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Mendocino County Today: Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023

Coming Storm | Motorcycle Accident | AV Vista | Huffman Appearance | CA Snowfall | Covelo Dogs | Accreditation Visit | Climate Survival | Decertified Cop | Waterfall | Ed Notes | Shea Locomotive | Yesterday's Catch | Basketballer | Outside Play | Stovetop Choice | Big Cedar | Fishing Soundtrack | Monkey Barrel | Health Crises | Subway Riders | Draft Again | Morning Silence | False Foxes | Carter Panels | Woke Censorship | Ther | Retail Exodus | California Street | Cops Human | Best Friend | Suicidal Superpower | Upper Crust | Channeling Custer | SF Garter | Ukraine | Nixon 1960

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THIS MORNING, a cold air low pressure system is making its way south to our region and will bring cold surface temperatures, low elevation snow, heavy snow above 1000 ft, potential for convective storms producing small hail at the coast, and rain. This winter storm will impact the region through the end of the week. Very cold low temperatures are expected Friday and Saturday morning. A short lived ridge will set in early in the weekend before another wet period may occur by early next week. (NWS)

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A MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT Monday afternoon about 5 occurred on Mountainview Road at mile marker 16.5. The victim was retrieved by Anderson Valley's emergency crew and subsequently airlifted from the Boonville Airport to Ukiah hospital.

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Anderson Valley vista

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Congressman Jared Huffman and his staff are scheduled to meet in Anderson Valley on Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at 11am to discuss ways to improve the beach access at the Greenwood Road Bridge over the Navarro River at Hendy Woods. In response to a proposal put forward by the Anderson Valley Land Trust (AVLT), Huffman will meet with representatives of the California Parks Department, Mendocino County, Mendocino Redwood Company, the Hendy Woods Community, and others. This location is Anderson Valley’s only public beach access on the river, and the area is also widely used by visitors to nearby Hendy Woods State Park.

Currently there is no official access, paths, bathrooms, or parking. AVLT hopes to improve the area in conjunction with Mendocino County’s planned bridge project, scheduled to begin in the next few years. Eleven plus years ago when the State planned to close Hendy Woods State Park, Huffman, who was then Chair of the CA Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee, held hearings on the park crisis and met with a large group of community members at Hendy Woods.

— AVA News Service

ED NOTE: Congressman Huffman plans to have a federal look at the trail leading down from the west end of the Greenwood Bridge to the Navarro River. The Congressman also is expected to stop by the office of Superintendent/Principal Louise Simson at Anderson Valley High School for a quick tour of the school’s falling down facilities, this community’s most urgent priority.

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For perspective, my current view is that just about any place in the "yellow or higher" areas on this topographic contour map of California (i.e., ~900-1000ft) has a decent shot at accumulating snowfall overnight Thu into Fri. Definitely includes some unusual places. (Daniel Swain)

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26-year-old Covelo resident Mario Montes is in the hospital after nine dogs converged on him and attacked him yesterday morning. As he walked along Tabor Lane to get some food from Aztec Grill, the dogs surrounded him and began to bite his legs. He had to punch three in the face. They finally scattered after he swung a bucket wildly. His legs are covered in lacerations and he is being dosed with antibiotics to avoid the infections that often come with animal bites.…

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Dear AVUSD Community,

I hope you take a few minutes to review our AV High School WASC (accreditation) portal. We have an important accreditation visit coming up on March 26-March 28. There is a kick-off meeting at the Boonville Hotel on March 26 at 3:00 p.m. and we urge parent/guardian/community member attendance.

Julie Honegger and the staff worked very hard on this report. It is an honest report celebrating strengths but calling out areas of growth in the Action Plan. Take a look at the highlights page to celebrate some of the great work currently on-going.

I hope you will attend on March 26. The visiting committee will want to see a variety of folks there to make sure all voices are heard.

Sincerely yours

Louise Simson, Superintendent

Anderson Valley Unified School District

Every Student • Every Possibility • No Matter What

Cell: 707-684-1017

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By Lisa Fernandez

FOR BRAGG, Calif. - California now has its first decertified police officer.

Christopher Awad, a former sergeant with the Fort Bragg Police Department, voluntarily surrendered his ability to be a law enforcement officer in the state. He is the first and only person on this list to date since a new law took effect this year to decertify police who engaged in serious misconduct. 

"My life is a lot more simple," Awad said in an interview on Friday. "I'll tell you that." 

At first, Awad didn't want to divulge why he chose to decertify himself. 

But a California Public Records Request revealed that Awad – who twice won "Officer of the Year" – had his share of problems at the department located in the small coastal city of Mendocino County, a three-hour drive north of San Francisco. He was fired from the department three years ago. 

In April 2020, the District Attorney found that he purposely withheld evidence from a prosecutor about his inappropriate relationship with a DUI suspect in a Bay Area hotel.

Awad told Internal Affairs investigators that he thought the woman's case was "going to resolve" in court and that his relationship would be moot. But because that hadn't happened yet, the DA told him that he had "tanked" their case, records show.

In addition, the prosecutor felt Awad had a "piss poor" attitude and didn't review police reports for accuracy, the records show. At the time, Awad told an IA investigator that he was also frustrated with having several large cases, extra work and not having time off. 

In his interview with KTVU, Awad acknowledged what occurred and admitted what he did was wrong.

But Awad said his motivations for helping the DUI suspect – an undocumented woman, who could lose her DACA status and be deported if she was convicted – were full of good intentions. 

Awad said he didn't feel the punishment of deportation fit the crime in her case and he put in a good word for her with prosecutors to turn her case into a "wet and reckless," which carries a lesser penalty.  

He realizes that he shouldn't have befriended her on Facebook and then had relations with her when he was drunk at a hotel.

"We had a one-night kind of mistake, you know," he said. "But the sole purpose is that if she were to carry a misdemeanor DUI on her criminal record, it would affect her DACA status. I lost my career over this, and I feel like, you know, how long do I have to keep paying for it?" 

Besides the tryst with the suspect, Awad acknowledged that he "cut corners" with paperwork and didn't properly prepare for court.

"I take accountability for it. I should have had a better attitude," he said. "But I don't believe I should have been fired for it." 

As of Jan. 1, California became the latest state in the country to be able to decertify peace officers. It allows the Commission of Peace Officer Standards, known as POST, to decertify officers for serious misconduct — essentially kicking them out of the profession for things like sexual assault, perjury and wrongfully killing civilians.

POST commissioners can receive complaints about peace officers from the public and law enforcement agencies are required by law to report any case of serious misconduct to POST within 10 days. And officers can appeal their cases. 

Or, in Awad's case, the officer can choose to decertify themselves.

For now, Awad has moved out of California and is making a living by playing the stock market and detailing cars.

He said he took the extra step of decertifying himself to free himself emotionally from his past. 

"You know, it was the ethically right thing for me to do for myself was to surrender the certificate," he said. "I have no desire to go back to law enforcement. My life is a lot more simple, I'll tell you that." 


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Waterfall flowing down to Big River (Jeff Goll)

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DICK WHETSTONE CLARIFIES THE HISTORY: Braxton Bragg was never in California. It was named by Lt. Gibson for his former Captain in the Mexican War. From Wikipedia: “In the summer of 1857, 1st Lt. Horatio G. Gibson, then serving at the Presidio of San Francisco, established a military post on the reservation, approximately one and a half miles (2.4 km) north of the Noyo River, and named it for his former commanding officer Capt. Braxton Bragg, who later became a General in the Army of the Confederacy.” I agree about not changing the name. It is not right to lose the history for political correctness.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: “Poker Face,” now playing on Peacock. A reliable friend said she and her husband were enjoying it, and I was already laughing when I read somewhere that the series was about a non-cop woman with an infallible bullshit detector, not that cops don’t generally have pretty good bullshit detectors since they’re immersed in it all day every day. 

IN TODAY’S WORLD a functioning bullshit detector gets a constant workout and who among us hasn’t fallen for bullshit? I cringe at the memory of the many times I’ve bought something whole before I realized it was untrue. 

DING DING DING goes the bullshit detector of a normal person at most political rhetoric, but these days that normal person and his/her fully functioning bullshit detector seem pretty much confined to readers of the Boonville weekly, which is a tiny joke for those of you without bullshit detectors. But, really, look who’s president, and look at the orange fraud who preceded him. Millions of Americans do not have functioning bullshit detectors.

THERE’S A TON of cop shows on TV — “copaganda” I’ve heard them referred to — but this non-copaganda show — Poker Face — is about a woman whose infallible bullshit detector got her in major trouble with big time criminals when she cleaned them out in their private, high stakes poker games. She was forced to flee, taking her bullshit detector on the road. 

NATASHA LYONNE is the actress who plays the lead character, and she’s very good. And so’s everyone else in the first two episodes I’ve seen. The writing doesn’t miss, the photography is compelling, and there’s lots of very funny stuff into the bargain.

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I’m taking up more photos of the Shea locomotive:

It ended up on its back at one time but I believe they rebuilt it, and put it back together, but that’s what they did in the old days, not like today when after a break and rollover they send them to the scrap yard, take out a checkbook and buy a new engine. It is a shame that they cut them all up for scrap for they were strong part of our Mendocino County history, data preserved over the years. Engines that are standard gauge. But there’s not many narrow gauge railway equipment anymore. Every once in a while we find an old piece of track in the neighborhood. A lot of the local ranchers would turn them into cattle guards. I guess it’s recycling. 

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, February 20, 2023

Cruz, McGhee, Nix Reynolds


DOUGLAS MCGHEE, Willits. DUI with blood-alcohol over 0.15%

DEREK NIX, Lincoln/Fort Bragg. Robbery.

DANIELLE REYNOLDS-DAY, Laytonville. DUI-alcohol&drugs, misdemeanor hit&run, child endangerment.

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I WASN’T A VERY GOOD BASKETBALL PLAYER in high school, despite hours and hours of practice under the basketball hoop that my father installed on our detached garage behind the house in Fresno. My favorite thing to practice was to run down the driveway toward the basket and see if I good get a layup by starting my last two steps as far away from the basket as possible. I discovered that if I dribbled and ran really fast I could pick up the ball from behind the free throw line and take two big jumping steps and shoot the layup. Trouble was, I couldn’t reliably get the layup to go in. 

Practicing in the driveway like that I also developed a very good set shot. I was great at HORSE and free throws where I could just stand there and shoot without any interference. 

Trouble was, actual basketball games involved other players trying to interfere with my dribbling and my shots. Because I was only good when practicing alone, the coach didn’t put me in games very much. Except for technical foul free throws and the occasional end of a close game long shot, I spent most of my game time on the bench. 

My major basketball accomplishment was winning the big high school free throw shooting contest in my senior year. I hit 41 out of 50 and got a nice engraved gold trophy of a generic shooter shooting a free throw.

One game, toward the end of the season, we were playing the all-black team from Edison High School on the other side of Fresno. They were, of course, very good, especially with their two players who could do a nearly unstoppable lob-jump-dunk alley-oop play. We were good too with several fairly tall local all-star players, although, being all-white, without the scrappy athleticism of the Edison guys. So it was a close game. 

Toward the end of the close game, the coach decided to put me in and try a special play designed to get me open for a long shot as time ran out. (This was before the days of the three-point shot.) It worked perfectly. Nobody (including me) expected it to work. But it did. I got to my pre-arranged position and they threw me the ball. I was pretty nervous. I shot the long open shot. It rolled around and around… and out. 

That was my last game as a competitive basketball player.

(Mark Scaramella)

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In our quest to switch gas appliances to electric, we planned to purchase an induction stovetop to replace our gas unit. Just as we were about to put down our credit card, my husband asked if it was safe for someone with a cardiac pacemaker. We were advised it was risky, particularly if the person with the pacemaker was left-handed and/or got within 2 feet of the induction stovetop. My husband (being both left-handed and visually impaired) decided it was probably not a good choice for us, and so we opted for an electric stovetop instead. (Maybe not as much fun as gas or induction, but perfectly fine.) Something to think about if you are planning to reduce your use of natural gas in your home.

Jane DeYoung

Santa Rosa

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Pacific Highway, 1920

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by Steve Heilig

About ten years old, my best friend Scott and I have big plans. We awake long before dawn in our little Southern California beach town of Corona Del Mar, the “Crown of the Sea” indeed, grab our fishing gear, meet in our street, and set off on a long walk in the dark. Sorta like a coastal Tom and Huck.

First stop was the little freestanding white-painted See’s candy store on the Pacific coast highway, where we knew there was often “expired” candy in the dumpster out back. One of us would boost the other over and into the trash, where the trademark bright white candy boxes were easily visible even in the dark. A couple pounds each of many different flavors went into our knapsacks: “breakfast” for the long walk down Bayside Drive along the bay, over the one bridge onto Balboa Island, onto the day’s first ferry across the bay to the Newport Peninsula (10 cents for pedestrians), then out to the Balboa pier. By the time we got to our destination we felt mildly sick to our stomachs from all the chocolate and sugar.

Only a few other older fishermen already there, with their lines already down, sitting on coolers of bait and beer. We offered them some candy in exchange for a bit of bait, an easy exchange as See’s was far more expensive and tasty than raw anchovies. Just getting light when we first dropped our lines down. Then a quiet wait, surf murmuring far below. 

One guy switches on a tinny transistor radio, quietly, and a slow melody plays, then a mellow voice: “You see this guy, this guy’s in love with you…”. It’s Herb Alpert, already well-known for leading his Tijuana Brass with his skilled trumpet-playing - all of our parents had their albums, especially the one with the stunning dark-haired (and very pregnant, it was later revealed) model wearing only whipped cream - softly singing the new #1 hit, authored by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. 

They were already becoming one of the most successful songwriting teams ever, with over 1000 artists eventually covering their songs, and many respected musicians saying their musical composition and construction was as deceptively complex and good as it gets.

And for some reason that little childhood pier-top musical moment has lodged in my memory for well over half a century now, even though I misheard it as “The sky’s in love with you…”, and can’t help but think of it that way ever since.

Ironically, rumor had it that Mr. Alpert had recently been quietly kept out of one of the most exclusive gated beach coves nearby, for not being quite pale enough to buy a home there. Even big money can’t overcome insanity, and sometimes it even causes it.

RIP Mr. Bacharach. Alas I don’t recall if we caught any fish that particular time. We usually did, but it was worth it either way.

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It’s another example of America’s surprising resistance to effective treatments

by German Lopez

It is a public health crisis that kills hundreds of Americans a day. Effective treatments could bring down the death toll. But many doctors and patients are not using those treatments.

Regular newsletter readers might think I’m talking about Covid. But the description also applies to drug overdoses. They don’t get nearly as much attention, but they’re a similarly major public health problem, and they have neglected solutions.

More than 100,000 Americans die each year from overdoses, mostly from opioids, according to C.D.C. data released last week. That is higher than the toll from gun and car crash deaths combined. While medications like methadone and buprenorphine can sharply reduce deaths among opioid addiction patients, only about a quarter of people who could benefit from these treatments receive them.

Decades into the overdose crisis, tens of thousands of people whose lives might be saved are instead dying from opioids.

Extra barriers

America’s addiction epidemic did not have to unfold this way, and it highlights the health care system’s continued resistance to providing addiction care.

Treatment can be very expensive, and it’s often not covered by insurance. Addiction doctors have complained to me that they can spend hours of their workday on the phone with insurers asking them to pay for a medication, and sometimes insurers say no anyway. Patients have shared similar experiences.

The federal government has sometimes exacerbated the problem. Until last year, doctors had to go through special training and obtain a waiver to be able to prescribe buprenorphine, the medication for opioid addiction. At the same time, federal officials have failed to enforce laws requiring that insurers cover addiction treatment.

A comparison to France, which faced its own opioid crisis in the 1980s and ’90s, is instructive. In 1995, French officials deregulated buprenorphine so more doctors could prescribe it. Over four years, overdose deaths fell 79 percent.

It is a sharp contrast to the U.S. Rather than impose extra requirements for addiction care, French officials greatly relaxed rules during a crisis. And through the country’s government-run health care system, officials made sure that the treatment was widely available and paid for.

On top of America’s bureaucratic problems are more personal ones.

Some doctors hold stigmatizing views about addiction and the patients afflicted by it, and refuse to provide treatment. Many doctors say they lack the confidence to treat addiction because they don’t have enough training or access to specialists who can help guide them. Drug users can also resist treatment. Some think of medications for addiction as merely replacing one drug with another, though experts reject that framing because the medications replace drugs that do harm with drugs that can help.

All of these problems lead to the underuse of effective addiction treatments in the U.S., and so it is easier to get high than it is to get help.

The bigger picture

Some of the problems are specific to addiction. But others are broader. Obesity and mental health conditions are often undertreated, too. Flu seasons are consistently worse than they have to be because not enough people get their annual shots. While Americans’ overuse of health care frequently receives attention, underuse is a problem in many situations as well.

Why is this the case?

Often, people, including doctors, have outsize fears about the downsides of some treatments, especially new ones. With Covid, doctors worry about Paxlovid’s interactions with other drugs — a real problem but largely a manageable one. With opioid addiction, patients make the mistake of thinking of a prescribed medication, like buprenorphine, as just another drug, even though it can save their lives.

The American health care system’s fragmented nature also makes it easier for problems to fall through the cracks. In France, officials can leverage the country’s universal health care system to overcome hesitancy to new treatments by guaranteeing they’re widely available and by strongly pushing for their use. In the U.S. system, there is no centralized authority, so medical authorities struggle to coordinate care even when the best practices seem clear.

As a result, drug overdoses are both a major public health problem in their own right — they are one reason U.S. life expectancy fell in 2020 and 2021 — and representative of the system’s larger struggles. The U.S. spends far more per person on health care than any other country and also has lower life expectancy than Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia and much of Western Europe.


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New York Subway, 1963

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I’m in favor of the draft for different reasons. The chicken shit generation of soy boyz raised and educated indoors by delusional females will be useless in a real blood and guts battle, like the Battle of the Bulge for example. About the best any of ‘em will be able to do is fly drones via remote cameras and doing other high tech nerdy stuff while their fat pink asses are sitting on seats in climate controlled rooms. Maybe along with the draft could we see draft riots and huge demonstrations as we had during the failed Vietnam war? Or are the soy boyz incapable of even doing that? 

We’ve lost nearly every single war we’ve fought, ignoring what happened in the 1860’s when we most famously defeated ourselves and started construction of the American Empire. This empire is a collection of 50 states or so held together by military force ever since 1865. The primary “glue” holding it all together now is the dollar. Once it’s gone the empire vanishes and is replaced for a while by utter social chaos until the states can get together and construct a new living arrangement here that has no central government.

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by Ben Beckett

“Those fuckers are destroying our credibility. It enrages me,” Tucker Carlson texted his producer two days after Election Day 2020. The “fuckers” in question were Fox News employees who accurately reported Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona.

It’s hard to think of a more succinct encapsulation of conservative media than one of its biggest stars complaining that reality is ruining his credibility.

Carlson wasn’t alone. A week later, Sean Hannity texted Carlson and fellow Fox personality Laura Ingraham that calling Arizona for Biden — again, we should stress, simply reporting reality — had “destroyed a brand that took 25 years to build and the damage is incalculable.”

Carlson later tried to get another Fox News reporter fired for a tweet questioning Trump’s false assertions of election fraud. Carlson didn’t claim the reporter’s tweets were inaccurate, according to newly revealed text messages. Rather, his main concern was that “The stock price [of Fox’s parent company] is down. Not a joke.”

It may not surprise many readers that Fox News values right-wing propaganda over facts. But newly released documents from a major defamation case against the network show just how deep a cynical disregard for the truth went with its biggest on-air talent.

In a $1.6 billion lawsuit, the voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems says that Fox News defamed it by claiming Dominion machines were switching votes from Trump to Biden. As part of the suit, Dominion gained access to internal Fox communications, some of which were released in a court filing yesterday.

Quotes like Carlson’s about the stock price and continual fretting about low ratings by Fox pundits and executives bolster Dominion’s argument that Fox personalities continued to make claims they knew were false out of a concern for losing viewers to even more extreme outlets like Newsmax. Carlson and Ingraham privately described Trump surrogates with terms like “liar” and “a complete nut.” But in one of the few accurate statements he’s ever made, Carlson got at the heart of the issue. Trump, he wrote in a text to his producer, “could easily destroy us if we play it wrong.”

In their internal communications, Carlson and Hannity sound less like journalists and more like hucksters who realize the jig is up. Stuck between the potential wrath of Trump and his followers on the one hand, and Fox owner Rupert Murdoch’s insistence on reporting material with some semblance of the truth on the other, they panicked.

Fox claims that it was simply reporting claims made by Trump and other newsworthy individuals without propagating false claims itself. But Dominion seems unusually confident in its chances, given how difficult defamation cases are for plaintiffs in the United States.

So far, Fox has managed to keep parts of its communications redacted in the public versions of court filings. Adding to Fox’s legal headaches, the New York Times is suing to unseal the full record. We might not even have seen the worst of it yet.


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by Bel Mooney

The fairy tales I read as a child were a world of terror. Those collections by Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm still sit on my shelves, next to volumes of European and world folk tales and Greek myths. They all fed my imagination, enthralling me with lessons about the darkness that’s at the heart of existence.

No children’s story Roald Dahl ever concocted could match those beloved tales for cruel old witches, rapacious kings, sex-mad princes, evil dwarfs, trolls and (of course) pretty virginal victims — who would inevitably be abandoned by adults, mistreated by wicked stepmothers, imprisoned, carried off on horses, kissed (without giving consent, of course), threatened with cannibalism, made to marry men they didn’t know, and so on. How thrilling!

But now Roald Dahl’s Matilda, James And The Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Witches and other classic titles, are thought not suitable for children — unless sanitised.

His trademark sharpness has been blunted, his language changed to suit modern sensitivities about gender, race, weight, violence and mental health. The Cloud-Men in James And The Giant Peach are now the Cloud-People. Tractors in Fantastic Mr Fox are not allowed to be ‘black’ for fear that it’s racist, and a character isn’t allowed to ‘turn white’, they have to ‘turn quite pale’.

In 1983, Dahl wrote a story about a boy growing up with a bunch of bald witches. Gloriously unpleasant, The Witches included this passage: ‘“Don’t be foolish,” my grandmother said. “You can’t go round pulling the hair of every lady you meet, even if she is wearing gloves. Just you try it and see what happens.”’

But now Roald Dahl’s Matilda, James And The Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Witches and other classic titles, are thought not suitable for children — unless sanitised

Can you believe it? The pathetic tampering with dangerous Dahl goes on and on: ‘You must be mad, woman!’ becomes ‘You must be out of your mind!’ Mrs Twit is no longer ‘ugly’, and the Oompa Loompas are gender neutral. Then ‘old hag’ becomes ‘old crow’ — which is, of course, a serious offence to those of us rather fond of those savage, black (oops) birds.

No character is allowed to be ‘fat’ — because that might upset the burger-chomping young. Augustus Gloop in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is now ‘enormous’ instead of ‘fat’.

‘Fat little brown mouse’ is changed to ‘little brown mouse’ (The Witches). The words ‘Here’s your little boy,’ she said. ‘He needs to go on a diet’ have been shortened to, ‘Here’s your little boy’.

One of the changes in The Witches is particularly excruciating. The sentence, ‘Even if she is working as a cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessman’ has been changed to, ‘Even if she is working as a top scientist or running a business’.

That reveals a truth at the heart of the censorious psyche. Those snooty, publishing half-wits all have degrees from what passes as the modern university and simply can’t bear to think of ‘ordinary’ lives and everyday jobs.

Oh, my dear — imagine being the inferior woman who scans their sauvignon, salami and satsumas in Waitrose . . .

Once upon a time, I was a successful children’s author, my books (especially the popular Kitty series) taking me into the top earning bracket of royalties accrued through library borrowing. I used to visit libraries, schools and children’s festivals all over Britain to talk about my work and answer questions.

 Back then you felt you could write almost anything for children, trusting your own knowledge and experience. My books raised issues, yet were also funny. In essence I was always on the side of the naughty ones and understood the fears beneath bad behaviour. Nobody ever told me what to write.

So it makes me incandescent to see how today’s young readers are being patronised and short-changed by adults who should know better. I pity modern authors who struggle against the rising tide of puritanism and protectionism that has swept through publishing. Nobody is safe. Not even David Walliams, who has been criticised for the earthy character descriptions in his novels.

It might be tempting just to mock the lily-livered ‘sensitivity readers’ employed by the once-great publishing house, Puffin Books — and other large ones, too. Those hapless souls are doomed to be holed up like poor Rapunzel in her tower, forced to sift through books looking for ‘problematic’ words and phrases which might cause ‘offence’ — weeping in horror as they rewrite them.

They must have nightmares about wicked witches, inappropriate princes and black cats. The fairy tales I read as a child would make any ‘sensitivity reader’ pass out with shock.

We could giggle at the absurdity. Or sigh helplessly that this is just another example of ‘woke’ censorship. But this is deadly serious — and all the righteous indignation caused by this betrayal of the spirit of Dahl has helplessness as its undercurrent. What the hell can we do?

The imaginations of children have fear imprinted on them at birth — the witches and goblins of folk-memory and the nameless dread of darkness. As they grow older, more specific shapes loom from the murk: strangers, robbers, the monster you know lives under the bed.

Books like Dahl’s — in their unsanitised form — cater for these imaginations. They help prepare the young for the fright caused by images that crowd in from an imperfect world: gunfire, bombs, violence, the shattered grief on the faces of survivors after a tsunami, a famine, an earthquake.

How can it possibly be right to censor Roald Dahl in an age when young children are given smartphones by parents and can soon access hard-core pornography at a couple of clicks.

It seems that the teachers, librarians and (some) parents — who have slurped the woke Kool-Aid so avidly they have lost all reason — are quite happy for toddlers to be offered books which feed them trans propaganda. They don’t mind older kids being subject to horrifically explicit sex education which suggests that sado-masochism can be a fun part of sex.

None of this is remotely funny, and nobody should turn away from what is happening to our culture. Puffin’s arrogant censorship of Dahl’s acerbic, deliberately shocking prose is just another example of an insidious takeover of our heritage. Make no mistake, there really is a serious culture war going on.

That isn’t a fantasy dreamt up by conservative journalists and politicians to attack liberal values — or whatever terms the censors might use to justify their shocking arrogance. It’s not made up by writers such as Salman Rushdie who tweeted: ‘Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship. Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed.’ Or children’s authors like brilliant Anthony Horowitz who has fought his own battles with sensitivity readers and warns that moral policing of literature is ‘extremely dangerous’.

This latest example of the appalling stranglehold that ‘wokery’ (or political correctness, as it used to be called) now has on our society must take us beyond weary smiles and sighs. The issue affects every one of us. Most important of all, it denies to children the right to be shocked, to be scared, to laugh at the ‘wrong’ things, and to make up their own minds about the world.

For their sake we have to shout: ‘Enough!’ What gives these censors — who also find Shakespeare and many other writers greater than Roald Dahl ‘problematic’ — any right to tamper with our cultural heritage?

The serious backlash is overdue. How about refusing to buy any book published by Puffin? After that — I’ll meet you on the barricades to hurl their paltry, rewritten efforts at the enemy, waking them up with a vengeance.

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AMERICA is bracing for a mass exodus of retail stores across the nation this year, with more than 800 big box locations set to close from California to New York. Among the iconic names to announce they are downsizing includes Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, Gap and Party City. At least 803 stores are set to be shuttered over the rest of 2023, with many forced into desperate cost cutting measures amid rampant inflation and declining bottom lines. The move comes as numerous industries continue to struggle, including Silicon Valley's “tech wreck” which has seen over 70,000 jobs lost in recent months. Topping the list of brands to close down their stores is houseware giant Bed Bath & Beyond. The retailer once owned more than 1,500 stores across America, but a recent purge has seen it aim to end the year at just 480. The company has suffered through a tumultuous few months in the leadup to its latest decision, including massive losses, the death of its CEO, and an activist investor selling a huge stake in the company. 

— Daily Mail

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California Street, San Francisco

* * *


by Edna Buchanan

No better human being exists than a good cop, and no worse creature than a bad one.

The truth is, the good cop and the bad cop are often the same cop, at different moments, on different days, with different people.

Cops have saved my life and tried to arrest me. I have reported the deaths of half a hundred of them, including six suicides, and written about scores more—shot, battered, or in bad trouble. I have cried at their funerals and shared confidences with their widows, ex-wives, mothers, and children.

I briefly shared bed, board, and bank account with one.

People tend to forget it, but cops are human.

As a child, I was taught to look up to cops. They were strong, invincible, the people to turn to when there was trouble.

I think that is why I am always so moved when a cop cries — and they do.

They also break the law.

Cops are all too human, but they are not like you and me. Their job sets them apart and divides their world into us and them. Their mistrust of outsiders, particularly the press, is instinctive. They draw their wagons into a tight circle. Most cops socialize together; they intermarry; they buy houses in the same neighborhoods, on the same streets. The closeness makes them feel comfortable. Some small communities outside of Miami, particularly across the county line in south Broward, seem to be enclaves populated almost solely by police officers.

In the good old days, when life was simpler, the neighbors felt safer when a cop lived next door. Then things changed. The cop became the guy who was left out of backyard barbecues because somebody might light up a joint. If they did it in his presence, should he ignore it? Join the crowd and break the law? Bust his next-door neighbor or his brother-in-law? Or let the barriers down and look away?

Young cops almost all start out eagerly, with pure hearts and common goals, helping people, performing public service, and changing society. They fight the bad guys, but they see even good guys turn against them. They are engaged in constant conflict, almost always the adversary. The public resents authority, but the public wants to be protected. No wonder cops feel alienated.

No wonder they complain constantly about morale.

Miami cops are subjected to everything that is ugly or evil: drug smuggling, money laundering, mass murder, the Mafia, deposed dictators, foreign fugitives, illegal aliens, serial killers, street people, spies, terrorists, international intrigue, bombings, grave robbing, exotic diseases, bizarre sects, bizarre sex, animal sacrifice, voodoo, gunrunning, vast wealth, utter poverty, crazy politics, racial tensions, refugees, and riots.

After the riots in 1980, when the pressure was on to hire more police officers, particularly minorities, recruiters parked a trailer down on Calle Ocho, Southwest Eighth Street. They stopped young men on the street, saying, “You want to be a policeman?”

Some of the young Latins they recruited are outstanding, but among that group are most of the cops suspected in million-dollar cocaine ripoffs, murder, robbery, racketeering, and corruption—one of the most devastating police scandals in modern America.

It is tough to recruit good police officers. Once there was a vast pool of former military men, but the draft is long dead, and supervisors cope with me-generation rookies who refuse to cut their hair, want weekends off, and argue, instead of obey, when a sergeant issues an order.

Police officers have to be honest and honorable people, with good intentions. Giving badges and guns to people who are not is asking for trouble, which of course is exactly what we have.

We have young cops driving fire engine red Ferraris and Porsches and an occasional Lotus. Two young Miami cops, who drove to their deaths, crashed with cocaine in their blood.

Temptation on the street is stronger than it ever has been: big money and drugs. Just ten years ago street cops never saw kilos of cocaine and people carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars. They do now.

A big case, years ago, was a boatload of marijuana; a big worry was somebody offering a twenty-dollar bribe to escape a traffic ticket. Today, cops find closets, suitcases, trunks, satchels, and briefcases stuffed with drug money.

They are only human.

During the height of Miami’s crime problems, when the city was number one in murder, some people compared the situation to the frontier days in Dodge City. That is not accurate. We have more people shot in a bad week in modern Miami than were ever shot down in the entire history of old Dodge City. But people want to cling to the image of the wild West and the rough, tough lawmen of the movies. The man who wore the badge knocked the bad guys on their rear ends if he had to, to keep law and order. Most of today’s bad guys are far more violent. Yet the lawman of today must behave like a gentleman.

If a cop was spit on, he used to be able to do something about it. If some foul mouth cussed out his neighbors or was disorderly in the street, a policeman used to be able to take action and put him in jail.

Now we have community relations. Cops must constantly back off, back off.

Which is why everybody cheered Metro Officer Joseph Pesek. In Greater Miami, where dozens of officers have recently been accused of police brutality, this paunchy, middle-aged cop fought back. Bruised, battered, run over, and oft-abused, Pesek, 56, decided he was “mad as hell and not going to _ take it anymore.” He sued a man for civilian brutality and won. A jury awarded him $2500 for a single punch to his forehead by a drunk driver.

It was not the first time civilians had brutalized Pesek. An angry motorist, told he could not park illegally, deliberately ran him down as he directed traffic. A crazed drug suspect once chewed savagely on his fingers. “Why should a cop have to take this crap”? Pesek demanded. It’s not easy being a cop in Miami. “People curse and swear at me. As far as they’re concerned, we’re the lowest things in the world. But when they need help, they sure forget what lousy so-and-sos we are.”

* * *

* * *

THE U.S WILL SPEND more than $817 billion for its military next year, more than the next nine nations in the world combined, not including $300 billion for veterans, $115 billion for military retirements, $80 billion for clandestine services and $60 billion for Homeland Security. That level of spending on security – more than $1.3 trillion (a quarter of the entire U.S. budget) – is so high that significant new investment in the health, safety or welfare of Americans is nearly impossible. Defense expenditure also crowds out spending to mitigate global warming. The U.S. therefore, isn’t just the insecure superpower, it’s the self-harming, possibly even suicidal superpower. The country urgently needs an intervention – when will it get the help it needs? 

— Stephen Eisenman

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Upper Crust, USA (1920s)

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by James Kunstler

Secret Agent Man “Joe Biden” turned up in Kiev Monday morning after landing in Poland and riding an overnight choo-choo train across the Ukraine frontier to avoid the hazardous pomp of landing Air Force One in a war zone. One might try to guess the message Victoria Nuland sent her errand boy to deliver. My guess is that “JB” was there to tell Wolodymyr Zelensky the USA stands behind him one hundred percent — an obvious whopper — being exactly the opposite of the developing reality that, short of setting off nuclear Armageddon, there is really nothing the USA can do to prevent Russia from concluding our ill-conceived project on its own terms. Who better to deliver an arrant falsehood than the master, “Scranton Joe,” he who once battled and vanquished the tyrant Corn-Pop!

Remember, last week Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Mark Milley, speaking out of the aperture between his butt cheeks, announced that Russia had lost “strategically, operationally and tactically” in Ukraine. This was after NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg announced rather clumsily that Ukraine’s army was out of ammo, especially artillery shells, and the only remedy for that was for Europe to rebuild an armaments industry — which was a sideways-and-backwards way of saying… fuggeddabowdit.

One might also suppose that, behind all this cognitive dissonance, the US would be engaged in secret talks with Russia to arrive at some face-saving device for getting out of this mess. But really, what is our leverage for that? Can we threaten to put US boots-on-the-Ground in Ukraine? That would be a little like channeling Gen. George Armstrong Custer, don’t you think? Apparently, all we’re left with is a game of pretend, using the Pretender-in-Chief as the front.

I’d also venture to say that American voters are not so enthused about this Ukraine pageant as they seemed to be last summer when the yellow and blue flags popped up on front porches at every Woked-up clam-bake from Edgartown to Bar Harbor. Our Ukrainian proxies sure seemed to be giving those Ruskies what-for along the front lines in Donbas, payback, you understand, for helping Donald Trump steal the 2016 election from She Whose Turn It Was Supposed to Be… America’s Amazonian Caesar-in-a-pants-suit, HRC.

The fall offensive by Ukraine was an illusion, alas, setting up its army for methodical decimation, now nearly complete. So, too, is all the talk of sending tanks in to save the day. And so, too, is the very existence of NATO as anything other than window-dressing on an empty storefront. If blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines, as recently alleged by independent reporter Seymour Hersh, smells like an attack on our supposed ally, Germany, then how was it not an attack on NATO, in which Germany is the centerpiece? And, finally, why would Germany not be engaging in secret talks of its own with Russia, behind America’s back?

Intrigue must be rife now throughout Europe, and Americans will not hear anything about it from its Deep State-owned news media. Is there any reason why Europe could not live with a neutralized Ukraine? Of course not. Ukraine is in uproar now simply because geniuses in the US State Department thought it would be a good way to annoy and antagonize Russia. The project was insane from inception. The main result is that Europe will no longer have the natural gas it needs at a rational price to continue being an industrial society.

One must conclude that NATO is looking for a way out of this. But there is no way out except to declare by word or deed, directly or otherwise, that NATO has outlived the reason for its existence. Any sane analysis by Europeans would arrive at the unnerving realization that the USA has become the enemy of NATO, not Russia. If all that is so, then a seismic shift is underway that will leave America hung out to dry on the Ukraine project. Germany will have to make a deal with Russia to rebuild the Nord Streams. What could the US do about that? Impose sanctions on Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the rest of the bunch? Where does that leave Western Civ?

I’ll tell you: it leaves Western Civ diminished. It leaves our country to stew in its own rancid economic and financial juices in abject isolation from, basically, the rest of the world. (Fare-the-well hegemonic dream; hello multi-polarity!) It leaves Ukraine neutralized and no longer a problem… It leaves Russia able to feel secure in its borders and free to get on with being a normal nation… and it leaves Europe the hope that it can resume modern life a while longer with the familiar comforts and conveniences.

The end of the Ukraine conflict also exposes the rotten web of Globalist schemers who planted their operators in every niche of American life and all around Western Civ — George Soros’s empire of meddling NGOs, Bill Gates’s World Health Org puppet show, the ridiculous World Economic Forum’s network of stooges in high places from Justin Trudeau to BlackRock’s Larry Fink.

The end of the Ukraine conflict reveals the submission of the Democratic Party to nefarious interests intent on wrecking this country. Even the most benign end to the Ukraine conflict — such as, by default, Europe and Russia settling-up on their own to stop the fighting — will be another humiliation for “Joe Biden” and the crew behind him, as bad as the last days in Kabul. Their other crimes await full disclosure, everything from treasonous bribery to the fraud and genocide around Covid-19. There will have to be a severe political realignment in America. But before that can happen, expect many seasons of terrible disorder.

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

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The San Francisco garter snake is probably the most beautiful snake found in the U.S. It has been on the endangered list since 1967, and scientists estimate only 1,000 to 2,000 remain.

* * *


On Monday, President Biden made a brief, unannounced visit to Kyiv, aimed at expressing solidarity with Ukrainians as Russia’s invasion of their country heads into a second year. Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and announced new aid as Russian forces make a new push to take control of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, which Russia illegally annexed last September.

On Tuesday, President Biden is scheduled to meet Polish President Andrzej Duda and deliver remarks in Warsaw on the war in Ukraine.

Also on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin will deliver his annual state of the nation address.

On Wednesday, President Biden is set to meet Eastern European leaders in Warsaw.

Also on Wednesday, the U.N. General Assembly holds a special session on Ukraine. The Security Council discusses Nord Stream pipelines at Russia’s request. And Russia’s parliament will hold extraordinary meetings.

* * *

Richard Nixon and Dwight D. Eisenhower riding in open convertible during Nixon's campaign for president, November 1960 (photo: Toni Frissell)


  1. George Hollister February 21, 2023

    “IN TODAY’S WORLD a functioning bullshit detector gets a constant workout and who among us hasn’t fallen for bullshit? I cringe at the memory of the many times I’ve bought something whole before I realized it was untrue.”

    This has been particularly true here in Mendocino County due to a prevalence of black marketeers who need an explanation for what they do for a living. The common response to “What do you do for a living”? has been a long list of possibilities, none in hindsight very probable. Then there are the shaky businesses used solely to launder money. Don’t ask, “How does that business make money”? because it doesn’t. Of course one could say it is better to not ask questions. From the looks at the state of the local black market these days, it looks like a lot of the bullshit will be going away because there won’t be a need for it.

  2. Marmon February 21, 2023


    “The warmongers are trying to drag us into WW3, which can only end in one way: nuclear annihilation and the suffering and death of all our loved ones. Zelensky, Biden, NATO, congressional and media neocons are insane. And we are insane if we passively allow them to lead us into this holocaust like sheep to the slaughter. We find hope in the fact that the vast majority of Americans are sane, but sanity is not enough. We also need courage. The courage to stand up to the powerful warmongers, and in unison declare: “No! we will not allow you to destroy our families, communities, environment, country, and world!””

    -Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 @TulsiGabbard


  3. Stephen Rosenthal February 21, 2023

    Woke censorship Part deux (see yesterday’s comments for Part 1): I shudder to think what the state of this country will be like (if it still exists) when the little wussies of today grow to be the big wussies of tomorrow. Luckily I won’t have to find out – I’ll likely be dead.

  4. Stephen Rosenthal February 21, 2023

    Lots of interesting content in today’s MCT. I actually read almost everything (which is rarely the case these days), until, that is, I got to Kunstler and Ukraine. Then I scrolled through, stopping only to admire the photo of the utterly beautiful San Francisco garter snake.

    • Norm Thurston February 21, 2023

      I did not skip Kunstler’s article. You made the right choice.

    • Cotdbigun February 21, 2023

      Most echochamber occupants have a high degree of wuss-ines !

      • Bruce McEwen February 21, 2023

        Read Stanley Fish’s How to Bait a Hook & Write a Sentence before you start pulling coined words out of people’s ears, Master Baiter. And remember: JHK is the protagonist in Dylan’s John Wesley Harding album, “The Ballad of Frankie Lee & Judas Priest.”

      • Steve Heilig February 21, 2023

        “Cotdbigun” – You refer to cowardly trolls too scared to use their real name online while tossing out pointless insults?

        (As for Kunstler, it’s a “bullshit director” that screens him out).

        • Cotdbigun February 22, 2023

          “I can sense the frustration at the other end of the phone”
          Sound familiar ?

  5. Lazarus February 21, 2023

    The latest from “Confessions from an EX Cop.”
    Perhaps not by coincidence, the decertified cop Christopher Awad in the AVA today is interviewed.

  6. k h February 21, 2023

    Ah, Jimmy Carter and the famous solar panels that Ronald Reagan later removed.

    President Carter was essentially accused of being too woke by Mr Reagan and his compatriots, although they didn’t use that modern term.

    It’s fascinating to go back and read their election debates. All the same issues we see today: Reagan answering questions about his stated desire to destroy social security, taking credit for passing an air quality law that he actually opposed, explaining why he opposed Medicare, boosting the oil industry and downplaying any need for alternative sources of energy like solar, defending his stance against equal rights, claiming that environmental protection laws are government overreach.

    Conservative reactionaries never change.

  7. Marmon February 21, 2023

    “They’re destroying the institution of family, their cultural-historical identity, and various perversions with regards to children. Priests are forced to recognize and officiate same-sex weddings. The family is a union between woman and man.”



  8. Bill Harper February 21, 2023

    My bullshit detector went off at the snake picture.
    Not really like Wikipedia’s.
    Awfully fat for a garter snake.
    Looks like my overdone Hawaiian shirt from the70s.Bill

    • Stephen Rosenthal February 22, 2023

      I was a docent at a wildlife center. We had a San Francisco garter snake who had been injured and could not be returned to its habitat. They have multiple color variations. The photo depicts one example.

  9. Aaron Sawyer February 21, 2023

    Kunstler is so full of shit and shilling for a psychopathic narcissist.

    In what way is the Ukrainian Army decimated? The Russian winter offensive tanked, search for what happened to their elite units of n Vulhedar or Avdiivka. They sent their 155th and 42nd Guards units into frontal assaults on entrenched positions in armored vehicles with no infantry support and it did not go well, Russian casualties were running between 700-1000 people a day two weeks ago. Bakhmut is still Ukraine and Wagner broke themselves capturing a salt mine just to the north and are now cut off from being supplied ammo or even shovels from Russian M.O.D and Prighozin is dumping shitfits on Telegram right before Putin’s big speech, which Biden also crapped all over by showing up in Kyiv the day before. Russian propagandists were losing it on t.v. about that visit since there was nothing Russia could do about it and safety guarantees had to be given by the Russians because they had no other choice. They are weak and Biden was rubbing their noses in it on the eve of Putin’s big speech. That doesn’t go over well in a strongman culture, where homosexuality is outlawed but wife-beating has just been legalized.

    Matthew Kaminsky of Politico put it well in a recent op-ed:

    “… The fall of the Berlin Wall didn’t settle for good the question of where the borders of freedom and autocracy are in Europe. Poland only came off the map as a prize to be fought for in 1999, when it joined NATO, and, five years later, the European Union. Those decisions stabilized Central Europe.

    Now, here we are with Ukraine. The similarities are bracing. Both the national anthems of Poland and Ukraine begin with the same line, that their nation “has not perished yet.” The Ukrainian question is shaping the Europe of the 21st century for the same reason the Polish one did: Its position in Europe, its future as a nation that desires freedom against the violent wishes of a tyrant next door, is at its heart what this conflict is about. The outcome, as the Polish experience shows, isn’t by any means certain.

    What’s Putin’s problem with Ukraine? It’s not NATO as such. The Kremlin shrugged when Finland — of Cold War-era Finlandization! — decided last year to join the alliance. It has little to do with Ukraine’s efforts to sign trading arrangements with the European Union that Putin forced a corrupt Ukrainian president in 2013 to tear up, sparking the protests on the Maidan. In reality, Ukraine’s outreach to NATO and the EU is just a manifestation of something far more unacceptable to an authoritarian Russia: That a democratic Ukraine would naturally seek alliances with other European democracies. Or really, since views on NATO were sharply split in Ukraine until last year’s invasion, that a democratic Ukraine could never be an ally or a vassal of an authoritarian Russia. The problem, at its heart, is Ukrainian democracy — and genuine independence.

    Free Ukraine is a rebuff to Putin’s repeated denial of its existence, as a country or people separate from Russia. But its existence presents an existential threat to a Russia ruled by a single man that sees itself as an empire. Regime survival is the top priority for any autocrat. If people who are such close cousins of Russians build a vibrant democracy that regularly chucks out leaders, someone like Putin rightly fears contagion. An independent Ukraine sets back Russia’s ambitions for control over this region.“

    War is bad and we spend way too much money on it with no real checks on what is being done with our tax dollars; but as JFK said “You can’t negotiate with someone who says what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.” The U.S. and UK guaranteed Ukrainian security in the Budapest Memorandum shortly after over 90% of Ukrainians in all Oblasts, Crimea, Luhansk and the Donbas included, voted to leave the USSR. We said we would help them if their security was compromised due to giving up the nukes and now that’s what we’re doing.

    The vehement opposition to the invasion of Ukraine from Baltic countries that were once part of the USSR is very telling, they very clearly will never again submit to rule by Russia and it’s obvious the Ukrainians feel the same way and no amount of whataboutism regarding U.S. war crimes, which are very real and heinous, will change those facts.

    Remember when it comes to the Kremlin: every accusation an admission.

    The people that have been looking to Russia as being the leftist counterweight to US military and economic might (or a shining beacon of strong traditional conservative culture) for the last couple of decades should look elsewhere.

    • Rick Swanson February 21, 2023

      We should follow George Washington’s advice and stay out of foreign entanglements

    • George Hollister February 22, 2023

      An important thing to always remember about war is the truth is the first casualty.

  10. Margot Lane February 21, 2023

    Where is the climate change meeting?

  11. Val Muchowski February 22, 2023

    I managed to get the proclamation just in time to get it on Willits City Council’s next agenda, Wed. Feb. 22, 6:30pm. It’s not necessary but, if it’s convenient, it would be nice if someone were there to ‘receive’ it. I don’t think they have an option to attend virtually any more. Below is the relevant agenda item #3b. (Proclamation is same as what Val sent me.)

    Madge Strong



    OPENING MATTERS a. Call to Order. | b. Pledge to Flag. | c. Roll Call.
    PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS The City Council welcomes participation in its meetings. Comments shall be limited to three (3) minutes per person so that everyone has an opportunity to address the Council. To expedite matters and avoid repetition, whenever any group of persons wishes to address the Council on the same subject matter, the Mayor may request the group appoints a spokesperson. This item is limited to matters under the jurisdiction of the City Council, which are not on the posted agenda. Public criticism of the City Council, Commission, Boards and Agencies will not be prohibited. The City Council will take no action.

    a. Little Lake Fire District Department Update.

    b. Proclamation – Women’s History Month.

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