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SCATTERED THUNDERSTORM development will be probable across Northwest California today and tonight, with additional storm activity becoming increasingly confined to interior locations during mid to late week. Otherwise, temperatures during the next seven days will be around normal. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A foggy 52F on the coast this Tuesday morning, with mid & high level clouds as well. We have a 20% chance of showers today & a 30% chance tomorrow. We might have periods of sun today, we'll see? Clearing skies later this week.
GROCERY OUTLET APPROVED
Mayor Norvell recused due to conflict. Vice Mayor Godeke presiding.
4 hour Public hearing.
The vote to certify the EIR document by Resolution:
Moved by Peters
Second by Rafanan
3-1 vote with Albin-Smith dissenting
The vote to approve the project:
Moved by Peters
LINDA LOU SHAFFER
Linda Lou Shaffer of Ukiah, CA passed away unexpectedly on April 16, 2023 due to health complications. Linda was born in Salem, Oregon, September 2, 1944 to Glen and Goldie (Cook) Shaffer. Growing up Linda moved with her parents to various locations throughout the Northwest and California where most of their time was spent in Anderson Valley, CA and Ukiah. Linda graduated from Ukiah High School in 1962 where she stayed friends with many Class Alumni and was active in helping plan many Class Reunions. She raised her children the first half of their childhood in Cupertino where she used her artistry to sew her own clothing designs for her family. Later she moved with her family to Philo, CA and became an active member of the Anderson Valley community. In her 40s she studied cosmetology at the Ukiah Beauty College and opened her own salon business in Ukiah. Later she joined Shag Hair Salon as an employee and retired in 2021. Linda was an active member of the Elks Lodge and Emblem Club of Ukiah for many decades giving back to her community and friends. Linda was a master sewist, creating beautiful art clothing and quilts. She also loved creating painted art on t-shirts and pottery with inspiration from her love of photography.
Linda was preceded in death by her parents Glen and Goldie of Ukiah, CA, and her sister Elizabeth "Betty" Elldrege of Victor, MT. She is survived by her two daughters Abigail (Javier) Vargas, Winters, CA, Belinda Wallace, Mokelumne Hill, CA; brother, Tom (Tori) Shaffer, Ukiah, CA; grandchildren, Raina Wallace, Houston, TX, Quentin Vargas, San Diego, CA, Nicholas Vargas, Winters, CA; nieces, Sally Pierce, Vacaville, CA, Susan Cosentino, Gasquet, CA, and Tami Myers, Ukiah, CA; boyfriend, Hal Merriott, whom she loved dearly.
A Celebration of Life will be held June 11, 2023, 1 p.m. at the Elks Lodge in Ukiah, CA.
FIX THE SYSTEM; DON’T DESTABILIZE IT
TO: Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
FROM: Louise Simson, Superintendent, Anderson Valley Unified School District
RE: Teeter Plan Board Discussion
I am extremely concerned to hear that the Board of Supervisors is even considering changing the current Teeter Plan obligation, and submit this letter of opposition to that proposal.
Mendocino County has internal issues related to tax collection that need to be addressed. Destabilizing school districts, fire departments, and other agencies that rely on accurate, stable, and timely tax accounting is not the solution. Fixing the procedures within the County is the appropriate solution.
I urge the Board to look at how to structurally support tax collection within the County. Aggressively correcting revenue collection would solve many of this County’s budget issues. I can personally attest as a new resident to the County within the last two years, my tax collection for my home in Ukiah has not been accurate, and I have received an annual refund on impounds from my mortgage company due to incorrect assessments.
Please correct the internal issues in the County offices, without destabilizing other public agencies This is a very short sighted solution and doesn’t address the structural deficits facing the County.
I am not placing blame in any department, but we need to correct the issues at hand instead of creating additional chaos by not correcting an internal collection problem.
Louise Simson, Superintendent
Anderson Valley Unified School District
COMMUNITY MONKEYPOX ADVISORY
Last year we saw a multinational MPX (Monkeypox) Emergency that gradually came under control with community education, treatments, and vaccinations. The virus remains in circulation while numbers have decreased, and the emergency has ended. CDC has reported a new cluster of cases in the Chicago area at the end of April involving 12 confirmed cases, 9 of whom had been vaccinated with Jynneos. The medical community has been notified. I am sending this out so that those who need to finish their vaccine course (2 doses, total for the series), and so those at risk, are aware and can take precautions.
MPX is usually a self-limited, mild rash consisting of vesicles, pustules, or pimples in the mouth or on or in the genitals. These can appear without symptoms, mild symptoms (burning or itching), or swelling or pain with or without fever, nausea, or vomiting. Complications can include scarring including blindness, and very rarely death. MPX is spread by close, skin-to-skin contact (usually with sex) and occasionally from shared or handled clothing or bedding.
If you know you are or may become at risk, please consider the following to reduce your risk:
• Avoid close contact with people who have a rash that looks like MPX.
• Wash well with soap and water after you do come in contact with an infected person.
• If you have the rash see a provider for diagnosis and advice.
• If you have had only one of the Jynneos vaccines, please get your second for maximum
Vaccine appointments are available at Mendocino County Public Health through Myturn.gov. Rite-Aid in Ukiah, located at 680 S. State St., offers vaccinations to people at high risk. Call (707) 462-6850.
Federally Qualified Medical Centers (FQMC) and rural clinics may have the vaccine available, but you must call first. If you have any questions about whether or not you should get the vaccine, please contact your healthcare provider.
ADAM GASKA: In response to what happens with the diversion of the Potter Valley Project when PG&E abandons the project. That depends.
If an agency takes it over, then they maintain it and run it. That’s the focus of the Russian River Water Forum. The Mendocino caucus met on Friday to make sure our delegates are all on the same page. On Tuesday the Mendocino and Sonoma caucus are meeting to make sure the Russian River interests are all on the same page before the next planning group meeting of all delegates on June 12.
We don’t have a lot of time to figure this out if we hope to maintain all or even part of the PVP. It may require a vote to form a new special district to create the new agency. March and November 2024 are the next scheduled elections.
If PG&E goes forward with decommissioning, I imagine it will be rendered inoperable during that process. I’m not sure how they would seal it up.
MENDOCINO SPRING POETRY CELEBRATION 2023
The 18th consecutive revival of the Mendocino Spring Poetry Celebration takes place live at the Hill House in Mendocino on Sunday June 11. Gather at Noon, read at 1:00. break for town and coast. Re-gather at 5:00, read again at 6:00. Prepare up to four minutes for each session. Poems will later be broadcast by Dan Roberts on KZYX. This event draws poets from the several county creative centers and beyond. Yes, bring a friend!
For info: email@example.com
I’M ON a mysterious list of publications I’ve never heard of until they appear in my mail. The other day I got this big slick color job called “Men’s Journal” on whose cover is a guy completely dweebed out in lycra and a couple of thousand bucks in bike accouterments aside from the bike itself. The cover says, “Special Report — Dream Towns. The 20 wildest, tastiest, smartest mountain and beach communities in America,” adding the irrelevant and untrue kicker, “Where the skies are not cloudy all day.”
GUESS which unknown towns we’re talking about? Ashland, Oregon; San Fucking Clemente (a place where as a young marine I passed some of the most desolate days and nights of my life but subsequently upgraded via Nixon and cappuccinos); Taos; Santa Cruz, and a couple of places in Idaho retired cops haven’t discovered yet. Nobody’s ever heard of any these places? The mag’s ad base is all upscale stuff for our nation’s huge population of manboys — thousand dollar roller skates, bush pilot jackets (‘The babes will love you in these!’), bike goggles for those downhill slaloms on the five thousand dollar bicycles, and even “super shaper briefs to give you eye-catching buttocks INSTANTLY!”
ANYHOW, the Men’s Journal’s list of groovy spots naturally includes Mendocino about which it says the price of a three-bedroom house is well north of a mil-plus, and that the town “ranks first nationally in artists per capita.”
HEADING clear over the top, the description of a purely mythical Mendocino continues: “Set in the scenic redwood country just two and a half hours north of San Francisco, this village looks like an Impressionist painting (exactly what it doesn’t look like) when it’s draped in the fog that rolls in on summer nights. The description is apt, since Mendocino is a seriously arts-oriented colony. Unpretentious and famous for its ‘60s mannerisms, it is the sort of place where flannel shirts and jeans constitute a formal dress code.”
ETC and wrong on all counts. Except for my old friend Tiger Lily, Mendocino is an overwhelmed little place long ago ruined by human wave tourist attacks. The last hippie was priced out years ago by people who've built dentist complex-like, over-large houses on the allegedly protected ocean bluffs. The Coast’s real artists like Eleanor Cooney and Virginia Sharkey hang on, but most of the destroyed town's artists long ago moved to Fort Bragg and even Laytonville, lamenting as they went the destruction wrought by the invaders.
LOTS of people way far away, delude themselves that the Coastal Commission is keeping monster houses off the Coast bluffs and are maintaining public access to the Pacific. In fact, access is slowly being choked off and dentist complexes are rising everywhere, blotting out the blue of the water and blocking ancient trails the public once walked to the sea. On one of the formerly open spaces at Caspar, and right on top of an old public trail, a pair of Santa Barbara doctors, Megan and Mike Merrin, built a 4,080 square foot home directly overlooking the Pacific.
WHAT HAPPENED TO ED AND MARCIE DAVIES, legendary Mendo chronophages whose audio-stalking of local talks shows finally got them banned from Mendo’s airwaves years ago, and who have been unheard from since. Ed, in the description of an acquaintance, “was togged out like a newly-arrived Russian who’d just read a book on how to fit in in rural America but got it completely wrong.” He was partial to uniquely antiquated outdoors duds, presenting the overall fashion statement of a duck hunter at a cocktail party. Ed and Marcie believed there was a global conspiracy to poison Americans, which isn’t necessarily an incorrect analysis except for the fact that there’s nothing secret about it. But for years they’d been a ubiquitous and unfailingly paranoid audio presence on KZYX, finally annoying even that elastically nut-tolerant venue. Why would you believe that Ed and Marcie even went so far as to accuse the editor of this fine publication of being funded by the North Koreans, one of the more obscure accusations hurled at me over the years.
DEMOCRAT GET TOGETHER:
At the monthly Grass-Roots Institute meeting on Wednesday, June 7 at 7 pm, Supervisor Dan Gjerde will discuss the County’s current budget in a period of rising costs and diminished revenues, and then respond to questions from participants on zoom.
He will also talk about his work with Sonoma Clean Power and progress made implementing the Board of Supervisors’ goal of eliminating carbon emissions from County operations, a goal set in partnership with the GrassRoots Institute and its support for the Board of Supervisor’s “2021 Carbon Free Mendocino Resolution.” Following Supervisor Gjerde’s presentation and Q&A, the Institute will discuss its new social media outreach efforts and the activities of GRI’s workgroups.
Supervisor Gjerde is the longest serving county supervisor currently on the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, and in January of this year publicly announced he would not seek a fourth term in the March 5, 2024 election. He’s uniquely qualified to talk about the many challenges, past and present, confronting Mendocino County.
Everyone is invited to attend this meeting on Zoom. Use passcode “gri.”
MIKE GENIELLA: Tommy Wayne Kramer just doesn’t get it. He continues his smug, arrogant attacks on the native landscaping at the Grace Hudson Museum although I suspect he has not walked through the maturing space since he was given a personal tour a few years back. The Wild Gardens, envisioned by former museum director Sherrie Smith-Ferrie with input from local tribal representatives, focus on the environmental legacies of the native Pomo people. We could all learn from the traditional native plant practices the museum embraced, with the help of a generous state grant. Ukiah landscape designer Andrea Davis and a team of volunteers are doing a beautiful job of nurturing the continuing emergence of the Wild Gardens. Take a walk through the Wild Gardens at the Hudson. Don’t miss the Evert Person Courtyard, where native landscaping and stone benches provide a serene retreat from the outside world.
* * *
TOMMY WAYNE KRAMER: Geniella is right: I just don’t get it. I don’t get why the museum would bulldoze a lovely, open, friendly landscape that served Ukiah citizens for many decades and throw up a big ugly brick wall. I don’t get planting weeds, “indigenous” though they may be; visitors will recognize the dreary collection as plain old noxious non-garden variety weeds, regardless of pedigree.
So instead of folks on lunch breaks having a sandwich at museum picnic tables or laying on lush lawns beneath big trees, they now pay admission, stand in line and shuffle along paths bordered by thistles, nettles and foxtails. Indigenous ones, of course.
Yeah, I just don’t get it.
Oh wait: “…a generous state grant.” Now I get it.
‘AN EVIL AND HORRIBLE PLACE’: The Baffling Death of a Drifter From Texas Who Sought Solace in the Emerald Triangle
Only a few months before he was found dead along Highway 101 in a remote area of Mendocino County, Tad Bradley left a message on his father’s phone, “Hey, Dad, if you’re hearing this, I probably died. Don’t ever come out to Northern California, the Pacific Northwest. It is an evil and horrible place.”…
CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, June 5, 2023
JOSE BARRIGA-BARRERA, Ukiah. Felon-addict with firearm, ammo possession by prohibited person, county parole violation.
ANTHONY BILLY, Hopland. DUI with priors.
ANTONIO CARDENAS, Ukiah. Failure to appear.
MINDY PRATT, Ukiah. Cruelty to child-infliction of injury, probation revocation.
MATIAS REYES-CHAVEZ, Los Angeles/Willits. Forgery, false ID.
BENJAIM SCHNYDER, Branscomb. Controlled substance, hit&run resulting in injury.
GERALD SIMPSON, Willits. County parole violation. (Frequent flyer.)
BRANDON WAGNER, Boonville. Probation revocation.
DENISE WHITAKER, Willits. DUI, assault on peace officer, resisting.
MORGAN WRIGHT, Ferndale/Ukiah. Organic drug sale.
MORE SENIOR ISSUES: SLEEP UPDATE
by Paul Modic
In my quest for more/better sleep I am not eating three hours before bed, not drinking two hours before, and no screen time an hour before retiring to bed with book. I’ve removed all electronics from the bedroom, including phone, computer, wifi, and TV, and have a set bedtime for the first time in my adult life. I stopped drinking wine six months ago and have never lived by so many, self-imposed, rules, although the best thing for good sleep seems to be getting physical activity: working, walking, or anything else which makes you tired. (There are health benefits to getting a good night’s sleep and you can look them up.)
Anxiety can also make it difficult to fall asleep if I have an issue I’m obsessing about, and the other night as I went to bed I started outlining a disturbing story, realized that was a mistake, and stopped the thought process before it took over. Walking in the park is also a good way to process conflicts, often other peoples’ bullshit, and of course it takes two to tango, ie, just obsessing about it, wasting my time and energy, makes it my BS also. (For example I have this friend who’s King of the White Lies and when I call him on it he gives me an annoyed look like I’m the problem. I thought way too much about this in the park the other day!)
This list of issues, about which we might have anxieties, can also affect other age groups, not just older people: sleep, food, diet, weight, anxiety, sex, mobility, aging, clutter, physical health, medications, memory, dementia, loneliness, money, addiction, relationships, children, grandchildren, environment worries (climate change), politics, home maintenance, mental health, depression, and fear. (Did I leave anything out?)
I’m tracking the amount of sleep I get, computing the weekly averages, and all this seems to be working as I’m now sleeping between seven and eight hours a night on average, although each night is an adventure and about once a week I’m awake for three to four hours lying in bed thinking and mostly reading. (I take Nature’s Sleeping Pill about twice a week, in the form of smoking marijuana as an aphrodisiac, and it often produces eight hours of sleep, which helps keep the average over seven.) You might call this record-keeping OCD, but don’t, maybe I’m just into statistics?
I hadn’t realized how pervasive sleep disorders were and am interested in the ways others deal with this issue, including any drugs or herbs taken, lifestyle changes made, and what else seems to work. (I have a friend who takes melatonin and also opens up camomile teabags which he mixes with yogurt and eats before bed. He has also been waking up at 3am then hiking on the road by his rural home for a couple hours.)
On the way home from the park the other day I finally met a fellow senior without sleep issues. He said he feels bad if he doesn’t accomplish something and is very active daily which again points to exercise as one of the best ways to neutralize insomnia.
I finally got back outside, after all the bad weather and a sore knee, logged my first hour walking in the park in two weeks, and slept straight through for the first time in weeks.
(Here are some random tips from a recent article about sleep in the New York Times:
“Instead of having an afternoon coffee stick your head in the freezer, that brief shock of cold activates your arousal system.”
“Block out ten or fifteen minutes a day and write down what you’re anxious about, without searching for a solution. Your anxieties may still seep in in the middle of the night but you can remind yourself you have a dedicated time to address them the next day.”)
15 REASONS WHY MASS MEDIA EMPLOYEES ACT LIKE PROPAGANDISTS
by Caitlin Johnstone
If you watch western news media with a critical eye you eventually notice how their reporting consistently aligns with the interests of the US-centralized empire, in almost the same way you’d expect them to if they were government-run propaganda outlets.
The New York Times has reliably supported every war the US has waged. Western mass media focus overwhelmingly on foreign protests against governments the United States dislikes while paying far less attention to widespread protests against US-aligned governments. The only time Trump was universally showered with praise by the mass media was when he bombed Syria, while the only time Biden has been universally slammed by the mass media was when he withdrew from Afghanistan. US media did such a good job deceitfully marrying Saddam Hussein to the September 11 attacks in the minds of the public in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq that seven in ten Americans still believed he was connected to 9/11 months after the war began.
That this extreme bias occurs is self-evident and indisputable to anyone who pays attention, but whyand how it happens is harder to see. The uniformity is so complete and so consistent that when people first begin noticing these patterns it’s common for them to assume the media must be controlled by a small, centralized authority much like the state media of more openly authoritarian governments. But if you actually dig into the reasons why the media act the way they act, that isn’t really what you find.
Instead, what you find is a much larger, much less centralized network of factors which tips the scales of media coverage to the advantage of the US empire and the forces which benefit from it. Some of it is indeed conspiratorial in nature and happens in secret, but most of it is essentially out in the open.
Here are 15 of those factors…
ERIC “BUTTERBEAN” ESCH was a good fighter by the standards of club fighters, but he was no threat to a legitimate heavyweight contender.
His boxing skills weren’t good enough and his conditioning was atrocious.
Butterbean turned pro after winning some Toughman contests; he got his nickname because he went on a diet of butterbeans so he could make the maximum weight limit for Toughman. As a pro, the plan was that he would fight six-round bouts, but that proved to be difficult for him, so he was for the most part limited to four-rounders for most of his career. He started out 15–0 before losing to a bum named Mitchell Rose, where it was reported that Butterbean’s handlers realized their man wasn’t ready to fight and tried to pay Rose to take a dive. Instead, Rose knocked the Bean out. But he went 48–0–2 in his next 50 fights before losing again.
He fought well past his “prime,” and started losing more often after that, finally quitting months before his 47th birthday with a record of 77–10–3. He went 14–9–1 in his last 24 fights, one of which was a 10-rounder against Larry Holmes in Holmes’ final fight. Holmes had slammed Butterbean in his autobiography and the Bean challenged him to a fight. Holmes beat him, but also said he respected anyone who was willing to get into a ring with him.
The best fighter Butterbean ever beat was probably Peter McNeeley (47–7), the guy who lost to Mike Tyson in Tyson’s return from prison. Even that wasn’t very impressive, because McNeeley’s management had put him in against Butterbean when McNeeley was just out of rehab and not in proper shape to fight anyone. Thankfully for McNeeley, the ref realized this and stopped it at the first sign of trouble.
It wasn’t so much that Butterbean picked opponents who couldn’t fight as he simply fought other club-level fighters. He knew what level he was on and accepted that. He had real power, and 58 of his 77 wins were by KO. But he was slow and it would have been child’s play for a good boxer to duck everything he threw. The Bean was a novelty, plain and simple, and he made boxing relatable. People watched him fight and could think “if he can do that, I could too.”
LIFE'S A CRAP SHOOT, an on-line comment: Who is responsible for any death? Death by some other’s hand? Do the police protect you from death? They only show up after the incident. Suicide by one’s own hand? Death on the battlefield? Survival guilt? Your Gov’t? Accidental death? Wrong place, wrong time? Do your parents protect you from death? Not when you are out of their sight and tapping on your cellphone while walking home. Does your vehicle protect you when you are hit by another vehicle. How large and fast were you and the other vehicle traveling? Can a medical doctor protect you 100% of the time in an OR? 99% of the time maybe, but never one 100% percent all of the time. Do you go out and get hammered and slam into a tree or a bridge abutment or run off the road or drive too fast and hit an unsuspecting driver and cause your death and their death? That would stop you from drinking and driving! Or riding your bike on Broadway at night wearing dark clothing. Or surfing on the ocean amongst deep water or critters who like to eat you. It’s all a crap shoot. You roll the dice and hope snake eyes don’t show up. A person’s tries yet nothing but no action is completely safe. We do the best we can. A guy walking along the highway in a dress or knifed at a party ends up dead. Finding the person responsible does NOT bring the person back to life. Nor does retribution or a long sentence in prison deter death. If that were the case all of Congress and the President, Conservative Republicans and Liberal Democrats, weapons corporations, Governor’s, General’s and any person has the authority to order you into harm’s way should all be put in prisons. And then you die anyway!!
LADIES AND GERMS, MS. SOPHIA LOREN!
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Something will stop the tidal wave of depravity. Maybe it’s called “grinding economic calamity” – or Great Depression 2.0. The sort of calamity that reduces everyone’s living standards down to serious poverty. The sort of calamity that would happen sometimes to ancient Israel in the Old Testament. God gets angry and events take place like Babylon invading, kicking asses, and hauling everyone off into captivity in another land. These events tend to sober everyone up.
UKRAINE, MONDAY, 5 JUNE
Ukraine successfully launched offensives in several directions, including the eastern city of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region, a senior official said Monday. Russia said it repelled a large-scale attack to the south of Donetsk.
An “emergency address” supposedly made by President Vladimir Putin that aired on some Russian radio stations was the result of a “hack,” the Kremlin said.
Ukraine has cultivated a network of agents inside Russia working to carry out acts of sabotage and has been providing them with drones to stage attacks, multiple sources familiar with US intelligence on the matter told CNN.
The top US general told CNN that while Ukraine is “very well prepared” for a counteroffensive, it is “too early to tell what outcomes are going to happen.”
by James Kunstler
“In this singular quest to win the Heartland the West has bankrupted itself — economically, morally, and most importantly, spiritually. This has led to a political crisis gnawing at the center of western society.” — Tom Luongo, the Gold, Goats, and Guns blog
What’s next? You must be wondering because the psychopathic regime running our national affairs seems to be fresh out of trips to lay on us. One thing for sure, as the sweet zephyrs of springtime merge into the punishing infernos of summer, is that the collapse of the USA continues apace. You can debate whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, but above all it is the thing.
Have you forgotten our Ukraine project? (Let’s you and him fight.) The idea was to bleed Russia dry because, you know… Russia! (They meddle in our elections… they collude with Trump… they tamper with our hopes and dreams….) It was years in the making, impeccably gamed-out in the State Department’s sub-basement. Secret Agent Man Hunter Biden, the then vice-president’s son, was even installed in the dark heart of Ukraine’s power center to… to do what, exactly? Never mind, because what secret agent men do is… secret!
The Ukraine bear trap was supposed to put Russia out-of-business for the foreseeable future. Didn’t work out. The crowning act of boobery was our demolition of the Nord Stream natgas pipelines, which had the predictable effect of putting our NATO allies out-of-business, while Russia turned around and found other customers for its gas. The sound of teeth gnashing down in Foggy Bottom might have kept “Joe Biden” up at night — except he was a hundred miles away on the beach in Delaware, medicated unto dreamland where it’s always 1964 and you’re tooling among the saguaros in your beloved Corvette, getting your kicks on Route 66.
So, let’s face it: Ukraine flopped. The main result of the Ukraine project is that it destroyed the tiny shred of what was left of America’s reputation for acting the global hegemon. In fact, Ukraine revealed that Russia has better weapons than we have (China, too) and that, given the emergence of hypersonic missiles, our gazillion-dollar aircraft carrier fleets are as obsolete as Roman triremes and liburnae. So, what’s our Plan B for defending Taiwan? (Hint: there is none.)
What’s next? Western Europe, facing its own collapse, will turn on America and refuse to continue pretending it can help out in Ukraine. NATO falls apart. (What to do with those vacant office buildings and idle employees?) Europe will have enough problems with its cratering industries and banking system. It may even be obvious to a few heads-of-state that the best outcome is to simply allow Russia to pacify and demilitarize the age-old borderland. After all, for the rolling decades since World War Two, Ukraine was not a problem for anyone until America made it one.
There will be no face-saving for the “Joe Biden” regime, either, which is reaching its own collapse phase. Last week’s face-plant at the Air Force Academy was the harbinger of things-to-come. On Monday, FBI officials must walk over to the House Oversight Committee an internal FD-1023 document revealed by a whistleblower to contain allegations of a Biden family $5-million bribery scheme with foreign actors. Of course, the substance of this criminal mischief is not news. What’s news is that the allegations contained in the doc come from a “trusted” confidential human source, meaning that, according to the FBI’s own rules, the allegation should have been dealt with expeditiously. Instead, the Bureau sat on it for three years. The FD-1023 doc is dated 2020, months before that year’s presidential election. The source is also alleged to be from Ukraine.
Will committee members be allowed to photo-copy the doc, or transcribe what’s in it? Wouldn’t it be amusing if Committee Chairman James Comer personally walks it over to the Xerox machine? What would the FBI officials do? Body check him? What if it turns out that the doc is full of redactions — blacked out. Like a big, fat practical joke from FBI Director Christopher Wray. (They’ve done it before.) Remember, Mr. Wray is already under threat of a contempt citation for stalling on this matter. But he’s obviously caught between that old rock and a hard place, since the doc appears to prove that, at least, the FBI has obstructed justice, and of the worst sort, a potential case of presidential treason. Mr. Wray may even be colored as an accomplice in it.
Or maybe it will all amount to nothing because all bad deeds go unpunished in the degenerate era that precedes collapse. Even so, it seems the regime is running out of insults to launch against the people who consent to be governed by it. The national transexual struggle-session draws to a close with SecDef Lloyd Austin canceling the upcoming drag shows on our military bases. What else have they got? Slavery reparations? Rep Cori Bush (D-MO) has introduced a bill to pay $14-Trillion to the descendants of slaves. I’m sure that’ll work, both as a unifying action to bring together the quarrelsome diverse peoples of our land, and as a purely fiscal measure.
The fate of the financial system will probably shove all of that aside, anyway. Everybody with more than half a brain is waiting for it to crack up, meaning a generalized vanishing of American wealth as expressed in cratering markets, failing banks, and a broken currency, in some vicious combo. Nothing else, it seems, can quite get the people’s attention.
In April, 2023, Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) Kathie Breault was indicted in the Eastern States District Federal Court for “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States” for giving vaccination cards to people who did not receive Covid-19 vaccinations. Her defense is that the vaccinations were ineffective and harmful, and to administer them would violate the Hippocratic oath of health professionals. (First do no harm.) Her legal battle against a dishonest and vindictive federal government will require lawyer’s fees that exceed her ability to pay — a reminder that “the process is the punishment.”
Kathie has also been accused of “professional misconduct” by the New York State Licensing Board for prescribing Ivermectin via telehealth visits in July 2021. Many other medical practitioners across the United States have been similarly persecuted and some have lost their licenses to practice. Kathie has been under investigation by New York’s Office of Professional Discipline since March 2022. No decision has been reached as of May 2023.
DR. CORNEL WEST ANNOUNCES HE IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT
Dr. Cornel West, in his first interview since deciding to enter the U.S. presidential race, explains why he is a candidate
by Chris Hedges
Dr. Cornel West, the moral philosopher and civil rights activist, will formally announce today he is running for president on the People’s Party ticket. Cornel will be a singular voice for serious social and political change in an electoral system saturated with corporate money and rigged to crush third parties. His decades-long commitment to the oppressed, his fierce opposition to American militarism and empire, his condemnation of the grotesque avarice of the billionaire class, and his determination to halt the ongoing ecocide, will see him contemptuously dismissed by the establishment. For all of these reasons we must support him.
“We’re at such a low point in the American empire,” Cornel said when we spoke about his decision. “Its spiritual decay and its immoral decadence are so profound that we have to begin on the foundational level of a spiritual awakening and a moral reckoning. Organized greed. Institutionalized hatred. Routinized indifference to the lives of poor and working people of all colors. We’ve got to get beyond an analysis of the predatory capitalist processes that have saturated every nook and cranny of the culture. We’ve got to get beyond the ways in which the political system has been colonized by corporate wealth and by monied elite. We’ve got to get beyond that sense of impotence of the citizenry. These are all the signs of an empire in decline. The only thing that we have to add is military overreach, and we see that as well.”
If this campaign becomes a movement, and it will need a lot of organizing to get Cornel on the ballot and build grassroots support, the array of forces that will seek to discredit and sabotage his candidacy will be formidable. The Israel lobby, the war industry, the courtiers in the media, the corporatists, the billionaire class and the Democratic Party leadership, will be as vicious to Cornel as these forces in Britain were to Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. Entrenched power will fight us with every tool in its arsenal. And, as with Corbyn, these assaults — rooted in a mendacious campaign of character assassination — will be relentless.
Cornel said he seeks “a paradigm shift,” a realignment of “the ideological landscape.” He calls on us to redirect the focus of governing institutions from the demands of markets and corporations, the military machine, empire and the ruling oligarchs, to poor and working people.
“What we need is a recognition that the corporate duopoly, both parties, constitute major obstacles and impediments for the kind of spiritual awakening and moral reckoning that focuses on poor and working people,” Cornel said.
He is calling, in short, for a political revolution and the overthrow of the ruling corporate class.
“Trump is mendacious,” he said. “Everybody knows that he’s a criminal. Everybody knows that he’s a gangster. Yet at the same time, the best that the Democratic Party can put forward is mendacity and hypocrisy. The Democratic Party has an arrogance against working and poor people of all colors. We’re a laughing stock. Is Trump versus Biden the best the country can do?”
He sees the two ruling parties as “parasitical,” playing off each other in a tawdry burlesque act designed to perpetuate corporate dominance. It’s impossible, he points out, in the two party system to vote against the interests of the big banks, the fossil fuel industry, the Israel lobby, the drug and insurance companies, the animal agriculture industry and the arms merchants. The weapons manufacturers, who consume nearly half of the Pentagon budget, look at permanent war, whether in the Middle East, Ukraine or with China, as a business opportunity. These structural evils are sacrosanct. And these are the evils which, if left unchecked, will ultimately kill us.
“It’s not a narrow choice, it’s a preposterous choice,” he said.
“There is a difference in neofascist catastrophe and neoliberal disaster,” he said. “Catastrophes are worse than disasters. Disasters have less scope and range regarding certain kinds of issues. I never want to downplay the least vulnerable in our society — our gay brothers, lesbian sisters, trans, Black poor, brown poor, Indigenous poor. They are more viciously attacked by the neofascists than the neoliberals. But the neoliberals capitulate to the attack. I would never say they’re identical, but I would say poor and working people are still getting crushed over and over again.”
“If we can’t bring together the best of the trade union movement, if we can’t bring the best of the Black freedom movement, the Indigenous people’s movement, the women’s movement, the gay-lesbian movement, the queer movement as a whole, than we’re going under,” he added.
“And then what’s at stake is, as you know, the utter destruction of the planet, destruction of the species, destruction of American democracy and for me, coming out of the Black prophetic tradition, the destruction of the Black prophetic tradition.”
He sees the rampant militarism, not only abroad but in our internal systems of control, as the enemy within. This militarism must be dismantled if the paradigm shift he seeks is to occur.
“Progressives in the Democratic Party think they can get away with rendering invisible their consensus to extravagant militarism,” he said. “But it goes hand-in-hand with the U.S. imperial policy. It goes hand-in-hand with expansion of NATO. It goes hand-in-hand to lead us in the proxy war with Russia. It goes hand-in-hand with taking money out of programs that have to do with education and healthcare and jobs with a living wage and housing, basic social needs of, not just people in this country, in the empire, but around the world.”
“How many precious Iraqis were killed by the U.S. war machine?” he asked. “Each life is precious. Iraqi lives have the same value as a life anywhere else in the world. How many lives were killed in Afghanistan? And Libya? We can look at all of the different examples. Then you’ve got examples in Haiti, you’ve got examples in Panama, you’ve got examples in Grenada and so forth in the last forty or fifty years. And we’re not even talking about the co-ordinated activities of overthrowing democratic regimes in Iran and in other places. These are the kinds of issues we’re going to have to hit head on my brother, the same is true in terms of the Middle East. The monies we give to Egypt, the monies we give to Israel. How can we render invisible the suffering of our precious Palestinian brothers and sisters given the U.S. complicity and endorsement of these vicious apartheid-like conditions? There’s no way that the Democratic Party can get away with this anymore.”
“We had the same problem of the Democratic Party deferring to the apartheid regime in South Africa,” he went on. “What did we have to do? We came out with boycotts and sanctions. We came out with divestments. Well, the same is true now in apartheid-like conditions in the West Bank and Gaza. We can do that without in any way falling prey to one of the more vicious ideologies of the last two thousand years, which is the hatred of Jews. We don’t have a minute to engage in any kind of anti-Jewish hatred or anti-Jewish sentiment, but at the same time we don’t have a minute to turn our backs to the suffering of Palestinians tied to U.S. foreign policy that always looks away from their suffering, looks away from their social misery, looks away from the murders taking place, looks away from the houses that are crushed, looks away from the land that is taken, and so forth. Those are the kinds of issues that we have to bring to the public with whatever integrity, honesty and decency that we have and that’s pretty much what the tradition that produced me is all about, from Frederick Douglass to Ella Baker.”
His goal is “the abolition of poverty.”
“We have liberal versions of slavery,” he said. “We have liberal versions of Jim and Jane Crow. We have liberal versions of attacking poverty. No, we want the elimination of poverty, the elimination of homelessness, the elimination of laws that try to crush labor and trade unions. We want affirming jobs with a living wage. We want affirming access of poor people and working people to housing equality.”
He quoted the sociologist Max Weber: “What is possible would never have been achieved if, in this world, people had not repeatedly reached for the impossible.”
“We have to arm ourselves with that staunchness of heart that refuses to be daunted by the collapse of hope,” he said. “That’s the Harriet Tubmans, the Frederick Douglass’, the Sojourner Truths and Lydia Maria Childs. There were different colors who were part of the abolitionist movement. They were trying to achieve the impossible! You can say the same thing about the labor movement of the thirties. You can say the same thing about the Black freedom struggle against American apartheid in the south in 1955 beginning with Rosa Parks. Trying to achieve the impossible! You can only achieve the possible by trying to achieve the impossible. And of course, as Nelson Mandela said, ‘And then when you achieve the impossible, everyone said Oh well that was inevitable.”’
“We’ve got to break the fear inside of us!” he said. “The first fear goes back to Frederick Douglass in that famous struggle he had with Edward Covey, his master. The first fear was the fear of dying. Once you break the back of the fear of dying you’re a free person, you’re a free human being. Frederick Douglass said, ‘Well when I broke that fear I felt for the first time that I was already free, even though I was still a slave.’ And we know that Queen Mother Moore said the same thing. There’s a whole weight of freedom fighters who have acknowledged this kind of thing. You can see it in the works of the great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. You can see it in Grace Boggs. You can see it in Edward Said. You can see it in Dorothy Day. I mean, these are the figures, and my God, we haven’t got to it, the towering figures amongst Indigenous peoples, Chief Joseph, the towering figures among our Latin American brothers and sisters, José Martí, and others.”
“How do you break that fear?” he asked. “You have to have a movement, a campaign that speaks to the fear amongst poor and working people and breaks the back of fear inside of them to get them to want to straighten their backs up and do things that are outside of the box. Outside of the prevailing framework. Outside of what they have been perceiving themselves as being a part of.”
He said he will take his campaign south and into rural enclaves to address the disenfranchised white workers who support Trump.
“We must go to Trump’s social base,” he said. “We must tell those white brothers and sisters, ‘We know you’re still suffering. We know you’ve been the losers of corporate globalization. We’re going to speak to your needs in such a way that you don’t have to follow a neofascist pied piper.’ We on the left are concerned about working people even when they themselves are xenophobic. We can steal some of the thunder from the neofascists. We’re not in any way putting up with the xenophobia. No way! Not one minute! The anti-Black, anti-immigrant, anti-Jewish, anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim — I have no patience with that whatsoever! But I’ll go straight into Trump country and tell all those white working brothers and sisters that I am deeply concerned about their wounds and their inability to gain access to the resources that they ought to have as citizens. We cannot defeat fascism with glib milquetoast neoliberalism. We’ve got to get at the roots of it.”
“We’re trying to achieve the impossible,” he said. “By trying to achieve the impossible we’re going to do something that people think is not possible. The first thing is to break the back of the two-party system, to break the back of corporate duopoly. If we don’t, everything is at stake — democracy, dignity, the planet.”
I have known Cornel for many years. We drove together, leaving at 3:00 am from our homes in Princeton, New Jersey, to attend the trial at Fort Meade of U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. I was in the visitors room at the prison in Frackville, Pennsylvania, as Cornel gripped the shoulders of the political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and told him “You have Frederick Douglass in you, brother!” Tears streamed down Mumia’s face. Cornel and I held a People’s Hearing of Goldman Sachs in Zuccotti Park during the Occupy movement where those who were evicted and bankrupted by big banks testified against the heartlessness and greed of corporate capitalism. We have spoken together at rallies in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the Israeli-apartheid state. We walked three miles on a sweltering July day in Philadelphia with thousands of homeless people to the Wells Fargo Center during the 2016 Democratic National Convention, because housing is a human right.
I was with Cornel when Bernie Sanders delegates, disgusted by the machinations of the Democratic National Committee against their candidate and his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, walked out of the convention. Cornel turned to me and said presciently, “Bernie lost his political moment.”
We have taught classes together in East Jersey State Prison. We have spoken on stages at universities where Cornel has demanded reparations for Black people and called for a guaranteed income for all citizens. I have heard him denounce the prison industrial complex as “a crime against humanity.” I have listened to him call for universal health care, canceling student debt, free university education, freedom for Julian Assange and heard him thunder against those who deny women access to abortion.
Cornel officiated, along with the theologian Dr. James Cone, at my ordination as a Presbyterian minister. We spoke, and wept, at James’ funeral in 2018 at Riverside Church. James wrote that we must stand, no matter the cost, with the crucified of the earth.
Cornel, like the Biblical prophets, is driven by an unshakeable belief that our brief sojourn on the planet is validated by what we do for those the world has cast aside. His is not only a political campaign, but a calling.