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GUSTY WINDS over the coast ridges and headlands today with light but consistent rain tonight through Monday morning. Total amounts of 1 to 2 inches are expected with 4 to 8 inches of snow above 3000 feet in Trinity County. Thunderstorms with small hail are possible in Mendocino county late Sunday through Monday. (NWS)
FORT BRAGG COMMUNITY HOLIDAY BAZAAR
Come check out the Community Holiday Bazaar Saturday, Dec 3 from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. Hosted by the First Presbyterian Church, Fort Bragg (357 S Sanderson Way).
A fun-filled event with a variety of Mendocino Coast crafters. Some highlights of items include: welding art, wood working, jewelry, home-baked goods, homemade chocolate, hand carved candle holders, greetings cards and a variety of sewn, knitted and crocheted gifts.
A cozy cafe with warm drinks and free cookies will be available to all.
HOLIDAY ARTS AND CRAFTS FAIR TODAY IN ELK
The Greenwood Community Church foundation will hold its 22nd annual HOLIDAY ARTS and CRAFTS FAIR today Saturday December 3rd from 10am to 4pm at the Greenwood Community Center located in downtown Elk. Look for the sign on Highway 1
Local artists featuring pottery, jewelry, clothing, leather goods, wood works and more. Delicious homemade baked goods and hot lunch prepared by the Elk School parents and teachers will be available.
So SKIP THE TRIP TO THE MALL and keep it local this holiday season!
Our longtime Kate Wolf Music Festival Main Stage Manager, and dear friend, Che Greenwood - a most dependable man who deftly herded cats, kept the trains running on time, fostered a loving, supportive stage environment, and found no job unworthy of performing to keep the stage clean and ready - was called up early this morning to the Big Leagues to help watch over and prepare an even greater stage for us all. All the best on your journey onward ol' friend and we'll all look forward to gathering together in the future for another rousing embrace filled singalong of 'Give Yourself To Love'.
AV HIGH SCHOOL CANNED FOOD COUNT: Seniors Are Still In The Lead
Numbers have been updated:
- 7th Grade:153
- 8th Grade:133
- 9th Grade: 49
- 10th Grade: 83
- 11th Grade: 64
- 12th Grade: 168
Anderson Valley Jr./Sr. High School
(707) 895-3496 Ext. 505
FORT BRAGG VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
The Candy Cane Run and Food Drive starts this Sunday, December 4th. Beginning at 3:00 and starting at Woodward Street, working towards Cypress Street, then hitting the streets east of Harold Street. On Tuesday starting at 5:00, they will start on Harold Street and work west. This will all depend on the weather so changes might need to be made, we'll try and keep this updated.
Having just received my monthly electric bill, I'm wondering how on earth I'm going to PAY it! It's suddenly $241. I'd appreciate feedback on various ways to cut down on my use of electricity. I already turn off the heat to the WATER HEATER portion on my electric panel/power box. I only heat water once a day, & it only needs to be on for about twenty minutes to last all day. What else can I do? My sleep pattern is HORRIBLE, but I don't know how to change that, either. I wake up every 2 to 3 hours needing to pee. (I'm 88 yrs. old). But too often, when I wake to go to the bathroom, I wake up too FAR, so I go on my computer & do jigsaw puzzles or something like that til I get sleepy again. So I sleep for 2 or 3 hours at a time. But I'm UP the rest of that time, so I don't want to have to turn my heat OFF during the night! $241 for electricity is RIDICULOUS. What to do??
REDWOOD CLASSIC THURSDAY GAMES (First Round)
My name is Lucy Espinoza, I am the student tournament director for the 63rd Redwood Classic basketball tournament in Boonville. This year's tournament is an eight team bracket, next year we plan to return to a 16 team bracket after a two year hiatus due to COVID.
The teams attending this year are Anderson Valley (Boonville), Valley Christian Academy (Roseville), California School for the Deaf (Fremont), Woodside Priory (Portola Valley), Pinewood (Los ALtos), Averroes (Fremost), Stuart Hall (San Francisco), and Round Valley (Covelo).
Today we completed the first round, all eight teams played. I am providing the scores per quarter, top scorers, and final scores.
Final Score: 37-91 to Valley Christian
Anderson Valley 12 11 8 8
Valley Christian Academy 26 29 22 14
Anderson Valley: Noah Sanchez 16
Valley Christian Academy: Chase Clary 16; Chris Donker 19
Final Score: 26-79 to Priory
California School for the Deaf 5 7 9 5
Priory 23 17 27 12
CSD: Bohdi Amann 10; Elijah Fabela 10
Priory: Rehan Parwani 17; Steve Emeneke 20
Final Score: 52-56 to Pinewood
Averroes: 12 15 18 7
Pinewood: 26 7 10 13
Averroes: Ahmed Sweilem 17
Pinewood: Thomas 18
Final Score: 41-79 to Stuart Hall
Round Valley: 10 15 8 8
Stuart Hall: 19 20 29 11
Round Valley: Matt Smith 18
Stuart Hall: Evan Marriot 17
* * *
PETE BOUDOURES' ASSESSMENT OF TOURNEY FIRST ROUND PLAY: Priory is a solid little team with a 6’10” center. Pinewood is well coached as you would expect with tuition costs north of 50k. Averros out of Fremont is scrappy. Stuart Hall is a good all round team with the famous Gary Radnich in the stands cheering them on.
REDWOOD CLASSIC, DAY 2
This is Lucy Espinoza with all the scores from the 4 games today at the Redwood Classic. Once again, I am providing the final scores, quarter scores, and top scorers for each game.
Final score: 47-57
Anderson Valley: 14 9 12 12
CSD: 15 12 10 10
Anderson Valley: Noah Sanchez 13
CSD: Elijah Fabela 20
Final score: 49-72
Round Valley: 9 10 19 11
Averroes: 15 19 19 19
Round Valley: Johnny Davila 15; Bob Whipple 14
Averroes: Haafiz Mojaddedi 30
Final score: 52-106
Valley Christian Academy: 4 12 17 19
Priory: 32 35 26 13
Valley Christan Academy: Chase Clary 15
Priory: Rostand Abanda 24
Final score 34-58
Pinewood: 5 14 11 4
Stuart Hall: 17 14 11 16
Pinewood: Thomas 14
Stuart Hall: Alek Thorn 16
* * *
The game tonight was terrific. AV lost. but it was close. I salute John Toohey for his commitment to restore Anderson Valley athletics to all that it can be.
The kids have completely embraced taking care of their community and my staff room is bursting with canned and packaged food for the food bank. The general public has come out, and is thankfully returning to our heated gym, and have donated a couple hundred bucks to the food bank now that we no longer collect game entry fees. To our community, come tomorrow and watch a game. It's cool.
John is planning an extended tournament next year with a girls opportunity on a separate weekend. Amazingly fantastic and where this district needs to be.
Show up and show support. This is like what we had in 1970.
Louise Simson, Superintendent
Anderson Valley Unified School District
MENDOCINO COUNTY HISTORIAN RELEASING BOOK ON THE HISTORY OF LAKE LEONARD
by Carole Brodsky
About a 45-minute drive west of U.S. 101, the 4,000-acre Lake Leonard Reserve is a little-known fount of local and not-so-local history. Mendocino County writer and historian Dot Brovarney is bringing that history to light with the release of her new book, Mendocino Refuge: Lake Leonard & Reeves Canyon.
Brovarney will be on hand for a book signing and sales at the Grace Hudson Museum Holiday Open House and Craft Fair on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3.
The book, which represents eight years of dogged research and writing, including several remarkable “kismet” events, traces the story of about two dozen individuals, residents and visitors who shaped the place or were shaped by their time in the canyon and at the bucolic, 16.5-acre lake. Hand-painted watercolor maps illustrate the lay of the land and detail landmarks at the lake and in the surrounding Reeves Canyon area.
Brovarney is well known for her curatorial contributions to the Grace Hudson Museum and the Mendocino County Museum, as well as her previous books, “Remember Your Relations: The Elsie Allen Baskets, Family & Friends” and “The Sweet Life: Cherry Stories from Butler Ranch.” This book, like a classic mystery began with the discovery of a mysterious trunk in 2014.
“I received a message from Dorothy Gayle Hass, who told me that Nantzy Hensley-Schaeffer had learned about a trunk that had been in storage for 20 years.” Brovarney visited Schaeffer’s home in Hopland, and that’s when the first “aha” moment occurred. “Inside the trunk were around hundreds of photos of the lake and the Reeves Canyon area belonging to Hazel Putnam. Hazel’s whole life — including these images from the ‘20s and ‘30s when she was a young adult — was encapsulated in that trunk.” Putnam’s family had a cabin downstream from Lake Leonard on Mill Creek since 1904, and she ultimately retired to the property in the early 1960s.
A trunk filled with a historical treasure trove A trunk filled with a historical treasure trove of Leonard Lake resident Hazel Putnam was the basis for Brovarney’s book. (Contributed photo) “Sitting around the hot tub at the old Redwood Health Club, I heard a lot of stories about Hazel,” Brovarney smiles. “She was quite a character. She’d stride out on her porch with shotgun in hand if she heard a stranger coming up the canyon road near her Mill Creek property.”
Ridgewood Ranch once extended to this creek, and Putnam was a horsewoman, trainer and riding teacher.
“Hazel rode English, to the endless teasing of the Western saddled Ridgewood Ranch cowboys. One day, the cowboys challenged her to an uphill horse race. She accepted, adding that the cowboys could pick her horse and they could ride whomever they wanted. She, on English saddle, beat the boys, needless to say.”
Putnam represents just one of the many fascinating individuals connected to the Lake Leonard area. Schaeffer asked what could be done to share the material of local importance in Putnam’s archive, and Brovarney suggested writing a book. “That was how the idea was born. There was so much valuable community history there.” She began the process of documenting the trunk’s photos, taking notes and creating a record of the materials.
Putnam is just one of whom Brovarney describes as a group of “strong, stubborn, willful women who are not represented in many of the other histories of the area.” Somehow, it’s not surprising that Brovarney highlights the “lake connection” to Grace Hudson.
Along with biographical materials, the book outlines the habitat of the region, the relationship between the original Native American residents and how white settlement affected Pomo peoples in the middle of the 19th century. The book tracks land use and ownership in the watershed — from the identity of the mysterious “Reeves” for whom the canyon is named, to Lake Leonard’s namesake, and ultimately to the Dakin family, who has owned the lake property from 1953 to the present day.
Brovarney utilized a variety of source materials for the book, including the original Mendocino County histories — one published by Grace Hudson’s father; Sande Marshall’s “Recollections of Leonard Lake-” eight transcribed, recorded interviews of some of the individuals included in Brovarney’s book, and a cache of letters written by Una Boyle, whose family owned the lake from 1885-1953. Boyle’s letters were the second almost-accidental acquisition of information that helped her piece together a detailed history and provided firsthand accounts of life on the lake from 1917-1949.
Hot tub friend Dora Eshleman, whose grandfather and aunt worked for Una and lived at the lake, regaled her with stories of her childhood time there. As a childhood friend of the Dakin family, Sande Marshall made her initial visit to the lake in 1953. She introduced the writer to the lake with a curated canoe ride, pointing out historical and natural features.
“The first thing I wanted to figure out was who Reeves was, which I was able to do. Then I had Hazel, her trunk and the ‘human signpost’ stories from Sande’s interviews. Once I had a feel for more names, I visited the Mendocino County Historical Society. In an undated, handwritten note there, I discovered there existed somewhere, maybe in Washington state, a set of letters written by Una Boyle from the lake.”
It took a bit of Internet sleuthing, but Brovarney located in Washington the son of the note-writer who had inherited the letters. He sent her a copy of 200 pages of letters Una had sent to his aunt Bea Howitt and another friend. In addition, he shared his aunt’s seven photo albums recording decades of her lake visits — yet another treasure trove of images and information — a history buff’s trifecta of firsthand, never-seen material.
Brovarney’s research also uncovered what could have been a disastrous project that would have permanently altered and damaged the region’s ecosystem and topography: an elaborate logging and mining proposal to channel lake and creek water via a flume all the way to Calpella.
“There was an elaborate proposal and a map that showed where the company would have blasted holes in the ridges and built tunnels, which thankfully never occurred. While this may seem shocking, extractive projects of this scale were common in the West in the latter half of the 19th century.”
Sande Marshall’s continued connection with and dedication to Lake Leonard has led her to share its natural wonders with the public through hikes with the Native Plant Society and other groups interested in the natural environment.
“Thanks to Sande, I was able to walk the land, and get into a canoe with her and her dog and tour the lake. That experience became Chapter One.”
And thankfully, today’s Leonard Lake Reserve is forever preserved through the Dakin family’s conservation easement.
“In the ‘90s, the Dakin family placed a conservation easement on their 400-acre lake property. “One family member had property south of the lake and pieces to the west in the Big River watershed. He added those to the easement donation for a total close to 4,000 acres of conserved, protected land.”
With the recent northward expansion of Montgomery Woods Reserve, it now shares a 3.5-mile border with the Dakin Reserve. The Montgomery’s conserved wildlands continue to expand through ongoing easement agreements between Save the Redwoods and nearby ranchers. Conservation of these contiguous properties in the Big River watershed greatly extend wildlife corridors and guarantee conservation of these wildlands in perpetuity.
Chapter 11 recounts the history of the Dakin family’s 70-year ownership of the property up to its use today as a wedding and special event venue for groups between 30-60 guests.
“There have been so many interconnecting threads and experiences in creating this book. It has been challenging and joyous because I love to research. I don’t read mysteries. With history, the parts that are mystery are the parts that most intrigue me,” Brovarney concludes.
“Mendocino Refuge” events include a book signing at the Grace Hudson Museum, Dec. 2-3; KZYX author interview, Wildoak Living, Dec. 15, 9 a.m., and a book reading at Mendocino Book Company, Jan. 27 from 5-6:30 p.m.
For more information about “Mendocino Refuge,” visit https://www.landcestry.com. Book details will be available in December at www.mendocinorefuge.com.
The book can be purchased in Ukiah at Mendocino Book Company, Grace Hudson Museum, the Historical Society of Mendocino County and in Mendocino at the Gallery Bookshop.
ON THIS DAY IN MENDOCINO HISTORY… S&E garage December 2, 1932 - Ralph C. Sutherland took over ownership of the S. & E. Garage on the east end of Main Street, buying out his partner (and brother-in-law) Charles Escola. Ralph, who had been the head mechanic for nine years, renamed the business, “Sutherland’s Garage.” In addition to repairs, he sold tires, batteries, oil, and radios.
In 1934, he began selling new Plymouth and DeSoto cars, in addition to offering used car sales. In April 1936, the Beacon reported that “Sutherland’s Garage is constructing a new gas and service station just east of the garage and will have a most up-to-date place of business when it is completed. Included in the new stand will be an automatic hoist and turn table for greasing cars. Joe Kinlock of San Francisco is doing the work on the new place.”
Ralph continued to expand his business, adding a International Harvester Truck dealership in May. In August, the Beacon reported that he had sold pickups to L. C. Anderson, Frank Vierra, Frank Mendosa, and E. C. Oppenlander, and a 1-1/2 ton truck to G. L. Canclini.
He also offered the latest in modern service station technology. In 1937, the Beacon reported that “Sutherland’s Garage recently installed a new Bear Brand Moto-Lab, which is just about the last word in precision machinery used to test motors and an automobile in general. This machinery is used to detect defects in motor operation, batteries, lights, magnetos, distributors, etc. and will handle any make of car. Car owners who have recently had their cars tested are loud in their praise of this machine.” In 1939, “Sutherland’s Garage has just completed the installation of a Tokheim computing gas pump. It is a late model and the only one of its kind on the coast thus far.”
By 1946, Ralph’s business had outgrown his location. He opened a new dealership for his Plymouth, DeSoto, and International Harvester vehicles on the corner of Main and Laurel streets in Fort Bragg. At his new location, he also offered Deering farm implements, Packard automobiles, and General Electric appliances. The following year, he sold the Sutherland Garage in Mendocino to Alf Lyons.
SUPERVISORS AGENDA NOTES
by Mark Scaramella
EMPLOYEES UNION ACCEPTS ONE-TIME PAYMENT
According to a “side letter agreement” proposed for Supervisors approval on Tueday, Dec. 6, the remaining bargaining units with open expired contracts, including the 700-member (approx) Service Employees International, have agreed to accept a one-time $3,000 payment of American Rescue Act funds for full-time employees ($1500 for part-time).
Meanwhile, contract negotiations will continue. The one-time payment will go to SEIU members as well as members of the Management Association, Department Heads, Probation and Public attorneys. The Law Enforcement barganing unit had previously accepted the ARPA payment.
Presumably, the future of contract/salary negoiations will be discussed on Tueday, because the one-time payment will do nothing to address the union’s complaints about low wages and related long-term vacancies and job stress.
* * *
ON TUESDAY the Board will also conduct a “budget workshop” based on a presentation prepared by CEO Darcie Antle. Among the budget assumptions are a 3% accross the board budget reduction target for all departments based on reduced cannabis tax receipts and anticipated reduced sales tax revenues (which are also partly affected by reduced cannabis retail sales).
However, there are a number of enumerated unknowns including the still-not-closed books from last fiscal year, the rising facility and operating costs of the new jail expansion, and various pending capital and facilities projects, computer upgrades,
Although it is the largest segment of the General Fund budget, there’s no mention of law enforcement or overtime in patrol or jail budgets in the presentation.
* * *
ON THE CONSENT CALENDAR is a “retroactive” allocation of “First Amendment to Agreement No. BOS-19-271 with Nacht and Lewis for Predesign, Design, and Construction Support Services for Crisis Residential Treatment, Crisis Stabilization Unit, and Psychiatric Health Facility(ies) in the Amount of $0 for a Total of $3,357,568, Effective December 18, 2019, Through a New End Date of June 30, 2026 (Original End Date of June 30, 2022).”
Translation: Mendo simply rubberstamps whatever former CEO Carmel Angelo’s pet contractor Nacht & Lewis wants in their ongoing sole source blank draw on Measure B funds, siphoning off millions of facilities and services dollars for gold-plated, grotesquely overdesigned, overmanaged and overpriced “predesign, design and construction support services” in whatever amounts they choose to spend.
THE PARIS QUARTET
Sunday, December 11 – 3:00 pm – Mendocino Presbyterian Church
Paris, in the 1730s, was the place to be. The music of Bach, Couperin, Telemann and Rameau was heard in all the best salons. These composers knew each other’s music well but forged their own inimitable styles. The Paris Quartet, (harpsichord, viola da gamba, flute, and violin), based in the San Francisco Bay Area, has played the chamber music of Bach, Rameau, Telemann, Couperin, and occasionally other great composers since 2008. They love this stuff.
SUPERVISOR MULHEREN: Catching up on the recent Planning Commission meeting re Short Term Rentals that has sparked a lot of calls, emails and meeting requests. Reviewing economic studies and still sending out those Christmas cards. Happy rainy Thursday. Stay warm and cozy.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Friday, December 2, 2022
SOLAMON COCHISE ACOSTA, Talmage. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation.
AARON BULCKE, Windsor/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
ISAAC HAGMANN, McKinleyville/Ukiah. Taking vehicle without owner’s consent, stolen property.
CHISTOPHER KEYSER, Ukiah. Controlled substance, paraphernalia, evasion, failure to appear.
HEATHER MATTHEWS, Ukiah. DUI.
MATTHEW PATERAU, Willits. DUI.
ERICA PYORRE, Fort Bragg. Domestic abuse.
SWEETMOLLY RIOS-ADKINS, Eureka/Ukiah. Controlled substance, tear gas.
BROOK STEVENSON, Copperopolis (California)/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
JALAHN TRAVIS, Ukiah. Trespassing.
ANDREW VEGA, Ukiah. Domestic battery.
NAVARRO VINEYARDS GEWURZTRAMINER JUICE is very hard to get. The vineyard has an extremely limited supply and they’re reticent about releasing too much of the product to any one place. The winery requires you to purchase a case of their wine in order to purchase a case of the juice. We did that for the first round but we quickly started to run out of space so I went back to them, hat in hand, and basically pleaded to get more cases because it really is just the most perfect pairing for the dessert Jon is making right now.
JEFF BLANKFORT: Daily Kos wants me and you to sign a petition to "deplatform" Kanye West, I refused and sent the following email to the "Daily Kos Liberation League," I urge others to do something similar:
"No, I won't sign such a petition. It is well known that West is a certifiable if not already certified nutcase and this petition is a waste of time. What is far more dangerous requiring the public's attention is the promotion, with no party member input, of Hakeem Jeffries to replace Nancy Pelosi, apparently on the basis of his commitment to Israel. Jews are under no threat as a group in the US nor anywhere else at this time and in the mid-terms the Israel Lobby revealed that it put the interests of Israel above the welfare of the American people. For non-Jewish Americans to consider the implications of that, I will argue, has more threatening implications down the road for American Jews than anything West does or says."
ATTENTION DA DAVE
DOPE CHAT, on-line comments from the Redheaded Blackbelt's must-read website:
(1) From one lunatic to all the rest, we don’t call them “trimmigrants”, we call them “trimsients” which is more accurate…
Yes, the giant cartels were buying up large real estate holdings, but now marijuana is mostly grown in areas closer to major highways and large population centers, simply because it’s cheaper to farm nearer town.
The drought and the fire profile of Northern California will necessarily limit production, eventually, and the highly divisive and cohesion-less folk who live out in the boonies, while not necessarily ignorant hicks, are unable to form together and produce economically.
There is also a tendency to inflate the “quality claims” of NoCal pot, and if there is one single gram that actually tests over 30% THC, I would like to try it…
Your weed isn’t special, your lifestyle is nearly at an end, and commercial dope production will be in the hands of billionaires’ corporations some of which will be actually funded by Cartels…
Only by taking the money out of drug dealing, will the “drug problem” be corrected, but I doubt if this will occur in the next 25 years…
(2) OH and some of the people working in Marijuana Production are actually “slaves”, or abused persons under the control of criminals…
(3) So many people have misused the term “Cartel” that we’ve forgotten the definition. You say
“Cartels buying up land”, but what you really mean is
“Non whites buying up land”
A “Cartel” is competitors coming together to dictate prices. Which is a great idea. If there were any Cartel formed around GROWING weed, I’m all in. Current weed prices paid to growers is the best evidence against any true cartel existing in the weed biz.
(4) This is not a white vs brown or black issue. in fact the Russian cartels I would think are made up of people who happen to have white skin. And I have yet to hear of Black cartels growing weed. Weed prices are much higher where it can be sold illegally which is why it is being smuggled to those places.
(5) It’s the great schism. Those that truly know the industry and those that want to control the industry. It’s no secret that “mountain” justice exists and has forever in Nor Cal. Money n drugs = thugs. Individual or gooberment groups thugging is thugging. Sure there may be individuals involved that are legitimate, but the thugs worm their way in and take it over on every level. Trim tramps, trim hoes. That was the original base. The girls that would come around just in time for the weed and the money. Screw the boss cause a lot of family drama, party all night scene. Never really were any outsiders that ran anything and we didn’t mess with the boss or you could wind up in the trunk! Now in our more modern debacle freaks try to fill the boots of a lost legacy. They havent got a clue how to do it. Cute story Jorge but ya got a lot twisted in the wrong direction.
(6) After I ended that comment I thought about it a little bit longer it also used to be quite an honor to get invited to a trim scene. Very tight-lipped not everyone was welcomed in specific requirements. One being don’t screw the boss but many did and wound up getting in a lot of trouble . You’d be kicked off a crew pretty quick if the Mrs found out that you were messing with her man . You didn’t talk about it if the word got out you wouldn’t have any more work. Typically 6 to 10 ladies, maybe a few guys doing buck n hang. These much larger Crews that camped or stayed in town permanently was not really a thing until around 2006 and after.
(7) It’s the great schism. Those that truly know the industry and those that want to control the industry. It’s no secret that “mountain” justice exists and has forever in Nor Cal. Money n drugs = thugs. Individual or gooberment groups thugging is thugging. Sure there may be individuals involved that are legitimate, but the thugs worm their way in and take it over on every level. Trim tramps, trim hoes. That was the original base. The girls that would come around just in time for the weed and the money. Screw the boss cause a lot of family drama, party all night scene. Never really were any outsiders that ran anything and we didn’t mess with the boss or you could wind up in the trunk! Now in our more modern debacle freaks try to fill the boots of a lost legacy. They havent got a clue how to do it. Cute story Jorge but ya got a lot twisted in the wrong direction.
(8) After I ended that comment I thought about it a little bit longer it also used to be quite an honor to get invited to a trim scene. Very tight-lipped not everyone was welcomed in specific requirements. One being don’t screw the boss but many did and wound up getting in a lot of trouble . You’d be kicked off a crew pretty quick if the Mrs found out that you were messing with her man . You didn’t talk about it if the word got out you wouldn’t have any more work. Typically 6 to 10 ladies, maybe a few guys doing buck n h(ang. These much larger Crews that camped or stayed in town permanently was not really a thing until around 2006 and after.
WHEN IT ALL WENT TERRIBLY WRONG
THE NATIONAL WILD WEST
Living in America is tantamount to living on the front lines of a battlefield. Whether you’re in a grocery store, a school, a workplace or a nightclub, you’re painfully aware that some people are out there with deadly assault weapons ready to kill you. These weapons were intended for use only in war.
We are living in a more dangerous society than the lawless Wild West of the 1800s. Why are these weapons of war so prevalent in our country? Because almost 100% of Republican politicians consistently vote against banning these deadly weapons from our civilian society. They have a perverse view of the Second Amendment, which was written long before the United States became the most powerful military in the world.
These days we don’t need a civilian militia to protect us. But Republicans are more interested in getting political donations from the National Rifle Association and catering exclusively to gun-loving voters than creating a safer, less violent America. All they offer are “thoughts and prayers” instead of action.
Meanwhile a huge majority of Americans want to see an end to all these mass murders and feel powerless to accomplish it. The answer is simple — use your power to vote, and vote against those who refuse to ban assault weapons.
U.S. M.C.R.D. OBSTACLE COURSE: As a young teen in the '60's my buddy and I would sneak onto this obstacle course, until a D.I. spotted us and chased us off...We learned the only way over the reverse incline wall from a trench was to buddy-up. One stands on the others shoulders, then pulls his buddy up from the top. They always seemed to see us on the cargo net climb!
BILL KIMBERLIN: I made a documentary on Jack Johnson, the first Black Heavyweight Champion of the world. He defeated the former Champion in Reno, Nevada on July 4th, 1910. This victory set of race riots across the country as white folks didn't like it. The call went out for a "Great White Hope" and that lead to Jefferies coming out of retirement and losing to Johnson. Johnson's winning purse was a little over $100,000 dollars in gold.
BIDEN JUST KNIFED LABOR UNIONS IN THE BACK. They Shouldn’t Forget It
At the same time that thousands of union members are fanned out across the state of Georgia knocking on doors to get Raphael Warnock elected and solidify Democratic control of the Senate — to save the working class, of course! — Biden decided to sell out workers in the single biggest labor battle of his administration. Rather than allowing the nation’s railroad workers to exercise their right to strike, he used his power to intervene and force them to accept a deal that a majority of those workers found to be unacceptable.…
The mere suggestion is gonna drive the magas nuts, further nuts: A nine-member Reparations Task Force, formed by California Governor Gavin Newsom as part of the country's largest ever effort to address reparations for slavery, with a focus on housing discrimination, would pay the 2.5 million Black Californians $223,200 per person. The task force is required to submit its final recommendations to the state legislature in June, 2023.
(As Malcolm X once said, “We don’t want reparations; we want back wages.)
MEMO OF THE AIR: Good Night Radio all night Friday night!
Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is about 7pm. Or send it whenever it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week.
Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio is every Friday, 9pm to 5am on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg as well as anywhere else via KNYO.org. Also the schedule is there for KNYO's many other even more terrific shows.
If you get this before too late, there's a First Friday party at the KNYO storefront on Franklin. I can't go; I'm doing my show tonight in my plaid pyjamas and Emperor Ming hat from Juanita's apartment, but you can. I understand there's a whole music-sale, popcorn, hot-sauce, fantasy novels and hot drinks vibe in the air. Not to mention the annual lighted truck parade the next day, Saturday, at 6:30pm and a prime view from the same place, fortuitously right next door to the Tip Top bar, where, my friend, either you're closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are unaware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of a /pool table/ in your community.
Any day or night you can go to https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com and hear last week's MOTA show. By Saturday night I'll put the recording of tonight's show there. And besides all that, there you'll find a shmorgasbord of infotaining pabulum to gum until showtime, or any time, such as:
Rerun: Andre Antunes' ska-ified barking-mad pastoress.
And Josephine Baker on Italian teevee in 1962. What a doll.
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
HOW’S THE WAR ON TRUTH GOING?
by James Kunstler
Barreling down to Christmas and the bitter butt end of a bad year, a primal fear of the deepening darkness makes people desperate — another reminder that human nature has not changed so much in ten thousand years, despite the discoveries of Prozac and plant-based meat. Yet Freud was right: death has its attractions for tormented minds. Thus, our nation appears to hasten to its own funeral.
Can anyone actually grok how “progressive” thinking works these days? This faction now in charge of so many things has decided in the starkest terms that freedom of speech has got to go. For some years, the Party of Chaos had achieved such exquisite control of all national debate by seizing the dials and toggles of social media that they made reality itself their hostage. The truth was only what they said it was, and anyone who said otherwise got banished, cancelled, and even destroyed.
There seemed to be no way to overcome this death grip on the process of consensus, the formation of a coherent collective idea about what is going on in the world. And so, any number of scams could be run on the people of this land. The Woke-Jacobins could rig elections in plain sight. They could surreptitiously suspend due process of law when it suited them. They could send national police thugs to your door at five-o’clock in the morning with riot guns, body armor, flash bangs, and bogus warrants. They could take your livelihoods, your freedom to move about, your childrens’ minds and bodies, and your dignity. Finally, they could take your life with false vaccines — and, unlike the Nazis in 1944, get the private sector to dispose of the corpses.
And now a struggle ensues over the relationship between the truth and the making of a consensus. Elon Musk bought Twitter — the horror! — and methodically set about to liberate this new digital “public square” from insidious and nefarious manipulation. It’s not a trifling matter, of course, but it’s amusing to watch Elon play with our nation’s overlords; and even more entertaining to see these tyrants strain and bluster to justify their war against free speech. How did the cognitive elite, America’s thinking class — the law professors, the editors and pundits, the public intellectuals, the managers of most everything — ever find themselves so self-owned in idiocy?
I wish I’d been a fly-on-the-wall in that meeting mid-week between Elon Musk and Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple — the very same week that Apple disabled the Air-drop function on iPhones in China (slyly, by means of a new OS update), making it more difficult for street protesters to coordinate their movements against CCP lockdowns. Rumors were flying days before that the Lords of Tech would pull on Twitter the same kind of treatment they dealt to Parler two years ago, a then-rising rival app for Internet chatter that threatened to open up free debate. Apple and Google took Parler out behind the woodshed and shot it in the head — and nobody could do a damn thing about it. I have a hunch that Elon explained a few things to Tim Cook that made him think twice about another move like that.
Twitter is different than the upstart Parler was. Twitter was already established as the authorities’ official arbiter of approved thought in America. Under the old boss, Jack Dorsey, Twitter accomplished its thought-management ends with a staff of a thousand mini-Stalins rooting out anything that smelled like opposition to the official narratives. (Elon fired the whole lot of them in short order.) It has been revealed since then that Twitter carried out censorship at the aggressive prompting of US Deep State officialdom — the nagging, twanging, and strong-arming by bureaucrats from many federal agencies. Who knows (not yet, anyway) how many Twitter censors were actually put in-place by the government?
So now, one big truth has come nakedly into the open: the Left is at war with the First Amendment to the Constitution. Free speech, they say repeatedly now, makes our democracy unsafe. It can’t be allowed. They say that because they don’t have a better argument. The safety talking-point is a shopworn cliché from their grab-bag of Woke shibboleths that the public is sick of hearing. Anyone with half a brain can see how transparently dishonest and stupid it is. It’s not going over well, even among a people so sorely gaslighted as the USA in late 2022.
Speaking of what is safe and what is not safe, one of the main deceptions the past three years has been the suppression of information about the Covid-19 “vaccines” that were foisted on the population — for many, made a requirement to earn a living. The pre-Musk Twitter worked strenuously to bury any data and all news that suggested the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines were disabling and killing people. The tension between truth and lies has now reached a breaking point, with so many suspicious “all-causes” deaths coming to the public’s attention. This is what the authorities are really afraid of: that the people will learn their government has carried out — by epic incompetence or true malice — something that looks like an attempted genocide.
MAINSTREAM MEDIA SLAIN IN CANADA
In a wild and oddly nasty standoff, author Douglas Murray and I steamrolled Malcolm Gladwell and Michelle Goldberg in the most decisive win in the history of Canada's Munk debates
by Matt Taibbi
Wednesday night I had the privilege of taking part in the prestigious Munk debates in Toronto, Ontario. Along with The War on the Westauthor and reporter Douglas Murray, we took on New York Timescolumnist Michelle Goldberg and New Yorkerwriter Malcolm Gladwell, arguing: “Be it resolved: Don’t trust mainstream media.”
A pre-event vote of attendees and listeners showed 48% support for our “side,” versus 52% for theirs. 82% of thousands of audience members claimed to be willing to change their minds. They were telling the truth, as it turned out. In a bitter slugfest that featured tense confrontations, impassioned oratory (especially from Douglas), and several almost unbelievably petty exchanges, Douglas and I swung the vote 39% in our favor, ending with a 67%-33% win, the most decisive rout in the history of the event.
I’m on the road and not able to post the full transcript yet, but will when I can. In the meantime I wanted to comment on a few highlights and lowlights.
Sadly it’s not false modesty on my part when I say Douglas’s quick wit and eloquence carried the day — he was incredible, captivating the audience throughout — but it’s also true that on the substance, we were essentially unopposed. Despite repeated attempts on our part to engage on the core question, the event disintegrated almost from the start into a weirdly personal affair that at one point mid-debate had me remembering the famous fist-fighting girl scout scene in Airplane!
The luck of the draw had me giving the opening remarks. One offhand passage needs highlighting because it somehow turned out to be the debate’s main battlefield:
[Once], the commercial strategy of news was to aim for the whole audience. A TV news broadcast aired at dinnertime and was designed to be watched by the whole family, from your crazy right-wing uncle to the sulking lefty teenager. This system had its flaws. However, making an effort to talk to everybody had benefits, too. For one, it inspired more trust. Gallup polls twice showed Walter Cronkite of CBS to be the most trusted person in America. That would never happen today…
That one little line inspired ridiculous quantities of vitriol. Hours after the event, head on a pillow, I relaxed enough to laugh about it. In the moment, though, I was pissed.
What happened: Gladwell seized on the line and repeatedly asserted it meant I was pining for the all-white, all-male paradise of the fifties and sixties. He went there five different times! By the last time, I threw my hands up in the air, and even sweet old ladies in the audience were rolling their eyes. A sampling of the “Matt, who was born in 1970, misses Jim Crow” quotes:
“I was greatly amused by the affection Matt Taibbi has for the age of Walter Cronkite… in that moment the mainstream media was populated entirely by white men from elite schools.”
“I just wanted to make a short list of the people who were not ‘spoken to’ by journalists in the 1950s and 60s… Black people, women, poor people, gay people, people with mildly left-wing views…”
“When Matt and Doug speak about the mainstream media, they’re acting as if there’s a big room… in which everyone gathers every morning and makes up the agenda for the day and the people fly in from the big news networks and someone from CBC comes down, and this Cabal of high minded, well-paid elite white… journalists, some of them the ones Matt seems to have such affection for…”
“Matt, I understand that you do have this wonderful nostalgia for the way things used to be, but I think that you need to fact check some of your nostalgic notions about the wonderful world of the 1950s…”
The “most trusted” polls I mentioned Cronkite winning were actually in the seventies and eighties, but he was on a roll. Moreover, as he hammered the theme, Gladwell kept pulling the schoolyard tactic of mispronouncing my name, repeatedly calling me “Tee-AHH-bee,” even after I corrected him onstage. The great fast-food philosopher and factory-producer of bestsellers wanted to make clear, I guess, that I hadn’t reached a professional level of sufficient height to penetrate his lofty consciousness.
Murray guessed in the green room that Gladwell would probably use his opening statement time to wander to and fro in TED-talk style, wringing hands and furrowing his brow. He did that, but the effect was muted because Murray preempted him, spending his opening statement wandering the stage and stroking his chin in a subtle Gladwell impersonation that at that point was still all in fun.
But once things got personal, the mood shifted. The Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto is an acoustical marvel, by the way. You could hear a pin drop in there despite it being packed with thousands of spectators surrounding the debaters, with steep vertical loges and even rows of on-stage seating that made it seem like the audience was in our laps.
The first turn in the debate came when Gladwell turned his disdain on Douglas, suddenly deciding to call him “Doug.” In my mind’s eye I remember Murray turning to me and mouthing, What the fuck? It’s possible I imagined this (I’ll need to look at the video). Anyway, a flutter shot through the crowd, which then burst out laughing when Douglas replied:
There was some back-and-forth in the debate over the supposed issue at hand. A highlight was a monologue by Murray aimed at the Canadian media, which he said acted as an “amen chorus of the Canadian government” during the trucker protests, blasting its representatives as “utterly rancid and corrupt.” This, he said, addressing the Toronto crowd, was especially shameful because “in this country, your mainstream media is funded by the government.”
As you see, this earned cheers and applause, but Goldberg soon after stopped the bleeding by reminding everyone she was the only person who’d actually covered the protests in person. I really believe, though, that the event turned when Gladwell wouldn’t let Cronkite go. It was a small thing, but it happened to coincide with a subtext of the discussion, i.e. the unearned waft of superiority emanating from the mainstream press. Journalists were once more down-to-earth, being mostly fuckups and castoffs from other professions who tended to feel more comfortable in the company of bartenders or hot dog vendors than politicians. The latter were universally thought of as scum, or at least suspect.
Now a corporate press pass is a status symbol, reporters tend socially to run in the same circles as the people they cover, and when presented with the growing mountain of evidence that they’ve lost the trust of the public (see this recent Gallup survey), the reflex is to declare the public defective. Toward the end of the debate, Gladwell made this exact argument. After one last time invoking my longing for the fifties, when the press was so exclusive that “people like Michelle and I wouldn’t have been on the stage,” he shifted without any hint of contradiction to question the current wisdom of having mainstream media institutions “perfectly match” the makeup of the rabble:
What would restore the trust of Matt and Doug in mainstream media? With Matt, the answer is obvious: he would like if the world resembled 1955 again. That will fill him with joy, like more stories on the Hunter Biden laptop…
I think that they would be happier if they felt that the composition of prestigious journalistic institutions more closely reflected the full range of ideological attitudes in American public issues. That is actually a serious proposition.
I don’t mean to make light of it at all, but it is one that makes me a little uncomfortable. Because I don’t think that you can ultimately say that trust in institutions is reserved solely for institutions that perfectly match the characteristics of the general population. It is like saying that we don’t trust kindergarten teachers, because kindergarten teachers are over-represented with people having an enormous amount of patience for the temper tantrums of four year olds… I mean they are an extraordinary and very specific subgroup of the population that performs very well in that particular task more generally…
I watched this performance with awe. If douchebaggery were an ice cream cone, the guy would be melting all over the stage. I almost felt bad.
When the results were announced, he scurried off stage, doubtless already carrying the germ of a new bestseller (thought the fifties-obsessed white male, acidly).
By the way, here’s a passage I wrote in Hate Inc. about the Cronkite era:
There was a lot that was wrong and deceptive about the era of news Cronkite dominated. News watchers were presented with a highly limited and simplistic vision of the world, presented almost entirely by white men. Coverage downplayed or omitted countless injustices, both at home and abroad…
Thanks so much to my brilliant partner Douglas Murray, who came to my defense more than once, and to the wise citizens of Toronto, who were great hosts and even better voters. Be it resolved: that was damned satisfying.
GIANTS, DODGERS & A BRAWL FOR THE AGES
“Baseball fights can be more dangerous than hockey fights, where two players square off, because you’ve got guys running all over the place and people throwing punches at you that you don’t see half the time”.
by Gary Livacari
The rivalry officially started in 1890 when Brooklyn joined the National League. The Giants occupied the Polo grounds in the so-called “classier” borough of Manhattan, while the Dodgers held forth in the blue-collar borough of Brooklyn. As the calendar continued its assent into the final decade of the 19th century, the rivalry began heating up as if jabbed by a red-hot poker.
The long-standing personal feud between Brooklyn owner, Charles Ebbets, and Giants manager, John “Muggsy” McGraw, intensified and a palpable hatred began to develop between the two teams. In 1940, Bill Terry knew the Dodgers were “still in the league” and their followers could be ferocious. Umpire George Magerkurth was brutally beaten by an enraged Dodger fan ostensibly for making a pro-Giants call. Around the same time, my dad was seated in the upper deck in left field, at Ebbets Field. He was standing, cheering the Giants. As he settled back into his seat, he felt a harsh tap on his shoulder. My father turned and looked into the angry eyes of a guy with arms like tree trunks. The Brooklyn fan forcefully asked, “Was you rootin’ for the Giants, Buddy?” From that point on my dad made a concerted effort to curb his enthusiasm for the visiting team.
Starting in 1951, many of the pennant races between the two clubs were legendary. We all know about The Shot Heard ‘Round the World, made possible by the Giants winning 37 of 44 games to catch the Dodgers and force a three-game playoff.
Nineteen-fifty-nine was also a doozy. The San Fran Giants led the Los Angeles Dodgers by three games as late as September 6—only to be swept two weeks later by the same Dodgers and eliminated. This enabled the Dodgers to catch the Milwaukee Braves and beat them in the first two games of a three-game playoff, then vanquish the Go-Go White Sox in six games. This was mainly due to the “cannon for an arm” possessed by Dodger catcher John Roseboro, curtailing the White Sox’s great base-stealing speed. John also contributed the winning hit in game three. (We’ll spare Dodgers fans 1962)
At the 1965 Academy Awards, My Fair Lady won eight Oscars and on March 25, Martin Luther King, Jr. concluded a four-day march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, along with 25,000 civil rights proponents. Also, the Giants and Dodgers put on another remarkable pennant race.
The Giants won 14 straight and 17 of 18 games approaching the last two weeks of September, poised on the top step of victory – when they exhaled. The Dodgers then concluded a 13-in-a-row streak and 15 of 16 to advance to the WS! They beat the Minnesota Twins in a seven-game thriller. But along the way, a shocking event occurred on August 22, at Candlestick Park, San Francisco.
Two Great Pitchers Square Off
The Dodgers were a game and a half ahead of the Giants, as two HOF pitchers opposed each other: Sandy Koufax and Juan Marichal. Maury Wills led off with a bunt single and scored the first run on a Ron Fairly double. Marichal thought bunting was a cheap way to get on and when Wills faced him again Juan knocked him down. This called for retaliation when Willie Mays stepped into the batter’s box. Now, Koo foo was a complete, soft-spoken gentleman who just couldn’t throw at a batter. But he sounded more like Leo Durocher when the pitching maestro once said, “Show me a guy who can’t pitch inside and I’ll show you a loser.” So, did he dust Willie? Not on your life. He aimed the next pitch a mile over Mays’ head!
The next inning Marichal sent Ron Fairly sprawling with nasty chin music. Tempers flared. Roseboro told teammates, “I’ll take care of it.” When Marichal came to bat, Roseboro, on the third pitch, deliberately whistled the return throw to Koufax, possibly clipping the tip of Marichal’s ear.
As John rose from his crouch, Juan swung his bat and hit the side of Roseboro’s head at least twice. Blood poured out. The infuriated backstop immediately tried to attack the rival pitcher. (Marichal claimed the next day, “I thought he was going to hit me with his mask so I hit him with my bat.”)
Willie Mays Prevents Further Damage
At the sight of their bleeding catcher, enraged Dodgers charged toward the plate. Left fielder Lou Johnson, wild with anger, was suddenly hoisted up in a bear hug by behemoth Willie McCovey, who gently placed him out of harm’s way. Meanwhile, Giants’ captain Willie Mays, tears in his eyes, pulled his close friend back and guided him into the Giants’ dugout with a towel pressed to his bloody skull. That seemed to end the brawl. Johnson proclaimed, “Willie Mays was the hero, his action stopped what could have been much worse. Marichal was suspended for eight days (10 games) and fined a mere $1750. Both pitchers struggled a bit in their next few starts.
Dodgers GM Buzzy Bavasi said Roseboro “was the best .240 hitter in baseball history.” John was also an intelligent field general and was considered the premier defensive catcher in the 1960s. Loved by his pitchers, Roseboro caught two of the four Sandy Koufax no-hitters. Very quiet and spoke in a whisper, thus his nickname, “Gabby.”
The Two Antagonists Later Become Friends
Roseboro eventually “buried the hatchet” with Marichal, and when Juan was ironically signed by the Dodgers in 1975, they became good friends. John campaigned for Marichal’s induction into the Hall in 1983, realizing the delay was because of the “incident.” No one could argue with the Dominican Dandy’s glittering stats, which included 243 victories, three years with 25 plus wins, and a 16-year career 2.89 ERA. He’s still robust at 84, living in Santo Domingo, and currently serving as the Minister of Sports for the Dominican government.
Roseboro had some difficult times in baseball toward the end of his 14-year career but did appear in TV commercials, as well as a few films afterward. He succumbed to heart disease in 2002. Marichal served as an honorary pallbearer at the funeral.
He said poignantly, “Johnny’s forgiving me was one of the best things that happened in my life. I wish I could have had John Roseboro as my catcher.”
WALK IN THE LIGHT
President Biden just announced his willingness to talk with President Vladimir Putin of Russia regarding the war in Ukraine. This brought on a response from our ally President Zelensky of Ukraine stating “Ukraine won’t negotiate until, every Russian soldier leaves Ukrainian soil.” President Biden said that Putin must first make some indication that he wants to make peace. Putin hasn't done so. While this move by our president may help, it may be too soon.
In the Old Testament (Isaiah, 2,) the prophet Isiah said,
For out of Zion shall go forth Instruction, and the word
of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate
for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into
ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall
they learn war any more. O House of Jacob, come, let
more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD.
The Hebrew prophet Isaiah lived in Jerusalem from the 8th to 7th centuries BC, before the birth of Jesus Christ. Present weapons can kill and destroy more but Isiah's words still hold true.
UKRAINE, FRIDAY, 2ND DECEMBER
The Ukrainian military said some Russian troops are withdrawing from their positions in Zaporizhzhia. CNN has not been able to verify the claims.
Ukraine has put all embassies and consulates abroad under enhanced security after suspicious packages, including blood-soaked envelopes containing “animal eyes,” were sent to some.
The Kremlin said Washington's refusal to recognize annexed Ukrainian territories as Russian "complicates" possible talks, after US President Joe Biden said he'd speak with Vladimir Putin if he's looking for a way to end the war. The illegal annexations followed sham referendums in four Ukrainian regions.
Between 10,000 and 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the war, a Ukrainian presidential adviser has said — a number lower than the US estimates.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry said Ukrainian embassies and consulates in multiple countries are receiving “bloody packages” — some with animal parts — as part of what appears to be a “well-planned campaign of terror and intimidation.”
Following a spate of explosive letters sent to locations throughout Spain in recent days, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said that bloody packages arrived at embassies in Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia, Italy and Austria, as well as the consulates general in Naples, Italy and Krakow, Poland and the consulate in Brno, Czech Republic.
The ministry said in a Facebook post that the packages contained animal eyes and “were soaked in a liquid of a characteristic color and had a corresponding smell.”
“Not being able to stop Ukraine on the diplomatic front, they are trying to intimidate us,” Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said, according to a translation. “However, I can immediately say that these attempts are useless. We will continue to work effectively for the victory of Ukraine.”
The ministry said all Ukrainian embassies and consulates had been placed under heightened security measures.
— Sam Meredith (CNBC)
WAR IS THE GREATEST EVIL, An Interview With Chris Hedges
by Ralph Nader
Steve Skrovan: Welcome to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour. My name is Steve Skrovan, along with my co-host, David Feldman. Hello, David, how are you?
David Feldman: Very good. Hello.
Steve Skrovan: And of course, the man of the hour, Ralph Nader, is with us. Hello, Ralph.
Ralph Nader: Hello, everybody.
Steve Skrovan: All right, we have another great show for you today, and we’re going to start with one of my favorite guests who’s been on the show before. Many journalists and pundits cover war from a safe distance in a clean studio. Few have experienced the gritty reality of war like Chris Hedges. He spent nearly 20 years overseas as a correspondent for the New York Times getting to know war up close and personal. He wrote eloquently about it in his award-winning War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning where he states, “The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug, one I ingested for many years.”
Today, the war in Ukraine is raging. Establishment news outlets offer of generals and State Department officials to tell us the partisan, political and strategic story of war that seems only to fuel that addiction and keep us rooting for “our team.” In contrast, Hedges has written another book about the subject titled War is the Greatest Evil. In this new book, Hedges draws on his firsthand experience to tell us the story of the hidden costs of war and what it does to individuals, families, communities, and nations. We look forward to talking to Chris about how we, as a society and as individuals, can possibly overcome this ultimately destructive addiction.
* * *
David Feldman: Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, who spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He is the host of The Chris Hedges Report, and he is a prolific author— his latest book is out now from Seven Stories Press, The Greatest Evil Is War. Welcome back to the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, Chris Hedges.
Chris Hedges: Thank you.
Ralph Nader: Welcome back indeed, Chris. I see this book of yours as a sequel–an update and expansion in terms of its impact of Marine General Smedley Butler’s book in the late 1930s called War is a Racket, which people are still reading. And he got the Congressional Medal of Honor twice. And he basically said he was a tool for Citibank, for the oil companies in the Caribbean, Central America, East Asia. It’s one of the greatest confessions. And he had some photographs at the end of the book on the grizzly effects of war, so he didn’t spare either words or visuals. And your book is an expansion of that theme.
And as I said to you earlier, before the program, Chris, and I want our listeners to know that there’s no way to paraphrase what Chris has written. So I’ve asked Chris to read two and a half pages at the beginning of his book, The Greatest Evil is War, and then we can discuss the book and its impact. And I have some interesting comparisons for you, listeners, to show that ultimately the problem is that the people of this country are not applying their value systems into the realm of politics and economics. Go ahead, Chris.
Chris Hedges: Thanks, Ralph. Preemptive war, whether in Iraq or Ukraine, is a war crime. It does not matter if the war is launched on the basis of lies and fabrications, as was the case in Iraq, or because of the breaking of a series of agreements with Russia, including the promise by Washington not to extend NATO beyond the borders of a unified Germany, not to deploy thousands of NATO troops in Central and Eastern Europe, and not to meddle in the internal affairs of nations on the Russia’s border, as well as the refusal to implement the Minsk peace agreement. The invasion of Ukraine would, I expect, never have happened if these promises had been kept. Russia has every right to feel threatened, betrayed, and angry. But to understand is not to condone. The invasion of Ukraine, under post-Nuremberg laws, is a criminal war of aggression.
I know the instrument of war. War is not politics by other means. It is demonic. I spent two decades as a war correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa, and the Balkans, where I covered the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. I carry within me the ghosts of dozens of those swallowed up in the violence, including my close friend, Reuters correspondent Kurt Schork, who was killed in an ambush in Sierra Leone with another friend, Miguel Gil Moreno de Mora.
I know the chaos and disorientation of war, the constant uncertainty and confusion. In a firefight you are only aware of what is happening a few feet around you. You desperately, and not always successfully, struggle to figure out where the firing is coming from to avoid being hit.
I have felt the helplessness and paralyzing fear, which, years later, descend on me like a freight train in the middle of the night, leaving me wrapped in coils of terror, my heart racing, my body dripping with sweat.
I have heard the wails of those convulsed by grief as they clutch the bodies of friends and family, including children. I hear them still. It does not matter the language—Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, Dinka, Serbo-Croatian, Albanian, Ukrainian, Russian—death cuts through the linguistic barriers.
I know what wounds look like—legs blown off, heads imploded into a bloody, pulpy mass, gaping holes in stomachs, pools of blood, cries of the dying, sometimes for their mothers. And the smell. The smell of death. The supreme sacrifice made for flies and maggots.
I was beaten by Iraqi and Saudi secret police. I was taken prisoner by the Contras in Nicaragua, who radioed back to their base in Honduras to see if they should kill me, and again in Basra after the first Gulf War in Iraq, never knowing if I would be executed, under constant guard and often without food, drinking out of mud puddles.
The primary lesson in war is that we as distinct individuals do not matter. We become numbers, fodder, objects. Life, once precious and sacred, becomes meaningless, sacrificed to the insatiable appetite of Mars. No one in wartime is exempt.
The landscape of war is hallucinogenic. Eugene Sledge calls it “the kaleidoscope of the unreal.” It defies comprehension. War, like the Holocaust, as Barbara Foley wrote, is “unknowable.” “Its full dimensions are inaccessible to the ideological framework that we have inherited from the liberal era.”
You have no concept of time in a firefight—a few minutes a few hours. War, in an instant, obliterates homes and communities, all that was once familiar, and leaves behind smoldering ruins and a trauma that you carry for the rest of your life. I have tasted enough of war, enough of my own fear, my body turned to jelly, to know that war is always evil, the purest expression of death, dressed up in patriotic cant about liberty and democracy and sold to the naïve as a ticket to glory, honor, and courage. It is a toxic and seductive elixir. “Those who survive, as Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “struggle afterwards to reinvent themselves and their universe, which, on some level, will never make sense again.”
Walt Whitman, who tended wounded soldiers in hospitals during the Civil War, wrote in a heading in his notebook: “The real war will never get in the books.” “Its interior history will not only never be written,” Whitman argues, “its practicality, minutiae of deeds and passions, will never be even suggested.”
Ralph Nader: Listeners, I just want to give you some comparisons here. This book came out Seven Stories Press, but they do use Random House as a distributor, so they can get into all the bookstores if there are orders and they can get into all the online vendors as well. A book that came out in 2012 and 2013 called American Sniper, which is a book by an expert sniper for the US military in Iraq, and was turned into a movie; ten years later, on Amazon, it ranks ahead of Chris Hedges’s book. This is just an example that bloodthirsty military action books sell far more than books that challenge the grizzly evil and crimes of war. It’s books of aggression, violence, military prowess that gained the bestseller list. You’ve analyzed the public attitudes on this and thought about it. Why do you think this is so? It’s so contrary to the survival instinct of human beings.
Chris Hedges: Because those books are a celebration of us as a people, as a nation. And challenging that self-exaltation, which books like mine do, is unpleasant because it forces us to ask questions about ourselves and our nation that are deeply troubling and uncomfortable. And people prefer the self-adulation, the self-adulatory myths. This is what every war movie that Hollywood makes – Saving Private Ryan, and doesn’t matter what it is–they prefer that self-adulation, because in the end, it’s really a celebration of us. I think that’s why.
Ralph Nader: Do you think it’s also that the warlike forces in our society have seized the symbols of patriotism. They’ve seized the flag; they’ve seized the anthems; they’ve seized the awards. There’s a Congressional Medal of Honor for soldiers involved in war. There’s not a Congressional Medal of Honor for the peacemakers/the conflict avoiders. And once they control that meaning of patriotism, it becomes an intimidating factor. And people who otherwise would step up and speak out are afraid to go against that symbol with all its holidays and all its marching bands, etcetera, for fear of being accused of unpatriotic behavior or worse, anything to that?
Chris Hedges: Yes, I think in any militaristic society that’s exactly what happens. So even Robert E. Lee, who was a traitor fighting for one of the worst causes that any war ever embraced, has full portrait in a Confederate uniform that’s hanging in the library in West Point. And not to mention the fact that there are all sorts of parts of West Point that are named after him. So it is a celebration of those Marshall qualities, which you’re right, are fused with the idea of patriotism. I mean, what is a patriot? A patriot, I would argue, was someone who works to make the country a better place, which would preclude a figure like Robert E. Lee. And probably all sorts of other military figures as well. Martin Luther King would be, in my mind, a patriot, but that’s a different definition of patriotism. So much of this hijacking of the iconography and symbols and language of the nation and the highest form of patriotism lies with the media and, of course, with the entertainment industry and it’s very hard to fight against.
Ralph Nader: Yeah, well, there are Veterans for Peace in Iraq. Veterans that are trying to do their bit, but it starts in the schools too. It starts right in the first grade.
Chris Hedges: Yes, right, exactly. That’s right.
Ralph Nader: This book is very hard to describe, listeners, because it has a diverse impact in its contents. It’s not just a one-note type book symbolized by its title, The Greatest Evil is War. We’re speaking with Chris Hedges. Chris, it is true historically, is it not, that militaristic societies eventually devour themselves like Sparta?
Chris Hedges: Well, or like the Athenian Empire or the Roman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian empire. Every empire ultimately devours itself. And historians like Arnold Toynbee argued that the prime reason that empires disembowel themselves is unchecked militarism. I studied classics. That was certainly true in Rome, the one million man army and the Praetorian Guard was auctioning off the position of emperor to the highest bidder; we’re not too far away from that ourselves. The Pentagon is totally out of control, hasn’t been audited for I think for a decade. Every year it gets more money, sometimes even unasked for, and it’s consuming, not only tremendous amounts of resources; technically it’s half of all discretionary spending. But when you add other programs, veteran affairs, nuclear and everything else, it’s much more than that. And of course, it’s prosecuting one military debacle after another going all the way back to Vietnam, and they’re never held accountable.
So that is traditionally how empires are one of the major factors. Depletion of natural resources, of course, is often another. But that unchecked militarism is cancerous to a civilization. And it overreaches in the end. So, as it decays, as we have decayed, it engages in more forms of military adventurism in an attempt to reclaim a lost hegemony and a lost glory and a lost power. And this was certainly true in Athens in the disastrous invasion of Sicily. I think their whole fleet was sunk. So we are following that very familiar trajectory. This is why Karl Liebknecht, a Socialist German leader in World War I, quite astutely called the German military the enemy from within. And I would argue that that’s an appropriate way to characterize the military industrial establishment in the United States.
Ralph Nader: It’s certainly drawn trillions of dollars over the years – trillions and trillions of dollars from the necessities of our domestic society, from the public works, the infrastructure, the schools, the public transit, the community health clinics, the public libraries, bridges, highways, soil conservation, the whole pollution-control investment. Now, climate disruption and foreseen pandemics, which we have starved the budgets of both the CDC and the World Health Organization. And I think a lot of our listeners may not know that the main reason we didn’t get universal health insurance under Lyndon Johnson and got Medicare and limited Medicaid was because of the money we were spending on the Vietnam War, which was a criminal war of aggression as well and never declared by the Congress.
What, Chris, would you like to highlight before we conclude? And we really would like another program more extensively because I know we’re going to get a tremendous reaction from our listeners. What points would you like to make briefly?
Chris Hedges: I would highlight the chapter of “The Pimps of War” because this is this coterie of groups and individuals, and I dealt with them all the way back when I covered the war in El Salvador for five years. Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan worked for Abrams in the State Department under the Reagan administration. And their job was really to attempt to discredit all of our reporting on the ground, because the Salvadoran death squads run out of three different military units run by the government were killing between 700 and a 1000 innocent, unarmed civilians a month. So the war industry has perpetuated these people. It doesn’t matter how many times they’re wrong – they’re wrong about Iraq, wrong about Libya, wrong about Afghanistan, and their think tanks—the Project for the new American Century, American Enterprise Institute, Foreign Policy Initiative, Institute for the Study of War, Atlantic Council, Brookings Institution—
it’s kind of like this mutant strain of an antibiotic resistant bacteria we can’t get rid of. And these people are on the airwaves. They were the people who sold us the war in Iraq, which alone should discredit anything they have to say about Ukraine. They are incredibly cavalier about the possibility of nuclear war, which they all acknowledge. Former CIA director Brennan the other day said there is now one in 25% chance of nuclear conflict that all of these people Supreme Court Justice Elana Kagan, right-wing conservative William Kristol and others… and what’s interesting is that both parties are war parties.
Ralph Nader: What’s cruelly paradoxical is that you were an award-winning military correspondent and reporter on other subjects for the New York Times for over 20 years and you can’t get into the New York Times op-ed page. And your book, The Greatest Evil is War, wasn’t listed in the New York Times Book Review. On the other hand, the consummate admitted warmonger John Bolton, who was, for a limited amount of time, the security adviser on terrorism to Donald Trump, wrote a book which, said that obstruction of justice was a way of life in the Trump White House. Obstruction of justice is serious crime.
His book was reviewed in the New York Times. And he gets in op-eds in the New York Times and Washington Post. And he just admitted very recently that he’s advocated coup d’état. He advocated the bombing of North Korea, the toppling of Iranian regime by military means. A Yale Law graduate who doesn’t know about the constitutional restraints on wars that are not declared by the Congress, not to mention other international law illegalities. How do you explain that?
Chris Hedges: Well, having worked for the New York Times, it is a newspaper that will cater obsequiously to the centers of power and is extremely reticent about challenging those centers that may critique the excesses of power, but it will never critique the virtues of power. And so if a writer, such as myself, goes after the structural injustices and inequities, which include the rise of the military state, then you crossed a line they’re very hesitant to embrace because of the blowback. So there’s no blowback for being nice to John Bolton. There’s quite a bit of blowback for– I mean, you’re virtually banned from the Times. When I worked with the Times, they wouldn’t even put Chomsky’s name in the newspapers. It was not written on a wall. It wasn’t rule, but everybody knew, even if it was about linguistics. So there’s a very insidious form of censorship, but the war industry is a large advertiser, especially on the television networks. And so who you see talking about war is always former intelligence officials, Brennan, Clapper, former generals. And let’s not forget these people, although it’s not disclosed, are sitting on the boards of companies like Raytheon raking in lots of money. So they have a vast kind of personal interest in perpetuating war because they make money off of it as pointed out by (Smedley) Butler, in his speech “War is a Racket.”
Ralph Nader: Yeah, one of the only deviations from the blackout of Noam Chomsky by the New York Times was a recent lengthy interview by Ezra Klein of the New York Times on his podcast. He had Noam Chomsky on for an hour. Last question is how do you get people to impress upon their senators and representatives? Because the peace movement has got to begin turning Congress around. That’s where the appropriation funds and the neglect of saying there’s going to be no war without a declaration from Congress, comes from. How do you get them to focus on their senators and representatives? They’re back home now. They’re shaking hands. They’re going to events prior to the November election. This is a good time to get to them.
And we have a Congress Club with several hundred members who are supposed to be even more keen on impressing the many issues on this program on their two senators and representatives. How would you arouse them even more about focusing on those 535 members who represent and control the sovereign power delegated to them by the people, and who so often have turned the sovereign power against the very people themselves. Let’s say you were on the stump and you had one or two minutes to convey a motivational expression.
Chris Hedges: Well, the Democrats have to be held accountable because they are culpable. And I think we saw tremendous opposition to the Iraq war, hundreds of thousands of people in the streets, not particularly well covered, but they were there. And then to elect Kerry, who kind of out-Fallujahed George Bush. Remember saluting and he wouldn’t have withdrawn; everybody stopped standing up against the war industry because they thought electing Kerry would somehow make things better. However, democratic administrations are wholly in lockstep with the Republicans on militarism, and in some cases even worse, because they provide more cover. We’ve given $50 billion – I think is the amount now – to Ukraine. I mean, the whole State Department budget is only $60 billion. And not to mention, that’s about five times what we give to the EPA. So, we have to hold those who prosecute permanent war – Democrat or Republican— accountable. And I think that by surrendering to a Democratic administration in the idea that it’s “the least worst,” we weaken our power and our credibility.
Ralph Nader: Not to mention inadequate budgets to head off future pandemics and to deal with the present COVID-19 pandemic that Congress has sat on mostly the Republican opposition, I might add. So well listen, we’ve been talking with Chris Hedges, author of this concise, pulsating fact-based book, The Greatest Evil is War, Published by Seven Stories Press. Start discussions around in the neighborhood, listeners. Send copies to your library and schools. It’s a readable book. It’s not huge. It can be read in a few hours and it will never put anybody to drowsiness. What’s the best way to reach you?
Chris Hedges: chrishedges.substack.com.
Ralph Nader: That’s chrishedges.substack.com. And you also go around and you deliver speeches to various groups in the US and Canada, and they’re always very, very well attended. So keep doing what you’re doing, Chris, and to be continued.
Chris Hedges: Thanks, Ralph.
Ralph Nader: Thank you very much, Chris.
Chris Hedges: Thank you, Ralph.
Steve Skrovan: We’ve been speaking with Chris Hedges. We will link to his book The Greatest Evil is War at ralphnaderradiohour.com. Up next, Mark Green joins Ralph to share winning strategies for Democrats. But first, let’s check in with our corporate crime reporter, Russell Mokhiber.
Russell Mokhiber: From the National Press Building in Washington, D.C., this is your Corporate Crime Reporter “Morning Minute” for Friday, October 28, 2022. I’m Russell Mokhiber.
Cosmetics company, L’Oréal, is being sued over claims that its chemical hair straightening products put women at an increased risk of uterine cancer, that’s according to a report from CNN.
Civil rights Attorney Ben Crump filed the lawsuit last week in Illinois on behalf of 32-year-old Missouri resident Jenny Mitchell, claiming that Mitchell’s uterine cancer “was directly and proximately caused by her regular and prolonged exposure to phthalates and other endocrine disrupting chemicals found in the defendant’s hair care products.”
“As most young African-American girls, chemical relaxers, chemical straighteners were introduced to us at a young age,” Mitchell said. “Society has made it a norm to look a certain way, in order to feel a certain way. And I am the first voice of many voices to come that will stand up to those companies, and say, ‘No more.'”
To hear more of this interview go to ralphnaderradiohour.com.
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!
Suddenly it seems my body doesn’t fit anymore
I wake up clenching my teeth
Or with aches and pains I never had before
I feel like I spent the whole day moving house
When I was simply relaxing with a book
I bruise like a banana
And do not remember what hit me
Hands sore from holding the steering wheel
What’s up with this?
I am aware of every movement
Where I would run and climb
I now know falling is dangerous
3 broken ribs that will not heal
I am careful to stick to flat surfaces,
Stairs, hills and uneven sidewalks are enemies.
My mom used to laugh and say:
“I don’t know why I am so tired,
I never do anything.”
I get it now,
I watch the children running and jumping
How bad does it get
Before one gives up
And goes for a trade in?
Do we just wait until the weariness and aching
Becomes too much and we say “Enough.”