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A LARGE TROUGH and two associated cold fronts will impact the region today through Tuesday with rain, gusty southerly winds and much cooler daytime temperatures. Drier weather with rebounding temperatures will develop Wednesday into to late next week, followed by increasing chances for more rain. (NWS)
STEPHEN DUNLAP (Fort Bragg): A cloudy 56F this Monday morning on the coast as we wait for the rain to arrive later this morning. Another shot of rain is forecast for tomorrow. Then more rain is forecast for early next week. Winter arrives a bit early this year, no?
AV UNIFIED NEWS
Dear Anderson Valley Community,
So many wonderful things to celebrate last week. Thank you to all of our parents and guardians who attended our parent, teacher, and student conferences and PLP’s last week. One of the best things about Anderson Valley is the level of commitment and participation our families show in these conference opportunities to discuss student growth and achievement.
Friday was a day filled with sports and homecoming activities. We hosted soccer, volleyball, cheer, and football events. Congratulations to homecoming King and Queen Sammy Guerrero and Lucy Espinoza. The after-game dance at the high school was very well attended and student behavior was exemplary. The kids also cleaned up a massive amount of the decorations that night and came back the next day to finish the job to lessen the burden on custodial staff (thank you to the parents and staff that supported that effort. Too many to name but you know who you are). Thank you again to all the parents and family members that participated in the coordination of that event. The kids had a really good time. I appreciate the staff members that also chaperoned the dance to make it happen. Shout out to those parents that took time to attend our Site Council/CTE council at both sites. That is much appreciated.
Just a reminder there is no school on Monday in honor of Indigenous People’s Day, this is the holiday formally known as Columbus Day. We will see your students back for a full day on Tuesday.
Thank you for your patience with our early release on Friday. As many of you know when the electricity goes out, our water pumps do not work. When our water pumps don’t work, our toilets don’t work. We have about an hour and a half before the water in the system is depleted. It is not so much of a problem at the high school, as students could use bathrooms like a pit toilet in a campground and then use hand sanitizer, but it gets more problematic at the elementary school when we have little ones who aren’t really great at toileting and have no ability to wash their hands. We have kind of a darned if we do, and darned if we don’t situation here. If I keep kids at school, we hear the arguments that we're putting their health at risk by not having toilets. If I send them home, we hear very valid arguments that it’s an impact on parents in work schedules, which we completely honor. We also have the challenges of food service. The administrative team is going to work on a matrix and timeline about when to make a call to end school. If you have any input on that, please contact me directly.
People often say to me why don’t you just install a generator?" We have priced a generator at each site with suitable load to run the pump system and it’s $60,000 plus for each site. In a district that has such high infrastructure needs in all aspects of the campuses, that is money I believe we cannot afford for an inconvenience that happens two times a year. I am, of course, open to hearing anything back that parents/guardians may have regarding the situation. I was proud of both campus staff and students and how they handled it. I did receive a valid suggestion that an emergency cell phone number needs to be available for each site. We will be making that happen.
The eighth grade boys parent meeting is Thursday at 5 o’clock in the library at the school. This is an opportunity for staff and parents/guardians to problem solve together how we are going to shape this class moving forward to be less focused on behavior choices and more focused on academics and sports. We are suggesting this as an adult only meeting at this time. They are all wonderful young men with many wonderful attributes, we just have to get them working together as a group to make better choices. Here is the draft agenda still awaiting translation We really need everyone that has an 8th grade boy to attend.
Just a reminder that independent study on either side of the Winter holiday break will not be approved. Our semester ends on the last day of instruction in December. If your student leaves early, they will be credit deficient on their transcript. Approved travel dates are December 16 through January 7. I have been called culturally insensitive and even a racist by my expectation that your student be in school. I am neither. I am a fierce believer and advocate that your students can be successful in college and careers. Our job is to educate our students. Please help us help them. Extended years of holiday travel have negatively impacted our student achievement and their opportunities to access their education. We value and celebrate our connection with our families, but kids need to be in school just like every other school district. Please plan your travel accordingly, or it will hurt your kids’ transcripts and opportunities.
On a final note, I just want to thank this mighty little staff that works so hard to give opportunities for our kids. I don’t think folks realize how hard it is to teach and then coach or to supervise a dance until 11:00 p.m after teaching all day. To create a yearbook, to change diapers, to do all they do to make kids have an opportunity at school. I am grateful to this staff and grateful to our parents/guardians for their support and partnership.
Louise Simson, Superintendent, AV Unified School District
CHAIN GANG OF KEVIN LEE AND STAN SPACEK at Friday night's triumph over Covelo
AND UP IN THE ANNOUNCING BOOTH, veteran play caller, Ernie Pardini.
AV FOOTBALL COACH, JOHN TOOHEY, has done a remarkable job revitalizing the Anderson Valley Panthers as a small school force, taking kids who have never played American football before and molding them into a formidable team.
THE COSTLY AND TEDIOUS POLITICS, PROCESSING AND ECONOMICS of inland water bureaucracies.
Water Treatment Remains Stable, Drilling a New Well—Highlights from the Redwood Valley County Water District Board Meeting
by Monica Huettl
Redwood Valley County Water District Board Meeting took place on Thursday, September 21, 2023 covering topics that ranged from the Water Treatment Plant, the Masonite test well site, consolidation of the water districts, Russian River Water Forum and the Potter Valley Project, and road repair at Lake Mendocino Pump Station.…
Re; Warren Beck/Ready to go Straight…
I think the jail should hire Warren Beck to work in the kitchen and the garden; the last thing he needs to grow is weed.
* * *
Re; DMV Driver’s tests.
You probably will not believe this but once in 2010 I was aiding an elderly gentleman named Bob Smith to get his Drivers License, renewed. He was 80 had just had a heart attack and had moderate Dementia he had to do the driving portion of the test and I will tell you I was scared to death for the lady giving him the test. She took off with him in his little toyota truck, was gone 15 minutes. I kid you not he had approximately 20 errors in 15 minutes, 20! And they still renewed his Drivers License without any modifications! Just let him be free to run stop signs and pull out in front of people!! Of course we then had to take his keys away! I still have the test somewhere I took it because I was in shock! 20 errors!
GALLERY BOOKSHOP EVENTS
Some pretty great things are happening at Gallery Bookshop in the month of October
Friday, October 13th
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Gallery Bookshop
Return of the Silent Reading Party
$20 ticket includes cider, cookies, pumpkin bread, and $20 in store credit, as well as an hour of peace and quiet while reading.
Optional: bring your own snacks, drinks, or pillows!
More information at 707.937.2665 or gallerybookshop.com
Thursday, October 19th
6:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Gallery Bookshop.
Open Book Club:
We'll be discussing Sleepwalk by Dan Choan.
More information at 707.937.2665 or gallerybookshop.com
Thursday, October 26th
6:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Gallery Bookshop
The House of X Book CLub & Podcast
The House of X Book Club will be at Gallery Bookshop to talk about the X-Men graphic novel, X-Men: Grand Design
They'll also be answering questions about the X-Men and recording a very special bonus episode of the podcast.
More information at 707.937.2665 or gallerybookshop.com
THE SEASONS ARE CHANGING and we are ready to celebrate with you and your families! Join us at Stoney Bottom for our first annual pig roast!
Local beer and wine will be included (also feel free to bring more to share!) along with produce from nearby farms, whole pig and other delicious sides. Kids 12 and under are free, so bring them along to enjoy family time, face painting, circus performers and other fun entertainment! Contact Seasha (707.533.5094) or Scott (510.414.2352) for tickets! Hope to see you all there!
IF YOU ARE A WOMAN....
Women's 'Literary' Book Group -- October Meeting!
If you are a woman who has acquired critical thinking skills and who may be acquainted with terms such as: symbolism, metaphor, subtext, anti-hero, unreliable narrator, foil, allegory, myth, archetype, etc., this book group may be right up your alley. If you are a woman who enjoys lively, shared (no one person dominating), philosophical, nuanced...discussions about books and beyond, this group may well be for you. First meeting in Fort Bragg on October 28th.
Please email me off list.
THE BIG AV SENIOR CENTER CHILI COOK-OFF CONTEST will be Saturday, November 4 from 4pm to 7pm at the Senior Center, 14470 Hwy 128 in Boonville. Cooks and Tasters are invited. Beer, margaritas, raffles, prizes plus See’s Candy on order for the holidays.
Cooks must enter by October 20 and make three gallons of chili in a crockpot for tasting/judging. No entry fee. Prizes and Braggin’ Rights will be awarded.
Tasters/Judges: $15 to test/judge all entries and dinner including a bowl of chili with all the fixins plus dessert. Good food, good drinks, good company and good times while supporting the AV Senior enter. All proceeds benefit the AV Senior Center.
To enter or for more information call the Center at 707/895-3609.
GRANMA’S SECRET PLANS FOR JOE
Dear Somebody, Anybody,
I am an 11 year old boy and I’m worried about my mom and grandma. That article that was printed last week concerning that idiot newscaster in Fort Bragg has really set off my grandma. She cut out the article and taped it to our fridge. She looks at it every single morning while getting milk out for her coffee, unless she's on a bender.
I’m worried because my mom hates that guy’s guts almost as bad as grandma does. I’m really afraid that they are going to do what they say they're gonna do: to Kidnap and Torture Joe Legerski.
It sounds too stupid to believe except all the details they are ironing out.
For instance, The kidnapping part will happen with four carefully planned out steps, I hear. First, grandma will be posing as a bum pushing a shopping cart full of heavy junk. When Joe Legerski, who granma calls just another “stupid pollock,” whatever that is, My mom will be in another vehicle, in the passenger seat. When grandma sees Joe’s car she will pretend to stumble and push her heavy shopping cart towards his front wheels. She then will advance towards her target. They figure Joe will of course, stop. But my mom's driver will park behind him thus “boxing him in.” Mom will open Joe’s driver’s door, even if it’s locked and if she has to break his window with her hammer. She will then administer his first of many tasings with granma in the back seat where my mom will tell Mr. Legerski to get out. Grandma will handcuff his hands and feet. Gag and blindfold him too, I heard them say.
My Grandma has my grandpa’s pair of nice, shiny English handcuffs. My Grandpa was a Fort Bragg policeman for 12 years before he died.
I’m listening to all this planning hiding up our stairs right before bedtime. They think it will all go without a hitch because it will be dark still, 5;30 to 6;30 and there be little to no traffic. No witnesses, they hope.
My granma hates this guy’s guts because every day he reports on Caltrans duties in order to avoid all the police reports. She says that Joe Legerski hates all policemen and women, and that really gets her “dander up.” Whatever that means. Sumpthin’ about a 25-year old misdemeanor charge of some type of indecent exposure.
I keep listening to all this from my hiding place. My grandma has a couple of bad habits. She smokes two packs of Marlboro every day, and she drinks like a fish. I’ll see her drunk one or two times a week before 9 a.m.
They will definitely get him to our house. My mom is strong. She is 5 foot 10 and weighs 205. An ex-correctional officer. I went to bed at this point because I was too tired.
I listened the next night too. They’re going to start torturing him then. Out of sight in our spare bedroom. I heard them say granma will open her half-inch thick Dow Jones reports and her NASDAQ reports.
After taking out his gag and removing his blindfold, she will force him to read hundreds of stock exchange numbers, since he idolizes numbers. Legerski loves his “bizness section” the best. This will continue for a whole hour before she replaces his gag, and lights up another cigarette blowing every puff in his face and yelling at him for another whole hour. She can get pretty loud. All the while she will be stubbing out her cigarettes on his arms, neck and back. I am very serious about all this. It all might seem unreal to you, but then, you don’t know my mom and granma like I do.
That’s Day One, all day.
On Day Two, Grandma will next switch to what she calls “Stage 2.” She will remove his blindfold and gag and show him the map she has listing every mile marker on all our roads and 101. She will make him read out loud all of them. She says if he stutters or does his “dumb chuckle thing” not only will he get tased again but he’ll have to start all over from Gualala to Leggett. There are over 100 of them, since he idolizes numbers so much. She’ll let him rest for an hour while she either fixes a breakfast for herself or takes another slug of her Cutty Sark, No knives, no guns, peaceful like.
By this time Mr. Legerski will have around five or six cigarette burns on him. He will get two slices of Wonderbread and a glass of water two times a day. She will not leave the room. The TV will be set on a loop of re-runs of The Jerry Springer show at full volume. All day non-stop for a whole week. Then they’ll free him.
I couldn’t really believe my ears. I didn’t think they would really do it until heard granma tell my mom last night that she has incurable cancer and has only three more months to live. She says she wants to go out “in style” any day before Christmas.
Well, that really scared me. So the very next day after school I went to the Fort Bragg police department. I went in and talked to a uniformed Police officer and told him all about this. He said nothing at all to me. He just smiled, winked at me and went into the backroom. I left.
So I’m sending this letter to you in hopes of getting it printed. My mom has a subscription to the “Mighty AVA,” and hopefully she’ll see it and stop this whole thing. But I bet granma will probably steal the newspaper. Whatever. But I’m still very, very worried.
PS. My mom and granma are proud members of the J. L. Hate Club, Northern Branch which includes Leggett, Piercy, Laytonville, Fort Bragg and Caspar. We all want to know where to get those buttons and t-shirts.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING, the Hulu documentary called ‘While The Rest Of Us Die.’ A step-by-step filmic explanation of how we've been betrayed by our corporate-bought national government, and how we've arrived where we presently are, on many brinks of multiple disasters.
WHAT TO DO with Boonville traffic, how to slow it through town. We might begin by persuading our Community Services District Board to write a letter to Big Orange declaring that Mendocino County's most happening little town suffers a steady stream of vehicles, large and small, moving through here at unsafe speeds.
SOME OF YOU may recall a madcap interlude wherein a small group of local folks felt compelled to resort to guerilla tactics to slow traffic through Philo after a young mother and her baby were struck trying to cross 128 from the old post office to Lemons Market. CalTrans responded with an unexpected assertion that crosswalks actually endanger pedestrians, giving peds a false sense of security! We'd asked for a crosswalk as only one of several slow-down devices, eventually persuading CalTrans to install speed indicator/warning lights at both ends of Philo, and clearly marking 128's brief stretch through Philo as a slow-down zone. That was back in '96. We need direct action to establish Boonville as a go-slow zone.
FROM THE '96 ARCHIVE:
“Background: Until the mid-90s the speed limit in downtown Philo was a lethal 55mph. Crossing the road from Lemons Market to the old Post Office was a kind of pedestrian roulette, made even more hazardous when CalTrans removed the painted perimeters of the legal crosswalk, explaining that a nebulous study from 1955 informed them that crosswalks lent pedestrians “a false sense of security.”
IN JUNE of 1996, an infant was killed and his brother and mother injured when a speeding northbound pickup coming up over the semi-blind south rise into Philo barreled into another pickup which had stopped to allow the mother and her two sons to cross where the crosswalk had been erased by CalTrans. The halted truck slammed into the three pedestrians, killing 16-month old Juan Ceja.
A PUBLIC OUTCRY arose to both slow traffic and restore the crosswalk. A crew of late night guerrilla crosswalk painters several times repainted the crosswalk. The following mornings an over-large Caltrans crew appeared to grind off the unauthorized restorations of the walk.
(NOW it can be told! AVA staff, as citizen journalists, several times repainted the crosswalk in the dead of night. We wanted, and still want, a pedestrian overpass, visualizing it as an elegant aerial walkway bridging east and west Philo while creating a true Valley landmark. Naturally, that proposal got no traction beyond the office of Boonville’s beloved weekly.)
THAT AUGUST, Philo organized a large protest in front of Lemons Market where upwards of 200 placard-waving locals denounced Caltrans and spent an afternoon threatening to block traffic “all the way to Cloverdale” as six CHP officers did their best to keep the protesters off the highway.
IN THE WAKE of this uprising, Caltrans hosted a community meeting at the Philo Grange where Caltrans listened to dozens of angry locals demand that the speed limit in Philo be reduced. Caltrans eventually agreed to set the speed limit in Philo at 30mph, adding “30mph zone ahead” signs and permanent speed indicator radar signs on each end of Anderson Valley’s second city. The crosswalk never was replaced, although a number of Philo people live on the west side of the highway who regularly cross the highway, west to east. A tasting room is also opposite the popular and always busy Lemons Market. The desire for a safe pedestrian crossing is no less urgent today than it was in 1996.
MOTORISTS, especially touri, continue to barrel through Philo from both directions, to and from the Mendocino Coast. The lowered speed limit, however, honored by most locals, has made Philo pedestrians much safer for going on thirty years.It’s simply nuts to re-raise the speed limit.
THERE'S NO REASON to change anything, but Caltrans’ periodic “speed surveys” apparently now show that because some people are speeding through Philo so, in Caltrans logic, the speed limit must rise to be consistent with Caltrans’s “prevailing speed” doctrine.
ALTHOUGH the Post Office is no longer across the street from Lemons’ Market, the hazards in both directions remain the same: People still stop for pedestrians crossing the street, southbound cars still stop in the middle of the street to make urns, school children are still loaded and unloaded on both sides of the street, etc.
WHY CAN'T Caltrans leave well-enough alone and save us all the trouble, expense and increased hazard?”
THERE HAVE BEEN a spate of media stories and videos on yobbos fighting in the stands at football games. Been happening for years, but now with internet videos the cretinous drunks who brawl with opposing fans are recorded on film. Women fighting in the stands might be new, at least new in my limited experience of boorish ballpark misbehavior, but given the general deterioration of public decorum not surprising.
ON THIS DAY IN MENDOCINO HISTORY…
October 8, 1920 - Eugene Brown passed away at his home on Main Street in Mendocino following a month-long illness. His death was attributed to a weak heart, and the Beacon noted that “Though old in years, he was mentally alert and vigorous almost to the last.”
Born on May 1, 1835, in Oldtown, Maine, Eugene was the youngest son of Moses and Nancy Nesmith Brown. Tragically, Eugene's father passed away when he was just two years old, leaving his mother to raise him and his two older brothers, Augustus and Frederick.
At the age of 16, Eugene embarked on his career, beginning as a clerk at the shipping commission house of Nesmith & Sons in New York. He gained valuable experience in this role, learning about cargo, bills, and commissions. Two years later, he returned to his hometown, working as a clerk in a store in Oldtown.
On December 20, 1859, Eugene and his mother set sail from New York on the steamer Atlantic for Panama. From there, they took the steamer Golden Gate to San Francisco arriving on January 10, 1860. Eugene wasted no time in heading overland to the Mendocino Coast, where his brother Frederick had already established himself as a woodsman in the coastal settlement of Pine Grove, located three miles north of Mendocino.
Three months later, Eugene began clerking in the merchandising firm of Kelley & Rundle near the west end of Main Street in Mendocino. He remained there for five years before venturing into his own business. In 1865, Eugene opened his first General Merchandising store on Main Street. Sadly, this building burned in the fire of 1870, when more than 25 structures on the north side of Main Street were destroyed.
Eugene built a new structure and reopened his store in 1874. This store building was substantially rebuilt in 1968 when the Village Barn Gallery opened inside. Today, the building houses the clothing store Circa.
Eugene operated his store until 1909 and acquired other business interests over the years, becoming part owner of the schooner Joshua Grindle, an agent for Wells Fargo, part owner of the Pine Grove Hotel, and owner of a chute at Russian Gulch.
In 1881, Eugene married Emily van Dusen, who had moved from Ukiah to be a teacher in the Mendocino school, and the couple enjoyed almost forty years together. Both Eugene and Emily, who died in 1948, are buried in Ukiah Cemetery.
Growing up in the Mendocino Coast, but I remember as a child, working my way up the ladder toward being in the adult, when your child growing up a large branch there are responsibility, you learn how to milk the cow, you gather the eggs of the chicken house, and you make sure the chickens are let out for the day, the livestock to all except the said and watered, and bistro paid the cows and a few sheep in the Corel, and if you have a horse or two you you give them grain and hey, if you're young enough to get ready to go to school if you're older you get ready to saddle saddle up your horse to go out and the livestock, my case in the summer we would do this, in the winter father drive south to his other big ranch intend to the other projects, today's as they rolled by, here in the Mendocino Coast, in the 40s to the late 50s, we had no killings or murder, that everyone could leave their house unlocked, but nobody would dare to steal from you, a strong work ethic prevailed in the area, between sheep ranchers, and loggers, the sawmill owners, there was work for everyone, no homeless, no one living under bridges, and no catastrophic wildfires, except in Southern California with the city people lived, we were basically drug-free, to the East of elk "we used to call it, Greenwood, would be Anderson Valley, where they were in abundance of apple trees, and sheep ranches with several sawmills along the roadway, thriving little communities along the valley floor and to the east all the way Cloverdale, over the county road from Highway 128 to the northeast was what we now call 258 when it was converted to the state highway, would be the town of Ukiah, which was the county seat again, and abundances sawmills in the Valley, also apple trees and pear trees, strong work ethic of vibrant city with a railroad running to the middle of it, and again no straight people wandering the streets looking for handouts, no people hanging on in a drug-induced coma, anywhere to be found, a vibrant community with Highway 101 running up to the middle of town, many ranches scattered to the county providing user livestock from sheep and cattle, and a few hog farms, and berries through the county, in the early from the 40s through the early 60s there was about 220 sawmills countywide, and many large ranches producing product, it make its way to the cities to feed the city folks from the spring lamb harvested in the springtime cattle products, and the various materials created by the sawmill to build new housing within the state, so it had been in the 1800s when the first Redwood trees were taken down, to build up buying homes in San Francisco, as well as San Diego and all will wait to the state Capitol in Sacramento the Redwood Empire which the Mendocino Coast is a part of, as providing product to build the great state of California, and to sustain it, today the sawmills are gone, given way to land use by the vendors raise grapes, flood the market with bad why, and the new people shoving the Rangers and their work ethic to the curb, only to build expensive homes, that no one in our County reported by, the work ethic is gone from our community, drugs and come in on the coattails of the marijuana books, harder drugs corrupting our young people, and creating a blight across the land, games and moved in shaking down citizens in the neighborhood, robbery is up countywide as well as murder, accidents more abundant than before on our highways, no longer can we buy about anything in the town of Fort Bragg, for the environmentalist moved in, and pushed the timber industry to the curb, chasing out the loggers, and the sawmill owners, that brought so much to the county, thousands of people have moved from our midst and gone to other states, due to the fact the work is no longer here, and the city people move in creating the same kind of cesspool, that they moved out of right here, in our own backyard with their ill temper, and bad manners or the locals, treating as most of us like we are substandard to their intelligence, which I proved really doesn't exist, the days in our little community of settling our problem over a drink in the local bar, have gone away, and traditional old-timers sucking up to the terrorists and the newcomers, have traded their personal values, and their integrity sold themselves to the devil himself so they can end up higher on the ladder, many of them sold her friendship to others, thinking it will advance some in the community, when the reality is we looked down at these people for selling their soul to the devil, they are no longer God's children, and they no longer have integrity, it is said would happen to our coast, that we have now given way to a bunch of freeloaders, people who sell drugs, corrupt the young, and do not follow the teachings, of the Lord our God,it only follows their pocketbook think only of the dollar, big-money move count bought up most of the businesses, in the village, and failed to operate the, we only can think it is a way of laundering their big money from out of town, I can't help but think, this is what happened to places like Carmel, licensee, and looking down around south of San Francisco what used to be a strong work ethic, become a giant tourist trap, that the locals when driven out of, California as a whole, is headed down the toilet down the big drain to the cesspool, that it has become, with bad government that does not, and will not see a good and, that bad management, is not carrying the problems that the state affairs, we can only solve our problems if we go back to the roots of the 1800s, that we had in the beginning and looking at our past, we might be able to fix our future, without this, the state will fail badly, and only God can repair it.
CATCH OF THE DAY, Sunday, October 8, 2023
CARMEN ARENS, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, failure to appear.
RYAN BANNON, Redwood Valley. Controlled substance, pot for sale, conspiracy, probation revocation.
JOVAN LICONA-HERNANDEZ, Yuba City/Ukiah. Probation violation.
CHERRAL MITCHELL, Ukiah. Forgery/False Checks.
FRANKLY MORRIS, Ukiah. Controlled substance for sale, paraphernalia, offenses while on bail.
EDWINA NIDEROST, Ukiah. Elder abuse, protective order violation, damaging communications device.
MIGUEL PLASCENCIA-BARAJAS, Ukiah. False personation of another.
EMANUEL SOSA-NUNEZ, Santa Rosa/Ukiah. DUI, no license.
BRADY VANHOUSEN, Ukiah. Pot possession for sale, concealed handgun not registered owner, conspiracy.
A woman asked where I am from. I replied: “I came from Mexico in the 1960s, when it was easy to obtain a visa.” “I didn’t think anyone came to the United States with a visa any longer,” she said arrogantly.
With a physical exam and a background check (I was a minor, so my school report card was enough), one could obtain a passport. Next was an application for permanent residency in an American embassy. A notarized letter from a prospective employer and a letter from a sponsor were required. Thanks to Hallberg & Best in Sebastopol, my parents had jobs, and they were my sponsors. In four months, my application was approved.
Some approvals take up to 20 years. No wonder those in extreme poverty don’t ask about processes. They walk through jungles and deserts, hoping to reach the U.S.
Leaders in Latin America should look for solutions that will prevent their citizens from migrating out of desperation, as is presently the case. Those of us here should be thankful for having our basic needs met. Also, we should treat with respect those who are not as fortunate.
Yolanda Vera Martinez
MEMO OF THE AIR ON THE AIR
Reeling, and writhing, and fainting in coils.
Here's the recording of last night's (Friday 2023-10-06) eight-hour-long Memo of the Air: Good Night Radio show on 107.7fm KNYO-LP Fort Bragg (CA) and KNYO.org: https://tinyurl.com/KNYO-MOTA-0561
I'm happy to read your writing on the radio. Just email it to me and that's all you have to do.
Coke keeps you thin.
Original audition tapes from early Saturday NIght Live. Phil Hartman! What a loss to the world when his wife shot him. She wasn't well.
Hey! What're you kids doin' in there! Knock it off and go to sleep!
Marco McClean, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://MemoOfTheAir.wordpress.com
DR. JILL BIDEN’S DIARY
by Tommy Wayne Kramer
October 3, 2023
Oh Dear Diary:
Whatever shall I do? If he doesn’t stop humming “Row Row Row Your Boat” I’m going to double the Thorazine starting in 10 minutes. (I can do that because I’m a doctor.)
Yesterday it was “Hickory Dickory Dock” right through “dinner” if you can call it that with him at the table, and when he woke me up at 4 a.m. he was reciting the alphabet. Again.
Dinner. Don’t remind me. It’s been Cocoa Puffs and Pudding Pops for the past four nights. And he’s still having tantrums unless he gets to use his Captain Video Sippy Cup when he takes all the “vitamins” the medical team has him on. I might start taking some myself. Do you think 1200 milligrams of Valium a day will make me look fat?
This afternoon what’s-her-name (Carmella?) came over to try to get him to sign some document thingie about endorsing her President as soon as Obama declares him unable to perform his duties. Over my dead body. OK, maybe he can’t spell his own name but at least he doesn’t break into nervous laughter fits when someone asks him a question. Not that they ask her any.
And it’s not like Joe had sex with every California politician to get to the top either!! Sexual assault, yes, but times were different back in 2014. Also, Willie Brown never bought Joe a sports car in exchange for sexual favors.
I’m just so grateful for our White House news reporter journalism club, as long as they keep not mentioning the old “cocaine-in-the-White House” nonsense. Or Hunter’s laptop thing about payoffs and kiddie porn. Or whether Joe can count backwards from 10. Or inflation and the economy, or the time he thought the Mayor of Cleveland was the Easter Bunny and asked if he could reach in his pants and find his eggs.
Got another Covid vaccine last week but then I got Covid again this week. I’ve had Covid vaccines two times and got Covid flu two times. I’m a doctor but I’m not allowed to talk about any of this until after the election. (That’s when People Magazine does a cover story about my struggles to become a doctor and my courage and stuff.)
Tomorrow we have to prepare for the trip where he gets to fly in a big airplane, if he can make it up the steps. Oh Dear Diary, why they can’t build a nice elevator for Air Force One? I mean if Donald Trump got solid gold fixtures installed in the bathrooms, know what I’m saying?
It will be fancy dress ball in Chicago, but first Obama ordered a mandatory meeting of the Hounds from Hell. It’s a fun group. We get together every few months to pick new places to have trump indicted or sued or accused or whatever. I found Pocket Hole, ND on a map! We’ll keep him running ‘til we chase him up a tree ha ha!!
Then the big dinner where we meet important donors and nobody asks nosy questions about Chinese donations, Ukrainian bribes or the icky smells Joe makes, some of which are just the natural human process of breaking wind. Very normal.
I’m a doctor, and it’s just intestinal-type gas fumes. Most of it, anyway.
And would it kill the staff to change his Depends once or twice an hour? Why don’t they do their jobs instead of hanging out all day with Hunter in that dingy old fourth floor storage room?
It’s hard to get good help these days. Why do people all of a sudden not want to work anyway? Joe can’t give everybody money and free stuff, although he tries his best, bless his heart.
Well, no one ever said it was easy or cheap to win an election, even with mail-in ballots from our longtime friends at Eternal Heavenly Rest Acres in Chicago, or all those voters at the Philadelphia City Morgue.
Gotta run, Dear Diary. It’s 7 o’clock and way past his bedtime. I’ll get hot cocoa sent over and tell someone to read him the book about The Little Train That Could. He loves that one!
He’ll sleep on the couch tonight because he suddenly got afraid of the stairs again, and as a doctor I support decisions to help empower him. Plus he likes cuddling with his friend Buzzy the Big Fluffy Bunny (and I don’t want him waking me up to tell him about Goldilocks and the Three Bears!)
So another exhausting day comes to an end, Dear Diary. Even though I’m a doctor sometimes I get so darn tired I feel like giving up.
But then I take a deep breath and ask myself, “What would Ruth Ginsburg do?”
ON-LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Nearly everyone I know, friends and relatives, think I’m a doomsday kook because I don’t believe the American suburban lifestyle has a future. They don’t appreciate my warning them and they think my primitive living styles and practices are not a sign of prepping and skepticism but of madness and poor health. Food will always be available in abundance at grocery stores, and gasoline will always be available for their cars no matter what else happens. Asking about how their transportation needs will work out without using automobiles only gets me a blank stare or changing the subject. They aren’t about to answer that question. The wise old owls out there know that God has promised us comfy cornucopian living from here to eternity!
TAKE THAT HATERS! Brock Purdy, 49ers’ ‘robot,’ torches Cowboys for 4 TDs
by Ann Killion
Sunday night was test night.
The biggest, hardest exam Brock Purdy has faced since becoming the unquestioned starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. The toughest challenge since he was no longer a rookie fill-in forced into action.
Get out your blue books and pencils for the Cowboys 101 final. A heavyweight prime-time showdown against the top-ranked defense in the league. Against a motivated Dallas team still steaming after being ousted from the playoffs by the 49ers last January, when Purdy had arguably his worst game as a starter.
Test aced. With flying colors.
“He’s just so consistent every single day,” said George Kittle, the beneficiary of three Purdy touchdown passes. “He’s a robot.”
Kittle meant that as the highest compliment. A robot as in completely prepared, completely able to download Kyle Shanahan’s game plan, unfazed by a setback and able to move on to the next play.
Consider the moment in the 4th quarter when Purdy, on third down, delivered a deep ball to Brandon Aiyuk for a 41-yard gain that was wiped out due to a hold by right guard Spencer Burford. No problem. Trying again on third and 15, Purdy stepped up and delivered another deep ball, this time to Deebo Samuel, for a 43-yard gain. Three plays later he found Kittle for a ten-yard touchdown to complete the first hat trick of Kittle’s career.
Sunday’s absolute dominance was not really about Purdy. In fact, at times it was hard to even spotlight the young quarterback amidst the torrent of huge plays and ongoing humiliation of the Cowboys. In a game loaded with Christian McCaffrey running with a head of steam, with Kittle on the scoring end of a razzle-dazzle play, with Fred Warner flying around your television screen like a man possessed, amidst all that glitz and flash, you could sometimes miss Sturdy Purdy. Rock Steady Brock.
“I was just doing what I was asked to do,” he said. “Just get into a rhythm. Hit the open guys. Do my part as a quarterback.
“Don’t try to force stuff and be a superhero.”
Here’s the trick: by being so steady, playing so consistently, Purdy is evolving into a kind of superhero. Mr. Reliable. Mr. Robot, with the Superman “S” on under his No. 13 jersey.
“He’s just so steady and always confident,” said Kyle Juszczyk.
Yet everyone seems to want to overlook him. The new dis’ this week was that some football pundit ranked Purdy as the league’s 25th best quarterback and said he’d retire if Purdy led the 49ers to a Super Bowl victory.
Of course, none of this was supposed to happen for Mr. Irrelevant. Before the game, Purdy embraced and chatted up the guy he was, at one point, supposed to be backing up. Dallas third-string quarterback Trey Lance was warming up on the field though he was inactive once the game started.
There was some silly speculation that Lance would be a secret weapon, divulging the contents of Shanahan’s playbook. Dak Prescott said Lance had been “very helpful,” a comment that did not age well as the game progressed. By the end of the game, Prescott was on the bench having thrown three picks, Cooper Rush was in, and social media was begging the Cowboys to give Lance a chance next week.
Sunday’s game was an old-fashioned butt-whupping. Billed as a matchup of equals between two longtime rivals, it was lopsided from the coin flip, the biggest 49ers win (by margin of victory) in the history between the teams.
“As far as nationally and media wise and the hype, sometimes you get worried your team might get too up for stuff,” Shanahan said. “But just watching them all Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, they were so locked in all week they didn't make too big a deal of this game. They seemed ready to go.”
They were ready, on both sides of the ball. The 49ers defense was smothering. The offense scored six touchdowns on the league’s No. 1 defense.
And Purdy was quietly spectacular. While Prescott was throwing the ball to the 49ers’ defense, Purdy still hasn’t thrown an interception this year, one of two NFL quarterbacks to not have a pick. He finished his night early in the fourth quarter, having completed 17 of 24 passes for 252 yards, four touchdowns and a 144.4 quarterback rating. He gave way to Sam Darnold, put on a white baseball cap and a headset and watched almost the whole fourth quarter from the sideline.
“I can’t remember a time calling the dogs off with 14 minutes left,” tackle Trent Williams said.
Purdy said he learned something from having played Dallas in January.
“It did help watching the film from before,” Purdy said. “Obviously watching the film from last year, it's like man, I want to be better. There are a lot of the same guys on defense. The same scheme.”
He was better. He is better. And his teammates see his growth.
“Brock was a rookie last year, thrown into the fire,” Williams said. “You look at him now and the player you see is a different player. In his mental bank he has a lot more.
“The guy continues to grow.”
And continues to ace test after test after test. Like some kind of crazy football robot.
TRAGIC BUT INEVITABLE
To the Editor:
The latest Israeli-Palestinian violence is a tragic but inevitable outcome of decades of American indulgence of illegal and immoral Israeli policies that have hardened attitudes and relegated Palestinians to a stateless people living under apartheid conditions.
Ironically, while our country rushes to sanction and isolate Russia for its illegal invasion of Ukraine, we help finance Israel’s illegal occupation while blocking United Nations sanctions that would hold Israel accountable for violating Palestinian human rights and international law.
Why did Hamas stage a long-planned, carefully executed and multifaceted attack on Israeli towns, soldiers, and civilians—one designed to instill terror by executing noncombatants, taking hostages, and desecrating the bodies of the dead? And how were the killers able to enter Israeli proper in enough numbers to kill what could be hundreds and perhaps eventually wound what could be thousands?
a) Ostensibly, radical Palestinians wanted to stop any rumored rapprochement between the Gulf monarchies—the traditional source of much of their cash—and Israel, by forcing the issue of Arab solidarity in times of “war”, especially through waging a gruesome attack aimed at civilians and encompassing executions and hostage taking. Iran likely was the driving force to prompt the war—given its greatest fear is a Sunni Arab-Israeli rapprochement.
b) Arab forces have had only success against Israel through surprise attacks during Israeli holidays, as in the Yom Kippur War (i.e., was it any accident that the present attack began 50-years almost to the day after the October 6, 1973 beginning of the Yom Kippur War?). And so they struck again this Saturday during Simchat Torah, coming at the end of a weeklong Jewish celebration of Sukkot—in hopes that others will join in as happened in 1973. (So much for the Arab warnings not for Westerners to conduct war during Ramadan).
c) Hamas may have reckoned that recent Israeli turmoil and mass leftist street protests over proposed reforms of the Israeli Supreme Court had led to permanent internal divisions and thus a climate of domestic distraction if not an erosion of deterrence. But, more importantly, in a larger sense the Biden administration has contributed both to the notion that Hamas was a legitimate Middle East player, and to the perception that the U.S. was backing away from its traditional support for Israel—to the delight of Hamas—based on the following inexplicable policies:
In February Secretary of State Blinken had bragged that not only had the Biden administration resumed massive aid to the PLA cancelled by Trump, but cumulatively had transferred $1 billion—even as Palestinian authorities bragged that they would continue to pay bounties to the families of “martyrs” (i.e., those killed while conducting terrorists attacks against Israel). And millions of American dollars also went into Gaza, run by Hamas—despite the Biden administration’s efforts to keep mostly quiet the resumption of such inexplicable support. In this regard, note the current shameful State-Department (“U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs”) website news release that was posted after today’s attack. It ended with this quite embarrassing, morally equivalent admonition: “We urged all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks. Terror and violence solve nothing.” “All sides?” “Refrain from retaliatory attacks?” So Israel is the moral equivalent of terrorists executing civilians and brutalizing their corpses? And the IDF then is not supposed to retaliate against these killers?
Victor David Hanson
HOW NOT TO RESPOND TO A TERRORIST ATTACK
The things I least want to hear on a day when Hamas terrorists kill hundreds of Israeli civilians.
by Benjamin Wittes
I’m afraid it’s not a good evening, but I wish you one anyway.
I seldom write about Israeli-Palestinian matters, but it’s not because I don’t think about them. I actually think about them a lot. I run programs in Israel. I spend a fair bit of time there. I have close friends and colleagues there. In my editorial capacity at Lawfare, I publish a lot of material both on Israeli law and the law of the conflict—as well as on the current Israeli domestic struggle over the judiciary. And I have been a quiet student of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict my entire adult life.
The reason I don’t write about Israeli-Palestinian matters much is that the more time I have spent with them, the less I think I have anything useful to say on the subject. The process of spending time with the actual conflict has humbled me to the point that I am these days much more interested in asking questions than I am in making pronouncements. I am much more interested in conveying information than I am in telling people what I think—when I even know what I think, which is increasingly infrequent.
One thing I do know what I think about is murder.
I’m against it.
I’m not, to be clear, always against war. And I accept that civilians sometimes get killed in warfare and, tragic as that is, it is an inherent part of the enterprise.
But the intentional targeting of civilians is always unacceptable. It is unacceptable when Russians do it Ukraine. Full stop.
It is unacceptable when Israeli settlers target Palestinian civilians with violence. Full stop.
And it is unacceptable when Palestinians, using thousands of rockets and hundreds of gunmen, indiscriminately kill hundreds of Israeli civilians. Full stop.
Beyond this rather banal insistence on the most basic premise of the law of armed conflict, I am not certain what the right way to respond to the horrific, murderous surprise attack launched last night from Gaza is.
But I was surprised today at how many people, on social media and in published essays, seem to leaping eagerly to wildly inappropriate responses to an incident of organized, intentional mass murder. Some of the following respond to statements from the political right. Some respond to the political left. Some respond to domestic American political inappropriateness. Some respond to nonsense circulating within the Jewish world. What unites it all, in my view, is the urge to speak quickly, at the risk of being wildly inappropriate in the face of mass murder—rather than to listen, to learn, and to defer speaking until one actually knows something worth saying.
I have nothing to say about this yet. I’m still absorbing it. I’m honestly still a bit in shock. The following, however, are seven ways not to respond to the mass murder of Israelis:
Please don’t explain that it shows that the only language that Palestinians (or Muslims) understand is force. Just don’t do it. There are many variants of this response. They often seem to involve a lot of words like “crush.” But Hamas isn’t “the Palestinians” or “Muslims,” and the answer to the murderous racist essentializing of Jews is not the murderous racist essentializing of Palestinians. There will be a major Israeli military response against Hamas in Gaza. It’s already happening. I suspect the magnitude of it is going to surprise a lot of people. And given the way Hamas operates and the extreme population density of Gaza, a lot of Palestinian civilians are going to get killed and injured as a result. That is a tragedy. They do not deserve that fate any more than the Israeli victims today did. So spare us the chest thumping.
With the Israeli body count rising by the hour, do not quickly change the subject to the crimes or misdeeds of the Israeli side or the oppression of Palestinians. Don’t be too quick to tell us about the “context” of this attack. There’s a place for that conversation, of course; it’s ongoing every day; and it’s legitimate. But 9/11 was not the day to discuss the errors of US foreign policy. The day ISIS attacked Paris and killed 100 people was not the day to lecture France about its sins. And if your response to 300 people getting killed in Israel is to wag your finger at Israelis and tell them how they brought it on themselves, you’re justifying murder—whether you understand that you are or not.
Relatedly, do not use any sentence that begins with anything like, “I oppose violence against civilians and terrorism, but…” You need to be able to end the sentence before the “but.” What comes after it may be right and valuable. But it’s not valuable today and probably won’t be valuable tomorrow or the day after that.
Do not use the attack to score points on unrelated matters about which you have a bone to pick with someone. Specifically, if you’re American, don’t use the murder of Israelis as a means of going after your political enemies domestically. I don’t care who they are. This wasn’t Donald Trump’s fault. It wasn’t Joe Biden’s fault. It had nothing to do with the recent deal with Iran.
More generally, the world doesn’t need to hear your insistence that the attack shows that you were right or that your enemies are wrong or foolish or treacherous. Hamas didn’t launch this attack in order to validate your sense of your own wisdom or insight.
We don’t need your conspiracy theory about how or why this happened or who is behind it. I know you think it’s clever. But really, we’re good.
And finally, we also don’t need your prediction about how this will reshape this or that, how it was just what Benjamin Netanyahu needed to do yadayadayada or how it will sink him once and for all and blah blah blah. The future will come soon enough. And you’re probably wrong, anyway.
I have not named names in any of the cases above. On a day when hundreds of people have been murdered, those inclined toward call-out culture should put a sock in its too. We should all show some grace.
As a great many people did, I spent a good part of the day making sure that friends, colleagues, and people I care about in Israel are okay. All were. Many, however, had not accounted for all of their family members yet. One had just heard from a friend who would be attending more than ten funerals in rapid succession in her home town over the next few days. It’s a horrific situation.
And there’s no requirement that people say anything about it all.
But keep in mind, if you do choose to speak about it, that hundreds of innocent people are dead, and many more—Israelis and Palestinians both—are going to die in the days to come. Is it really the right time for your call to vengeance or your whataboutism or for settling some unrelated score?
Just a thought.
I have a few reactions to the above Al Jazeera story on the Hamas incursion into Israel…..
“Hamas spokesperson Khaled Qadomi has told Al Jazeera that the group’s military operation is in response to all the atrocities the Palestinians have faced over the decades.”
This is absolutely juvenile thinking. Justice cannot be delivered through random acts of violence carried out in an organized manner. There is no connection between the atrocities faced by Palestinians and acts of violence directed at people because they are Jewish or Israeli except in the mind of a complete sociopath.
“We want the international community to stop atrocities in Gaza, against Palestinian people, our holy sites like Al-Aqsa. All these things are the reason behind starting this battle,” he said.
The acts you have committed will only serve to strongly alienate the international community, bring further destruction and suffering to Gaza and Palestine, and quite possibly even PROVOKE the Israeli destruction of the holy site the Al-Aqsa mosque. If your concerted actions provoke them to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque you should NEVER be forgiven in my opinion.
“This is the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on Earth,” Mohammed Deif, the Hamas military commander said, adding that 5,000 rockets were launched.
Your bullshit rockets do not constitute any greatest battle and this is not the worlds last occupation by any regard. Again the use of ridiculously infantile logic. Absolute powerlessness corrupts as easily as absolute power does, and we know this especially from this conflict.
“Everyone who has a gun should take it out. The time has come,” Deif said, according to reports.
To the contrary everyone with a gun should put it away and avoid conflict. The Prophet Mohammad exhorted people to avoid the sin of traveling to a war zone or contributing weapons to an active conflict. He also forbade the killing of civilians, women, children, and even the harming of animals and trees.
“Hamas called on “the resistance fighters in the West Bank” as well as “our Arab and Islamic nations” to join the battle, in a statement posted on Telegram.”
No the Islamic nations should stand in attempting to bring resolution and rationality to a volatile and dangerously cataclysmic Miscalculation on the part of the Islamic militants. The crying mothers and bloody bodies spattered across youtube and the news don’t make me any more upset with Israel. I am already upset with their conduct. It gives me resolve that the Islamic Jihadi groups and Hamas DO NOT IN ANY WAY represent the needs, desires nor well being of the Palestinians and Arabs of the region. Their efforts are as empty and bankrupt as the bellowing we are hearing on youtube of “Allahu Akbar”, not the cry of freedom fighters but the chorus of swine.
HERE’S THE LATEST ON THE FIGHTING
Israel’s defense minister ordered a “complete siege” of the long-blockaded Gaza Strip on Monday, as battles to drive Palestinian militants out of southern towns near the border stretched into a third day after a stunning incursion that has killed hundreds and provoked furious Israeli retaliatory strikes on Gaza.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that “no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel” would be allowed into Gaza, in effect cutting off a territory already under a 16-year blockade, as Israeli airstrikes continued to pound the tiny coastal strip.
UKRAINE, SUNDAY, 8TH OCTOBER
Vladimir Putin has stepped up air attacks in the war with Ukraine with one of his latest assaults injuring a dozen people, including a baby - as Ukraine’s air force warned of a record number of Russian drone attacks on its soil this winter.
The assault was on the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, which was taken by Ukraine in November last year. However, the city remains within firing range of the Russians, which shelled the settlement on Saturday night.
The attack hit civilian infrastructure, damaging residential buildings, household facilities, cars, and gas pipelines. Among those injured was a 27-year-old woman and her nine-month-old daughter.
Over the past 24 hours, Russian forces carried out 59 attacks on Kherson provence, the region’s administration said on Telegram, including 19 instances of shelling of Kherson city. “The Kherson region experienced another terrible night,” Governor Oleksandr Prokudin wrote.
The assault came just days after a missile attack on the village of Hroza, in the Kharkiv region, killing 52 people. Over the weekend, people were pictured remembering those who lost their lives.
OUR DEALEY BREAD
By Sonny Laymatina
Every time I hear someone say the U.S. lost its innocence on November 22, 1963, I say tell it to the slaves and Native Americans who lost theirs first without even getting a Holocaust Museum of their own on the Washington, DC Mall. An implicitly fitting reminder I suppose of U.S.-genocide-good, Nazi-genocide-bad political calculations.
That said, three things, among others, stand out the most for me when thinking about who done it at Dealey Plaza in 1963: one is a Last Supper-like photograph of Al Capone and his Chicago henchmen in 1929; another is a 1955 photograph of about ten Civil Air Patrol Cadets and their Commandants standing around a campfire in Texas that surfaced some- time after the JFK assassination; and the third is the David Susskind television interview of former President Harry Truman in 1962.…
RUBY THE IMPLAUSIBLE
The real elephant in the room is Jack Ruby. Why would a minor Jewish hoodlum, who managed a syndicate owned nightclub frequented by gangsters and Dallas police higher ups, care about Oswald or Kennedy?
Perhaps he was caught with his hand in the till, and carried out the hit to save his family from from retribution.
ED REPLY: Ruby is certainly one more mystery man in the Kennedy Assassination, which is probably one more reason why quite a volume of documents regarding the event have not been released. Biden, btw, promised to make the rest public, but…
FASCISM COMES TO AMERICA
The failure of the liberal class to halt the corporate assault on working people has spawned an ascendant Christian fascism that is poised to seize power and radically reshape America.
by Chris Hedges
The parting gift, I expect, of the bankrupt liberalism of the Democratic Party will be a Christianized fascist state. The liberal class, a creature of corporate power, captive to the war industry and the security state, unable or unwilling to ameliorate the prolonged economic insecurity and misery of the working class, blinded by a self-righteous woke ideology that reeks of hypocrisy and disingenuousness and bereft of any political vision, is the bedrock on which the Christian fascists, who have coalesced in cult-like mobs around Donald Trump, have built their terrifying movement.
Trump, as the writer Jeff Sharlet points out, has morphed from the Elmer Gantry huckster of politics — holding out the illusion that we can all get rich like him — to the peddler of dark conspiracies about the deep state and pedophiles running the Democratic Party, to full blown fascism. If he comes back to power the nihilistic violence that plagues the country, with over 500 mass shootings this year alone, will explode. Conspiracy theorists will threaten and murder “enemies” and “traitors” with impunity. The judiciary, law enforcement and legislative bodies — currently in a state of paralysis — will be transformed into organs of personal and political vengeance. The censorship by stealth practiced by Silicon Valley and the Democrats will become crude, overt and pervasive. The military, already infested with commissar-like Christian fascist chaplains, will be led by true believers such as retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn. It can happen here, as Sinclair Lewis predicted.
Blaming Russia, or third party candidates who never poll in significant numbers for the election of Trump and the rise of Christian fascism, is infantile. The Libertarian Party received 1.2 percent of the vote in the last presidential election. The Greens, 0.26 percent. The death blow to democracy is not those who vote for fringe parties, but apathy. Eighty million eligible voters did not vote in the last presidential election, no doubt because they did not expect much to change in their lives whoever was in office. And they were probably right.
The root cause of our political distress lies with a liberal class that places corporate and personal profit above the common good. Liberals have conspired, since the presidency of Bill Clinton, to strip the country of manufacturing, and with it, jobs that sustained the working class. They have been partners in the transformation of democratic institutions into tools to consolidate the power and wealth of corporations and the ruling oligarchs. They forgot the fundamental lesson of fascism. Fascism is always the bastard child of bankrupt liberalism. This was true in Weimar Germany. It was true in Italy. It was true in the former Yugoslavia with its warring ethnic factions. And it is true in the United States.
And now we will all pay.
“Our time more closely resembles the 1930s than it does the 1990s,” Benjamin Carter Hett writes in the introduction to his book “The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic.”
The billionaires and corporations, whose sole obsession is the greater accumulation of wealth and power, will accommodate themselves to the Christian fascists, as the German industrialists did to the Nazi Party. Fascism, after all, is a faux populism. It is an efficient mechanism for abolishing labor unions and using fear and coercion, including violence, to prevent rival mass movements. Trump, back in power, will demand that he, his family and inner circle, profit from power. The billionaire class and corporations will shower him and his buffoonish court with wealth in exchange for the ability to exploit with impunity and demolish government regulations and oversight. Fascist leaders, including Trump, have nothing but contempt for their followers. They share this trait with the titans of business.
We were warned. The seeds of fascism, like the climate emergency, were apparent decades ago. The leading scholars of fascism told us that unless American society halted its slide to ever greater levels of social inequality and returned democratic power to a betrayed populace, fascism would metastasize and consume the state. The ruling class, blinded by greed, a lust for power and willful ignorance, was as deaf to these warnings as they were to those of climate scientists.
Robert O. Paxton, who taught European history at Columbia Unhiversity, in 2004 wrote “The Anatomy of Fascism.” He explained that “the language and symbols of authentic American fascism” would “have little to do with the original European models. They would have to be familiar and reassuring to loyal Americans as the language and symbols of the original fascism were familiar and reassuring to many Italians and Germans, as Orwell suggested.”
Fascist leaders always appropriate national and religious language, symbols and myths. Germany’s fascism was rooted in Teutonic legends. Italy’s fascism was grounded in the ancient Roman Empire. Francisco Franco’s fascism was fused with the Catholic Church. Fascists do not seek to be exotic. They seek to be familiar.
“No swastikas in an American fascism, but Stars and Stripes (or Stars and Bars) and Christian crosses,” Paxton writes. “No fascist salute, but mass recitations of the pledge of allegiance. These symbols contain no whiff of fascism in themselves, of course, but an American fascism would transform them into obligatory litmus tests for detecting the internal enemy.”
Fritz Stern, a refugee from Hitler’s Germany and a leading scholar of German fascism, warned a year later in 2005 of the looming danger posed by a Christian fascism when he was awarded a prize by the Leo Baeck Institute.
“Twenty years ago, I wrote an essay called ‘National Socialism as Temptation,’ about what it was that induced so many Germans to embrace the terrifying specter,” Stern told his audience. “There were many reasons, but at the top ranked Adolf Hitler himself, a brilliant populist manipulator who insisted and probably believed that Providence had chosen him as Germany's savior, a leader charged with executing a divine mission. God had been drafted into national politics before, but Hitler's success in fusing racial dogma with Germanic Christianity was an immensely powerful element in his electoral campaigns. Some people recognized the moral perils of mixing religion and politics, but many more were seduced by it. It was the pseudo religious transfiguration of politics that largely ensured his success, notably in Protestant areas.”
Stern, who wrote “"The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology” and was university professor emeritus at Columbia University, devoted his career to analyzing how German fascism was made possible. He intimately grasped from his experience growing up in Nazi Germany, and his scholarship, how democracies disintegrated. He saw the deadly warning signs. He knew the seduction fascism held for the disenfranchised.
“There was a longing in Europe for fascism before the name was ever invented,” he told me in an interview in 2005 for The New York Times. “There was a longing for a new authoritarianism with some kind of religious orientation and above all a greater communal belongingness. There are some similarities in the mood then and the mood now, although also significant differences.”
Stern, who died in 2016, said fascist movements were fertilized by widespread despair, feelings of exclusion, worthlessness, powerlessness and economic deprivation. Those who felt abandoned were easy targets for demagogues who peddled magical thinking and who had refined the art of the “mass manipulation of public opinion, often mixed with mendacity and forms of intimidation.”
Noam Chomsky, in an interview I did with him in 2010, also saw the ominous route we were traveling.
“It is very similar to late Weimar Germany,” Chomsky told me when I called him at his office in Cambridge, Mass. “The parallels are striking. There was also tremendous disillusionment with the parliamentary system. The most striking fact about Weimar was not that the Nazis managed to destroy the Social Democrats and the Communists but that the traditional parties, the Conservative and Liberal parties, were hated and disappeared. It left a vacuum which the Nazis very cleverly and intelligently managed to take over.”
Jeff Sharlet, who has reported for two decades on the far-right, makes the same point about the Americanized face of fascism in his book “The Undertow: Scenes from a Slow Civil War.”
Sharlet notes that “the purification project of the old fascism has also ‘been proved’ too extreme to be practical for a nation in which the Rightest ascendancy can contend for the loyalty of a third of Latinx voters. The time, White supremacy welcomes all. Or, at least, a sufficient veneer of ‘all’ to reassure its more timid adherents that border walls and ‘Muslim bans’ and ‘kung flu’ and ‘Black crime’ and ‘replacement theory’ somehow do not add up to the dreaded r-word, which anyway these days, in the new authoritarian imagination, only happens in ‘reverse,’ against White people.”
And how do fascists define the internal enemy?
The internal enemy, Paxton writes, is accused of seeking to revoke “the First Amendment, separation of Church and State (creches on the lawns, prayers in schools), efforts to place controls on gun ownership, desecrations of the flag, unassimilated minorities, artistic license, dissent and unusual behavior of all sorts that could be labeled antinational or decadent.”
Fascist movements derive their justification for indiscrimiant violence from the blood of martyrs. Ashli Babbitt, who was shot dead during protests on January 6, by a Black Capitol Hill police officer, is an updated version of the Nazi’s first holy martyr, Horst Wessel. Trump, on trial for fraud is, in the eyes of his supporters, being martyred by the courts.
“It is the first death which infects everyone with the feeling of being threatened,” Elias Canetti writes in “Crowds and Power”. “It is impossible to overrate the part played by the first dead man in the kindling of wars. Rulers who want to unleash war know very well that they must procure or invent a first victim. It need not be anyone of particular importance, and can even be someone quite unknown. Nothing matters except his death; and it must be believed that the enemy is responsible for this. Every possible cause of his death is suppressed except one; his membership of the group to which one belongs oneself.”
When I finished two years of reporting across the country in 2006 for my book “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” I was convinced Christian nationalism was fascist and an existential threat to our democracy. The liberal church, rather than call the Christian fascists out as heretical, foolishly embraced dialogue, giving the Christian fascists a religious legitimacy. It was a disastrous mistake. This failure, coupled with the refusal by the ruling class to address the dislocation and financial distress of workers and their families who flocked to the megachurches, ensured the ascendancy of our homegrown fascism. We would either reintegrate the working class into society, which meant well-paying stable jobs and a halt to the mercenary exploitation by corporations, I wrote then, or continue down the road to fascism. Now, here we are.
“The radical Christian Right calls for exclusion, cruelty and intolerance in the name of God,” I wrote in the final chapter of American Fascists. “Its members do not commit evil for evil’s sake. They commit evil to make a better world. To attain this better world, they believe, some must suffer and be silenced, and at the end of time those who oppose them must be destroyed. The worst suffering in human history has been carried out by those who preach such grand utopian visions, those who seek to implant by force their narrow, particular version of goodness.”
DESIDERATA - Words for Life
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
— Max Ehrmann, 1927
A JAPANESE SORORITY PARTY
The Japanese have a sense of occasion, which the following story may illustrate. One night in Sapporo, an American woman, whose daughter was in a Japanese kindergarten, was invited to dinner by another mother, whose daughter was in her child’s class. The dinner had two purposes — to introduce the American woman to Japanese culture, and to butter up the teacher, who had also been invited. This feeding of teachers — treating them at expensive restaurants — is a common feature of Japanese courtesy and presumably guarantees that your child will get the friendly attention he deserves. The dinner was served by two geishas; three more geishas played music, and the food came in such great quantities that after an hour the three diners abandoned the pretense of eating and spoke on subjects of mutual concern, the Japanese women revealing considerable interest in the age at which American ones begin menstruating.
The food stopped coming; more tea was brought, and the Japanese mother took out a parcel wrapped in cloth. She said it was a surprise and demurely she undid the ribbons and wrapping and took out a scroll. She said it was quite old, painted perhaps 150 years ago, and she laid it on the floor. The geishas put down their instruments and the eight women crouched on the tatami of this private restaurant cubicle while the owner of the scroll unrolled it eight inches.
This was a panel showing a sturdy bald monk leering at a geisha. There was a poem beside it, which was read and translated before the next panel was shown. Here the monk was fumbling with the appalled geisha and tearing at the lower half of her kimono. The poem accompanying this picture was recited as ceremoniously as the one before, and the lady went on unrolling. This progressed, picture by picture; fully extended, the scroll showed a pornographic sequence of the lusty monk pictured in various stages of rape. Later on, I was able to examine it, and I can testify that the wounded vulva and the tumescent pistol-like penis were rendered in vivid detail, though I agree with the English critic William Empson, who (writing on Beardsley) said, “…the Japanese print-masters, too, lose their distinctive line when they turn aside and create Porners.”
In the eighth panel the monk showed signs of fatigue, in contrast to the geisha, who looked mightily aroused: she had redder eyes and she appeared in more predatory postures. Panel nine showed her seizing the fleeing monk’s flaccid penis; panel ten had the agonized monk on his back and the geisha hunkered over him unsuccessfully stuffing his penis into her; and panel eleven, the clincher, depicted a much-aged monk being forced to fondle her: the geisha, wearing an ecstatic smile, had a firm grip on his hand, which she was directing against the bright bead of her clitoris. The Japanese mother clapped her hands and all the women laughed — the geishas loudest of all.
The sense of occasion, the formality of the dinner, the cost of the food, the presence of the geishas, the absence of men — all the rules observed — made the viewing of this antique piece of pornography possible. Any hint of the casual would have ruined it. The scroll, rolled up and wrapped, was gracefully presented to the American woman: she was told that she could show it to her husband, but she must not allow her little girl to see it. After a week it was to be returned to its owner. The American woman was baffled — and slightly embarrassed that the kindergarten teacher had witnessed it all. But the American woman (who told me the story) was flattered at being offered this glimpse of the Japanese cultural sorority, which was undoubtedly the whole intention.
“Little people in a big hurry,” said a man on the rapid train south, and he thought he’d nailed them down. But the more I thought about that ceremony in the Sapporo teahouse, the less Hokkaido looked like Wisconsin.
— Paul Theroux, ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’