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Mendocino County Today: Sunday, August 20, 2023

Shower Chance | Dos Rios | School Pouchers | Board Vacancy | Dog Contest | 5-Minute Delays | AV Events | Outbuildings | Teen Curfew | Chiggen Rides | Pet Pair | Bravo Scaramella | Open Studio | Revival Ranch | Graveyard Creek | Lahaina Relief | Fairbound | Yesterday's Catch | VP Newsom | Albion 72 | DMV Saga | Mustard Hearing | Harm Reduction | Mickey Run | Boehner Memoir | Hurricane Meeting | As Usual | Leave Fast | Tipping | Poetry | Marco Radio | Grandpa | Niner Highlights | TE & QB | OneTaste Case | Bananaman | Mobster Wannabes | Penal Grab | Ukraine | Selfies | Casualty Averse | Hup

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INTERIOR TEMPERATURES will remain slightly above normal through the weekend, then cool below normal early next week. The threat of thunderstorms across mostly the interior will persist today through Monday with some lingering activity Tuesday afternoon over the interior mountains. (NWS)

STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): On the coast this Sunday morning I have a foggy 56F. Another hazy day as smoke from fires in Oregon make their way down the coast. Of course Hilary is our focus as she approaches So Cal. We have a 30% chance of rain tonight, a 50% chance of rain on Monday, & a 20% chance for Tuesday. It's looking partly cloudy to mostly clear after that.

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Inland cloud formation, Dos Rios (Jeff Goll)

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ANDERSON VALLEY SCHOOLS PHONE-FREE; Students ‘transformed’ by locking phones away

by Justine Frederiksen

Some Mendocino County students were asked to do the “unthinkable” this week when school began — put their phones away all day.

“I saw students walking and talking instead of with their heads down and thumbs working a device,” said Anderson Valley School District Superintendent Louise Simson when describing the first day of classes in Boonville on August 14. “I also watched students play a game of Uno in the lounge, and saw them (giving) great attention to their teachers. In short, I saw something completely different than I have viewed in my past two years (here).”

When asked how the change came about, Simson said, “We did a trial program in the seventh and eighth grade last year and our intention was to grow it to a new grade every year. (But) the results were so incredible in the middle school that the entire staff unilaterally decided that we were going cellphone free.”

Simson described the phones as being put away into “a neoprene pouch with a magnetic locking device. The student turns off their phone and puts that and the earbuds in the pouch, and the device locks it during first period. That student keeps the pouch, and at the end of the day in the last class is unlocked. In an emergency, all rooms have an unlock device or you can cut the case open.”

With the students’ phones unusable, Simson said there has been an “amazing release of the constant conflict of ‘put your phone away!’ and students and teachers are having real relationships again based on learning. As part of the deal though, staff has also pledged to not use their phone in front of kids. There’s mutual respect here.”

Simson described the new policy, which she said was supported by parents, as “continuing indefinitely. I think this ‘no cell phone policy’ will set Anderson Valley head and shoulders above the county and state in mental health/wellness and achievement.”

Simson also shared quotes from faculty:

Kira Brennan: “Though the students say this is going to be hard, not having cellphones, even they are admitting it is going to make learning so much more focused. I know it was just the first day but I just loved ‘no phone life’ on campus so much. Kids were socializing and talking to each other, which was just a joy to behold.”

Ali Cook: “I am so grateful for this change. Thank you to everyone!”

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The purpose of the Mendocino Coast Health Care District is to support thriving, healthy communities on the coast by ensuring continuous, accessible, high-quality, sustainable health care. We are the body responsible for the hospital facilities in Fort Bragg currently leased to Adventist Health.

The Mendocino Coast Health Care District is governed by a 5-member Board of Directors elected by voters in the District. The current available position is to complete the term of a vacancy created by a resignation. The applicant appointed by the Board to this vacancy will serve until the next regular election in November 2024.

The Board meets 1-2 times a month, usually in the evening for approximately 3 hours. Board members also have other duties as agreed to accomplish the work of the Board between meetings. For information on the district, future and past meetings, please visit our website at .

We seek a community-minded, solution-oriented, collaborative individual with an interest in health care to join us who is a registered voter and a resident of the health care district. We are particularly interested in participation by members of our growing African American, Latino, and Native American communities. But anyone interested in serving our community by joining the MCHCD Board of Directors is encouraged to apply by September 12 to be considered for appointment.

If you are interested or would like to know more please contact Lee Finney, Chair Mendocino Coast Health Care District Board of Directors:

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Utility work on Highway 128 will occur near Yorkville at Big Oaks Drive on Monday, Aug. 21. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Motorists should expect up to 5-minute delays.

Tree work will occur on Highway 253 west of Long Valley Ranch Road to east of Knittleville Lane on Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 22-23. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Motorists should expect up to 5-minute delays.

Utility work on Highway 253 from Stipp Lane to east of Park Creek Lane will occur on Tuesday, Aug. 22. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Motorists should expect up to 5-minute delays.

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Old sheds, Mendocino (Jeff Goll)

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Why are they out at the park at 11:14 PM? Teen curfews not respected. Parents dont know where their kids are. Dont care where their kids are? The lil black Honda has been up to a whole lotta BS in Ukiah as of late. Numerous reports of it racing up and down, shots fired etc. No respect for self or others. A whole lot of the cliques of handful kids can not read, write or care to go to school. But they sure can use them I phones and TikTok YAY.

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HISTORIC STEAM ENGINE RIDES offered by Mendocino Railway

Mendocino Railway is offering a special limited run on the Fort Bragg Skunk Train every weekend from now until September 10. The main feature for local and visiting train enthusiasts is the use of the historic Chiggen steam engine that was once part of the California Western Railroad and will pull the Skunk Train passenger cars.

The seven-mile round trip along the Pudding Creek Estuary will stop at the Glen Blair Junction. The Chiggen engine mirrors the original locomotive that operated on the local rails in 1885. The enclosed passenger car and the open-air car are original.…

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This week we’re showcasing our own canine sleuths, Cagney and Lacey! Both girls are especially sweet and pretty darn adorable. Cagney has a mellow temperament, and her favorite place to be during her evaluation was right by our feet, catching some ZZZZs (and full disclosure—she snores!) Cagney knows sit and likes squeaky toys and walks great on leash. Lacey is one of THE sweetest and cutest dogs around. She walks well on leash and knows sit. Lacey has lovely indoor manners and was a very good girl in the Meet & Greet Room. This little lovebug is ready to be your new movie watching buddy! Cagney weighs 52 pounds and Lacey 47.

For more about Cagney & Lacey, head to 

For information about adoptions, call 707-467-6453. Check out our FACEBOOK PAGE at

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To the Editor,

I hope I never have to live without your paper-paper. Kramer is a jerk. Whatever happened to our own Flynn Washburne, one of my favorite contributors over the years? Any news of him?

And finally, I bow down three times to Mr. Scaramella for his coverage of the Board of Supervisors.

S.K. Dodge


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Nancy Gardner from Outlaw Studio will be hosting Open Jewelry/Metal Arts Studio at the Mendocino Art Center on Wednesday Evenings 4:30 - 7:30 $15 - August 23rd, 30th September 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th

Open Studio attendance is for people with prior experience - you bring your own materials and projects to accomplish. This is Not a class, but Nancy will be there for help and encouragement!

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Fetzer....Flow Kana.....and now Revival Ranch, up for rent!

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by Bruce Anderson 

One sunny day more than a few years ago, Don Pardini was working in Evergreen Cemetery when a couple of odd-looking bones caught his eye. They weren’t hog bones, deer bones, dog bones, cat bones, critter bones, or any other four-footed kind of bones. Don Pardini knows his bones, and he was looking at some strange ones resting in a place they weren’t supposed to be.

But we’d better set the scene here first, the what’s what of it in a valley changing so fast you can’t always orient yourself by the old landmarks because they might not be where they were the day after tomorrow.

Evergreen Cemetery is Anderson Valley’s largest graveyard. It’s about a mile and a half northwest of Boonville right off Anderson Valley Way, which for 150 years was the only road through here until the brief straight stretch of bypass was built between Boonville and the Philo Grange 30 years ago to shave maybe three minutes off the trip to Mendocino.

There are several smaller graveyards here and there in The Valley — two out in Yorkville, another one here in Boonville, one down in Philo. Way, way back it seems certain people didn’t care to be eternally in the proximity of certain other people, but Evergreen Cemetery has always been the biggest graveyard in Anderson Valley.

There are people buried at Evergreen whose parents might have seen George Washington himself. Quite a few of Evergreen’s permanent residents are likely to have seen Abe Lincoln. There are also people lying there who walked all the way out here from Missouri and even New York. There are people who fought in the Civil War, and people who fought each other when they were alive, and people who ran off with someone else’s spouse — the good, the bad and the indifferent, just like the populations of graveyards everywhere.

Graveyard Creek meanders down out of the hills east of Highway 128 and on down past the cemetery behind Mike and Patti Langley’s place, right on by the Chalk Lady’s back door, below and across Anderson Valley Way in a great big culvert which at one time was made out of 2,000-year-old redwood hearts, and on into Anderson Creek.

To the east, Graveyard Creek is so small it’s almost invisible, but when it crosses the highway in winter it seems to become suddenly enraged and, over the decades, has gouged out a steep-sided gully as it roars past 200 years of human history sleeping beside it. For its 300 yards or so, the cemetery stretch of Graveyard Creek is just about the wildest, most impenetrable piece of stream terrain anywhere on The Valley’s floor.

“A tribe of pygmies could be living down in there for all I know,” an old timer once put it. “You never can see all the way to the bottom.”

Don Pardini was born and raised in Anderson Valley. He knows every foot of the place, and he’s put in hundreds of hours maintaining the cemetery which, for a while there, had become a party venue for badly raised young people who have no respect for the people who have come before them.

So Don Pardini is working away at the cemetery one day when a set of improbable bones catches his eye.

“I’ve butchered a lot of animals in my time,” Pardini says by way of establishing his bona fides as a pretty fair country archaeologist, “but when I first saw this thing I thought to myself, ‘It’s not like anything I’ve seen belonging to a four-footed animal’.”

Pardini took the bones to a person he describes only as “someone who knows and she said it was human. I was already pretty sure I had part of a human backbone.”

She Who Knows confirmed Pardini’s first, only and, you might say, dead-on, surmise.

Deputy Squires was quickly on the case.

Pardini told Anderson Valley’s long-time lawman that he’d seen buzzards circling Graveyard Creek’s hidden depths a month or so prior to his discovery of the vertebrae fragments, but had assumed the birds were merely signalling other members of the airborne carrion clean-up crew that the usual venison was on the menu down below.

“People throw animal remains in the gulch here all the time,” Pardini says. “But when I saw these bones — and they looked pretty fresh to me — I knew they hadn’t come out of a grave, and I knew they weren’t animal bones. Some type of varmint had dragged them up most of the way out of the gulch and left them next to a hole where he probably tried to bury them.”

Deputy Squires confirmed the bones as human remains, and everyone who has since learned about them has inwardly shuddered at the thought of some anonymous someone lying in a stream bed beneath ten feet of blackberries and jungle-thick brush, life zipping happily by on the highway above.

Don Pardini said when he saw that the bones belonged to a human being, “I just assumed someone had been dumped there.”

The assumption that we live in times so rootless that people can just wander off and wind up in an overgrown gully without rousing much more than a little internal quiver in us seems pretty scary all by itself, not that it looks like things are going to get any less chaotic any time soon.

“I looked all through there,” Deputy Squires said. “I didn’t find any other bones. The ones Don found are human, though. “I took ‘em over the hill and they’ve been shipped off for a DNA analysis. No one around here is missing so far as I know. We might find out some day who it was.”

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Dear AVA,

Enclosed is my check to renew my print and online subscription. It may look like I have overpaid the renewal for in-state but that is intentional as I remember reading an AVA item sometime back regarding the cost of mailing the paper being pretty high. You have not raised the rates yet, but I don't mind paying more as the content is more than worth it. You can count the extra as a donation if that works better for you.

I thought hard about just going the online route but found it's just too much to give up an actual print newspaper in our era of rapidly disappearing news in print. I so look forward to fishing the AVA out of my mailbox and spending a morning or evening or both going through it, out on the porch of course (weather permitting). Actual reporting on local events and well-written stories and letters to the editor that are not limited to 150 words and the off the hook off the record are not to be missed. 

I will wrap this up by mentioning that I will be attending the Mendocino County Fair next month mostly because all the stories covering it last year made it something that should not be missed. So I'm not.

All the best,

Barbara Payne

Meadow Vista

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CATCH OF THE DAY, Saturday, August 19, 2023

Becker, Burgess, Cardenas, Dillenbeck

BRETT BECKER, San Ramon/Ukiah. Resisting.

ERIK BURGESS, Ukiah. Transient registration, paraphernalia, probation revocation.

CARLOS CARDENAS-MORA, Ukiah. Domestic battery, assault with deadly weapon not a gun, damaging communications device, criminal threats.

BHAKTI DILLENBECK, Ukiah. Battery, battery on peace officer, resisting. (Frequent flyer.)

Feliz, Frease, Heine

KIAHNA FELIZ, Redwood Valley. Disorderly conduct-alcohol&drugs.

ANGELA FREASE, Ukiah. Failure to appear.

COREY HEINE, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, controlled substance. 

Johnson, Lewiskooy, Nutt, Williams

CHASTITY JOHNSON, Willits. Failure to appear.

JAKE LEWISKOOY, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

ROBERT NUTT III, Ukiah. Disorderly conduct-alcohol, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)

ANGEL WILLIAMS, Ukiah. DUI, suspended license. 

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If the president wants his approval rating to rise, all he has to do is to choose Gavin Newsom as his running mate and attack dog. Newsom would accept with enthusiasm.

Ralph Bostrom


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Dear AVA Editor 

Well, all wasn’t what I was told. Instead of 24 hours it ended to be 48, then the supervisor noted I get a call back (not) from this VIP-DMV. So I called them yet again. “Oh Sir, it’s been taken care of.” I tell the lady (darling) I plan on going in just to make sure. “Oh you don’t need to do that.” I’m glad I did. The DMV wouldn’t have updated my records here, plus I got a 90 form just in case I get pulled over so my end is covered. I still haven’t got my tags, supposed to be from Sacramento to here at the office in Fort Bragg. Can’t do it. Maybe today or Monday.

Sincerely yours 

Greg Crawford 

Fort Bragg

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LAKE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, Tuesday, August 22, fail again to support local harm reduction services

From the Facebook page 88.1 Essential Public Information - Here and Now.

On Tuesday August 22, the Lake County Board of Supervisors will present (and “consider”) their proposed letter opposing the state-authorized delivery of harm reduction services rendered for over 20 years by a dedicated local citizen and her staff, which has been the target of hostility and enmity by a few histrionic members of the public in the community of Lucerne (and a former chief of police in the city of Clearlake) since late 2021.

Written comments may be submitted to the Board by 5 pm via email or using the “ecomment” feature on the published agenda. Oral comments may be made by raising the virtual “hand” to be called on during the legal public comment period following the Board’s “consideration” of their ill-advised letter to CDPH well after the closure of the state’s official public comment solicitation, as described in the post. 

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by Mark Scaramella

If you think golf is not only a great form of recreation or business meeting, but a grand metaphor for life and politics, if you admire people like Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and Dick Cheney, if you hate taxes and regulation, if you like your prose heavily infused with four letter words, then you’ll like former Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s 2021 book, “On The House,” his personal and political memoir of his life and political rise to (and fall from) Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015.

Boehner (pronounced “Bayner” — he notes with some humor that some of his critics have called him “Boner”), was elected to Congress in 1990 and became an early co-author of Newt Gingrich’s “Contract With America.” One of his first accomplishments in those days was to lead the charge to abolish the “House Bank,” a small but basically corrupt cash operation that “loaned” money to members of Congress. His more senior colleagues were not happy. “When a member of Congress saw me or one of my boys walking their way, they looked like they wanted to either strangle us on sight or jump under their desk. But I was kind of used to my colleagues hating me, so I kept right on going. I had been elected to office to do something and now I had the power to get people on my side.”

Boehner was the second of 12 children of an Catholic Democrat bar owner so he spent much of his formative years in the bar, “Andy’s Place,” in Reading, Ohio, hence the amusement of his book’s title: “On the House.” Before being elected to Congress, Boehner was a plastics salesman.

Boehner spends much of his book denouncing what started as the right-wing political movement known as the Tea Party, then became the “Freedom Caucus” and lately Trumpism, getting nuttier and more partisan with each incarnation. Boehner variously describes the Magas as “freaks,” “knuckleheads,” “kooks,” “insane,” “jackassess,” “chickenshits,” “clowns,” etc., and says he couldn’t be elected, much less become Speaker of the House, in the current version of the Republican party. “I’m not sure I belong in the Party that Trump created.” Boehner says the main thing the most Trumpists have in common is not “getting things done,” but their irrational hatred of Barack Obama.

Boehner is most proud of his work with the late Ted Kennedy to help pass George W. Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” Act through Congress. He thinks Joe Biden is “a nice guy,” and, although he thinks President Obama was “one of the coolest customers God ever put on this Earth,” he didn’t like Obama backing out of some hand-shake political compromise deals Boehner had pre-arranged after Obama was pressured by other more partisan House Dems.

Boehner also notes that former Vice President Mike Pence, an attorney, was much more of a right-wing firebrand compared to his current pseudo-reserved style when he hosted a Limbaugh-inspired talk radio show in Indiana in the late 90s, using it as a platform for his congressional campaign and later being selected as Trump’s VP.

Politics aside, Boehner has a listenable, avuncular conversational style which, in the recorded version I listened to, sounded slightly slurred by alcohol and/or his life-long love of Camel cigarettes. One of the (unintentionally) funniest moments in the book is toward the end when he declares himself a red wine aficionado, having “matured” from beer (“too bloating”) and old fashioneds (too much sugar which is bad for your health) into merlot and chianti. Boehner isn’t joking when he trots out words like “varietal,” and “vintage,” and espouses red wine (never white, mind you) because he can sip it over long periods of time without much mental dysfunction.

Boehner admires Nancy Pelosi for her “ruthless” treatment of her fellow Congressional Democrats, which kept “their team” in lockstep when Boehner, not quite as ruthless, was unable to keep his chaotic Republican “team” together, especially when they were trying to repeal or gut the hated Obamacare.

The book’s best sections are his Congressional anecdotes.

He describes an incident in the aftermath of Boehner’s limitation of Congressioanl earmarks when then-Alaska Representative Don Young cornered him in a Capitol hallway and put a hunting knife to Boehner’s throat, rudely ordering Boehner never to do anything like that again. Despite that criminal assault, Boehner and Edwards went on to work together on several pieces of Republican legislation, and Boehner even served as Young’s best man at his late-in-life wedding.

Boehner has a special hatred for Senator Ted Cruz as the sponsor and cheerleader of the maga “shitshow” in Congress. “There is nothing more dangeous than a reckless asshole who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz.” At the end of the audio version of the book, in a line which is not in the print version, Boehner abruptly shouts: “PS. Ted Cruz: Go fuck yourself!”

The best part of the book is Boehner’s insider account of Obama’s big bank bailout in 2008 and the political fallout. As one of the congressional leaders involved in the bailout discussions (Boehner was not yet House Speaker), Boehner was convinced by the Obama financial officials that if they didn’t bail out the big banks, businesses would close and “ATMs would stop working,” and therefore they had no choice but to bail out the big boys, despite many of Boehner’s fellow Republicans (especially the “Freedom Caucus”) preferring to let the banksters fall into bankruptcy for their own recklessness. Boehner says that the banksters later paid back that bailout, thus justifying it, although we have not seen any reliable accounting that there was indeed a pay back. (It’s pretty complicated. According to ProPublica the banks issued some bonds, i.e., borrowed private money, to pay back some of the interest on the bailout over the years but have not paid back any of the initial $200 billion. Wells Fargo reportedly sold some stock to pay back some of what they owe. Etc. There was no specific requirement that it be paid back. Who knows?)

Boehner described a meeting leading up to the Bailout where Obama’s presidential opponent John McCain cut short his political campaign bus tour to return to DC and weigh in on the bailout negotiations. But, according to Boehner, McCain hadn’t studied the issue or been briefed by his staff, so that when Obama pointedly asked McCain for his opinion, McCain could only offer empty rhetoric instead of cold political analysis. Boehner thought that the much more clever Obama had known that McCain wasn’t very good on money matters and used the opportunity to expose McCain’s financial ignorance. All the Republican high-rollers in the meeting were disappointed. It was at this point, Boehner says, that McCain’s campaign lost its momentum and he went on to lose badly to Obama, thus pushing the Republican Party even further to the nutball right.

We found Boehner’s defense of Congressional junkets (“Condels,” i.e., congressional delegations) to be inconsistent with his otherwise no-frills style. First, he says that overseas junkets are necessary so that congresspeople can see first hand what their foreign handouts are doing. But then he goes on to describe an typical junket that was nothing more than a fancy sight-seeing world tour with no mention of what was being done with taxpayer money.

Overall, while Boehner’s book is predictably riddled with the usual Republican cliches, right-wing talking points (“entitlements” bad, etc.), and silly oversimplifications, it’s better and more interesting than its self-serving liberal equivalents and gives a decent peek into the mind and political life of a diminishing breed of pro-business, straight-shooting, blunt-talking Republicans.

Now retired and living in Florida, Boehner’s not as optimistic as he was while in office: “We’re about halfway through a double-decker shit sandwich served up to us by an outrage-driven media and a self-interested political class.”

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On Sat, Aug 19, 2023 at 3:40 PM Craig Stehr <> wrote:

Following a splendid visit to the Ukiah Brewing Company yesterday afternoon, awoke fully rested at the Building Bridges Homeless Resource Center, where I’ve had a bed since March 1, 2022. Morning ablutions were followed by a stop at the Express gas station to check the LOTTO ticket, and then on to the Ukiah Food Co-op for an Italian caprese breakfast sandwich and a cup o’ joe. Afterwards, dropped into the Hospice Store to browse for more discounted summer shirts, and then strode into the Ukiah Public Library to read the Saturday New York Times. Am this instant on computer #5 tap, tap tapping away. As is usual, I am NOT identifying with the body nor the mind. I am identifying with the Divine Absolute, God, Para Brahman, Krishna Consciousness, Buddha Nature, Christ’s Sacred Heart, and so on and so forth.

While being besieged by the neurotic American cultural spectacle, and also the political criminal insanity which is evident at all levels of government, I am here and now available for frontline radical environmental direct action, and attenuating world peace and justice activism.

It is doubtful that I will ever receive subsidized housing in Mendocino County, mostly because America is ruined by inflation. I receive monthly social security benefits to the tune of $850 per month, and food stamps. All medical and dental work has been performed, and paid for by the insurance. I am free to leave Mendocino County.

Craig Louis Stehr

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I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance. The cloud clears as you enter it. I have learned this, but like everyone, I learned it late. 

— Beryl Markham

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Has anyone noticed that anywhere one pays for food items there is now a screen for tips starting at 18% and going straight up. Even at places where all they do is sling crap food and coffee but don’t really serve you. I don’t mind tipping if someone is friendly and efficient but what about when they won’t meet your eye, don’t greet you and most of all don't thank you for spending money at the store? Yes, no tip is an option, but it is quickly becoming mandatory that we now tip everyone.

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MEMO OF THE AIR: Our town.

Here's the recording of last night's (2023-08-18) seven-plus-hour-long Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and

Email your written work on any subject and I'll read it on the very next Memo of the Air.

I was just now formatting this mostly-finished post and thinking about what specific parts of the show to mention in short, and there was a loud POP from the apartment park across the industrial yard. Lots of screaming, children screaming, women wailing, a distraught man warble-bellows something incomprehensible over and over. Sirens are instant because the police department is just a few blocks away. 

Everyone scatters. Several police cars arrive, one immediately tears off again. More sirens elsewhere, going away, attending to another matter. I don’t feel like messing with this project anymore right now; I’m just gonna make spaghetti and meatballs… Oh, wait, here are the EMTs and a fire truck. A dozen uniforms mill around while someone grownup-size is loaded onto a folding gurney, plus yellow barrier tape is strung up, so it must have been a stupid gun this time and not a stupid fireworks accident. All is calm again. All of this in little more than the time to write it in. Hmm. Okay, right, spaghetti.

Time passed. I’ve cooked and eaten. They’re wailing and crying again over there, mostly the women, so the person must have died, I think. Also, no kidding, somewhere in the distance there’s an ice-cream truck playing Turkey In The Straw. And… scene. America.

Besides all that, at you'll find a fresh batch of dozens of links to worthwhile items I set aside for you while gathering the show together, such as:

The last scene of the final episode of Northern Exposure.

The pinnacle of poster art. This is another one of the distinctive forms of art that makes me wish we were further along in the science of replacing malfunctioning natural eyes with techno-eyes that can be set to make the whole world look like this or that style. I suppose I can shortcut the process by something like Google Cardboard with real-world video pass-through, but the latency would make driving or even walking difficult and dangerous.

Any old abandoned theater would make an excellent retro-future real-life radio (or teevee) station. Live radio (or teevee) events every night. Free popcorn. Vacuum tubes instead of transistors everywhere possible, and the antenna tower growing up from the roof like the Eiffel Tower, with a halo of fizzing deep-blue fluorescent lightning bolts propped pointed outward all around the ball on the top in the fog. When I win the lottery. (via NagOnTheLake)

Gauntlet of the birds. It’s like the Klingon Rite of Ascension. You go down the middle and they painfully side-eye you. It’s tense but over quickly. Now you are a warrior and can choose your warrior name: Hawkblast, or Pecksmith, or really whatever. This isn’t the full minyan of ten bird-spirits but it’s so hard to gather enough serious participants anymore that it still counts, like the Supreme Court.

And, say your parent is almost dead. Here’s some good advice. It can’t hurt to read it and it won’t take long.

Marco McClean,,

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by Michael Silver

At first, Kyle Shanahan was angry, with good reason.

Trey Lance had just directed a 75-yard touchdown drive late in Saturday night’s previously unremarkable preseason game at Levi’s Stadium, bringing the San Francisco 49ers to within a two-point conversion of tying the Denver Broncos, when the men in stripes added a layer of absurdity to the affair.

The 49ers were flagged for a personal foul because starting receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk — gasp — left the bench area and raced into the end zone to celebrate Lance’s 22-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Cameron Latu with 2:34 remaining.

The horror! Heaven forbid a pair of veterans whose night had ended after the game’s first offensive possession display their joy after a pair of maligned teammates connected on a dramatic score.

“I was pretty pissed,” Shanahan said afterward. “But it’s the preseason and they were excited. Their boy scored so they’re excited for them… But I told them in the locker room it was genius, cause it led to us being able to go for the win at the end.”

Sometimes, even in the morass of preseason inanity, things have a way of working out. Such was the case for the Niners on Saturday: After Lance predictably threw incomplete on a two-point conversion attempt from his own 17, the S.F. defense held, giving the third-year quarterback another shot from his own 22 with 2:01 remaining.

Then, after Lance found rookie Ronnie Bell over the middle for a 43-yard catch-and-run, Shanahan was able to set up a feel-good finale for another struggling player: Rookie kicker Jake Moody, who compounded the doubts sewn by last Sunday’s choppy debut in Las Vegas with a missed extra point in the third quarter.

Moody’s 32-yard field goal on the final play of Saturday’s game didn’t soar majestically through the middle of the uprights, but it got the job done, securing a 21-20 walk-off victory that left Shanahan, his players and the 50,012 Niners fans who braved the three-hour spectacle feeling a little bit better about their second exhibition of the summer.

“I thought that’s what the preseason was for, to cheer your guys on,” 49ers linebacker Fred Warner said afterward. “But it all worked out great in the end. It was decided by guys who we’re rooting for to have a big game, to get that confidence boost, and they all showed up when we needed them most.”

Though there were plenty of instances of imperfection, including interceptions thrown by Lance and Sam Darnold, this game left the Niners with a pep in their steps – to the extent that a game which doesn’t count can provoke such emotions.

Starting quarterback Brock Purdy, in his first game action since Eagles pass rusher Hassan Reddick nearly ripped off his throwing arm (tearing the rookie’s ulnar collateral ligament in the process) in Philly during last January’s NFC Championship Game, looked a lot like he did during his remarkable eight-week run last winter. Purdy completed 4-of-5 passes for 65 yards to set up Moody’s 20-yard field goal before calling it a night, a kick that the 49ers converted despite a rare miscue by long snapper Taybor Pepper, whose gopher ball was bailed out by holder Mitch Wishnowsky’s quick hands and Moody’s unfazed demeanor.

“It was a hard decision, whether to go through with the kick or bail out, and a worse kicker wouldn’t have kicked the ball,” Pepper said. “To me, that was just as impressive as the game-winner was, and it definitely added another layer of drama at the end. If you can put yourself in sticky situations in the preseason and come out fine, it’s a good thing.”

Darnold (11 for 14, 109 yards) had some nice moments in his five possessions, rebounding from a second-half interception — which bounced off Bell’s hands — to end his night on an 11-yard touchdown pass to rookie fullback Jack Coletto with 2:56 left in the third quarter.

Lance, the man competing with Darnold to be QB2, threw a much less excusable pick early in the fourth quarter, when Denver defensive end Matt Henningsen deflected an attempted screen and teammate Elijah Garcia caught the ball while diving to the ground.

It was another gut-wrenching moment for the third overall pick of the 2021 draft, whose ugly outing against the Raiders last Sunday ratcheted up talk that he is a colossal draft bust.

Instead, Lance (12 for 18, 173 yards) busted out at long last, leading three scoring drives in the final 11:05. Sure, it was a game that didn’t count against a bunch of Broncos backups and fringe players, but whatever: Lance needed this.

So, by the way, did Latu, like Moody a third-round pick whose transition to the pros has been a bit bumpy. Whereas Moody has been money in practice Latu, who converted from linebacker to tight end at Alabama, has been beset by drops throughout training camp. He also lost a fumble against the Raiders. On this night, however, Latu was supremely smooth, catching three passes for 46 yards — including the late touchdown that inspired Samuel and Aiyuk to sprint toward him in celebration.

That the officials deemed it a punishable offense in that context seemed a bit severe, especially given that one of them, according to a sideline observer, could only enunciate that “the guy in the white shirt” was an offending party. (He was presumably referring to Aiyuk, who had changed out of his uniform and was wearing a white shirt.)

Lance, at that point, had every reason to believe the football gods had conspired against him.

“Man, we didn’t get a warning?” he asked, a comment he later said “the ref didn’t like…. Hey, it’s part of it. Chalk it up to preseason.”

So here we are, in the aftermath of a technically meaningless game, wondering what it all means.

Can Lance build upon his cool and clutch late-game effort and summon a strong performance in next Friday’s preseason finale at Levi’s, against the Chargers? Have Latu and Bell (seven catches, 114 yards) shown enough to make the 53-man roster? Will Moody now settle down, settle in and make fans feel better about veteran Robbie Gould’s departure?

These and other questions remain as the Niners look toward the finale of their Fake Game Trilogy. Speaking of which, after Shanahan left the podium Saturday night, I had a final query for him, one which actually got him to smile.

Harkening back to the Niners’ 2021 regular season finale, a must-win road game against the Rams, I reminded him that L.A. coach Sean McVay had celebrated a second quarter touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Tyler Higbee by sprinting down the sidelines and slapping hands with his quarterback and tight end — in the end zone.

McVay, whose team led 17-0 at the time, ended up looking silly later, after the Niners had dramatically saved their season by pulling out a 27-24 overtime victory. In the moment, however, he paid no price — let the record show that no penalty flag was thrown.

“It was cool then,” Shanahan said, laughing as he walked back to the locker room.

He had a right to be confused, but his expression exuded no frustration. After Saturday’s exquisite ending, how could he be mad?


* * *

* * *


Boss of 'orgasmic cult' OneTaste, Anjuli Ayer, denies it forced members into sex acts and kept women in residential warehouses

by Emma James

A CEO of a sexual wellness company accused of abusing women and forcing them into sex acts says the allegations are 'totally false' - with their lawyer branding the federal indictment as 'horrifying'.

The 'orgasmic meditation cult' OneTaste claims the allegations levied against them for several years are untrue and part of a 'malicious crusade' by a former worker.

OneTaste founder Nicole Daedone, 56, and Rachel Cherwitz, 43, have both been accused of keeping women in residential warehouses where they were forced into sex acts for the company.

Claims levied against the company for several years have been denied by Daedone, Cherwitz and CEO Anjuli Ayer – who was not at the helm when the allegations were made.

Speaking to, Ayer said that the 'snowballed' allegations made against the company are completely false and left her 'devastated'.

Anjuli Ayer

Ayer took over OneTaste in 2017 after being introduced to the orgasmic meditation company the year before by Daedone 

Cherwitz is still working with the company, but Daedone has taken a step back since being indicted earlier this year in Brooklyn.

The current CEO said: 'It was utterly devastating. When I acquired the company, I knew that I couldn't ignore how much it changed my life and and how much I wanted women to have access to power like that. 

'I did not anticipate a five-year snowballed media campaign of negative allegations against us. 

'That's what happened if you look at it. You take women and you take sexuality and then you put it together with a couple of people who are upset in some way and want to tell lies.'

Prosecutors say the alleged victims were subjected to 'constant surveillance' and isolated from friends and family.

When members could no longer afford OneTaste classes, they were pressured to take on debt, and that at times Daedone and Cherwitz even assisted them in opening new credit cards, according to the indictment. 

The federal charges come after several serious allegations were made public by former employees of the company. Those at the head of the company say the allegations have 'come from really just one person'. 

Ayries Blanck was paid $325,000 as part of a settlement with the company after parting ways in 2014 - which included an NDA. 

Legal documents filed by OneTaste earlier this year claim Blanck said she wanted to 'f***ing kill' her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend – who he met through a company event in Los Angeles.

She flew to Los Angeles and confronted the other woman before punching her in the face and dramatically quitting the company, according to the documents. 

OneTaste has since launched a lawsuit against Blanck, accusing her of breaching their NDA, claiming she regularly voices her hatred of the firm - and say she was involved in a Netflix documentary about the company. 

Blanck has not responded to the claims in the new lawsuit, and Ayer insists that the allegations are 'false' and that their community has been 'ripped apart'. 

'We teach a practice that's based in connection. So the most powerful thing we have is connection, and we teach a practice, that's for women's empowerment,' she said.

'If you look at the allegations, and every single piece of media there have been four major pieces. They're all based on just a very, very small number of people who are upset personally upset'.

Ayer said that at the time the first accusations were leveled at the company, it didn't have the resources to fight them and insisted on Blanck signing an NDA.

One Taste in a lawsuit that Blanck had previously filed stated that she 'loved' the company and staff 'and 'consistently had sex with other members' while living in New York City.

But it claims she changed after she split up with her boyfriend in 2014 and he found love elsewhere. 

Ayer said: 'This is not Nicole and Rachel indicted, this is Eros indicted. And this is in a way, even amongst the people in that courtroom, it's a conversation between women. 

'At the time of the lawsuit in 2014, the business had very little money. And I can tell you from putting a phenomenal amount of resources into various suits, that it's incredibly expensive.' 

Blanck filed a lawsuit against the company in August of 2015, claiming they subjected her to a 'hostile work environment, sexual harassment, failure to pay minimum wage and intentional infliction of emotional distress'.

The lawsuit also claimed OneTaste 'forced and manipulated her into having sex and taking part in orgasmic meditation with OneTaste staff, supervisors, and customers'. These claims are denied by the company.

But the new suit by OneTaste argues that following her ex-partners new relationship, Blanck begged Cherwitz to end his new relationship, which she said she could not do. 

Lawyers for OneTaste are seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages – asking for the amount to be 'sufficient to punish or set an example.' 

Daedone and Cherwitz are also accused of grooming employees to have sex with potential investors and clients of OneTaste, according to the indictment.

Several former members of staff have spoken out about the alleged abuse, initially to Bloomberg, before the BBC published a podcast series on the company.

Lawyer for OneTaste, Kevin Williams, told that he found the federal indictment 'horrifying, as a lawyer'. 

'It starts with the kind of language that's used in the original piece, it was totally overblown and false' he said.

'It was definitely designed to point law enforcement finger, and it did. Very shortly after that, the FBI is investigating, and they do this for good reasons. 

'Because in the past, they have not investigated things for many years, and then they get murdered for that. 

'That's happened over and over again, so they want to be seen to be taking action, and that is the government doing its job.

'But I want to know if they are taking it at face value, are they actually looking at the facts. 

'The second part of that is, when the BBC comes in with these massively overblown or completely ludicrous allegations that are that are provably false.

'That that sort of ramps it up. And at that point, they really get attached to a narrative.

'It's quite scary and alarming as a lawyer to, to watch it happen in front of your eyes and be like, this is gonna be fine. We'll show the government the facts and this will get addressed. 

'For the people under investigation to approach the government this many times, in the face of that little response - we kind of had to badger them to get a meeting with them. 

'As a lawyer, it's incredible to watch it unfold in this way. And it's kind of horrifying.'

The company lost a libel bid with the BBC over the podcast, called ‘The Orgasm Cult’, with the broadcaster successfully arguing that the complaints fell outside the 12-month limitation period. reached out to the BBC for a comment over the allegations. 

All of the allegations made on the podcast are denied by the OneTaste team, who say they have contacted various media outlets about the 'false' claims. 

Former customers have also alleged that they were 'raped' after becoming involved in the company, with one telling the BBC podcast she was attacked by a man called 'Jake'.

No lawsuits or criminal charges have been brought in relation to the allegation, but the man involved now claims that he was never contacted over the claims. 

Jake, who spoke to on the agreement that he be kept anonymous, said: 'I listened to the allegations several months after it came out, and it just made me angry. It felt as though it was being propertied as a cheap horror film.

'I complained to the BBC, but I just got their standardized response, I didn't feel like they took me seriously and no one contacted me over the allegations.

'The whole thing felt almost abusive, that they can just make these claims about people under a pseudonym.

'There can't be any evidence of a rape, because it didn't happen. I have messages between us in a friendly way, years after this happened we were still friends and she seemed keen on engaging.

'As far as I'm concerned I think that I am just collateral in her campaign against OneTaste. 

'Everything that she claims happens in these allegations just goes against the fundamental principles of everything we were taught.'

Lissa Boileau, a nurse who was introduced to the practice in 2016, said that the indictment and lawsuits were an 'intense experience', that made her want to defend OneTaste. 

'It took me a long time to be able to become have the mental fortitude, to speak about my experience and what had happened', she told

'After the indictment, I was like, no, this is not a time of hiding. This is not a time of being fearful or afraid. 

'This is, this is where I took a stand for something that radically and profoundly changed my life.'

Prosecutors for the Eastern District of New York previously filed to pause the civil litigation of OneTaste against Blanck, claiming that she is a 'possible witness' in the federal case.

But the motion was denied, with lawyers for the San Francisco-based company telling that the filing is 'unconstitutional', adding that pausing the case would be 'ludicrous'.

In the latest court hearing over the federal charges, lawyers for Cherwitz and Daedone claim that the government failed to show 'how they violated the forced labor statute.

According to the pair the indictment does not specify what 'forced labor' they supposedly obtained, nor does it provide key details such as when, where and how the alleged violations took place. 

Their filing states: 'Instead, the indictment is peppered with sensationalized allegations that have no nexus to its one criminal charge.'

Daedone and Cherwitz have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are free on $1 million and $300,000 bonds, respectively. OneTaste's current leadership team says they stand behind the defendants. 

OM exploded in popularity following a 2009 New York Times profile of OneTaste, and at one point, the company was reportedly raking in $12 million a year from eager clients.

But in 2018, the FBI launched an investigation when ex-customers came forward saying they were left in debt after paying for expensive classes, and former employees said they were told to engage in sexual relations with potential clients to close sales.

Now, prosecutors say that between 2004 and 2018, Daedone and Cherwitz deployed a series of abusive and manipulative tactics in order to obtain the labor and services of a group of OneTaste members, including volunteers, contractors, and employees.

The indictment alleges that the duo used tactics designed to render the OneTaste members dependent on the group for their shelter and basic necessities and to limit members' independence and control.

Members of OM were allegedly kept in 'residential warehouses' where they were forced into sex acts.

OM involves a woman, naked from the waist down, having her clitoris 'stroked' for exactly 15 minutes by a man, either her own partner or another paying customer.

At one point, OneTaste operated centers in cities including New York, San Francisco, Denver, Las Vegas, Boulder, Los Angeles, Austin and London.

In New York City, OneTaste leased residences and hosted events in several different locations, including in Brooklyn and the Manhattan neighborhoods of Harlem, Hell's Kitchen, Soho and West Village.

Daedone has previously denied that she ran a sex cult, telling the Mail on Sunday last year: 'I want to continue the work of getting OM into the world. It is such a powerful practice and we have a world that is so starved of something that will bring a fundamental connection.'


* * *

* * *


by Maureen Dowd

I first met Rudy Giuliani in 1986 when I was a Times reporter writing about corruption cases in New York. Gotham was awash in so much municipal sleeze, a detective joked that city employees were streaming into the F.B.I. office with their hands up.

Giuliani, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, got in a kerfuffle with Robert Morgenthau, the storied Manhattan district attorney who was a model for the D.A. in “Law & Order,” because Rudy considered the local prosecutor to be superfluous, so he wasn’t sharing information.

Giuliani, 41, was already renowned as a scourge of organized crime. (The next year he would become the scourge of Wall Street, perp-walking white-collar criminals in handcuffs in tableaus of virtue conquering vice, even though the charges sometimes failed to stick.)

Morgenthau favored a sweater with a hole in it. Giuliani was bandbox-perfect, feral and ready to pounce. Morgenthau had an understated tenacity. Giuliani was like a cult leader among acolytes.

He grew up thinking he would be a priest — until he decided he didn’t want to be celibate. When I met him, he was still speaking passionately about good and evil, right and wrong. His eyes gleamed when he talked about routing blackguards who had breached the public trust. He was following a Thomas Dewey model: Clean up corruption and parlay that into higher office.

The phone rang as I came into the paper the morning my story ran. Giuliani was demanding to talk to my editor — the story made him seem holier-than-thou!

He didn’t know how good he had it. Now he just seems crazier-than-thou. It’s a Puccini opera, really, about an opera-loving federal prosecutor and heroic mayor who spirals into lawlessness, as well as multiple divorces, depression, drinking, money problems, sexual harassment claims, Cameo cameos and “Borat” humiliation.

Giuliani went from cleaning up corruption to ginning up corruption, from crimebuster to criminal defendant in Georgia and unindicted “Co-Conspirator 1” in D.C. Rudy, the prosecutor who made his reputation aggressively pursuing RICO cases, is now Rudolph William Louis Giuliani, a defendant in the Georgia RICO case about the deranged plot to steal the election.

We have seen many cases of mobsters turning state’s evidence for prosecutors. But now we have the rare experience of seeing a prosecutor turn into a mobster.

After all those years spent prosecuting the Five Families in New York, Giuliani surrendered himself to the lamest mob boss there ever was: Don Trump.

We saw the coup attempt play out, but it’s startling to see the Georgia indictment refer to “this criminal organization,” “members of the enterprise,” “corruptly solicited” and “acts of racketeering activity.”

Trump, mentored by mob lawyer Roy Cohn, always loved acting like a mobster, playing the faux tough guy, intimidating his foes, swanning around like John Dillinger, Al Capone and John Gotti. He told Timothy O’Brien, the author of “TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald,” that he admired Gotti because the mobster sat through years of trials with a stone face. “In other words, tough,” Trump said.

As Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress, Trump ran his family business “much like a mobster would do,” using “a code,” letting capos do the dirty work and expelling rats.

“Trump both fetishized mobsters and did business with them,” O’Brien told me. “The way he fetishizes mobsters informs this fascination he has about Putin and Kim Jong-un. He loves ‘bad-ass’ guys who roll like they want to roll. He sees himself the same way.”

True to his longtime practice of stiffing the help, Trump is turning a deaf ear to Giuliani’s desperate pleas, in a tin-cup trip to Mar-a-Lago, to pay his legal bills.

Desperate to stay relevant, Giuliani made himself Trump’s legal button man, pressing the conspiracy theories his boss wanted to hear on Ukraine and the Bidens, and then on election fraud. Giuliani can take credit for helping spur both Trump impeachments.

As the great Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett wrote in his 2000 book, “Rudy: An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani,” Rudy had his own family history with wiseguys. Although Giuliani’s father, Harold, taught him to hate the mob, some cousins had mob connections. Barrett wrote that Rudy’s father had broken legs and smashed kneecaps for his brother-in-law’s loan-sharking in the ’50s. Barrett also revealed that Rudy’s dad went to Sing Sing for robbing a milkman at gunpoint.

Rudy told The Times’s Sam Roberts his family moved to Long Island from Brooklyn to avoid his mobbed-up relatives, and it was a reason he got into law enforcement.

“Rudy wants to be the mob slayer and then he winds up doing mobster-like things and getting in bed with a wannabe mobster,” O’Brien said, “and neither one of them can shoot straight, and they end up getting in trouble with the law. It’s a dime-store psychodrama that is both comic and grotesque at the same time.”

* * *

* * *


Seven people died, including a 6-year-old girl, and 90 were wounded after a Russian missile hit the center of the northern city of Chernihiv, Ukrainian officials say. A theater and university were hit in the attack.

A Ukrainian drone damaged a plane at a military airfield in Russia's northwest Novgorod region, and another drone was shot down near Moscow, according to the Russian defense ministry. Drone attacks on Russia have ramped up in recent months.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin visited generals overseeing the Ukraine offensive in Rostov-on-Don in southern Russia. The city was the scene of the Wagner Group's short-lived rebellion earlier this year.

The US is committed to approving the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine as soon as pilot training is completed, a US official said. From on the ground in eastern Ukraine, the desire for the fighter jets is clear, as air raid sirens blare in cities pockmarked by missile craters from Russian aircraft.

* * *

* * *

BIG BRAVE WESTERN PROXY WARRIORS Keep Whining That Ukrainian Troops Are Cowards

by Caitlin Johnstone

Amid continuous news that the Ukrainian counteroffensive which began in June is not going as hoped, The New York Times has published an article titled “Troop Deaths and Injuries in Ukraine War Near 500,000, U.S. Officials Say.” 

Reporting that Ukrainian efforts to retake Russia-occupied territory have been “bogged down in dense Russian minefields under constant fire from artillery and helicopter gunships,” The New York Times reports that Ukrainian forces have switched tactics to using “artillery and long-range missiles instead of plunging into minefields under fire.”

Then the article gets really freaky:

“American officials are worried that Ukraine’s adjustments will race through precious ammunition supplies, which could benefit President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and disadvantage Ukraine in a war of attrition. But Ukrainian commanders decided the pivot reduced casualties and preserved their frontline fighting force.

“American officials say they fear that Ukraine has become casualty averse, one reason it has been cautious about pressing ahead with the counteroffensive. Almost any big push against dug-in Russian defenders protected by minefields would result in huge numbers of losses.”

I’m sorry, US officials “fear” that Ukraine is becoming “casualty averse”? Because safer battlefield tactics that burn through a lot of ammunition don’t chew through lives like charging through a minefield under heavy artillery fire?

What are the Ukrainians supposed to be? Casualty amenable? If Ukraine was more casualty amenable, would it be more willing to throw young bodies into the gears of this proxy war that the US empire actively provoked and killed peace deals to maintain?

Something tells me that the US officials speaking to The New York Times about their “fear” of Ukrainian casualty aversiveness do not know what real fear is. Something tells me that if you marched these US officials through Russian minefields under constant fire from artillery and helicopter gunships, then they would understand fear.

Western officials have been spending the last few weeks whining to the media that Ukraine’s inability to gain ground is due to an irrational aversion to being killed. They’ve been decrying Ukrainian cowardice to the press under cover of anonymity, from behind the safety of their office desks.

In an article published Thursday titled “U.S. intelligence says Ukraine will fail to meet offensive’s key goal,” The Washington Post cited anonymous “U.S. and Western officials” to report that the massive losses Ukraine has been suffering in this counteroffensive had been “anticipated” in war games ahead of time, but that they had “envisioned Kyiv accepting the casualties as the cost of piercing through Russia’s main defensive line.”

The same article quotes Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba telling critics of the counteroffensive to “go and join the foreign legion” if they don’t like the results so far, adding, “It’s easy to say that you want everything to be faster when you are not there.”

In an article published last month titled “U.S. Cluster Munitions Arrive in Ukraine, but Impact on Battlefield Remains Unclear,” The New York Times reported unnamed senior US officials had “privately expressed frustration” that Ukrainian commanders “fearing increased casualties among their ranks” were switching to artillery barrages, “rather than sticking with the Western tactics and pressing harder to breach the Russian defenses.”

“Why don’t they come and do it themselves?” a former Ukrainian defense minister told The New York Times in response to the American criticism.

In an article last month titled “Ukraine’s Lack of Weaponry and Training Risks Stalemate in Fight With Russia,” The Wall Street Journal reported that unnamed western military officials “knew Kyiv didn’t have all the training or weapons” needed to dislodge Russia, but that they had “hoped Ukrainian courage and resourcefulness would carry the day” anyway. 

“It didn’t,” Wall Street Journal added.

In the same article, The Wall Street Journal cited a US Army War College professor named John Nagle admitting that the US itself would never attempt the kind of counteroffensive it’s been pushing Ukrainians into attempting.

“America would never attempt to defeat a prepared defense without air superiority, but they [Ukrainians] don’t have air superiority,” Nagl said, adding, “It’s impossible to overstate how important air superiority is for fighting a ground fight at a reasonable cost in casualties.”

And now we’re seeing reports in the mass media that US officials — still under cover of anonymity of course — are beginning to wonder if perhaps it might have been better to try to negotiate peace instead of launching this counteroffensive that they knew was doomed from the beginning. 

In an article titled “Milley had a point,” Politico cites multiple anonymous US officials saying that as “the realities of the counteroffensive are sinking in around Washington,” empire managers are beginning to wonder if they should have heeded outgoing Joint Chiefs chair Mark Milley’s suggestion back in November that it was a good time to consider peace talks.

“We may have missed a window to push for earlier talks,” one anonymous official says, adding, “Milley had a point.”

Oops. Oops they made a little oopsie poopsie. Oh well, it’s only Ukrainian lives.

Imagine reading through all this as a Ukrainian, especially a Ukrainian who’s lost a home or a loved one to this war. I imagine white hot tears pouring down my face. I imagine rage, and I imagine overwhelming frustration.

This whole war could have been avoided with a little diplomacy and a few mild concessions to Moscow. It could have been stopped in the early weeks of the conflict back when a tentative peace agreement had been struck. It could have been stopped back in November before this catastrophic counteroffensive.

But it wasn’t. The US had an agenda to lock Moscow into a costly military quagmire with the goal of weakening Russia, and to this day US officials openly boast about all this war is doing to advance US interests. So they’ve kept it going, using Ukrainian bodies as a giant sponge to soak up as many expensive military explosives as possible to drain Russian coffers while advancing US energy interests in Europe and keeping Moscow preoccupied while the empire orchestrates its next move against China.

Last month The Washington Post’s David Ignatius wrote an article explaining why westerners shouldn’t “feel gloomy” about how things are going in Ukraine, writing the following about how much this war is doing to benefit US interests overseas:

“Meanwhile, for the United States and its NATO allies, these 18 months of war have been a strategic windfall, at relatively low cost (other than for the Ukrainians). The West’s most reckless antagonist has been rocked. NATO has grown much stronger with the additions of Sweden and Finland. Germany has weaned itself from dependence on Russian energy and, in many ways, rediscovered its sense of values. NATO squabbles make headlines, but overall, this has been a triumphal summer for the alliance.”

“Other than for the Ukrainians” he says, as a parenthetical aside.

Everyone who supported this horrifying proxy war should have that paragraph tattooed on their fucking forehead.


* * *


  1. Mike Geniella August 20, 2023

    Thanks to Mark Scaramella for his insights into Boner’s book. I especially loved his account of the audio ending about Ted Cruz. All of the MAGA crowd should go eff themselves.

    • Marmon August 20, 2023

      CNN’s Jake Tapper says ‘Trump was right’ and ‘Biden was wrong’ about Hunter’s business dealings with China.


      • Bruce McEwen August 20, 2023

        Hey, James, tune into KPFA — they’re playing that smoking bluegrass you like so well for the next two hrs.

      • Harvey Reading August 20, 2023

        Oh, then…of course it must be true! LOL, given that CNN is a most trusted source of truth and accurate information…

  2. Eric Sunswheat August 20, 2023

    RE: state-authorized delivery of harm reduction services.
    —> August 18, 2023 In modern, Western cultures, ‘mental illness; is often attributed to abnormalities in brain functioning. Whether they are described as genetic malformations, chemical imbalances, or epigenetic disturbances, the cause of depression, addiction, schizophrenia, and other mental diseases are seemingly always assumed to reside at the biological level.
    However, we do not diagnose mental illness via tools such as blood work or fMRI imaging, where doctors would be able to see the malformations and apply a diagnosis, leading to a set of possible treatments and cures.
    Causal genes have yet to be found for mental disorders such as schizophrenia. For over a decade or more, we have known that the “chemical imbalance” theory is false (even if we still hear it in drug advertisements). fMRI imaging still can’t identify the differentiations between normal brains and those with ADHD…
    “Psychiatric research and practices apply physical disease models and medical classifications to the realms of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors based on reification and on a superficial medical analogy where mind and mental disorders are assessed and treated the same as bodily tissues/organs and physical symptoms…
    The first and second editions of the [DSM] were at first still informed by psychological theories (i.e., psychoanalysis) and etiology… the third edition of the manual (DSM-III) saw the removal of the distinction between psychological and biological disorders, in order to proceed in a supposedly atheoretical fashion. This return… was once more undertaken to make psychiatry more credible and closer to medicine.”..
    “While psychotropic drugs can be useful in alleviating suffering and preventing harm in certain acute situations and conditions, in the long term, they interfere with the healthy function and reactions of neurotransmitters as they create the chemical unbalance they are supposed to resolve, leading to serious damaging effects and to cognitive and physical disability… psychotropic drugs create abnormal brain states rather than ‘cure’ them.”..
    “Psychiatry does not define its constructs, does not refer them to any psychological theory, and treats them as empirical objects existing a priori and factual truths as medicine does. Indeed, the biopharmacological approach applied to ‘mental health’ does not work and creates more illness and sufferance than solutions.”

  3. Kirk Vodopals August 20, 2023

    One Taste , two taste, perverts and grifters.
    Three taste, four taste, breakups and scheisters.
    Five taste, six taste, shenanigans and heisters.
    Seven taste , eight taste, just another indication of the decline of western civilization.
    You spend your money on what?

    • Chuck Dunbar August 20, 2023

      Nicely done, Kirk. And, yes, that is the question for folks. What the heck?

      • Eric Sunswheat August 20, 2023

        —> August 5, 2023
        “I always thought I’d be married,” she says. “I was definitely raised to be a wife, and I never imagined I’d be on my own.”…

        “Well over a third of people who are getting divorced now are over the age of 50,” Brown says. “We just can’t ignore that group anymore.”…

        Rather than “gray divorce,” Myres says she prefers the term “silver splitters,” because it also alludes to the silver lining of starting fresh, no matter how old you are.

  4. Bob A. August 20, 2023

    Worthy the Lamb Slain for Us

    On the edge of a pasture in a confusion of stones,
    obscured by the long grass and floramour,
    the footprint of horror cloven and drawn.
    She had a beautiful name: freedom.
    Pretty little chop. Unmarketable, light
    the bleating of new life.

    He loved her mouth, tiny feet dressed in pleats.
    Hearing her cry, he picked her up by the stem
    of her throat in his thick arms slick with dew.
    And he, a governed soul, broad shouldered
    with eyes like Blake, lamented who bred thee, nursed
    thee on mead and flowers, as he ripped her apart.

    The barn was burning an indifferent hell,
    engulfing little maids in their curly coats.
    The field and fell lay empty as the heart.
    He called to his god gasping for breath
    we abandoned the farms we culled,
    cut the cord, incinerated our little ones.

    We did it for love we did it for man,
    the hawthorn and the cuckoo,
    the footpaths of Cumbria.
    We did it for a beautiful name.
    freedom, baa baa baa,
    nothing you could put your finger on.

    — Patti Smith

  5. Harvey Reading August 20, 2023


    I don’t mind tipping waitresses, but that’s it. I never pay attention to the begging jars otherwise, and do my best never to shop in the place again. When I was a kid, it was a sign of disrespect to tip an owner…of ANY business.

    • Bruce McEwen August 20, 2023

      Hey, Harv, how’s the Ft. Bridger mountain man rendezvous this year? Are you going to pop over in buckskins and moccasins, touch off the old musket, throw tomahawks, pound on tomtoms and kindle a fire with two sticks … or sit home alone and mope about politics?

      • Harvey Reading August 20, 2023

        Nope. As far as I’m concerned trappers and the like were nothing more than a bunch of greedy, drunken, conniving bums who nearly wiped out beaver in the “lower 48”. They have a “rendezvous” celebration in these parts, too. Never been to it; never will be to it..

        Do “have a nice day.”

  6. Harvey Reading August 20, 2023

    Good on Caitlin Johnstone.

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