Winter Storm | Willits Sunset | Boonville Water | Navarro Point | Billboard Richie | 20 View | Valley Chats | Drum Circle | Beer Fest | Community Fair | Adventist Fail | Orth Honored | Ed Notes | Distant Ridge | Medical Miracle | Yesterday's Catch | Ukiah Weary | Freeway Close | Marco Radio | Drive-In Theater | Stockton Asylum | Bonsai Cedars | Toxic Mess | Night Nurse | Quilty's Story | Cherry's Hamburgers | Norwegians Would | Rat Tanner | Ukraine | Lie/Truth | Peace Sign | Red Lines | Abe Festooned
A WINTER STORM will impact Northwest California through the weekend into the early part of the next week. Heavy mountain snow is expected with high impacts to travel. Additionally, small hail is likely at the coast along with a slight chance of snow accumulation through Sunday. (NWS)
CSD TO HOLD SPECIAL BOONVILLE WATER PROJECT MEETING
Special Meeting Of The Board Of Directors
Anderson Valley Community Services District
Boonville Fire Station, 14281 Hwy 128
Teleconference 669-900-6833 Zoom Meeting ID: 462 981 9537 Password: 7400
Public comments or document requests can be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, March 7th, 2023, at 7pm
Join Zoom Meeting: https://bit.ly.AVCSDWater
1. Call To Order & Roll Call: Robert's Rules Of Order For Electronic Meetings
2. Recognition Of Guests & Public Comment: The Board of Directors welcomes participation in Board meetings. The public may address matters under the jurisdiction of the Board that have not been posted in the Agenda. The public will be given the opportunity to address the Board on any item in the Agenda at this time or before the Board’s consideration of that item. If members of the public desire to address the Board relative to a particular Agenda item at the time it is to be considered, they should so notify the President of the Board at this time. Please note, California Law prohibits the Board from taking action on any matter during a regular meeting that is not on the posted Agenda unless the Board determines that it is an emergency or one of the other situations specified in Government Code Section 54954.2. During a special meeting, the Board may not take action on any matter that is not on the posted Agenda. The President may limit the total amount of time allocated for public comment on particular issues to 3 minutes for each individual speaker.
3. New Business: In person and virtual informational meeting for parcel owners within the Drinking Water boundaries. Topics relevant to the Drinking Water project will be covered and questions answered by panel participants. Panel participants: AVCSD Water Project Directors, Lead Engineer (Brelje & Race), State Waterboard Dept of Financing Project Managers, District 3 Waterboard Agency, Mendocino County Planning and Environmental Health, AV Fire Chief, SAFER (Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund), Safe and RCAC (Rural Communities Assistance Corporation).
NOTE: As of March 1, 2023, the new teleconferencing rules under AB 2449 take effect, which allow for teleconferencing participation at local legislative body public meetings under specific circumstances. The Board will conduct its March 7, 2023 meeting in a hybrid format to accommodate both in-person and remote (video or telephone) participation by the public and its staff members pursuant to GOV 54953. Unless approved under the provisions of AB 2449, Board Directors will attend in-person. NOTICE: Requests for any disability-related modification or accommodation, including auxiliary aids or services may be made by a person with a disability who requires these aids in order to participate in a public meeting. These requests must be made five (5) days in advance of the scheduled meeting by calling the office of the AVCSD General Manager at (707) 895-2075, or by mail to the CSD Office, P. O. Box 398, Boonville, CA 95415. Requests for agenda items must be e-mailed to email@example.com by 11am the prior Friday.
MENDOCINO LAND TRUST:
Navarro Point is our oldest preserve; opened to the public in 2005, it commands spectacular views of the Pacific. (It is also a great place to stop and walk if all our winding roads are getting to you.)
Thanks to the Trail Keepers at Navarro Point, we are able to keep the trails and parking lot accessible and to slowly restore native grassland habitat, particularly by keeping the invasive plants at bay.
Please let these businesses know you appreciate their work at keeping our coast pristine:
Thank you Trail Keepers!
#TrailKeepers #ProtectYourHappyPlace #ThankYouTrailKeepers #MendocinoLandTrust #VisitMendocino #NavarroPointPreserve #TheAndiron #thebeachcombermotel #trimtabmedia
THANK YOU, RICHIE!
by Mike Geniella
Richie Henderson, an iconic Ukiah native son, is having his 15 minutes of fame.
Richie’s sweet face is emblazoned on a big billboard along the northbound lanes of Highway 101, garnering the attention of locals and travelers alike.
“Thank you, Richie,” proclaims the sign put up by Zach Schat in honor of his faithful employee of 20 years.
It is a moving testament to the small town values that Richie embodies, and his dedication to a landmark downtown bakery which is his second home.
“Richie is us. He is who we are, and why we live and work here,” said Zach Schat.
Schat put up the billboard to honor Richie’s two decades of work, a gesture that has moved more than a few locals to tears. It has prompted an avalanche of online comments from fans of Richie, and admirers of the Schat family.
“This is the greatest billboard ever, Schat’s. “Thanks for being that company,” said Joel Clark, a onetime wine leader in Mendocino County who now lives in Palm Springs. On Thursday, he saw Schat’s billboard sign posted on Facebook.
By the end of the day, nearly 1,000 people had clicked on Schat’s Bakery site where the Richie billboard was posted.
“I was there when he started. From the cameo performances at Christmas parties to his happy good mornings on his walk to work, Richie is one of the best parts of this community,” said Mary Ellen Chadwick.
Richie is an iconic figure in downtown Ukiah. For two decades he’s bused tables and greeted customers at the landmark Schat’s Bakery and Cafe with a smile, and warm personal greetings.
“Hi there,” says Richie. “How are the boys?” Richie still asks about the four brothers and other local guys that he use to trick or treat on Halloween with even though it’s been 30 years or more.
Richie is unfailing in his dedication to his Schat’s job, his love of Ukiah, and his passion for entertainment. Even at St. Mary’s School, and later Ukiah High School Richie was everybody’s child, and fun-loving friend.
Richie is the 42-year-old son of retired Superior Court Judge Richard Henderson, and former Ukiah Mayor Colleen Henderson.
“He is our son, but there is no doubt he is family to just about everyone in town,” said Judge Henderson.
Zach Schat posted online this about the billboard:
“Happy 20th anniversary, Richie. We are honored and grateful that you choose to work with us. You’re the BEST!”
Schat added a personal note, “Cheers to you, my friend. We love you, Richie.”
The whole town loves Richie Henderson, no doubt.
ANDERSON VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY ANNOUNCES "VALLEY CHATS"
The members of the Anderson Valley Historical Society are pleased to pass along word about a new presentation series called Valley Chats that we’re presenting on the third Sunday of every month at the AV History Museum, a.k.a. the Little Red Schoolhouse. Each month and Anderson Valley local will offer a presentation and/or lead a conversation circle. We’ll have everything from arts demonstrations, to talks on Valley history, to story swapping sessions led by neighbors with long memories. Our first three Valley Chats are scheduled for the third Sundays of March, April and May, beginning at 4:00 PM.
The first Valley Chat will be a great one, as Bill Kimberlin will share stories, highlighted by videos and photos, about his career in the film industry, including working on the Stars Wars movies. Bill has been involved in the making of many a terrific film, and he'll offer us looks behind the scenes at iconic moments in moviemaking and provide answers to the age-old question: How did they do that? Again, that’s Sunday, March 19 at 4:00 in the Rose Room behind the Schoolhouse Museum.
Our April and May Valley Chats will be just as much fun. On Sunday, April 16, everybody’s pal Bill Holcomb presents “Anderson Valley Memories.” Come hear Bill’s recollections about his life in the Valley. Then, if you like, share your own. Stories, yarns and tall tales welcomed!
Then, on Sunday, May 21, Fall Allen presents “The History of the Anderson Valley Brewery.”
It’s been a long, colorful road from the Breweries beginnings to our current fine establishment, and Fal knows the story.
Admission is free for all Valley Chats, with snacks and drinks provided.
ONLY IN MENDO....
The Full Moon Drum Circle is happening on the March Full Moon next Tuesday, March 7th.
We will start at 5:30 PM that day. Moonrise is at 6:38 PM. It is happening at Pudding Creek Beach in Ft. Bragg.
This photo is not from Pudding Creek Beach.
A drum circle would be a good activity to set up on the field (Ryo's speciel request!)
You may want to bring a chair and bring a friend.
Bring drums, tambourines, bells, shakers, pots & pans, etc.
DO YOU LIKE PINA COLADAS WITH BEER?
Music Lineup for Beerfest 2023: https://avbc.com/boonville-beer-fest/
As a member of the Mendocino Coast Health Care District Board of Directors, I voted to affiliate the District with Adventist Health. We all had high hopes that health care would improve under their management. I cannot say that it has.
I think we can all agree that the doctors, nurses, PAs, and other providers are all qualified and provide good care. They are not the problem, except in a few cases that people have told me about.
Problems abound instead in non-medical areas.
The new software system is unreliable as I can attest personally. If you get a referral, make sure you get a written copy because digital copies are prone to disappear as I and others have learned the hard way.
Another problem is scheduling and rescheduling appointments. The last straw for me was learning my annual checkup would be four months after I called. At which time I would ask for a referral for a colonoscopy that would perhaps be four months out as well. A problem not limited to just me.
And I strongly disapprove of how appointments are rescheduled. If you arrive to your appointment and discover the provider is out sick or on personal leave or whatever, you go to back of the line, another multi month wait. Any company with good customer service would make that person a priority even if it means working weekends. This makes the whole system unreliable.
So, I have made the decision to seek healthcare elsewhere. Just as many already do. I am interested in suggestions on where to go. And I don't need to hear from people who don't very much like me. They already told me where to go! lol
TONY ORTH WAS HONORED for his many years of service for the Brooktrails community and well beyond. Tony has been an incredible public servant for decades. Thank you Tony! (John Haschak)
A SUPPLICANT: “I implore you and all of your readers from this general area, to please go to Mariposa Market, in Willits, and get their pot pies. Made in house, and extremely delicious. I haven’t had the steak one yet, but I’m told it’s very good. The chicken pot pie is truly amazing. I do not work for Mariposa Market, I’m just a customer who did finally get the pot pie, and I am all in on that damn pot pie. I only wish to share the gospel.”
HOLA, CRAIG STEHR: I wonder if I might persuade you to carry out an experiment, a sociological experiment you might call it, to test the thesis that the Ukiah cops keep bums out of the Westside. No bum west of State Street seems to be the unwritten policy in our county seat. Not that you, my papist pal, are a bum or even resemble one, but you would probably be viewed suspiciously by Ukiah's city manager, Seldom Seen Sangiacomo, and his assistant city manager, the fearsome Shannon Riley, who fronts for Seldom Seen, simply because of your leisurely lifestyle. So here it is: Weather permitting, take a lawn chair and a lunch, both of which I will provide, and sit down on the City Hall lawn outside Seldom Seen's office window to enjoy a little picnic, taking care not to litter of course. If the police don't appear, fold up the chair and amble back east, unmolested, to Building Bridges, and I will revisit my opinion that mendicants, idlers, drunks, street people — the citizens generally described as "undesirables" — are not only welcome west of State Street, they are welcome to enjoy City Hall's meticulously maintained lawn.
CRAIG REPLIES: So-called marginals are legally more than welcome anywhere that anybody else is welcome in Ukiah, CA. It is true that those unwashed and poorly attired attract attention, but not just from law enforcement, but from everybody! Nobody will make a move nor say anything, (so as not to violate anybody's “civil rights”), unless or until the individual in question performs an illegal act, particularly 1. shoplifting, 2. consuming alcoholic beverages in public, 3. veering all over the place due to being buzzed, and of course 4. screaming incoherently. All of this behavior is strictly verboten within the Building Bridges shelter and surrounding grounds, yet it is rumored to persist.
ZOÉ ROSE ROBINSON Writes On Boontswap: “Just curious. I have two kids in AVES… has the bullying always been this bad? I mean geeze, it’s like there’s an incident every day with my fifth grader… I’ve been to the principal She, in my opinion, and from how we’ve talked about the issues is on the same page in addressing it. I think the staff at AVES has been great, but these kids are relentless…. I’m just at a loss of what to do here. What’s the deal here? Anyone know? Also it’s crossed a line from normal kids “bullying” to in my opinion sexual harassment… These kids have drawn explicit images on her backpack, and they constantly tell her super sexual inappropriate stuff in English and in Spanish. I’ve told her to ignore them, and stay away from them, but they follow her. I’ve told her to tell an adult, they give her more crap for tattling on them. I’ve told her to stand up to them, she started calling them names back and got herself in trouble. They are boys and they group up together and seek her out on the swings every day at recess. And they alienate anyone else from playing with her by saying “if you play with her we'll do it to you too.” Also let me be clear I don’t think my kid is Peter Perfect and she IS held accountable for her actions 100% when she is wrong. I’m just at a loss of what to do here. Has anyone dealt with this here before? She’s only been going to school here about three weeks. And this behavior started day one.
SUPERINTENDENT SIMSON IS ON THE CASE, as is elementary principal, Cymbre Thomas-Swett. “We are hosting a districtwide task force regarding drug use and bullying. I don’t respond to specific social media posts, but both sites have implemented empathy and kindness workshops, vaping education, and expanded our social therapy supports. We are excited that parents want to work on this situation together. The first meeting is Tuesday, March 7 at 6 o’clock in the high school library."
“ROUTE 128 (36.5/50.9) – Emergency work in Yorkville from Fish Rock Road to Sonoma County Line continues. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Motorists should anticipate up to 20-minute delays. LC#C162G” — Caltrans
NOW YOU TELL ME. Took me an hour-forty to drive from Boonville to Cloverdale on Thursday. There were four pilot car stops between Yorkville and Cloverdale. From Lawson's on 128, a week after the big snows, it looked like 128's roadsides had been strafed. Whole trees and large branches were piled on both sides of the road where they were either fed into giant chippers on the spot or hauled to the CalTrans rock yard just south of Boonville for conversion into giant chip piles. The mammoth clean-up looks about finished, and kudos to the crews who got it done so efficiently. Nothing like the damage the storm did to this stretch of normally non-threatening roadside vegetation has happened in the modern history of Highway 128.
TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT THIS
The newest modern medical miracle - The Great Redwood Trail
Take a look at this. The creation of a simple foot path will improve health outcomes for the poor people of unincorporated District 3 by $15,521,000 annually out of the entire Mendocino County improved health outcomes by $18,485,000 annually. I guess there is no place for those poor folks to walk or ride a bike? Mendocino County in total gets almost half of the total economic benefits the Trail purports and District 3 unincorporated is the big jackpot winner with 80% of all benefits generated in Mendocino County. Happy days are here again!
And the poor people of unincorporated District 3 will get the additional economic benefit of increased food/meals being served by $9,500,000 and lodging by $12,064,000. WOW. And who is going to prepare the meals and where will the butts in beds be lodging? I guess capital from out of the County will come rushing in to cash in. Damn outsiders. Just like the cannabis issue where outsiders were buying up Mendo properties. Boy did they get a rude outcome.
This document is preposterous and fraudulent.
MacDonald Pear Ranch
CATCH OF THE DAY, Friday, March 3, 2023
JOSHUA HARDAGE-VERGEER, Ukiah. Protective order violation.
MICHAEL MEAD, Laytonville. DUI-alcohol&drugs, more than an ounce of pot, controlled substance without prescription.
RONNIE PASCHAL, Willits. Stolen vehicle.
CRAIG ON INGRATITUDE
Spiritually Unified at 1:18PM at the Ukiah Public Library
Warmest spiritual greetings, Awoke around 9:30AM at the Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center, to an ongoing conversation at the foot of my assigned bed. Three homeless men were discussing when to "get liquored" prior to moving on to stronger indulgences. Got up, and following morning ablutions, walked to Plowshares Peace & Justice Center for a delicious free lunch. Afterwards, took an MTA bus to the Ukiah Public Library, and am now on computer # 5 tap, tap, tapping away. I have nothing of any particular importance to do in Mendocino County. I will be going on the Friday Art Walk from 5 to 7 PM, which will be worthwhile, and is much better than doing nothing. Then I shall purchase food for the evening, and return to the homeless shelter.
I do not know how long this absurdity of my being in Mendocino County is going to continue. Maybe subsidized housing will happen, although living currently on $829.07 Social Security does not afford much for the real estate companies. The real insanity is that postmodern America does not appreciate the past 50 years spent on the frontlines of radical environmental and peace & justice activism, which includes 23 years of unpaid service with Catholic Worker "serving the masses". Otherwise, I would be given whatever is required for the last chapter of life.
I am not certain how to resolve this stupid situation. Where's Jesus? How about a miracle, moving me to Washington, D.C. to a fully subsidized apartment on Capitol Hill? I am willing to remain active on the planet earth.
Craig Louis Stehr
MEMO OF THE AIR: Live from Franklin St. all night Friday night!
Deadline to email your writing for tonight's (Friday night's) MOTA show is about 6pm. Or send it whenever it's done and I'll read it on the radio next week.
I'm in the 325 N. Franklin studio (next to the Tip Top bar) tonight, after the live First Friday music and the block party there. To call and read your work in your own voice, the number is 707-962-3022. If you want to come in and do it in person, that's okay, but mask, please.
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.
As always, at https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com you'll find some educational tidbits to fiddle with until showtime, or any time, such as:
A rainy-day school gym film about sex and the handicapped, from a more civilized time (50 years ago) and place (Sweden). https://ia601901.us.archive.org/8/items/sexandthehandicapped/sexandthehandicapped.mp4
Gain a better understanding of the value of vaccines. https://misscellania.blogspot.com/2023/03/your-immune-system-is-more-dangerous.html
And Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. In which we learn, never eat your fill, because that would make you a slow mongoose, when you must always be ready to move so fast you're a streak of 3M color. https://archive.org/details/rikkitikkitavi_201701
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
THE STOCKTON STATE HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE by James Hutchings (1859)
If any person would fully realize the untold blessedness of a sound mind, let him pay at least one visit to the Stockton Asylum for the Insane.
Most people get along well, braving in safety many a storm. But some strike and unexpected reef and become a total wreck.
From sources and causes they least suspect, they strike and founder in the deep, dark sea of chaotic delirium; or, as sometimes is the case, are stranded upon the sandy shore of circumstances, for a season, until the next spring-tide of Reason lifts them up, and they are borne upon it by the favoring breezes of kind attentions, back again to the joy-welcomed haven of Consciousness, and are themselves again once more. Ah! blessed return.
A few days ago we visited the Asylum in Stockton which the State has provided for the unfortunately afflicted, and, if the reader pleases, we will relate to him that which we saw and heard.
The building is situated in the suburbs of the city of Stockton, about three-quarters of a mile northeast of the steamboat landing, and which, as you approach, presents an imposing and yery inviting exterior. The beautiful flowers and luxuriant foliage of its well laid out and cleanly kept grounds—the work of the patients themselves—tend very much, in our estimation, to relieve it of that repulsiveness which many very naturally feel when visiting such an institution for the first time.
We had scarcely rang the bell, and been shown into a sitting-room, on the left of the entrance, when the resident physician, Dr. Aylett, very kindly offered to escort us through its long corridors and numerous apartments, to see for ourselves the various phases of the minds diseased.
But as the Doctor has been called away for a few moments, while he is absent we will relate to the reader that Capt. C. M. Weber, of Stockton, donated one hundred acres of land to the State for this purpose, and on the 17th of May, 1854, an Act was passed, and appropriations made, by the State Legislature, establishing the Asylum for the Insane. About twenty acres, out of the one hundred, are in a high state of cultivation, and from which an ample supply of vegetables are obtained; and as there are about 1,500 young and thrifty fruit trees growing, of different kinds and varieties, fruit will be obtained next year in abundance.
The buildings themselves are commodious and conveniently arranged. The main structure is seventy feet square and three stories high, to which two wings have been added, of the same height, each of which is 100 feet in length, making, in the aggregate, three 390 feet front. There are two large yards, male and female, enclosed by a wall twelve feet high at the lowest grade line.
The management of this Asylum is entrusted to a Board of five Trustees, appointed by the Legislature, who discharge their duties without compensation, and whose term of office expires in 1861.
Dr. William D. Aylett is the Resident Physician, under whose general superintendance the institution is managed, and whose salary is $5,000 per annum. Dr. Thomas Kendall is the Visiting Physician, who attends daily and prescribes for each patient, and whose salary is $3,000 per annum. But here comes the Doctor, so let us depart with him and inspect the building and its inmates.
As we began to tread the bright, clean floors of the first story, we were somewhat at a loss to divine whether a large proportion of those men we saw walking hither and thither, or engaged in some useful employment, were patients or assistants and keepers. But our guide soon relieved us of any doubt in the premises, and that this division of the building was devoted to those whose cases were of a milder type. Some were reading, others were writing, in one or another of the rooms opening on the main corridor; and the rest were walking up and down, as if meditating.
From here we passed into the yard, where some were sitting beneath the shade of a tree, amusing themselves with a game well known among children as “Fox and Geese”; others were looking on, or seeking the shade of the doorways and walls. Here also was a wooden tower, and a water tank capable of holding 7,000 gallons, into which water is pumped up by steam power, and from thence distributed in pipes to every part of the building.
Here also is the dining-room, and hot and cold baths for the men, each one of whom is required to bathe once a week, some twice a week, and others every day, just as their case requires.
From the yard we re-entered the building, and examined the store-rooms, kitchen-range, and other apartments on the ground floor, and found them very conveniently arranged; after which, we ascended to the second story, where the corridors were divided into several compartments by a strong lattice-work, the doors of which were kept locked. As might be expected, here the countenances of the patients indicated a more malignant form of the disease; and although a few were employed in some useful or amusing occupation, a large proportion were wandering up and down, talking to themselves; others, as though glad to see strange faces, sought us for their auditors, while they descanted upon the pastimes they were about to enjoy; the Vessels they owned, and hourly expected from some prosperous voyage, with very valuable cargoes; the noises they heard; the apparitions they saw, &c. But as it would be impossible to give scarcely a brief epitome of these things in this article, we shall refer to them in some future report.
What was our astonishment here to hear our name several times pronounced by different persons, with the inquiry, “Don't you know me, Mr. ____?” and from some of those, too, whom we had known under very prosperous circumstances, several long, long years ago. How Change, Disappointment and Misfortune sometimes do their work! We noticed, too, that although their hands were extended to us in warmth and kindness, and their faces were lit up with a gleam of brightness, it was but momentary.
From this point, we passed to the female department, and which was as cleanly kept as that of the males. Here, one woman, who had passed the prime of life, was engaged in working a sampler, on which a crude attompt was made to give it the resemblance of a planet, under which she persisted she had been born; some nodded and smiled; others looked solemn and melancholy; others, again, were sewing, and knitting, and reading.
It is a depressing sight, indeed, to witness either man or woman when reason is dethroned; but it is a wise provision of the State that such should be well cared for, and by kind and suitable treatment, both physical and mental, restored to their former sanity.
The most prolific causes of insanity, we regret to learn, are masturbation and intemperance, especially the former; next to these, want of chastity and invontinence is another very productive source of this malady; to these add physical debility, loss of property, disappointment in love, puerperal fever, spiritualism, religious excitement, epilepsy, fright, and various other evils, both mental and physical.
The number of patients now under treatment in this institution, are 280 males, and 66 females, making in the aggregate 346.
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
I think lots of people care. From where I sit, the problem is that we’ve been attacked on every possible front. Our children are being indoctrinated and mutilated, our words are censored, our jobs are threatened, our food is being poisoned and/or destroyed, our factories are burning, our infrastructure is in ruins, we’re being harvested to provide funds for Ukraine, we have no borders, our streets are unsafe . . . I could go on, but there’s no need.
It’s overwhelming. Even if we had unlimited resources, I’m not sure what would need to be done to tackle all or even a few of these things. I wouldn’t know where to start, but I suspect that all of us would choose, from this list of outrages, those we find most threatening. We wouldn’t agree on what those things were, and we’d argue among ourselves as to where to spend our resources.
I can’t see any way out of this except for the whole toxic mess to be leveled and rebuilt from scratch. That may happen without our doing anything to help it along, since the system is rotten through and through. It will be ugly, but it has gotten so bad that the end of it may be welcomed even so.
QUILTY’S STORY goes like this: “A woman came to my office once very early on in my practice. Her case was a simple divorce that she made complicated by greed and stubbornness, and she worked up quite a bill. When she got the bill, she phoned me, shouting and saying angry things. I said, “Look, we’ll work out a payment plan. $100 a month. How does that sound?” I was reasonable. My practice was new and struggling. Still, she refused to pay a cent. I had to take out a loan to pay my secretary, and I never forgot that. So, five years later, that very same woman’s doctor phones me. She’s got bone cancer, the doctor says, and I’m one of the only German Jews in town and might have the same blood type for a marrow transfusion for her. Would I consider it, at least consider having a blood test? I said, “Absolutely not,” and hung up. The doctor called back. He begged me, but I hung up again. A month later, the woman died.”
— Lorrie Moore
NORWAY, NORD STREAM & VIET NAM
by Nadya Williams
Forgive the pun, but the irrefutable American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh dropped a bomb in Washington's lap with his February 8th meticulous expose "How America Took Out the Nord Stream Pipeline." This was something that everyone already knew, however the forensic details were lacking - with a single anonymous inside source providing those details to Hersh, in spades. But the big surprise was Norway's role - a willing partner in the U.S. Navy's underwater sabotage, which deprived much of Western Europe of cheap Russian natural gas to hold freezing winter at bay. 'May others suffer to punish the Russians' seems to be the idea.
I happened to be in a meeting in Oslo with a Norwegian explosives expert on September 28, 2022, two days after the spectacular blow-up in the South Baltic Sea. Our meeting concerned Viet Nam, but was interrupted toward the end, as major Norwegian media were clamoring for the expert's assessment of the explosion as more information was coming to light - although Norway's role was not then known, at least not publically.
Follow the seemingly disparate threads laid out here, as they will be woven back into a larger tapestry of global reach. My trip to Norway last fall was a brief extension of a three-month stay at my California-born son's home near Stockholm. The explosives expert heads up a very effective program at Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA) to detect and remove UXOs (Un-Exploded Ordinance) from former battle sites around the world. NPA is in fact a huge, well-respected and internationally-known non-profit that supports myriad good works. My connection to NPA comes via Viet Nam and my 20-year associate membership in Veterans For Peace, San Francisco chapter, as Director of Communications. Since VFP was founded in 1985 by veterans of the American War in Viet Nam, many of the more than 100 chapters fund and support humanitarian projects for the victims of our wars in: Korea, South East Asia, the Middle East, etc.
There is a *Hoa Binh* (Peace) chapter of VFP in Viet Nam of American vets who initiated an on-going UXO-removal organization called ProjectRENEW in Quang Tri Province, the most bombed area of Central Viet Nam. Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam were on the receiving end of perhaps 10 times the explosive power of all of World War II, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Norwegian Peoples Aid valiantly made a small dent in the UXOs by funding ProjectRENEW for several years. My meeting was a courtesy visit as a VFP representative in the hope that additional funding might resume at a later date. (I am on the board of both the Asian and the state-side chapters, the only female and only non-vet).
It is ironic that Norway, as well as many other countries globally, should aid the victims of America's wars. Ironic too that, as a young journalist, Sy Hersh became world-famous in 1969 by exposing the My Lai Massacre of March 16, 1968, when 500 Viet Namese villagers died at the hands of our soldiers. My Lai was key to shifting our nation's conscience, finally turning it against that war.
All this so far is not 'full circle' but a thread none-the-less: NPA's positive role in Viet Nam, Hersh's courageous Viet Nam truth telling, and now, once again, more of his unpopular revelations about American crimes - with Norway in the mix! Happily Norway's people's aid is saving lives, and no one died in the pipeline's destruction on September 26th, but many a European is suffering in the cold, now unable to pay two and three times their normal heating bill. Among the lower-income populous, the saying is apparently now "Heat or Eat." Economic damage to Russia for invading Ukraine? That country owns 51% of the Nord Stream enterprise, with the Dutch, French and Germans left holding the bag on the rest of the lost infrastructure and revenue.
Although a Washington task force, which included the Navy, Joint Chiefs of Staff, CIA and State and Treasury Departments, was the genesis of the sabotage, Hersh's source says Norway was pulled in, as a prominent member of NATO, as well as for its proximity to the chosen underwater explosion site off the coast of Denmark. Extensive Norwegian diving expertise with off-shore North Sea oil rigs was a big plus. Additionally, and most importantly, Hersh tells us the Pentagon has invested "hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade and expand American Navy and Air force facilities in Norway" - a loss of sovereignty that does not sit well with many Norwegians. In a seamless connection, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO's current "supreme commander" was Norway's prime minister for eight years not too long ago. Besides, with cheap Russian natural gas off the market, more energy resources, like Norwegian and American, will have to be procured by Western Europe, to say nothing of the global economic impact! Past environmental controls on fracking, oil and gas exploration, coal and nuclear are now out the window. Dirty, and more profitable, energy floodgates are opening wide every day. God help the Climate Crisis!
But as much as he is to be admired for his thoroughness, Mr. Hersh missed one more draw unique to Norway, which ties into my reason for the Oslo stopover. I had three goals in mind for the three full days I had there: NPA, The "Homefront" Museum (Museum of the Resistance to the German occupation of 1940 to '45) and the Nobel Peace Prize Museum. So Wednesday morning September 28th found me leaving the NPA head quarters for a short stroll to the medieval Akershus Fortress overlooking the scenic, old harbor to delve into the fascinating history of Norwegian partisans blowing up all things Nazi 80 years ago.
The Norwegians are explosives experts, with a storied history of sabotage with dynamite - invented a century and a half ago, a mere 320 miles away in Stockholm by Alfred Nobel. Whole ships, entire railroad lines, strategic bridges, vital communication lines, Gestapo police stations, and crucial war-production factories blew to pieces and went up in smoke, much to the approval of our World War II Allies, other civilian resistance groups, and all populations living, and dying, under German invasion and occupation. Members of Norway's Communist Party took the lead in damaging Germany's war machine on their soil. Russia (the USSR) was a key ally - more ironies.
The Soviet sacrifice of 27 million dead far over shadows all others in the Second World War, but in the Western European lore of spies, saboteurs and guerrilla fighters, Norway's reputation in particular is quite exalted in this pantheon - especially when held up to other Scandinavian countries which were either "neutral" or acquiescent. A visit to the Resistance Museum was always definitely on my itinerary. A chill runs up the spine when one learns that cells holding POWs were housed in the basement of the very same ancient stone building that now holds the museum. A small walled area just outside was used for the executions of freedom fighters. Norwegians valiantly fought back, mostly with dynamite.
Today, C4 explosives are the thing, and were used to take out three of the four Nord Stream pipelines. Planning started in Washington in late 2021, ahead of Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Could Washington have guessed that the Russians felt threatened by massive Western military build-ups on their northern - and central and southern, as well as eastern borders? No matter, Hersh's source says that Washington task force members flew across the Atlantic to meet with their Nordic secret service and naval counterparts to negotiate the joint operation. Maybe it was pay-back time for the "hundreds of millions of dollars" poured into that country for U.S. bases in the north of Norway? Therein lies another irony, as the present American bases in the far north of Norway are in or near the very same area that combined Soviet and Norwegian forces spent six months from 1944 to '45 driving out the Germans. That protracted battle began with a Soviet offensive that liberated a Nazi-occupied Norwegian city just over the narrow border between Russia and Norway. Early in the war, the Norwegian government-in-exile established a military mission in Moscow! Now a united Germany is a key Western ally in a "war against Russia"?!
The last stop in my Oslo visit was the Nobel Peace Prize Museum, just the other side of the small harbor from the fortress. Swede Alfred Nobel, in his 1901 will, chose to leave his vast fortune to fund an annual Peace Prize to be given by Norway (then a part of Sweden till 1905). Additional prizes in four categories, three scientific and one literary, are awarded by a Swedish committee. Today the Oslo government-appointed Nobel Peace Prize Committee is highly politicized, a museum docent confided to me privately. He noted my Veterans For Peace bag as soon as I paid for admission at the museum desk. I then got a personal tour and an extended conversation with him about the selection of the awardees - no surprise with a NATO-headed Stoltenberg government in power.
My guide, having heard from me about VFP's collaboration with NPA in Viet Nam, pointed out the 1973 Peace Prize awardees - Le Duc To and Henry Kissinger "for jointly having negotiated a ceasefire in Viet Nam.” But what the museum does not tell you, he said, is that Le Duc To refused the prize because the U.S. violated the armistice with the brutal "Christmas bombing" of north Viet Nam's capital Ha Noi in December of 1972.
Global economic and military realities are indeed made up of complex and contradictory threads, producing a mind-boggling "tapestry" - with many holes in it. Truth is stranger than fiction, and my innocent tour of Norway's capital last fall seems to have touched on multinational histories and present crisis situations.
(Nadya Williams is Director of Communications, Veterans For Peace, San Francisco Chapter 69; and Board Member, VFP Viet Nam Ch. 16)
UKRAINE, FRIDAY, 3RD MARCH
The head of Russia's mercenary group Wagner said the key eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut is "surrounded," and called on President Volodymyr Zelensky to order his forces to withdraw. Ukraine’s military has said it is holding its ground in the battle.
Russian forces blew up a key bridge and supply route linking the besieged city to a nearby village amid efforts to evacuate 5,000 civilians, Ukrainian authorities said.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland made an unannounced trip to Ukraine and reaffirmed the Biden administration's commitment to hold Russia "accountable for crimes committed" in the invasion.
CNN anchor Erin Burnett will interview Dasha Navalnaya, the daughter of jailed Putin opposition leader Alexey Navalny, in primetime special at 9 p.m. ET Friday.
IF THE MAIN PILLAR OF THE SYSTEM is living a lie, then it is not surprising that the fundamental threat to it is living the truth. This is why it must be suppressed more severely than anything else.
― Václav Havel, The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central-Eastern Europe (1978)
RUSSIA AND CHINA DRAW ‘RED LINES’ ON THEIR BORDERS; US Draws Them On The Other Side Of The Planet
by Caitlin Johnstone
Reacting to China's announcement that it will be putting forward a proposal for a political settlement to end the war in Ukraine, the US ambassador to the United Nations said that if China begins arming Russia in that conflict this will be a "red line" for the United States.
“We welcome the Chinese announcement that they want peace because that’s what we always want to pursue in situations like this. But we also have to be clear that if there are any thoughts and efforts by the Chinese and others to provide lethal support to the Russians in their brutal attack against Ukraine, that that is unacceptable,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told CNN on Sunday.
“That would be a red line,” she said.
The ambassador's comments pertained to an unsubstantiated claim made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday that China is "considering providing lethal support to Russia in the war against Ukraine," according to US intelligence.
The US has been making evidence-free claims in relation to China arming Russia against Ukraine since the war began. In March of last year the New York Times reported that "Russia asked China to give it military equipment and support for the war in Ukraine after President Vladimir V. Putin began a full-scale invasion last month, according to U.S. officials." Then in April of last year NBC reported that this claim "lacked hard evidence" and was essentially just a lie the US government told the media "as part of an information war against Russia."
The mass media have eagerly participated in promoting this latest re-emergence of narratives about China supplying weapons to Russia, with the Wall Street Journal running a piece just the other day titled "Chinese Drones Still Support Russia’s War in Ukraine, Trade Data Show." But as commentator Matthew Petti has observed, buried deep in that article is an acknowledgement that these China-made camera drones aren't even coming from China; they're being purchased by Russian middlemen in nations like the United Arab Emirates. Really it's just a story about how China manufactures a lot of products, disguised as something scandalous.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin knocked back Blinken's claims at a press conference shortly after they were made, saying the US is in no position to be accusing anyone of pouring arms into the war.
“It is the US, not China, that has been pouring weapons into the battlefield," he said. "The US is in no position to tell China what to do. We would never stand for finger-pointing, or even coercion and pressurizing from the US on our relations with Russia.”
Indeed, Washington is warning Beijing with a "red line" against doing something that Washington does constantly, and is currently doing to an unprecedented extent in Ukraine. The US sends weapons to proxy forces all over the world, including to Saudi Arabia in facilitation of its mass atrocities in Yemen, to Al Qaeda and its aligned forces in facilitation of the western dirty war on Syria, and to Israel in facilitation of its apartheid regime and its nonstop attacks on its neighbors. Ukraine is Washington's biggest proxy warfare operation yet, so it's a bit rich for it to be drawing "red lines" on the other side of the planet regarding an activity the US spent $113 billion on last year.
And that's the major difference between the US and nations like Russia and China. When Russia and China draw red lines, it's at their own borders and regards their own national security interests. When the US draws red lines, it's far from its own borders and unrelated to the security of the nation.
During the lead-up to the invasion of Ukraine, Putin warned over and over again that the west was taking Moscow’s “red lines” on Ukrainian neutrality too lightly, and Washington brazenly dismissed those warnings while continuing to float the possibility of future NATO membership for Ukraine.
“I don’t accept anybody’s red lines,” President Biden told the press in December of 2021 when asked about the warnings.
Weeks later Putin made good on his threat, launching a horrific war that could easily have been prevented with a little diplomacy and sensibility.
“This is that red line that I talked about multiple times,” Putin said. “They have crossed it.”
Similarly, Beijing has been using the phrase "red line" with regard to Taiwan and the US empire's rapidly escalating provocations on that front. China used it multiple times last year warning against then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the island, which Beijing regards as an egregious violation of Washington's One China policy. As Antiwar's Dave DeCamp frequently notes, this marked the beginning a new level of hostilities from Beijing which now sees frequent military crossings of the median line between Taiwan and mainland China that weren't commonplace before.
Whether you agree with Moscow and Beijing about their "red lines" or not, you must concede that there's a very big difference between the way they draw them and the way the US makes use of that concept. Russia and China are issuing these warnings about the areas immediately adjacent to their own territory, while the US issues them to anyone it likes about what they are permitted to do with their neighbors, even when the US itself engages in those very activities all the time.
Washington literally thinks of this entire planet as its territory. It believes it is its divinely bestowed right to issue decrees about what may and may not be done anywhere in the world, and that any transgression against these decrees is an act of aggression against it.
We see this evidenced in the way US officials talk about the world. Just in January of last year President Biden said that "everything south of the Mexican border is America’s front yard.” That same month then-Press Secretary Jen Psaki remarked on the mounting tensions around Ukraine that it is in America’s interest to support “our eastern flank countries”, which might come as a surprise to those who were taught in school that America’s eastern flank was not eastern Europe but the eastern coastline of the United States. You'll see the imperial media refer to things like the vague prospect of China maybe someday building a military base in the African nation of Equatorial Guinea as a menacing encroachment upon America's "backyard".
It's just so crazy how the US government has the temerity to publicly rend its garments in outrage over foreign nations making demands about what happens on their own borders while it continually makes demands about what happens everywhere in the world. It wails and moans about its enemies asserting small "spheres of influence" over former Soviet states or the South China Sea, while it itself asserts a sphere of influence that looks like planet Earth.
Whenever you point out how the US is the worst offender in any area it criticizes other governments for you'll find yourself accused of "whataboutism", but what this actually means is that you have highlighted evidence that the US does not play by its own rules and does not actually value the issues it's trying to moralize about. The US is not trying to stop foreign nations from bullying and dominating their neighbors, it's trying to bash out more space so it can bully and dominate the world.