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Mendocino County Today: Thursday, May 25, 2023

Temperate | Noyo Statue | Hospital Retrofit | Book Sale | CHP Enforcement | Youth Pass | School Exhibition | Boonquiz | Cop Assaulted | Cornhole Tournaments | County Budget | Angelo Reserve | Water Forum | Hoak Ranch | Ed Notes | Yesterday's Catch | AI v NI | Parking Fine | Tina Turner | Louie Louie | Oxygen | IRS Case | Knife Grinders | Dam Nation | Never Said | Debilitating Disease | DeSantis Announces | Bacon Explosion | German Drivers | Jerry Mander | Song Request | Ukraine | Sexual Intercourse | Trespassers Violated | Hong Kong | Never Ends

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CONTINUED NEAR NORMAL TEMPERATURES, with showers and isolated thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. A weak high pressure build into the region tonight into Saturday, deepening the marine layer. Another upper trough will move into the region for Memorial Day weekend, and will bring continued chances of showers and isolated thunderstorms over the interior mountains. (NWS)

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Men Lost at Sea statue, Noyo Harbor (Jeff Goll)

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IMPORTANT MCHCD MEETING TONIGHT on the Retrofit for the Fort Bragg Hospital

The Devenney Group will do a zoom presentation on the detailed results of an engineering analysis of what is needed to retrofit the existing Fort Bragg Hospital to comply with the CA law requiring that seismic compliance be met by 2030. The presentation will compare the potential costs of retrofitting with the costs of building a replacement hospital. The Agenda and supporting documents for this meeting as well as the zoom links can be found at the Mendocino Coast Health Care District website: The meeting will be held in the Redwoods Room just inside the Outpatient entrance to the Fort Bragg Hospital starting at 6pm on May 25, 2023. The meeting may be joined on zoom at the link below. The Devenney presentation will begin promptly at 6:30pm. The Regular MCHCD Board Meeting will continue following the Devenney Presentation and Discussion of Next Steps.

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DON'T MISS THE KELLEY HOUSE MUSEUM BOOK SALE Sunday, May 28, 10 to 3, on Main St in Mendocino.

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CHP Looks To Secure A Safe Start To The Summer With Holiday Enforcement Efforts

Sacramento, Calif. - Memorial Day weekend is quickly approaching, and many Californians are preparing to kick off the summer with a holiday gathering or road trip. Forty-five people were killed in crashes in California during last year’s Memorial Day weekend, nearly a 30 percent increase from the same period in 2021. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has a plan to help people arrive to their destinations safely, while reducing the number of deadly crashes on the state’s roads.

Beginning at 6:01 p.m. on Friday, May 26, the CHP will implement a statewide Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) in anticipation of the increased traffic that often accompanies a holiday weekend. The MEP will continue through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 29.

“The core mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security to the communities we serve,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee. “This holiday, motorists can expect to see additional CHP officers patrolling California’s roadways. All available uniformed members of this Department will be on patrol during this Memorial Day MEP. Our primary focus will be to enhance public safety, deter unsafe driving behavior, and when necessary, take appropriate enforcement action.”

In addition to assisting motorists and looking for traffic violations that often lead to serious injury or death, such as failure to wear a seat belt, speed, and distracted driving, CHP officers will be paying close attention to people who are suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and/or alcohol.

CHP officers made nearly 900 DUI arrests during the Memorial Day MEP in 2022. Keep yourself and others who are on the road safe by designating a sober driver or using a ride-share service.

If you see or suspect an impaired driver, call 9-1-1 immediately. Be prepared to provide the dispatcher a description of the vehicle, the license plate number, location, and direction of travel. Your phone call may save someone’s life.

The CHP’s Memorial Day MEP coincides with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s ongoing Click It or Ticket campaign, which continues through June 4. Seat belts save lives. Take two seconds to secure your safety and buckle up.

The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.

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Drop by for a visit on May 31 at 3:30!

Louise Simson, Superintendent, 707-684-1017

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THE BIG BI-WEEKLY BOONVILLE QUIZ returns next week on the first Thursday of June, June 1, at Lauren’s at the Buckhorn in Downtown Boonville at 7pm. See you there! 

Steve Sparks, Quizmaster

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On 5/23/23, UPD Officers responded to the intersection of W. Perkins St. and S. School St. for a report of a female transient causing a disturbance. Upon arrival a solo officer contacted the suspect, Rachael Seivertson, 32, of Ukiah. 


Seivertson was known to this officer from numerous prior contacts. She was a known transient in Ukiah and was known to be on CDC parole for robbery. 

The officer considered Seivertson’s behavior to be erratic. The officer attempted to speak with her, but she could not engage in a normal conversation. Her body was fidgety and she could not form a normal/reasonable sentence. The officer suspected she was under the influence of a stimulant, most likely methamphetamine. 

While attempting to speak with Seivertson, she stood up and attempted to walk away. She walked less than 10 feet away and the officer took a few steps to follow her. Seivertson quickly stopped, bent over and picked up a large rock which was placed on the curb. Seivertson then quickly spun around and threw the rock into the officer’s face, colliding with the officer’s left side of his upper lip. Seivertson then continued to punch the officer on the face. The officer immediately started bleeding heavily but was able to wrestle Seivertson to the ground. While on the ground, Seivertson was placed on her stomach and handcuffed.

She was subsequently booked into the Mendocino County jail for assault on a police officer, battery on an officer engaged in duties, and parole violation. Her bond was set at $100,000.

(Ukiah Police Department)

According to a UPD presser back in May of 2021 Ms. Seivertson punched three people including an elderly woman, a police officer and a female security guard while trying to steal a shopping cart with $161 worth of merchandise from the Ukiah Walmart. Her bail back then was $150,000.

(1) Ms. Seivertson appears to be the perfect example of someone who needs to be housed in a locked facility, for her benefit as well as ours. Don’t complain about our streets resembling open air insane asylums where deranged and violent people roam free unless you’re ready to require treatment and/or confinement for those too mentally unstable or addicted to maintain minimal standards of behavior.

(2) According to her facebook page (post date unknown) Ms. Seivertson was (is?) a FedEx Delivery driver, when she can function. It also says she’s a Ukiah High School graduate who attended Mendocino College. Her facebook motto is “Be Free and Positive.” Back in 2018 she was arrested and charged with felony vandalism when she attacked two Hopland fire station buildings with a baseball bat.

(3) If you take a peek at her booking photo the arched neck, the twisted face, clear signs of distress from an internal source. She needs to be protected from the world and herself at this point. Prison isn’t going to solve anything nor protect her any better. I have noticed her running down State Street screaming, high kicking, ranting. 100% she needs to live as a conserved soul. Has been in the booking log far too many times. Probation and programs have done NADA of worth to resolve her situation. Even if a person is using substances who in the hell would party or share drugs when she's all agro? How? Someone comes at me all sideways and whacked out as heck we ain't hanging out. DAMN. Mendo needs mental health permanent housing, like 5 years ago. $5 million we poured into an empty mental health crisis center. Okay.

(4) The Editor drove the length of State Street today (24 May) to meet a friend for lunch. I counted 15 lost souls on South State, none north of Low Gap Road, but two of the 15 on South State were obviously in dangerously altered states and should have been hospitalized for their own safety and the safety of others. I know Fort Bragg is smaller than Ukiah, but Fort Bragg has instituted an effective program that humanely disallows the shameful, unaddressed destruction of public spaces by disturbed persons that has become acceptable in Ukiah.

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by Mark Scaramella

Yesterday, we noted that CEO Darcie Antle’s proposed budget for next fiscal year (July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024) does not include any kind of raise for employees, no cost-of-living raise, no new employment contracts with “market rate” adjustments, no benefit increases, nothing. 

Hearing this, Supervisor Dan Gjerde described the budget as “probably not realistic.”

Of course not. In the past they “balanced” the budget by assuming zero or very little Sheriff’s department overtime. “Balanced budgets” are an artifice, a plan. If the Board really cared about balanced budgets other than on paper they’d get routine monthly budget reports from each department with explanations of variances. But they have never done that.

Supervisor Ted Williams added another possible “non-realistic” budget problem: Declining property values associated with “fire sales” of pot farms that are packing up and abandoning their grows, legal or otherwise. Nobody knows how much of this there really is nor how much money it might represent.

County employee union rep Patrick Hickey told the Board that there was probably money in the budget for raises hidden in the approximately 25% vacancy rate that the County has been averaging for recent years. 

Supervisor Ted Williams disagreed saying he thought the budgeted staffing levels no longer contain much of that. 

CEO Antle agreed, saying her staff had gone through the staffing lists “with a fine tooth comb” and only positions that they fully intend to fill were budgeted and considered “vacant.” 

Hickey didn’t argue any further.

The Board discussed hauling uncooperative department heads into closed badgering sessions if they refuse to cut their budgets by a certain amount in the face of the deficit. (Our top nomination: the regularly overbudget County Counsel Christian Curtis who advised the Board that they were allowed to conduct such sessions, probably assuming that he himself would never be the called on the carpet.)

Williams glibly contended that government has a lot of excess in it, and that therefore the County should be able to operate with reduced staff. But, as before, Williams cited the demonstrably wrong example of a $75k “washer-dryer” proposal from Social Services as an example, when that number was actually for a larger room remodel for family and children’s services that included a washer-dryer. Instead of arguing that the room-remodel might be unnecessary, Williams continues to claim that the County was proposing to pay a patently wasteful $75k for a simple washer/dryer. 

This is the same Supervisor who, like his colleagues, has never complained about the cost of the $400k Supervisors chambers remodel, the nearly $400k that he helped waste on a pointless dispute with the Sheriff, the millions of dollars paid to outside consultants and lawyers and mental health contractors, the $5 million the County paid for a $1 million crisis residential treatment center, or the enormous $25 to $30 million about to be committed for an oversized and overdesigned psychiatric health facility on Whitmore Lane…

Probation Department Head Izen Locatelli was the only Department head to publically object to the artificially imposed budget cuts, saying that he had already reduced his budget by 25% a few years ago and there was very little left to cut, adding that his department is part of “public safety,” and should not be subject to further cuts.

The so-called “Teeter Plan” is showing a sizable deficit this year as well. The Teeter Plan was set up well before the turn of the century to help stabilize revenues for schools and special districts while also benefiting Counties by allowing them to keep whatever extra revenue may come in later via penalties and interest on late property tax payments. Under the Teeter Plan, schools and special districts are paid their nominal share of taxes on a regular schedule giving them a relatively predictable revenue stream. Then the County keeps whatever penalties and interest come in later. Nobody has complained about the process before. But now, as more and more local properties are either unsellable or are owned by people (mainly pot growers) who have disappeared, the County is saying that they aren’t getting those expected revenues but the money going to schools and special districts is more than they’re getting from property taxes plus penalties and interest, creating a $1 to $2 million deficit. Predictably, there was talk about examining the Teeter Plan, which is certainly overdue for a close examination. Williams went further to suggest that the County withdraw from the Teeter Plan so that, according to Williams, schools and special districts would “feel the pain” that the County is feeling as a result of tax absconders. The trouble with Williams’s assertion is that schools and special districts have no legal leverage in collecting taxes. Only the County can put liens on property which, theoretically, can generate delinquent payments when the property is sold — if and when it is sold. Schools and special districts (including fire and emergency services) better keep a close eye on this admittedly arcane subject because if Williams has his way, they might find themselves being penalized for the County’s inability to collect delinquent property taxes. 

The Supervisors engaged in another tedious discussion of the annual tourism subsidy, with Supervisor Dan Gjerde arguing against it saying “they don’t need it,” and “We need the money more than they do,” and, “There’s no fuel in our tank anymore,” noting that the promoters have more reserves (proportionately) than the County does. Supervisor Williams, of course, thinks that every nickel the County hands over to the tourism people translates directly into more revenue for the industry, more jobs, more tax revenue and other untold benefits and that the tourism industry is the only industry left in the County now that timber, fishing and pot have fallen off. Supervisor Haschak said he preferred to look at the “big picture” of overall economic development, without mentioning any. Haschak said the Board should postpone the tourism handout until other (vague) economic development options are explored. When Gjerde suggested that the three supervisors who are enamored with the tourism subsidy find an equivalent sized cut elsewhere in the budget to pay for it, Supervisor Williams called Gjerde’s proposal a “gimmick.” Again, this is the same Supervisor Williams who uses the exact same “gimmick” against anything he personally opposes. As usual, Supervisors McGourty, and Mulheren supported the subsidy while conceding that the budget probably couldn’t cover it. There was some question about the amount, however. Until this year the tourism promoters have been able to rely on a whopping $600k from the County to add to their own advertising (in print and on-line) and wine/food writer give-aways. But even the promoters seem to understand the budget situation and have proposed increasing their own levy on themselves to reduce the County’s $600k to around $260k. At the end of the meeting, they left the question semi-open pending a self-promotional report from the promoters early next month which the promoters say demonstrates how great their advertising spending is.

Petty stuff: We wish the County would stop using the phrase “reach out” when they simply mean “ask.” We also wish Supervisor Haschak would learn the correct pronunciation of the word “proviso.” On Tuesday, Haschak, perhaps mixing up his phrasing with the word “provision,” suggested that a “pro-vizz-oh” be added to something (it wasn’t), when he should have said, “prov-eyes-oh.” It’s minor, but distracting and undermines whatever he’s trying to suggest, in fact, we have already forgotten what he wanted to add the proviso to.

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Angelo Reserve Mailbox (Jeff Goll)

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A couple of highlights from Ms. Huettl’s excellent report:

“It will take a significant investment, [Supervisor Glenn] McGourty believes, and the state needs to pay for public trust resources.” 

“Just before the meeting ended at 3:00 pm, Scott Greacen, Friends of the Eel River, appeared on the Zoom screen, forcefully stating that Friends of the Eel River will accept nothing less than full dam removal. He said, ‘With respect to the process, this meeting has been shamefully run. Kearns & West [the consultants paid to “facilitate” the forum] has not been transparent. Potter Valley water rights have no proper role in a just water allocation system’.” 

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Rice and Hoak Ranch (at head of Albion River) photo by M.M. Hazeltine, c. 1868

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ON A MEMORABLY DESTRUCTIVE night in 1987, a Fort Bragg businessman, maybe two Fort Bragg businessmen, burned down the town's justice court and the adjacent library, apparently as a diversionary arson to divert attention from their primary target, the popular town landmark, the Piedmont Hotel. They destroyed all three.

I BRING IT UP, again and again, because although the primary perps were known almost immediately by the tiny Fort Bragg Police Department — the town’s then-police chief, Tom Bickel, was so bold as to be quoted saying, “I pass the arsonists on the street every day,” nobody was ever charged. 

FOR MONTHS after the fires, platoons of ATF and FBI agents strode around town in their identifying windbreakers not finding out who did it, or finding out and forwarding their findings to then-Mendo DA Susan Massini, who allowed the statute of limitations to run out after spending a lot of public money and time “investigating” the case for a solid year or more.

LOCALS close to the case were astounded when the FBI hired the girlfriend of one of the presumed arsonists to record the interviews the feds were conducting with suspects. She was assumed to be reporting to lover boy about who was saying what to the feds.

ADDING MAJOR INSULT to Massini's disinterest, the 35 boxes of accumulated evidence has disappeared. Most places, the disappearance of evidence of a major crime, or, in this case, a series of major crimes, would not happen, and if it did happen there would be an investigation or, at a minimum, a lot of indignant citizens demanding to know What the hell.

NOT A PEEP from anybody. When I asked DA Norm Vroman if I could have a look at the files, Vroman said, “Sure,” then called back to say, “We can't find them.” Current DA David Eyster told me the boxes had “disappeared.” He speculated that DA Massini had probably taken them when she left office and moved to Oregon which, of course, she could not lawfully do, assuming she did.

THE MAN who commissioned the arsons, who was also moving a lot of cocaine up and down the Mendocino Coast and throughout the county, hired young guys to do the torching, one of whom, Kenny Ricks, allegedly committed an acrobatic suicide the day before he was to testify before a federal grand jury in San Francisco, placing a shotgun between his legs and pulling the trigger with his toe. 

THESE FORT BRAGG EVENTS would make a good movie, considering the cast of characters. The logistics man for the arsonists was a 400-pound convicted corpse robber out of San Mateo County, and a natch for Mendocino County where you are whatever you say you are and history starts all over again every morning. The fat man had no prob gaining entree to public and private properties with all their useful information. 

THIS GUY, Peter ‘Pete’ Durigan, only 150 miles north of his recent crimes in San Mateo but safely on the amnesia side of the Green Curtain, set himself up as a late-night janitorial service, tidying up the local banks in the early hours and delivering cocaine to primo customers. (The Green Curtain falls just north of Cloverdale at the Mendocino County line, from there to the Oregon border a kind of faintly ominous twilight zone sets in where unexplained things happen that don't happen most places.) 

THE NIGHT of the fires, the fat man had delivered cans of gasoline to the torches, all of whom doubled as Mr. Big's cocaine customers. Co-conspirators included a crooked bank manager and at least one crooked insurance salesman, the former making no-collateral loans to the primary criminals, the latter paying off obvious arson fires no questions asked. 

DA MASSINI and the State Fire Marshal’s office — after a year’s investigations fueled by large amounts of public money, wound up claiming neither had jurisdiction over the case, the upshot being that a series of deliberate fires, which easily could have wiped out all of downtown Fort Bragg but for the valiant Fort Bragg Volunteer Fire Department became simply another crime committed by the well-connected in a county where the well-connected are seldom, if ever, held accountable.

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Aquino, Houghtlin, Khalil

EFRAIN AQUINO, Bronx, New York/Laytonville. Disorderly conduct-intoxication with drugs & alcohol, pot possession and transportation, possession of money for use in illegal activity.

WARREN HOUGHTLING, Napa/Ukiah. Ammo possession by prohibited person, county parole violation.

BELAL KHALIL, Elk Grove/Ukiah. DUI-alcohol&drugs, controlled substance without prescription.

Lorenzana, Timberlake, Wickstrom

JOSE LORENZANA-LUCERO, Ukiah. Witness intimidation, probation revocation.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, protective order violation.

NOEL WICKSTROM, Willits. Probation revocation.

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AI vs. NI — A friend just introduced me to an AI app whereby you can feed a subject, in this case a friendship, into the internet and ask it to come up with a poem and out it comes, maybe not at the level of "Ode To A Grecian Urn" but perhaps better than Humpty Dumpty. Me being a negative cynical guy I regarded it as a perversion of creativity, a manifestation of current junk culture, and also being something of a Luddite, I had to admit I'm not even fond of the ice maker in my refrigerator. After giving it more thought I wondered if AI can do better than what history shows NI (that's Natural intelligence) has accomplished regarding the great global problems including perpetual war, environmental degradation, poverty, injustice, cancer and other diseases (and a broken healthcare system), homelessness, et. al. Anyway, that's my Wednesday morning hoo hah.

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MIKE GENIELLA: I saw Tina Turner only once. The memories would last a lifetime. It was the end of April 1970 when a bunch of us headed over to the Chico State campus to catch the ‘Ike and Tina Turner Revue.’ Ike may have been the boss, but it was clear Tina even then was the star. She rocked the place. Her powerful voice and her athletic performance awed the crowd. As the years pass, and I watched Tina Turner morph into “TINA.” I could not forget the night she put her raw power on display at Chico. Yes, Ike and the band were good. But everyone who was there that night left realizing it was Tina Turner who carried the show. We had no clue what went on backstage. We were happy to read years later how she walked out of an abusive relationship, took nothing in return, and built herself a legendary career known around the globe. 

Tina Turner performing at Chico State College on April 29, 1970

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Did you know that the FBI launched an investigation into the song ‘Louie, Louie’? There is a 119 page file available at the FBI Vault website on what the Feds thought the lyrics were and the song was deemed obscene.

According to the Kingsman's lead singer Jack Ely's obit the reason the lyrics sounded so garbled was because Ely had just gotten his braces tightened the day of the recording and the mic was angled so that the recording would sound like it was recorded live.

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Jack Ely, Who Sang the Kingsmen’s ‘Louie Louie’, Dies at 71

by Sam Roberts (April 29, 2015 New York Times)

Jack Ely would later insist that as a 19-year-old singing “Louie Louie” in one take in a Portland, Ore., studio in 1963, he had followed the original lyrics faithfully. But, he admitted, the braces on his teeth had just been tightened, and he was howling to be heard over the band, with his head tilted awkwardly at a 45-degree angle at a single microphone dangling from the ceiling to simulate a live concert.

Which may explain why what originated innocently as a lovesick sailor’s calypso lament to a bartender named Louie morphed into the incoherent, three-chord garage-band cult classic by the Kingsmen that sold millions of copies, spawned countless cover versions and variations, was banned in Indiana, prompted the F.B.I. to investigate whether the song was secretly obscene, provoked a legal battle and became what Frank Zappa called “an archetypal American musical icon.”

For Mr. Ely, the 2-minute-42-second demo recording turned out to be a one-hit wonder. He was bounced from the group, which he helped found in 1959, after the drummer, Lynn Easton, decided he wanted to be the lead singer instead.

Mr. Ely died on Tuesday at 71 at his home in Redmond, Ore. His son Sean said that Mr. Ely was a Christian Scientist and had not sought treatment, but that he believed the cause was skin cancer.

Jack Brown Ely was born in Portland on Sept. 11, 1943. His father, Ken, was a singer of such prominence, Dave Marsh wrote in “Louie Louie” (1993) — one of several books prompted by the song — that the crooner Rudy Vallee sent him a congratulatory telegram when his only son was born. Ken Ely died when Jack was 4.

He began taking piano lessons and gave his first recital before he was 7, then discovered the guitar when he was 13 and saw Elvis Presley on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

After Lynn Easton’s mother enlisted Jack to perform at a local yacht club, joined by high school colleagues, the Kingsmen were born. They never practiced at Jack’s house (his stepfather hated the racket), but the band prospered even as they graduated and Jack enrolled at Portland State University.

In 1962, while playing at a club in Seaside, Ore., he noticed that the jukebox was spinning overtime with Rockin’ Robin Roberts and the Wailers’ 1961 version of “Louie Louie,” a song that Richard Berry, a Los Angeles musician, had written on a napkin and recorded in 1957.

Mr. Ely persuaded the Kingsmen and the band’s manager to record the song. They booked the Northwestern Inc. studio in Portland for an hour on April 6, 1963.

“It was more yelling than singing ‘cause I was trying to be heard over all the instruments,” Mr. Ely recalled, according to Peter Blecha, a music historian, in his book “Sonic Boom! The History of Northwest Rock: From ‘Louie Louie’ to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ “ (2009). He also began the third verse a few bars too soon and paused while the band caught up.

In an interview with the Oregon newspaper The Bend Bulletin in 1987, Mr. Ely recalled: “I stood there and yelled while the whole band was playing, and when it was over, we hated it. We thought it was a totally non-quality recording.”

Paul Revere and the Raiders, another Portland band, recorded the song the same week. Arnie Ginsburg, a Boston disc jockey known as Woo-Woo, played the Kingsmen’s version twice and pronounced it the worst recording of the week. But it became a No. 2 hit nationally and stayed in the Top 40 for 13 weeks. In 2007, Rolling Stone magazine called it the No. 4 most influential recording of all time.

Ousted by Mr. Easton in August 1963, Mr. Ely tried and failed to rejoin the band after the song became a hit. He formed his own band, which he initially also called the Kingsmen, and recorded “Love That Louie,” prompting lawsuits that required Wand Records to credit him as lead vocalist on future “Louie Louie” pressings, granted him $6,000 in royalties and barred Mr. Easton from lip-syncing the song in television appearances, according to Mr. Marsh.

Mr. Ely was drafted into the Army, returned to the United States in 1968, trained horses, was active in Rockers Against Drugs and was an advocate of legislation that would grant royalties to recording artists and record labels as well as songwriters.

Sean Ely said his father’s other survivors were his third wife, Dawn; another son, Robert; and a daughter, Sierra.

High school and college students who thought they understood what Mr. Ely was singing traded transcripts of their meticulously researched translations of the lyrics. The F.B.I. began investigating after an Indiana parent wrote to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in 1964: “My daughter brought home a record of ‘LOUIE LOUIE’ and I, after reading that the record had been banned on the air because it was obscene, proceeded to try to decipher the jumble of words. The lyrics are so filthy that I cannot enclose them in this letter.”

The F.B.I. Laboratory’s efforts at decryption were less fruitful. After more than two years and a 455-page report, the bureau concluded that “three governmental agencies dropped their investigations because they were unable to determine what the lyrics of the song were, even after listening to the records at speeds ranging from 16 r.p.m. to 78 r.p.m.”

Mr. Berry’s words, with a first verse that begins, “Fine little girl she wait for me/Me catch the ship for ‘cross the sea,” are in fact completely benign. Whatever obscenities people thought they heard, the Kingsmen’s version hewed closely to the original — lyrically if not musically.

Mr. Blecha said Mr. Ely had assured him he had not inserted “incorrect lyrics,” but Mr. Blecha was convinced that Mr. Easton had uttered a single four-letter obscenity in the background of the recording when he accidentally struck the rim of his drum.

Asked to account for the song’s popularity, Mr. Blecha replied, “You could dance to it, and as kids, with the rumors that there was something nefarious going on, you couldn’t grab our attention with anything better than that.”

The actual lyrics-

 Louie, Louie, oh, oh, me gotta go

Louie, Louie, oh, oh, me gotta go

Fine little girl she waits for me

Me catch the ship for cross the sea

Me sail the ship all alone

Me never think me make it home

Louie, Louie...

Three nights and days me sail the sea

Me think of girl constantly

On the ship I dream she there

Me smell the rose in her hair

Louie, Louie...

Me see Jamaica moon above

It won't be long, me see my love,

I take her in my arms and then

Me tell her I never leave again

Louie, Louie…

(Deb Silva)

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by Matt Taibbi

Saturday, December 24, 2022 was one of the most memorable, and most panicked, days of my life. I spent Christmas Eve last year alone, holed up in the Parc 55 hotel in San Francisco, frantically trying to put together what I thought was the most explosive of the Twitter Files reports, “Twitter and Other Government Agencies.” 

My wife and children were due to arrive for Christmas the next day, and I spent the morning checking and re-checking a story I knew might make people upset.

It was based on documents passed to Twitter by the FBI-led Foreign Influence Task Force. They showed the company was receiving content recommendations in bulk from an array of federal agencies through the FBI, about a range of topics — from domestic extremist groups in the US to leftist activists in Venezuela to Ukraine, Joe Biden, and the energy company Burisma. Moreover, Twitter was joining Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Reddit, and perhaps two dozen other firms in attending regular FITF-led gatherings. At that “industry meeting,” companies often received an “OGA briefing,” usually about foreign policy matters. “OGA” is generally understood to be a euphemism for intelligence services in general, or the CIA in particular.

The FBI had just denounced the Twitter Files as the work of “conspiracy theorists” whose “sole purpose” was “discrediting the agency.” If earlier reports made the Bureau unhappy, what reaction would this story inspire?

Thanks to a just-published letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel by House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, sent to the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of Government by the Treasury Department confirms that an IRS investigation of me opened that day, December 24, 2022.

Ostensibly the case was about my 2018 tax return, about which even the IRS doesn’t claim to have contacted me for three years before this new “assign date.” The opening of the investigation preceded a visit to my home by an IRS agent on March 9, when I testified in Congress about the Twitter Files and government censorship.

Even more unnerving are other details in Jordan’s letter:

“On January 27, 2023, the IRS assigned an agent to Mr. Taibbi’s case to initiate face-to-face contact. The IRS documents reflect that the case agent performed an extensive investigation of Mr. Taibbi, using publicly available search engines and commercial investigative software such as Anywho, Consumer Affairs, LexisNexis Accruint, and Google. The IRS’s dossier about Mr. Taibbi included information such as Mr. Taibbi’s voter registration records, whether he possessed a hunting or fishing license, whether he had a concealed weapons permit, and his telephone numbers.”

When the IRS checks to see if you have a carry permit and visits your home, at a time when they owe you money, it’s time to worry…

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This photo from 1902 shows French knife grinders. They would work on their stomachs in order to save their backs from being hunched all day. They were also encouraged to bring their dogs to work to keep them company and also act as mini heaters by having them rest on their owners’ legs. They were also called ventres jaunes (“yellow bellies” in English) because of the yellow dust that would be released from the grinding wheel.

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by Marc Reisner

When archaeologists from some other planet sift through the bleached bones of our civilization, they may well conclude that our temples were dams. Imponderably massive, constructed with exquisite care, our dams will outlast anything else we have built—skycrapers, cathedrals, bridges, even nuclear power plants. When forests push through the rotting streets of New York and the Empire State Building is a crumbling hulk, Hoover Dam will sit astride the Colorado River much as it does today—intact, formidable, serene.

The permanence of our dams will merely impress the archaeologists; their numbers will leave them in awe. In this century, something like a quarter of a million have been built in the United States alone. If you ignore the earthen plugs thrown across freshets and small creeks to water stock or raise bass, then 50,000 or so remain. These, in the lexicon of the civil engineer, are “major works.” Even most of the major works are less than awesome, damming rivers like the Shepaug, the Verdigris, Pilarcitos Creek, Mossman’s Brook, and the North Fork of the Jump. Forget about them, and you are left with a couple of thousand really big dams, the thought of whose construction staggers the imagination. They hold back rivers our ancestors thought could never be tamed—the Columbia, the Tennessee, the Sacramento, the Snake, the Savannah, the Red, the Colorado… They are 60 stories high or four miles long; they contain enough concrete to pave an interstate highway from end to end.

These are the dams that will make the archaeologists blink — and wonder. Did we overreach ourselves trying to build them? Did our civilization fall apart when they silted up? Why did we feel compelled to build so many? Why five dozen on the Missouri and its major tributaries? Why 25 on the Tennessee? Why 14 on the Stanislaus River’s short run from the Sierra Nevada to the sea?

We know surprisingly little about vanished civilizations whose majesty and whose ultimate demise were closely linked to liberties they took with water. Unlike ourselves, future archaeologists will have the benefit of written records, of time capsules and so forth. But such things are as apt to confuse as to enlighten. What, for example, will archaeologists make of Congressional debates over Tellico Dam, where the vast majority ridiculed the dam, excoriated it, flagellated it—and then allowed it to be built? What will they think of Congressmen voting for water projects like Central Arizona and Tennessee-Tombigbee—projects costing three or four billion dollars in an age of astronomical deficits—when Congress’s own fact-finding committees asserted or implied that they made little sense?

Such debates and documents may shed light on reasons—rational or otherwise—but they will be of little help in explaining the psychological imperative that drove us to build dam after dam after dam. If there is a Braudel or a Gibbon in the future, however, he may deduce that the historical foundations of dams as monumental as Grand Coulee, of projects as nonsensical as Tennessee-Tombigbee, are sunk in the 1880s, a decade which brought, in quick succession, a terrible blizzard, a terrible drought, and a terrible flood. 

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WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO AGREE with every political opinion we’re seeing. It isn’t natural to agree with any person or political faction all the time. If you find yourself agreeing with your preferred slice of the political spectrum all the time on every issue, that means you’ve stopped thinking for yourself and are just letting yourself be pulled along by the herd. Disagreement is normal. Universal agreement is a symptom of a debilitating disease.

— Caitlin Johnstone

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DESANTIS ANNOUNCES: Tickertape raining from the rafters, a first lady wrapped in gold and a landslide election victory. Ron DeSantis looked every inch the future of the Republican Party as he celebrated winning a second term as Florida governor in November. His beautiful wife Casey flashed a dazzling smile and his three young children waved at the crowd. Was this America's next first family? The former president was blamed for meddling in the midterms and DeSantis was all but crowned the Republican nominee in waiting. Above all else, he was seen by Republicans tired of losing as Trump-lite, a potential torch bearer of the populist America First movement, but without the baggage of January 6th, election denial, “grab 'em by the p****y” audio recordings and the like. Now, fast forward just six months and that all might as well be ancient history as far as the pundits and polls are concerned. (Daily Mail)

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Did you ever hear of a bacon explosion? Me neither. I don’t eat bacon often but when I do I fry it. Well last week my wife says we should broil it in the oven. I lay it on a rack in a baking pan and start it off. I’m in the living room and I hear a boom. I run into the kitchen and the oven door is wide open, kitchen is filled with smoke, and the bacon is in flames. Darndest thing. It’s an electric oven so the bacon must have gasified and Kablooey! Good thing I was in the house and not out back. 

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Julie J.: During those early 60s we lived across the bay from Jerry et al. He did the toys caper; we did the war dogs caper. Both worked. So much of my early activism must have been influenced by what J. Mander was doing; using advertising techniques to stop the war. Many of the same people were on our bookshelf, dancing and marching with us.

Randy Levine: Another "Pioneer for the Cause" has left us. I hadn't realized all his accomplishments. Excerpt from the good writeup of his life:

In the early 1990s, Jerry and a band of leading international thinkers and activists coined the term “economic globalization” to describe a certain phenomenon they saw taking form. Corporate dominance was running roughshod over the planet, accommodated by policy changes that were both accelerated and shaped by the new digital technologies. Activists took note that, no matter the problem, whether it be exploitation of sweatshop labor or Third World Debt or unregulated industrial pollution, the singular cause was consistently the same: the subjugation of people and Nature to corporate values.

Jerry and friends called themselves the “International Forum on Globalization,” or IFG. Representing over 60 organizations in 25 countries, board members and associates included, among others, Vandana Shiva, Ralph Nader, Edward Goldsmith, John Cavanagh, David Korten, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Andrew Kimbrell, and Walden Bello. Writing in The Nation, Naomi Klein called the IFG “the brain trust of the [anti-globalization] movement.”

(via Irv Sutley)

JERRY MANDER: 1936-2023 - A Love Letter To Life Itself

by Koohan Paik-Mander

An author, bon vivant, and impresario of activism whose career of sensational campaigns reads like a history of the modern progressive movement.

Jerry Mander’s life was a love letter to Life itself. No place better captured that spirit than 20th-century San Francisco, where Jerry made his home when he first stepped onto the SFO tarmac in 1960 and, upon filling his lungs with its sparkling air, knew that he wasn’t in Yonkers anymore. Little did he know that he was destined to become arguably the most important environmental and media activist of an era.

Jerry moved to San Francisco with perfect historical timing, just a heartbeat before The City’s counterculture consciousness would swell to a burst, sending waves of liberation ideology, cappuccinos, and rock-and-roll to all corners of the planet. Jerry rode those waves to shore, as a groundbreaking activist-adman, as a journalist and author of a dozen books, as a key founder of the anti-globalization movement and as a mordant critic of technology and capitalism, finally passing away on April 11, 2023 in Kukuihaele, Hawaii, after a long struggle with terminal illness.


As a graduate student at Columbia during the 1950s, Jerry had been impressed with the film societies thriving in New York at the time, where he discovered foreign and experimental films. Inspired, he opened San Francisco’s first—but short-lived—art cinema in the early 1960s, partnering with Ernest “Chick” Callenbach. Chick was then the editor of “Film Quarterly” and would later pen the seminal eco-novel Ecotopia in 1975.

He was soon working as a full-time publicist for a number of clients, including the then fledgling San Francisco International Film Festival and the modern-dance trailblazer Anna Halprin. Jerry toured Europe as Halprin’s manager and would later recall one certain performance in an Italian village that was so inaccessibly avant-garde (it involved unorthodox composer John Cage) that the angered audience, faithful to their national stereotype, actually pitched rotten tomatoes at the performers on stage! 

One of Jerry’s first Bay Area abodes was in the flat above the famed City Lights Books in North Beach, which was “ground zero” for beatnik culture, still in its heyday. It was from this apartment that, in 1965, young Jerry witnessed stand-up comic Lenny Bruce make headlines by tumbling out of the second story window of the residence hotel across the street. A few blocks away, Jerry had helped launch the legendary improv group, The Committee, with Alan Meyerson and Latifah Taormina, both from the Chicago comedy group, Second City. It was a time when politics and art were inseparable, so The Committee regularly merged with civil rights and anti-war protests that included Joan Baez, Mimi Farina, Norman Mailer, and other creative luminaries. 

This was where Jerry shined—using humor to help people to think in new ways. For example, after the Pentagon had announced a cynical idea to offer humanitarian support to Vietnam by airdropping toys over war orphans, The Committee was appalled. In response, Jerry wrote a daring full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle announcing a “War Toy of the Week” contest. 

The ad’s wry sub-head read: Give now! Help American Efforts in Vietnam! You May Win $100! It described the comedy group’s efforts to collect as many war toys as possible, and actually airdrop them on the Pentagon! Within days, The Committee lobby was overflowing with a mountain of toys, slated to be dropped upon the Dept. of Defense. Even though the FBI ultimately put the kibosh on the plan, the campaign garnered so much publicity that the Pentagon canceled its insensitive toy airdrop over Vietnam. 

The War Toy ad cemented the full-page political ad as a genre, and sealed Jerry’s reputation as a master tactician for this brand of movement-building.

In 1963, Jerry met his first wife, the noted feminist Anica Vesel Mander, in Big Sur at the voluptuous cliffside retreat, Nepenthe. They were married in 1965 and had two sons, Yari and Kai.


In 1966, visionary advertising executive Howard Gossage enlisted Jerry to join his firm. Gossage, who had been known as “the Socrates of San Francisco,” mentored Jerry’s rising star. Together (in between selling cars and stereo systems), the two men generated one of the most successful ads in the history of the U.S. environmental movement to stop the U.S. government from building two giant dams inside the Grand Canyon. They had been hired by David Brower of the Sierra Club, who was horrified that the dams would have flooded the canyon to a depth of 800 feet, thus submerging 150 million years of geological history. 

The Bureau of Reclamation was asserting that the public favored flooding the rivers in the Grand Canyon, ostensibly because small boats would then be able to float high up in the canyon, allowing visitors to touch its beautiful walls! The imposing headline of Jerry’s full-page ad, which ran in the New York Times, read: SHOULD WE ALSO FLOOD THE SISTINE CHAPEL, SO TOURISTS CAN GET NEARER THE CEILING? The ad was an instant sensation and ultimately defeated the project. The success transmuted the Sierra Club from a humble hiking club into an authoritative force for political change. In retrospect, it could be said that this trademark wit of zinger headlines was a prototype of today’s social media memes. This was one of several ways that Jerry was indirectly, yet intimately, involved with shaping 21st-century culture.

Historians agree that 1966 was the year that the bohemian beats gave way to the phantasmagorical hippies, and that the portal through which that metamorphosis took place was none other than the infamous, three-day “Trips Festival.” Jerry partnered with Stewart Brand, an associate of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, to promote the festival. Brand sought to package Prankster philosophy for the mainstream, promising an exploration of the inner self and possibilities for utopia, enhanced by music, audio-visual technology and psychedelics. 

It was also a turning point for a young Bill Graham, whom Jerry had hired to pass out flyers. After the raving success of Trips, Graham asked Jerry to partner with him on a long-term lease for a place he was going to call The Fillmore Auditorium. The idea was to throw a series of Trips-inspired events. “Nope, not interested,” replied Jerry flatly. That left Graham on his own to pursue a career as the most celebrated concert promoter in rock history.

The “Ralph Nader of Advertising”

After Gossage’s premature death in 1969, Jerry soon opened his own agency, dedicated solely to advocacy advertising in the public interest. It was the first of its kind. Clients included Earth Island Institute, Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace, and others. The Wall Street Journal called him “the Ralph Nader of advertising.” Howard Gossage remained a source of inspiration for Jerry throughout his career.

It was during this period that Jerry teamed up with Stewart Brand again, and others, this time to create the iconic Whole Earth Catalog. The jumbo-sized compendium of tools, ideas, and culture was a sort of Farmer’s Almanac for the Age of Aquarius. John Markoff of The New York Times called it “the Internet before the Internet. It was the book of the future. It was a web in newsprint.” Jerry served on the Whole Earth Catalog board, helping to determine which environmental and social-justice causes would receive funding derived from catalog sales. 

Jerry and Ani were then living in a Russian Hill flat when they met Doug and Susie Tompkins, who lived a few blocks away. When Doug opened a little ski shop down the hill in North Beach, Jerry hired the Grateful Dead to perform at the opening reception. The shop was called The North Face, and would later expand to global dimensions. Doug and Susie’s later business venture, Esprit clothing, would be equally profitable. Jerry and Doug remained close creative collaborators, through Doug’s eventual disavowal of capitalism and his transformation to a wildly effective land conservationist, all the way until his untimely death in 2015. 

Jerry also served on the original board of directors of Patagonia, Inc., founded by Yvon Chouinard, an adventurer-buddy of Doug Tompkins. Due to Jerry’s efforts, Patagonia was one of the first companies to structure its operations to meaningfully include environmental and equity values. Malinda Pennoyer Chouinard, Yvon’s wife, recalls, “One memorable day, while the rest of us were at lunch, Jerry wrote Patagonia’s Value Structure, which we have followed as our bible for the last 30+ years… New hires are given his work at Yvon’s philosophy classes. Jerry was a National Treasure.”


As mid-century counterculture morphed into late-century corporate culture, the 1960s visionaries fell into two camps: the few, like Jerry, who questioned technology’s golden promises, and the others, such as Stewart Brand, whom Jerry and Doug dubbed the “techno-utopians.” In fact, in an allusion to the powers of technology, the purpose statement of Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog opens: “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” Jerry would rejoin: “Technology will not save us.”

Jerry’s two most influential books on the subject were Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1978) and In the Absence of the Sacred (1991). 

Much of the conceptual framework of Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television emerged out of Jerry’s history with Marshall McLuhan, whose career as a thought leader had been launched by Jerry and Gossage. McLuhan’s signature statement, “The medium is the message,” informed Jerry’s thinking for life. 

Mander’s scorn for technology was a lone voice during the heady genesis of the Bay Area tech industry. He maintained that the deceptive term “communications technology” was not at all about accommodating communications, but rather, about centralizing control. He was viewed at the time as nothing less than heretical. 

Jerry’s pariah status was summed up perfectly at a lecture he gave in 1995, hosted by Stanford University. After having warned the packed auditorium that a culture based on computers would kill both the Earth and democracy, the audience became outraged (perhaps even more than the Italian villagers made to listen to John Cage). To utter such words was tantamount to telling them there was no God.

After Jerry’s lecture, the room of computer science nerds quickly jostled into a queue to roundly insult him for close to an hour. One after the other, they seemed to burst at the seams in rage, fists in the air, spraying epithets at him like buckshot: “You’re a dinosaur!” “You’ll be left in the dust!” “Go back under your rock, old man!” while Jerry, bemused, bespectacled and definitely blindsided by the onslaught, sat on stage with his arms clutched protectively around himself like a straitjacket.

Twenty-three years later, Jerry’s beliefs on the perils of technology have become generally accepted. Reformed techno-utopian Jaron Lanier paid homage to the wisdom of Four Arguments in Lanier’s 2018 book Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.

Jerry had often said that In the Absence of the Sacred was a continuation of his book on television. Like the first book, it is also part reportage, part anecdote, and part analysis. It elaborates further on how media shapes worldview and then goes on to examine how technology, in general, distances us more and more from Mother Earth. 

He argues brilliantly, comparing solar energy to nuclear energy, demonstrating that technology is never value-neutral and that, actually, every technology has its own unique, intrinsic values. He details how there are inherent values to corporate structure as well, such as hierarchy and centralized control. Indigenous worldviews, by contrast, are based on genuine democratic values and reciprocity with the natural world. The book gives a fascinating summary of the significant influence that Iroquois governance had on the formation of the U.S. during the 18th century.

In 1982, Jerry met his second wife, the environmental artist Elizabeth Garsonnin. They married in 1987 and moved to Bolinas, a tiny hippie enclave north of the City by the Bay. 

“Actors in our own history”

In the early 1990s, Jerry and a band of leading international thinkers and activists coined the term “economic globalization” to describe a certain phenomenon they saw taking form. Corporate dominance was running roughshod over the planet, accommodated by policy changes that were both accelerated and shaped by the new digital technologies. Activists took note that, no matter the problem, whether it be exploitation of sweatshop labor or Third World Debt or unregulated industrial pollution, the singular cause was consistently the same: the subjugation of people and Nature to corporate values. 

Jerry and friends called themselves the “International Forum on Globalization,” or IFG. Representing over 60 organizations in 25 countries, board members and associates included, among others, Vandana Shiva, Ralph Nader, Edward Goldsmith, John Cavanagh, David Korten, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Andrew Kimbrell, and Walden Bello. Writing in The Nation, Naomi Klein called the IFG “the brain trust of the [anti-globalization] movement.” 

Former co-chair of the IFG, John Cavanagh, reflects on Jerry’s role at the organization: “For many of us, what Jerry did, with his great ideas of teach-ins and books and beautifully laid out monographs, is that he created a stage where a number of us could become actors in our own history. Where we could take the stage as leaders, and push to deeper and smarter ideas and solutions. Where we could make an impact. This is his legacy.”

The IFG orchestrated a resilient international solidarity movement against economic globalization, targeting new types of institutions and agreements like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — the ultimate instruments of corporate global dominance. IFG generated a slew of reports, books, and all-star teach-ins in cities worldwide, including the infamous 1999 “Battle of Seattle,” where over 50,000 took to the streets to protest a major WTO Ministerial. 

As the anti-globalization movement grew, tens of thousands would convene for protest at each ministerial location like Grateful Dead enthusiasts shadowing their favorite band. But unlike rock concerts, the teach-ins electrified audiences with people-centered alternatives to the seismic economic shifts taking place. IFG events were so insightful that they drew the interest of individuals as varied and high-profile as George Soros and Bernie Sanders. A muscular anti-corporate movement was afoot. 

In coordination with the Battle of Seattle, Jerry authored The Turning Point Project, a series of 25 full-page ads that ran in The New York Times throughout 1999 on the perils of globalization. Examples of headlines included “Extinction Crisis,” “Globalization v. Nature,” and “If Computers in Schools are the Answer, Are We Asking the Right Question?” 

With Edward Goldsmith, founder of The Ecologist journal, Jerry co-edited the classic critique, “The Case Against the Global Economy,” a collection of seminal essays from IFG board members. Later, in 2004, he co-edited with John Cavanagh a solution-oriented counterpart, “Alternatives to Economic Globalization: A Better World is Possible,” which presents solutions like “subsidiarity” and “living democracy.”

Jerry Mander holding up a copy of his latest book, 70 Ads to Save the World, sharing the Hawaii ad


Two decades later, all the IFG’s admonitions have come to pass. Globalized capital has run amok. U.S. jobs and manufacturing have effectively disappeared (with the exception of the multi-trillion dollar arms industry), as corporations have outsourced to Asia and elsewhere. Environmental, labor, and safety standards have dwindled, even as the world faces unprecedented catastrophes of climate, economic inequity, pandemics, and the Sixth Extinction. Authoritarianism has emerged in backlash, ratcheted up by new technologies.

Alas, this world—the world of Jerry’s sunset years—had fallen pitiably short of the morning promises of the Summer of Love.

Toward the end of his life, Jerry and his final wife, Koohan Paik-Mander, whom he met in 1995, spent their time divided between Bolinas, California, and Kukuihaele, Hawaii. Together, Jerry and Koohan, a filmmaker and Asia-Pacific policy analyst, co-authored The Superferry Chronicles: Hawai’i’s Uprising Against Militarism, Commercialism and the Desecration of the Earth (2009).

Jerry’s last book, 70 Ads to Save the World (2022), was named a 2023 finalist by the Independent Book Publishers Association for their Benjamin Franklin Award in the Political & Current Events category. 70 Ads features visually stunning, large-format reproductions of Jerry’s famous full-page newspaper ads, taking the reader on a sweeping, graphic tour of his storied life. Of Jerry’s time on this planet, the author Stephanie Mills observed, “The dear Earth could ask no more of anyone. It’s a noble life’s work.”

Jerold Irwin Mander* is survived by his wife, Koohan Paik-Mander; two sons, Yari and Kai; and three grandchildren Sadie, Ezra, and Eli. 

* Jerry Mander’s parents, Harry and Eva Mander, were not aware of the pun they had created in bestowing upon their son a name that is homonymous with a term that means to manipulate the electoral boundaries of a political constituency.

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As attacks continue, Russians fear the border incursion could create new military challenges.

Pro-Ukraine forces appear to have used several U.S.-made armored vehicles in their incursion into Russia.

Ukraine’s intelligence chief says it needs ‘significant reserves’ for a counteroffensive.

Xi vows stronger ties with the Kremlin during a meeting with the Russian prime minister.

The president of Belarus arrives in Moscow, state media says, a day after he denied that he was gravely ill.

A Russian court orders the American journalist Evan Gershkovich jailed through August.

The path of a war is unpredictable. In Ukraine, it led to a quiet city in the east.

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THE CONVERSATIONS he overheard as a small boy, between his mother, his aunt, his elder sister and their feminist friends, the way in which, without ever hearing any direct statement to that effect, and without having more than a very dim idea of the relationship between the sexes, he derived a firm impression that women did not like men, that they looked upon them as a sort of large, ugly, smelly and ridiculous animal, who maltreated women in every way, above all by forcing their attentions upon them. It was pressed deep into his consciousness, to remain there till he was about 20, that sexual intercourse gives pleasure only to the man, and the picture of it in his mind was of a man pursuing a woman, forcing her down, and jumping on top of her, as he had often seen a cock do to a hen.

— George Orwell

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by Martha Gellhorn

UC [Ernest Hemingway] had finished a long piece of work before we left the US and if I hadn’t coaxed him to China, he would have been loafing somewhere probably with a fishing rod. Since he was done out of that, he loafed around Hongkong with an ever-growing band of buddies. He had learned to speak coolie English, a language related to West African pidgin and Caribbean English, and was seen laughing with waiters and rickshaw coolies and street vendors, all parties evidently enjoying each other.

He loved Chinese food and would return from feasts with his Chinese crook-type friends swearing they'd been served by geisha girls, and describe the menu until I begged him to stop, due to queasiness. He was ready to try anything, including snake wine, the snakes presumably coiled and pickled in the bottom of the jug.

Local customs charmed him, for instance ear-cleaning. Salesmen with trays of thin sticks, topped by tiny coloured pom-poms, roamed the streets; these sticks were ear cleaners. Customers would pause, in the middle of those bustling crowds, to prod away at their ears with the detached expression, UC said, of people peeing in a swimming pool.

The Chinese passion for firecrackers also delighted him, UC bought them every day and was very disappointed when I insisted that he stop lighting them in our rooms, where they raced like exploding worms over the floor. He found someone to box with and went to the races, saying that dye sweated off the horses and cunning Oriental fraud prevailed. From the first he was much better at the glamorous East than I was, flexible and undismayed.

UC wrote to my mother of the Hongkong pleasures so far, adding that “M. is very happy, treating the men like brothers and the women like dogs.” UC was not the most accurate fellow on earth (neither am I) and I cannot think of any women whom I could have treated like dogs. I remember only Emily Hahn with cigar and highly savvy on the Orient and I was never foolish enough to be disdainful of her, and Madame Sun Yat Sen, tiny and adorable and admirable, unlike her sisters Madame Chiang and Madame Kung who were the limit. The CNAC men and their wives were my chosen companions.

I wasn’t entirely happy either as I was taking the pulse of the nation and growing more despondent by the day. Opium dens, brothels, dance halls, mah-jong parlors, markets, factories, the Criminal Courts; it was my usual way of looking at a society from the bottom rather than from the top. An opium den, to an old student of Fu Manchu, should have been velvet and gilt and voluptuous sin; these sad little rooms were more like a corridor than a room. Three tiers of bare board shelf-size bunks were where the coolies smoked opium at ten cents for three tiny pills, because opium was cheaper than food, took away the appetite, and rested the strained and tired muscles. 

In one such room, behind a basket factory, a girl of 14 fixed the pipes and when not so occupied played gently with a pet tortoise. Another such den (what a word) was an airless hole behind a carpenter’s shop; the carpenters worked from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., then ate their one daily meal and worked again from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. A girl of 15 earned 70¢ a day there; the poor skinny smokers could fondle her as part of the services. Next door, two families lived in a space about the size of a double Pullman berth.

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  1. Kirk Vodopals May 25, 2023

    RIP Tina… your talents were amazing.

  2. Marilyn Davin May 25, 2023

    I can’t help chuckling at the sudden cheerleading for continuation of the Potter Valley hydro project. In an earlier life I worked at PG&E, specifically with the hydro department. Oh the hew and cry to tear down that nasty, corporate-owned dam! Down with the demonic capitalists! Let the waters flow! The project’s actual demise has finally sunk in and the wineries downstream – the real beneficiaries of the hydro project – are beating their chests and crying foul. The root of this issue is simple and observable nearly everywhere in this country: commerce versus the environment. My prediction: business interests in this environmentally “advanced” State of California will somehow coalesce to take over the tiny hydro project to keep the winery water flowing. I never forgot a line from an interview I did with a biologist years ago: “The only group without a voice in water management are the fish.”

    • peter boudoures May 25, 2023

      It’s called infrastructure and it’s silly to start removing this from our country as population grows.

    • Marmon May 25, 2023

      Major Biden defeat at the Supreme Court today, with SCOTUS nuking the Biden EPA’s absurd attempt to redefine “waters of the U.S.” to give EPA radical new power to regulate any water anywhere. The judgment was 9-0. It’s a huge victory for farmers and builders.


      • Marshall Newman May 26, 2023

        Big mistake by the Supreme Court, in my view.

    • jetfuel May 25, 2023


      I’ve pulled water to save families houses from that lake!
      There is no legit reason a fish ladder(if that’s what it’s all about) could not be built in that spot.
      The dam was positioned with geological guidance during its build. There is no increased seismic danger.
      The Eel river will run dry in long summer months without the dams.
      We have a functioning powerhouse for the next 80-100 years.
      Green Power!! Hello Green Power already there and working… water for fire fighting, lake for camping and swimming, lots of birds and wildlife enjoy it… only bullshit government money grabbers want it taken out.
      It probably identifies as an ocean for fishies to swim in.

  3. Chuck Artigues May 25, 2023

    How do you right a historical wrong. By apologizing and fixing the error. Tear out the dams on the Eel, rehabilitate the river as best as can be done and PG&E picks up the tab. THAT is the right thing to do.

    • Lazarus May 25, 2023

      Yep, apologize to the fish, and screw the people who depend on the water…
      While they’re at It, ban gas stoves, etc.
      Be well,

  4. Lazarus May 25, 2023

    The Ron DeSantis, Presidential campaign rollout looked more like it got organized by Donald Trump than Elon Musk…

    • Chuck Dunbar May 25, 2023

      Trolls, spies, heathens and thugs at work here. Reminds me of the recently noted Dylan song, “Everything is Broken”…

      • Lazarus May 25, 2023

        Name-calling, from you…really Chuck?
        Be well,

        • Chuck Dunbar May 25, 2023

          Just to be clearer, mostly said tongue in cheek. I’m sure there are no such scoundrels in Trump’s (or DeSantis’) troops…all upstanding folks….

    • Marshall Newman May 25, 2023

      Considering how DeSantis would like a return to the good old Jim Crow, Christian (or else), revisionist history days of the 1880s, I am surprised he used – or attempted to use – social media to announce his candidacy. I guess he couldn’t get any campaign cards printed.

  5. Jurgen Stoll May 25, 2023

    When you make a mistake and much later have a chance to reverse that mistake and set things right you can’t do it anymore because now it’s “infrastructure” and it’s silly to remove infrastructure because the population is growing and it has to keep growing on a planet that’s a fucking closed loop. We, of course, cannot control our population growth because that would be an infringement on our reproductive freedom and Skydaddy wants us to procreate as if our planet is not a closed loop. Maybe when Skydaddy came up with that bit of wisdom he didn’t realize the fucking planet is a closed loop, but lets keep doing what he said in his “good” book anyway. The people that depend on the water make money with it, pay the fuckers off and take down the fucking damns! Who gives a shit if there are a few less wineries anyway. From what I’ve seen of watershed to watershed diversions it’s never turned out well and leads to a lot of cheap (at first) water that is wasted to the detriment of the watershed it’s taken from.

    • peter boudoures May 25, 2023

      53,000 man made lakes in the USA and you want this one blown up? Fuck the people who make a living from
      That water right! Fuck the people who enjoy the lake and live around it! Fuck everyone? Except the fish
      While you’re at it give lake Mendo back to coyote valley. Keep dreaming.

      • Jurgen Stoll May 25, 2023

        Well so glad your created “water rights” let property owners enjoy the benefits of what cheap water created. The salmon fishing industry and native fishing and water rights don’t mean shit of course. The economic benefits of salmon from the Eel that had a greater salmon fishery than the Klamath mean nothing if you get to enjoy the lake and your lake front property, or your boutique winery. It’s all about the growth and wealth so once the ball starts rolling it can never stop until what? Until we make a conscious decision we’re not the only species on this planet that has a right to live and the current land owners are not the only ones that have lived here and have land rights. This fucked up boomer generation doesn’t have to take it all with them and leave nothing for coming generations. Think 7th generation.

    • Kirk Vodopals May 25, 2023

      Best comment ever

  6. Craig Stehr May 25, 2023

    Tina Turner – Sarvesham Svastir Bhavatu (Peace Mantra)

  7. Marmon May 25, 2023


    “Without 100% transparent and accurate elections, there will always be a fundamental doubt about whether elections actually embody the people’s will. When votes are tabulated by hidden algorithms inside black boxes, inaccessible to third-party verification, there will always be questions and doubts.”

    -Robert F. Kennedy Jr @RobertKennedyJr


    • Bruce Anderson May 25, 2023

      RFK Jr. A crank, but our crank.

  8. jetfuel May 25, 2023

    Ted Williams and his Sordid relationship with the Coastal tourism industry.

    Okay listen up kiddos, only saying this once.
    Bow tie is in deep with the smootchie few who are responsible for operating the legal scamarama known as VMC.

    VMC gets a cut of the money we pay as taxes to our fair County!

    They then pay a few folks, repeat-FEW-folks here on the coast as employees, board, etc.. to create content-read BS Job.- directing funds to (and this has to be in quotes) “writers, content providers, programers, printers, etc” vomit..
    That thier only recognizable effort is a third rate website that directs traffic to a few of the properties owned by VMC Board Members!
    Ask any punter in downtown Mendo if they’d discovered us after finding an un-nasent VMC website?
    600k a year could buy top placement on Google but these shiesters keep our money for themselves, paying big salaries for doing Nothing At All! Preach!

    This is a legacy scam. Always has been.
    Duh, they are wimpering for less than a third of the yearly buget they usually get(shout out to Dan Gjerde for being brave enough to play stomp the rat!)
    I remember when they sniveled up to the $150.000. point. Who are the VMC Board? Show us where our tax dollars are going!
    Lets see some honest accounting from Scott and his do nothing group of rich Inn owners… Bernie you know this is a scam, lets end it!
    VMC= >0

  9. Tim McClure May 26, 2023

    I particularly enjoyed the article about the life of Jerry Mander. I read his two books, Four Arguments and In Absence of the Sacred and had many a lively conversation with my techno-buddies regarding his assertions. Almost every aspect of his critique of the modern world and its teckno idolatry has come to pass. He was an important voice in a wilderness of gung-ho whiz bang.

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