukraine’s national power supply company says it’s running at a 27% deficit. Russian strikes have wreaked havoc on the country’s energy grid ahead of winter.

Kyiv is experiencing another spate of emergency power restrictions in addition to already scheduled blackouts. The city’s power supplier said it was ordered to reduce consumption by 60%.

Russian-backed authorities have hit backagainst Ukrainian claims that Moscow is planning to leave the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant amid fears of a disaster.

Shelling killed at least 16 people in the southern Kherson region in recent days, officials say. Residents continue to evacuate due to Russian attacks.

A group of Russian moms launched an anti-war petition on Russia’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, calling on Moscow to bring home their sons, brothers and husbands.


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Marvels of Things Created and Miraculous Aspects of Things Existing (aka Finger-Snapping Demons) Persian illustrations

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In adopting "Success is confrontation" as a credo toward Russia, NATO states have invited catastrophe and undermined Ukrainian voices for peace.

by Aaron Mate

In recent weeks, the New York Times reports, “Moscow has opened what amounts to a separate war: missile and drone strikes aimed at destroying Ukraine’s infrastructure, degrading the quality of life for millions of civilians in an effort to demoralize them.” Russia’s attacks, the Washington Post adds, have “battered Ukraine to the brink of a humanitarian disaster,” cutting off electricity, heat and running water. Ukrainian officials estimate that Russia has damaged or destroyed half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. “This winter will be life-threatening for millions of Ukrainians,” a senior World Health Organization official warns.

Russia claims that it only targets infrastructure that serves a military purpose. No matter what legal rationale Moscow can construe, the attacks are a clear act of collective punishment against Ukrainian civilians.

Without ignoring Russia’s criminal liability, another reality can be acknowledged: The fact that Russia “opened” a “separate war” on civilian infrastructure eight months into the invasion, and not beforehand, also results from decisions taken by Ukraine’s far-right and their allies in Washington.

The intensified Russian strikes were predicted by NATO states, whose leaders chose to prolong the proxy war by shunning diplomacy and — most likely — blowing up possible off-ramps, namely the now-forgotten Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The New York Times reported in September that Western officials were “baffled” that Russia, at that point, had “avoided escalating the war” and “made only limited attempts to destroy critical infrastructure”, leading them to fear that “the most dangerous moments are yet to come.” Rather than seeking a diplomatic solution, the US-led NATO alliance chose to help push Ukraine into the predicted danger. After all, the US “strategy for the war,” the Washington Post noted that same month, has entailed “fueling a war with global consequences, while attempting to remain agnostic about when and how Kyiv might strike a deal to end it.”

One does not need to justify Russia’s actions to acknowledge that the Kremlin, by contrast, has adopted positions that offered the chance of a preferable – or at minimum, pursuable – negotiated settlement.

The Minsk II Accords, the framework for ending the post-2014 Donbas war between Kiev and Russia-backed Ukrainian rebels, were officially supported by both Ukraine and the U.S., yet both refused to implement them. Ukraine’s far-right nationalists intimidated President Volodymyr Zelensky into abandoning his peace mandate with direct threats of a coup and even murder. The Biden administration, by refusing to even discuss NATO expansion prior to the invasion; sitting idle as Zelensky refused to negotiate with the Donbas rebels; and apparently sabotaging a Ukraine-Russia peace deal in April, has effectively taken the nationalists’ side.

Even Ukrainian officials and establishment US media outlets concede that Russia’s current war aim is to compel diplomacy.  The strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure, the New York Times notes, “are meant to force Kyiv to the negotiating table.”

“It is clear they want to impose certain conditions, they want to make us negotiate,” Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Col. Yuriy Ihnat said. But Ukrainian officials, the Times adds, “are in no mood to negotiate.”

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has issued the same message, describing the strikes as “the consequences” of Ukraine’s unwillingness to “enter into negotiation.”

Ukrainians have every right to reject negotiations with their invader. Yet there can also be no denying that a significant percentage of the population – including people around Zelensky -- has, for years, favored positions that could have avoided the war, and end it today...

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Forest Spirits by Bill Crisafi

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by Patrick Cockburn

As war rages in Ukraine, another conflict is ready to explode in the Middle East as the US and its allies confront Iran over its nuclear programme, supply of drones to Russia, and repression of anti-government protests.

If the US or Israel were to attack the main Iranian nuclear facility producing weapons-grade nuclear fuel, Iran would most likely retaliate by using its drone and missile arsenal to close the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf, through which tankers daily carry almost a fifth of the world’s oil and gas.

The confrontation escalated sharply this week when Iran announced that it intended to make near bomb-grade nuclear fuel at its Fordow plant, located inside a mountain to protect it from bomb and missile attack. Iran decided to ramp up its nuclear programme after the failure of talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal agreed in 2015 by President Barack Obama but denounced and dropped three years later by President Donald Trump.

Escalating crisis

At the heart of the agreement was a far-reaching reduction in economic sanctions on Iran in return for international monitoring of a reduced Iranian nuclear programme, which Israeli and Western leaders say is aimed at producing a nuclear bomb.

The escalating crisis is a resumption of the confrontation three years ago between the US and Israel, on the one side, and Iran, on the other, that almost led to war. Under pressure from sanctions and threatened by military assault, Iran launched a highly successful drone and missile attack on Saudi oil facilities that briefly cut its oil output by half.

Iran was held responsible for explosions damaging oil tankers anchored at the mouth of the Gulf, and for guerrilla actions against US troops in Iraq. Trump retaliated by ordering the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, in charge of covert Iranian operations abroad, who was killed in a drone strike in Iraq in early 2020.

Resurrecting the nuclear deal

The US-Iran military conflict came close to an all-out war, but de-escalated sharply with the replacement of the aggressively anti-Iranian Trump by President Joe Biden who reopened negotiations for resurrecting the nuclear deal. Attention was diverted away from Iran by the Covid-19 pandemic, the US competition with China, and the war in Ukraine. As recently as September, Iran appeared close to a new agreement on the JCPOA but asked for guarantees that the US would not unilaterally withdraw again.

Yet the failure to agree a nuclear deal is only one of a series of separate and unrelated events that have heated up the Iran crisis over the last two months, making it more explosive than ever. Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had been in the forefront under Trump, pressing for an attack on Iranian nuclear plant. After decisively winning a general election on 1 November, he is returning to power in Jerusalem at the head of the most hawkish and right-wing government in Israel’s history.

Always an opponent of the JCPOA, he is likely to put pressure on the US for military action against Iran. Israel and the US have both reportedly trained for an air strike against Iran and Netanyahu came close to ordering one.

A drone super-power

Two other coincidental developments are further poisoning relations between Tehran and Washington. Faced with the air superiority of the US and its allies in the Gulf, Iran turned itself into what has been described as “a drone super-power”, but the world only took on board the effectiveness of these cheap precision-guided missiles when Iran exported them to Russia for use against Ukraine.

Since October, they have partly destroyed Ukraine’s electrical system, depriving much of the country of heat and light. The surprise emergence of Iran as a significant player in the Ukraine war soured even further, if that were possible, its already toxic relations with the West.

A final ingredient super-charging the growing crisis is the protest movement in Iran, which shows no signs of dying away, despite extreme repression leading to the killing of 305 protesters including 41 children according to Amnesty International. The protests are more broadly based than in the past and the collective punishment of protesters serves only to produce more martyrs. The refusal of the Iranian football team to sing their national anthem in Qatar shows the extent and determination of the opposition.

Tanker traffic from the Gulf

But it is still too early to know if it is destabilising the regime and how far the government could successfully appeal to national solidarity in the event of a crisis with the US, and seek to demonise demonstrators as the proxies of foreign powers.

Vocal and irrepressible popular dissent will weaken the Iranian regime, but in other respects it is stronger than it was during the last near war. The price of oil and gas is high and the stoppage of supplies from the Gulf oil states on top of the loss of those from Russia would have a crippling effect on the world economy. Iran is better than before in stopping tanker traffic from the Gulf by the use of drones and missiles in large quantities against which there is no totally effective anti-aircraft defence.

Western and Israeli leaders have long argued that Iranian possession of a nuclear weapon would alter the balance of power in the Middle East. This is true enough, although US intelligence reportedly believes the Iranian leadership has not yet decided if it wants to build a nuclear weapon. So far, the mere threat of doing so has served it as a useful bargaining chip in negotiating with the US and its allies, whom Iran sees as irremediably hostile.

Air superiority

Paradoxically, the balance of power in the Middle East and the rest of the world has changed, but not because of the acquisition of nuclear weapons. As shown by attacks in the Gulf in 2019, and in Ukraine since October, middle ranking states like Iran and Turkey, and even very poor ones like Yemen, now enjoy a much more level military playing field with powerful states like the US, Britain or Israel. Air superiority no longer means control of the skies, which is a game-changing development.

But how far are those who decide on war or peace in the Middle East aware that the game really has changed? Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and UAE realised after the last US-Iran clashes under Trump that they were all too likely to be collateral damage in any American or Israeli attack on Iran. Biden already has his hands full with the war in Ukraine. Israel should know that Iran would find some asymmetric way of striking back at it.

As with Ukraine, the self-interest of all sides should prevent the crisis over Iran turning into a shooting war – but that does not mean it will not happen.

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

* * *

* * *


by James Kunstler

I doubt there is another era in the history of Western Civ when the forces in-motion acting on society were so mystifying to those acted upon. And isn’t it especially galling that this is so in an age after rational scientific practice had decoded so many of nature’s secrets? Did that project somehow fail in the end? Has the Enlightenment been defeated? How have we become trapped like frogs being boiled haplessly in our own pond-water?

I have reduced these forces to four obvious streams of the sheerest seemingly evil fuckery, which is to say nefariously managed events meant to harm us. They are surely all related in some way. Let’s try to de-mystify them to understand what we’re up against.

First: Covid-19. How is it that we don’t know for sure how this organism came into the world, or understand what ensued after it did? Answer: the people who caused it to happen in the Wuhan lab have been busy covering their asses for three years, and successfully so. Yet we know exactly what Anthony Fauci, Francis Collins, Peter Daszak, Ralph Baric and others did. The paper trail in correspondence and patents alone is clear. We just can’t seem to do anything about it.

We don’t know why they did it yet, too, but there are plausible guesses. Maybe Dr. Fauci wanted to cap his long, checkered career with a final heroic triumph: the introduction of world-saving mRNA vaccines — incidentally, a great financial boon to himself and the pharma industry he secretly served. Like everything else Fauci worked on for forty years, this experiment ended in disaster: a Frankenstein disease that persists in the population and vaccines that maim and kill people. How did Fauci and company get away with it? Here’s how:

Two: Government’s war on its own citizens. I’d date this for the sake of simplicity to DOJ’s and FBI’s campaign to defenestrate Donald Trump starting in 2016 for the crime of winning an election. What began as the Russia collusion prank morphed into RussiaGate, another ass-covering extravaganza in which public officialdom gave itself blanket permission to lie about everything it was doing. The likes of James Comey, Andrew McCabe and Barack Obama’s girl squad in the White House — to name just a few of many participants — also managed to hook in the mainstream news media under the supposition that they were the good guys fighting a disgusting, pussy-grabbing supervillain, which disposed the news media to go along with all the FBI and DOJ lies, and also strand the media in an endless loop of ass-covering they are still locked into.

Bottom line: all involved came to recognize that there was no accountability for their wicked deeds and lying about them, and that became an all-purpose license for everyone in public life to lie about everything and anything ever after — including Dr. Fauci and his colleagues, who watched RussiaGate roll out for four years before the debut of Covid-19. This license to act wrongfully and lie about it extends, by the way, to the epic election mischief carried out programmatically by the Democratic Party’s Lawfare arm in 2020 and 2022, and the installation of a fake president.

Three: Wokery, the Marxist campaign to disorder society in order to overthrow existing institutions and replace them with a utopian dictatorship of the intersectionally oppressed — also known as The Revenge of the Losers. Its primary tactic is to normalize mental illness. Wokery is often described as a new kind of religion, but that’s mainly because all of its proffers and principles are irrational, as is characteristic of all religions. Also, as in many religions, Wokery in practice is preoccupied with coercion and punishment — which is natural for a movement based on vengeance — and often to a sadistic degree. It laughs at the idea of redemption. Its adversaries are never forgiven, only dealt additional punishments for asking.

The mystery here is how Wokery was incorporated into the operating system of the Democratic Party. The answer is the party needed something to replace its erstwhile corpus of organized industrial workers, gone with the winds of Globalism, and so it valorized the various categories of the mentally ill, the permanently downtrodden, and sundry persons who had become economic hostages to its corrupt system of payments and grants. High above that ragtag-and-bobtail of crazies reigned an aristocracy of the so-called cognitive elite, people of unquestioned virtue, college professors, the creative class, the credentialed echelon — super-busy signaling their good intentions to their vassals to keep them in line.

Wokery, you may have noticed, is also a “religion” dominated by women, and a particular strain of women: those left grossly disappointed by the promises of feminism in its several iterations, that is, the ideal of having brilliant careers minus family and children — producing an implacable, inchoate, and transmissible rage at the world and a fierce wish-to-punish others not so disposed to Woke dogma. So, it’s no surprise that so much of that dogma emanated from the humanities departments of the universities where such careerist feminist intellectuals flocked and marinated in their disappointments. Thus, too, their avatar: the ever cold-blooded and fiendish Hillary Clinton, forever seeking requital for her life’s losses. Hillary leads us to the world stage, and to…

Four, the most mysterious of the four fuckeries: Globalism as represented by the World Economic Forum (WEF) led by the quasi-comical Klaus Schwab. Supposedly — and I can’t endorse this proposition — it is a front for some cabal of exalted international bankers and oligarchs, the proverbial Rothschilds and Rockefellers, Soros and Bill Gates and their various subalterns. There is certainly a lot of money involved and, as the old saying goes, Money talks and bullshit walks. There is also a ton of chatter about this selfsame cabal centering around a Satanic child molestation cult.

I dunno about this, either. Seems plumb cuckoo to me. And yet, how do you explain Jeffrey Epstein’s activities, and how he got it away with all of it, until he was offed right under Attorney General Bill Barr’s nose? How to explain the deification of transsexuals by the folks in-charge of culture and politics? You are dared to condemn such outrageous insults to human hard-wired morality as the Drag Queen Story Hour.

It’s hypothesized that the Satanic sex module is just of a piece with the WEF’s Transhumanism project: to engineer a super-race that will manage and enjoy the perqs of life-on-earth as a previously unseen hermaphroditic genus, and all the performative kink sexuality on display is just a preview of that, to soften us up. More to the point though, is the idea that this WEF elite will rule a planet of lower-order slaves (us), to mine their lithium and mix their drinks. And along with that is the much-heard narrative of the WEF seeking to severely reduce the earth’s current human population. I’m not wholly on-board with believing any of this; just sayin’ it’s all ‘out there’ and, crazy as it sounds, it is hard to explain.

Except in this way. Readers know that I have retailed my personal view of a collapsing techno-industrial society as The Long Emergency. My own conviction is this: that the general apprehension of such an event, now on-going, among the citizenry has generated such terror as to drive society crazy. (Mass Formation is a related interpretation, not necessary to go into here.)

I suppose this has happened to most other civilizations that wobbled and fell. The one best-known to me — because I wrote about it in The City in Mind (2002) — is the psychosis that overcame the Aztecs 1519 to 1521. It is the weirdest story in history that I know of. Aztec civilization was barely two hundred years old. The great city-state of Tenochtitlan had quickly grown to about a million when Hernan Cortés and Company, representing Spain of the Inquisition, marched in. Cortés, in his gleaming steel helmet, was the personification of the Aztecs’ deity-in-chief, Huitzilopochtli, their sun god, and the theological narrative that went with him — that Huitzilopochtli would return to the world from wherever elsewhere the gods reposed and destroy everything. In fact, that’s exactly what Señor Cortés and his few-hundred soldiers proceeded to do to a million Aztecs and their culture.

But during the two years Cortés sojourned among them, the Aztecs went batshit crazy ramping up their previously modest program of human sacrifice — a few hapless captives now and again — to a fantastic ritual mass bloodbath, cutting the hearts out of hundreds at a time atop their great pyramid to propitiate Huitzilopochtli and persuade him, by such a bloody performance of their devotion, to not end their world. It ended anyway, though another world took its place: Mexico.

This is the kind of periodic human mass insanity that I see in the Four Fuckeries now loose in the world as Western Civ wobbles. The trouble is, having replaced our gods with science, we have no deity to propitiate. Just endless hypotheses of what’s to come.

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

* * *

Sunshine in the Morning (1929) by Kustora Matsuki

* * *


“Crowds? I see nothing. I’m surprised,” retail worker Jeremy Pritchett told FOX 2. “Normally, it’s wrapped all the way around the building. Today: no one.”

That’s the typical ground report from areas all over the country. No one, literally almost no one, is doing any holiday shopping and the traditional Black Friday rush to get deals and discounts just didn’t happen. Financial media are scratching their puzzlers, perplexed with furrowed brows.

Interestingly, almost every financial media outlet is using the same Retail Federation talking point about anticipating an 8% increase in holiday sales this year. Apparently, pretenses must be maintained. Meanwhile, news crews and camera crews are having a desperate time finding any holiday shopping to use as background footage for the claims that sales are strong.

“Look, over there. There’s a person buying something. Oh, wait, no, that’s just an employee dusting the empty cash register.” At a certain point, one would have to believe reality would run head-first into the mass delusional pretending. Maybe this holiday season will be it, maybe not.…

It’s almost Kafkaesque to see how the media are continuing to maintain economic pretenses, yet the reality of a completely collapsed consumer economy is physically staring them in the face.…

* * *

* * *


by Bill McKibben

I’ve actually been home from Egypt for a couple of days, so this final dispatch comes in part from talking to people still in the conference center at Sharm El-Sheikh where — with utter predictability — talks went into 24 hours of overtime before finally concluding in the early morning hours Sunday.

The talks produced one real success: civil society had focused on getting the rich nations to agree to a ‘loss and damage’ fund, and at the last minute they did just that. It was a triumph for movement organizers from the global south — for groups like the Climate Action Network — that made the issue the unrelenting focus of their efforts in the lead-up to this COP, and for good reason: as Reuters reported

55 vulnerable countries estimated their combined climate-linked losses over the last two decades totalled $525 billion, or 20% of their collective GDP. Some research suggests that by 2030 such losses could reach $580 billion per year.

Read those numbers again — they are astonishing (a fifth of GDP!) and there is no doubt where justice lies: the iron law of global warming is, as always, those who did the least to cause it suffer first and most.

But it wasn’t an unalloyed triumph. Setting up a fund and filling it with money are two different things, and the second task will be harder. So far a handful of the usual suspects (Scandanavia, Japan) have contributed amounts in the tens of millions of dollars. I do not think it will be easy to find tens or hundreds of billions of dollars — not, at least, from the government I know best. The U.S. Congress is going to be in divided hands; I think it will be simple for Kevin McCarthy to block progress here and get in some demagogic licks in the process, especially since China — officially a ‘developing country’ — isn’t obligated to take part in the new effort. There may be other sources of money (a tax on Big Oil profits? a modest tax on all financial transactions?) but none of these will be easy; pundits are hailing the Loss and Damage agreement as a way to ‘rebuild trust’ between north and south, but it’s also possible it will be one more ongoing source of rancor.

The other cost was focus. It seems almost impossible to get these COPs to concentrate on more than one thing at a time. Last year in Glasgow there was a big push to get banks and financial institutions to take climate change seriously — the jet parking lot at Glasgow Airport was filled with planes from the planet’s biggest capitalists — and so we got the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero. But in the course of the year GFANZ’s aspirations began to wither; very few of the banks have managed to even stop funding coal-fired power, which is the most obvious first step. The big American banks threatened to walk away this summer when it appeared GFANZ rules might restrict their ability to keep financing fossil fuel expansion (something that climate science has said clearly and repeatedly should be verboten), and so…the rules were changed. Republican attorneys general have mounted a red-state push to keep the banks on board with Big Oil, and they’ve met with little resistance from boardrooms. And so on — there was hardly a peep about any of this in Egypt, which I fear teaches the rich and powerful a lesson: if you say the right things when the spotlight is bright, your problems might go away.

And the bank story is emblematic. With the focus on loss and damage, this year’s COP did not manage to push harder for new climate targets, or even to call for an (undated) “phase out” of fossil fuel — which, after all, is what is required to have some hope of bringing climate change under control.

If this were a normal political problem, that might be okay: slow but steady progress counts. But this — almost uniquely for world leaders — is a timed test. Every year brings us 12 months further into the new geological epoch we’re creating. As we come out of Sharm el-Sheikh we’re still headed for a world nearly three degrees Celsius warmer.

What I’m trying to say is: inertia is becoming an enormous factor. Because Big Oil cost us three decades, we have to move with unheard-of speed. As Vaclav Smil has pointed out, big energy transitions (wood to coal, say) normally play out over a century. Since physics is allowing us a decade or two instead, we have to constantly goose this process. Movements have done a good job — without them we’d be nowhere — but we’re not managing to push things fast enough. Renewable energy is cheap enough that we could plausibly roll it out with real speed, but vested interest stands in the way, and without endless pressure we’ll never build up the necessary head of steam.

The tactic of the bad guys is delay, and delay is incredibly easy to achieve; a body at rest stays at rest. Our job is acceleration, and that’s not happening, at least at the pace that’s required. We’re starting to run out of years, so we best make the next one count.

Other news from the world of climate and energy:

Kate Aronoff, not for the first time, cuts through the news to get at the core. She describes the “effective altruism” movement funded by disgraced crypto financier Sam Bankman-Fried:

“Rich makes right” is not exactly revolutionary stuff. “Doing good by doing well” has been a long-held mantra of Davos types spewing TED-talkish bromides about wanting to make the world a better, greener place. “The laws of accumulation will be left free; the laws of distribution free. Individualism will continue,” steel magnate Andrew Carnegie wrote of his class’s charitable giving in 1899, “but the millionaire will be but a trustee for the poor; entrusted for a season with a great part of the increased wealth of the community, but administering it for the community far better than it could or would have done for itself.” Bizarrely, though, E.A. has been successfully marketed as new and innovative, mostly by dint of its proximity to tech.

• A new effort called Fossil Free Zones was launched in the waning days of the COP, with organizers highlighting “places that do not burn or extract fossil fuels. The framework aims to highlight the pioneers of ending fossil fuels and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. 250 Fossil Free Zones in 30 countries have already been identified,” ranging from individual homes to Antarctica, a “fossil-extraction-free continent.”

• The irreplaceable Emily Atkin makes the climate case against one Elon Musk. Yes, he’s brought us Tesla, but as she makes clear there’s another side to the ledger. His rocket company spews methane, and…

By advocating for Republicans, Musk is using his massive influence as the world’s richest man to empower a party owned by the fossil fuel industry. He is advocating for political leadership that would seek not only reverse existing climate policy, but pass new policy ensuring new fossil fuel infrastructure for decades to come. There would be no bigger climate negative than this.

Not only that, but screwing up Twitter “has put this critical climate communication, education and advocacy platform at risk of failure. After mass layoffs and resignations, a former Twitter employee told The Washington Post Thursday that at least six critical systems that keep the site functioning no longer have any engineers. Climate disinformation has also increased on the platform since Musk took over,” which is something I’ve noticed too.

• A fascinating new study from Pew tracks the intersection between religious and environmental concern: the survey finds that highly religious Americans (those who say they pray each day, regularly attend religious services and consider religion very important in their lives) are far less likely than other U.S. adults to express concern about warming temperatures around the globe.

To which one can only say, Sigh.

* * *

The Perachinis, Guerneville

* * *

THE CLAIM THAT CAPITALISM is the best system for generating profits is basically correct; it's hard to beat greed and starvation as a carrot and stick to get the gears of industry whirring. The issue here is that merely generating profits won't solve most of the world's problems, and in fact many of our problems come from the fact that capitalism is too effective at turning the gears of industry. Our biosphere is dying largely because capitalism values making lots of things but not un-making things; we're choking our ecosystem to death because it's profitable.

Capitalism has no real answers for problems like ecocide, inequality, exploitation and caring for the needful. Yes "let the markets decide" will generate lots of profits for those set up to harvest them, but profit-seeking cannot address those very serious problems. The "invisible hand of the market" gets treated as an actual deity that actually exists, with all the wisdom necessary to solve the world's problems, but in reality the pursuit of money lacks any wisdom. It can't solve our major problems, it can only make more stuff and generate more profit.

Find me a capitalist business plan for leaving a forest untouched. Find me a capitalist business plan for keeping someone free of illness, for ensuring that someone with nothing gets what they need, for giving resources to a struggling parent. You can't. Capitalism can't do this. These are the most important things in the world, and no possible iteration of capitalism has any solutions for any of them whatsoever, apart from "Well hopefully rich people will feel very charitable and fix those problems." And how is that solution working out? It's a joke.

The "Maybe the very rich will feel charitable and fix our problems for us" solution assumes that the very same people who are wired to do whatever it takes to claw their way to the top of the ladder will suddenly start caring deeply about everyone they stepped on to get there. Capitalism elevates sociopaths, because profit-seeking competition-based systems reward those who are willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead. That's why we are ruled by sociopaths, and it's why looking to "philanthropy" as a solution to our problems is a ridiculous joke.

When capitalism proponents tell socialists and communists "You don't understand economics," what they really mean is "You don't understand that capitalism is the best system for generating profits." But socialists and communists do understand this; it's just that generating profits, in and of itself, is not sufficient.

If lack of wealth is your major problem, then capitalism can be a tool to address it; that's what China is temporarily doing to keep up economically with the western forces who wish to enslave it. But such measures won't solve ecocide, inequality, exploitation, and caring for the needful. For that other measures are needed.

If you want to make more of something (money, material goods), then capitalism can be a good way to do that. But if you need to make less of something (pollution, inequality, exploitation, sickness, homelessness, etc) it's worthless, and other systems must be looked to.

You can say "But communist regimes are authoritarian blah blah" all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that capitalism has zero answers for the most important problems facing our species. This still needs to be addressed, and moaning about Mao and Stalin isn't an answer. Don't like the iterations of socialism we've seen so far? Okay. Then find another answer, and remember we've already established that capitalism is not an answer; it cannot address the problems we've discussed here. So we need to find an actual answer that does actually work.

Dismantling capitalism, if we ever achieve it, will be the most difficult thing that humanity has ever accomplished. As hard as everyone becoming a buddha, and essentially not much different. But that doesn't change the fact that it is existentially necessary for us to do so.

We'll either move from competition-based systems to collaboration-based ones, eliminating all the obstacles necessary for us to do so, or we will go extinct. We are at our adapt-or-die juncture as a species.

— Caitlin Johnstone

* * *


  1. Kirk Vodopals November 29, 2022

    Re: the beautiful game (aka futbol, calcio, soccer, or, as many Americans call it, commie-ball)…
    All other sports seem too contrived or boring to me. Basketball comes close, but it has lots of complicated rules. The beautiful game is fairly simple: put the ball in the net without your hands. This is probably why it’s still the only game that has a true international competition.

    My wife and I went to Italy years ago when she was 5 months pregnant with our first daughter. We bounced around Northern Italy and stopped in Genoa for a couple of nights. I got tickets to a Sampdoria game. I told my wife that the fans are pretty enthusiastic. I think she was expecting something similar to a Giants with good food and a pleasant atmosphere. The atmosphere was fun, but there was literally zero concessions and the womens toilets were just tiled holes in the floor. Not easy for a pregnant woman.
    Post game we followed the chanting hoards out of the stadium and found a nice cafe for late lunch.
    I can’t wait to go back.

    • George Hollister November 29, 2022

      Soccer, football, basketball, hockey, rugby, polo, and lacrosse are all basically the same game. I know there are many more I left out. Baseball is completely different.

      • Harvey Reading November 29, 2022

        Well, at least it’s spelled differently. All are competitive nonsense that promote domination of one “team” over another; no more than cheerleading for evil kaputalism. We should be slaughtering robber barons, not cheering for team kaputalist.

      • Kirk Vodopals November 29, 2022

        Baseball is American cricket, but it’s still beautiful, mainly in how slow it is.

        • Mark Scaramella November 29, 2022

          • Kirk Vodopals November 29, 2022

            “It’s all about going home!” Carlin is the best

      • George Dorner November 29, 2022

        Of course, baseball’s nearly comatose game play is different because it’s so boring compared to soccer, etc.

    • Nathan Duffy November 29, 2022

      Lol just poking fun you sound like a wretched misogynist, so casual with the misery of your wife and the other sex in general.

  2. Katy Tahja November 29, 2022

    My in-laws, Andrew and Marjorie Tahja, were on the Golden Gate Bridge on opening day. I really liked the photograph. I wonder how many of we local seniors had family on the bridge that day?

    • Mark Scaramella November 29, 2022


      “The Golden Gate Bridge was constructed using a $35 million bond, well below early construction estimates of up to $100 million, due to ingenuity on the part of chief engineer Joseph Strauss and his team. The bond issue was supported by San Francisco-based Bank of America.”

      But the BofA didn’t actually risk anything because…


      “On November 4, 1930, voters within the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District’s six member counties (San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Del Norte, and portions of Napa and Mendocino) went to the polls on the question of whether to put up their homes, their farms and their business properties as collateral for a $35 million bond issue to finance the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge (Bridge). For some, the timing of the bond election was considered economically reckless as it would create bonded indebtedness during the Great Depression. Others said bridge construction represented the economic relief needed from the Great Depression. After the vote, it was clear the people believed in Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss’ vision – 145,057 voted in favor and 46,954 against it.”

      Imagine what it might be like today…

  3. Mike J November 29, 2022

    The Phoenix sighting event ended with the AF dropping flares after a massive boomerang shaped craft had been sighted from southern Nevada thru Arizona. The Fortuna man states he saws the flares.

    The scientist he quotes does not approach this subject in a mature manner. No big deal, he’s already behind the 8 ball on this. The cat emerged from the bag already! When you have Barack Obama in a recent GOTV video making fun of the Mr Magoo approach to this subject, you know the jig is up. In noting accomplishments lately he said:. “And we released that huge report on aliens….uh, sorry….I mean “unidentified aerial phenomena”.

    I tried copy and pasting my 2 sighting incidents but got only partial pasting so here is the link:

    Danny Sheehan last night provided alot of info and insight re Congressional actions on this. The NDAA hasn’t been passed yet but it includes language referencing special access programs involved with attempting to exploit recovered technology and freeing participants from the classification status and their NDAs.

    • Mike J November 29, 2022

      Danny spent some time talking about the need to focus on examining who the present beings are and their intent and activities as well as the high strangeness elements and paranormal capacities. We have extensive databases of cases involving close encounters of the third and fourth kinds. I strongly recommended the four works by academic Ardy Clarke for a good comprehensive view on that front. There are useful papers at re this.

    • Betsy Cawn November 30, 2022

      The same “Danny Sheehan” who bankrolled the now defunct “New Paradigm College” in Lucerne? Two hours of pontification on a Congressional boondoggle funding a geek club of dingbats? Oh, goody.

  4. Briley November 29, 2022

    Curious, in the Doug Stone case, what does pre-trial settlement mean? And combining into one case, what does that do? Benefits who?

    • Bruce Anderson November 29, 2022

      Well-heeled defendants can delay matters endlessly because the pathetic Superior Court of this lost county allows it. Ditto for the DA in this case.

    • Mark Scaramella November 29, 2022

      In my experience, pre-trial settlement (and its preparation) is mainly a way for lawyers to make more money. It never occurs at the outset of a case, but only after months of legal bills pile up so that a case cane be made legally eligible for settlement, aka “ripe” as my lawyer once told me. The courts/judges never order people into mandatory settlement discussions at the outset of a case like they should to possibly save time and money and court time. Instead, they require that the saps, aka, litigants, pay through the nose before they can be allowed to talk to each other under court supervision when many cases could be “settled” at a relatively low cost and where legal rules are much looser. Take, for example, the Sheriff’s case against the County. Instead of ordering the County and the Sheriff and his lawyer into immediate mandatory settlement talks, Judge Moorman dragged the relatively simple question out for months and months, requiring lots of billable hours on both sides. And now it’s still open and under appeal. I could give many more examples. The lawyers (which of course all judges are) call all the shots.

  5. Marmon November 29, 2022


    The left’s MAGA (Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Amazon) movement is the real danger to our democracy. Their intent to control all thoughts and speech is nothing more than tyranny; especially when they’re in lockstep with the current Administration and Congress. I commend Elon Musk for holding their feet to the fire. Release the report Elon, the public deserves to know the truth.


    P.S. Prior to Musk buying twitter, the group was called MAGAT (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon and Twitter)

    • Harvey Reading November 29, 2022

      Robber barons are NOT, “…the left’s…” MAGAts love their robber barons. I wouldn’t trust any of the robber barons any farther than I could throw them.

    • Bruce Anderson November 29, 2022

      Please define left then, if your fraught noggin hasn’t shorted out from all the brain work, see if you can puzzle out the diff between left and liberal, not that we all don’t understand the conflation of the two by American fascists aren’t deliberate.

    • Bruce Anderson November 29, 2022

      Er, news to someone? Only Common Dreams could be surprised.

  6. Marmon November 29, 2022

    Sorry Commies, USA won.


    • Bruce McEwen November 29, 2022

      I missed the game but had the Iranian team won their collective insolence in “taking a knee” (as we call it) during their national anthem may have done some good. Now, howsomever, they are really screwed… ahh, the agony of defeat!

      But cheer up lads, tomorrow’s the day celebrate the execution of St Andrew!

      • Bruce McEwen November 29, 2022

        *Andrew is the patron saint of Iran, as well as Scotland and Greece.

    • Nathan Duffy November 29, 2022

      Left and liberal ain’t the same you brain dead coot.

  7. Sarah Kennedy Owen November 29, 2022

    How ironic that ultra-privileged Annabella Rockwell decided on Mt. Holyoke for her college experience. It was founded by Mary Lyon as a “seminary” for young women who would not ordinarily be able to afford education past the basic “free” education level available at that time. Mary Lyon was a genuine genius from a poor family who taught school in a small schoolhouse in Buckland, Massachusetts before going on to found Mt. Holyoke. That this Annabella person was wealthy enough to afford a private college education (in 2011) and then to erase it all because she imagined she had been brainwashed sounds like pure hogwash to me. She now works for a conservative advocacy group, PragerU, and is making quite a bit of professional capital on her “terrible” experience at Mt. Holyoke. Picked up by conservative news like Fox, she is becoming famous for serving the rich kids who have had such a hard time because of their mean nasty college. Boohoo.
    Yes, college is tough, and we all have to sort out what we will accept in our studies and what might be trendy or deceptive. That is part of growing up. Just like other schools, it is an experience that will transform with time as we understand things better. In this case, the mother of Annabella decided to take control and have her daughter “deprogrammed”. A panicky reaction, at best, directed by the disappointment of high expectations that her daughter would come out of college with a firm appreciation of her privileged, overprotected status. If the goal was for Annabella to come out of college exactly the same person she was when she went in, what was the point?

    • Marco McClean November 30, 2022

      Deprogramming is different from the way they used to do it, too. The Bobs recorded /The Deprogrammer/ in 1987. Here:

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