Clearing | Mendo Fog | Boonquiz Break | Hopland Grocery | Flower Garden | Assessor Report | Old Truck | Ed Notes | Walking Tractor | Harvest Dinner | Coast Flora | Yesterday's Catch | Sako's Friend | Candlestick Parking | Building Standards | Farmworker Exhibition | Downtown Crumb | Unprogressive Kennedy | Raven & Crows | Hero Candidate | Big Spider | Ukraine | Bookman | Not NATO | Tree Rings | Never Left | Free Stuff | Peace Obstacle | Sidecar Pig
DRIZZLE AND FOG will quickly clear this morning giving way to warmer and drier conditions. Offshore flow will promote warm conditions midweek with even the coast reaching above 70 with the interior in the 90s. Cooler and wetter weather will return this weekend. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): On the coast this Tuesday morning I have a partly cloudy 50F. Generally warm & clear this week. We have a chance of rain early next week, I'll be watching of course.
BOONVILLE QUIZ ON PAUSE
Dear Friends of The Quiz,
After much deliberation, and even angst, I have decided to take a break from producing and presenting 'The General Knowledge and Trivia Quiz' here in Boonville at Lauren’s at The Buckhorn. I am not sure for how long at the point, but certainly a few months, although I may do an occasional ‘Pop-Up Quiz’ in the meantime.
I have been presenting The Quiz here in Anderson Valley for 17 years, since starting in 2006 at The Highpockety Ox through periods of time at The Boonville Lodge, the original Lauren’s, and The Buckhorn. It has been a labor of love and I shall certainly miss the fun and banter of those many nights, but I need a break from the demands of creating such a “show” on such a consistent basis.
I greatly appreciate the support for those evenings by many Valley folks and hopefully such times can be enjoyed once again one day.
“You know it makes sense.”
Cheers, Steve Sparks, The Quizmaster.
HOPLAND HAS A GROCERY STORE!
Opening Day at Geiger’s Market!
We truly appreciate the community support and excitement celebrating opening weekend. We were overwhelmed to see so many familiar faces and made lots of new friends. We continue adding more great product choices and expanding our fresh deli, meat and seafood (coming soon!) offerings.
More to come at Geiger’s Market!
A READER WRITES:
In regards to the Assessor Report: This is what happens when an office is combined and all the importance is focused on Elections. Ironically we have only found out about this because Bowtie Ted and his fellow Stupidvisors combined another office and then waged personal attacks on the elected Auditor/Treasurer-Tax Collector. Why? Because they don’t like her, it’s that simple. She held people accountable on their budgets and questioned the egotistical DA. Supervisors don’t like this.
Let’s talk about the Assessor’s Office which over 20 years ago was combined and since has been under the direction of Marsha Wharf, Sue Ranochak and now Katrina Bartolomie. Elections are its sole purpose in the minds of these three and they have allowed the Assessor to lose valuable knowledge and walk out the door. Staffing is at an all time low because Ms. Bartolomie simply doesn’t care about this part of the office. She is only focused on it now because she has been forced to by Bowtie’s ridiculous rants against Ms. Cubbison. Bowtie Ted has praised this office in the past, REALLY! They are 2 years behind in reassessing properties that have sold. In the end Ms. Bartolomie figured out that if you kiss Bowtie’s back end, it keeps you out of the crosshairs.
“BE AWESOME TODAY,” a handwritten sign on a tree near my house in San Anselmo, a mausoleum-like neighborhood of absolute silence, the only human-type people to be seen are dog walkers who use the elementary school down the street as a dog park, chatting in oblivious knots, uncaring that they're putting their dogs — “fur babies” as the extremely depraved anthromorphs call their animals —ahead of the health of children. Be awesome today. The message annoys me every which way. Awesome how? Like the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon? It has never occurred to me or anybody I know to inspire awesomeness, and what kind of feeb of a busybody thinks random passersby might need a shot of false uplift? What's with this deluge of superlatives anyway? Down with awesome!
BRANDON CRAWFORD was an awesome shortstop, a delight to watch, an artist on the baseball field. Brock Purdy looks like he's going to be an awesome quarterback, and is there any running back now running more awesome than Christian McCaffrey? Any receiver more awesome than Brandon Aiyuk?
IT WOULD BE truly awesome if we could see night skies, but even here in the rural outback of Boonville the town is lit up like a perpetual Christmas tree. Years ago when I bothered to have my complaints rejected in public, I went to a school board meeting to request that the elementary school go dark at night. “You don't understand, Mr. Anderson. The night lights deter burglars.” I thought the expensive illumination made it easier for burglars to burgle, sparing them fumbling around in the dark for their imagined treasures? Besides which, the only burglars had been priced outta here, although there remains some senseless vandalism committed by the more alienated cadres of Our Nation's Future. To see God's nighttime glory, you've got to get yourself pretty deep into the hills, but you've got to go way deep, and even there there's no escaping the industrial hum of distant traffic.
I WAS JUST READING our comment line having to do with the alleged crimes of Mendocino County's Children's Protective Services agency, which I tend to think are truthful, off my own experience with that office some years ago. But that long ago experience, covered in all its grisly detail in print in the pre-cyber ava, was a story of the most egregious, most ignorant, least competent, most heartless social workers I've ever dealt with. And that whole dreary mob was backed to the max by the judge. Guess what? The dumbest, least responsible person of that bunch was appointed boss of the whole criminally defective office, none of whom had children of their own or had ever raised children.
THE ONGOING problem with CPS Mendo, and it's probably worse in most urban places, is that there's no oversight. Wealthy parents can hire a lawyer to fight arbitrary custody decisions. Rich people seldom appear in the Mendo courts, and when they do, they usually get off. Or get a favorable custody decision.
YOU LOSE YOUR CHILDREN in private. The whole process is secret, in camera, as the legal eagles say to protect themselves from public scrutiny. Occasionally, some outraged schlub will get in touch with us to tell his or her unhappy story of his or her experience with these dubious, tax-paid protectors of children, who will remain dubious so long as custody hearings remain closed to the public.
OUR CHILD-PROTECTING JUDGE nowadays is Cindi Mayfield. She, as all the custody judges before her, and we're talking a legal context of nine go-along-to-get-along lawyers here in Mendo, automatically takes the social worker's word for whatever the social worker presents as the custody truth. The justice system being class-based, and the working or poor parent being financially unable to defend him or herself, the parent is in a No-Win situation.
AS IT HAPPENS, I just got this message today: “I would like to stay anonymous. I have a story that would peak your interest. CPS is kidnapping my daughters and covering up sexual abuse of both of my daughters who are babies.”
I DUNNO. Allegations of sexual child abuse have become so common in divorce and custody proceedings, I'll need a medical doctor's declaration that the child, or children in this case, have truly been violated. Saying so is inherently not credible.
BABIES BEING MOLESTED? Thanks to the prevalence of pornography and the general psycho-social collapse of what used to be common assumptions of moral behavior, we all know that there are more free range degenerates out there than ever, but I have to assume most people remain committed to the inviolate sanctity of children.
HARVEST DINNER: A Culinary Celebration of Local Flavors and 10 years of the School of Adaptive Agriculture
Willits, CA – Get ready for a gastronomic journey that celebrates the bounty of our local farms and the creativity of our talented chefs. Harvest Dinner, a “Grow, Cook & Gather” Celebration, is set to delight your taste buds on Monday, October 16th at the Little Lake Grange. This culinary extravaganza promises an unforgettable evening of delectable dishes crafted from the freshest, locally-sourced ingredients, and prepared by our talented local chefs.
Over the past decade, the School of Adaptive Agriculture has been instrumental in educating individuals about growing food and cultivating resilience. Through comprehensive programs and hands-on experiences, SAA has empowered countless members of the community to actively participate in more sustainable practices. "The school has done a great job at educating folks on growing food and building resilience," says ‘Farm & Garden’ radio show host Elizabeth Archer. "Their commitment to promoting sustainable agriculture and regenerative practices has had a profound impact on our community."
This event brings together the community, farmers, and food enthusiasts to celebrate 10 years of promoting the importance of eating locally. Attendees can look forward to an evening filled with:
• Farm-Fresh Flavors: Carefully crafted dishes prepared by renowned local chefs will showcase the vibrant flavors of seasonal ingredients, sourced directly from our partner farms including Black Dog Farm & Catering, Golden Rule Gardens, the Mendocino Grain Project, Nurturing Seed Farm, Green Uprising Farm, Emandal Farm, Happy Day Farm, Mulligan Farms, and more.
• Meet the Farmers: Interact with the hardworking farmers who provide the ingredients for your meal. Gain insights into sustainable farming practices and the importance of supporting local agriculture.
• Exciting Raffle: A chance to win awesome prizes including a week-long Mendocino Coast getaway, gift basket from Happy Day Farm, and much more. Wine and Beverage Pairings: Sip on organic wines from Bonterra or craft beer from North Spur Brewing Co., fresh pressed apple cider from Nurturing Seed Farm and signature non-alcoholic cocktails created by Black Dog Farm & Catering that complement the flavors of the dishes.
"As a farmer who doesn’t own land, I’ve moved several times in my twenty years in Mendocino County. I’m forever grateful to the School for inviting me to come and farm here. I’ve benefited so much from their support over the years and want to express my gratitude in the way I know best - cooking a beautiful dinner for us. SAA does more than just hold specific classes or workshops; it continuously adapts to grow and support farmers and food security in Mendocino." says Caroline Radice, owner of Black Dog Farm & Catering, and volunteer at the School of Adaptive Agriculture. "This harvest dinner is a celebration of the season and our regional food, and a time for us to get together and eat a delicious meal. It is more than just a fundraiser; this is a recognition that together we acknowledge the significance of food sovereignty.”
Tickets for this “Grow, Cook & Gather" experience are now available for purchase on our website: schoolofadaptiveagriculture.org. Don't miss the opportunity to be part of this culinary celebration of local flavors, where every bite tells a story of community, sustainability, and farm-fresh goodness.
For media inquiries, event details, or sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, please contact:
Event Website: https://schoolofadaptiveagriculture.org/home/events/
Venue: Little Lake Grange - 291 School Street, Willits, CA 95490
Event Date: October/16/2023
CATCH OF THE DAY, Monday, October 2, 2023
FRANK BRUCE, Clearlake/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
SONO CARRIGG, Ukiah. Parole violation. (Frequent Flyer)
LUZ CEJA, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. Domestic battery.
LARRY COMMANDER, Ukiah. Attempted murder, criminal threats, domestic abuse, controlled substance.
JULIO DELCAMPO-VELAZQUEZ, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JULIUS GRUBER, Willits. Probation revocation.
NICOLE HAWKINS, Covelo. Failure to appear.
VERNON KNAPP, Ukiah. Failure to appear. (Frequent Flyer)
JUSTICE MENEAR, Ukiah. Failure to appear, probation revocation.
NICHOLAS TOW, Willits. DUI-alcohol&drugs, pot possession for sale, no license.
Letter to the Editor:
I knew Senator Feinstein for many years. She was a friend of our radio show, "Heroes and Patriots", which airs on KMUD in little Redway, California (population 1,188).
Senator Feinstein followed us every step of the way.
Why? Because our show punches far above its weight class. Our focus is national security, and we've interviewed guests like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Tom Drake, and Coleen Rowley. And we've reported on stories, like the failure of command leadership at USSTRATCOM in 2013, with inside sources.
Senator Feinstein took an interest in our show. She would often listen and sometimes email us with comments and suggestions. She took an interest in us two reasons: one, we had A-list guests; and two, we sometimes broke national stories.
Senator Feinstein cared for her constituents, big and small. I was one of the smaller ones. But Senator Feinstein never made me feel small.
cohost, coproducer, "Heroes and Patriots Radio" on KMUD
BUILD FOR SAFETY
California offering fire insurance is a great idea if the local building inspector certifies that there is a nonburnable barrier around the structure, the roof is fireproof (you could build a fire on it), all vents are blocked with mesh that prevents embers, the exterior walls are per fireproofing recommendations, and the windows have whatever treatment is required to survive the heat of a fire. And how about roof and internal fire sprinklers?
Offer cheap California earthquake insurance if you build homes according to the same standards as hospitals and schools. Offer cheap California flood insurance if houses are above flood levels. Otherwise move them or raze them.
Let’s cause California housing to become survivable.
IN THE FIELDS OF THE NORTH | En los Campos del Norte
features photojournalist David Bacon’s evocative, powerful photographs alongside moving oral narratives from migrant farm workers. The exhibition, fully translated into both English and Spanish, gives viewers a reality check on the food they eat and the lives of the people who harvest it.
Global Museum, Fine Arts Building Room 203
San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA
Exhibition Dates: October 3 through December 7, 2023
- Opening reception: Saturday, October 14, 1 to 3 p.m.; free tickets on eventbrite
- Regular hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
RFK JR.: BAD NEWS FOR PROGRESSIVES
by Jeff Cohen & Norman Solomon
If Robert F. Kennedy Jr. follows through on his apparent plans to run for president in the fall 2024 general election, that will make it all the more important for progressives to have a clear understanding of who Kennedy is and what he really stands for.
In advance of announcing that he’ll run as an independent, according to Mediaite, the Kennedy campaign will deploy “attack ads” against the Democratic National Committee for preventing an open primary process. The DNC’s shenanigans deserve to be condemned, and we’ve repeatedly done so, including here, here and here.
Kennedy can be forceful in denouncing aspects of U.S. militarism—making valid points about hawkish foreign policies that shun diplomacy while enriching military contractors. But a closer look at his overall views is needed, lest progressives follow Kennedy into his often inaccurate—and sometimes demagogic—rabbit hole.
Any serious progressive critique of U.S. foreign policy must include a challenge to our country’s one-sided position on Israel/Palestine—which leads to other dangerous policies, such as supporting the Saudi dictatorship (and its horrific Yemen war), while eternally polarizing with and threatening Iran.
"Kennedy’s positions on domestic policies—from the climate crisis to economics to his extreme anti-vaccination views—are often at odds with progressivism."
Kennedy seems to believe that Washington has not been one-sided enough in support of Israel. He pledged in a mid-July interview: “There’s nobody who’s running for president right now in either party who will be a better friend to Israel than me as president.” Kennedy followed up by saying: “Progressive Democrats have become outspoken opponents of Israel. That’s the worst outcome of woke culture.”
And he added: “The criticism of Israel is a false narrative. Israel is a shining star on human rights in the Middle East.”
If you are a progressive who is leaning toward RFK Jr. but cares about Palestinian rights and Middle East peace, you should watch the recent interview with him conducted by Israel-can-do-no-wrong Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Kennedy questions the “narrative” of Palestinians as “oppressed,” applauds the Israeli military for consistently “avoiding civilian casualties,” says he doesn't want the Biden administration to make a nuclear agreement with Iran, and agrees with Rabbi Shmuley’s characterization of Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib as “anti-Semitic.”
In that July 16 interview, RFK Jr. was evidently trying to do damage control after the discovery of a video from this summer in which he made bizarre comments suggesting that Covid-19 was an “ethnically targeted” bioweapon and that Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people are the most immune. But Kennedy’s extreme support of Israel and his closeness with Rabbi Shmuley predate those comments. In June, he waved Israeli flags side-by-side with Shmuley in Manhattan’s “Celebrate Israel 75th” parade and declared in a column for Jewish Journal: “I support Israel because I share Israel’s values.”
Kennedy’s positions on domestic policies—from the climate crisis to economics to his extreme anti-vaccination views—are often at odds with progressivism. In a thorough critique, Naomi Klein exposes his faux populism and support from high-tech billionaires. Besides debunking many of his claims about vaccines, Klein points out that Kennedy asserts the climate crisis is being overhyped by “totalitarian elements in our society” and has said that he’d leave energy policy to market forces.
Klein makes clear that RFK Jr. is no economic populist: “On Fox, he would not even come out in favor of a wealth tax; he has brushed off universal public health care as not ‘politically realistic’; and I have heard nothing about raising the minimum wage.”
Kennedy does not have a systemic, class analysis of what’s wrong in U.S. society. Instead, he has a conspiratorial view. And through his use of social media and other outreach, he’s attracted considerable support from the conspiracy-minded right wing. In April, Steve Bannon—seen as the brains behind Donald Trump—commented that “Bobby Kennedy would be an excellent choice for Trump to consider” as a VP running-mate. Both Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Trump acolyte Roger Stone said in late July that it might be good to put Kennedy in the next Republican cabinet.
While running for president as a Democrat, RFK Jr. gave friendly interviews to corporate libertarian outlets. That coziness and his consultation with the chair of the Libertarian Party have led to speculation that he’ll end up as the candidate of the Libertarians, whose party was on the ballot in almost every state in 2020. (Going it alone, RFK Jr. would likely not qualify for many state ballots, given the undemocratic hurdles.)
It’s unclear what RFK Jr.’s strategy is. What is clear is that his campaign may end up helping the neo-fascist Republicans win in November 2024. Back in 2016, Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton after both major parties nominated very unpopular candidates. Eight percent of young voters—a demographic that leans heavily Democratic—voted for either the Libertarian or Green parties, a percentage that was much higher in some swing states.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. offers progressives a mishmash of appealing statements, “free market” corporatism, and assorted political toxins. Not a good deal.
(Jeff Cohen is an activist and author. Cohen was an associate professor of journalism and the director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, founder of the media watch group FAIR, and former board member of Progressive Democrats of America. In 2002, he was a producer and pundit at MSNBC. He is the author of "Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media" - and a co-founder of the online action group, www.RootsAction.org. His website is jeffcohen.org. Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His new book, War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine, was published in June 2023 by The New Press.)
by James Kunstler
“Intents have been overtaken by events.” — Jacob Dreizin
You have to wonder what took Bobby Kennedy, Jr. so long to recognize that the Democratic Party was a home that he had long ago been turned out of, like a dog that has peed on the carpet too many times. At the end of last week, Mr. Kennedy intimated that he might run for president on an independent line. If he manages to get that line on the state ballots — and you can easily imagine New York and California trying to thwart him — it will change all the current calculations about the 2024 election.
As of right now, the Party of Chaos is living up to its name. They continue to present an obviously false and ridiculous consensus among themselves that “Joe Biden” is running for reelection. In fact, “the Big Guy” is about to get run through a wringer of the most abject public disgrace as his already-well-known crimes of bribery and treason get conscientiously laid out for all to see with cold and implacable decorum. Even the mind-fucked spawn of the Ivy League, toiling away on their CIA-owned newspapers and cable news networks, might find themselves forced to spin their narrative in a new direction.
“Joe Biden” is now a monumental embarrassment and a liability to our country, let alone to the degenerate party that owns him. Sub rosa efforts must be in motion to persuade him to resign before the impeachment inquiry spotlights all those telltale bank records, but they will fail to overcome his demented pride. He’ll ride this thing out to the bitter end, when he can use the last tool at his disposal to officially pardon everyone involved in his family’s racketeering operation. The longer the party pretends to support him, the closer the party itself skates toward self-destruction. Also consider: if allowed to play out, the impeachment inquiry will implicate the DOJ and the FBI in obstruction of justice — exposing many Deep State blob players to danger of prosecution.
Gov Gavin Newsom dangles himself above the fray as the deus ex machina who can touch down in DC and make all the Democrat’s problems go away. Such an attractive fellow! Great teeth and hair! Tall as a sequoia! And such a smooth talker! The woked-up suburban ladies who comprise the party’s main voting bloc grow moist in anticipation of Gov. Newsome landing on-stage like a demigod out of a Mozart opera. But how do you think he’ll make out in an election when the airwaves are filled with oppo ads showing his toothy and hairy visage inset against scenes of homeless junkies and looting flash mobs? Try blaming that on climate change. What else does he stand for? Censorship? Forced vaccinations? Child sex mutilations? Open borders? News-flash: these are increasingly unpopular, except among an easily-identified depraved elite.
Indeed, the whole Left-Right demon-driven psychodrama is proving impossible to live in as it throbs and pulsates toward something like civil war. And it has obscured the truly potent idea that the nation might actually be capable of solving its problems by facing up to them and changing how we act. That potent idea might be what voters will see in Bobby Kennedy if he can get their attention. Mr. Kennedy would dismantle the heinous partnerships between private corporations and the US government that loosed the Covid-19 op on the world and asset-strips the middle-class. He favors closing the border and a reevalution of immigration policy. He aims to negotiate an end to the ignoble Ukraine war project. He’s determined to disassemble the security state apparatus that’s destroying the US Constitution and citizens natural rights with it.
Mr. Kennedy says he can bring divided Americans together on these dire matters. It’s conceivable that his message might go over with enough rancor-weary voters to pull off a tour-de-force plurality in a three-way race, where nobody wins enough electoral votes to settle the contest, which then moves to the House, like in the old days of Jefferson and Burr. The rest is election mechanics, some of it very sinister when you consider all the election-rigging booby-traps already in-place such as mass mail-in ballot harvesting, no voter ID requirements, and the still-mysterious hookups of vote-counting machines to the Internet. But, at least, Mr. Kennedy running on an independent line will be a hard whap upside the Democratic Party’s thick skull, maybe even a death-blow to the party. They made a big mistake trying to un-person him. He’s on a hero’s journey at a moment in history when America dearly needs a hero.
UKRAINE, MONDAY, 2ND OCTOBER
Ukraine says it is working with the US after Congress did not include new wartime aid in a last-minute deal to avoid a government shutdown. US President Joe Biden vowed that American support would continue.
The party of an openly pro-Russian politician won Slovakia's parliamentary election, although it will need a coalition partner to govern. Slovakia — which is part of NATO — has been one of Kyiv’s staunchest allies.
Flights were briefly restricted at Sochi International Airport in Russia after a Ukrainian drone was shot down. Ukraine has been stepping up its drone attacks on Russian infrastructure beyond its borders.
Ukraine is marking Day of the Defenders, the national holiday honoring veterans and fallen soldiers. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said that "victory will come" against Russia while attending a ceremony.
MATT ORFALEA VERSUS THE MEMORY HOLE: UKRAINE WAR ‘NOT ABOUT NATO’
As a NATO official admits Russia was motivated by NATO to invade Ukraine, video creator Matt Orfalea shows how often we were told the war was "not about NATO"
by Matt Taibbi
As Matt Orfalea shows in his latest meticulous dissection of the propaganda memory hole, Western politicians and pundits after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022 insisted over and over, often angrily, that the war was unconnected with NATO expansion. “It’s not about NATO” overnight joined “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” “worst attack since the Civil War,” “assault on our democracy” and others on the increasingly long list of this era’s mandatory political incantations.
So it was a surprise, or maybe it wasn’t, when NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg just weeks ago, on September 7th, addressed a European parliamentary committee and said the opposite of what he’d insisted previously:
The background was that President Putin declared in the autumn of 2021, and actually sent a draft treaty that they wanted NATO to sign, to promise no more NATO enlargement… a pre-condition [to] not invade Ukraine. Of course we didn’t sign that.
The opposite happened. He wanted us to sign that promise, never to enlarge NATO. He wanted us to remove our military infrastructure in all Allies that have joined NATO since 1997, meaning half of NATO, all the Central and Eastern Europe, we should remove NATO from that part of our Alliance, introducing some kind of B, or second class membership. We rejected that.
Stoltenberg made these remarks in the context of insisting Putin got “the exact opposite” of a blow against NATO expansion by invading Ukraine. “He has got more NATO presence in eastern part of the Alliance,” Stoltenberg said, “and he has also seen that Finland has already joined the Alliance and Sweden will soon be a full member.” This is crucial to point out because while there was no propaganda value in bringing up NATO expansion right after the invasion, Stoltenberg clearly has one now, in the form of news about Finland, Sweden, and the heightened NATO “presence” near Russia that’s a fast-evolving, massively underreported story (more on it below).
As noted in a terrific Harper’scover story by Christopher Layne and Benjamin Schwarz in June and later profiled here, the background story to the Ukraine conflict has been assiduously kept from American audiences. Knowing the history may not change perception about Vladimir Putin’s invasion, but the world needs to know it, as the packed three-decade timeline has ramifications beyond Ukraine, sending us careening (perhaps, by now, inexorably) toward World War. Layne and Schwarz, neither doves exactly, explained that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US began aggressively pushing NATO outward in a hyper-caffeinated global Monroe Doctrine. This was under a premise articulated by then-Senator Richard Lugar: “There can be no lasting security at the center without security at the periphery.”
These radical expansion plans led in 1997 to a mass letter of protest by establishment wonks against what even the likes of Robert McNamara and Richard Pipes called a “policy error of historic proportions.” Only much later, after the absorption of Hungary, Poland, the three Baltic nations, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia and other states, was there anything like a serious suggestion of pushback from countries like Russia or China. When the US in 2014 began training thousands of Ukrainian troops a year in not-exactly-secret exercises, on the heels of a collapsedRusso-Ukrainian trade deal, tensions ratcheted to new levels. Imagine American pols seeing Russo-Mexican border exercises on the Internet, and you can probably guess the tenor of Kremlin conversations when videos like the following hit YouTube in the late Obama years:
None of this justifies Russia’s invasion. It is however crucial to understand, as Stoltenberg just confirmed, that war in Ukraine is taking place on a long historical continuum of controversy over NATO expansion, and that the relentless messaging to the contrary in the US is just the latest coordinated deception campaign Americans have had to swallow. It’s hard to avoid noticing, in Orf’s unsettling edit, that some of the most eager parroters of NATO talking points are voices from onetime antiwar outlets like The Young Turks.The difference between an arch-hawk like Michael McFaul and Ana Kasparian is that Ana gave a folksy “Seriously, it’s not about NATO,” while McFaul left out the “seriously.”
NATO dominated headlines everywhere last week. In a story the Telegraphcalled a “significant escalation,” UK Defence Secretary Grant Schapps last week said British troops would be sent “into Ukraine,” and warships would begin support operations in the Black Sea. NATO troops were sent to Kosovo, mirroring an apparent buildup by Serbian forces. Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi denounced “wanton expansion of military alliances” echoing a summer accusation of “eastward movement into the Asia-Pacific region.” That came after the alliance released a strategic paper for the first time listing China as a threat to the “rules-based international order.” NATO just tested underwater drones amid “concerns” Russia is targeting undersea internet cables, Turkey promised to ratify NATO’s seemingly inevitable addition of Sweden if the US greenlit an F-16 sale, while four US jets and 100 American troops were sent to Romania, which quietly made plans to move air defenses across the Danube and expand a no-fly zone.
At the center of all this, of course, is Ukraine. “No doubt,” said Julianne Smith, America’s permanent representative to NATO, “Ukraine will likely be part of the deliverables” for next year’s alliance summit in Washington.
Americans need to understand that the Ukraine “deliverable” is just a weigh station on a long road of expansion plans that by definition must at some point lead to a serious confrontation. Occasionally, as people like Branko Marcetic just pointed out, this is admitted. Remarks by Hillary Clinton last week were a classic example.
Last week in Washington, at the belated unveiling of an official portrait as former Secretary of State, Clinton needled Vladimir Putin. “Defending democracy in Ukraine, expanding NATO. Just as an aside, too bad, Vladimir, you brought it on yourself,” she said inspiring headlines like, Hillary Clinton pokes Putin on NATO expansion and Hillary Clinton mocks Putin.
Clinton explained that America’s current foreign policy is a “continuation of a lot of the values and priorities that we worked on,” including “expanding NATO” and “facing down Russian aggression.” Or Chinese aggression, or North Korean aggression, or whoever might take issue with the expansion of the alliance. This unipolar vision might seem reasonable to many, particularly in light of Putin’s strike at Ukraine, but the right or wrong isn’t the issue. It’s just fact that not every country in the world welcomes an expanded Western alliance, and a few of the disputants are major economic or military powers. This means tense moments are coming, it’s just a question of where, and when.
Agree or not, but Orf is right to point out: “It’s not about NATO” was just another big lie, the latest in a depressingly long line of straight-to-the-memory-hole releases.
‘ALL THAT MONEY SENT TO UKRAINE WILL END UP BEING A WASTE.’
No. It does not go like that. Rather, it goes like this:
Biden says, “Give Ukraine $24B.”
Congress says, “Done!”
Treasury says to Fed, “Another $24B, please.”
Fed giggles (while maniacally rubbing its hands together).
Fed says, “Done!”
MIC says, “Over here!”
Treasury says, “Done!”
MIC then pockets the $24B and sends its over-priced clear-out old inventory (shipped on yet different tax dollars) to Ukraine.
Bob’s your uncle.
The money is not “gone” or “wasted” or “left the country.” Actually, it never leaves DC the whole time.
THIS PROXY WAR Can’t Be Both ‘Unprovoked’ AND A Great Strategic Investment
by Caitlin Johnstone
As opposition to funding the US proxy war in Ukraine increases on Capitol Hill, empire apologists have been frantically churning out think pieces about how much the war serves US strategic interests in order to manufacture support for its continued backing by Washington. Such arguments flatly contradict the propaganda messaging we were inundated with at the beginning of the war that this was an “unprovoked invasion”, but empire managers don’t seem particularly interested in defending that narrative anymore.
The latest appearance in this new “our Ukraine proxy warfare greatly advances US strategic interests” genre of op-ed comes to us courtesy of notorious war propagandist Max Boot via The Washington Post. Boot’s article was originally titled “Ukraine aid is a great investment. Don’t let MAGA Republicans end it.”, but the headline has since been revised to the slightly less creepy “This is what the U.S. is getting by aiding Ukraine.”
Claiming that funding the war is “the right thing to do strategically,” Boot argues that “it is hard to think of any U.S. foreign policy initiative since the end of the Cold War that has been more successful or more important than U.S. aid to Ukraine.”
“Russia has lost an estimated 120,000 soldiers and 170,000 to 180,000 have been injured,” Boot writes. “Russia has also lost an estimated 2,329 tanks, 2,817 infantry fighting vehicles, 2,868 trucks and jeeps, 354 armored personnel carriers, 538 self-propelled artillery vehicles, 310 towed artillery pieces, 92 fixed-wing aircraft and 106 helicopters.”
“The Russian armed forces have been devastated, thereby reducing the risk to front-line NATO states such as Poland and the Baltic republics that the United States is treaty-bound to protect,” Boot continues. “And all of that has been accomplished without having to put a single U.S. soldier at risk on the front lines.”
“That’s an incredible investment,” gloats Boot.
At no time in his masturbatory gushing about how many Russians this war has helped kill does Boot make any mention of the immense toll this deliberately provoked and completely unnecessary war has taken on Ukrainian lives. Their deaths and dismemberments and displacement are the largest price being paid into this “investment” by far, but Boot doesn’t deem them worthy of even a footnote.
We’ve been seeing this “investment” line being promoted with increasing frequency by US empire managers and their apologists. In an article published in the Connecticut Post last month, Senator Richard Blumenthal assured Americans that “we’re getting our money’s worth on our Ukraine investment.” A few days prior to that Senator Mitt Romney had described the proxy war as “the best national defense spending I think we’ve ever done,” because “We’re diminishing and devastating the Russian military for a very small amount of money… a weakened Russia is a good thing.” In December Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that funding the proxy war is “a direct investment in reducing Vladimir Putin’s future capabilities to menace America, threaten our allies and contest our core interests.” Last November the imperial war machine-funded think tank Center for European Policy Analysis published a report arguing that “US spending of 5.6% of its defense budget to destroy nearly half of Russia’s conventional military capability seems like an absolutely incredible investment.”
We saw one of the most glaring examples of this new genre of empire apologia last week, when the Bill Kristol-led group “Republicans for Ukraine” put out a television ad explaining how much this war is a fantastic investment which serves US strategic interests.
“When America arms Ukraine, we get a lot for a little,” the ad said. “Putin is an enemy of America. We’ve used 5% of our defense budget to arm Ukraine, and with it, they’ve destroyed 50% of Putin’s Army. We’ve done all this by sending weapons from storage, not our troops. The more Ukraine weakens Russia, the more it also weakens Russia’s closest ally, China.”
We are asked to believe a lot of very stupid things by the propagandists of the US-centralized empire, but one of the very stupidest is the claim that this war simultaneously (A) was completely unprovoked, and (B) just coincidentally happens to massively advance US strategic interests.
It really cannot be both. If you accept that this war is a very low-cost, high-reward means for the US to advance its strategic interests overseas, then you’d have to have tapioca for brains to also believe that the US wouldn’t have gone out of its way to make sure the war happens. And indeed that’s exactly what occurred, which is why US intelligence operatives and western foreign policy analysts spent years saying that the actions of the US and its allies were going to provoke Russia to war.
The reason it matters so much that the war in Ukraine was provoked by the US-centralized empire is because that shows you where the path to peace lies. When empire simps object to criticisms of western proxy warfare in Ukraine with “Oh so you’re saying we should just ABANDON THE UKRAINIANS and let Putin take over the country???”, what they are missing is that this is not a war between only Russia and Ukraine, and Russia doesn’t see it as such. Russia believes it is fighting a war against the aggression and expansionism of the NATO alliance, which the head of NATO himself recently confirmed. What this means is that the NATO alliance can facilitate peace in Ukraine by agreeing to roll back the aggressions which led to this war in the first place.
NATO powers have always been fully aware that they could bring about peace in Ukraine in this way, but they choose not to move NATO war machinery away from Russia’s borders and grant Moscow the same freedom from military threats in its immediate surroundings that Washington insists on in its own immediate surroundings. The managers of the empire chose not to do this, and indeed actually sabotaged peace negotiations in the early days of the conflict, because they firmly believe that this war advances their interests.
This is what empire apologists are omitting from the story when they claim that Putin can end this war by withdrawing troops from Ukraine; they are leaving out their own government’s role in starting and perpetuating this war. To demand that Russia cease its aggressions, without the western empire ceasing the aggressions which provoked the war in the first place, is to demand that Russia lie down and submit itself to the dictates of the empire. People who call for an end to Russian aggressions but not the western aggressions Russia is reacting to don’t really want peace, they just want the empire to conquer and subjugate the insolent curs who dared to defy it.
It’s good to be clear on this, because it shows who the obstacles to peace really are. The longer we pretend the only people keeping this war going reside in Moscow, the longer any path toward peace will elude us.